Win 1 of 100 2018 PCA Packages in Ultra Satellite Oct. 15!

The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is one of the longest-standing traditions in live poker and, with a return to its roots in 2018, should see one of its best editions ever.

Back are the $10,000 Main Event buy-in and the original PCA branding (after a year of being PokerStars Championship Bahamas) in the hopes of revitalizing the PCA as a ‘must-play’ festival to bring in the New Year.

Also back is the emphasis on qualifying as many players as possible online to bulk up the field, and that’s reflected in one of PokerStars’ biggest promotions ever.

Hundreds of qualifiers will win their way all-expenses paid to the Bahamas in January and it starts with a massive 100-package Ultra Satellite this Sunday.

How to Qualify Online for 2018 PCA

There’s a whole range of ways to make your way to the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event but pay special attention to the PCA Ultra Satellites.

bahamas 95

No shortage of ways to spend money.

These are $530 buy-in online tournaments that each guarantee 100(!) main event packages. This is what these packages are made of:

$10,300 Main Event buy-in
Accommodation at the Atlantis resort (worth $3000+)
$1,000 pocket money paid into your PS account
$1,000 spending money put on your room tab

At the Atlantis Resort it’s customary to pay for everything with your room card so the last bullet point above is for your daily expenses at the hotel.

$1,000 should not only be enough to get you through a week there it’ll let you ‘live the life,’ so to speak. And there’s plenty of opportunity to spend money at Atlantis.

If you don’t have the bankroll to buy directly into the Ultra Satellites, though, you can satellite into them in several different ways.

Phase Tournaments and Sub-Satellites

You can satellite into the Ultra Satellite by making it through three phase tournaments. Phase 1 is just $1 to play and the top 25 of Phase 3 get tickets to the direct qualifier.

If you want to save time and spend a little more, you can also play an $11 Phase 1 and you only have to go through two phases to claim your main satellite ticket.

There are also MTT sub-satellites to get into the $530 satellite starting at $11. There are both scheduled and SnG sub-satellites.

bahamas 64

Spin & Gos can get you there, too.

250 Full PCA Packages and More!

You can also qualify directly for the PCA by playing Spin & Go satellites. Spin & Gos have become an extremely popular pastime with PokerStars players and that popularity continues to grow.

On the $27.50 level PokerStars is throwing in:

800,000 $55 PCA satellites tickets
180,000 $109 PCA satellite tickets
18,500 $530 Ultra Satellite tickets and
250 full $15,855 PCA prize packages

per 1 million Spin & Gos played.

There are also Spin and Go challenges where you simply have to play and win enough of them to collect a certain amount of points. When you get there, you’re in the weekly Road to Bahamas Spin and Go final.

There are 729 tickets to the Ultra Satellites and sub-satellites and one full PCA prize package up for grabs in every weekly final.

Cash Game All-in Shootout

Sounds cool and works a little differently from the ways described above. Click on the challenges tab on the right column of your PokerStars lobby.

You’ll see a puzzle and a guide for how to complete it. For example, you might have to get each of the four aces as a card in your starting hand, so it’s pretty straightforward.

psc poker room main event 1

When you’re done you’ll be automatically registered for the daily All-in shootout at 6.05 PM CET. The top 128 players of the shootout will take part in the Road to Bahamas Cash Game Weekly Final.

Each weekly final has a $50k prize pool. The winner will go straight to the PCA Main Event while the next 200 players all get tickets to further satellites worth $27.50 to $530.

Only 2 Ultra Satellites Scheduled!

Get started soon because there are only two of $530 Ultra Satellites and the first is this Sunday, October 15 at 8:35 PM! The second Ultra Satellite will take place on November 5.

The cash game and Spin & Go challenges run all the time but also end on November 5.

Here’s a little extra tip: While you’re trying to qualify, you’ll collect Stars Rewards Chests. These are mostly filled with Star Coins but there are also tickets to the Ultra Satellites hidden in some of them giving you additional chances to qualify without doing anything.

If you don’t have a PokerStars account yet, click through to PokerListings’ extensive review of PokerStars. We provide you with the download links to get you started quickly.

psc Bahamas feature table 2

Watch the big kids live!

Highlight PCA Events

As always the PCA will take place in January, partly because that’s a good time to get away from the winter in North America but also because it’s not hurricane season.

The main event, which is the one that you can satellite into online, will run January 8-16. One of the major changes for this year is that the buy-in is $10,300 again after being cut in half for the last couple of years.

Also watch out for the following events which you’ll be able to watch on the PokerStars Live Stream:

$100,000 Super High Roller Event, unlimited re-entry, January 6-8
$50,000 High Roller Event, single re-entry, January 8-9
$25,000 High Roller Event, single re-entry, January 12-14


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888Live Opener Draws 650+ to Aspers; Talbot Conquers Phil

The latest 888Live poker festival has started and, once again, the tables in the Aspers Casino in East London are buzzing.

888poker kicked off the festival with a £220 buy-in, £120,000 guaranteed tournament that featured four Day 1s.

Over 650 players registered, making sure that the guarantee was reached.

The tournament ran through the weekend and reached its conclusion on Sunday night with Christopher Kyriacou claiming the title and £20,000.

Incredibly, last year’s Main Event winner came second.

Christopher Kyriacou

Kyriacou ftw.

Ka Him Li Thrives Again

The final three players agreed on a deal and Kyriacou was utlimately the one to claim all the chips.

Most astoundingly the man Kyriacou had to beat heads-up was Ka Him Li, the player who came to the inaugural 888poker festival at the Aspers Casino last year and went on to win the main event.

Li also placed 35th in last year’s opening event which had an even bigger field with about 700 players.

Quite an achievement for somebody who doesn’t play poker on a regular basis, as the fact he only has one other cash in a live poker event points to. Don’t be surprised if his name pops up again in the Main Event.

Opening Event Top 5 Payouts



Prize Money


Christopher Kyriacou



Ka Him Li



Terry Simpson



Tom Hughes



Vinny Anderson


*represents a 3-way deal

High Roller Wednesday, Main Event Thursday

The 888Live London poker festival is now in full swing with side events playing out every day at different buy-in levels.

The £2,200 High Roller Event starts on Wednesday and then on Thursday the £1,100 Main Event kicks off.

There are still live satellites directly in the 888poker room, so hurry up if you’re up for a major poker experience.

parker talbot psc barcelona 2017 2

Talbot almost topples KOTH.

You can also find a complete schedule of the 888Live festival here

Talbot Climbs Half the Hill

While London was preparing for the festival, Pittsburgh was hosting a completely different event.

The second 4-player, heads-up King of the Hill Challenge was on and 8888poker pro Parker ‘tonkaaaap’ Talbot took on the reigning champion Phil Hellmuth in the first round.

The match was played as a best-of-three and Talbot came back from 1-0 down to knock the champion off his throne.

He wasn’t able to take his seat entirely, however, as Olivier Busquet (who beat Shaun Deeb in his first match) rolled over Talbot for the title.

Busquet said afterwards that he was ‘hit by the deck so hard it would have been difficult to lose.’ Busquet took the full $200,000 prize money as it was a winner take all event.

The Home Alone Experience

While all this happened in places thousands of miles apart, the player you’d least expect to be at home made it to the final table of 888poker’s last edition of the Baby Whale.

dominik nitsche psc barcelona 2017 1

Dom dominates as usual.

We’re talking about none other than Dominik Nitsche  (who by the way is on his way to East London, too, so there’s another reason for you to try to satellite into the main event).

Nitsche spent the weekend online playing a couple of tournaments and, as it happened, made his deepest run in the one with the highest buy-in – the Baby Whale.

The term “Baby” is a little misleading as this tournament has a $320 buy-in and often high six-digit prize pools. 

Nitsche finished that tournament in fifth place for $8k. He also won five of the seven $1k Heads-up Turbos he got involved in, so be careful when 888Dominik is waiting for you at a table that only has two seats.

If you’re a beginner and don’t have an account yet, visit our 888pok review page and read more about the second largest poker room on the internet. You’ll also find the links to download the 888poker software there and get started with an $888 sign-up bonus.


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Hand of the Week: Hellmuth Stunts on River, Crashes Hard

The first-ever Poker Masters at the Aria Casino in Vegas was a highlight of the Fall so far.

Thirty-six of the game’s best players joined in for the $100,000 finale and played for $1.5 million to the winner.

Neither of our two well-known contestants in this hand - Phil Hellmuth and Brian Rast - even made it to the money, but they sure did get a lot of attention. And deservedly so. 

Hellmuth Forced to Show

It’s near the end of Day 1 of the $100k buy-in event with 17 players still in. Daniel Negreanu leads the chip counts with the blinds at 2k/4k plus a big blind ante of 4k.

Brian Rast has 715,000 chips (178 bb), which is also close to the top. Right now he’s sitting on the button with    

It’s folded to him so he raises it up to 10,000. Dan Shak folds the small blind but Hellmuth decides to 3-bet to 34,000.

At the beginning of the hand Hellmuth had a stack of 189,000 or 34 bb. Rast calls and there’s 74,000 in the pot with Hellmuth having 151,000 left.

The flop is      

Both players check so effective stacks are still at 151,000. The turn is the  

Hellmuth bets 45,000 and Rast calls. The pot is now at 164,000 and effective stacks down to 106,000. The river is the  

Hellmuth bets 66,000 leaving him 40,000 chips behind. Rast uses two minutes of extra time to think about his decision and eventually calls with third pair.

Hellmuth is forced to show his bluff with     Sitting on just ten big blinds, Hellmuth didn’t last much longer and busted the tournament.

If you have PokerGo, you can watch the hand again from 6:40 in this video:


This is a rather strange hand where both players start off with pretty weak starting hands and still manage to build up a pretty sizeable pot of 74 big blinds.

Phil Hellmuth IMG 3916

What can he rep here?

How did this happen, you ask?

To understand the moves of the players and how Rast was able to make that river call, we’ll have to take it step by step.

When Dan Shak folds Hellmuth decides to go down an unconventional road with his rather small stack and raises.

Obviously, Rast has a very wide range. But you should still think twice before you take on a world-class player like Brian Rast with a hand like Q-6o out of position.

We’ll soon see why. Rast doesn’t budge at all. Instead, he just continues with his small one-gapper in position.

His hand is apparently behind Hellmuth’s range but he has a big stack and good players don’t like to fold.

What Does Hellmuth Represent?

On a flop with low cards and two clubs, Hellmuth clearly cuts his range down. Because who would check here with an overpair?

This could be a very tricky move but it looks much more like a hand with two high cards that hasn’t improved on the flop.

Rast has made a pair but it doesn’t really make much sense to bet as mostly better hands than his will call.

On the 9 turn Hellmuth decides to bet. Did the nine help him or did he already have it on the flop? Did he pick up a flush draw or a combo draw, or is he just making a move? 

Either way, his play looks a little inconsistent and doesn’t make too much sense. That’s why Rast feels good enough to call as not only might his hand still be best, he can also represent the flush draw if it hits the river.

A Stunt on the River

The river is another low card and a third diamond but Hellmuth hesitates a little (as you can see if you have the video at hand) before moving two thirds of his remaining stack into the middle.

Hellmuth bluffs


So, what does that bet mean? There are two main options.

A. Hellmuth has a hand so strong that he wants to get called. He makes the bet small to ensure he gets called.
B. He doesn’t have anything and wants to represent A.

Hellmuth’s hand is highly polarized and his play was overall inconsistent. But there is one type of hand that would suddenly connect all the dots – a runner-runner flush.

It’s possible that Hellmuth missed the flop, stepped on the brakes, but then semi-bluffed the turn and then bet again on the river to make more chips. But then why doesn’t he go all-in to maximize his profit?

Rast Considers, Strikes

Now, Brian Rast knows all of this. But it’s a hard thing to make a call with just a pair of fives.

What makes calling attractive is that Hellmuth also has hands like A-K and A-Q in his range. They make sense and lose to any pair.

You might want to add A-9 to Hellmuth’s range, but would he 3-bet that pre-flop? And would he barrel with it twice

Rast thinks


At the end of the day Rast has two good reasons for his call:

1. Hellmuth’s range has more weak than strong hands in it.
2. His play and particularly his river bet are inconsistent and suspicious.

Also, Rast can actually afford losing this hand as he would still have a healthy stack.


Making a strong call versus a weak range, Rast delivers a fatal blow to the Poker Brat — one that he wouldn’t recover from.

Maybe Hellmuth over-complicated things a bit. An all-in would have probably made Rast fold his hand.


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Daily 3-Bet: Phil -EV, 3 Mins w/ Kristen, Win or Quit Poker

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is an extended power nap, a drowsy amble to the reg desk and all the -EV needed to win your next afternoon poker news bracelet.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or drop a note in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find the Go0se gutting Phil Hellmuth’s game, Kristen Bicknell checks in from Brazil and Miikka Anttonen puts it all on the line.

1) White Magic What?

There are few more polarizing poker players than Phil Hellmuth - especially if you’re talking about whether he’s actually any “good” at poker.

Phil and fans point to his 14 WSOP bracelets as all the evidence needed; Phil’s detractors say it’s smoke and mirrors and his actual technical skills, at least as far as No-Limit Hold’em go, are abysmal.

Put Steffen ‘Go0se.core!’ Sontheimer among the latter. We pointed you to his full interview with Joe Ingram on the Poker Life Podcast on Monday but this amazing clip of him dismantling Phil’s technical prowess is hitting the rounds today:

I asked @RunGo0seRun his thoughts on Hellmuth on our podcast yesterday and… well…. I learned about reducing negative edges #BangBang

— gN PapiGTO (@Joeingram1) October 3, 2022

Tell us how you really feel, Go0se. Props to him, though, because if you call someone out you better be ready to put your money where your month is and Sontheimer is very keen on that:

“I’m ready to play him. Over and over and over again.” 

Phil’s response?

Sigh…The haters told me I “couldn’t win” in the 1980’s, I was “done” in the 1990’s, the game “passed me by” in the 2000’s, and now

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) October 4, 2022

Something tells us this is all going to come to a head on Poker Night in America somehow and we can’t wait to see it.

2) Kristen Bicknell: Brazil is Fun, for Ev-ery-one

Two-time WSOP bracelet winner and partypoker Ambassador Kristen Bicknell narrowly missed the final nominee list for both our Most Inspiring Player and Rising Star awards this year and for good reason.

Kristen Bicknell Bracelet

Couple of these will get you places.

She’s a total boss at the poker table and a good spirit on and off the felt. partypoker obviously felt the same way and scooped her up for a new pro contract this summer during the WSOP.

The new gig has afforded her some opportunities to hit the road and experience the poker circuit in far-flung places and she’s taken advantage with a stop at this week’s WSOPC event in Brazil.

Codigo Poker caught up with her for a short interview where she talked about her experience so far, where she plans to go next and just how you might characterize the playing style of her South American tablemates.

Check a short clip below; click through to see the full 3-minute interview.

Check out @krissyb24poker from #partypoker answering questions @WSOP Brazil! Thanks to @CodigoPoker
full interview:

— partypoker (@partypoker) October 4, 2022

3) Turn €500 into €10,000 in 100 Days or Leave Poker Forever

How confident are you that you could win at this game when you really had to?

Famed grinder/TwoPlusTwo poster Miikka ‘ChuckBass’ Anttonen is about to find out for himself with an inspired prop bet challenge that really puts all he’s ever learned in poker to the test.

The craziest prop bet of my life is about to begin. If I lose I will pretty much have to quit poker forever. Wish me luck ! @UpswingPoker

— Miikka Anttonen (@chuckbasspoker) September 30, 2022

Anttonen puts himself at about 50% to do it although acknowledges he has, umm, a few obstacles to overcome (as posted on 2+2):

“As for background, I’ve played poker for ~10 years, but I’ve shared my time 50-50 between writing and poker in the last 2 years or so. I’ve made less than 10k in this entire year playing poker, and over the last two months I’ve booked like 95% losing sessions making 30 deposits without a withdrawal.


“I’m feeling washed up as ****, I haven’t studied in forever and when asked what the correct unexploitable 10BB BTN pushing range is I’m pretty sure I’d miss by 5-10%. I haven’t really won anything remotely respectable at poker in about 2 years (although I haven’t really devoted myself to it either). I’m 30, I can’t physically take massive grinds anymore, and honestly don’t have a whole lot going for myself poker-wise.”

Wow. He’ll be streaming 16 days of it live for a Finnish poker website; we’ll have our editor keep an eye on it.


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Big Bets + Big Betty: Poker & eSports Converge in Holland

Unibet Poker has jumped on the eSports curve with its super fun Battle Royales on its live tour.

The Global Poker Index has completely redesigned its business model to incorporate eSports rankings and poker/eSports mashups into its future.

Now the World Poker Tour has climbed on board, too.

The WPT announced last week it is joining forces with ELC Gaming for a multi-day poker/eSports collaboration at the Holland Casino in Valkenburg, Netherlands, October 9-15.

Included will be a WPT DeepStacks €1,100 Main Event, an eSports festival with recreational and pro events and a number of “integrated events” that combine the two disciplines in new and groundbreaking ways.

Roll In Big Betty

What exactly will that experience entail? Well, alongside the poker festival and its highlight €1,100 Main Event (Oct. 12-15), ELC Gaming will have its 18-wheel mobile eSports arena, “Big Betty,” on hand.

Hotted89 C5SydsIWIAAUZS5.jpg large

eSports bigwigs like Hotted89 getting into poker, too.

Players and fans can try out combined eSports/poker events both in the casino and in the mobile arena to win entry into WPTDeepStacks poker tournaments and various smaller eSports competitions.

An interactive virtual reality experience, a casual gaming lounge and daily eSports battles between local universities will be on display and ELC will also stream the Legend Series final on its Twitch channel, ELCgamingTV.

Two eSports teams who qualified from across Europe through online matches will play in the final.

Andrey “Reynad” Yanyuk, Alan “Hotted89” WidmannCharlotte ‘sjlot’ van Brabander and Jeffrey ‘SjoW’ Brusi are just a few of the prominent eSports stars who have dabbled in poker.

Famed poker stars Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Lex ‘RasZi’ Veldhuis and Randy ‘nanonoko’ Lew are gamers who’ve crossed over successfully into pro poker.

“The World Poker Tour is proud to partner with ELC Gaming for this first international poker and eSports venture,” said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour.

“The crossover between the poker and eSports communities is undeniable, and the addition of a live eSports event to one of the WPT’s live poker festivals is a perfect fit to provide an even greater experience for our players.”

“This is an inspiring time in both poker and eSports, the two mindsports that have only begun to realize their enormous collaboration potential,” adds Frank Ng, CEO of Ourgame International.

“We have seen firsthand the popularity in both industries grow exponentially,” says Leon Groenewoud, COO of ELC Gaming, “and I’m confident this partnership is a natural next step for players, fans, and business partners alike.”

Read more about the collaboration here


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Daily 3-Bet: $40m Powerfest, Lex + Staples, Hippies w/ $$

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a new sarong, a tattered copy of Siddartha and an accessible eWallet as you travel the afternoon poker news silk road.

Want something featured in a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find another online poker series surge, a powerhouse streaming duo joins up in Costa Rica and Phil Gruissem seeks cash and enlightenment.

1) Powerfest Surges to $40m

As we mentioned last week the 2017 WCOOP on PokerStars blew right through its $60m guarantee and became its second-biggest online series of all time. With over $90m paid out, it’s behind only the 2017 SCOOP at $93m for biggest ever.

There were three other major online poker series alongside SCOOP in September and, as partypoker reports, at least another superseded its guarantees.


Coming on strong.

The 2017 Fall Powerfest on partypoker guaranteed $35m over its 330 events but ultimately paid out just under $40m to 51,482 players who made the money/scooped bounties.

In particular the $25,500 High Roller (won by Ben “CowEyed” Tollerene) crushed with 127 entries and a $3.2m prize pool.

Between those two series and 888poker’s XL Eclipse, that’s well over $150m (!) paid out in September alone.

Next up at partypoker is the micro/mid-stakes Monster series in October with another $5m GTD - and that should see some records fall there, too.

Buy-ins start as low as $1.10. Get in on the action at partypoker by creating a new account right here.

2) Lex + Jamie in Costa Rica

Jason Somerville is the Godfather, Jaime Staples and Parker Talbot the twin Canadian pillars and Jeff Gross the All-American BFF, but Twitch poker’s favorite son right now just might be Dutch poker pro Lex Velduis.

Lex Veldhuis

Hottest stream going.

Veldhuis has really upped his streaming volume over the last year or so and the results - both poker-wise and viewers acquired - are evident.

Veldhuis had almost 15,000 (!) viewers watching his WCOOP PLO final-table stream last week and has earned legions of new fans thanks to his intimate understanding of high-stakes poker, broad gaming background, forthright viewpoints and engaging style.

He’s picking up subscribers by the dozens and is about to join forces with another of Twitch’s most popular figures - Jaime “PokerStaples” Staples.

As Lex explains in his latest Vlog, the two are moving in together in Costa Rica (in fact they’ve already arrived and are setting up) and reaping the logistical/social/streaming benefits.

If you want to know all my plans and everything that is happening now (or soon) pls check out last weeks VloG!

— Lex Veldhuis (@RaSZi) October 3, 2022

By the sounds of it they should be up and running by the weekend so check it out (and see Lex’s full streaming schedule) right here.

3) Which for Money, Which for Enlightenment?

Given the continuing surge in poker interest in India, we’re not entirely sure which destination Phil Gruissem sees as the money spot and which as the enlightenment spot. Either way, it’s great the recent first-time WCOOP champ reminded us the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

heading to india tmr then macao. gl to me searching for enlightenment and a bunch of cash at the same time… #hippieswithmoney

— Philipp Gruissem (@TheRealPhilbort) October 3, 2022


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Last Chance to Qualify for 888Live London Main Event Oct. 5!

The 888Live festival is set to return to its home casino at the Aspers Casino in East London and you have just one chance left to qualify for the main event.

The festival will run until Oct. 5-16 with 10 events of different games and buy-ins so it’ll be well worth going even for the side events.

Past 888 London festivals have seen continuous growth and a range of superstar poker players have made appearances.

Among them have been Antonio Esfandiari, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Will Kassouf and, of course, the 888poker ambassadors Dominik Nitsche, Chris Moorman and Sofia Lövgren.

The winner of the last 888Live London main event – Kim Ha Li – will also be back to defend his title.

Final Satellite October 5

The Aspers Casino is situated in the huge Westfield Mall in Stratford, East London. It’s 888’s home casino where they have their own branded poker room.

william kassouf 888 aspers

Kassouf among the local celebs.

The Opening Event with £120,000 guaranteed starts on Oct. 5, which is also the day of the last online satellite for the Main Event.

The last online satellite on 888poker runs on Oct. 5 at 8 PM CET. It’s a $109 Holdem tournament and there will be at least one seat to be won for the main event at the Aspers.

There’s also still a feeder tournament that gives you the chance to play the satellite for just $12. Check it out in the 888poker lobby.

You can find all the remaining satellites and a list of the players who have already qualified under the tabs All games > Tournaments > Live Events, or simply type “London” into the search box.

Shot Clock Introduced

Select tournaments of the 888Live festival this time around – including the Main Event – will have a shot clock in place.

This will be a digital clock run by the dealer and everybody at the table will be able to see the countdown running.

winner 888poker london ka him li

Ka Him Li

The idea here is not to put more pressure on the players but to prevent stalling.

As there are obviously spots in a tournament where you have to make a big decision, you’ll get a number of extensions that’ll give you more time to think.

The Main Event is an £1,100 NLHE freeze-out with 30,000 chips to start and 60-min levels. There will be three starting days for you to choose from beginning on Thursday October 12.

Day 2 will be on Sunday Oct. 15 and the final table will take place on Monday. There’s a £400,000 guaranteed prize pool and re-entries are allowed.

Side events include a Ladies event, an Omaha event and a High Roller. See below for the complete list.





Opening Event



The Hurricane



High Roller



Ladies Event



888Love Main Event



The Swordfish



The Whale



Turbo Deepstack



Pot Limit Omaha



The Lightning


If you want to play on 888poker, go ahead and visit our 888 review page. We’ll provide you with the download links and get you started.


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Daily 3-Bet: Who is Go0se, Kirk v. Blom, Poker Lin-sanity

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a found tenner, an impulse pack of scratch cards and three lucky sevens appearing before your afternoon poker news eyes.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or tell us about it below.

Today in the 3-Bet we get to know the hottest player in high-stakes poker, two wildcards go toe-to-toe and Celina Lin inspires in Macau.

1) Joey + Go0se

Before the start of the Poker Masters early last month the name Steffen Sontheimer was known only within a pretty tight circle of hardcore grinders/poker fans.


This is Go0se.

Playing online under the nickname go0se.core! Sontheimer had built up an impressive array of results (and an endorsement as the game’s best player from mentor/backer Fedor Holz) but had yet to really break through into the poker world at large.

Then he went and manhandled 45 or so of the game’s best high-stakes players, final-tabled all 5 Poker Masters events and left Vegas with $2m a sweetly-tailored Purple Jacket.

More people know his name now. But he’s still far from a household name yet.

If you want to know more about him, Joe Ingram has him on his Poker Life Podcast as we speak and will be talking to him for an hour or two. Watch it live (or on replay) below:

2) Aussie Matt Kirk vs. Isildur1 HU

When Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom went on an online poker tear last week and boosted his bankroll by about $1m, we speculated we might be in-sotre for some high-stakes action this week.

True to form, Blom is now sitting at the $100/$200 PLO tables on partypoker playing the similarly non-risk-averse Aussie Matt Kirk - a guy who once bought in to a $250,000 cash game ‘because he was bored.”

So … that should be a good watch.

Matt Kirk and @ViktorBlom back playing HU on @partypoker …Its a fun watch this one ,crazy action

— Sam Trickett (@Samtrickett1) October 2, 2022

Rail it all at partypoker by signing up for an account here.

3) Celina Lin: Poker has Become “the Golf of China”

As you likely know, we always love to highlight a good, inspiring story about a good, inspiring poker player. Here’s another good one in the South China Morning Post on the fantastic Celina Lin.

Celina Lin

Starting her own Lin-sanity craze in China.

The multi-talented, Shanghai-born, Melbourne-raised Lin tells the story of her move to Macau in 2007 to go pro and how hard it was to convince her parents it was a respectable - and feasible - profession.

“My parents did not understand the game and they felt like it was very similar to playing blackjack and baccarat.


“Because poker tournaments are organised inside a casino, people relate it to all the other games.


“I had to say to them ‘No, you do realise we play against other players, we are not playing against the house? We make decisions after we’re given information’.


“It ended up taking almost three months to turn my dad around and when he did he was really proud.”

She also delves into her rise up the poker ranks, the rise of poker itself in the esteem of the general Chinese public and just how many girls have been inspired enough by her poker journey to take up the game themselves. Read the full piece here.


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McGinty Charges to PSF Dublin Main Event Title, €91,808

When the press covering a poker tournament use the adjective “masterful” to characterize your play, you know you’re doing something right.

29-year-old Irishman Gary McGinty soared to a huge chip lead over the final 2 days of the €1,100 PokerStars Festival Dublin Main Event yesterday and didn’t stop until he had the title in hand.

After a four-way deal secured him the biggest chunk of the prize pool, McGinty went on the claim the extra money left to play for in a heads-up duel with countryman Jim O’Calaghan.

When all was said and done McGinty collected €91,808 and the admiration of his tablemates to boot: “You played brilliantly,” said O’Calaghan, the last player knocked out by McGinty, to confirm the press’ assessment.

PokerStars Festival Dublin

Date: Sept. 28 - Oct. 1 2017
Players: 544
Buy-In: €1,100
Prize Pool: €681,720
Winner: Gary McGinty

Declan Connolly 2

Ireland’s Declan Connolly part of strong local contingent at FT.

Irish in Charge

A predominantly local (five Irish, one UK) final table resumed with McGinty in charge.

When play reached four-handed they decided to look at the numbers and agreed on an ICM deal which gave McGinty the majority of the prize money still to be distributed.

€13,000 was left on the table for the three Irishmen and one Italian left as play continued.

Sean Prendiville finished fourth when his A7 couldn’t catch the AT of McGinty and shortly thereafter Antonio Merone said goodbye when his QT lost to McGinty’s AQ.

The final heads-up duel started with a clear 5-1 lead for McGinty and didn’t last long. Jim O’Calaghan got his last 2.6 million chips over the line with Q6 and McGinty called with KJ.

The better hand won and McGinty stood up as a brilliant winner from the table.

“It’s fantastic,” McGinty said. “It was pretty hard for long stretches of the day, but I was lucky and I ran pretty well. I played well, won the all-in, and now I have the trophy and that’s all that matters, right?

PokerStars Festival Dublin - Final Results

1. Gary McGinty Ireland €91,808 *
2. Jim O’Calaghan Ireland €74,797 *
3. Antonio Merone Italy €78,554 *
4. Sean Prendiville Ireland €71,161 *
5. Ivan Tononi Italy €35,780
6. Declan Connolly Ireland €28,110
7. Mick Graydon Ireland €20,980
8. Alexander Bretherton UK €14,530

* four-handed deal

€150,000 Overlay

As with any poker tournament in Ireland the Craic was strong across the entire festival. Three starting days were on the agenda for the Main Event with the first on Thursday.

Max Silver

Nice payday for Silver, too.

With a total of 137 registrations on Day 1A, Days 1B and 1C needed to see an increase in the number of players to hit the targeted 700 and meet the guarantee.

259 players on Day 1B and 148 on Day 1C brought the total number of players to 544, meaning an overlay of around €150,000 to be paid by PokerStars.

Veteran pro Max Silver, meanwhile, won the €2,000 High Roller for €45k and author Maria Konnikova finished second in the NLHE Deepstack.

Return to Hippodrome

The next stop for the PokerStars Live tour is The Hippodrome in London this week for the October London Series.

Four days of play begins this Thursday with the main draw being the £40,000 guaranteed main event with a £275 buy-in.

Visit the PokerStars London homepage for the full schedule details. Visit our PokerStars review to sign up for a new account and get a $500 sign-up bonus.


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Poker Hand of the Week: Negreanu Rivers Jackpot, Gets Paid

The Poker Masters was a five-event, high buy-in tournament series played at the Aria in Las Vegas earlier this month.

The buy-ins were $50k for the first four events and $100k for the final tournament.

The Poker Masters winner - who claimed the first-ever purple jacket - was the player who made the most money.

The series attracted dozens of the world’s top players and featured several dramatic battles including this one between Daniel Negreanu and Koray Aldemir - the #2 ranked player on the Global Poker Index for 2017.

The End for Aldemir

In the final $100k event there were 16 players left and action was approaching the money bubble. Negreanu and Aldemir were the big stacks at this table, sitting with 634,000 and 414,000 respectively.

Blinds were 1500/3000/300. It was folded to Aldemir in the cut-off who raised to 7,000 with    

Phil Hellmuth folded on the button but Negreanu in the small blind re-raised to 27,500. Steffen Sontheimer - the ultimate winner of the purple jacket - folded the big blind.

Aldemir called. There were 61,000 chips in the pot and effective stacks were 387,000. The flop fell      

Negreanu led out with a bet of 16,000 which Aldemir called. So now 93,000 in the pot and effective stacks at 371,000.

Turn was the   Negreanu bet again - this time for 45,000 and Aldemir called again. Now 183,000 in the pot and effective stacks down to 326,000.

River:   Negreanu fired 125,000 and Aldemir took a quick moment to think before he moved all-in. Negreanu quickly called and showed the nuts with    

That was the end of the line for Koray Aldemir in this tournament. You can watch the hand at 11:30 in the video here but it’s behind a paywall.


It was a brutal run-out for Aldemir, who flopped a monster and then was presented with one of only three hands that beat him.


Was it possible for the young German to avoid his fate? Let’s take a closer look.

Pre-flop, Aldemir made a standard raise to 2.33 bb and Negreanu – the biggest stack at the table – 3-bet to 27,500, equalling about 9 bb.

Before acting Aldemir has to put his opponent on an approximate range and make a first assessment.

Having that big stack, Negreanu will 3-bet a lot more than he would with a small stack. Also note that Aldemir is in late position and also playing a sizeable stack so he has a wider opening range, too.

Let’s look at Negreanu’s range, which roughly has the following hands in it;

Pocket pairs 7-7 or higher,
Broadway hands like A-K or K-Q,
Some suited connectors like 8-7s and
a few bluffs like A-4 or even K-2

The next step for Aldemir is to estimate what his best next move is. Many amateurs would now 4-bet because they’re afraid to see an overcard on the flop and would rather end the hand right there.

The probability of an overcard hitting the flop is actually 57% but a top player like Aldemir still just calls here and does so for several reasons.

A 4-bet would only isolate him against strong hands.
By just calling he keeps all possible bluffs in Negreanu’s range in the hand.
He has position and a better range of hands than Negreanu, making it well worth it to continue the hand.
He doesn’t invest too much money while playing a hand against the table’s biggest stack.

Semi-Bluff and Rope-a-Dope

The flop makes this hand very interesting as Aldemir hits middle set while Negreanu is open-ended.


The Canadian obviously tries to take down the pot right there – two high cards on the flop hit his range and he can often make better hands than his fold, like 9-9 or 7-7.

This is also a textbook spot for a semi-bluff. Aldemir has no reason to get out of line here. There’s no reason for him to raise and maybe chase away any of Negreanu’s weaker hands.

He calls and the two players see the 2 on the turn, which is a complete blank. Negreanu uses it to fire a second barrel.

Thanks to his 3-bet pre-flop his range has A-A, K-K, and A-K in it as well as J-J and 8-8.

By representing these he can still make hands like A-J or A-Q fold despite only having queen high At the same time he can build the pot without taking too many risks and win a lot of chips if he hits his outs on the river.

Aldemir stays calm and calls again. As the turn is a blank nothing has changed and by raising he would still only drive away hands like A-K or K-Q that would pay him more chips on the river.

Ka-ching on the River

The river is Negreanu’s dream card – the 9. He has hit the nuts and he can still hope to get paid.


Even a hand like A-K would still consider calling but there are also several two-pair hands and sets in Aldemir’s range.

Negreanu bets around a third of the pot and now Aldemir asks himself whether he should call or raise.

To make a raise a viable option there have to be enough hands worse than his that can call and Aldemir holds the fourth nuts. The hands that beat him are K-K, Q-T and T-7, but the last one is highly unlikely.

A more conservative player like Hellmuth would probably simply call without thinking about it too much, but a New School player like Aldemir tries to maximize on his profit in a spot like this.

So, which hands could realistically call an all-in here? Obviously, the three hands that beat him – three possible combinations of K-K, 16 possible combinations of Q-T.

We can definitively neglect T-7 as, although Negreanu once called this his favorite hand, he wouldn’t 3-bet it from the small blind pre-flop.

Then there are three possible 8-8 combos, nine possible K-J combos and maybe nine 9-8 combos — if Daniel had decided to go with that.

Daniel Negreanu IMG 3767

As Negreanu wouldn’t call an all-in with A-K there are more better than worse hands to Aldemir’s set that would call.

That’s why Aldemir’s push is not convincing in this spot. A call would have left him with 200,000 chips — equalling 50 big blinds in even the next level — and that would have been a much better move.


At the main event of the inaugural Poker Masters in Las Vegas, Daniel Negreanu rivers jackpot and then gets even luckier when his opponent Koray Aldemir gets greedy and overlooks Negreanu’s calling range.


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Daily 3-Bet: $90m WCOOP, GPL Brazil, Marooned by KK

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a pair of Kings, five aces on the board and steam flying from your ears when the cards go on their afternoon poker news backs.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or drop a comment below.

Today in the 3-Bet we find the 2017 WCOOP hitting pretty epic numbers, the Global Poker League eyes Brazil and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine gets aced.

1) 2017 WCOOP Pays Out $90m

Well. That was a huge month for online poker. Despite years of lingering ‘online poker is dead’ whispers this September - with its four major online poker series on PokerStars, 888poker, partypoker and Winamax - was a behemoth.

wcoop logo

That was a big one.

The godfather of online poker series, the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), fittingly led the way with a WCOOP record of $90.6 million in prize pools — up 16.5% from the $77.8 million paid out last year.

It was also the second-largest online poker series ever, behind only this year’s PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP), which paid out more than $93 million.

According to Rafi Ashkenazi, CEO of The Stars Group, over 107,000 players took part and of that group 10% were WCOOP first timers.

So, that’s a good sign. If Italy, Spain, France and Portugal pull this shared player pool thing together, too, we could be looking at a record year for online poker in 2018.

With a burgeoning group of competitors in 888poker and partypoker dramatically boosting their efforts, too, it’s a good time to be an online poker player.

Unless, of course …. you know what we’re going to say here. Oh, USA.

2) Global Poker League Coming to Brazil

Despite some really cool moments, Season 1 of the Global Poker League was, by most measures, a bit underwhelming.

Brazil Rail 1 6

The potential for team poker, great match-ups and loyal fan bases was clearly there but the execution/format didn’t draw in the numbers the GPL (and the poker world) would have liked.

The idea of a poker league, though, still has plenty of legs as the GPL has launched independent GPL India and GPL China in 2017.

Next up in 2018? GPL Brazil, which ESPN Latin America reported on this morning.

Based on the passion of Brazilian poker players and fans we’ve seen time and again - and the success of the Sao Paulo Metropolitans in the inaugural season of GPL Global - we can’t see how it won’t take off.

In addition to GPL Brazil ESPN reported the second season of the ‘GPL Major League’ is still in the works as is an event called GPL All-Star 2018. Check the report (in Portuguese) here.

3) Adam Levine Does Not Like to See Septuple Aces

This is exactly how we feel when our KK gets cracked by 7 aces! (Fast forward to 2:11 to see the ‘hand;’ h/t to Dutch Boyd for the video)

Enjoy the weekend!


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Daily 3-Bet: Isildur on Fire, 100 in the Ears, PLOMG Subs

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a bright light, a bag of swag and the eyes of the poker world staring intently at your afternoon poker news stage show.

Got a hot tip for a future 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or drop a comment below.

Today in the Daily 3-Bet we find a major bankroll boost for Viktor Blom, a major milestone for Poker in the Ears and the PLO cavalry arrives on PAD.

1) Not So Fast, Go0se!

Remember last week when the newest ‘mystery’ sensation to hit the poker world, Steffen ‘Go0se.core!’ Sontheimer, ran wild at the Poker Masters?


Still got it, Fonzie style.

It evoked a few memories of the glory days of online poker back in 2008/2009 when a young unknown from Sweden stormed onto the scene and had the poker world glued to his every move.

That mystery man, of course, was Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom - a guy who’s star had begun to fade somewhat over the past few years due to some game selection/bankroll issues.

Turns out Blom isn’t quite ready to give up the mantle of poker’s best mystery man. Not only did Blom win his first WCOOP title this month, he made 4 final tables and cashed for close to half a million dollars.

Yesterday he did that all in one fell swoop when he finished second to Ben Tollerene in the $25k partypoker Super High Roller for $529,272 - outlasting Sontheimer’s pal/mentor Fedor Holz in the process.

That’s a tidy $1m+ injected in the bankroll of one of online poker’s most notorious splurge grinders. HU4rollz with Go0se.core! in Trickett’s Room incoming?

2) Poker in the Ears Hits 100

If you’ve yet to listen to the Poker in the Ears podcast, you’re missing out.

Hosted by PokerStars live stream heartthrob Joe Stapleton and his work wife James Hartigan, it’s always a delightful run-through of the latest poker world news plus varied, obscure pop culture tidbits and lewd sexual innuendo.

Joe Stapleton (left) and some guy.

Hilarity ensues.

Sounds good, right?

There’s no better time to break your PitE seal as their ultra-special 100th episode was recorded live on stage at The Hippodrome in London just a couple nights ago. What, exactly, does this special edition feature?

A short stand-up set from Stapes;
behind-the-scenes tales from PokerStars’ new Winning Moments videos;
‘Adventures in Online Poker,’ recounting Joe’s #WCOOP odyssey in a $1,050 event;
a preview of #PSFDublin;
a Q&A with Jake Cody and Chris Moneymaker from Team Pro;
the ultimate edition of ‘Superfan vs Stapes;’
“Happy 100th Anniversary” messages from some former podcast guests

and, importantly … the password for the $5k ‘Poker in the Ears’ freeroll taking place on Sunday, Oct. 1. Listen below!

3) No More Knittin’ Sweaters on PLOMG

Ever been sitting on your couch, watching poker players not do what you think they should do on TV, and feel like you should have their seat instead? Just Tweet at them and presto!

This group playinPLO on @PokerGO is RIDICULOUSLY nitty!!! Wtf is the worlds infatuation w @junglemandan ? What a damn nit! Sorry @BenbaLamb

— Joshua Arieh (@golferjosh) September 28, 2022

I’ve watched @junglemandan for a total of about 2 hrs, between this and the NLH on @PokerGO and he hasn’t put an unforced chip in the pot

— Joshua Arieh (@golferjosh) September 28, 2022

Did @junglemandan really just open fold QT94ds??? Wtf am I watching on @PokerGO

— Joshua Arieh (@golferjosh) September 28, 2022

I’ve heard @badams78 say check once….you coulda done better than this @PokerGO

— Joshua Arieh (@golferjosh) September 28, 2022

Well, I ran my mouth again! What did I get myself into??? Poker After Dark tonight on @PokerGO app! 8pm

— Joshua Arieh (@golferjosh) September 28, 2022

Note: this likely only works if you finished 3rd in the 2004 WSOP Main Event and can afford a $300/$600 PLO game with minimum $100,000 buy-in.

Watch Arieh and Chance Kornuth sub in to the game - which will still feature Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates, Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan, Phil Galfond, Brandon Adams and Isaac Haxton - tonight at 8pm ET on PokerGO.

Ka-pow. Should be fun.

Joining the final night of “PLOMG” week and making their #PokerAfterDark debuts is @ChancesCards & @golferjosh! Watch live at 8 PM ET:

— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 28, 2022


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CllsDntMttr Wins Champion of Champions to Cap XL Eclipse

The massive XL Eclipse series on 888poker has come to a close and it finished off in style with the Champion of Champions event.

On the day after the Main Event wrapped, 99 former XL Eclipse title holders came together to battle once more.

Almost half of them would win prizes ranging from a $55 online tournament ticket up to a full $13,000 prize package for this year’s WSOP Europe Main Event in Rozvadov.

None other than XL Main Event champion CllsDntMttr prevailed and will now proceed to use his clearly on-point tournament skills live at the King’s Casino in November.

CllsDntMttr Backs ME win with CoC Title

If you win the Main Event of a major tournament series like the XL Eclipse you at least have some claim to the “player of the series” crown but many will say ‘anyone can win a single tournament.’


If you also win a high buy-in event like the Whale during the same series, your claim gets a little stronger.

If you then proceed to win the tournament played only by players who have also won an event during the series, you’re king of the hill.

For the XL Eclipse, that’s CllsDntMttr.

Zeniok30 from Lithuania came second in the CoC and will won a trip to the main event at 888Live London this October while RendOss from Russia received a $1,050 tournament ticket for finishing third.

Kaktus26rus Takes XL Triple Crown

Over the course of the series 10 players managed to bag two titles. In Event #169 out of 197, Kaktus26rus from Russia amazingly did it a third time.

Having won a $15,000 Breeze with 324 players and then a $100,000 guaranteed Quarterback, Kaktur26rus also took down a $15,000 guaranteed Lightning to become the only player with three XL Eclipse titles.

Combined, these three tournament wins added almost $30k to the Russian’s 888poker account.

Sampaoli First to Win Inferno & Eclipse Titles

With just one edition of both the Inferno and the Eclipse series in the books, there’s just one player who managed to win a tournament in either series.

Argentinian regular Cristian progree69 Sampaoli took down one of the last events of the XL Inferno series back in May.

parker talbot psc barcelona 2017 2

He came back to play in the Eclipse and it paid off again. Sampaoli was the last player at the table of Event #35 – a $20,000 guaranteed Monsoon.

Sampaoli outlasted 509 players to give a $5k boost to his poker account.

Parker Talbot Carries 888poker Flag

888poker ambassadors are all over the action in the big XL series, not only because they want to represent the operator but also to claim one of the coveted event titles.

This time Parker ‘tonkaaap’ Talbot led the way for them and took down the Sunday Tornado on the very first day of the series and finished runner-up the day after.

Chris Moorman had a third-place in the $50k Octopus and another 3rd in the Sunday Monsoon while Xuan Liu, former 888poker ambassador, also made a final table.

888poker live aspers london

888Live in London up next

With the XL Eclipse series finished the 888poker event machine moves to the Aspers Casino in East London for another booming live poker festival.

Online satellites for the Opening and the Main Event are running until October 5. Head over to our 888poker review to get your own account and be eligible for our $888 sign-up bonus.

Hit us up in the 888 news section on PokerListings for more info on chances to qualify.


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When To Fire a Second Barrel on the Turn: A Simple Guide

Have you ever raised with a great hand but then hit absolutely nothing on the flop?

If you’ve played poker, you certainly have. That’s what happens most of the time.

So what do you do? What do you do with a raise in the pot and a hand that suddenly doesn’t look so great anymore?

Most players just bet the flop, pretending to have at least top pair — because that’s what pre-flop raisers do.

You hope your opponents have nothing themselves and just hand you the pot. That’s basic poker strategy.

But what happens when you’re called on the flop, don’t improve on the turn and still have nothing? Is it time to give up or is it time to fire a second barrel?

How far can you go with a bluff? When is it time to cut your losses and check-fold your way out? Here’s a loose and easy-to-follow guide to

When to fire a second barrel on the turn
When to shut down and
How to proceed with bluffs when you don’t improve

The Perfect Double Barrel Situation

Let’s run through an example. Say you’re playing a No-Limit Hold’em game with $1/$2 blinds, you’re in late position and you’re dealt    


All players in front of you fold and you raise to $6. Only the big blind calls and the flop comes      

Your opponent checks and you bet $10. After you opponent calls the turn comes  

Your opponent checks once more. There’s $33 in the middle, the two of you have roughly $200 behind and you’re left with a difficult decision.

You still only have ace high but you’ve picked up a gutshot straight draw on the turn. Should you fire again or should you see a free river, hoping to improve your hand?

It turns out your decision in this case is not that difficult after all. A second barrel is generally the best move and we’ll explain why. 

Mediocre Hand Likely

The range your opponent is representing mostly consists of smaller pocket pairs and hands like J T. So far he called twice and checked twice, which makes a mediocre hand with some showdown value the most likely holding.

All those hands are beating your ace high right now but it’s unlikely your opponent will pay off a big bet if you hit your miracle straight on the river.

None of those hands can stand a lot of heat — especially since the king on the turn could very well have improved your hand to top pair.

If you bet something like $20 on the turn it will be very difficult for your opponent to call with a hand like pocket nines or even a weak ten. You’re legitimately representing a strong hand and a bet on the turn is threatening an even larger bet on the river.

It’s likely your opponent will fold if he only has a mediocre hand and you’ll scoop a nice pot with your second barrel.

Please note: it’s likely, not certain, your opponent will fold. It’s entirely possible that your opponent is trapping you with a set and plans to check-raise the turn.


But this scenario is far less likely than the weak-pair-scenario and your game plan in case of a check-raise is simple: you fold, since you don’t have the odds to chase your gutshot draw against big raises.

Mathematically, a $20 bluff on the turn only has to work 38% of the time to be profitable. And even if your opponent gets stubborn and calls again, you still have some outs to improve on the river.

When To Fire The Second Barrel

Not all situations are equal in poker and sometimes second barrels are not advisable. Next we’ll list the most important factors to help you to decide whether you should fire a second time or not.

For the next part always assume you’re the pre-flop raiser, you’ve then bet on the flop and your hand is practically worthless (no pair, no showdown value, no strong draws).

1. When Heads-Up On The Turn

This one is practically mandatory. Unless you only have one opponent left on the turn, don’t consider firing a second bullet.

With a call and one or more overcalls on the flop, your opponents have already demonstrated too much strength for you to continue bluffing. Just let it go and give up.

2. When the Turn Should Improve Your Range

While not mandatory for a profitable second barrel, it’s always good if the turn card helps your general range.

As the preflop raiser your opponents usually expect you to have big cards. So any big card on the turn could easily have improved your holding.

Aces and kings on the turn are ideal candidates for second barrels but jacks or queens are also decent cards to bluff if they’re an overcard to the flop.


Good or bad for opponent’s range?

3. When the Turn Should Be Bad For Your Opponent’s Range

For a second barrel to work, the turn card should be bad for your opponent’s range. You want your opponent to not feel confident investing more money into the pot.

That’s why overcards to the board are perfect candidates for second barrels. Whatever pair your opponent held on the flop just got demoted to a worse pair. Top pair became second pair, second pair third pair and so on.

Possible and plausible straight and flush opportunities also make good candidates for second barrels.

Sure, there’s always the chance your opponent was just drawing to that flush you’re now representing. But much more often than not your opponent will be sitting there with some weak pair, looking at a threatening board and will chicken out to well timed aggression.

4. When Your Opponents are Loose/Passive

You don’t want to fire big bluffs against the tightest player at the table. If those guys call preflop and on the flop, they’re pretty likely to go all the way.

Huge bluffs against tight players are, more often than not, very costly.

For your second barrel you ideally want an opponent who is somewhat loose preflop and who plays passively. Those players have very wide ranges and plenty of hands in their range cannot sustain a lot of aggression.

That’s the kind of player you want to be picking on. By firing second barrels you punish them for calling too much and often succeed because they have to give up most of their range against strong aggression.

But proceed with caution against pure calling stations (players that routinely call others down with weak one-pair holdings). While it’s still possible to bluff those players, your bluffs need to be well timed, extra believable and you’ll probably need three substantial barrels.

In general it’s much more profitable to just wait for a decent hand and let them pay you off.


In position or out?

Second Barrels – In Or Out Of Position?

Should you be more inclined to fire a second barrel when you’re in position and your opponent has already checked to you or should you rather fire when you’re out of position and first to act?

Having position on your opponent has advantages and disadvantages. Your opponent has to act first and has no initiative. That makes it much more likely for him to fold marginal hands.

But this advantage is also disadvantageous. Your opponent already called a bet out of position on the flop, narrowing his range quite a bit, and it’s unlikely your opponent has a very weak draw or a complete airball.

Most opponents in position nowadays routinely call bets on the flop with gutshots, a single overcard or just some back-door draws.

What they do is called “floating” – they’re calling the flop with the intention to bet the turn when checked to and steal the pot from a timid pre-flop raiser.

The range of a floater is incredibly wide and that’s what makes it very profitable to fire second barrels against those players.

If you see someone routinely call bets on the flop and fire on the turn if checked to, you should definitely double barrel out of position and you can expect to take the pot down most of the time.

The Easy Rule For Second Barrels

When asked under which circumstances second barrels are profitable, Dusty Schmidt, a successful online grinder and book author under the moniker “Leatherass,” had a simple rule of thumb:

“Always double barrel!”

IMG 0867

Short answer: always

This rule of thumb should of course not be taken literally in every scenario but it underlines the character of modern poker — especially online poker.

More often than not players call the flop almost regardless of their holdings, waiting to see what the turn or river brings to try to sneak in a bluff. Double barreling ‘light’ exploits this loose-aggressive approach.

More Double Barrel Examples

Some more examples for possible double barrel situations. You own hand doesn’t matter – just assume it’s absolutely worthless.

Flush on the turn: Your raise before the flop and your opponent calls a bet on a 9 7 2 flop. The turn brings the J. That’s an awesome card for a second barrel.

The jack is an overcard and completes possible flush and straight draws. What’s your opponent going to do with a hand like 8 8? Right, he’s going to fold.

Cristoph Vogelsang IMG 2

What’s your image?

Sure, sometimes he just made a flush and is going to raise you, but most of the time he’s holding some weak pair and will let go of it if pressured. Remember – your bluff only needs to work 40% of the time (in case you’re betting two-thirds of the pot) to be profitable.

Low-card flop: Your opponent is in the big blind, calls your preflop raise and you continuation bet on a 8 4 3 flop. The turn brings the T.

While the ten is an overcard to the flop, it’s not a very scary one. Expect your opponent to keep on calling if you double barrel.

This can nevertheless be a profitable situation to keep firing. But you need to be willing to pull the trigger a third time if the river brings a scary looking card.

If your opponent calls you on the turn you should strongly consider firing any overcard and any spade on the river to complete your triple barrel bluff.

Pairing the top card: This is an example where a double barrel is not advised. Your opponent calls a continuation bet on a K 7 2 flop in position and the turn brings the K.

There are almost no hands that call the flop and give up on this turn. The second king makes it much harder for you to represent a hand with a king and your opponent will call you with any pair.

Here you should strongly consider just checking and giving up.

Your Image While Double Barreling

So far we’ve mostly talked about board textures and your opponents when considering second barreling. But one third thing is at least as important as those two.

Kevin Hart IMG 4221

Don’t go overboard with aggression.

It’s your image at the table and how your opponents perceive the way you play. 

If you’re firing shots left and right, play every other hand, or were recently caught bluffing in a big pot, your credibility is out the window.

No matter the board structure or the timidness of your opponents – your attempts to successfully fire second or third barrels will prove much more difficult.

That’s why it is important to not go overboard with aggression and to time your bluffs. You don’t need to win every pot. And giving up in marginal situations will increase your credibility in other hands.

It’s also important to fire with decent hands often enough. If you never double barrel with top pair, good kicker, your opponents will pick up on that and they will give you much less credit.

It’s vital that your opponents always give you credit for having a decent hand, otherwise your attempts to bluff will not work.

If, on the other hand, you just had a dry spell of cards and no decent bluff opportunities, your opponents might perceive you as much more timid than you actually are.

In this situation you’re much more likely to succeed with your bluffs and you should be much more inclined to do it since your opponents won’t assume you’re capable of running elaborated double or even triple barrel bluffs.

One last word: If you’re playing against super weak players, like drunks in a casino or the lowest online limits, you should generally refrain from running big bluffs.

Your opponents really just want to go to showdown and don’t care that their calls are mathematically wrong. Against those players, you don’t double barrel with air.

You just make a decent hand, follow through with three value bets, collect the pot, tell them they’ll certainly be more lucky in the next hand and enjoy the free money!


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Daily 3-Bet: $1.6m >> 2c/4c, Fedor … Again, Brat No Brat

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The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet isa mystical knack for short stack play, a hair trigger fuse and a good long look in the afternoon poker news mirror.

Have something you want to share in a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a surprising appearance by the newest WCOOP champ, Fedor does Fedor and Phil Hellmuth plays good guy, bad guy.

1) Next Stop: 2c/4c

Longtime Dutch grinder Steven ‘SvZff’ van Zadelhoff completed his dream of winning the WCOOP Main Event yesterday.



Coming into the final table with a huge chip lead, van Zadelhoff actually lost that lead for a short while but managed to turn things around and overtake joshuah333 again for the win and the $1.6m first-place prize.

True to his chat box humor van Zadelhoff didn’t go for any deals, either, giving him the full $1.6m payday into his bankroll.

Well, almost. Due to missing a few swaps and selling action SvZff said he ended up with only 16% of his action (which worked out to $266k). But, as he says, all the better to share with a very happy group of friends.

The title of World Champion of Online Poker is all his own, though, and he celebrated in grand style in Paceville in Malta last night. He also, hilariously, found some time to drop in and rebuy in a 2c/4c Limit table. REBUY!

Congrats to van Zadelhoff on all of his hard work paying off! And we hope to congratulate him in person at the 2017 Battle of Malta!


2) Fedor 3/16 in Powerfest $25k

Are you tired of hearing that Fedor Holz, despite being ‘retired’ from professional poker, is deep in another big tournament? Has it gotten old?

Fedor Holz IMG 3504

Mind is still Primed it turns out.

Tbh, we still find it fascinating. Talk about run-good, sample size, whether it’s easier to win in 35-player HR fields or 2,000-player donkfests, Fedor is a force of nature.

And he’s at it again. After winning $1m and narrowly missing the Purple Jacket in the Poker Masters, the Primed Mind of Fedor Holz found some time to drop in on the $25k High Roller finale of partypoker’s Powerfest.

The newly signed partypoker pro of course is now 3/16 heading into the final day with $846,000 up top for the winner.

Will he add another dazzling cash to his audacious poker resume? Sam Greenwood, Jason Koon and Viktor Blom still have something to say about it but odds are still very, very high.

Rail all the action on partypoker today starting at 8 pm CET. If you don’t have a partypoker account yet, get one via our review page for a $500 bonus. Watch the action (along with some $100/$200 PLO with Sam Trickett and friends) on the partypoker Twitch stream below:

3) “I Assumed World Would Know I Was Good Guy by 2007 or 2008”

With the launch of his new book Poker Brat this summer Phil Hellmuth has been on an extended promotional jag with no shortage of new/illuminating interviews with one of poker’s biggest icons.


Good guy or bad guy face?

Add another one to the pile today with a new interview with Phil up from VegasINC magazine.

This one delves into Phil’s thoughts on the coming ‘sonic boom’ for poker, the accuracy of his Poker Brat persona, his best friends on the circuit and what’s left for him to achieve in poker.

Excerpt below; check out the full interview here.

“Listen, when I became the Poker Brat in 2003 and ’04 and ’05, I assumed the world would know I was the good guy by 2007 or 2008. Because I’ve never cheated on my wife, I don’t do drugs, I’m not a big drinker.


“I’m the good guy, I’m a family guy. I have a super-balanced life, and I’m a super balanced guy. I was hoping the world would figure that out. But they never figured it out. And that hurts. It hurts because I don’t want to be viewed that way.


“However, I made a lot of extra money being the bad boy in poker. But I think the bad boy is someone who is out there doing crazy things. I just lose my temper at the poker table.”


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Daily 3-Bet: $1.6m >> 2c/4c, Fedor … Again, Brat No Brat

> 2c/4c, Fedor … Again, Brat No Brat" title="Daily 3-Bet: $1.6m >> 2c/4c, Fedor … Again, Brat No Brat"/>

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet isa mystical knack for short stack play, a hair trigger fuse and a good long look in the afternoon poker news mirror.Have something you want to share in a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments.
Today in the 3-Be…

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Daily 3-Bet: 15 Yrs >> $1.6m, Unibet Majors, I’m F’in Jungle

> $1.6m, Unibet Majors, I’m F’in Jungle" title="Daily 3-Bet: 15 Yrs >> $1.6m, Unibet Majors, I’m F’in Jungle"/>

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a big stack, a bowl of mom’s spaghetti and one shot to lose yourself in your afternoon poker news moment.

Got a hot tip for a future 3-Bet? Drop us a line about it in the comments below.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Steven Van Zadelhoff on the brink of a career-making moment, Unibet launches Sunday majors and Jungleman makes it clear who he is.


After 15 years of grinding online (and live) poker, Dutch player Steven Van Zadelhoff (who played the €550 Battle of Malta last year btw) has a massive chip lead at the final table of the 2017 WCOOP Main Event with $1.6m waiting for the winner.

How satisfying do you think that might feel? About like this:


— Steven van Zadelhoff (@svzff) September 26, 2022

1/18 WCOOP Main. 15 years i worked and waited for this, i think i am ready now Pokergods…. $1.6M please #teamviking

— Steven van Zadelhoff (@svzff) September 26, 2022

With $1.5m in live earnings and well over $4m online it’s not like Van Zadelhoff has never had a major score but we can only imagine the mix of nerves and anticipation he’s feeling as play is just about to get underway in one of online poker’s most iconic events.

Are the poker gods ready to deliver for him? Tune in on PokerStars Twitch channel below to watch it all play out! Best of luck to svzff!

2) Unibet Joins Sunday Major Game

After a month that has dished out over 900 online poker tournaments and almost $120m in prize money, you’d think the market was flush enough to maintain the status quo for awhile


No chance. The ever-evolving landscape of online poker has shuffled over to make room for another new round of MTTs - this time at Unibet Poker.

The Swedish poker site announced today it has jumped into the tourney game with a new line-up starting Oct. 2 and a space-themed set of Sunday majors starting Oct. 8.

The lineup for the Sunday rumbles:

Cosmic Rays - €10 Buy-in, €5,000 GTD 

Start Time: 17:00 (CEST)
Starting Stack: 3,000
Blind Levels: 8 mins
Format: Unlimited rebuys

Spectrum - €4 Buy-in, €2,000 GTD

Start Time: 17:00 (CEST)
Starting Stack: 3,000
Blind Levels: 8 mins
Format: Unlimited rebuys

Ice Giant - €25 Buy-in, €5,000 GTD

Start Time: 18:00 (CEST)
Starting Stack: 10,000
Blind Levels: 10 mins
Format: Progressive Bounty

Nebula - €4 Buy-in, €2,000 GTD

Start Time: 19:00 (CEST)
Starting Stack: 10,000
Blind Levels: 8 mins
Format: Freezeout

Odyssey - €50 Buy-in, €5,000 GTD

Start Time: 20:00 (CEST)
Starting Stack: 5,000
Blind Levels: 12 mins
Format: 2R1A

Supernova - €100 Buy-in, €20,000 GTD

Start Time: 19:00 (CEST)
Starting Stack: 12,000
Blind Levels: 12 mins
Format: Freezeout

Looks good, yeah? Also coming online soon are qualifying tourneys for its awesome Unibet Live events. Check out more on Unibet Poker here.

3) I’m F’in Jungleman

We don’t know exactly who this fool is but we love anyone who brings out the Jungle in Jungleman. We’ll try to find out what’s up and report back.

This guy wants to battle me for days without end HU and asks if I want to do it. Did no one tell him that I’m the fckin JUNGLE???

— Daniel Cates (@junglemandan) September 26, 2022


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Daily 3-Bet: 15 Yrs >> $1.6m, Unibet Majors, I’m F’in Jungle

> $1.6m, Unibet Majors, I’m F’in Jungle" title="Daily 3-Bet: 15 Yrs >> $1.6m, Unibet Majors, I’m F’in Jungle"/>

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a big stack, a bowl of mom’s spaghetti and one shot to lose yourself in your afternoon poker news moment.Got a hot tip for a future 3-Bet? Drop us a line about it in the comments below.
Today in the 3-Bet we find Stev…

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Boeree, Jørstad, Hildebrand Win 2017 Spirit of Poker Awards!

The PokerListings readers have spoken.

For the fifth consecutive year, the PokerListings Spirit of Poker Awards aimed to recognize a group of players who have contributed more than just big results at the poker tables.

Their enthusiasm, passion and contributions to the game go well beyond the felt and the nominees put forward in 3 categories - Most Inspiring Player, Rising Star and Living Legend - symbolize the “Spirit” of poker that will keep the game flourishing for decades.

Our readers then took over and voted for the players they found most inspiring, most promising and most revered. After three months of online voting the results are now in and we’re proud to announce our 2017 winners:

Most Inspiring Player - Liv Boeree
Rising Star - Espen Uhlen Jørstad
Living Legend - Per Hildebrand

Liv Boeree – Most Inspiring Player

For most readers, no introduction is needed for Liv Boeree.

Liv Boeree

A long-time Team PokerStars pro, EPT main event winner, Raising for Effective Giving (REG) co-founder, astro-physicist and Burning Man regular, Boeree is widely known as one of the top poker ambassadors on the planet.

Liv began her poker career on a reality TV show where she learned the game from Phil Hellmuth but cemented her status as a rising star when she won the EPT San Remo main event in 2010 — at the time the largest EPT event on European soil.

Unlike many EPT winners before and since, though, instead of fading back into the crowd she took it to even higher levels.

By working meticulously on her game she’s now at home among the game’s elite, exemplified by such varied turns as being captain of the London Royals of the GPL, appearing on the revived Poker after Dark and winning her first bracelet in the $10k Tag Team event at the WSOP this summer with her partner Igor Kurganov.

Outside of poker she’s an active supporter and co-founder of Raising for Effective Giving (REG), a burgeoning charity that raises money from poker players (and non-players alike) to maximize the impact charitable donations can have on those most in need.

Liv will often raise her voice to criticize political leaders and short-sighted decisions and discuss important issues like climate change while still finding the time to marvel at an amazing picture of Saturn.

If you ever get a chance to sit with her at the poker table, chances are that it’ll be an experience you’ll remember on a number of levels.

liv boeree psc barcelona 2017 7

Espen Uhlen Jørstad – Rising Star

From World of Warcraft to the world of poker to the world of meditation, Espen Uhlen Jørstad has lived in all of them.


The popular Norwegian Twitch streamer and Hans Zimmer fan is 29 years old, which makes him one of our oldest nominees yet for this award. But poker is a game for everyone, and people come to it when the timing is right for them.

Uhlen Jørstad has undergone quite a remarkable development. He went from being a “fat anxious slob” addicted to WoW to being a soldier in the Norwegian army to being an athletic poker player to being an ambassador for Unibet poker.

Based in Malta for the last couple of years Jørstad is currently travelling the US West Coast with a friend from Estonia, playing his favorite format - cash games – in the casinos between Seattle and San Francisco.

Based on the time and effort we know he puts into his game, take it from us — it won’t be long until you see him at the final table of a big international event.

He shares his poker life via open and heartfelt blogs and vlogs so this will hopefully find him somewhere on the road and make for another great chapter in his expanding poker book.

Per Hildebrand – Living Legend

It’s been a good year for Per Hildebrand, one of the pioneers of Swedish poker, as he was recently inducted into the Swedish Poker Hall of Fame — only the fourth player ever to enjoy this privilege.

Per Hildebrand2

In his induction ceremony Hildebrand was commended for both his attitude and for “greatly contributing to enhancing the reputation of poker both in Sweden and internationally as a player and organizer.”

Our readers agree.

His poker career officially began when he came second in the European Poker Championship in Malta of 1988, which was won at the time by Norwegian poker legend Thor Hansen (who won this award in 2014).

Hildebrand’s biggest success was probably reaching the final three tables of the 2005 WSOP Main Event – the year Joe Hachem won – but just this past summer he missed a WSOP bracelet by a hair, finishing second in the $10k 2-7 Championship to show he hasn’t lost a step at all.

For many years Hildebrand was one of the organizers of the Swedish Poker Championships and he was also active in one of the first poker clubs in Sweden. He later founded the website 24h poker which has since become the Entraction poker network.

For over 30 years, Hildebrand has given back to the game of poker and clearly remains both a gentleman and a role model for young players to admire in Sweden and beyond.

sopa trophies

Spirit of Poker Awards at Battle of Malta!

The Spirit of Poker Awards ceremony will take place this November at the 2017 Battle of Malta, Europe’s friendliest poker tournament.

Previous winners of Spirit of Poker Awards include Felipe Ramos, Humberto Brenes, Silje Nilsen, Thor Hansen, Dominik Panka, Charlie Carrel, Anatoly Filatov and Konstantin Puchkov.

All SOPA award winners are personally invited to come play the Battle of Malta and attend the award ceremony.

Congratulations to this year’s winners and thank you greatly for your contributions to the poker world! We’d be honoured to see you in Malta in November! 


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6 Ways to PCA: Win a $15k Package to 2018 PCA in Bahamas!

The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is back for 2018 and you could be there to experience it with one of close to 400 $15,300 packages.

Two special PCA Ultra Satellites will run on October 15 and November 5, respectively, with 100 packages for the 2018 PCA in the Bahamas up for grabs.

Another 250 packages are available in direct Spin & Go qualifiers as well, making it one of the biggest live qualifying offers in PokerStars history.

Virtually anyone can find their way to a package via one of 6 different ways. On-demand SnGs, Stars Rewards chest and daily Cash-Game Challenges are just a few of the options.

What’s At Stake?

If you ever wanted to play the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure you’ll know the cost of a trip to the Atlantis Resort can be an obstacle.



With the buy-in restored to $10,300 and the original PCA brand brought back, too, 2018 is shaping up to be one of the bigger events of recent years and PokerStars is going out of its way to put as many online qualifiers in as possible.

Getting there for free makes it one of the best potential ROIs in poker and experiencing the Atlantis on someone else’s dime is a thrill on its own. 

Each PCA package to be won for 2018 includes:

the $10,300 PCA Main Event buy-in
Free hotel accommodation at Atlantis Resort & Casino (valued at $3k)
$1,000 in cash (credited to your Stars Account) and 
$1,000 credited to your room

How to Qualify

There are 6 different ways to qualify for either the Ultra Satellites and/or win a full PCA package.

Stars Chests

Between Sept. 25 and Nov. 5 more than $1m in PCA satellite tickets will be awarded in Stars Rewards Chests. If you want to find out more about Rewards Chests, read this article.

Spin & Go Qualifiers

Also from Sept. 25-Nov. 5, $27.50 Road to Bahamas Spin & Go qualifiers will run daily. Each Spin & Go has a random prize pool with payouts ranging from $55 PCA Satellite tickets to full 2018 PCA Packages. Prize Probabilities:

$15,855 PCA Package — 250 in 1,000,000
$530 direct entry to next available Ultra Satellite — 18,510 in 1,000,000
$109 PCA Satellite ticket — 181,625 in 1,000,000
$55 PCA Satellite ticket — 799,615 in 1,000,000


On-Demand SnGs

Special $55 18-player Sit & Go’s will run on demand starting Sept. 25 with two $530 PCA Ultra Satellite tickets to win in each.

$55 MTTs

If MTTs are more your bag $55 satellites are being added to the tourney schedule with both PCA seats and packages to win.

Daily Cash-Game Challenges

Every day from Sept. 25-Nov. 4. a unique puzzle will arrive in your Challenges box. Complete a puzzle and you’ll be registered in a daily All-in Shootout.


Spin & Win

In these Shootouts you can win a seat into the Road to Bahamas Cash Game Weekly Final with a $50,000 prize pool. Winners in those get a full PCA package.

Weekly Spin & Go Challenges

Weekly Road to Bahamas Spin & Go Finals will also run until Nov. 4. $50,000 in prizes including full PCA packages are available and you’ll need to earn just 25 points to qualify.

Earn them by playing Spin & Gos:

Win a Spin & Go with 2x multiplier - 2 points
Win a Spin & Go with 4x multiplier - 4 points
Win a Spin & Go with 6x multiplier - 6 points
Win a Spin & Go with 10x multiplier - 10 points
Win a Spin & Go with 25x multiplier or more - 25 points and instant completion!

Opt in via your Challenges Window. 

If you’ve yet to create a PokerStars account of your own, head to our review page to qualify for our $500 bonus.


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Daily 3-Bet: Dwan PLOMG, Thinking Galfond, Tilly QQ Sneaks

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a purple suede toe box, gold-tipped laces and a custom cork insole that wicks away your afternoon poker news foot funk.

Want something featured in a future 3-Bet? Tell us where to find it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find another spectacular Poker After Dark lineup, Phil Galfond muses on the road to real-money poker and Jen Tilly gets the D+G treatment.

1) Dwan, Galfond on PAD

The first month of Poker After Dark’s return to the airwaves has drawn rave reviews.

tom dwan5

Welcome back, durrrr.

Tom Dwan played poker on TV for the first time in years. Bill Klein and Matt Kirk played for a $980k pot. Will Kassouf brought his speech play up to the big leagues.

It’s been hit after hit after hit. But, so far, it’s all been No-Limit Hold’em.

That changes this week with the first-ever “PLOMG” week featuring more of our TV favorites and some blistering games of $300/$600 Pot-Limit Omaha with a minimum $100k buy-in.

The iconic durrrr returns as well alongside PLO great Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond in his first return to PAD. Ben Lamb, Brian Rast, Brandon Adams and Ike Haxton round out the lineup.

They’ll play for three straight days starting tomorrow and you can watch it all on PokerGO. You can also catch up on past PAD episodes in their archives.

2) Speaking of Phil Galfond …

When Phil Galfond announced over a year ago he was launching his own proprietary, real-money online poker site, he knew he was in for a big project.



Still, he felt it was worth it to give recreational and professional poker players the trustworthy, transparent poker site they deserve. And he was going to give it his best shot.

A year later, Galfond has found the task even tougher than expected. And still no short jump from being ready to go live.

In a sprawling interview with the Thinking Poker Podcast Galfond went in-depth on the obstacles RunItOnce poker has faced and how they’re working to overcome them.

He also found time to share some stories about his “rise through the ranks, the Ship It Holla Ballas, Rail Heaven” and more. Listen to it here.

3) Jen Tilly is Queen of Sneaks

So Dolce & Gabbana has a playing card theme to its latest collection and, when you’re a total boss like Jen Tilly, people go out of their way to give you cool stuff.

The new @dolcegabbana show has a playing card theme! (pic from @voguemagazine)

— Jennifer Tilly (@JenniferTilly) September 24, 2022

Thank you @dolcegabbana for my fabulous new sneakers!

A post shared by Jennifer Tilly (@jennifertilly) on Sep 19, 2022 at 1:47pm PDT

Those are pretty dope. And a step above Hellmuth’s recent foray into gold shoes ioho. Coolest poker shoe challenge is over to you, Kid Poker.


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Germany’s CllsDntMttr Wins XL Eclipse Main Event for $273k

No deal!

Almost a million dollars of the XL Eclipse main event prize pool was on the line at the final table yesterday but even after a 13½ hour marathon the final foes played it out for the win.

Not only did eventual winner CllsDntMttr turn down a 4-handed deal and claim the title, it was his second title of the series and second payday over $250k.

With his second big win CllsDntMttr easily became the most successful player of this XL series and he’ll be favorite in today’s Champion of Champions tournament — an invitational that only XL Eclipse winners are eligible to play.

Calls Do Matter

It was the finale of the two-week, $18m XL Eclipse series and everybody wanted in. 

Kenny Hallaert3

Nice run for Hallaert

A total of 1,149 players generated a prize pool of $1,562,000 to be distributed among the top 144 players. 

Several big names even came close to the deepest of runs.

November Niner Kenny SpaceyFCB Hallaert from Belgium was busted in 36th place by then chipleader Niklas tutten7 Astedt, who dominated the field for some time in the later stages but busted just two spots off the final table.

The final table ultimately had nine players from eight different countries. 

When the tournament was down to four players chipleader thrust. from Bosnia-Herzegovina suggested a 4-way deal but none of his three opponents responded.

Two of them probably regret that now. 

Here are the final payouts from the XL Eclipse Main Event Final Table.










































By that time players like Sergio zcedrick Aido, Christopher NigDawg Brammer, Ruben rubenrtv Visser, Adrian ADRI_ATM Mateos, Anton anteen Bertilsson and Thomas wushu_TM Mühlöcker were long gone.

The 888 ambassadors also couldn’t make it to the top this time. Dominik Nitsche already has a title under his belt, but neither he nor Chris Moorman, Sofia Lövgren or Nathalie Hof was able to reach the money spots.


Even More Main Event Winners

Apart from the main main event mentioned above, at 888poker you don’t get just one or two main events to finish a series - you get 5.

In the $215 Mini Main Event the title went down under as New Zealand player aghghghghghg took down the title worth $62,730. Sergio Aido made another deep run and finished in 19th place.

The $30 Micro Main Event was taken home by RakDoll for $11,288 while in the $109 Turbo Main Event AboldMove from Denmark triumphed over the rest of the field for $4,300.

It took only 2h12min to decide the winner of the $75 Super Turbo Main Event where the blinds increased every three minutes. Madjelly from Norway was up against three opponents from the UK but busted all three of them to crown his night with $2.7k.

Special thanks go to all the players who took part in the $5,200 “Chip in” High Roller Event where all the fees went to the Raising for Effective Giving (REG) charity founded by Liv Boeree, Philipp Gruissem and several other professional players.

XL inferno eclipse blizzard

Winter is coming.

Get Ready for the XL Blizzard

The XL Eclipse series finishes off tonight with the Champion of Champions tournament for all players who won a previous event.

Three of the players will get a ticket to play live in the main events of the WSOPE in Rovzadov, the 888Live festival in London and the 888Live festival in Dublin.

This marks the end of the 197-tournament XL Eclipse and a poker crazy September with large series on 888poker, PokerStars and partypoker.

All the daily and weekly tournaments on 888poker – from the Goldfish to the Whale – continue to run, though, and will give you plenty of chances to hone your skills before the next big marathon series arrives.

It’ll run in January and it’ll be called the XL Blizzard. Stay tuned for more information.

To play on 888poker all you need is a computer and an account. Registering is fast and easy. Head to our 888poker review page to get started with an $888 bonus.


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Poker Hand of the Week: Most Expensive Mistake of the Year?

The poker community is thrilled about the revival of Poker After Dark - and rightly so.

The first couple of episodes featured Tom Dwan, Andrew Robl, Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu, among others, and had some downright spectacular hands.

In this week’s hand multi-millionaire Bill Klein took on Aussie Matt Kirk and found out just how costly a single mistake can be when you’re swimming in a shark tank.

It was the largest pot since the show’s relaunch.

Flop to River

In this episode Dwan, Robl, Kirk and Jean-Robert Bellande represent the pros while Lauren Roberts and entrepreneur Klein are the added affluent – and poker-savvy – amateurs.

There are six players at the table and the stakes are $200/$400 but straddling and double-straddling has become customary. Such is the case in the following hand. 

Matt Kirk put in the first straddle - $800 – and Tom Dwan put in another straddle of $1,600. Roberts (stack: $365,000) opens from first position to $5,000. Robl folds and Klein ($486,000) in the small blind wakes up with    

He re-raises to $14,000, which gets Bellande in the big blind out of the way. Kirk ($482,000) calls from the first straddle. Dwan folds but Roberts comes along.

Three players go to the       flop with a pot of now $44,400. Klein leads out with a bet of $30,000 and Kirk raises to $75,000. Roberts folds her hand and Klein pops it up again to $175,000. Kirk calls.

There’s suddenly $394,000 in the pot and effective stacks are $292,000. Here comes the turn  

Klein moves all-in for $292,000 and Kirk snaps him off. The Australian pro shows     which proves to be good after the   hits the river.

The $980k pot goes to Matt Kirk. Watch the hand unfold in the video below.


“How unlucky can you get?” Bill Klein’s face looks like that’s the question he’s asking himself as the cards get turned over and he sees the mess he’s in.

Bill Klein3

Surely, many viewers in front of their screens agreed with him. 

Indeed, it’s very bad luck (and also very unlikely) that the best starting hand in poker gets overtaken by a dominated hand that hits bulls-eye on the flop.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Klein had to lose his full stack.

 If you take a closer look at this hand you might discern the crucial poker mistake that Klein made that cost him a significant amount of money.

One Thing Going for Him

The pre-flop play isn’t really the issue here. Roberts opens and of course Klein should 3-bet here as this is a group of very loose players and Klein doesn’t want them all to call.

Kirk makes the call with A-4s, which is exactly that kind of loose play you can expect here.

But he has one thing going for him: stacks are over 1,000 big blinds deep and that favors hands like suited connectors, suited A-x, Broadway hands and low-to-medium pairs as they have the potential to make monsters.

The 5 4 4 flop is what you’d usually call very dry. There are a few flops that are even drier – maybe K-7-2 rainbow – but this flop is one that has helped very few hands.

The best hand now is almost always going to be the best hand at showdown.

Matt Kirk

Bad for His Win Rate

Klein naturally follows up with a value bet because he can get calls from many worse hands than his, like A-Q or a medium pair. But he’s in for a surprise.

Kirk responds to his bet with a raise to $75,000, which should raise a question in Klein’s mind – what hand would the Australian play like that?

The majority of hands are bluffs and semi-bluffs like A-3 or 7-6, but there’s also a small chance that Kirk is holding 5-5, a 4 and even 4-4.

On the other hand Klein can pretty much rule out hands like T-T or 9-9 as Kirk would never raise with these.

Why, you ask? Because he might be up against Klein’s A-K and he wouldn’t want Klein to fold that. It would be bad for his win rate.

The Dilemma Emerges

Good players don’t play like this. They don’t like to turn their good hands into bluffs, meaning here that only hands better than his would call while all the worse hands would fold.

Klein annoyed

Let’s dissect Klein’s range to see if this makes sense. After 3-betting the flop it’s roughly limited to pocket pairs 9-9 to A-A, A-K and A-Q, a couple of bluffs.

If Kirk had pocket tens he would force all the bluffs and overcards to fold, making pocket nines almost the only hand that could call.

Instead, Klein comes forward with another raise.

This 3-bet on the flop is so strong that there’s now almost no hand that can still continue and is worse than pocket aces – except maybe kings.

When Kirk calls, the dilemma Klein is now in emerges. There’s almost $400,000 in the pot, which usually means the rest of the money will go in on any turn or river and the only hands that can come along are better than Klein’s.

Yet, Klein decides to keep the lead and pushes all-in from first position, only to find out how bad the situation really is for him. (By the way: it would have been a slightly better move to just check-call on the flop).

Matt Kirk

A Different Line

Now let’s look at what would have happened if Klein had played the flop correctly. Had he just called Kirk’s raise, there would’ve “only” been $194,400 in the pot and stacks would’ve been $392,000 instead of $192,000.

Klein would then check the turn and Kirk would probably bet another $100k or $120k. If Klein calls, there would be $400,000 in the pot and $290,000 left with the players.

Klein would again check on the river and Kirk would go all-in. Now, seriously, what hand can Klein now still beat except an absolutely crazy bluff?

Of course, Klein would have to give Kirk some possible bluffs, but he would still have the option to fold if he feels that he’s behind.

Even more important is this: Had Klein taken this line, he would have kept all the bluffs in the hand and could have won a lot of money. But by re-raising the flop, he’s made all these bluffs fold and can only get called by better hands than his own.


In what’s almost a textbook hand Klein manages to limit his opponent’s range to only hands that are better than his by playing an ill-timed 3-bet on the flop – and it costs him dearly.

Matt Kirk, on the other hand, builds up the pot with a raise that makes his hand look like a bluff and gets rewarded generously.


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Daily 3-Bet: Bilzerian $18m Sweat, $23m WKND, HB Mike Sexton!

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a pocket pair, a brick of singles in the middle and the fastest heartbeat ever recorded in the afternoon poker news office game.

Got a hot tip for a future 3-Bet? Drop us a note about it in the comments or tweet us @PokerListings.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Dan Bilzerian spilling about his biggest poker moments, $23 million in online poker tourneys and Living Legend Mike Sexton turns 70.

1) “I Never Want to Be the Best”

Dan Bilerzian is a peripheral figure in poker as he really never plays in any of the big high-stakes cash games or tournament we in the poker-watching public get to sweat.

He’s referred to as a “poker player” a lot, though, and tales of the private high-stakes games where he’s made his millions are rife in mainstream media pieces on him.

While we’ve heard bits and pieces of those stories before, Bilzerian recently sat down for an in-depth interview with sports reporter Graham Bensinger and revealed a few more details.

In particular he talks about a $10k/$25k Heads-Up No-Limit match against a billionaire who “always had him covered.” Bilzerian says he won $12.8m over a few sessions and had $18m on the table - a figure always at risk whenever the billionaire shoved. Check out the clip below:

Bilzerian’s poker skills are frequently mocked in the poker forums but it’s hard to argue with his understanding of how it works as a money-making tool:

“That was kind of my thing about poker. I never want to be the best poker player. I just want to play against super rich guys that weren’t very good … I didn’t mind people thinking I was a rich trust fund kid. That helped me get into really good games.”

2) Biggest Online Poker Weekend Ever?

Quietly slipping under the radar this week is the fact we’re heading into one of the biggest weekends in online poker history.


Big weekend coming.

You read that right. After three weeks of amazing tournament action on PokerStars, partypoker and 888poker the big Fall tournament series on each site are coming to an end.

With 8 tournaments with $1m guarantees and $23m GTD total this Sunday might be the hottest tournament day ever in online poker. 

Check out the biggest guarantee events on the schedule Sunday:

17.00 PokerStars $530 WCOOP Sunday Warm-Up ($1m GTD)
18.30 partypoker $1,050 Championship Final Phase ($1m GTD)
18.30 partypoker $5,200 Championship Final Phase ($1.5m GTD)
20.00 PokerStars $5,200 WCOOP Main Event ($10m GTD)
20.00 PokerStars $215 WCOOP Low Main-Event ($2m GTD)
20.00 888poker $1,050 XL Eclipse Main Event ($1.5m GTD)
20.00 partypoker $215 Championship ($1m GTD)
20.00 partypoker $1,050 Highroller ($1.5m GTD)

Seems like a good weekend to take a shot at something, yeah? Also still plenty of lower buy-in events to take advantage of on Saturday so don’t hesitate - get in there!

3) Mike Sexton is 70!

It might be against his wishes but we’re gonna wish Mike Sexton a very happy 70th birthday anyway. HB to one of poker’s great ambassadors!

Thx but Shhhh! @SavagePoker When you get my age, you just want b-days to go by quietly & get to next one. #oldasyoufeel #stillfeelyoung

— Mike Sexton (@Mike_partypoker) September 22, 2022

Happy 70th Birthday @Mike_partypoker! Poker’s greatest Ambassador, charitable, and always willing to help out a fellow poker player. #TopMan

— Matt Savage (@SavagePoker) September 22, 2022


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Daily 3-Bet: Bilzerian $18m Sweat, $23m WKND, HB Mike Sexton!

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a pocket pair, a brick of singles in the middle and the fastest heartbeat ever recorded in the afternoon poker news office game.

Got a hot tip for a future 3-Bet? Drop us a note about it in the comments or tweet us @PokerListings.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Dan Bilzerian spilling about his biggest poker moments, $23 million in online poker tourneys and Living Legend Mike Sexton turns 70.

1) “I Never Want to Be the Best”

Dan Bilerzian is a peripheral figure in poker as he really never plays in any of the big high-stakes cash games or tournament we in the poker-watching public get to sweat.

He’s referred to as a “poker player” a lot, though, and tales of the private high-stakes games where he’s made his millions are rife in mainstream media pieces on him.

While we’ve heard bits and pieces of those stories before, Bilzerian recently sat down for an in-depth interview with sports reporter Graham Bensinger and revealed a few more details.

In particular he talks about a $10k/$25k Heads-Up No-Limit match against a billionaire who “always had him covered.” Bilzerian says he won $12.8m over a few sessions and had $18m on the table - a figure always at risk whenever the billionaire shoved. Check out the clip below:

Bilzerian’s poker skills are frequently mocked in the poker forums but it’s hard to argue with his understanding of how it works as a money-making tool:

“That was kind of my thing about poker. I never want to be the best poker player. I just want to play against super rich guys that weren’t very good … I didn’t mind people thinking I was a rich trust fund kid. That helped me get into really good games.”

2) Biggest Online Poker Weekend Ever?

Quietly slipping under the radar this week is the fact we’re heading into one of the biggest weekends in online poker history.


Big weekend coming.

You read that right. After three weeks of amazing tournament action on PokerStars, partypoker and 888poker the big Fall tournament series on each site are coming to an end.

With 8 tournaments with $1m guarantees and $23m GTD total this Sunday might be the hottest tournament day ever in online poker. 

Check out the biggest guarantee events on the schedule Sunday:

17.00 PokerStars $530 WCOOP Sunday Warm-Up ($1m GTD)
18.30 partypoker $1,050 Championship Final Phase ($1m GTD)
18.30 partypoker $5,200 Championship Final Phase ($1.5m GTD)
20.00 PokerStars $5,200 WCOOP Main Event ($10m GTD)
20.00 PokerStars $215 WCOOP Low Main-Event ($2m GTD)
20.00 888poker $1,050 XL Eclipse Main Event ($1.5m GTD)
20.00 partypoker $215 Championship ($1m GTD)
20.00 partypoker $1,050 Highroller ($1.5m GTD)

Seems like a good weekend to take a shot at something, yeah? Also still plenty of lower buy-in events to take advantage of on Saturday so don’t hesitate - get in there!

3) Mike Sexton is 70!

It might be against his wishes but we’re gonna wish Mike Sexton a very happy 70th birthday anyway. HB to one of poker’s great ambassadors!

Thx but Shhhh! @SavagePoker When you get my age, you just want b-days to go by quietly & get to next one. #oldasyoufeel #stillfeelyoung

— Mike Sexton (@Mike_partypoker) September 22, 2022

Happy 70th Birthday @Mike_partypoker! Poker’s greatest Ambassador, charitable, and always willing to help out a fellow poker player. #TopMan

— Matt Savage (@SavagePoker) September 22, 2022


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$5m GTD, $1.10 Buy-ins in New partypoker Monster Series

Just when it seemed online poker was flush with amazing poker tournament series, partypoker has gone and added a new one to the list.

Announced today, the partypoker Monster Series will offer 11 days of action from Oct. 21-31 with tournaments split into two levels - Micro and Mid.

$5 million in guaranteed prize pools will be on the table in a variety of events and formats from Progressive Knockouts and hyper-turbos to heads-up shootouts and mix-max.

Even better, buy-ins start as low as $1.10 - making it one of the most accessible tournament series in the online world.

partypoker’s First-Ever Micro-Stakes Series

“Like me,” said partypoker pro Natalia Breviglieri, “there’s a lot of players out there who really enjoy playing low to mid-stake Sit and Go’s or MTT’s and will relish the opportunity to compete in a tournament series tailored just for them.

partypoker table

Festivus for the rest of us.

“There are some really huge guarantees on offer throughout the Series and it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into designing a schedule that offers a wide range of formats.”

“Players have been asking for a mid-stakes series for a very long time,” said partypoker’s Bryan Slick, who designed and tailored the series based on player feedback, “and we’re delighted to be able to provide it at partypoker while also providing a first-ever micro-stakes series for our players.”

140 Tournaments, $5m Guaranteed

The planning and effort is clearly reflected in the series schedule, split between Micro and Mid-Stakes.

Each has its own schedule and Main Event and all events have a prize pool guarantee. The smallest guarantee is $1,000 and the largest is $1m for the Mid-Level Main Event.

The Micro schedule features 70 tournaments with buy-ins from $1.10 to $22. Action starts with a $1.10 NLHE re-entry tournament on October 21. 

The Micro-Level Main Event goes on Oct. 29 and is a $22 single re-entry with a $300,000 guarantee.

cash 13314

Back up the truck.

There are also 70 Mid-Level events with buy-ins from $11 to $215. The first event is an $11 NLHE with a $20k guarantee on October 21. 

The Mid-Level Main Event on October 29 has a $215 buy-in Main Event and $1m guarantee.

Players can of course buy in directly for any event or earn their seat through daily qualifiers running right now on partypoker. To get you own partypoker account and a $500 bonus, download the software and create and account via our review page.

$23 Million Available This Weekend

Speaking of online poker series, there’s still a huge weekend ahead both at partypoker and its rivals with the culmination of three huge tournament series this weekend.

There’s $23 million in prize pools to be had across partypoker’s Powerfest, 888poker’s XL Eclipse and PokerStars’ WCOOP. Read more and get in the action via our review pages here.


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€18m GTD, 11 Bracelets, Free Live Streams at 2017 WSOPE

Over the nine years of its existence the World Series of Poker Europe has always played second fiddle to its bigger, more prestigious Vegas cousin.

After starting with a bang in London in 2007 when an 18-year-old Annette Obrestad stormed to the Main Event title, the WSOPE had seen its numbers dwindle from year-to-year before finally taking a hiatus in 2015.

Things are expected to be different in 2017.

Returning after a two-year break the 2017 WSOPE is debuting at its new home, the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, and is set to be the biggest on record.

Annette Obrestad

A long way from 2007.

“With €18 million in guarantees,” says WSOPE Director Gregory Chochon, “we expect to see the largest fields and prize pools for our European offshoot.”

Also included this time around: 14 full days of free live streaming provided by the WSOP and King’s Casino.

Non-Stop WSOP Action from Now Till November

With a new WSOP Circuit series also arriving next week that means seven straight weeks of live WSOP action at King’s to come.

With €3 million in guarantees and 14 official gold ring events it’s no slouch, either. But it’s the allure of the 11 gold bracelets, starting with an €1,100 Monster Stack No-Limit Hold’em event on Oct. 19, that are expected to draw in the crowds from across Europe.

“We’re so excited for WSOP Europe to begin,” said King’s Casino Owner Leon Tsoukernik. “Our new hotel tower is up and running and we have more than 160 poker tables ready to be filled with poker players from all over the globe.”

Live updates for every event will be available as usual on along with an ambitious schedule of live streams. A full 14 days of streams with hole cards and commentary (on the usual 30-minute delay) will be provided.

Heads UpNoah SchwartzLudovic Lacay2013 WSOP EuropeEV063K PLO Mixed MaxFinal TableGiron7JG9103

Streams and more streams.

Check the streaming schedule below:

Oct. 23 – €1,100 Monster Stack No-Limit Hold’em – 2pm local/8am ET
Oct. 25 – €1,100 Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Hold’em – 11pm local/5pm ET
Oct. 26 – €550 Pot-Limit Omaha – 2pm local/8am ET
Oct. 28 – €1,650 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed — 2pm local/8am ET
Oct. 30 – €2,200 Pot-Limit Omaha — 2pm local/9am ET
Nov. 2 – €25,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller — 2pm local/9am ET
Nov. 3 – €111,111 High Roller for One Drop – Day 1 — 2pm local/9am ET
Nov. 4 – €111,111 High Roller for One Drop – Day 2 — 1pm local/8am ET
Nov. 5 – €111,111 High Roller for One Drop – Final Table — 2pm local/9am ET
Nov. 6 – €10,000 Main Event – Day 2 – 12 noon local/6am ET
Nov. 7 — €10,000 Main Event – Day 3 – 12 noon local/6am ET
Nov. 8 — €10,000 Main Event – Day 4 – 12 noon local/6am ET
Nov. 9 — €10,000 Main Event – Day 5 – 12 noon local/6am ET
Nov. 10 — €10,000 Main Event – Final Table – 12 noon local/6am ET

The Main Event and High Roller for One Drop will also be taped for television and air at a date to be determined. 

Check the full schedule for the 2017 World Series of Poker Europe here. Start your qualifying for full WSOPE packages starting at just 50 cents on 888poker.


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Daily 3-Bet: Isildur COOP, KK Misclick, GRMNS v. Phil on PAD

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a rickety patio table, a set of folding chairs and the most talked about rematch in afternoon poker news home-game history.

Have something you’d like featured in a future 3-Bet? Drop us a note below.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom getting a WCOOP first, Seth Davies misclicks at the Masters and a major challenge brewing on Poker After Dark.

1) Isildur Wins 1st WCOOP

While all of the poker world is either bowing down to or trying to figure out just who “The Goose” is today, let’s not forget about one of the OGs of mysterious poker buzz.

Viktor Blom

OG of poker mystery men.

There was a time back in the day when, as he took on all comers and tore up the game’s highest-stakes online, “Isildur1” was just a nickname to most.

When it was revealed to be Sweden’s Viktor Blom and he became a sponsored pro a bit of the mystique wore off but there were still plenty who saw Blom as a true revelation in poker - and the game’s future.

Fast forward a decade or so and Blom has morphed into a semi-strange figure in the game. He still battles it out at the highest-stakes games online (and occasionally live) but the “awe factor” has faded.

There’s no doubt he still has chops, though, as he proved yesterday by winning the $2,100 WCOOP HORSE event - an event he finished runner-up to Daniel Negreanu in last year.

It’s Blom’s first WCOOP title, which is somewhat surprising given how long he’s been around (he has 3 SCOOP wins incl. Main Event).

And it’s an interesting footnote on a day the Germans are being universally pegged as the greats of the day. More about Blom’s win here.

2) Tough Moment for Seth Davies

We’ve all done it. But you certainly never wish for it to happen to someone in a huge moment like at the final table of the Poker Masters $100k.

We don’t usually post clips of pre-flop action, but when we do, #misclick #PokerMasters

— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 20, 2022

 Davies still managed to take 4th for $324,000 so it’s not all bad news. But, ouch.

3) Hellmuth vs. Germans Coming to Poker After Dark

If you haven’t caught up with all the Phil Hellmuth vs. Daniel Negreanu vs. the Germans banter firing on Twitter over the last 24 hours, catch up here.

In a nutshell? Daniel said the Germans are the best NL tournament players in the world and he needs to work to improve his game to catch up. He also suggested they play rings around Hellmuth; Hellmuth disagreed vehemently.

Many, many people chimed in - including poker pro and commentator David Williams, who threw out this potential challenge:

Hey @PokerGO. How many RTs for this #PokerAfterDark:@RealKidPoker@phil_hellmuth@RunGo0seRun@CrownUpGuy@becksundsoda and C Christner

— David Williams (@dwpoker) September 21, 2022

Now, because poker is amazing like that, it just might be a thing in December on Poker After Dark - as long as Phil’s ‘schedule isn’t too busy.’

PAD CHALLENGE @phil_hellmuth:

Cash game and tourney 6 handed

Me@CrownUpGuy @RunGo0seRun @becksundsoda @GatsbyKempinho

Let’s go

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 21, 2022

I was invited to every PAD (Poker After Dark). I LOVE PAD, but my schedule has been JAMMED UP! Maybe December. My terms in next tweet.

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 21, 2022

Terms: PAD on @PokerGo: 3 days in-a-row. Day 1: 25K buy in sit and go. Day 2: 25K buy in cash game $100-$200 blinds. Day 3: not sure yet!

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 21, 2022

We’ll be back in December. Pls make this happen @PokerGO

— Stefan Schillhabel (@becksundsoda) September 21, 2022

God bless us. What a time we live in. Also god bless to Dominik Nitsche who’s trying his best to get in the game, too.

I’d sit on @RunGo0seRun‘s lap to play in this game. Let’s gooo

— Dominik Nitsche (@DominikNitsche) September 21, 2022

Also: respect to Daniel who will take the Challenge on with or without Phil:

An honest post game discussion about hands I played and any and all mistakes I made. I’ll pay for the lessons.

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 21, 2022


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Go0se Cooks! Steffen Sontheimer Wins First Poker Masters

The first-ever Poker Masters, from beginning to end, belonged to Steffen Sontheimer.

The 27-year-old online pro known as ‘Go0se.core!’, who had his first live cash just two years ago, rolled into Vegas last week with his talented German cohorts and never let off the gas.

Not only did Sontheimer win the final $100k Challenge last night to seal the Masters and the Purple Jacket, he final-tabled four of the five events and won another.

All told he hauled in $2.7m over the week of intense poker against the toughest competition and clearly announced he’s a force to reckon with for years to come.

Sontheimer Wins $100k Final

With a good stack coming into the final yesterday Sontheimer was a heavy favorite to claim the first-ever Poker Masters crown but still had to fend of a challenge from a few of his countrymen.



Friend and phenom of his own, Fedor Holz, was there as was Christian Christner and Stefan Schillhabel - each standing a chance of winning the Purple Jacket themselves if the cards played out right.

Americans Justin Bonomo and Seth Davies joined them in the final 6 but would have to win outright to take over the money lead from Sontheimer.

The finals began quite leisurely and the first orbits saw chips exchanged without many big hands. The first exciting moment came when Davies 3-bet pre-flop with kings but failed to notice when Christner 4-bet with AQ and mucked his hand when Sontheimer folded ahead of him.

The first player to bust was Schillhabel on hand 93 when he was all-in with A-3 against Bonomo’s K-Q but saw a king hit the river. Bonomo busted 30 hands later when his K-T couldn’t catch up to Sontheimer’s A-T.

Shortly thereafter Davies hit the rail when his A-7 lost to Christner’s K-7 when a king hit the flop.

Fedor Out 3rd

Sontheimer’s last obstacle to claim the title was a big one in Fedor Holz. Christner had the chip lead ahead of them both but Fedor could still claim the Purple Jacket if he won and Sontheimer finished third.

Fedor pushed Q-J out of the small blind with 16 big blinds against an open shove from Sontheimer. Christner paid the all-in with 7-7 and won the flip, though, to bounce Holz out in third.


Another week, another $1m for Fedor.

With another $500k payday, Holz did take his total winnings at the Poker Masters to over $1m.

The heads-up began with Christner in a 5m-2.3m lead but Sontheimer doubled with A-8 > 2-2 and quickly took over the lead. Christner then was on the ropes but doubled five times before getting all-in with 2-2 against Q-Q and failing to catch.

Sontheimer fittingly won the final event of the Poker Masters and was fitted for the Purple Jacket with $2.7 million in earnings over the week.

Final results for Event #5, the $100k Challenge

Steffen Sontheimer $1,512,000
Christian Christner $864,000
Fedor Holz $504,000
Seth Davies $324,000
Justin Bonomo $216,000
Stefan Schillhabel $180,000

Germans Dominate

A total of $13 million was played for in the first Poker Masters and 43 players participated. Seven German players took part and they took a total of $5.6 million dollars in prize money.

Check the full results of the week-long series below:

Poker Masters Final Standings


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Daily 3-Bet: Holz vs Go0se, Kempe vs George, Daniel vs Phil

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a nickname on your helmet, a top-flight wingman and an unquenchable need for afternoon poker news speed.

Got a hot tip for a future edition of the 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or drop a line below.

Today in the 3-Bet we find two Top Guns duking it out for the Purple Jacket, Rainer Kempe re-imagined and shots fired between poker legends 1A and 1B.

1) Maverick v. Go0se

After 7 days, millions of dollars in buy-ins and dozens of impossibly intense, high-level poker hands, it all comes down to this.


A jacket to go with the haircut?

Six elite poker players return to try and become the first-ever Poker Masters champion and wear the Purple Jacket.

The heavy favorites? Fedor Holz and Steffen ‘Go0se.core!’ Sontheimer.

Holz, of course, is the best tournament player in the world (more on this later) of late with a mind-boggling, multi-million-dollar series of results over the past 24 months that will likely never be matched.

Sontheimer is the heir apparent, anointed by King Holz himself as the best player in the game right now

It’s an epic showdown on Highlander/Rocky v Drago levels and we can’t wait to watch it all play out on PokerGO shortly.

Mind you there’s still a chance any of the six can claim the crown depending on how it plays out - as long as Sontheimer crashes out early. Here’s how they stack up to start:

1. Fedor Holz 1,471,000
2. Christian Christner 1,367,000
3. Steffen Sontheimer 1,354,000
4. Stefan Schillhabel 1,218,000
5. Justin Bonomo 1,050,000
6. Seth Davies 740,000

2) Rainer Kempe … You are the Weakest Leak!

If you didn’t already know (more on this later), the elite group of German high-rollers who descended on the Poker Masters this week are, by verdict of those in the know, the best in the game right now.

Rainer Kempe

Rough week for Kempe.

Holz, Sontheimer, Stefan Schillhabel, Christian Christner, Koray Aldemir and Rainer Kempe as a group of friends/horses/poker thinkers have clearly shown they’re a step ahead of the standard in tournament poker.

With four of them at the final table of the $100k today - and all over the final tables all week - it’s not a big leap to say it’s beyond variance with this group.

It’s hasn’t been smooth sailing for everyone this week, though, as Kempe, $5m winner of the Super High Roller Bowl in 2016, has failed to cash - much to the delight of the playful Sam Grafton:

When you have a super strong franchise but it’s let down by just one weak link…

— Sam Grafton (@SquidPoker) September 19, 2022

Lol. Btw, if you’re not a big Bond fan that’s George Lazenby (of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) Grafton’s comparing Kempe to. And we beg to differ he’s the worst Bond - that’s Pierce Brosnan by a mile.

3) Daniel Looks In, Phil Lashes Out

When you’ve been at the top of your chosen profession for years it’s hard to hear you’ve been surpassed by younger, more talented players who’ve put the time and effort in to re-shape how the game is played.

Some, like Daniel Negreanu and Erik Seidel, have acknowledged the winds of change and worked to bring their skill level up accordingly.

Some, like, Phil Hellmuth, refuse to give up the mantle just yet - despite a raft of evidence to the contrary - as demonstrated by an amazing Twitter exchange spurred by Negreanu’ yesterday.

The full thread/conversation is really quite amazing and worth a full read; excerpts/highlights below:

Playing against the worlds best #PokerMasters

I have a lot to learn, but I’m a quick learner. Watching @RunGo0seRun is a lesson in itself

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 19, 2022

Oct-Dec I will be working really hard on my poker game. It’s time. The top players today are just too good and I need to improve and I will.

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 20, 2022

If I had to rank my current skill level against the best I’d say I’m in the top 100. My goal by Jan 2018 it to crack the top 20.

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 20, 2022

I’m not embarrassed to say I don’t think I’m as good as these guys. They are unreal. In order to improve you have to humble yourself & learn

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 20, 2022

I was the best NLH tourney player in the world in early 2000’s. I truly believe that. I’m inspired to be able to compete with the best now.

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 20, 2022

I am always the #1 seed in no limit Hold’em tourneys DNegs, best ROI in history kid. And yes, I agree: one of us is delusional…

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2022

And one other thing @realkidpoker, you told me in 2009 (and 2011) that the kids were better than you & me at NLHold’em: you were 100% wrong

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2022

I respect them. I berate everyone (Poker Brat!), and I always learn and improve. But I see too many flaws to concede they are better

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2022

Yo @RealKidPoker pardon me if I disagree w your “Truth.” I’ve seen your “Truth” be wrong way too many times. Write up a list of players that

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2022

2 are better than me, and let’s compare notes in 7 yrs, Sept 1, 2024. Your last “list of guys better than me,” from 2010, all disappeared

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2022

Cmon DNegs, that’s WEAK!! Put your list up for the world to see or admit I’m the best: no other way out of the mess for you kid

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2022

Give us the list of these players that will “Crush me badly” in No Limit Hold’em tournaments, don’t be a coward Daniel

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2022

The Germans are the best players in the game right now, give them their due Phil, this is such a BS argument

— Erik Seidel (@Erik_Seidel) September 20, 2022

Yes, I want all of them listed

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2022

Your list @phil_hellmuth

Sorry it took me 6 minutes to come up with your request of 40 players to crossbook. Here you go:

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 20, 2022

More thoughts from Negreanu about it below along with a parallel perspective that seems to fit. Enjoy!


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partypoker Title Fight Upped to $500k GTD as of Oct. 1

partypoker’s flagship Sunday poker tournament just doubled its guaranteed prize pool.

On a surge lately with its booming new partypoker Live tour and massive Powerfest tournament series, partypoker is back to a Top 4 site in terms of traffic and looking to get even higher.

Its next step on that path is a new $500,000 guarantee - twice the usual $250,000 - for its signature Sunday Title Fight starting on Oct.1

$215 Buy-In, 2nd-Biggest GTE

Much like its competitors, the PokerStars Sunday Million and the 888poker Mega Deep, partypoker’s signature Sunday event has a $215 buy-in.

It also has the second-biggest guarantee. And plenty of options for the lesser-rolled among us to participate for much less.


Works for Natalia

On partypoker that’s as low as 1 cent due to the ‘centroll’ satellites that feed into the $1.10 buy-in satellites.

It’ll take you a few steps to get to the Title Fight, of course, but with an $82k first-place prize the past few weeks the rewards could be substantial.

Once you get there you can also register up until the end of Level 15 and two re-entries are available if you bust.

partypoker Pros On Board

The partypoker Team pros, like Natalia Breviglieri, are excited about the change:

“partypoker’s flagship Sunday tournament, the Title Fight, is a regular fixture in my week that’s now about to get bigger and better with the guarantee increasing from $250,000 to $500,000!

“With a $215 buy-in, it’s excellent value and players will have to be at the top of their game to be in with a chance of winning!”

Dzmitry Urbanovich agrees:

“After the huge guarantees during Powerfest, increasing the guarantee of the weekly Title Fight to $500,000 is fantastic news and I’m looking forward to its return next Sunday!


“It is further proof that partypoker care about us, the players and are committed to paying out huge prize pools. It will be great competing for even more prize money every week and I’m sure the guarantee will only keep increasing, with $1 million surely not far away!”

If you’ve yet to sign-up for a partypoker account, visit our review page for more information and to access our $500 sign-up bonus.

Check out the full Title Fight satellite schedule below:

Time (CET)TournamentBuy-in

Title Fight Mini Feeder: 100 x $8.80 Gtd Hyper Turbo

Title Fight Feeder: 25 x $44 Gtd Hyper Turbo

Title Fight Satellite: 10 x $215 Gtd Turbo

Title Fight Mini Feeder: 200 x $8.80 Gtd Hyper Turbo

Title Fight Feeder: 50 x $44 Gtd Hyper Turbo

Title Fight Satellite: 20 x $215 Gtd Turbo

Title Fight Mini Feeder: 100 x $8.80 Gtd Hyper Turbo

Title Fight Feeder: 25 x $44 Gtd Hyper Turbo

Title Fight Satellite: 10 x $215 Gtd Turbo

Title Fight Mini Feeder: 100 x $8.80 Gtd Hyper Turbo

Title Fight Feeder: 25 x $44 Gtd Hyper Turbo

Title Fight Satellite: 10 x $215 Gtd Turbo


Time (CET)TournamentBuy-in

Title Fight Mini Feeder: 500 x $8.80 Gtd Hyper Turbo

Title Fight Feeder: 125 x $44 Gtd Hyper Turbo

Title Fight Satellite: 50 x $215 Gtd Turbo

Title Fight Mini Feeder: 500 x $8.80 Gtd Hyper Turbo

Title Fight Feeder: 125 x $44 Gtd Hyper Turbo

Title Fight Satellite: 50 x $215 Gtd Turbo


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Qualify Online for 2017 Battle of Malta at NordicBet, Betsson, Betsafe

Right now you can qualify for the hottest low buy-in tournament of the year with Battle of Malta Platinum Sponsors Betsson, NordicBet and Betsafe.

Satellites are running, starting as low as €1.10, to help you get your hands on a €1,650 VIP BoM package.

Each package includes everything you’ll need to have the poker holiday of a lifetime. All you’ll have to do is get yourself to Malta this November 2-7.

This year’s Battle of Malta Main Event has a €500,000 guaranteed prize pool but if last year is any indication, that guarantee is going to get blown away. In 2016 the BoM Main Event drew 1,813 entries with a €879,305 prize pool.

Including the side events, last year’s Battle of Malta awarded almost €1.3 million in prizes, along with some of the coolest trophies in the poker world.

This year’s tournament has a brand-new host, Gaëlle Garcia Diaz, and for the first time ever we’re putting guarantees on all the side events. 2017 will also be the first time BoM has its own Ladies Event.

Learn More About 2017 BoM Online Satellites

Step Your Way to 2017 Battle of Malta

Right now you can take advantage of Steps Satellites to win your way to the Battle of Malta for as little as €1.10.

The idea is simple. Start at the lowest step for just €1.10 for a chance to win a ticket to the €11 second step. Win that and you’ll get a ticket to the weekly €110 final where you can win a VIP BoM Package.

Fullscreen capture 2017 09 19 81421 PM

BoM 2017 runs November 2-7.

Every Battle of Malta VIP Package includes:

€550 buy-in to the BOM Main Event
Five nights at the 5-star Hilton Hotel w/ breakfast buffet
€250 towards travel and spending money.
Tickets to all four Battle of Malta player parties.
Dinner buffet every night you’re playing the tournament.

The 2017 Battle of Malta is going to be massive and you could potentially turn a €1.10 investment into a six-figure payday plus a poker experience you’ll never forget.

Even if you don’t get in via online satellites, there’s huge value buying in directly. In addition to VIP packages for €1,460, you also have the option to buy our Economy Package for just €1,025 and stay at the nearby Ir-Rokna Hotel with breakfast buffet.

Whichever package you choose, you’ll get your Main Event buy-in and access to all four parties.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Battle of Malta and how to qualify or buy-in directly.


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Daily 3-Bet: Hellmuth Go0Sed, Ben86 in Deep, King of Hill 2

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a bag of cash, a pile of receipts and an increasingly clear picture of how much you made in the afternoon poker news Masters.

Want something featured in a future 3-Bet? Tell us where to find it in the comments.

Today in the 3-bet we find Phil Hellmuth getting Go0sed in the Poker Masters, Ben Tollerene has some ground to make up and the King of the Hill challenge is back.

1) Hellmuth Uncorked

As we mentioned yesterday the breakout star of the Poker Masters has been Steffen ‘Go0se.core!’ Sontheimer and boy did he deliver more of the same yesterday.

The front runner for the Purple Jacket not only finished Day 1 in the $100k in the Top 5 in chips, he put Phil Hellmuth in the cement mixer and got him so worked up over the last hour Phil could barely see straight. Sample below:

It’s either a #PokerMasters “nightmare or a dream” for @Phil_Hellmuth. Which is it @RunGo0seRun?

— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 19, 2022

Needless to say, that was fun to watch.

With 15 players left and $1.5m up top to the winner Sontheimer still has to fade Brian Rast, Daniel Negreanu and German cohorts Fedor Holz and Stefan Schillhabel, among others at the top of the counts, to secure the jacket.

But if there’s any poker justice after Sontheimer’s week (3 final tables, a bubble and a win) even a 2nd or 3rd-place finish will put him over the top. Here’s how they stack up heading into today:

1. Brian Rast 959,000 USA
2. Justin Bonomo 780,500 USA
3. Daniel Negreanu 745,500 Canada
4. Steffen Sontheimer 696,500 Germany
5. Fedor Holz 662,500 Germany
6. Stefan Schillhabel 539,000 Germany
7. Jake Schindler 507,000 USA
8. Ben Tollerene 499,000 USA
9. Seth Davies 479,000 USA
10. Dan Smith 476,500 USA
11. Christian Christner 377,500 Germany
12. Dan Shak 236,000 USA
13. Byron Kaverman 200,000 USA
14. Stephen Chidwick 69,500 UK
15. Phil Hellmuth 49,500 USA

Watch the full replay of yesterday’s action on PokerGO and follow the live stream today as they play to the final table of 7.

2) Tollerene in for $450k

The flipside to playing the Poker Masters is, of course, that while there’s obviously a lot of money and prestige to be won there’s a lot at stake if you don’t run well.

NEIL5911 Ben Tollerene PCP2017 Neil Stoddart

Down but not out. (Photo: Neil Stoddart)

A $50k a pop (with 1 re-entry) for the first 4 prelims and a single $100k for the finale, buy-ins add up quickly. And if you don’t hit one of those 6-8 payout spots you’re taking a pretty big dent in your bankroll.

Among the high-stakes regs who haven’t seen their buy-ins pay off are Jason Koon, Isaac Haxton, Stephen Chidwick, Scott Seiver, Alan Schein, Sean Winter, Rainer Kempe and Ben Tollerene, all of whom are down over $300k (or percentage thereof).

Tollerene appears to be down the most at $450k but with a 499k stack in the $100k still might rub some salve on the wound. Chidwick also still has a shot at a cash but the rest will have to lick their wounds and battle another day.

Here’s an updated look at ROI as of today (Note: Seven $50k buy-ins unaccounted for Event #1)

Net Winnings

Steffen Sontheimer

Bryn Kenney

Brandon Adams

Nick Schulman

Doug Polk

Matt Hyman

Erik Seidel

Fedor Holz

Tom Marchese

Jake Schindler

Daniel Cates

Keith Lehr

Layne Flack

Sam Soverel

Zach Clark

David Peters

Phil Hellmuth

Ben Lamb

Lawrence Greenberg

Nick Petrangelo

Seth Davies

Stefan Schillhabel

Dominik Nitsche

Christian Christner

Dan Shak

Brian Rast

Dan Smith

Adrian Mateos

Justin Bonomo

Koray Aldemir

Zach Hyman

Sergio Aido

Cary Katz

Daniel Negreanu

Stephen Chidwick

Isaac Haxton

Jason Koon

Scott Seiver

Sean Winter

Alan Schein

Rainer Kempe

Ben Tollerene

3) Busquet, Deeb, Talbot Join for KOTH 2

After yesterday’s tailspin at the Poker Masters Phil Hellmuth might have headed back to his suite with a need for some affirmation that he’s still the best in the game, as he so often reminds us.

He didn’t have to look far, though, as he won the $200,000 King of the Hill Heads-Up Challenge and finished 2nd in the WPT Legends of Poker main event just last month.

As champions tend to do, Hellmuth probably got over it pretty quick. He’ll need to keep that spirit up, though, as he’ll be back to defend his title in a new King of the Hill Challenge Oct. 6-7.

This time around his foes will be Olivier Busquet, Shaun Deeb and 2017 Rising Star nominee Parker Talbot - an intriguing mix of talent/personality. Action will be live streamed again on Poker Night in America’s Twitch channel. Check the preview below:


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Earn 23 Points, Win a Battle of Malta Seat on Appeak Poker!

Just 44 days remain until the Battle of Malta returns.

Do you have your seat yet?

If not, this might be the easiest way to save money while qualifying for the BOM main event. And all you need is the Appeak app.

It’s free to play and you can get it both in the Google store and in the iTunes/Apple store.

If you want to check it out on Facebook, click on this link and play some hands.

You’ll see shortly that the competition is … let’s say … manageable.

Black Pearls and Road to BoM

Once you’ve got the app, you’ll need to play some SnGs to begin your qualifying for the Battle of Malta.

appeak play

Competition is not fierce.

To play in these SnG satellites you need to buy in with Black Pearls. Black Pearls you can purchase for $30 apiece. 

Win an SnG and you get five points; finish second and you get two points. Collect 23 points and you’re there – you’ve won your BOM main event ticket worth €550.

When you have reached 23 points just send an email to [email protected] to claim your entry ticket.

Win a Seat for $150

So let’s break it down. Best-case scenario you can win your ticket for $150 with no strings attached.

While it’s unlikely you’ll win five SnG in a row, the odds you won’t have to go much further than five are pretty good.

Let’s say you need twice as many SnGs to win 5 - then your BOM main event ticket is $300 instead of €550.


Join the crowd!

Even if you need 15 SnGs to collect the required amount of points you’re still saving around €175/$210. 

More Ways to Win

Outside of Appeak there are still plenty of ways to get to BoM.

The easiest (and most direct) is to go to our BOM page and buy your exclusive VIP BOM package. You can also go for the economy package to save a few hundred Euros.

Then there are our online satellites. Play on Betsafe, Betsson or NordicBet for your BOM package, but you’ll have to face some stiff Scandinavian competition.

If you’re on the island already, head to the Portomaso Casino and play our live satellites. We’re running €55+5 tournaments every week so one in 10 players wins a main event buy-in.

There is also a BOM satellite at the European Poker Adventure at the The Oracle Casino in Malta, but check out what’s happening in your country. Live sats are running all over Europe.

You can find all additional the information on PokerListings own poker event on our Battle of Malta page. Last year’s winner, Robert Berglund from Sweden, took home €160,000!


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Daily 3-Bet: Wild Go0se Chase, DNegs Goes Street, Bort FTW!

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a popped hood, a set of brass knuckles and a right turn into the darkest afternoon poker news alley, ready to rumble.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or drop a note in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a budding superstar rising at the Poker Masters, Daniel Negreanu goes to the street and it’s finally Phil Gruissem’s turn.

1) Everybody After Go0se

At the beginning of 2017 Fedor Holz tweeted this out about friend/stablemate Steffen ‘Go0se.core!’ Sontheimer:

Predicting the breakout year of @RunGo0seRun. Best player in the game right now.

— Fedor Holz (@CrownUpGuy) January 26, 2022

When the de facto #1 tournament poker player over the last few years calls you the best player in the world, that’s “high praise.

But despite cashing for over $4m already this year Sontheimer has still gone under the radar - at least until this past week’s Poker Masters.

Sontheimer has been a tear. He’s been on the final table of three of the $50k prelims this week and bubbled the other.

He won Event #2 for $900,000 - defeating none other than Holz heads-up to do it. And with $1,221,000 in combined earnings he leads the chase for the Purple Jacket heading into the $100k Challenge today.


Fedor knows.

He’s got 3 more days to prove himself but if he makes, say, a top 4 finish (and the winner’s cut isn’t over $1.6m) he just might find himself the first-ever Poker Master. Here’s how the Top 12 stand heading into today:

Steffen Sontheimer $1,221,000
Bryn Kenney $1,085,000
Nick Schulman $918,000
Brandon Adams $819,000
Doug Polk $612,000
Erik Seidel $576,000
Matt Hyman $561,000
Fedor Holz $550,000
Jake Schindler $409,500
Stefan Schillhabel $306,000
Tom Marchese $300,000
Adrian Mateos $277,500

Watch all the action live on the PokerGO app starting at 5:30 local time in Vegas.

2) Don’t Count Out DNegs

The biggest story heading into the Poker Masters was Daniel Negreanu and his side bets.

Daniel Negreanu7

Putting himself up against 23 of the game’s best pros Negreanu stands to win over $1.1m if he wins the Purple Jacket and pay out just $50,000 if one of those others wins.

Sontheimer is on that list so if he does continue his dominance DNegs will be out an extra $50k.

After a solid min-cash (bounced on a bad beat) in Event #1 Negreanu has been shut out of the past 3 events to leave him at just $102,000 coming into the $100k.

That said, don’t count DNegs out. A win in the $100k, given how big it should be, should still grab him the jacket. He also says he’s playing the best NLH he’s ever played:

I’m quite certain I’ve played the best NLH poker I’ve ever played this week. No luck in races,but the big one starts tomorrow! #PokerMasters

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 18, 2022

We wouldn’t bet against him. Check his latest Vlogs about playing some poker “in the streets:”

3) Phil Gruissem Wins His First WCOOP!

While we’re trumpeting the praises of next-gen German superstars like Sontheimer, Holz, Christner and Kempe let’s not forget about one of the OGs (Original Germans), Phil Gruissem, who finally, after 12 years, won his first WCOOP title:

After 12years tryin hard i made itjust needed to win 14 allins in a row on day 2…i guess it was #myturn

— Philipp Gruissem (@TheRealPhilbort) September 18, 2022

Congrats to the Philbort!


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Daily 3-Bet: Wild Go0se Chase, DNegs Goes Street, Bort FTW!

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a popped hood, a set of brass knuckles and a right turn into the darkest afternoon poker news alley, ready to rumble.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or drop a note in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a budding superstar rising at the Poker Masters, Daniel Negreanu goes to the street and it’s finally Phil Gruissem’s turn.

1) Everybody After Go0se

At the beginning of 2017 Fedor Holz tweeted this out about friend/stablemate Steffen ‘Go0se.core!’ Sontheimer:

Predicting the breakout year of @RunGo0seRun. Best player in the game right now.

— Fedor Holz (@CrownUpGuy) January 26, 2022

When the de facto #1 tournament poker player over the last few years calls you the best player in the world, that’s “high praise.

But despite cashing for over $4m already this year Sontheimer has still gone under the radar - at least until this past week’s Poker Masters.

Sontheimer has been a tear. He’s been on the final table of three of the $50k prelims this week and bubbled the other.

He won Event #2 for $900,000 - defeating none other than Holz heads-up to do it. And with $1,221,000 in combined earnings he leads the chase for the Purple Jacket heading into the $100k Challenge today.


Fedor knows.

He’s got 3 more days to prove himself but if he makes, say, a top 4 finish (and the winner’s cut isn’t over $1.6m) he just might find himself the first-ever Poker Master. Here’s how the Top 12 stand heading into today:

Steffen Sontheimer $1,221,000
Bryn Kenney $1,085,000
Nick Schulman $918,000
Brandon Adams $819,000
Doug Polk $612,000
Erik Seidel $576,000
Matt Hyman $561,000
Fedor Holz $550,000
Jake Schindler $409,500
Stefan Schillhabel $306,000
Tom Marchese $300,000
Adrian Mateos $277,500

Watch all the action live on the PokerGO app starting at 5:30 local time in Vegas.

2) Don’t Count Out DNegs

The biggest story heading into the Poker Masters was Daniel Negreanu and his side bets.

Daniel Negreanu7

Putting himself up against 23 of the game’s best pros Negreanu stands to win over $1.1m if he wins the Purple Jacket and pay out just $50,000 if one of those others wins.

Sontheimer is on that list so if he does continue his dominance DNegs will be out an extra $50k.

After a solid min-cash (bounced on a bad beat) in Event #1 Negreanu has been shut out of the past 3 events to leave him at just $102,000 coming into the $100k.

That said, don’t count DNegs out. A win in the $100k, given how big it should be, should still grab him the jacket. He also says he’s playing the best NLH he’s ever played:

I’m quite certain I’ve played the best NLH poker I’ve ever played this week. No luck in races,but the big one starts tomorrow! #PokerMasters

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 18, 2022

We wouldn’t bet against him. Check his latest Vlogs about playing some poker “in the streets:”

3) Phil Gruissem Wins His First WCOOP!

While we’re trumpeting the praises of next-gen German superstars like Sontheimer, Holz, Christner and Kempe let’s not forget about one of the OGs (Original Germans), Phil Gruissem, who finally, after 12 years, won his first WCOOP title:

After 12years tryin hard i made itjust needed to win 14 allins in a row on day 2…i guess it was #myturn

— Philipp Gruissem (@TheRealPhilbort) September 18, 2022

Congrats to the Philbort!


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Romanovskyi, Moorman Shine as XL Eclipse Heads to Week 2

With over 10 events on the schedule some days, the results of the 888poker XL Eclipse series have come in with lightning speed over the first week.

Some results, though, have stood out more than others.

Several regular poker grinders demonstrated their prowess over the first week of the massive series and three players won two events.

888poker pro Chris Moorman, meanwhile, made his first Eclipse final table and showed as usual why he’s one of online poker’s all-time greats.

Double Winners Do It Again

Every poker player knows how difficult it is to play for 10 hours+, continually make good decisions, not get bad beat and eventually prevail in an online tournament with hundreds or more players.

Roman Romanovskyi

Roman Romanovskyi

Only a few players, however, know what it feels like to do it twice.

During the XL Eclipse series Ukrainian player Roman ‘Romeopro33’ Romanovskyi became the first to know after he took down Event #27, the $15k Tornado, for $5.3k.

Within 24 hours he also claimed Event #36, the $500k High Roller, for over $100k. 

Over the weekend Cristian progree69 Sampaoli and GSwarrior30 caught up with Romanovskyi. GSwarrior30 took down his second $15k guaranteed event on Sunday morning while Sampaoli didn’t even need a week to win both a $20k Monsoon and a $15k Tornado.

Swedish 888poker regular Anton ‘anteen’ Bertilsson hasn’t won an event but has already made five final tables during this XL Eclipse series.

Germany’s luckyr1ver managed to reach the final table twice in one day, just like his fellow player allesrigged did one week ago.

Moorman Nearly Clinches First XL Title - Again

888poker’s own Chris Moorman – to date the most successful online tournament player ever – played up to his reputation when he final-tabled the 800-player Sunday Monsoon.

On his 11th cash of this XL series Moorman eventually finished in third place for $5.3k. It marked the end of an astonishing weekend that saw Moorman final-table four events in less than two days, although one of them was not an XL Eclipse tournament.

On Saturday night Moorman came third in a $50k Octopus at a final table with Ole Schemion, Jerry Ödeen and the eventual winner 1LevelAbove, who also has an XL Inferno title.

ole schemion 4

Schemion getting some hands in.

Moorman went on to finish seventh in the Monsoon on Saturday, just to run deep again in the same tournament one day later.

Arends Big Weekend Winner

Jans Arends has been one of the most successful players online over the last two or three years and he doesn’t show any signs of stopping.

Playing as Graftekkel online, Arends won the $250k Whale at 6 AM CET Monday morning.

Arends cashed for $64,930 but is used to winning even bigger numbers, coming third in a previous XL main event for $112,000 and second in the Sunday Million for more than $200,000.

See below for the final-table payouts of this XL weekend’s biggest tournament.






Jans Graftekkel Arends









Costa Rica
















Costa Rica










The action is far from over on 888poker as the XL Exclipse series continues all week. Get your account through PokerListings and get in the action with an up to $888 bonus.


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Hand of the Week: Stewart Finds Nerves of Steel Deep in WSOP

If you go deep in the WSOP Main Event, the pay jumps become so big that one wrong decision can cost you six-figures.

On Day 7 of the 2017 WSOP Main Event, Scott Stewart found himself in a spot that would have ended his tournament long before it actually did.

Stewart really needed to find his nerve for a winning call - and he did.

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Situation

Just 22 players are left on the final three tables of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event. Each player will definitely cash for $263,000. 

Survive one more spot and they get $80,000 extra. Most of the players will never be in this kind of situation again. At this point the blinds have reached 150k/300k/50k so the ante is now what the starting stack was.

Jack Sinclair, a very aggressive player from Britain, has amassed over 40 million chips and is leading the table. Just minutes ago he took a sizeable pot from John Hesp with aces versus tens.

Now he raises again from the cut-off. Sinclair makes it 700k to go, which gets everybody out of the way except Scott Stewart in the big blind with     and a stack of 5.7 million.

Thus 1,950,000 chips have been moved into the middle and effective stacks are at 5 million chips.

The flop falls      

Stewart checks and then calls a bet of 650,000. That brings the pot up to 3.25 million and effective stacks down to 4.3 million.

The turn is the  

Stewart checks again, Sinclair bets 1.3 million and Stewart makes the call. The pot is now 5.85 million with effective stacks down to 3 million.

The river is the  

Stewart checks another time and Sinclair pushes him all-in with another bet of 3 million. Stewart takes several minutes and finally announces call.

Sinclair shows     and doubles up to over 11 million chips.

Stewart later finishes the tournament in 13th place and earns $535,000 — almost twice the money he would have won if he had busted in the hand.


In this crucial situation Stewart – who’s had a couple of successes in smaller events – makes the right decision and stays alive.

Jack Sinclair IMG 7248

Big stack not afraid to throw it around.

Now let’s take a closer look at the hand to understand how he could do it with a marginal hand like A-4.

Pre-flop, Sinclair raises from the cut-off just after he’d won a nice pot against John Hesp. Considering the tournament situation, his position and his style, Sinclair has an extremely wide range here.

Under these circumstances Stewart can’t really fold a weak ace in the big blind. The problem with this is that he can rarely turn this into a very strong hand.

It’s also a long way to the river – despite his hand being ahead of Sinclair’s range pre-flop.

A Raiser’s Flop

The flop A 9 3 is rather dry. There’s a spade draw and some unlikely gut shot draws – 5-4, 5-2 or 4-2 – but not much else.

This is what you would usually call a raiser’s flop because it’s much better for the raiser’s range than it is for the caller’s range (which would have a lot of queens, jacks, tens, kings, middle pairs and suited connectors).

So it’s perfectly normal what happens on the flop. Stewart checks to the raiser, the raiser makes the c-bet and Stewart calls with top pair.

This is also a good example of a spot where a raise achieves next to nothing. Sinclair would fold all his worse hands apart from the flush draw and Stewart would have problems continuing if Sinclair calls.

Commitment on the Turn?


In for his stack if he calls now.

The 8 on the turn is a card that doesn’t change too much but it creates more possible draws and 9-8 and 8-8 have now become the best hand.

After Stewart checks, Sinclair bets again. That shows Stewart that he’ll have to play for his whole stack if he calls now.

The pot odds of 3:1 are pretty good for Stewart but his hand just isn’t very strong. Now, should you really call a bet on the turn knowing you’ll have to call all-in on the river?

There’s obviously the possibility that Sinclair was on a bluff and would give up on the river but Stewart must be aware that he might be playing for his life.

What Goes Around

And there we go. A ten on the river, a check from Stewart and a big bet from Sinclair. So: which hands are in Sinclair’s range now?

1. Strong hands – A-A, 9-9, 3-3, 8-8, A-9, A-8, A-3, 9-8. An A-T would probably not bet twice before the river. Also, there are Q-J, J-7 and 6-7 which would semi-bluff twice.
2. Busted draws – two spade hands and some gutshots
3. Air

Jack Sinclair

A good bully denied this time.

We’ve excluded hands like A-K, A-Q and A-J, which in that order become less and less likely. The reason for this omission is simple.

Good tournament players don’t often bet three times with top pair because they’re often beat if they get called three times. You can sometimes win more chips if you check on one street.

This is also the main reason why Stewart takes such a long time to find a call in this situation.

There are actually quite a few good hand combos he could be up against – 12 different possible sets + 3 flushes + 36 two pair = 51 combos – but these are still significantly less than if we didn’t exclude better aces.

Stewart’s A-4 is thus just as good as A-K in this spot as both these hands only beat a bluff and Sinclair’s range only has complete air and two pair or better in it.


Jack Sinclair is chipleader and pretty good at bullying Scott Stewart. First, he represents the ace, then adds a gutshot draw.

Then he puts the chips in the middle when the spade draw doesn’t come in, hoping he can force folds out of busted draws and weak value hands.

Stewart, on the other hand, keeps his cool in a very hot spot and finds the winning call when it was very possible that he could have run into a better hand and busted the tournament.


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Daily 3-Bet: Master Schulman, German Sandwich, 4 AM Fedor

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a diving volley, an overhead smash and a blistering cross-court winner that seals the tiebreaker in the first afternoon poker news set.

Want to see something featured in a future 3-Bet? Let us know in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Nick Schulman grabbing the lapels of the Poker Masters, Daniel Negreanu enjoys a German sandwich and Fedor Holz has jet lag.

1) Chapter 1 to Nick

Over the last couple of years Nick Schulman has rapidly become everyone’s favorite poker commentator.

0240 Nick Schulman

Player 1st, commentator 2nd.

His humanistic, inquisitive approach to calling the action coupled with his impeccable understanding of the game at its highest level have made him the best we’ve ever heard in the booth.

A key part of that sentence: his impeccable understanding of the game at its highest level.

Schulman is a poker player first and proven his mettle on poker’s biggest stages over and over in a career that’s spanned over a decade.

Perhaps commentating on the game has even opened a few more levels in his game as he’s been on a High Roller tear himself in 2017.

Besides a $50k SHR win at Seminole Hard Rock earlier in August Schulman was runner-up in two episodes of Poker After Dark before winning the first $50k event of the Poker Masters last night.

With a $918,000 cash he’s the current frontrunner for the Purple Jacket - at least until the second $50k final table plays out today. Final-table results below; watch the full replay over on PokerGO.

1. Nick Schulman, $918,000
2. Matt Hyman, $561,000
3. Stefan Schillhabel, $306,000
4. Steffen Sontheimer, $204,000
5. Dominik Nitsche, $178,500
6. Koray Aldemir, $153,000
7. Adrian Mateos, $127,500

2) DNegs Starts with German Sandwich

Speaking of the Poker Masters … as mentioned many times live streaming of the feature tables/final tables is available on PokerGO and, at just $10/month, a steal of a deal.

We’re also lucky in this age of Twitch streams and poker Vlogs that a few players involved are producing their own supplementary content with real behind-the-ropes access like never before.

Daniel Negreanu is, of course, one of those content providers and he delivered a 13-minute snapshot of his experience of the first $50k in a new Vlog posted last night. It covers the usual kind of ground but also includes our new favorite expression - “The German Sandwich” - aka having a German player on your left and right.

With at least 7 German high-stakes kingpins expected in every PokerMasters event it’s likely something we’ll hear a few more times. Watch the Vlog below:

3) Fedor has Jet Lag, Watches Overwatch at 4 am

The kingpin of all those German kingpins is Fedor Holz and he’s also one of those generous players providing his own supplementary coverage of the Poker Masters.


Can’t sleep, watch Overwatch

As part of his Primed Mind project Fedor is filming an “In the Life of a Champion” mini-doc over his week in Vegas and the first instalment arrived last night.

It covers much of the same ground as DNegs usually does - his diet, buying in, etc - but also follows him as he looks at a potential investment, does an interview and, as jet lag hits him, finds himself up at 4 am watching some Overwatch.

Fedor busted two bullets in Event #1 but as he got adjusted to the North American time zone his game picked up and he’s one of the final 7 in Event #2 starting today.

And guess who has the German Sandwich? Check the chip counts and watch the video below.

Event #2 Poker Masters $50,000 Buy-in

1. Fedor Holz 1,138,000 Germany
2. Adrian Mateos 745,000 Spain
3. Bryn Kenney 391,000 USA
4. Tom Marchese 1,011,000 USA
5. Steffen Sontheimer 848,000 Germany
6. Phil Hellmuth 702,000 USA
7. Christian Christner 1,416,000 Germany


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$800,000 GTD, Action Clock On as 888Live London Hits Oct. 5

With its smash hit poker festival in Sao Paulo now in the books, 888Live is going back to its roots.

At the beginning of October 888poker returns to its home poker room at the Aspers Casino in London, England. 

This time around the festival will offer 10 varied events over 12 days – but only 30 seconds to think.

£30 Sats, £400,000 Main Event

The next 888live London festival starts on October 2 with £30 satellites to the Opening Event.

888poker live aspers london

Get ready for action.

There’ll be seven of these before the Opening Event kicks off the festival on Thursday, October 5.

It’ll be a £220 buy-in event with a guaranteed prize pool of £120,000. This will be followed up by the £2,200 High Roller with £50,000 guaranteed. 

The Main Event has an £1,100 buy-in and a proper £400,000 in guaranteed prize money. There’ll be three Day 1s and simultaneous ME satellites running until the last possible minute.

The days in between will be filled by a number of other tournaments that should be familiar to the online player — a Hurricane, a Swordfish, a Lightning and a Whale. But you’ll also find a PLO and a Ladies event.

The final day of the festival will be October 16 when the Main Event restarts with just nine players left. The event will be live streamed so you can watch the action from home.

Bring in the Action Clock, Qualify Live or Online

The 888poker Action Clock will also be back on the tables for the Main Event and the High Roller events.

This means you just have 30 seconds to make your next move. This speeds up the game and stops unnecessary stalling.

The Aspers is running satellites for the Opening and the Main Event but there are also online satellites running.

The satellites cost $109 for the Main and just $12 for the Opening Event. As always, you can play sub-satellites to get into the direct qualifiers for even less money.

888live London Festival

Join the 888 gang in London!

The 888poker steps system lets you try your luck for as little as 1 cent so make as much use of it as you can.

Apart from the scheduled qualifiers, the steps tournaments run all the time and you can use the tournament tickets you win for all sorts of live and online events.

Get Into the Game

Everybody is welcome to play at the 888poker festival in London but if you want to win yourself a ticket online, you need an account.

To get started all you need to do is go to our 888poker review, click on the download button and take it from there. The whole procedure takes but a few minutes and will give you access to an $888 sign-up bonus.

If you need to cut your teeth, get some practice in the scheduled tournaments or the ongoing XL Eclipse series.

The buy-ins for the XL series start at $5 so you can experience the epic battle of a big tournament for the price of a sandwich (actually, compared to London, you won’t get a sandwich for that money).


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Daily 3-Bet: Phil on Phil, Boom Shaka Laka, Java 4 GPL

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a picture of you wearing a t-shirt with a picture of yourself on the cover of your own afternoon poker news magazine.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Lay it on us on Twitter or in the comments below.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a delightful moment of Phil Hellmuth inception, Spain’s David Laka takes Sochi by storm and Nipun Java joins GPL India.

1) Hellmuth Wears Hellmuth

One thing Phil Hellmuth has never been accused of over his decades of prominence in the poker industry?


Should have been pin of this, tho.

Being too humble.

For the amount of attention he’s brought to the game, though - and, despite the haters laments, how extraordinarily successful he’s been at it - how could we expect him to be?

It’s what makes Phil, Phil.

And what makes poker so watchable when he’s at the table.

Also, as Jeff Gross recently reminded us, poker isn’t just a game to Phil - it’s his life.

And for that no one should begrudge him.

Still … wearing a pin of your own face on your jacket as you play the Poker Masters yesterday?

That’s some next level self-love.

While Phil didn’t cash in the first of 5 Poker Masters events he did finish 14th and perhaps built some momentum for the hard week’s grind ahead. That pin would look pretty good on a Purple Jacket, too. 

H/t to 2+2er Rmbxr9 for noticing and grabbing the screenshot:


2) Laka Soars in Sochi

When we put together the long list of rising young poker stars for our 2017 Spirit of Poker Awards, it was Oriol Fernandex who grabbed most of the attention for the Spanish market.


David Laka (Photo: Seminole Hard Rock)

If we narrowed our list down after the Summer, though, perhaps it would be David Laka who would be the man on everyone’s ballots.

After a couple of nice final-table showings in Marbella (2nd in €2,200 HR) and Barcelona (7th in €10k HR) Laka’s taken things to the next level this week at partypoker Live in Sochi.

Over the weekend he nabbed the title in the $10k HR for $285,000 and, just moments ago, he finished second overall in the Main Event for another $600,000 payday.

Do the math and that’s just under $900,000 in six days. Rising Star potential? Yep. That definitely qualifies. Check the full rundown of the final-table action here on the partypoker Live blog or watch the full replay on the partypoker Live Twitch channel.

3) Nipun Java Joins Global Poker League India

The Global Poker League has abandoned thoughts of a Season 2 in the Americas/Europe this year and, despite some high points in Season 1, we’re not likely to see the full return of the Berlin Bears, San Francisco Rush and New York Rounders et al. when a Season 2 is played.

The GPL as a brand, though, is still an ongoing entity and in the process of making a big push in China and India with full Season 1s planned for 2017/2018. Season 1 in China, in fact, began September 9th with 12 teams that made it through a qualifying process that will play down to a champion over the next six months.

GPL India, meanwhile, has yet to begin (it should start in Q1 2018) but six teams will participate including the Bengaluru Hackers, the Delhi Diehards and the Mumbai Jetsetters.

It has also been busy signing some big local names to be a part of it including Shark Cage star Muskan Sethi, Vidwath Shetty and now 2-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Nipun Java as both the official ambassador and caster for the league.

Check the announcements below; more on GPL India here.

Super excited to be a part of @GPLIndia @gpl let’s go!!!

— Muskan Sethi (@muskaansethi) September 7, 2022

| More #GPLIndia News: “We’re happy to announce that @nipunjava will be the official ambassador & caster of our 1st season.

— GPL India (@GPLIndia) September 11, 2022


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Negreanu Bubbles, Germans All Over 1st Poker Masters FT

To win the first-ever Poker Masters Purple Jacket, Daniel Negreanu speculated he would need at least a win and a 3rd-place finish over the 5 events.

He had to settle for an 8th-place finish for $102,000 in Event #1 yesterday - short of both of those targets.

It certainly beats no cash at all, though - even if there’s a tantalizing $918,000 still out there for first and seven players he’ll have to catch on the money list before the week is up.

Team Germany Excels

The inaugural $50,000 buy-in event of the Poker Masters played down to a final table of 7 yesterday and Negreanu was the last to fall before it was set.

dominik nitsche psc barcelona 2017 1

Nitsche makes the FT.

Getting his 500k stack in good with JJ he fell to Nick Schulman’s KJ on a runner-runner straight and will have to fire early in Event #2 today and hope for better luck.

Schulman, meanwhile, advances to the final table where he’ll start third in chips behind Matt Hyman (1,460,000) and Steffen Sontheimer (1,255,000).

Sontheimer leads a quartet of impressive Germans into the final as Koray Aldemir (660,000), Dominik Nitsche (635,000) and Stefan Schillhabel (570,000) will join him when action picks up again today.

Spanish superstar Adrian Mateos (745,000) rounds out the final 7. Here’s how they stack up:

1. Matt Hyman 1,460,000
2. Steffen Sontheimer 1,255,000
3. Nick Schulman 1,050,000
4. Adrian Mateos 745,000
5. Koray Aldemir 660,000
6. Dominik Nitsche 635,000
7. Stefan Schillhabel 570,000

51 Entries, $2.5m Prize Pool

With one re-entry available until Level 9 many of the early bustees took advantage to push the total entries up to 51.

Phil Hellmuth IMG 3916

Comes up short in Event #1.

That made for a prize pool of $2,550,000 and a nice $918,000 up top for the winner. Negreanu’s min-cash of $102,000 set the early bar for the leaderboard in the race for the Purple Jacket.

Here are the full payouts for Event #1:

1. $918,000
2. $561,000
3. $306,000
4. $204,000
5. $178,500
6. $153,000
7. $127,500
8. $102,000

Among those to miss a cut of the money in Event #1 were Sean Winter, who finished 9th, Dan Smith, Phil Hellmuth, Ben Lamb and Ben Tollerene.

Event #1’s final table will be live streamed on PokerGO on a 30-minute delay starting at 12:30 p.m. Vegas time. Event #2, another $50,000 NLHE with one re-entry, will start at 2 pm and play down to a final table of 7.

Watch a full replay of yesterday’s action on PokerGO. See the full schedule for the week right here.


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Staples, Jørstad, Hildebrand Lead in Spirit of Poker Voting!

Have you got your vote in for the 2017 Spirit of Poker Awards?

If not, the time is now as the voting closes this Sunday, September 17.

Voting is open in three categories - Most Inspiring Player, Rising Star and Living Legend - and there’s still plenty of room to sway the votes for the three finalists in each.

Staples Leads MIP Count

As of today the leader of the signature Most Inspiring Player voting is, unsurprisingly, Jaime “PokerStaples” Staples.

The affable Canadian has earned a legion of fans through his ambitious live streaming and Vlogging and his epic 150k weight bet with Bill Perkins has endeared him to even more.

John Hesp 7680

Don’t count Hesp out yet.

The Team PokerStars Online pro and his Streamboat cohorts had to evacuate the Virgin Islands last week in advance of Hurricane Irma but he took the opportunity to visit New York City for the first time and swing back to his hometown of Lethbridge, Alberta.

The noticeably slimmer Staples has a “slim” (see what we did there?) lead in the voting, though, with British WSOP sensation John Hesp and Italian legend Max Pescatori currently joining him in the Top 3.

Liv Boeree and Kenny Hallaert are very close behind and could easily jump into the Top 3 with a surge of last-minute votes. Jeff Gross, Ema Zajmovic and Mikhail Semin need to rally the troops.

Get your vote in right here!

Most Inspiring Player - Current Top 3

Jaime Staples (CAN)
John Hesp (ENG)
Max Pescatori (ITA)

Jørstad, Fernández Neck-and-Neck for Rising Star

In our Rising Star category Spain’s Oriol Fernández and Norway’s Espen Uhlen Jørstad are a lock to make the final 3.


Espen Uhlen Jorstad

Jørstad’s particularly inspiring story of finding poker and changing his life around has clearly moved the needle with voters but Fernández’s fans aren’t letting it go without a fight.

Who will join them for the final selection panel? Right now 888poker pro Parker Talbot has the edge but Brazil’s Vivian Saliba could make a last-gasp push too.

Kelly Winterhalter is trailing but undoubtedly deserves her spot alongside the other four, regardless of the voting.

Make your vote for Rising Star here!

Rising Star - Current Top 3

Espen Uhlen Jørstad (NOR)
Oriol Fernández (SPA)
Parker “TonkaaaaP” Talbot (CAN)

Hildebrand Running Away with Living Legend

Make no mistake: When Sweden’s Per Hildebrand made the final five nominees for the 2017 Living Legend Award, he may have been overshadowed by some bigger names but he was never a “throw-in.”

Per Hildebrand

Hildebrand = HoF

The 2017 inductee into the Swedish Poker Hall of Fame deserves every accolade that comes his way but, it seemed, was a longshot to leap over such poker luminaries as Mike Sexton and Marcel Luske.

Consider that longshot to have come in. Hildebrand has crushed the voting over the past couple of months and now holds a commanding lead heading into the final days.

Could Sexton or Luske overtake him before Sunday? It’s possible, we suppose. Barny Boatman and Padraig Parkinson could, too. 

But Hildebrand is clearly much-loved in Scandinavia and beyond and now the clear favorite to bring the Living Legend trophy back to Sweden.

Vote for Living Legend right here!

Living Legend Award - Current Top 3

Per Hildebrand
Mike Sexton
Marcel Luske

The 2017 Spirit of Poker Awards will be presented in a live ceremony at the 2017 Battle of Malta. See our past winners here.


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Daily 3-Bet: Masters Blasters, Surging Serda, Fond on Molly

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a flat-seam shoulder, a two-button closure and the perfect 2.5″ lapel on your dashing new afternoon poker news sports coat.

Want to squeeze something in a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find poker’s heavy hitters converging on Aria, Patrick Serda has a nice week and the critics (save a couple) are sweet on Molly’s Game.

1) Poker Masters Primed

Are you ready for a new tradition to stake its turf in the high-stakes poker world?

Adrian Mateos Day2C Main Event2

Mateos: Purple Jacket dark horse?

We definitely are, and if you haven’t primed up for the first-ever Poker Masters on Poker Central, here’s a quick guide to get you up to speed.

Besides two of poker’s biggest stars in Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth a deluge of the game’s brightest talent has descended on Vegas to try and grab their share.

Team Germany is in the house. Justin Bonomo is back and ready for battle.

Spain’s Adrian Mateos and Sergio Aido are in. And a true who’s who of high-stakes poker from Doug Polk to Charlie Carrel to Brian Rast to Ben Lamb should be in the mix.

It’s gonna be lit and it starts today at 5 pm PT. Some of the buzz from the participants:

Getting used to playing the best of the best again… #preparation #PokerMasters #TeamGermany #Vacation

— Stefan Schillhabel (@becksundsoda) September 12, 2022

Next-lvl-prep for #PokerMasters with @becksundsoda and Christian
Let’s crush 1/3 for now#ariapoker

— Go0se.core! (@RunGo0seRun) September 13, 2022

The first half of Team Germany arrived in Vegas today 🙂 #PokerMasters starts on Wednesday. Livestreamed by @PokerGO. Let’s win that jacket!

— Stefan Schillhabel (@becksundsoda) September 12, 2022

I was so happy to leave Vegas in July and now I’m excited to be back for Poker Masters! Nothing like a month off to reignite the flame

— Justin Bonomo (@JustinBonomo) September 13, 2022

Aggg no pudo ser el HR quede el 19… mañana a vegas para jugar el poker masters!

— Adrián Mateos Díaz (@Amadi_17) September 11, 2022

2) Serda Wants It More

So, Canada’s Patrick Serda is in the midst of a pretty solid week of poker.


Reason to smile. (Photo: PokerStars)

Semi-famous for his deal in the 2016 EPT Prague €10,300 High Roller where he gave William Kassouf the trophy and walked away with most of the cash, Serda is putting his own name in lights with a couple of big showings.

After running away with the WCOOP $10,300 NLHE High Roller title and $469,191 earlier this week, Serda is now chipleader with 21 players left at the $2,220 Canadian Poker Championship.

There’s $400,000 up top for that one and with 90m chips heading into Day 4 Serda is in line for one hell of a good ROI this week if he takes it down.  He’ll still have to outlast a few poker beasts in Ema Zajmovic, Kyle Bowker and Mike Leah to get there but there’s no doubt he’s got the chops.

Watch the action on the live stream from the Playground Poker Club below:

3) The Reviews Are In … and They Like It (Mostly)

As we mentioned earlier in the week, the Aaron Sorkin written/directed Molly Bloom biopic premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival over the weekend and gave critics a sneak peek at the much-anticipated film.

So far, a lot of them like it. Besides this dude at The Guardian, most were quite generous on their takes - and in particular towards Jessica Chastain’s performance as Bloom.

It currently has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes which, while still very early in its run, is a pretty good start. Check out some of the more glowing reviews at The Verge, Slashfilm, Collider and Vulture. Here’s the trailer again below:


Please choose an option to vote



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A New Poker Tradition? Poker Masters Debuts on Poker Central

As the warm tones of broadcaster Jim Nantz remind us every April, The Masters is “a tradition unlike any other” in golf.

Will tonight’s first-ever Poker Masters eventually inspire that same lofty, hushed admiration?

The poker world gets a new prestigious trophy to aspire to this week but it’s not the usual shiny bracelet or creative sculpture.

Instead, it’s a purple jacket - inspired by the legendary green jacket of The Masters and designed by American designer Waraire Boswell.

Who will wear the first one? And will it - along with the teems of cash to be won - become a new poker tradition?

We’ll find out this week on Poker Central.

What is the Poker Masters?

If you’ve missed the lead-up to this week’s series, the Poker Masters is a five-event High Roller series playing out at the Aria Casino in Las Vegas from Sept. 13-20.

Rainer Kempe

Team Germany wants it too.

There are four opening ‘prelim’ tournaments each with a $50,000 buy-in followed by a final $100,000 Championship tournament.

The purple jacket goes to the player who wins the most money over all five tournaments.

The fees for players are mostly waived (late reg and re-entries excepted) and those who play in all four prelims play the $100k for free as well.

The Format

The $50k tournaments will be played over two days while the $100k tournament will run over three days.

Starting stacks will be 125,000 chips and levels are 30 minutes. Every day will play down to a final table of nine, which return the following day to play to a winner.

Re-entry is available until Level 9.

In the $100k Championship tournament starting stacks are 200,000 chips and levels are 60 minutes. This one is a Freezeout so no re-entries are possible.

The following rules also apply:

Tables are seven-handed
Big blind pays ante for entire table
30 second shot clock; each player also three 60 second extensions
No headphones, sunglasses or cell phones at the table
Dress code is business casual

Who’s Playing?

There’s no public registration list yet so we don’t know exactly how many players are expected in the Poker Masters.

jason koon 1

Jason Koon is in.

However, it seems that the initiative has been welcomed and many of the usual High Rollers have tweeted about it.

Just a few of the players who have confirmed their participation:

Daniel Negreanu
Phil Hellmuth
Fedor Holz
Koray Aldemir
Doug Polk
Rainer Kempe
Jason Koon
Stefan Schillhabel
Dominik Nitsche

Holz will even have a documentary team following him in Vegas for the full week. Ali Nejad and David Williams will call the action in the commentary booth.

Side Action

In addition to the tournament action there will likely be plenty of side bets between the players.

The most prominent so far is, of course, Daniel Negreanu, who has announced $50k ‘must win’ side bets between him and over 20 players.

If Negreanu wins the Purple Jacket he’s in line for a $1m+ added payout; if he loses to one of the selected players, he’s only out $50,000.

Current list of players I have $50k bets against to win the Purple Jacket

If Christoph or DP don’t play the first event those bets are off.

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 12, 2022

Where Can You Watch?

The Poker Masters will air all week on PokerGO, the subscription poker streaming service provided by Poker Central.


All the action from Aria on PokerGO

Feature tables will be cards-up and air on a 30-minute delay.

Poker Masters PokerGO Stream Schedule

Wed., Sept 13 – Event 1 $50,000 Day 1 Feature Table – 8 pm ET

Thurs., Sept 14 – Event 1 $50,000 Final Table – 3:30 pm ET

Friday, Sept 15 – Event 2 $50,000 Final Table – 3:30 pm ET

Sat., Sept 16 – Event 3 $50,000 Final Table – 3:30 pm ET

Sunday, Sept 17 – Event 4 $50,000 Final Table – 3:30 pm ET

Monday, Sept 18 – Event 5 $100,000 Feature Table – 8:30 pm ET

Tuesday, Sept 19 – Event 5 $100,000 Feature Table – 5:30 pm ET

Wed., Sept 20 – Event 5 $100,000 Final Table – 3:30 pm ET

A full replay of the previous day’s action will be available within a few hours after play ends.

Subscribe to PokerGO for $10 a month or $99 for an entire year. Read more about PokerGO here.


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Daily 3-Bet: Sochi Goes Off, Phil = Snoopbort, Think w/ Liv

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a tin of biscuits, a cup of PG Tips and an illuminating sit down with an old friend at the afternoon poker news tea party.

Got something you want to share in the 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or message us below.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a new poker record broken in Russia, Phil Gruissem does his Sochi G-thang and check out the big brain on Liv Boeree.

1) Grab Them Casino Units

The partypoker LIVE MILLIONS Russia, currently ongoing in Sochi, is now officially the largest poker event in Russian history.

Mike Sexton 5886

And btw … you get an overlay!

After a couple of successful festivals hosted in Sochi this year, the latest partypoker affair blew the roof right off the record with 999 entries in the main event.

When partypoker Chairman Mike Sexton made the announcement to the field, he also had an interesting twist to add:

“And let me just add one more thing! To show you the integrity of partypoker and this tournament, and to show you that we didn’t add anyone extra into the tournament - the final number of entrants is 999! You get an overlay in this tournament!

An overlay of exactly one entry … but still. Very cool of partypoker to keep it real.

Also an interesting twist? While the winner gets $1m USD, payouts are actually made in something called “Casino Sochi Units (CSU)” which are required by Russian law.

For the record the winner’s take is 1,160,000 CSU. Only in Russia! (Read in Yakov Smirnov voice obv.)

Around 85 players are left in the Main Event including a killer feature table that includes Dzmitry Urbanovich, Steve O’Dwyer, Vlad Troranovskiy and more. Watch it live below:

2) Philbort Unleashes G-Thang

Also only in Russia, as far as we know: Shisha at the tables, enabling High Roller Phil Gruissem to get his smoke on while he throws around some CSUs in the cash games:

Wanna be snoop…Shisha+cashgame in sochi

— Philipp Gruissem (@TheRealPhilbort) September 12, 2022

3) Liv’s Big Think

One of the myriad reasons Liv Boeree is one of the 8 finalists for our 2017 Most Inspiring Player Award?

She’s always on the job trying to bridge the gap between mainstream understanding of the poker world and the game itself and to put poker’s rational thought process into terms people from all walks of life can grasp/take advantage of.

Here she is again on The Big Think explaining how poker can help you “think clearly and wisely.” Preach it, Liv.



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Talbot Streams Win, ImTriggered Crushes XL Eclipse Opener

It’s a busy month at 888poker.

888Live Sao Paulo just ended, the next festival in London has been announced and, to bridge the gap, you have the XL Eclipse series with almost 200 tournaments in between.

The first weekend saw huge player fields to get things started including the Opening Event where 2,300 players generated a $345,000 prize pool.

888poker pro Parker Talbot is also off to a good start as he won an event, almost won another and secured his main event ticket.

ImTriggered is Player of the Weekend

The Opening Event gave ImTriggered – a player based in Costa Rica – the biggest payday of their online career.

In fact ImTriggered not only took down the Opening Event and $58,200, they also final-tabled the $1,050 Whale for another $18,400 and finished 45th in the MegaDeep.

What makes it even more impressive is that these were the only three tournaments ImTriggered played on the XL Eclipse opening day.

#7 Opening Event Final Table Payouts







Costa Rica


































The largest sum won on the first XL weekend, however, went to Germany. CllsDntMttr was victorious in the Whale and added $64,826 to his 888poker account.

Talbot Wins One … and Almost Another

He’s one of the recent additions to the 888poker ambassador team and he’s quickly become one of the most successful.

parker talbot psc barcelona 2017 2

Live or online, Talbot making waves.

While streaming live on Twitch, Talbot went all the way in Event #12, The Sunday Tornado, and won $6.5k.

At the same time he played in a $1k satellite to the XL Main Event and won a ticket.

“I think Day 1 of XL was a huge hit” said Talbot. “I’m biased of course as I shipped event #12 for 6.5k.

“This tournament was a pretty nice day saver for me. I think I still managed to lose $$$ on the day (1k whale) but overall it was a beauty ship with some nice hands 13 hours into the stream/session. 

“I’m really really looking forward to playing more XL Eclipse events, other Sundays and some of the high roller events in particular.” 

After 13 hours of live streaming Talbot not only went back to the tables the next day he also played in the “Tornado” again – and finished second!

Get Your Hands Dirty

The Tornado seems to be pretty popular among 888 ambassadors. Former 888 pro Xuan Liu also made the final table of the Sunday edition and finished in 5th place.

Dominik Nitsche added another two cashes to his 888poker resume when he became the only 888poker ambassador to cash in the Whale – the highest buy-in event of the weekend at $1,050 to play.

Nitsche finished just off the final table in 16th while he also made the top 50 in the Opening event.

$888 Bonus

The XL series runs until September 24 with tournaments from $5 to $5,000 buy-in, so get your hands dirty and play. If you don’t have an account yet, use our download links on the PokerListings 888poker review page to get yourself an $888 bonus.


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Daily 3-Bet: Tailing Fedor, Big DNegs Bets, Dope Jacket

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a relaxing scalp massage, a hint of product and just the right amount off the top and sides of the afternoon poker news coiffure.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or drop a note in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find an inside look at the life of a champion, Daniel Negreanu bets big on himself and Waraire Boswell goes for timeless poker style.

1) Fedor Gets Primed

If you don’t already know about it, this Wednesday sees the launch of the first-ever Poker Masters, an intriguing new five-event High Roller series developed by Poker Central.

Fedor Holz IMG 3504

Primed to win?

The nuts and bolts:

Dates: Sept 13-20
Events: Four single-re-entry $50k prelims + one $100,000 Championship freezeout event
Play: 7-Handed with 30-second shot clock; no sunglasses, headphones or phones
TV: Airs everyday on PokerGO app
Winner: Highest earner over all 5 events wins Purple Jacket

Needless to say, it’s going to be a sick week of poker; subscribe to PokerGO to watch it all happen live. 

Check the Poker Masters website for all the details.

If you’re looking for some cool complementary coverage, Fedor Holz and his Primed Mind team are also producing a behind-the-scenes documentary of Fedor’s week playing the series.

It’s called “In the Life of a Champion;” check the trailer below:

2) DNegs Bets on Himself

As if the bragging rights of biggest money winner and first-ever Poker Masters champion wouldn’t be enough, enthusiastic participant Daniel Negreanu has also pumped the pot with some big side bets. The terms: 

Looking for action for PokerMasters?
I want to bet myself
-even money
-must win purple jacket
-$50k cap per player

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 4, 2022

First person to bid the cap on a player gets the action unless the actual player wants it

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 4, 2022

So far, Daniel says, he’s got bets vs. 19 players at the cap of $50,000 apiece - although he’s hinted he may up it to $100k. So if he wins he collects $950,000; if any of the 19 players win he pays out $50k.

I have 19 bets at $50k a pop on winning Poker Masters Purple Jacket. Who wants to be #20? @phil_hellmuth still available

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 5, 2022

Good deal for Daniel, no? We’ll keep an eye on any bet updates before things kick off on Wednesday.

3) Not Your Grandpa’s Green Jacket …

While lots of people scoffed at the idea of a Purple Jacket (too derivative of Golf, terrible color, etc…) we thought it sounded like the start of a cool new tradition. Even if the jacket - much like the traditional Green Jacket from The Masters - is a fashion disaster.

Turns out, though - jacket is gonna look pretty dope thanks to designer Waraire Boswell:

For the #PokerMasters the Purple Jacket is the trophy. $300,000 worth of high stakes action starts Wednesday on @PokerGO.

— Poker Central (@PokerCentral) September 10, 2022

If we could pull off those loafers he’s wearing in that video we’d wear them all day, everyday. Check out more of Boswell’s work on his Instagram account.


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Join the 888poker Action Squad, Win Up to $100k Every Day

888poker’s largest online series yet – the XL Eclipse – has been running since Sunday and you can play in 13 tournaments every day until September 24.

Check here for the complete schedule.

Meanwhile 888poker has started another promotion and, again, it’s a big one.

Complete challenges, get scratchcards and play daily freerolls with 888poker’s new super heroes Blast Man, Captain SNAP and Turbo Warrior.

Spin the Superhero Wheel

“Taking Back the Game” is a mantra of 888poker and that means more fun and more power over the games that you play.

Open your 888poker lobby and you’ll see the new Superhero spin wheel pop up.

Spin it and you’ll win tickets to $1,000, $3,000 and $10,000 freerolls, get sports betting or casino bonuses and even €10 BLAST tickets.

superhero spinning wheel

Spin that wheel.

You can spin the wheel every day. But that’s only the beginning.

Every Power Scratchcard is a Winner

Next up are the Action Squad challenges. Complete any of the following challenges for more prizes:

The BLAST Man challenge – Win two BLAST tournaments with at least $1 buy-in in one day. (BLAST tournaments are 4-max SnG tournaments with an ultra-fast structure and a randomly generated prize pool).

The Captain SNAP challenge – Win 15 hands in No Limit SNAP. You must play at least stakes of 2c/5c. (SNAP is the fast-fold cash game on 888poker. No more waiting for stalling players.)

The Turbo Warrior challenge – Play any tournament or Sit-and Go with a buy-in of $8 or more.

The Flopomania challenge – Play 50 hands with an ante of 5c minimum no matter if you win or lose. (888poker’s latest innovation in poker. See a flop every hand and rethink your strategy.) 

Complete any (or all) of these challenges and you’ll get a Power Scratchcard (up to 4 per day). Every scratchcard wins and there are the following prizes:

$3,000 Action Squad tournament ticket
$1 Bonus
$2 Bonus
$5 Bonus
$10,000 Ultimate Hero tournament ticket
$1,000 in cash

Daily Action Squad Tournaments


3 shots at $100k daily.

There are three of them every day and each has a guaranteed prize pool of $3,000. But they’re not all the same…

The BLAST Man freerolls end in just six minutes. From then on it’s all in for everybody all the time.

In the Captain SNAP freerolls, you get to fast fold every hand you wish and move on to the next table.

And the Turbo Warrior freerolls – you guessed it – are just faster than any other freeroll you know.

$100,000 Grand Prize

If you make it to the top 888 players in any of the Action Squad freerolls you’ll get a Super Power Scratchcard (up to 3 per day).

Again, every scratchcard wins. But here the prizes are even bigger. The bonuses go up to $50 and you could win a ticket to the Ultimate Hero Freeroll, which has a prize pool of $10,000.

If you get really lucky you might win the ultimate cash prize of $100,000 – with nothing but a scratch of a card.

Ready to Unleash your Inner Hero?

The Action Squad promotion will run until November 5. To be eligible you must be a depositor on 888poker.

Create your own account through our 888poker review page and you’ll be eligible for our exclusive $888 bonus.

Sign up today and you can play the full two weeks of the XL Eclipse series and, as always, qualify for amazing 888poker Live events.


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Poker Hand of the Week: Why Phil Hellmuth is the Greatest

Nobody can match the 14 bracelets of Phil Hellmuth, the most successful player in WSOP history by a mile.

Because of his personality, however - and his controversial playing style - he’s not popular with everybody.

Those who say he isn’t really that good (and there are lots of them) better have a look at this one.

In our Hand of the Week Hellmuth takes on JC Tran (not last week at the WPT final table but a few years ago) and finishes the hand with a call that is both brave and spectacular.

Flop to River

It’s one of the preliminary rounds of PartyPoker Premier League Season 3. JC Tran – four years before he made the WSOP Main Event final table – is heads-up against the Poker Brat.

He’s leading with 388,000 in chips; Hellmuth sits with 212,000. Blinds are at 7000/15,000 (sic). 

Hellmuth is on the button and limps with    

Tran checks. There’s 30,000 in the pot with effective stacks of 197,000. The flop is   8  

Tran checks, Hellmuth bets 15,000 and Tran doubles the bet to 30,000. Hellmuth calls and the pot now has 90,000. Effective stacks are at 167,000.

The turn is the   Tran now bets 35,000 and Hellmuth calls again. There’s 160,000 in the pot and effective stacks are 132,000.

The river is the   Tran puts Hellmuth all-in and sends him into the tank. Hellmuth eventually decides to call with third pair and wins a huge pot.

Tran held    

Enjoy this amazing hand in the video below. By the way: you’ll also realize how much you miss Jesse May as a commentator.


Phil surely didn’t have much in this hand but manages to make an astonishing call (just look at JC’s face) and doubles his stack.


Too strong to fold.

Did he just feel it? Did he have the perfect read? Or was there method in this apparent madness? Let’s find out.

We start at the stack sizes. Hellmuth has just 14 big blinds left and is under quite a bit of pressure.

8-5s on the button, however, is too strong to fold. It doesn’t often make top pair but it’s semi-connected — and at least it’s suited.

Tran checks the big blind, which gives Phil some information about his hand. Tran won’t have a strong ace or a big pair because then he would’ve certainly exerted more pressure with a raise.

With hands like K-Q and K-J, he would probably raise as well.

Mysterious Check-Raise on the Flop

As Tran’s range now doesn’t have many aces in it, the flop is pretty good for Hellmuth. He’s hit middle pair, which heads-up is a pretty strong hand.

Tran checks and Hellmuth goes for a classic value bet. He’s trying to get money from two low clubs, gut shots like 7-6, 7-5, or a 4. But he’s in for a surprise as Tran responds with the smallest of check-raises.


What now, JC?

What do you make of a min check-raise that gives Hellmuth 5:1 odds to call? It’s a move that essentially polarizes Tran’s range on the flop.

As we said, there aren’t strong aces in his range but he could certainly play A-8 or A-4 two pair like this, which in this spot would be veritable monsters.

But the number of strong hands in Tran’s range is limited. He probably wouldn’t play A-7 or A-3 like that, as good players rarely turn their hands into bluffs if they don’t have to.

Easy Call

Obviously, Hellmuth continues in this hand. He isn’t getting pushed out that easily and Tran’s move smells very much like a semi-bluff.


Every strong player knows a flop check-raise is often a semi-bluff

Every strong player knows that a check-raise on the flop often is a semi-bluff mainly used to get the initiative and this flop allows for quite a few draws – club flush draws and gutshots with 7-6, 7-5, 5-2, and 5-3.

Hellmuth makes the call and the turn is the K, which shouldn’t change much in this situation and thus doesn’t weaken Hellmuth’s hand.

If Hellmuth had the better hand on the flop, he still has it most of the time and this applies even more to Tran’s hand. As Tran bets he confirms that, because if Tran had a king he would probably check to take it to showdown.

So, it still looks like Tran has either a draw or a monster. But there are still so many draws in Tran’s hand that Hellmuth had almost no choice but to call with 3:1 pot odds.

All or Nothing on the River


All or nothing time.

This is how Tran might be looking at the way this hand’s gone down.

On the flop he took over the initiative, and with another bet on the turn he tried to make a good hand fold (if maybe not a very good hand).

At the same time he has to consider what Hellmuth is putting him on and in that range he must have the club flush draw among others.

Pushing all-in is one way Tran was planning to play his hand to the end. His check-raise on the flop gave him several options:

1) If he hits the straight on the turn, he has a very well-hidden monster

2) He might be able to make Hellmuth fold a mediocre hand on a later street

3) He might be able to credibly represent a hand on the river that he doesn’t have

Hellmuth on the other side of the table doesn’t like this river card as it fills up several of the draws he had put Tran on. But then Hellmuth still finds a call, showing that he’s difficult to intimidate even by a scare card on the river.


Pretty good instincts.

Yes, Tran still has bluffs in his range as some gutshots haven’t come in. But it might have been the tournament situation that was the decisive factor.

If Hellmuth folds now he’s left with fewer than 10 big blinds, exposing him to even more pressure from an aggressive player like JC Tran. 

Yet it’s an amazing call because, let’s be honest, how many players would have even given it so much thought?


JC Tran pulls all the strings he has to drive Phil Hellmuth out of a pot where Hellmuth has a marginal holding.

But Hellmuth proves to be very stubborn and even stands his ground when a scary card on the river fills up some of the draws that are in Tran’s range.


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Daily 3-Bet: Mercier Evac, party Ladies, Cera = Player X

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a hint of Tobey, a dash of Leonardo and all of Ben’s white magic needed to encapsulate afternoon poker news’ Player X.

Want to see something featured in a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find the Mercier family headed North on I95, partypoker zeroes in on Ladies and Aaron Sorkin reveals some Molly’s Game secrets.

1) Merciers Reverse Course

“Poker Twitter,” as it’s become known, more often than not has brought out the (very) dark side of those most intricately connected to the game. 

jason mercier

Lots to consider.

It may have just saved the Mercier family from the worst of Hurricane Irma, though.

Last night one of South Florida’s most famous poker denizens, Jason Mercier, tweeted his intention to ride out the powerful storm at home with his wife, Natasha Mercier, and their soon-to-be-born son.

After a collective and authoritative push from friends and poker players (read the mass replies to his tweet below) Mercier reversed course a few hours ago and is now on I95 as part of the evacuating masses:

I know everyone thinks I’m crazy. But my wife and I are going to be staying in south Florida during hurricane Irma. Half my family left…

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) September 8, 2022

… and half stayed. While I know this isn’t the sartest decision, it’s one that I was lead to by a number of factors. Appreciate every1s…

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) September 8, 2022

… concern and texts. And most of all. Your prayers.

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) September 8, 2022

Changed our minds this morning. Traffic doesn’t look so bad now and we are headed north. Planning to stay in Orlando #PrayforSouthFlorida

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) September 8, 2022

Can’t believe how empty I95 is so far …

I guess most ppl have already left or have decided they aren’t leaving.

If you were worried…

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) September 8, 2022

… about traffic. It doesn’t seem to be a huge issue. The further north u are the better off you should be. Get out now while u still can

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) September 8, 2022

It obviously wasn’t an easy decision but it seems the outpouring of concern and support from Twitter helped push them to make the safer choice. 

Even being in Orlando the storm is still definitely nothing to trifle with and we wish the best and safest outcome for the Merciers and all of South Florida.

2) By Female Poker Players for Female Poker Players

On a lighter note … partypoker today announced it has launched partypoker Ladies.

kristen bicknell 3

Be like Kristen, too.

It’s a collective social media/live tourney project to give female poker players “the opportunity to socialize and play poker with like-minded women from around the globe.”

It starts with a ladies-only tournament at Grand Prix Killarney this week and a new $109 buy-in Powerfest Ladies event on Sept. 24.

It also includes a dedicated partypoker Ladies Instagram account, a Brazilian partypoker Ladies Instagram account and a partypoker Ladies Forum on Facebook.

Also expect “many more tournaments designed with female poker players in mind,” party says, so join in on the social media channels to stay up to date.

Kudos to party for the still much-needed push to make the game more inviting to all. More info from party here. Jump in and join the movement with a $500 bonus by opening an account here.

3) Michael Cera is Player X

The more we read about Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming Molly’s Game, the more intrigued we get.

It’s always hit-and-miss whether mainstream Hollywood movies ‘get poker right,’ so to speak, but Sorkin’s vision for the dramatization of Molly Bloom’s memoir is clearly more character piece than poker movie anyway.

Still it seems like he has at least some grasp on the poker elements, too, as he revealed in a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter.


Player X

Interestingly, while he says he was never going to use the real names of the A-List Hollywood stars who played in the poker games (Tobey Maguire, Leo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck) in the movie, he did compile a composite character named Player X:

“… One of the first things I said to Molly at our first meeting was that I’m not going to dish on any of these guys. I wouldn’t have wanted to under any circumstances, but in a movie where the hero is the hero because she doesn’t dish on anybody, you can’t either as the filmmaker.


“I kept bopping around as to how I was going to handle that visually. When these guys came in, was I going to pixelate their faces? There was a time where I thought, ‘OK, we’ll never really see their faces. We’ll just see hands and chips and cards, or they’ll always be in shadow.’


“But I didn’t like that, either. It was around then that I thought maybe there should be an experienced director doing this. Then I landed on Player X, this one player who wouldn’t have a name and who would do everything plotwise that I needed that character to do.”

And who will play this Player X? None other than Arrested Development/Superbad star Michael Cera. Full interview with Sorkin here.


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$300k Opening Event Kicks Off $9m XL Eclipse Series Sunday

Worn out from the WCOOP? Punch-drunk from Powerfest?

Better get some Red Bulls and Swanson dinners ready to rebuild your resilience for another big online series coming down the pike.

The $9m 888poker XL Eclipse series kicks off this Sunday with a massive 197-event schedule over the next two weeks.

The series finishes with its signature $1.5m GTD Main Event on Sept. 24 but there are dozens of big-money opportunities before then starting with this Sunday’s $300,000 GTD Opening Event.

Big Money Opps Abound

With a $160 buy-in this year’s Eclipse Opening Event has $300,000 in the prize pool to begin with but should most likely top that.


Dough will be spilling out everywhere.

Daily qualifiers have been running on 888poker for a while now with the Top 10 players in each earning Opening Event seats.

That should swell the prize pool up past the $300k mark and make for a tidy early payout for the champion.

The big Guarantees continue all next week and beyond with a $500,000 GTD High Roller, $500,000 GTD Super High Roller and $1.5m GTD Main Event punctuating things along the way.

Satellites for all the big events run daily for as little as 1¢ with plenty of ways to work your way up the ladder.

Deposit $10 or more with the promo code ECLIPSE10 and you’ll also get three tickets to daily XL Eclipse Qualifiers.

XL Eclipse Main Event qualifiers run every day at 19:30 GMT with the Top 3 all earning $1,050 Main Event seat.

Don’t Forget About the Minis

While the big-money events will grab the headlines don’t forget that with around 13 events per day there’s plenty on the table for low-stakes players.

The Opening Event, for example, is available in four different buy-in levels starting at $12. At least eight more events also cost just $12 to play including an Omaha tournament.

Four tournaments have buy-ins of just $5 and guarantees from $3k-$10k, which will most certainly be topped.


Fire up the lobby and jump in.

Daily qualifiers to the Mini events can also be found including one at 13:30 GMT that gives the Top 30 finishers seats to the $12 Mini Opening Event.

Freeroll into XL Eclipse Main Event

Making things even more accessible 888poker is running freerolls several times a day with tickets to the $1,050 Main Event.

Just log in to your 888poker account and you’ll find tickets for the freerolls in your account.

If you don’t have an 888poker account yet, check out our 888poker review page where we’ll guide you through the registration process and get you access to an $888 sign-up bonus.

Check the full 888poker XL Eclipse schedule here.


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Daily 3-Bet: PStars Pays More, $10m Millions, Galfond RIO-K

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a smoked meat sandwich, a slice of sugar pie and a leisurely Spring stroll down the afternoon poker news Rue Ste-Catherine.

Got a hot tip for a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments or on Twitter.

Today in the 3-Bet we find PokerStars stretching out its tournament payouts, partypoker brings the dough to MTL and Phil Galfond gives a non-update update.

1) More Paid on PokerStars

Interesting announcement by PokerStars this morning re. future tournament payouts.


In a nutshell: As of September 11, most tournaments (around 70% of them) on PokerStars will now have deeper payout structures. So:

Tourneys that paid 12% now pay 14%
Tourneys that paid 14% >> 16%
Tourneys that paid 16% >> 18%
Tourneys that paid 18% >> 20%

For about 30% of the weekly tourneys, payouts will stay the same including in the Progressive Knockouts, most high buy-in events and tournaments that already pay 20%. Says PokerStars:

“Changes will be subtle and most players will only notice when they realize that they’re experiencing the thrill of cashing a little more often.”

Read the full explanation of the changes here. Ostensibly, of course, this means more money returns to the hands of poker players.

Which is a good thing, right? Or is it? Give us your thoughts below.

2) $10m partypoker Millions Comes to Playground

Speaking of paying out more players … this looks like another big move from the surging partypoker Live with a huge $10m Millions event now planned for May:

Wow! A $10,000,000 GTD @partypokerlive Millions announced for May @PlaygroundPoker. This is massive!!!

— Kristen Bicknell (@krissyb24poker) September 2, 2022

If you’ve yet to hit the Playground Poker Club in Montreal, much like Sao Paulo it’s a must visit for poker players with amazing hospitality and great amenities - not to mention just outside one of North America’s best cities.

Get a taste of the venue and the vibe with the playdown of the $10,000 World Cup of Cards happening right now; More info on qualifying at partypoker via our review page.

3) Run It Once Still In Progress. Also: More Coming

When Phil Galfond announced in September last year he was launching his own real-money, RunItOnce poker site, the hardcore poker grinding community were overjoyed. His mission statement certainly hit the right chords:

“A poker site should value poker players. It should value the casual player for the money he’s willing to put on the line to play a game he loves. For choosing poker over other hobbies, and for choosing their site over other sites.


“It should value the enthusiast and semi-professional for the liquidity they provide and for growing the game. For spreading the word, across different mediums, about their favorite site…


“I want a fair, honest, transparent poker site that believes in the dream that I have lived. I’m going to give it my best shot.”

A year down the road, however, the project hasn’t quite moved along as quickly as hoped … and still has a ways to go, as Phil explained on Twitter in a poker-industry special pre-announcement of future announcements:

1/ Hey all. I’ve been asked many times for updates on @RunItOnce Poker. Unfortunately, there still isn’t much to update on right now.

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2022

2/ I mentioned in my last update that I’d let you know when we’re approaching a date we’re sure of.

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2022

3/ That’s still true, and that time has not yet come. Trust me, nobody wants us to get there ASAP more than I do.

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2022

4/ The reason for this non-update update is that we have some unrelated projects in the pipeline which I’m excited to announce when ready.

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2022

5/ I don’t want you to take my enthusiasm for these future announcements to mean I’ve forgotten about the project you’ve been waiting for.

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2022

6/ The overwhelming majority of our resources have been and will remain focused on RIO Poker.

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2022

7/ Thank you for your patience. Hopefully you’ll share my excitement for everything we’ve been working so hard on!

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2022


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Early Returns in from 888Live São Paulo: It’s a Blast

São Paulo, Brazil, is pretty lovely these days.

The sun is shining, the days are warm … and there’s poker in the air.

888Live São Paulo officially got underway yesterday and by the looks of it players are having a blast already.

Locals, Big-Names Alike

For this South American edition of 888Live players have gathered in the Casa Bossa Cidade Jardim.

Felipe Ramos

Felipe Ramos brings the hospitality.

Casa Bossa is a large mall in the heart of the 12m-person metropolis and the tournament area is a multi-functional hall that’s also been used for events like the introduction of the Porsche Panamera

While there was never a doubt the locals would come out in force in this poker-mad city, 888Live wisely moved the High Roller event to the beginning of the schedule to secure the early arrival of all sorts of big names in the poker business.

888 Pros and ambassadors from across Europe have made the trip to Brazil including Kara Scott, Chris Moorman and Sofia Lövgren, who have all been overwhelmed by the magnificence of one of the largest cities in the world.

OMG I’m in São Paulo, Brazil. That’s so wild. #888liveSP

— Kara Scott (@KaraOTR) September 7, 2022

Arrived in São Paulo for @888poker Festival here this week 6th-12th. How cool isn’t this city?!

— Sofia Lövgren (@Sofia_Lovgren) 6. September 2017

888poker also, as per usual, invited some special guests which this time around include Leo Margets and Tiffany Michelle, both previous Last Women Standing in the WSOP Main Event.

Empezamos el HR del #888liveSP y este es mi table draw

— Leo Margets (@LeoMargets) September 6, 2022

When you get seated with @Sofia_Lovgren, @TiffnyMichelle and @LeoMargets at the #888LiveSP High Roller, you bet it’s #SelfieTime!

— 888poker (@888poker) September 6, 2022

November Niner Bruno Foster Politano and winner of PokerListings 2017 Most Inspiring Player Felipe Ramos are also of course there and will do their part with tons of local hospitality.

Amanhã começa o 888 Live in SP !! Mais precisamente no Shopping Cidade Jardim 

Amanhã ja…

— Bruno Foster (@brunofoster) 5. September 2017

Things to Do and Denilson, Too

The main event has R1,000,000 guaranteed but there is also an Invitational where former football stars Denilson and Cafu will play. The winner will get a 2017 WSOPE main event prize package and travel to the King’s Casino in November.


What’s a poker event in Brazil without a football legend?

David Tuchman and WSOP runner-up Jesse Sylvia will be in the commentary booth and the live stream will start when the main event gets going.

If you’re in Brazil for the first time, though, take advantage of it. 888poker has even collected a Top 5 list of things to do when you’re not playing including:

— Visit Ibirapuera Park. It’s a big place with enough room for museums and monuments. The buildings were planned by star architect Oscar Niemeyer, the guy who also planned the complete city of Brazilia.

— There’s a Football Museum and if you know about the status of football in Brazil, you know it’s a must.

— Samba. Head to bar-ridden Vila Madalena and you’ll see it really is a street dance.

— Head to Paulista Avenue to shop

— To satisfy your cultural needs, visit the longest running musical in the world, Les Misérables, at Teatro Renault.

London Awaits

Want to be a poker hero and experience the thrill of another major cosmopolitan city at the next 888poker festival?

888Live London takes place in October at the Aspers Casino in London and you can qualify online. Simply open an account via our review page and you’ll also be eligible for our exclusive $888 bonus


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Jachtmann: “There’s an Indisputable Trend Towards PLO”

Jan-Peter Jachtmann is a household name in the German poker scene.

The publisher of a German poker print magazine and owner of a German poker news site, Jachtmann has also made a name for himself on the felt with, among other things, a gold bracelet in the $10k PLO Championship at the 2012 WSOP.

Jachtmann as well stars in several TV poker shows including Cash Kings - an ongoing entity filmed at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov and one of the biggest cash games in Europe.

PartyPoker recently secured Jachtmann as an ambassador for the German poker market (alongside former tennis champion Boris Becker) and both are now promoting the former market leader’s return to online poker glory.

Jachtmann’s specialty is the game of Pot-Limit Omaha and we met up with him in the high-stakes cash game area of the Gran Casino Barcelona last month to find out why PLO is on course for a dramatic rise.

PokerListings: Is PLO generally underrepresented?

Jan-Peter Jachtmann: Pretty much the only $10k buy-in PLO events happen here and at the PSCs in Prague and Monaco.

The World Series is obviously unmatchable; they even have a $25k tournament. I’m a bit disappointed, though, that the PLO event at WSOP Europe only has a €2k buy-in.

Jan Jachtmann 2013 WSOP EuropeEV041500 PLOFinal TableGiron8JG0854

PLO still needs a push, though.

PL: You mean €5k would have been more appropriate?

JPJ: Definitely. PLO is unfortunately still treated a bit poorly there. If you ask why that is, you’d always get the answer that there are more Hold’em players, which of course is true.

However, there are now a large number of PLO cash-game players.

At many poker festivals in Europe you’ll now find more PLO than Hold’em cash-game tables running — for example in Austria, but also here in Barcelona or in Monaco.

There is an indisputable trend towards Pot-Limit Omaha.

PL: You often hear people say poker is dead, everyone is solid, there’s no value in it anymore. Nobody ever says that about PLO.

JPJ: The development from being a beginner to becoming a good player is just longer in PLO.

In Hold’em you have that option to just put it all-in pre-flop and then hope to get called – or not get called. Either way the action is over before the flop comes down.

In PLO, that option isn’t there. Not just because it’s not a No-Limit game but also because there isn’t that perfect starting hand like pocket aces in Hold’em.

It takes more to become good at PLO and to avoid mistakes. But the general level of play is going up in PLO, too.

Yet it’s far from becoming boring. This game has so many variants – and so much variance – that it’ll never be boring.

kaiser jachtmann

Ronny Kaiser (left)

In PLO every player can develop his own personal style and you can play many hands in different ways which might all be legitimate. There’s no simple right and wrong way.

You have plenty of space for tactical manoeuvres because the hand values are so close to each other. Some players prefer to raise with high cards, while other rather use rundowns.

Ronny Kaiser, who is one of the best Omaha players in the world, sometimes raises with completely bizarre hands and the result is he’s almost impossible to figure out.

But there are parallels to Hold’em, too. For example, you shouldn’t bluff a beginner as he doesn’t know the thought process behind that bluff – yet.

PL: Should there be PLO streams at poker events?

JPJ: Let me put it this way: in German poker shows like the Cash Kings, the episodes where we’re showing PLO always get a lot more feedback than the others.

Part of the reason is that these are the nights with the biggest pots. But it’s also because there are a lot of weird, funny and sometimes absurd situations — particularly if you have players like Gus Hansen, Leon Tsoukernik and me at the table.

Leon Tsoukernik 4237

Leon has his say.

In Hold’em that just doesn’t happen very often. You need people like Rob Yong who do crazy things sometimes.

Leon, of course, is also someone who not only loves the game but also the show. If nothing happens at the table Leon goes mad. If you turn out to be a rock at the table you just won’t get invited anymore.

But Hold’em won’t go away. It’s far too easy to learn for that. Everybody gets two cards and then let’s go. The other game is just more complex.

PL: The number of online players has been dwindling for years but Barcelona saw some of the largest live tournaments ever in Europe. The fascination seems to still be there.

JPJ: I’m very happy to see live poker so alive. Because poker is awesome. Poker is the most awesome thing! I’m saying that even though I’m now representing the online provider partypoker.

I started playing online again, too, because of my contract. After several years of a hiatus I’m surprised that I’m actually having fun doing it.

However, I must admit that technological progress has passed me by. I’ve never used software like Hold’em Manager or any of the others and I really don’t want to either.

That’s the beauty of live poker. You have that one single table. You can see the people; you see the dynamic, the psychology. You look someone in the eye and you find that read.

jachtmann becker

Big in Germany.

That’s just missing online. Which is why I like how PartyPoker, but also the other big operators, give players the chance to use online poker as a vehicle to qualify for live events.

Just think of all the events in the Caribbean, in Sochi, Rozvadov or Nottingham. There are always plenty of players there who qualified online for little money and then play for millions of euros in big events.

PL: partypoker has been rising like a phoenix lately. They went from market leader to oblivion to back in business.

JPJ: Several factors play into this. Some of the most important driving forces at partypoker are recently employed. John Duthie, who was one of the founders of the EPT, and Rob Yong of Dusk till Dawn, who never shies away from things like paying an overlay if it helps the game.

Also, competition is good for the industry. That’s just a fact. My impression is that the operators now care more than they used to and players can only benefit from this. I think that, in general, things are really looking up.

PL: Thank you, Jan-Peter Jachtmann.


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Daily 3-Bet: Wow São Paulo, Isildur Pony Up, Masseur ElkY

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a quick finger flex, an elbow in the deltoids and the soothing comfort of an expert afternoon poker news deep-tissue massage.

Want to see something featured in a future 3-Bet? Drop us a note in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find the 888poker world converging on São Paulo, the pull of high-stakes PLO and a new side profession for Bertrand ‘ElkY Grospellier.

1) São Paulo FTW

One of the places in the world we’ve yet - but desperately want - to visit for a live poker festival?

São Paulo, Brazil, where the 888Live Festival is set to kick off today.

It’s the best place to play poker in Brazil, so we’ve heard, and based on our experience with Brazilian rails we can only imagine how fun and welcoming the local hospitality will be.

The Festival schedule also looks great as does the city itself, as you can see from 888poker pro Sofia Lovgren’s arrival:

Arrived in São Paulo for @888poker Festival here this week 6th-12th. How cool isn’t this city?!

— Sofia Lövgren (@Sofia_Lovgren) September 6, 2022

We’re pretty sure she meant ‘is’ over ‘isn’t’ there, but you get the idea. It’s too late to win a package but not to make a beeline to the airport and get there in time for Day 1F on Saturday. Vamos!

2) Isildur, Trickett, Tsoukernik Fire Up $100/$200 PLO

If you prefer (or can only afford) to get your poker thrills vicariously, partypoker has the jam for you right now with a killer lineup of high-stakes PLO ongoing in Trickett’s Room:

Join us @partypoker 6pm BST for high stakes action! $100/200 PLO with @Samtrickett1 @Patrik_Antonius @ViktorBlom Tsoukernik, Yong & more

— High Stakes Poker (@trickettsroom) September 6, 2022

And we’re off! 4 handed to begin with @Samtrickett1 @Patrik_Antonius @jpjachtmann & Pantling aka Thepucker #railbird

— High Stakes Poker (@trickettsroom) September 6, 2022

If you remember the days of Rail Heaven on Full Tilt Poker, you know what partypoker’s hoping to replicate with these high-stakes sessions … and you know things can get really, really fun, quickly. Especially when the Blom-er gets involved.

If you don’t have the partypoker software to rail the action yet, get it right here.

3) ElkY Grinds the Masseur-cuit

H/t to @RobD!pper for finding this gem of an ElkY doppelgänger grinding the massage tables at the Rio:

@elkypoker @nojennyno @nanonoko Elky gone bust and now recouping bankroll as masseur in the Rio ????@RioVegas

— Rob (@RobD1pper) September 5, 2022

As ElkY did win $2.3m in the One Drop this summer he’s likely not feeling the pinch enough to rub some tourists down for cash … although he did say in a recent interview with GQ UK he could have ended up becoming Heisenberg if poker hadn’t worked out.

Either way we get the lols thinking of him saying “so sick, so sick” in either job.


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Ben Zamani Cruises to $347k Payday at Winstar River Poker Series

Reigning WPT Player of the Year Ben Zamani added yet another impressive result to his burgeoning poker career last night.

The Floridian outlasted all 926 entries in the Winster River Poker Series Main Event last night to win $347,134.

Over the past few years Zamani has become one of the most successful MTT players in the world with two WSOP bracelets, numerous WPT final tables and millions in live tournament earnings.

With last night’s win Zamani moved to just past $4.4m in lifetime live tournament earnings, which easily puts him in the top 300 players all-time.

Cue the Huge Comeback

Incredibly Zamani started the last day of the Winster Main Event as one of the shortest stacks with just 10 big blinds.

Benjamin Zamani

Ben Zamani

Undaunted Zamani managed to build his stack of 535k to a much more manageable 2.6 million by the time the nine-player final table began.

The always-vocal Mike Dentale was the final table bubble boy as he busted in 10th place to take home a consolation prize of $32k.

The final table itself included Maxx Coleman, who’s been on a hot streak in Oklahoma with two Winstar titles in the last three years.

Coleman was denied a third title, however, as a Zamani ended up busting him in a tournament-defining hand.

In the hand Coleman open-shoved for his last 850k with A 3 but opponent Lang Nguyen re-shoved with pocket kings. Zamani called for 4.5m with pocket queens.

A queen hit the board and that was enough to propel Zamani all the way to heads-up play against Chinese poker pro Chengce Jiang.

Zamani, Jiang Find Heads-Up Deal

It didn’t take long for Zamani and Jiang to hammer out a heads-up deal that was basically a chip chop with $60,000 left to fight for up top.

winstar globe listing image

Zamani was the aggressor early on and he quickly snatched the chip lead from Jiang. Jiang didn’t go away quietly, however, and battled back to once again grab the chip lead.

That paved the way for a hand where the tournament was all but settled when Zamani and Jiang made trip eights but Zamani had the better kicker.

The Winster River Poker Series Main Event will count as Zamani’s fourth biggest live tournament score, which is impressive considering Zamani has had some massive results on the WSOP and WPT.

The WRPS is one of the biggest regional poker festivals outside the WPT or WSOP and held every year at the Winstar Casino in Oklahoma.

Here’s a complete look at the final-table results:

1. Ben Zamani — $347,135
2. Chengce Jiang — $297,760
3. Johanssy Joseph — $188,904
4. Dwight Sellars — $142,011
5. Lang Nguyen — $102,986
6. Chris Hooper — $83,073
7. Maxx Coleman — $64,650
8. Gnana Dudduk — $50,893
9. Lawrence Porath — $40,537


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A Noob’s Guide to 8-Game: Learn 8 Poker Games, Crush Them

Do you want to play against bad poker players who don’t even know the rules of the game(s) they’re playing?

It’s time to give 8-Game a try.

During the golden days of online poker you could earn a lot of money playing Texas Hold’em just by knowing the rules, hand rankings and some very rudimentary strategy. Very rudimentary.

Today, things are different. More players are solid and make fewer mistakes in Hold’em. Even in Pot-Limit Omaha you’re lucky to find a really bad player.

But it is still possible to find poker games (and plenty of them) where you don’t have to sit with a HUD, battle math geniuses or analyze your hands for hours. And you can still have a ton of fun and earn a bit of money.

What is 8-Game?

As the name suggests, in 8-Game you play 8 different poker variations.

WSOP Chips4

Stack ’em.

If you can understand the rules and the basic strategy for all of them, you’re already better than most of your opponents at the lower stakes.

Especially during tournament series like the PokerStars Micro Millions, you’ll find a lot of really soft players just poking around in 8-Game for fun.

You might come up against some strong players but remember  — they aren’t using tracking software to the same extent as in Hold’em or Omaha.

This makes 8-Game a more fun and fair game, too. As an additional plus you’ll also learn to master more variations of poker, which will develop you as a poker player, too.

What’s not to like?

Where Can I Play 8-Game Online?

Currently PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are the only online poker sites that offer 8-Game. 

Tournament fields are, of course, not as big as they are in Hold’em and Omaha but are still reasonably big compared to other smaller poker games - probably because 8-Game is really fun with a lot of action.

8-Game is a mixed game with 6 players at the table. The game changes according to a fixed rotation of:

Limit 2-7 Triple Draw
Limit Hold’em
Limit Omaha Hi-Lo
Limit Razz
Limit Seven Card Stud
Limit Stud Hi-Lo
No-Limit Hold’em
Pot-Limit Omaha

When you play online tournaments the game changes after a certain time interval; in live tournaments the game usually changes after an orbit.

Basic 8-Game Strategy for Beginners

It’s pretty simple: Learn the rules and the basic strategy for all eight poker games. If you do, you’re already better than most of your opponents.

At the lower stakes you’ll find many opponents who are good at one or two games but really suck at the other games.

They overplay bad hands a lot, or it may be something as simple as not keeping track of the rules — e.g. an ace is a low card in Razz but not in 2-7 Triple Draw.


If you’re fairly new to some of these games they will require your full focus so we recommend not playing too many tables at the same time. Instead, allow yourself to play more hands.

Identify Weak Players in Weak Games

It’s generally a good idea to play tight and only play your strong holdings (as in most other games).

However, if you’ve identified a player with a weakness in one game, you can call with weaker hands and hope to hit big later in the hand.

This is especially the case in games like Stud, Razz and 2-7 Triple Draw where you have a good indication of your opponent’s holding.

Most of the games are Limit games, which makes it difficult to bluff. You’ll be called down in many situations when trying out a three-barrel bluff in e.g. 2-7 Triple Draw.

Go ahead and bet with your strong hands (but maybe not in No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha as you will scare away your opponents) as your opponents will very often call with weaker holdings.

In games like Stud and Razz where you can see your opponent’s door cards, it’s generally good to bet when you have better door cards.

This also means that your opponents rarely bluff. If you’re in a hand where you can see that you’re unlikely to end up with something big, it’s better to fold than see another card.

Play Solid in NLHE, PLO

It’s important to be a good player in all the games but it’s crucial that you are a solid player in No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha.

These are the games where most chips exchange hands because of the larger bets and you can lose everything with a few bad calls. Again, play tight and wait for the strong hands in Hold’em and PLO.

In short: Tight is right in 8-Game and you should focus on identifying your strong hands and play them right to get the most out of them. Fold your week hands and be careful with bluffing.

Next we will go through the rules and the basic strategy for all 8 games. We assume that you know Hold’em and a bit of PLO already so we mainly focus on the differences between these games.

Limit 2-7 Triple Draw

Basic Rules

All players get five cards and your goal is to get the lowest poker hand possible without hitting a straight or a flush. Also a pair counts against you. The best low hand possible is 7-5-4-3-2 off-suit (aces are high cards in 2-7).

You are unlikely to get a good hand at first but you can exchange as many cards as you like during the three draw rounds. Read the full rules here.


Basic Strategy

Your starting hand is very important here. A good rule of thumb in 2-7 Triple Draw is to fold your hand if you do not have three unpaired cards with a value lower than 9.

You can call on the first street, though, if you have a 2 together with a card of the value 3 to 7.

High cards over 8 should be exchanged. To have a good chance of winning after showdown you should try to have a hand with a 9 as the highest card.

You should always bet if you have a good hand and only need one card to get a really strong hand. If your opponent calls and exchanges two cards, you’re likely to be still ahead and you can bet again.

If your opponent stands pat (doesn’t exchange any cards), or starts to raise, you should be careful. In this case you need a strong hand with a 7 as the highest card to proceed.

It actually happens quite often that a player has a 7-high hand.

Position is also crucial in 2-7. If you’re out of position you should have a very good hand to call your opponent’s bets. See also our beginners’ guide to 2-7 Triple Draw:

Limit Hold’em

Basic Rules

You likely know the rules for Texas Hold’em already, otherwise you can read them here.

Limit Hold’em is less action packed compared to No-Limit as you can only bet a certain amount of chips at a time. This means players will see more flops.

See more about the betting rules in Limit games here.

Basic Strategy

Compared to No-Limit you can play more draw hands in Limit Hold’em when you’re out of position. Your opponents can’t make big bets, which gives you the right pot odds to call.

However, you should avoid playing hands with little potential such as two low cards without draws. There will often be more opponents seeing the flop compared to No-Limit so you are unlikely to be ahead unless you hit something big on the flop.

Generally you can play the same kind of starting hands as in No-Limit but make sure to make a few adjustments.

See also our strategy section on Limit Hold’em.


Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

Basic Rules

Game play in Omaha Hi-Lo is like in normal Omaha but the main difference is the pot is split into two and given to the best high hand and the best low hand.

To get the best low hand, all five cards have to be of the value 8 or lower (no pairs). This is why the game is also called Omaha 8-or-Better.

An ace is counted as a low card as well as a high card. You can have a flush or a straight in your low hand so the best possible low hand is 5-4-3-2-A (suits have no importance here).

If nobody has a qualified low hand (which happens fairly often) the pot goes to the player with the best high hand. Read the rules here.

Basic Strategy

A good rule of thumb for Omaha Hi-Lo is to go for the high hand but have a draw for the low hand. Since it happens frequently that no player has a qualified low hand, you can in many cases scoop the pot with the best high hand.

A hand with one or two aces is always a good starting hand as it increases your chances to win both the high and the low hand. The best possible low hand - 5-4-3-2-A - can sometimes also end up being the best high hand as a straight.

As in PLO it’s always good to have a double-suited starting hand, preferably also well connected. If you have four of the same suit, be careful proceeding. See also our beginners guide to Omaha Hi-Lo.

Limit Razz

Basic Rules

Game play in Razz is almost identical to Seven-Card Stud, only it’s a Lowball game where your goal is to get the best low hand. Flushes and straights don’t count and an ace is a low card so the best possible hand in Razz is 5-4-3-2-A.

As opposed to the Hi-Lo games you don’t need to have a qualified hand to win the pot. This means that you can be lucky to win the pot with a face card or a pair at showdown. Read the full Razz rules here.


Basic Strategy

Basic strategy in Razz is quite similar to Seven-Card Stud. You should be disciplined and wait for your good hands instead of calling with hands with little potential.

Also keep an eye on the “dead cards” — the door cards your opponents fold along the way.

The value of your down cards is quite important for the strength of your hand. If you have an ace and another low card as your down cards you have a very strong hand which you should proceed with for sure.

If your door card is an ace, it can be a good idea to bet as your opponents will usually respect this and might fold quickly.

If you’ve decided to proceed with a medium hand, on third street you need to make an important decision. Here the big bet is coming into the picture and if your opponent has hit something big it can end up costing you a lot of chips.

See more tips for your Razz strategy here.

Limit Seven-Card Stud

Basic Rules

After Razz it’s time for the “real” Stud game and back to the normal hand rankings. Straights and flushes are also in play here as opposed to Razz.

You start out with two down cards and one open card, the door card. The following three cards are also dealt open while the final seventh card is dealt face down. Read the full rules here.

Basic Strategy

In Stud as well as Razz you need to be disciplined and keep an eye on your opponents’ door cards. If you have a flush draw but can see that your opponents have several of the cards in your suit, you’re less likely to hit it.

Also here your two down cards are important for your starting hand. If you for example have a high pair as your door card you can end up with a very strong, well-hidden hand if it improves.

When your opponents just call your bet it’s very likely that they have a drawing hand. If you can see that they end up having four cards to a flush or a straight and start betting should you be very careful with calling unless you have a better hand.

A high pair is sometimes enough to win a hand but again keep an eye on what door cards your opponent has. If he has a flush or a straight draw and raises on seventh street it’s very likely your pair is not good enough.

See our strategy section on Seven-Card Stud here.


Limit Stud Hi-Lo

Basic Rules

We move on with the Stud games, this time for the Hi-Lo version which is also called Stud8. The pot can be split up into two where the best high hand gets one half while the best low hand will get the other half if it is qualified.

As in Omaha Hi-Lo a hand is qualified if it has five cards with the value 8 or lower with an ace being a low card. A pair counts against you while straights and flushes don’t.

If no player has a qualifying low hand will the entire pot be given to the best high hand. Read the rules for for Limit Stud Hi-Lo here.

Basic Strategy

Stud Hi-Lo is a game where you need a lot of focus as there are many things to keep an eye on. Not only do you have to understand your own hand’s potential, you also need to estimate if your opponent has a good high or low hand.

Luckily it’s fairly easy to see if your opponent is going for the high or the low hand. Just look at the door cards and you have a pretty good idea.

If you have a good low hand and your opponent looks to have a good high hand, you’ll often end up splitting the pot.

A good tip in Stud Hi-Lo is to go for the low hand while having a draw to a strong high hand. This is because it’s easier to see if you have the best low hand compared to the best high hand.

The opposite is the case for Omaha Hi-Lo where you should try to go for the high hand while having a draw to the low hand.

The strategies for the two games are however similar regarding the importance of having an ace in your hand. The best possible low hand is also 5-4-3-2-A which can also end up being the best high hand. See more strategy tips for Stud Hi-Lo here.

Chips 2017 WSOP 5296

No-Limit Texas Hold’em

Basic Rules

In case you’ve been living on the moon for the past 15 years, read the rules for No-Limit Texas Hold’em here.

Basic Strategy

In 8-Game, No-Limit Hold’em is usually the game where most players go broke. Especially the smaller stacks, who will wait for the chance to go all-in in search of a quick double-up as the other games do not give the same opportunities.

For this reason it’s a good idea to play a bit tight and keep an eye on short stacks going all-in. Don’t forget it’s a six-max game and they aren’t always at the top of their range to try to get an all-in through.

At the same time, they’re unlikely to go all-in with two random cards.

If you’re a very strong Hold’em player you can use an aggressive strategy to steal blinds and play your opponent pre-flop. It’s rare for your opponent to have a big hand in six-max.

Want to learn more Texas Hold’em strategy? See our large strategy section here.

Pot-Limit Omaha

Basic Rules

The most important difference between Texas Hold’em and Omaha is that you get four hole cards instead of two. When you make your final poker hand you can only used two of your cards- in fact, you have to use two of them.

Another difference is the Pot-Limit betting structure where you can only bet the same size as the pot. Since there are many draw opportunities in PLO you’ll see quite a few bets and raises during a hand.

If you don’t know the rules for Omaha yet, you can learn them here.

Basic Strategy

As in No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha is a game where you can easily go all-in and many players take this opportunity in 8-Game.

The risk is higher compared to Hold’em as a good starting hand wins less often in Omaha than in Hold’em. For this reason it’s generally better to see a flop before putting everything on the line.

In Pot-Limit Omaha it’s a good idea to play a hand which is already good but has the potential to become even better. A good example is a hand with a pair but also with a flush and/or a straight draw, eg A K A Q.

You won’t always win with these kind of hands in Omaha but they can be very strong if you hit the right cards on the board.

Don’t forget that you need a much bigger hand at showdown than in Hold’em. Ace-high is rarely enough to win a pot; neither is a low pair. So try to go for a straight or flush to increase your chances of winning.

We have a large strategy section on PLO, too. Read through it here.


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Daily 3-Bet: Streamboat Evac, PAD Rumble, DNegs on Angles

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a fresh sheet of graph paper, a new protractor and a razor sharp #2 pencil ready to chart all of the afternoon poker news angles.

Got a hot tip for a future 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or drop a note in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a major diversion for Streamboat 2, Jungleman arrives on Poker After Dark and Daniel Negreanu gets acute on angle shooting.

1) Irma Alters Course of SB 2

In the face of a Category 5 hurricane, playing online poker - even the much-anticipated World Championship of Online Poker - becomes really, really insignificant.

After witnessing the devastation of Hurricane Harvey the Streamboat 2 crew - Bill Perkins, Jeff Gross, Jamie and Matt Staples and Kevin Martin (who were in the Virgin Islands getting things ready to go) - had a decision to make with Hurricane Irma heading their way fast.

With landfall expected within the next 48 hours, they made the easy call - evacuate and play another day.

While there was some good news today as they announced the winners of the Streamboat packages, they’ll have to wait until an undetermined date to live out the Streamboat dream.

Here’s Staples’ explaining the situation in his latest Vlog below: new vlog

— Jaime Staples (@jaimestaples) September 5, 2022

If you’re one of the lucky winners, congrats. We look forward to seeing your exploits on stream soon. For all those in the Caribbean and South Florida, stay safe.

2) Jungle, Schulman, Polk Rumble on PAD

We’ve shared our enthusiasm for the return of Poker After Dark on PokerGO a few times already so we won’t gush more about what a delight it is.


Man of the PAD week.

We will say we’re very much looking forward to this week’s action, though, dubbed “Rumble in the Jungle” thanks to the presence of one Dan “Jungleman” Cates.

Action will start today at 5pm PT with a winner-take-all $300k SnG; tomorrow and Thursday it’ll be $300/$600 No-Limit Hold’em cash games with a $200,000 minimum buy-in.

Yowsa. Should be great.

Here’s who will be joining the Jungle each day:

Tuesday, Sept 5
Wednesday, Sept 6
Thursday, Sept 7

$50,000 SNG
$200,000 Cash Game 
$200,000 Cash Game

Frank Kassela
Nick Schulman
Nick Schulman

Brian Rast
Brian Rast
Jason Koon

Jason Koon
Matt Berkey
Matt Berkey

Daniel Cates
Daniel Cates
Daniel Cates

Doug Polk
Doug Polk
Doug Polk

Isaac Haxton
Isaac Haxton
Isaac Haxton

Tune in by subscribing to the @PokerGO app for just $10/month.

3) Negreanu Knows Angles

When you’ve been in the poker industry for a couple of years, chances are you’ve seen a few incidents of angle shooting at the tables.

If you’ve been deep in the poker world in Las Vegas and around the world for over two decades? You’ve maybe seen them all.

Inspired by a couple of recent ‘angle shooting’ incidents Daniel Negreanu delves into his thoughts on the matter in his newest Vlog alongside his take on the upcoming Poker Masters, PokerStars changes and more.

Buckle in for a full hour below!


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Salewski Takes First-Ever Sunday Million Live for €111k

Philipp Salewski is the latest winner of the storied PokerStars Sunday Million but he didn’t do it on a computer.

The German was the first player to win PokerStars brand-new Sunday Million Live in Rozvadov over the weekend.

Salewski took down €111k for outlasting a massive field of 5,045 that included online and live players. Not a bad return for the familiar €220 buy-in of the Sunday Million.

Over 500 Players Get Paid

Thanks to the massive field there were a huge amount of players that ended up making it into the money.

In total 512 players made their way into the money and got at least a minimum payout of €400.

kings casino rozvadov

King’s Casino

As expected the live portion of the event, which took place at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, drew a large number of German and Czech players with plenty of Slovakians and Austrians also in attendance.

One outlier was Italian Dominik Alexander Kabas who made it all the way to heads-up play before finally falling to the rail. Kabas still picked up €92,011 for his efforts thanks to a generous four-player deal.

Players in the Sunday Million Live were able to complete Day 1 online or live as they saw fit. The field had been cut down to 512 players for Day 2 in Rozvadov.

A total of 27 players entered Day 3 yesterday with Russian Andrei Kurdyukov in the driver’s seat with a tournament-leading 13.5 million chips.

Salewski wasn’t too far behind, however, and eventually passed Kurdyukov during the final table. Kurdyukov had to settle for fourth place and 39k.

The overall prize pool just surpassed the $1m guarantee with a total of $1.1 million in prizes awarded.

Here’s a complete look at the inaugural Sunday Million Live final-table payouts (*reflects four-way deal):

1. Philipp Salewski — €111,674*
2. Dominik Kabas — €92,011*
3. Jozef Komorny — €81,093*
4. Karel Kovarik — €76,522*
5. Andrei Kurdyukov — €39,680
6. Werner Nather — €29,000
7. Filip Zak — €21,400
8. Markus Kowalski — €15,500
9. Patrick Vogelsanger — €11,300

WCOOP Kicks Off on PokerStars

The Sunday Million Live may have taken place in a brick & mortar casino but there was plenty of action be had on PokerStars over the weekend with the gargantuan World Championship of Online Poker starting up on the site.

wcoop logo

Some of the bigger Day 1 events are still playing out (thanks to the two-day structures) but WCOOP has already awarded millions in prize money to MTT lovers.

You can check out our guide to the 2017 WCOOP schedule to get an idea of the tournaments you might want to play.

The WCOOP schedule will just get heavier over the coming weeks so it might be a good time to check out some satellites or the new “Low” tier of tournaments of WCOOP that occur roughly one day after their bigger buy-in siblings.


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Kara Scott Digs in to PAD, KOTH, WPT and More in Poker Brief

The month after the World Series of Poker is usually the ‘summer break’ in poker, but there’s been no shortage of big tournaments and developments this year.

We’ve seen the return of Poker after Dark (and Tom Dwan), Phil Hellmuth winning the $200,000 King of the Hill heads-up challenge and joining the WPT, a live poker record set in Barcelona and the smashing debut of 888poker’s new Flopomania.

Every month 888poker ambassador and former Battle of Malta host Kara Scott recaps the main events and developments in the poker industry for the 888 Poker Brief.

Here’s a quick look at all the territory she had to cover this month:

Poker After Dark

The biggest talking point of the month was certainly the return of the popular TV show Poker after Dark, and boy, did it deliver.

Tom Dwan PAD2

Return of durrrr!

Already in the first episodes the set-up hand between Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari and Tom Dwan gave us what will later be remembered as a modern classic.

It was a “nostalgia palooza,” as Scott aptly named it, and it brought back not only the cash games but also the good old “Winner Take All” format.

Remembering that the show used to feature names like Shawn Sheikhan, Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson, who were popular players at the time, it’s a sign the times have decidedly changed.

King of the Hill

The second topic was King of the Hill, the special edition of Poker Night in America. This heads-up, winner-take-all, four-player tournament almost brought back memories of the NBC Heads-up Championship.

It had a top line-up with the WSOP’s most favorite player of all time in Phil Hellmuth, heads-up poker specialists Dan Cates and Doug Polk as well as the dark horse Frank Kassela — if you can call someone who’s won WSOP Player of the Year a dark horse.

If you don’t know how this ended you can read about and watch it here. But even if you do, check out one of the most spectacular hands in our “Hand of the Week” feature.


It’s Hellmuth’s world.

Hellmuth at the WPT Mike

Phil Hellmuth, the man who has won 14 bracelets and would win every tournament “if luck weren’t involved,” has always jumped in as a guest commentator on various poker broadcasts but it seems he’s found a new passion for it.

The World Poker Tour announced this month that Hellmuth will be joining the commentary team on the WPT, replacing Tony Dunst as the host of the Raw Deal segment.

Dunst, of course, takes over the position vacated by the voice of the WPT, Mike Sexton, who left to become Chairman of partypoker.

A Live Poker Record

Have you heard people say that “poker is dead?” Well, listen to Kara Scott recount the largest tournament ever hosted by PokerStars.

At the Gran Casino in Barcelona 4,557 entries were counted for the National Championship, which meant the guarantee of €4 million was smashed to pieces.


Cut straight to the action.

Barcelona remains one of the top spots in European poker as 888poker also has live events there. You’ll have to wait, though, as their next stop is in Sao Paolo and it runs this week.

Play Flopomania

Meanwhile, give 888poker’s new game a try. Flopomania is a low-stakes NLHE game where the flop is always dealt before any action occurs.

To play, create your own 888poker account via our 888poker review page and you’ll also access our exclusive $888 sign-up bonus..

Watch the Poker Brief for August 2017


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Poker Hand of the Week: Hellmuth Trickery Baffles Jungleman

Poker Night in America has become a popular poker show over the past couple of years with a lot of interesting line-ups.

In its new King of the Hill Challenge Doug Polk, Dan Cates, Frank Kassela and Phil Hellmuth squared off in a two round, heads-up, winner-take-all tournament.

In the end Hellmuth came out victorious and scooped the $200,000 by beating HU powerhouses Polk and Cates – and surviving several critical situations.

Flop to River

It’s the final match of the best-of-three King of the Hill final between Cates and Hellmuth. The winner gets $200,000; the loser, nothing.

Cates has dominated Hellmuth in the early stages of the final. Of the 200,000 chips on the table Cates already has 165,100 in front of him. Hellmuth is left with 34,900 so Cates has an almost 5 to 1 chiplead.

The blinds are 800/1600 with Cates on the button with    

He raises to 3,200 and gets a call. There’s 6,400 in the pot and Hellmuth has 31,700.

Flop       Hellmuth checks, Cates bets 2,200 and Hellmuth calls. There’s now 10,800 in the pot and Hellmuth is down to 29,500.

The turn is the   Hellmuth checks, Cates bets 7,600 and Hellmuth check-raises to 19,600.

Cates calls. There’s exactly 50,000 in the pot now and Hellmuth has 9,900 chips behind.

The river is the   Hellmuth quickly goes all-in and Cates just as quickly folds his hand with a disgusted look on his face.

Hellmuth held     for queen high, also known as the “complete air ball.”

Had Cates made the call he would have stacked Hellmuth and won the $200,000. Instead, Hellmuth started a massive comeback with this hand and went on to win the match. Watch the hand again in the video below:


How is it possible that one of the best heads-up poker players in the world – Daniel jungleman Cates – folds such a strong hand in such a big pot?

Dan Cates

How is it possible?

Did he have a blackout? Was Hellmuth’s bluff so well-played that he just had to?  We need a closer look at this hand to answer that question.

Pre-flop, Cates takes a very mediocre (but at least suited) hand and tries to exert some pressure. Hellmuth holds a better-than-average Q-Jo and obviously calls.

From Cates’ point of view Hellmuth at this point has a very broad range. As they’re playing heads-up Hellmuth will defend his big blind with a lot of hands if he’s getting 3:1 pot odds — even though he’s already getting short.

Cates flops top pair so when Hellmuth checks. he has no reason not to bet. He would usually have the best hand and will still get called by worse hands like diamonds, a three, a deuce, a middle pocket pair or even two overcards.

Hellmuth, on the other hand, only has to pay 2,200 to win 8,600. Meaning he gets 4:1 pot odds — too good to give up here.

The Turn Paradox

The turn is another 10 and Hellmuth checks again to the raiser. Cates, of course, loves this turn.

It’s not an overcard and it has improved his hand so much that he’s now even overtaken unlikely hands like slow-played overpairs J-J to A-A.

Obviously, Cates bets out again and he sizes his bet to 7,600 so if he gets a call he can put Hellmuth all-in on the river with a bet just under pot size (22,000 into a pot of 26,000).

Phil Hellmuth IMG 3916

Still some surprising moves in Hellmuth arsenal.

But Hellmuth now finds a surprising move in his arsenal that’s probably born of desperation. He check-raises Cates but doesn’t go all-in, instead leaving himself with 9,900.

What’s the point of that?

Well, he’s trying to make his move look even stronger by not going all-in. An all-in, by the way, that Cates would have snap-called.

This is a check-raise that says “please call me here with your great pot odds so you can’t fold the river.”

Cates now realizes he might be up against a monster like pocket threes, pocket deuces or against a better 10.

Then again, it’s possible that Hellmuth is simply trying to push Cates out of the hand because on that board Cates rarely has a good hand. Also, Hellmuth could be semi-bluffing — a move you often see in cash games.

Hellmuth’s move does make Cates think. He was probably considering both an all-in and a fold. When he eventually decides to call that’s certainly the best decision because if he goes all-in Hellmuth could still fold a bluff and then try to come back with a six BB stack.

Daniel Cates

Jungle jumps gun.

The River Execution

On the river Hellmuth completes his move by going all-in. This is a move reminiscent of short stack Sit-and-Go strategy where you’ll always go all-in in certain spots but you do it in two steps.

That gives your opponent the chance to still make an (incorrect) fold they couldn’t make (because of the pot odds) if you went all-in at once.

But back to Hellmuth and Cates. When Hellmuth goes all-in, Cates gets astronomical 6:1 pot odds. There’s 60,000 in the pot and he only has to pay another 9,900.

Mathematically speaking that means Cates only has to win 14% of the time to make that call profitable. But Cates doesn’t even think about numbers here and almost insta-folds.

The diamond on the river certainly influenced his decision process as he apparently considered it impossible that Hellmuth could still be bluffing. Most notably, however, there’s exactly one good hand in Hellmuth’s hand that Cates is beating apart from bluffs.

So … is it Correct?

Let’s see what Hellmuth’s range looks like:

Strong hands – 3-3, 2-2, 9-9, any ten, any two diamonds
Bluffs – all other hands

Of the strong hands Cates can beat T-4 only, which is negligible because of all the possible monster hands surrounding it.

So, is Cates’ fold correct? If Cates assumes that Hellmuth is incapable of a bluff like that, then he indeed has to fold his hand because he’s only beating one hand in Helmuth’s range.

Hellmuth wins king of the hill

The King!

The tournament situation is also of importance here. If Cates calls and wins, it’s over and he’s won it. If he doesn’t, Hellmuth doubles up to 69,800 and is still at a 2:1 chip disadvantage.

It’s a rather marginal difference to fold and leave Hellmuth with 59,900.


Hellmuth shows he has a couple of tricks up his sleeve. Here, he manages to outsmart Cates and force him to fold a big hand against what looks like an admittedly very strong range.

If Cates had taken a little more time on the river, though, he would have certainly found the call he needed to make


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Daily 3-Bet: PokerStars Replay, Fedor Holz Party, #HARTING

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a secret speakeasy where revelers go to quaff an artisan cocktail and share the very best mid-afternoon poker news.

You can always give us your own suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at PokerStars new Winning Moments feature, Fedor Holz joining partypoker and Kevin Hart’s new victory pose.

1) Winning Moments on PokerStars

You can chalk up Play of the Game highlight reels as one more thing that PokerStars is looking to lift from video games.

PokerStars Winning Moments

A screen shot of PokerStars’ Winning Moments.

The online poker site is launching a new service in the coming months that will compile your best moments from a poker tournament (if you win, that is) into a unique video that features voice over work by live poker commentators James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton.

The company will test the service during its upcoming World Championship of Online Poker with a full-scale roll out to follow.

The feature should be familiar to anyone who’s ever played popular shooter Overwatch as the game automatically creates a Play of the Game replay video at the end of every game.

You can actually take a look at a sample video of Winning Moments right here.

It’s hard to say if it will be successful as poker isn’t quite as visually dynamic as most eSports.

Winning Moments is just the latest video game-like feature to be added into PokerStars as players already have access to PokerStars Chests, which are very similar to rewards in several popular video games.

Once Power Up Poker goes live, PokerStars will practically be a new eSport.

2) Fedor Holz Joins partypoker

It’s kind of weird that Fedor Holz, who’s racked up a staggering $23m in live tournament earnings since 2014, hasn’t been signed by an online poker site.

That appears to be over, however, as Holz officially threw his hat into the ring with partypoker earlier today:

From this month on I’ll partner with @partypoker. I’m excited about their plans for the future of poker and I’m happy to be part of it.

— Fedor Holz (@CrownUpGuy) September 1, 2022

It’s not completely clear what role Holz will have with the company as partypoker has yet to announce anything at the time this article was published. Maybe he just really likes the company?

partypoker already counts Mike Sexton, Sam Trickett, Anatoly Filatov, Johnny Lodden and Dzmitry Urbanovich and several others on its pro team.

Holz is a lot more than just a poker player these days and is also the CEO of start-up Primed Mind so perhaps it’s more of a joint-venture between the two companies?

Either way, we have a feeling things will work out just fine for Holz. They always do.

3) Kevin Hart Spoofs Usain Bolt Victory Pose

The #GameOn battle between Kevin Hart and Usain Bolt is heating up with Hart taking a shot at Bolt’s famous “To the World” victory pose.

Hart’s come up with his own victory maneuver that he’s calling “Harting”. It requires two people and it’s very… romantic?

Here’s Hart himself explaining the new move:

Can we stop doing @usainbolt‘s victory pose? It’s over. Listen Bolt: while you’re departing, we’ll be #HARTING Friends show me. #GameOn #ad

— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) August 31, 2022


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Papazyan Stymies Hellmuth, Tran to Scoop WPT Legends Title

When the six-man final table at the WPT Legends Main Event began play yesterday, all eyes were on Phil Hellmuth and JC Tran.

Both veteran pros were searching for notable titles on their extensive, decades-spanning resumes - Tran his 3rd World Poker Tour title and Hellmuth his first.

They’re both still looking for them as local high-stakes cash-game pro Art Papazyan stymied them both to claim his first major tournament crown and by far the biggest score of his career.

Defeating Hellmuth heads-up to finish it off Papazyan claimed a payday of $668,692, a $15,000 seat for the WPT Tournament of Champions and a Hublot Big Bang Steel watch.

Prior to his win last night Papazyan’s previous best tournament score was for just $16k.

Hellmuth Still Searching

Coming into the day 2nd and 3rd in chips, it all came down to Papazyan and Hellmuth heads-up when chip leader JC Tran eventually busted in third to Hellmuth.


Still searching (Photo: Joe Giron, WPT)

That evened the chip counts more or less for the heads-up and opened the door to Hellmuth seizing his first WPT title.

But Papazyan won an early pot with two pair and continued to build his momentum.

After a flopped wheel gave him a 10.8m chip pot Papazyan was in the driver’s seat with a 17m-5m lead and finished things off shortly after when his KQ outran Hellmuth’s AK.

Despite the disappointment Hellmuth certainly made a splash in his first WPT event since signing a deal to become the new host of The Raw Deal segment on WPT broadcasts.

He also still collected $364,370 to add to his impressive career earnings. Tran took home $217,040.

German Marvin Rettenmaier, a back-to-back WPT winner who was also gunning for his third career WPT title, finished fifth. D.J. Alexander and Adam Swan rounded out the final table.

Complete final-table results and payouts:

1st: Art Papazyan - $668,692*
2nd: Phil Hellmuth - $364,370
3rd: J.C. Tran - $217,040
4th: D.J. Alexander - $161,490
5th: Marvin Rettenmaier - $120,775
6th: Adam Swan - $91,825

Read the full recap of the tournament over in the WPT Live Updates and look for the final-table replay on the PokerGo app.

The next major stop for the World Poker Tour is the WPT Borgata Poker Open in Atlantic City with a $3m guaranteed prize pool for the $3,500 Championship event September 17-22. Check for all the details.


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Daily 3-Bet: Satellite Down, Hellmuth WPT Curse, Major Wager

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is an extra-large cooler that’s packed to the brim with ice-cold cans of pure mid-afternoon poker news goodness.

You can always make suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at PokerStars changing live satellites, Phil Hellmuth’s WPT results and a new prop-betting poker show on PokerGO.

1) PokerStars’ Satellite Change

Live satellites should be for players who actually want to play live tournaments and not just accrue a king’s ransom in extra packages.

cash money

No money in satellites?

That’s the argument PokerStars is making with a new change to its live tournament qualifiers.

With the new changes, players on PokerStars will only be allowed to win one package and one seat.

The idea is that it will keep predatory end bosses from exploiting weaker fields by winning multiple packages and cashing them in.

It seems like a decent tweak considering recreational players who play live events tend to be heavily incentivized to play more poker but it will certainly hurt the bottom line of any grinders who specifically targeted satellites.

You might remember that Stephen “stevie444” Chidwick was famous for absolutely crushing satellites back in the day. He won a staggering 63 packages to the 2010 Main Event before he was even old enough to play. It appears those days are over.

The change will go live with the qualifiers for the upcoming PokerStars Festival Dublin and will continue using that format from then on.

2) Hellmuth Looks to Break WPT Curse

Phil Hellmuth, winner of 14 WSOP bracelets, has never won a WPT title.

Phil Hellmuth C5SJ2mzUoAAEwst

It sounds crazy but it’s true.

He’ll have a chance to rectify that today as he (along with JC Tran) made the final table of the 2017 Legends of Poker event at the Bike.

How close as he come? Well he’s made four final tables. Here’s where he finished in each one:

2010 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars — 6th for $117,000
2008 WPT LA Poker Classic — 6th for $229,820
2003 WPT World Poker Finals — 3rd Place for $281,000
2002 WPT Gold Rush — 4th place for $34,000

The reality is that Hellmuth doesn’t play THAT many tournament outside of the WSOP but that may be changing as he’s the WPT’s new Raw Deal analyst and he’ll be journeying to numerous WPT events regardless of whether he’s actually playing.

The 2017 Legends final table is completely stacked, btw, with Marvin Rettenmaier and DJ Alexander on deck. You can watch it all play out on PokerGO starting at 4 p.m. today.

Is this the year he finally gets the monkey off his back? Final table chip leader JC Tran doesn’t seem to think so:

Me looking at Phil Helmuth and thinking to myself I’m getting my 3rd WPT title before you are going to get your first. Haha
photo cred @wpt

— JC TRAN (@jctran23) August 31, 2022

3) PokerGO Releases Trailer for Prop-Betting Show Major Wager

When we were constructing a list of the best poker TV shows we had a thought: Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak’s I Bet You was criminally underrated.

The shaw was very raw but the concept of poker pros making outlandish prop bets against each other actually works quite well for a show. There was a ton of potential.

Low and behold, PokerGO seems to agree as the streaming giant dropped a trailer for a new show called Major Wager today.

The new show, which hits the Interwebs on Sept. 5, will feature Sam Abernathy, Daniel Negreanu, Jeff Gross, Brian Rast and Antonio Esfandiari (Where’s Phil Laak?) and it will be hosted by Poker Life Podcast hero Joey Ingram.

Check it out:


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Tran, Hellmuth Hit WPT Legends Final Table w/ $668k Up Top

The WPT Legends of Poker Main Event in Los Angeles has hit its final six with three very recognizable names hunting the $668k first-place prize.

Former WSOP November Niner and veteran pro JC Tran has the chip lead with 8.2m and will be looking to join the elite group of 3-time WPT winners.

Befitting the name of the event itself, poker legend Phil Hellmuth is third in the chip counts and looking for his first-ever WPT title.

Another two-time WPT winner in Marvin Rettenmaier is also eyeing his third crown but with just 1.2m will be the short stack and under pressure from the start.

763 Entries, $2.7m Prize Pool

After Beijing, Amsterdam and Choctaw, WPT Legends was the next big tour stop on the WPT and a total of 763 entries (buy-in $4,000) made for a prize pool of $2.7m and a $668k first-place payout.

IPhil Hellmuth MG1414

Is it Phil’s time?

That topped last year’s 687 entries and the $615k collected by winner Pat Lyons.

Many well-known players as always hit the tables in LA including Mike Sexton, Mike Matusow, Greg Mueller, Scotty Nguyen, Taylor Paur, Scott Clements and Dan Shak but all busted before the final table was set yesterday.

Day 3 began with 89 players almost directly on the bubble and it didn’t take long for the shorties to bust and for Scotty Nguyen (81st) to sneak in for a min-cash. Will Kassouf (73rd), Jeremy Ausmus (41st) and Lyons (39th) also cashed.

Day 4 yesterday began with 24 players and played down to the official six-man final table. Tran controlled the action before locking in his huge chip lead while knocking out David Sands in 7th.

Getting in behind to Sands’ KK, Tran’s Qs quickly caught up with trip Qs on the flop and a bonus Q on the river for quads. Here are the full chip counts coming in to the final table:

JC Tran 8295000
Art Papazyan 6,005,000
Phil Hellmuth 2,940,000
D.J. Alexander 2730000
Adam Swan 1,655,000
Marvin Rettenmaier 1,225,000

Blinds: 40k / 80k

Average: 3.808k

Also on the line for the winner is a $15,000 seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions and a Hublot Big Bang Steel watch.

Cards go in the air for the final table at 4 p.m. PT at The Bicycle Hotel & Casino. Follow the text live updates on or watch the final table live stream on a 30-minute delay on PokerGO starting at 4:30 p.m.


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900 Events, $117m GTD in Biggest Sept. in Online Poker History

Over 900 different online poker tournaments across four poker sites.

Over $117 million in guaranteed (and likely much more in actual) prize pools.

If you think you’ve seen a big month in online poker before, get ready for September. 

PokerStars, partypoker, 888poker and Winamax are about to offer the biggest three weeks in online poker history with huge tournament series covering virtually every day of the whole month. 

Here’s an overview of all the events from Sept. 3-26 starting with this Sunday’s signature WCOOP on PokerStars.

$60m GTD, 160+ Tourneys for WCOOP

The World Championship of Online Poker on PokerStars has been one of the most important online series for many years. The 2017 edition runs from September 3-26 with over 81 tournaments and $60 million in guaranteed prize money.


The main event will have a $5,200 buy-in and guarantee $10 million overall and $1.5m to the winner. Last year’s event attracted 2,011 players. Jonas “llJaYJaYll” Lauck won the title and over $1.5 million.

Additional prizes will also be on offer via the Player of the Series Leader Board and over $700,000 in WCOOP tickets will be handed out in Stars Rewards Chests.

Check the full 2017 WCOOP schedule here.

WCOOP Low on PokerStars

The WCOOP is known for its fairly high buy-ins and isn’t necessarily affordable for every player.

That’s why there’s a parallel version of the same tournaments this year that cost only a fraction of the usual buy-ins.

These tournaments still guarantee $12 million with buy-ins going at $11 and up.

$35m Powerfest Biggest Ever

While the PokerStars SCOOP/WCOOPs have set the bar, partypoker and 888poker have stepped up to offer their own massive tournament series.

powerfest 2017 sept blog

partypoker is putting on an even larger Powerfest than the one in May when a total of $20m was guaranteed over more than 300 tournaments.

Over $27 million was ultimately paid out but several of the biggest tournaments had an overlay — including $330,000 for the $1m main event.

This time around the total guarantee is $35m over 330 tournaments. A total of 10 championship events will have a guarantee of at least $1,000,000.

The big events have phase satellites which you can buy in to for one-tenth of the buy-in. Check the full Powerfest schedule here. Sign up for a 

$9.2m in 888poker XL Eclipse

888 will be ready in September with its third XL series of the year.


The XL Eclipse has 197 tournaments from Sept. 10-24 and over $9.2 million in prize pools.

Buy-ins are between $5 and $1,050. The heart of the series will be the main event on Sept. 24 which will guarantee $1.5m.

The Main Event will have 888 daily freeroll satellites and there will also be a main event in turbo and mini-mode for players with smaller bankrolls.

See the full XL Eclipse schedule here. Sign up for an 888poker account via our review to access our $888 sign-up bonus.

€11m in Winamax Series XIX

Winamax is a French provider but allows international players to play at their tables.

Winamax also has a comprehensive September tournament series with 129 events from September 3-14.

Overall Winamax guarantees €11m and has two tournaments with a guarantee of €1m in the program: The Million Event for €150 and the High Roller for €1,000.

Unprecedented Guarantees

So many tournaments which such huge guarantees have never been offered over such a short period of time in online poker.

A total of 30 tournaments guarantee at least $1m (or euros) and a total of over $117 million will be paid out minimum! Check the full scope of all the events below:




Events over $1m

Events over $500k

Stars, WCOOP Low





Stars, WCOOP





Party, Powerfest





888, XL Eclipse





Winamax, XIX











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Daily 3-Bet: Burning Man Bound, WPT Hits $1b, Trickett vs. Isildur1

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is the cup of coffee and slice of homemade pie awaiting all weary travelers at the mid-afternoon poker news truck stop.

You can always fire suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces into the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at poker pros heading to Burning Man, the WPT hitting the $1b milestone and a loaded partypoker cash game.

1) Burning Man, Ho!

You know that part of the year where all the cool kids in poker get on their bus and head to summer camp?

liv boeree burning man

Everyone ready?

Well it’s here!

The annual Burning Man social media blackout is officially upon us with Antonio Esfandiari and crew leading the way as usual.

Expect to poker Twitter to calm down for awhile over the coming week and then crank up a notch the following week with a series of photos and life-changing realizations.

All kidding aside it’s interesting that Burning Man has become a refuge for Silicon Valley big shots and poker pros alike.

Basically people with a lot of money, which is surprising considering how the event began.

Regardless Burning Man has become somewhat of an institution in the poker world and things will likely be a little quieter for the next week.

Check below for Esfandiari’s official sign-off from social media for the week.

There’s also bonus observation about Scott Seiver at Burning Man that brings the LOLs.

Burning Man or bust. We r officially a go. See you on the other side …

A post shared by Antonio Esfandiari (@magicantonio) on Aug 29, 2022 at 2:53pm PDT

when you’re @scott_seiver and you’re in the middle of burning man and you find out that 10k 20k is running at bellagio

— Clayton Newman (@cnew27) August 30, 2022

2) WPT Awards One Billionth Dollar in Prize MOney

It’s official: The World Poker Tour has awarded over $1 billion in prize money over its storied 16 seasons.

The $1b-mark was passed yesterday when TJ Shepherd busted in 47th place to take home $10,405 and one heck of a story to tell friends and family.

Shepherd received a bonus seat into next year’s Legends of Poker as well as accommodations.

It’s a remarkable achievement for the WPT, which started way back in 2002 with the first event attracting a modest 146-entry field.

Here’s Shepherd talking about being a part of WPT history:

Congratulations to TJ Shepherd, winner of the World Poker Tour’s one-billionth prize dollar! #BillionDollars #MillionStories

— World Poker Tour (@WPT) August 30, 2022

3) Blom, Trickett, Tsoukernik Clash in partypoker Cash Game

Poker fans may be struggling through some cash game withdrawals after witnessing the wonder that was the revitalized Poker After Dark earlier this month.

Don’t worry, partypoker has just the thing.

The poker site is hosting a $100/$200 cash game with the likes of Sam Trickett, Viktor Blom, Leon Tsoukernik, Tony G and Rob Yong.

It should be a good one and action kicks off at 7 p.m. CET today. You can watch the stream below:

Watch live video from partypokertv on


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Nitsche, Talbot Ready to Dive In, Stream 888 Flopomania

888poker’s new Flopomania game is live and two of its highest profile ambassadors are ready to jump in and see how it plays.

Dominik Nitsche and Parker Talbot were in Barcelona, Spain this past week for some live PSC Barcelona action but still found some time to speculate on how Flopomania changes the game they know so well.

We talked to both to see what their expectations are and how they plan to adapt.

PokerListings: Regarding gameplay, what are the main differences between Flopomania and regular Hold’em?

Parker Talbot: I’m not quite sure yet, it’ll give the game some weird dynamic. In regular Hold’em you make judgments on the other players’ hands based on their pre-flop action.

Now it’s completely different and you’ll make judgments on the turn and river. It’s going to be interesting to see.

parker talbot psc barcelona 2017 2

Expect TonkaaaaaP to stream some Flopomania soon.

Dominik Nitsche: There will always be six players on the flop, and everyone can have any possible card combination, so position will be extremely important. You need a completely different hand to give action in first than in last position.

We’ll see a lot of weaker players make the mistake of not letting go of their hands. I think you shouldn’t, for example, push middle pairs as there will be stronger hands behind you.

PokerListings: How do you adapt?

Parker Talbot: Well, what’s going to change is that pairs become weaker. Hand strength overall has to go up. All your top pairs with weak kickers will be worth less.

As everyone goes to the flop 7-3 off is going to flop bottom two much more often than previously. You’ll need to be more cautious but you’ll also be able to represent more hands.

Dominik Nitsche: Play and see. I’ll probably check all hands in early position except those that profit from other players folding.

Typical examples would be straight draws and weak flush draws, which many people just can’t let go. It’s a bit like Pot Limit Omaha where weak draws often get massively overplayed and you should exploit this.

PokerListings: Are you going to stream Flopomania?

Parker Talbot: Yes! I’ll be playing in Montreal next week but I’ll put Flopomania on my stream when I’m back. Expect to see me play a few days before the XL Eclipse starts, where I’ll play a bunch of tournaments.

Dominik Nitsche: Actually, yes, why not? I’ll probably sit there and say I don’t know what to do … all-in? So, deal. When I’m back in Germany I’ll sit down and stream Flopomania.

PokerListings: Is Flopomania suitable for live play?

Parker Talbot: Yes, absolutely. Basically any online format can be played live. It could, for example, be a side event at an 888Live festival.

dominik nitsche psc barcelona 2017 1

Running some Flopomania numbers?

Dominik Nitsche: I think it rather won’t be. We’ll now run it online and see how well it’ll be accepted. I think it’ll probably find its own niche like BLAST.

In the beginning that wasn’t really taken seriously and now it’s one of the most important games for several providers.

PokerListings: Could Flopomania work in a tournament format?

Parker Talbot: Absolutely. Come to think of it, it would be very interesting. In cash games you’re always a hundred big blinds deep but in tournaments there’ll be very different stacks.

Also, the dynamic would change. Players could for example take middle pair and just shove on the flop.

Dominik Nitsche: Yes, definitely. You can play pretty much everything in tournament format. The main difference is that there’s always a flop.


If the players want a tournament format, we’ll certainly provide it. However, I think that regular tournament Hold’em is so popular that tournament Flopomania won’t become very big.

But it sure can be a breath of fresh air and that’s something we’ll all profit from.

Try Flopomania with an $888 Sign-Up Bonus

Flopomania is 888poker’s latest innovation in online poker. Read more about it here.

If you want to play Flopomania go to the 888poker review page and you can get started in no time with a download link that secures your eligibility for an $888 bonus.


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Daily 3-Bet: LA Kassouf, GPL Expands India, Pregnancy Hold’em

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is an inflatable party island, compete with an attached cooler of drinks, that’s ready for a marathon float down the mid-afternoon poker news river.

You can always make your own suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Will Kassouf living the LA life, the GPL expanding to India and Jason Mercier sharing a little philosophy.

1) Will Kassouf Takes LA By Storm

It seems that 2016 WSOP breakout star William Kassouf isn’t going away anytime soon.

In the past few months Kassouf has played the WSOP, appeared on an episode of Poker After Dark and is now playing the WPT’s Legends of Poker event at the Bicycle Casino.

William Kassouf 5675

Will Kassouf

It’s the first time that Kassouf has set foot in LA and he’s already gotten interviewed by several poker media publications, made it to the final 100 players in Legends and taken selfies with Phil Hellmuth, Scotty Nguyen and Mike “The Mouth” Matusow.

While Kassouf made life difficult for his opponents in the 2016 WSOP, it’s starting to become clear that viewers tend to love his shtick.

In the past 10 years there are very few poker pros who have broken through and become legitimate household names in the industry.

Tom Dwan comes to mind, thanks to his epic High Stakes Poker appearances and so does YouTube sensation Doug Polk. Maybe you could add Jason Somerville and a few others to that list as well but it’s not an incredibly long list.

Kassouf, perhaps to the chagrin of his detractors, certainly appears to be trending that way.

2) Global Poker League Expands to India

The flagship Global Poker League was essentially shuttered after a rocky first season but that doesn’t hasn’t kept it from becoming a force in Asia.

By all accounts the Chinese GPL is doing just fine with eight teams and a multi-year deal with Sina Sports.

gpl india 1024x640

It sounds like India will be following suit this year with a six teams. The initial list of team names includes:

Delhi Diehards
Mumbai Jetsetters
Bengaluru Hackers
Chennai Sharks
Kolkata Creators
Ahmedabad Alphas

We’ll take a Bengaluru Hackers jersey in black please!

In all seriousness the Indian poker market has been ripe for an explosion for years and we’re finally starting to see some of the best Indian players break through on the world scale.

Hopefully the GPL will help motivate some of the players in the region and give it some positive light on a national scale.

Also of note is that the GPL mentioned an over-arching World Championship event that would pit teams from different countries against each other.

3) Mercier Puts Poker Spin on Pregnancy

This random observation from Jason Mercier about Lamaze class got a chuckle out of us. What can’t you use poker terminology for?

Just think about this one for a second:

18% of pregnant women go into labor by their water breaking, before any contractions happen

“So Kings vs Aces ? Got it!” #LamazeClass

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) August 28, 2022


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Daniel Negreanu on WSOP: Improve POY or I Stop Playing It

There’s a suite on the 25th floor of the luxurious Arts Hotel next to the Casino Barcelona.

This is where Daniel Negreanu chilled out between High Roller events at the most recent PokerStars Championship Barcelona.

The view over the city is absolutely fantastic but, based on some recent proclamations from his always popular Vlog, we had to talk about some serious things.

For starters: the Player of the Year system at the World Series of Poker must change, says the Canadian/American pro. Also: What’s really good for poker.

PokerListings: In your latest Vlog you mentioned a lot of things that don’t “have any real meaning.” Does the Player of the Year trophy at the WSOP mean something to you?

Daniel Negreanu: What I meant was that we in the poker community decide what is meaningful and what isn’t.

Daniel Negreanu7

“I believe the Player of the Year award is prestigious”

I believe the Player of the Year award is prestigious in that it requires a really good run and only a small amount of people can win it.

PL: Is it unfortunate that Chris Ferguson is leading that ranking this year? Should Jack Effel have done something about this?

DN: What they should have done has nothing to do with Chris Ferguson. Whoever wins, wins, right?

He certainly didn’t have the best series. He didn’t really do that well. 

It’s the points system of the WSOP that’s completely broken. It focuses way too much on player numbers and not on buy-in and quality of players.

The $10k Championships were totally underrated. I was disenfranchised with it and over it halfway through the series. Despite this being my best World Series ever I barely cracked the Top 10.

The system was so based on ROI that you could easily be a losing player over the summer and still win the title. A min-cash in a low buy-in event gave you pretty much the same points as coming 12th in the 10k Stud Hi-Lo where you played against the best in the world.

In the future they either have to improve it to at least where it was, or I stop playing it. And that would mean they lose a lot of other people because many of them are chasing the POY title.

PL: You wouldn’t really stop playing the WSOP just because the points system isn’t good, would you?

DN: Yes, I would. That title is the main reason why I play the WSOP.

Lex Veldhuis

Streams like Lex’s = good for poker.

I’d still come out and play the $50k and the Main Event but the idea of grinding all the tournaments for nothing … I don’t want to play in a system where I have to play the $565 PLO.

People say it has to be an award for everybody but I say what the f…, not everything has to be for everybody. There are enough events for the everyman like the Colossus and several others.

Is it really so wrong to have something prestigious, something that requires a full schedule of play that incorporates some high buy-in events? Is that really such an evil thought?

I don’t think so. It might sound elitist but it’s really not.

PL: In your Vlog you mentioned a couple of things that are good for poker. I’ll ask you about some other things. Number 1 – Twitch.

DN: Definitely good for poker. We have a great team of Twitchers with Jeff Gross, Jason Somerville, Lex Veldhuis, Jamie Staples and they’re doing a really good job.

Personally, I’m focussing more on YouTube. When Power Up becomes available there’s a good chance I’ll stream on Twitch because I really enjoy that game.

PL: Number 2 – PokerShares. Good for poker?

Mike Matusow

Fun, but NBC HU ran its course.

DN: This is a controversial one. A lot of pros think it’s bad for poker; I think it’s fantastic. Sure, it undercuts the market. But it also corrects it. If people oversell, you can get better odds there.

It’s great from a fan perspective. Look at the NFL. It’s popular because people can gamble on it. They watch it to the end because they have money on it.

PL: Last but not least – the NBC Heads-up Championship.

DN: I’d say it’s somewhere in the middle. It’s certainly not bad for poker but I don’t think heads-up poker does very well as a viewing experience.

It served its time. It was good that it was on NBC so it went to the mainstream and reached more viewers than other shows.

PL: People took issue because you now say you always said ‘less rake is better’ while you were defending more rake when PokerStars changed the system. Can you please clear this up?

DN: This is probably one of the most frustrating things for me. It’s taking one thing out of context, taking one statement out of a 30-minute Vlog, where I was mainly talking about rewards.

Daniel Negreanu 5952

About that rake thing …

Now, I wrote a blog about it and explained in full. It was very logical and not even controversial. 

Essentially you can have situations where a player might be better off and have a better chance to win in a game with high rake compared to a game with low rake against only pros.

I’ve seen it happen myself. I saw a guy playing in a low-rake game with pros and he got destroyed.

Then he moved to a different place where the rake was too high so the pros didn’t play there as they couldn’t beat it.

The guy still lost … but at a much slower rate. So my point was that from a loss-rate perspective, the losing player has two enemies – the rake and the winning players.

Now, if rake eliminates winning players as an obstacle that means that chances are that more money stays in the losing player’s pocket for a longer time.

PL: Thank you, Daniel Negreanu.


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Daily 3-Bet: Piqué Peaks, WPT Gets GACKT, PokerStars Candid

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a perfectly-thrown distance driver that some how lands right in the basket of the big mid-afternoon poker news disc golf game.

You can always make suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Gerard Piqué making a huge score, the WPT getting some attention from a Japanese pop star and some candid PokerStars photos.

1) Gerard Piqué Wins €129,350

Quick, name the world-famous footballer that’s made the most money playing PokerStars tournaments.

gerard pique wsop 11

Gerard Piqué

It’s not Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar Jr. It’s not old-school Brazilian Ronaldo either.

Instead it’s an athlete that’s never even had a major sponsorship deal with PokerStars. We’re talking about Spanish centre-back Gerard Piqué.

Piqué added to his growing legend in the poker world this weekend by taking fifth in the massive €25,500 Super High Roller at PSC Barcelona for €129,350.

It was Piqué’s biggest score on the poker circuit but certainly not his only one.

Piqué has cashed in numerous Barcelona events over the years including a third-place finish in a €2k side event last year and another third back in 2011 in a €5k side event, also at EPT Barcelona.

In total Piqué is up to just over $275k in lifetime live tournament earnings and seems like the most natural target for a PokerStars deal once he hangs up his boots.

2) Japanese Pop Star GACKT Debuts on WPT

Japanese pop superstar and actor GACKT took part in WPT’s $1 Billion celebration and then played in Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino in LA this weekend.

World Poker Tour GACKT 1

WPT photo of GACKT

While GACKT is not exactly a household name in North America he’s renowned for his music career in Japan and a huge poker fan to boot.

GACKT has already cashed in a few events as well including the WSOP’s $1,111 Little for One Drop and, more impressively, finished fourth in one of Aria’s $25,000 Super High Roller events for a tidy $75,600.

GAKT picked up the game during a music tour in Europe and sounds like a huge proponent of the game, according to an interview with the WPT:

“I had a lot of fun and realized how fun poker is. In Japan, it’s kind of sensitive because playing poker sounds like gambling. I didn’t say anything at first, but the times are always changing and I decided to be someone who could tell people to join poker and that it’s not just gambling. It’s a game of strategy. When I play poker it makes me strategize my every move and try to think ahead of my opponents.”

That’s a man after our own heart. GACKT’s WPT debut is particularly noteworthy because the WPT actually has an event scheduled to take place in Tokyo this year from Nov. 23-26, 2017. The only prizes will be buy-ins to other WPT events, but it’s a start.

3) PokerStars Instagram Gets Personal

Sometimes it’s hard to get beyond the corporate culture that invades the various social media accounts in the poker world but we’ve been digging what PokerStars’ Instagram has been doing lately.

Over the last week ‘Stars has been posting some excellent photos of Team PokerStars Pro away from the tables.

It’s a cool campaign and worth perusing below:

@felipemojave staying in Barcelona. #beyondthetable #pscbarcelona #travel #lifestyle

A post shared by PokerStars (@pokerstars) on Aug 23, 2022 at 5:34am PDT


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2017 SOPA Nominee Jeff Gross: “I Can Say I Truly Love Poker”

The quote in the headline says it all.

Whatever the ups and downs of the game, the brutal beats, the relentless travel or epic online sessions, if you can shut it down at the end of each day and say “I still love poker,” you win.

Jeff Gross wins. 

Formerly better known as the “Professional Best Friend” of Antonio Esfandiari and Brian Rast, Gross has forged his own impressive path in poker over the last few years and the results are showing everywhere.

A super popular - and growing - Twitch stream. A legion of loyal fans. Great results at the tables, live and oniine. Guest spots on major poker commentary teams. And now a prestigious patch as a member of Team PokerStars Pro.

It’s a position Gross has earned by hard work, determination and unrelenting enthusiasm and it’s no surprise he made the final list of nominees for our 2017 Most Inspiring Player Award.


A man perpetually on the go, Gross hit PSC Barcelona last week for a couple of the events and we caught up with him quickly on his day off to find out more on the next Streamboat in the British Virgin Islands, the highlights of his Twitch career and more.

PokerListings: Let’s talk about Streamboat first. Please explain what it is and what’s happening next.

Jeff Gross: The first one was pretty much just Bill Perkins inviting a couple of people on a boat. So me, Jamie and Matt Staples, Bill Perkins and a couple of friends went on a boat off the US Virgin Islands where Bill has a house. We were streaming from the boat because it’s US territory so you can’t play from Bill’s house.

The second one is going to be more organized. There will be six people coming down to play and we’ll have a house in the British Virgin Islands, so we can play from there.

This means there will be more streaming as we have a physical location, and Kevin Martin from Team PokerStars Online is joining as well as is Mike McDonald.

Last time it was just a random week and we played a little cash games or random tournaments. But this time the WCOOP will be on so we’ll be streaming every day plus there will be six contestants.

PL: Contestants?

JG: What we’re going to do is we’ll invite six people to come down there and play with us. You can send in a video about why you should be part of this in my home games and then we’ll pick six winners to get the Streamboat experience with us.


There’ll be two groups of three staying there for three days each. Should be fun for all of us.

There’ll also be some organized activities, we’ll be out on the boat and a couple of other things and it will be chaos.

PL: Is that a promise?

JG: Yes. Bill in particular is a wild card. Every time we meet we do something nutty and crazy and he always has a good time. It’s going to be a very special event.

Let’s do this! 6 contestants coming down, looking forward to this & #wcoop2017

— Jeff Gross (@JeffGrossPoker) August 23, 2022

PL: In a time where it’s increasingly difficult to get sponsorship has Twitch taken over as a new money source for poker players?

JG: There’s a fair amount of Twitchers but I wouldn’t say it’s a replacement. Also, you have to understand that only the top Twitchers make decent money.

Jeff gross streaming

Twitch gave the love back.

It’s not that you start a Twitch channel and you’ll instantly make a lot of money. 

But it of course is a new income source if you have really good content. I see a resurgence in online poker and it certainly has to do with Twitch.

It gave me back my love for online poker. Being part of a community is so much more fun.

When you’re on the online grind and there are people watching how you win a flip deep in a tournament and you’re dancing around and people are happy for you, it’s just such a nice experience.

I see a lot of people talk about it, it gets people interested in the game and it makes people play again. Someone told me recently they saw Doug Polk’s channel and it made them want to get back in to poker.

Of course, it’s polarizing and other people don’t like the content at all, but as long as it makes people talk it’s good for poker in general. Look at the live events like here; the numbers of players are pretty much at an all-time high.

PL: What are some highlights of your Twitch experience?

JG: One highlight was when we had a stream house in Montreal. Kevin Martin was there and Jamie Staples and Matt Staples, too.

jeff gross michael phelps

Friends in high places.

I was there for about three weeks but one week we did a 24h stream for seven days. We were streaming in six-hour shifts to raise money for the Michael Phelps Foundation and managed to collect over $20,000.

Another real highlight happened just before I got married. I was in Brazil at my now wife’s parents’ house, and I did a 25h stream. I jumped into a Razz tournament where I eventually chopped with the last three players.

I remember my parents-in-law going to bed and when they got up again they saw me still sitting there playing. This was a couple of days before my wedding, and they were like ‘who is this degenerate and doesn’t he have something else to do just before he’s getting married?’ so it was pretty funny.

My biggest show was during the SCOOP when I final-tabled a $1,050 tournament and I had over 20,000 people watching. I remember I got it in one hand with kings versus ace-king when we were down to about 50 players.

Guy flops an ace and then the case king came on the turn but he still had a redraw to a heart flush. I won the hand and the people just went crazy. It was absolutely incredible.

Sometimes people ask me if it isn’t tiring but I now understand Phil Hellmuth when he says poker is my life. I can say I truly love poker.

jeff gross psc barcelona 2017 3

PL: You also commentated on the WSOP. What was that like?

JG: I did some of the commentary for the Main Event and I also did some for the early tournaments of the series. I’m not even 100% sure if it went on ESPN or not.

The thing is, I love playing. I gave up a possible career in soccer to play poker and whenever I’m there watching poker I want to be in there. 

Then again, as a Twitch streamer, I’m used to talking for hours on end so I enjoyed doing the commentary as well.

PL: Do you like the idea of being the next Gabe Kaplan or Norman Chad?

JG: Who knows what’s going to happen? I love playing but there are certain shows and formats that combine both. Look at Tony Dunst playing those events and also doing his show.

I think going to big PokerStars events and being in the commentary booth for final tables is definitely something that I’d like to do, and then we’ll see.

PL: Thank you, Jeff Gross!


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Sorensson Slips By Akkari to Win Massive PSC Barcelona Main

Six players came back for the final day of the 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event on Sunday.

Nobody expected what they had in store.

In an almost surreal final Swedish Sebastian Sorensson prevailed in only his second live event while PokerStars team pro André Akkari had his deepest run yet and finished fifth.

Most Ridiculous FT Ever?

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something like Sunday’s PSC Barcelona final table happens.

After Usman Siddique was eliminated in 6th place, it took more than 4 hours to eliminate the next player. With just 100 big blinds on the table there were still five players left so the average chip stack was just 20 bb.

At one point the Brazilian superstar Akkari was down to 5 big blinds; later, Brian Kaufman Esposito shrunk to just 4. But the shortstacks just kept coming back.

andre akkari psc barcelona 2017 1

The man to beat.

Even the commentators couldn’t believe what they were seeing and their descriptions went from “most ridiculous final table ever” to “mind-boggling.”

The chiplead went back and forth with almost every hand and, over time, each player saw himself at the top and the bottom of the counts.

Sorensson Prevails

Eventually it was Akkari who had to face elimination after he first found himself on the wrong side of a bad beat (see below) and then had his pocket fours counterfeited against the A-9 of Lachezar Plamenov Petkov with two pairs on the board.

Kaufman busted with K-Q to Sorrenson’s A-Q in the very next hand. At this point a deal was suggested but rejected by Rafaele Sorrentino, who then thought better of it at the next break when all three players had almost equal stacks.

It proved to be a good change of mind for Sorrentino because he was next to go. At this point just 60 big blinds were left on the table.

No EPT or PSC main event had ever gone beyond Level 40 - 600k/1200k – but this one did. Twenty minutes into Level 41 – 800k/1600k – it was Sebastian Sorensson who eventually took down the last hand of the tournament and won both the title and the top prize.

When both players were fairly even Petkov moved all-in with K-9 pre-flop and Sorenssen called with A-K. The flop brought an ace and Petkov was drawing dead on the turn.

The winner’s check was supposed to be €1.4 million but the last three players agreed on a deal that guaranteed everybody over €850,000 and left €100,000 to play for. A sound idea if you consider that there were barely more than 60 bb on the table at that time and, as Sorrentino put it, they were “basically playing a Spin and Go.”

Sorensson, who works in a warehouse in his hometown of Lund in Sweden, was only playing his second live tournament ever.

PSC Barcelona Main Event Final Table Payouts






Sebastian Sorensson




Lachezar Plamenov Petkov




Raffaele Sorrentino




Brian Kaufman Esposito




André Akkari




Usman Siddique




Aeregan Arunan




Albert Daher



*3-way deal

Remarkable Feats

Not only did the PSC Barcelona feature its biggest tournament of all time there were several other astonishing feats accomplishe this week in Barcelona.

rallaele sorrentino psc monte carlo 2017 ME winner 1

Near back-to-back for Sorrentino.

Dutch young gun Sander van Wesemael beat a field of 2,638 players to win the PokerStars Cup event but, incredibly, this was the third PokerStars Cup he’s won in just two months!

Van Wesemael first won the Cup at the PS Festival in Marbella (788 players; €36,450 prize) and thenat the PS Festival in Lille (558; €28,704). In Barcelona he received €127,000.

Brian Kaufman Esposito from Uruguay reached the final table of the 4,557 entry National Championship and finished 8th for by far his largest cash of €66,370 only to then also reach the final table of the main event where he finished 5th for €400k — more than six times more than said largest cash.

Raffaele Sorrentino won the PSC main event in Monte Carlo last May in a field of 727 players for €466,714 only to make the next final table here in Barcelona with 1,682 players.

His third-place finish meant there were just two players between him and a “back-to-back” title if you disregard PSC Sochi and Macau as he didn’t play there. It took the EPT 12 years and 101 main events to crown Vicky Coren as the first two-time winner while the PSC almost did it within the first season.

André Akkari made his first final table appearance at a PokerStars main event – his best result having been a 23rd place in Monte Carlo. It could have gone all the way for the popular Brazilian, too, if he hadn’t suffered from a terrible suck-out when his pocket queens were bested by Sorrentino’s A-Q by an ace on the river.

2017 PSC Barcelona By the Numbers

The PSC Barcelona saw the largest live tournament ever played at a PokerStars event. The €1,100 National Championship drew 4,557 entries to generate a €4.4 million prize pool.

igor kurganov DHxP6EvWsAEeTbR.jpg large

Another success for Kurganov.

Pedro Cairat from Argentina emerged victorious and bagged €432,178. The original first prize was €575,000 but the last three players agreed on a deal.

The €330 PokerStars Cup that started on the same day as the National Championship also saw a record 2,648 players.

Dutch player Sander van Wesemael, as mentioned, achieved the unlikely feat of winning his third PokerStars Cup within half a year.

On the high end Igor Kurganov won the €50k Super High Roller event for €1,084,100. Again, the last two players made a deal so the original first prize of €1,135,500 was not quite reached.

The main event was almost the same size as last year. Here’s a rundown of the most important numbers compared.

Main Event



No. of players



Prize pool



1st prize



Places paid



This year’s main event was a lot top heavier than last year’s, which is mainly the result of PokerStars taking back the new concept of paying 20% of the field after feedback that implied the majority of players preferred the traditional pay-out system.

Uruguay, Dublin, Sochi, Hamburg, Prague

PokerStars will now follow up with Festivals in Uruguay, Dublin, Sochi and Hamburg before the next Championship will be played in December in Prague.

If you want to qualify online for any of these events, go to our PokerStars review page and download the PokerStars software. Create your account, and you might be the next player to lift up a PokerStars main event trophy.


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Poker Hand of the Week: Dwan Unmatched, Robl Unbeatable

The comeback of iconic poker TV show Poker after Dark last week was highly appreciated by poker fans the world over.

Especially because it also brought about the spectacular return of Tom “durrrr” Dwan.

Dwan won almost a million dollars on his return to PAD but Andrew Robl showed some astonishing moves as well, demonstrating that he’s still in the top class of live cash-game players.

Flop to River

This is Day 3 of the PAD cash game and apart from Robl and Dwan there are also Jean-Robert Bellande, Matt Kirk, Lauren Roberts and Bill Klein at the table.

The game is $200/$400 No-Limit Hold’em but we’ve long reached a phase where one or two straddles have become the rule more than the exception.

In this hand Dwan has brought in the $1,600 double straddle and after Lauren Roberts folds Robl - $1.3 million stack – raises to $4,500 with    

Klein gets out of the way but Bellande calls from the big blind with a stack of $270,000. Kirk folds and the action moves to Dwan, who has a stack of $285,000 and re-raises to $26,500.

Robl calls, Bellande calls and suddenly we have $80,900 in the pot. The effective stacks are at $260,000. The flop falls      

Bellande checks and Dwan bets $45,000. Robl and Bellande both call. The pot has grown to $215,900 and effective stacks are down to roughly the same - $215,000.

The turn is the   It’s checked around on fourth street. There’s still $215,900 in the pot and the effective stacks remain the same.

The river is the   Bellande checks again. Dwan bets $120,000 and Robl goes into the tank. When he makes his decision he announces all-in and both his opponents fold.

Bellande was playing     and Dwan was playing     as if they’d been something completely different.

The $645,000 pot goes to Robl, though. Unfortunately you can’t watch how this hand played out on YouTube as it isn’t available.


This is a highly interesting hand even if the best hand wins — mainly because the best hand also bluffs for a $645,000 pot.


Not thinking fold.

How did Robl come to the decision to make a move on the river that’s pretty much the opposite of textbook poker?

Pre-flop, Robl finds A-Jo and raises like you’d expect. Bellande flat calls, which is a smart move.

If he raises it up again he would build a big pot with his pocket pair and there’d be a big risk of facing overcards on the flop — plus one of the toughest players on the other side of the table.

If you know Tom Dwan, you also know that after this action and holding a veritable monster in 9-3o, the last thing on his mind is a fold. Instead he elects to re-raise to $26,500 with what many people would call “total garbage.”

You really shouldn’t try this at home too often. However, it’s good to include the odd bluff-raise into your arsenal to balance your ranges. If you only re-raise with aces and kings, you’ll never get paid off.

On the other hand – quite literally – this means Robl and Bellande can’t just throw away their good hands here. A-Jo and 10s are pretty much automatic calls.

Decision Postponed

The J-6-2 rainbow flop is very dry. It hits the range of the re-raiser the most as this would generally have a lot of big pairs and high cards in it.

When Bellande checks, Dwan consequently follows up with a c-bet. If this $45k bet works 1 in 3 times, it’s already profitable. But Robl has flopped top-top and has no reason to give up his hand. His call is a mandatory one.

Things are different for JRB. His pocket tens might still be the best hand on this kind of flop, but making the overcall isn’t easy as he has to continue the hand out of position. A fold from Bellande would also be justifiable.


10s just keep losing value.

The Twilight Turn

With no less than $215,900 in the pot they go to the turn. It now becomes a major factor that both Bellande and Dwan only have about a pot-size bet left.

How does the K affect the players’ ranges? Dwan might have A-K here just as well as the other players so we can’t pretend it’s helped one of the players in particular.

But Bellande’s pocket pair keeps losing value so there’s no good reason for him to bet. Dwan seems to give up now as well to limit his losses.

However, going all-in wouldn’t have been a bad move at all as he could have credibly represented A-K or better. This would probably have won him the pot, but things sometimes turn out a weird way. Robl also doesn’t see a reason to bet as his pair of jacks might still be the best hand.

Now It Becomes Spectacular

This hand’s been pretty interesting already but now it becomes spectacular. The river Q fills up possible flushes and straights which also opens up bluffing possibilities.


No slouch.

When Bellande checks again, Dwan decides to take a stab and exploit the situation.

Betting $120,000 into $215,900 is smart because it only has to work 35% of the time. But it also has a significant disadvantage — he can’t properly represent anything.

Pocket queens would be possible because of his 3-bet pre-flop, bet on the flop and check on the turn. A-T is also realistic, but all the other strong hands like flush draws or sets would certainly have moved all-in on the turn.

Robl apparently recognizes this and is bound to think his jacks are still better than Dwan’s hand. However, he must be worried about Bellande.

In this spot Robl uses his PLO experience and goes for the full push. As he’s holding the A he’s blocking the nut flush while simultaneously representing it.

This doesn’t only win him the pot if he has the best hand (which he does) but he can also make several better hands than his fold. Although Dwan’s getting fantastic odds to call, $90,000 is still a lot of money and you can’t call that off lightly.


Once again Andrew Robl proves he can think along different lines than many other players and that he’s an extremely tough opponent.

Tom Dwan, on the other hand, missed the opportunity to run a big bluff. At the end of the hand his range had become almost empty and he was facing an opponent at eye level.

Respect, Andrew Robl!


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Daily 3-Bet: PLOkerStaples, Kid Poker App, Full Molly Tease

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a tree-stump table, a mushroom seat and 10 stacks of afternoon poker news gnome high society ready to deploy.

Got a hot tip for a future edition of the 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or drop a note below.

Today in the 3-Bet we find the inspiring Jaime Staples getting his first live win, an app-ortunity for Kid Poker and an enticing full trailer for Molly’s Game.

1) PokerStaples FTW!

As we said in our full Spirit of Poker Award nominee bios, Jaime “PokerStaples” Staples is an inspiring character in the poker world for a number of great reasons.


(Photo: PokerStars)

His Twitch channel is one of the most popular poker streams in the world. His daily interaction with his fan base is virtually unmatched.

His enthusiasm and joy for the game has inspired countless players to dive in and enjoy poker to its fullest. And his recent #UltimateSweat prop bet to lose a ton of weight is an inspiration on its own.

He’s also a pretty damn good poker player and the effort he’s put into his profession paid off in a nice way this week with his first-ever live win.

It was ‘just’ a €550 Pot Limit Omaha Turbo side event for €22,500 at PSC Barcelona. But still.

There’s nothing quite like hoisting the famed PokerStars spade trophy for the first time (or any time for that matter).

He chopped the event with the ultra-tough Adam Owen, too, to make it even sweeter.

Congrats to PokerStaples on breaking the live seal! We’re sure there are many more victories to come.

Read more about his win on the PokerStars blog and vote for him as 2017’s Most Inspiring Player here.

2) Gnome Chips, Tree Stump Tables

Back when we were kids and the snow blew at 100mph in both directions on the 8-mile walk to and from school, 5th graders wrote letters to inspiring political leaders like, oh, the US president.

Now, with no viable president available, they write to inspiring poker players instead to pitch their new poker app for kids.

It’s a new day, for sure. Cool idea though. Let’s hope he gets some VC to buy in, although with the Hellmuth needle he can probably count Phil’s bestie Chamath Palihapitiya out.

Received a letter from a 10 year old boy with a genius poker app idea for kids!

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) August 25, 2022

He also had a message for @phil_hellmuth

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) August 25, 2022

3) Molly’s Game in Theaters November 22

As we mentioned last week it looks like Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game is now in the can and ready to share with the world at large.

After that short tease released last week the full trailer is now available for your viewing pleasure and, truth be told, looks better than we thought it would.

Also: that Michael Cera hair. We really hope he’s playing the obnoxious Tobey Maguire role in this one. Watch it in full below:


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Severin Rassét: “Power Up Poker is About Bringing People Back”

It’s clear that Power Up Poker is a huge deal to PokerStars.

The upcoming poker variant, which is basically an all-new game that uses poker hand rankings, is looking to shake up the industry and give poker players some entirely new strategies to master.

It’s something that has been attempted before but never really caught on as poker players always seem to migrate back to the classic game.

Power Up Poker may be the most compelling offering in the poker/video game category yet, however, and PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation and Operation

Severin Rassét took some time at PSC Barcelona to tell us how the game came to exist.

PokerListings: Who is the target group of Power Up?

Severin Rassett headshot

Severin Rassét

Severin Rassét: Short term it’s mostly about re-activating existing players – to bring those players back to the tables who dropped because of lack of interest or other reasons.

Long term we’ll try to improve and evolve the game and get some experience and then we can think about tapping into other fields like the gaming industry but we’ll be humble and take it one step at a time.

PL: The graphics of the game are impressively crisp. How did you achieve that almost industrial look?

SR: We’re using a new graphic engine that’s been in use for other video games, so it’s not one that we created ourselves. We integrated that into our own engine.

It’s a different way of working because before we needed to code almost everything that we wanted to do in animation.

Now we can build the graphics and drop them into the engine, which allows us to work much faster.

PL: Poker players often play other games, too. It looks like you’re trying to implement elements from these other games into poker to make it more appealing.

Power Up Disintegrate

Power Up Poker’s Disintegrate ability.

SR: Yes. We want to stress the unique aspects of poker — the gambling aspect and the competitive aspect — something that no other game has to offer.

Then we’re taking that and improving the environment, giving the game a universe and in the long run, we’re hoping that this will attract new players to the game.

PL: Why did you go the futuristic way regarding the graphics? You could for example have gone fantasy, too.

SR: It had to do with feedback from players and our own decision process. Obviously, the Lord of the Rings world is great, but it’s been emulated by thousands of games.

We wanted a poker universe that is positive and futuristic, because we’re taking poker into the future.

If you go down the fantasy road, you have to follow a thousand rules that already exist. Going into the future made it easier for us to create our own world.

PL: What’s the point of the avatars? They have individual backstories, but they don’t have anything to do with the game, or do they?

Avatars Power Up Poker

A look at the Power Up Poker avatars.

SR: For now — and this is just a starting point — you might think they’re just there. But we want to reinforce avatars because we believe it will make a difference for you and how you play depending on which avatar you pick.

It’ll show some part of your own personality and that’ll be different from one person to the other.

PL: But the avatars won’t ever have any influence on the game themselves, like characters in fantasy games do, for example in games like Baldur’s Gate?

SR: I don’t want to completely rule this out but we’ve made the decision that your choice of an avatar cannot give you an unfair advantage or an edge over other players. It can’t even be perceived as if there was that advantage.

There’s money involved in this game so we have to keep the balance.

PL: Will there always be three players at the table?

Bertrand Elky Grospellier 6215

Pro gamer/poker pro ElkY is a fan of Power Up Poker.

SR: We’ve tried different numbers. It seems that with four or five players the game starts to slow down a little bit. We’ve also tested heads-up but that gets very stressful as you’re under constant attack by your opponent.

For now, three players is where we want to be.

PL: How do you keep the game from slowing down by stallers?

SR: For once the blinds go up after a number of hands, not after time. The number of hands per level is one way for us to control the length of the game.

We’re aiming for ten minutes per game, give or take one minute. We do have several ways to control the game length. For example, we can change the energy costs for the special powers, the amount of energy that’s replenished, the level structure.

We’re quite confident that we have a lot of control and that we can achieve our goal regarding the maximum length of the game.

PL: Poker has been around for a long time but it’s so complex that it hasn’t been figured out. It’s a bit like chess in this regard. Why would you take such a complex game and make it even more complex?

RS: Poker is a simple game with a lot of depth. It’s not a complex game in the sense that the rules are complex. You can learn the rules in minutes.

Power Up is a little less simple, but you’ll still be able to learn the rules and get a handle on the game within half an hour.

PL: It seems that poker operators today think they have to come up with something new all the time. Is there a feeling of panic because eSports is growing so quickly?

The International 2014

eSports are blowing up.

SR: eSports are very interesting. I see it more as an opportunity than a threat. There are many parallels but the gambling part is unique in poker.

Also, the beauty of this market is that it is big enough for all of us. The video game industry has a turnover now of about 100 billion dollars. That means we can continue to grow and take advantage of the development.

PL: There are a lot of smart players out there who’ll figure out the optimal way to apply those special powers and find an edge. What can you do about that?

SR: We’re going to change the rules on a regular basis. We will force the players to reconsider the game all the time because some things that used to be important might not be relevant anymore tomorrow.

Just like with LOL or Dota where they regularly change what they call the metagame, we’ll do similar things, for example by introducing new powers and removing others and enabling new combinations.

It’ll be a constantly changing challenge.

PL: Will the game be available for real money play?

SR: Yes. We’re planning to keep the buy-ins relatively low, but we could for example push them as high as Spin & Go’s. But we’re really going to decide this as we go along.

PL: Thank you, Severin Rassét.


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Flopomania Draws in Record Numbers in 888poker Debut

Following in the popular footsteps of 888poker’s fast-fold SNAP Poker and its hyper-fast BLAST SNGs, 888poker has launched another innovative game into the poker world – Flopomania.

It’s a fast-paced new No-Limit Hold’em game where every hand goes straight to the flop.

Its purpose is to create more and faster action and it’s already delivered with several records in 888poker’s online history broken over its debut weekend.

Flopomania Reels ‘Em In

It seems that Flopomania struck a chord with a big set of online players.

Flopmania2 Lobby

Compared to the day BLAST went online Flopomania attracted 50% more players to the tables. That also translates into an 11% increase of overall players on the website compared to any regular Sunday.

In fact last Sunday marked the day with the most active cash game tables of the whole year on 888poker.

“The first day of Flopomania was a blast, no pun intended,” said three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche.

“The timing was perfect as players logged on to play online tournaments like the Mega Deep and Whale and had the opportunity to check out a new game - one with a unique twist.

“I know I had a lot of fun going straight to the flop and putting my skills to the test.”

More Hands Per Hour

Sunday also saw more flops in cash games than any other day in 888poker’s history — which isn’t exactly surprising as Flopomania is a game that literally begins on the flop.

More significantly, though, the average number of hands played per hour on any given Flopomania table was 15% higher than on regular 6-max cash game tables.

dominik nitsche 1

Dom dug it.

If you haven’t heard of Flopomania yet, it’s essentially NLHE without the pre-flop play. All players at the table get their two hole cards and then the flop is dealt straight away.

From then on the betting rounds work just as you know it from regular Hold’em. As everybody goes to the flop with any two given cards there’s an Ante that all players have to bring in.

So there’s more money in the pot when the action starts and there are much more random hands to play against – or with.

Start Flopping

Flopomania is now available at low stakes at 888poker so join in and try it out. If you don’t have an account yet, go through to our 888poker review page. You’ll find all sorts of useful information about special freerolls, our $888 sign-up bonus and find direct download links.

Once you’ve downloaded the software all you need to do is register and you’re good to go. Special hint: Use the promo code FLOPOMANIA10 and you’ll take part in a scratch card lottery that’ll give you the chance to win $100,000!

Check the infographic below for an overview of the records Flopomania broke on the first day.

Flopomania infographic2


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PokerStars Shows Off Power Up Poker Potential in Barcelona

At long last, PokerStars is ready to unleash its experimental Power Up Poker variant on the general public.

Now scheduled to release in the fourth quarter of 2017 PokerStars hosted a demo of the game during this week’s PSC Barcelona.

PokerStars is hoping the new game will shake up a stagnant poker meta and potentially reverse some of the decline in traditional poker over the last few years.

The game will hopefully attract new players and give existing players a reason to play again.

Enter the Supercharger

Poker players often play other video games in their spare time so it seems natural to create a game that brings poker closer to eSports.

power up 03

One of the new Power Up powers.

For years video games like League of Legends or Hearthstone have had one component that poker has never been able to offer: Thematic flavor.

PokerStars is trying to change that with Power Up and even hired several writers to create an in-game universe for the game.

Power Up has its own background story and players will choose from an array of avatars that all have their own individual features and story.

To improve animation the new game uses a special graphic engine that is also used in other games. Supernova players were invited to test the first version of the game to find out weaknesses and/or bugs.

“We wanted fun to be the main focus and move away from the hoodies and sunglasses type of game,” said PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, Severin Rasset.

“The concept was to add new powers and features to poker without destroying the natural balance.”

What’s New About Power Up?

In Power Up you’ll sit at a 3-max table — at least for now. You’ll get cards like a standard game of poker but you’ll also receive special power up abilities.

You start with three different powers out of a total of nine. These powers include things like:

Liv Boeree2

Liv Boeree testing Power Up Poker in Barcelona

Reload – exchange one of your hole cards

X-Ray – lets you see one of your opponent’s hole cards

Scanner – shows you the first two cards of the deck

Upgrade – gives you a third hole card and lets you discard one

Disintegrate – lets you destroy one community card

All the powers cost you energy units, of which you only have a limited number, so you can’t just keep on using your special powers. Players will be able to generate some of their energy with every hand played.

At the presentation in Barcelona Team PokerStars Pros Bertrand Grospellier and Liv Boeree joined in to give a practical demonstration. It became quite clear rather quickly that the special powers give the game a hitherto unknown depth.

Powers can be combined so there will be dozens of different potential combos, each having a different effect on how the game will play out. Also, whenever you’re using one of your powers, you’ll receive a new one randomly chosen from the original nine.

A Constantly Shifting Meta Game

As we know there are a lot of very smart players out there and they’ll figure out quickly what the optimal strategic use of these powers is. However, PokerStars has taken measures to stop anybody from getting a real edge.

Power Up PokerStars

A look at all nine current Power Up abilities.

In the future there will be powers added and others removed and the price of individual powers might go up or down.

Thus the game will always be changing and it will be difficult for anyone to dominate forever using one strategy.

Power Up Poker also alleviates concerns over stalling. Blinds don’t go up after a certain amount of time but rather a defined number of hands. Therefore stalling is essentially impossible.

Still, it’ll take you some time to figure out how and when to use the different powers. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes a very fast-paced, action-packed game that turns out to be a lot more than traditional Texas Hold’em.

Parallels to HoldemX

Anyone who follows poker closely will instantly be reminded of HoldemX, which the GPI introduced last year but which never really went anywhere.



Both games were based on very similar concepts and it seems like that concept was taken up by two parties at the same time.

We can’t say for sure who originally had the idea, but what we can say is that the PokerStars product is a much more polished one.

Whereas HoldemX was abundant with powers, many of which were not very useful, Power Up is a more thoroughly thought-out product and the graphics are a mile away from what HoldemX was.

In fact, the graphics are a large part of the fun in Power Up. They are reminiscent of the worlds of Terminator, Robocop, and Cube, and the avatars recall fantasy characters from Lord of the Rings and Gormenghast.

Target Date: Q4

Making predictions on how successful a game will be is incredibly difficult but Power Up will surely find its spot in the poker world.

Power Up brings with it an almost board game-like interactivity, the way you might know it from games like Catan or El Grande.

The target date for the full version to go live is the last quarter of 2017. Power Up will also be available for Mac and Mobile and it will come with a full tutorial. Create a new account at PokerStars via our review page to get ready to give it a go.


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Daily 3-Bet: King Hellmuth, Jungle Tilt Off, Hollywood PAD

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a fresh pair of tights, a hidden set of brass knuckles and the belt overhead after an epic afternoon poker news steel cage match.

Got a hot tip for a future edition of the 3-Bet? Let us know about it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Phil Hellmuth climbing the KOTH mountain, Dan Cates makes peace with his tilt and a touch of Hollywood for Poker After Dark.

1) Phil Won’t Give In

Of the four players signed up to battle in the $200,000 Poker Night in America King of the Hill heads-up showdown, Phil Hellmuth was likely the least feared as a HU player.

2016 WSOP Phil Hellmuth

No quit in Phil.

As always with Phil, though, you can’t discount the White Magic.

Not only did Hellmuth advance past his first heads-up opponent, the ultra-tough heads-up boss Doug Polk, he dispatched another HU legend in Dan “Jungleman12” Cates to win the KOTH title yesterday.

He did it in vintage Hellmuthian fashion, too, by coming back from a 34-1 chip disadvantage in the rubber match to win the final 2-1.

A known short-stack ‘aficionado,’ so to speak, this was a remarkable comeback even by Hellmuth standards and he himself afterwards he “had to get lucky’ to do it.

He did get Cates to shockingly fold trip 10s, though, and said he “never, ever gives up” - and there’s certainly something to be said for that. Watch the match in its entirety below:

2) Jungleman Makes Peace

So how does Dan Cates feel about being on the opposite side of the Hellmuthian White Magic forces? Surprisingly, not so bad:

lost to @phil_hellmuth in the most tilting way possible on @PokerNightTV, who put up quite a good battle esp for not being a HU player

— Daniel Cates (@junglemandan) August 24, 2022

In a vacuum I actually don’t mind to much to lose to @phil_hellmuth, aside from internet trolls trying extra hard to tilt my face off.

— Daniel Cates (@junglemandan) August 24, 2022

Now that … that’s some personal growth right there. Props to the Jungleman.

3) A Touch of Hollywood on PAD

After last week’s blockbuster return of Tom Dwan to the Poker After Dark lineup - and the return of the show itself - poker fans have been champing at the bit for more action.

Igor Kurganov Liv Boeree 2017 WSOP 5544

Poker’s “it” couple, too.

Thankfully PAD and PokerGO have delivered with more great nights of poker this week featuring Ben Lamb, Nick Schulman, Matt Berkey, Mike Matusow and more in $25k SnG action.

To cap the week off they’ve added a splash of Hollywood to the mix tonight with producer Randall Emmett of Lone Survivor and Starz TV show Power.

Also in the mix tonight are poker’s preeminent power couple Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree, “bong hog” John Morgan, the great Jason Koon and Greg “FBT” Mueller.

Check it out on PokerGO tonight!


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Spragg & Hand: PokerStars’ Breakout Powerhouse Streaming Duo

Streamers Fintan Hand and Benjamin Spragg aren’t the most well known poker players PokerStars has ever signed to its online team.

They could, though, play a pivotal role in the years to come.

Spragg and Hand were only announced to PokerStars Team Online Pro last month but they add yet another valuable weapon to a streaming arsenal that already includes Jason “Jcarver” Somerville, Jaime Staples and Kevin Martin.

The pair seem like long-time friends but in reality Hand, who hails from Ireland, and Spragg, of England, met just three months ago. Both have been playing online poker since they were 18 years old but mostly low limit cash games and tournaments.

They both started streaming full-time and PokerStars soon took notice. Spragg and Hand bring a unique low-stakes angle to poker streaming and could potentially bring a new generation of players into the fold.

We caught up with the pair at PSC Barcelona and tried to get a read on the future of streaming and how Spragg and Hand got involved with it in the first place:

PokerListings: What do people like to watch the most?

Fintan Hand: They prefer big tournaments to Sit & Go’s, mostly because an MTT is like a long story that has a beginning, a middle and an end. In Sit & Go’s you just play for 40 minutes, which isn’t long enough to really engage people.

benjamin spragg streaming

Benjamin Spragg in his natural habitat.

Benjamin Spragg: It’s definitely easier to engage people through tournaments than cash games as well. If you have a really good day in cash and win ten buy-ins, that’s $1,000, which is good money but not exactly life changing.

I recently turned $7.50 into five grand in one tournament and it’s much more interesting to watch that than to watch a cash game player grind out the same amount of money.

PL: There are many who play well but only few who want to show others how they play. Why did you get into streaming?

FH: Oh, we’re not really that good, though. We’re really more of attention whores.

BS: Well, you are. I’ve always enjoyed the entertainment aspect of things so I would have liked to stream any game. The problem is I’m not good at anything else and I’m only passable as a poker player.

Nobody would watch me stream anything else because I’m terrible.

FH: We’ve been grinding for a number of years and it can get a little tiresome because you’re mostly just sitting at home. Twitch gives you the chance to build and be part of a community. It’s just far more social.

PL: Isn’t live streaming a lot more about entertainment than just poker? Because most of the time you’re not actually doing anything.

Fintan Hand

Fintan Hand announcing his deal with PokerStars.

FH: Yes, even a short 30-second gap where you’re not saying anything is horrible. You need to be talking all the time without being repetitive. You need to be talking all the time without being repetitive.

BS: You’re just talking completely nonsense all the time.

PL: Which is probably the best you can do in these situations…

FH: Only if you’re one of the top 20 players in the world could you stream without talking and still get a big following.

BS: Yeah, Phil Ivey could probably sit there without a microphone and would still have a huge following…

FH: …but most people actually would need a personality.

PL: Where are you going to go with these streams?

fintan hand irish open

Fintan Hand wearing a clover suit at the Irish Open.

BS: The idea is to bring our two streams together under the PokerStars channel so that at some point we can stream simultaneously and the people can see both our hole cards and our tables on one screen.

It would give us much more action. Also, if we’re playing in the same tournament and one of us busts there’s still a good chance that the other one goes deep into it.

FH: Even before we were streaming together we would look into each other’s streams and… can I say “take the piss” out of each other?

PL: Yes.

FH: Ok. It got to a point where people actually thought we don’t like each other.

BS: Which we don’t, by the way.

FH: Well, we get along very well but there was a night when I was teasing him about his clothes and some people took it the wrong way and thought I stepped over the line.

PL: Since you were sporting a clover suit at the final table of the Irish Open, we’re not sure you’re in the position to tease anybody for the way they dress.

Hand Spragg

Benjamin Spragg and Fintan Hand vlogging.

FH: I killed that suit.

BS: It was shocking. I know you think that was funny but it wasn’t.

FH: I got free drinks and everything. Everybody loved it.

BS: The thing is that he craves attention and I don’t. He’s very outgoing but I don’t like having fun. I enjoy being miserable.

PL: Have you ever tried something else. Like… a job?

BS: I’ve never had a job. I’m fine with video games. But to get an audience streaming video games, you either have to be very good or very funny.

FH: I used to be a dealer. I also had a couple of other jobs, like stacking shelves in a supermarket. I worked from 16 to 21, and then I got into streaming.

PL: What are your next projects?

BS: When we’re done here in Barcelona we’ll be streaming the WCOOP.

FH: After that I’ll be at the PokerStars Festival in Dublin.

BS: And in October we’ll be at the TwitchCon in Long Beach, California, so if any of your readers will be around there, come and say hi!

PL: Thank you Ben and Fintan.


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Daily 3-Bet: Streamboat Ticket, Zedd Plays, Brat vs. Jungleman

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a cooler of refreshments and a cushy inner tube set to float down the meandering mid-afternoon poker news river.

You can always make suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comment’s section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at viewers joining in on Streamboat #2, Zedd making good at PSC Barcelona and Phil Hellmuth facing off against Dan Cates.

1) Hop on the Streamboat

Bill Perkins’ “Streamboat” is easily one of the entertaining concepts that’s been put forth in the poker world over the last few years and poker fans are getting a chance to join the action.

thirst lounge bill perkins

Bill Perkins on Streamboat #1.

As part of a deal with PokerStars, there will be up to six lucky fans joining the crew for the second official voyage of the yacht in the British Virgin Islands.

Interested players will be able to take part in Streamboat freerolls on PokerStars.

Winners will be able to send a video about themselves to the Streamboat crew who will pick their favorite candidates to come aboard.

The second voyage of the Streamboat is set to run Sept. 3-24, right in the middle of PokerStars 2017 World Championship of Online Poker.

The crew consists of Bill Perkins, Jeff Gross, Jaime Staples, Kevin Martin and Matt Staples. Each streamer will run their own unique freeroll on PokerStars.

Check out the Home Game Clubs of Jaime, Matt and Kevin to learn more.

Winners will be announced on Sept. 7, 2017.

2) Zedd Makes €44k Score at PSC Barcelona

By all accounts this year’s PokerStars party in Barcelona was one of the all-time greats thanks to electro star Zedd.

Zedd Liv Boeree photo DH6UNZ3WsAAWiP2.jpg large

Zedd pointing out his big win. Credit: Liv Boeree.

Well it turns out Zedd is no one-trick pony.

The famous Russian-born DJ took to the felt after the party and actually managed to find some serious success.

Zedd crashed out of the Main Event early but then went on to play the 8-Max turbo event at PSC Barcelona and went on to finish third for a tidy €44,000.

It’s always nice to see recreational players do well in high-profile events and hopefully catch the poker bug.

At the very least it wouldn’t be surprising to see Zedd come out for a few more PokerStars events.

Zedd could probably get a head-start on playing high rollers from a fellow Russian/German who had a huge score in Barcelona this week.

3) Phil Hellmuth Faces Dan Cates in Rivers Showdown Final

What happens when an iconic old-school poker pro faces off against a new-school online legend?

We’re going to find out tonight when Phil Hellmuth and Dan Cates battle each other heads-up in the Rivers Showdown Final for a $200k prize.

The easy money seems to be on Cates who’s won millions playing HU online for the highest stakes imaginable but Hellmuth has already pulled off somewhat of an upset by defeating Doug Polk earlier in the event.

The final kicks off at 5:30 ET tonight and you can watch for free on In the meantime here’s a look at how the contestants got to this point:



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partypoker Goes All Out for Powerfest with Record $35m Prize Pool

The battle of the online poker series is heating up and partypoker just fired a salvo heard round the world.

partypoker announced the latest edition of its popular Powerfest this week and the series is set to break a number of records for the long-time poker operator.

The next Powerfest will take place Sept. 3-24 with a gargantuan $35m in guaranteed prizes over the course of 330 different events.

With rival operators PokerStars and 888poker set to run series at roughly the same time September is shaping up to be the busiest month in online poker history.

Twelve $1m-GTD Championship Events

Saying the Powerfest schedule is diverse when it comes to buy-ins would be an understatement.


Sam Trickett will be happy to know the $25k SHR will return.

Micro-stakes grinders can get it on the action by playing any number of the $5.50 tournaments while the most elite poker players will be happy to note that the giant $25,500 Super High Roller will return.

The cornerstone of the series, however, is a series of 12 Championship Events that will each offer a $1m guarantee.

The majority of the Championship tournaments will take place on Sundays but partypoker is also offering a handful on Tuesday for players who might have other plans for their weekend.

The vast bulk of the schedule will take place in No-Limit Hold’em (albeit in a number of different formats including freezeout, knockout and bounty) but there will also be 12 PLO events with over $180,000 in combined guarantees.

This year’s Powerfest will also play host to the first-ever Ladies Event, which is open only to female players on the site.

$4m+ Guaranteed on Final Day of Powerfest

The series will culminate with a truly epic Sunday on Sept. 24 where partypoker will host three different championship events.

In total the three championship events will offer more $4m in guaranteed prizes, making it one of the most potentially lucrative days in the history of partypoker.

There’s a good chance partypoker will not only hit the $35m guarantee for the entire series but surpass it. partypoker put up $20m for the last Powerfest, which took place in May, and the event cranked out a staggering $27m in prize money.

As you might expect partypoker is already running a series of qualifiers for the upcoming Powerfest with steps buy-ins starting at less than $1.

You can always swing by our partypoker review to learn more about the site or sign up for an account.

Here’s a complete look at the upcoming Powerfest schedule:


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Daily 3-Bet: WPT GO, Blumstein Investments, $1.2m Jackpot

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is one last pull on the mid-afternoon poker news slot machine that ends up paying off big.

You can always fire suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at PokerGO scoring yet another high-profile streaming deal, plans for Scott Blumstein’s millions and a $1.2m Bad Beat Jackpot.

1) WPT on PokerGO

At this point it might be easier to list the live tournaments that PokerGO DOESN’T stream.

Daniel Strelitz WPT Photo Joe Giron

Coming to PokerGO!

Earlier today Poker Central announced that PokerGO will be streaming WPT Season XVI starting next week.

It’s particularly significant because in the past there were a few WPT final tables that weren’t available for streaming anywhere.

PokerGO subscribers will get their first taste of WPT action at the Legends of Poker final table on Aug. 31.

The tournament itself begins Aug. 25 and is expected to award the one-billionth prize dollar for the WPT so it’s safe to say it’s a significant one.

PokerGO’s streaming schedule is starting to look pretty darn formidable with the WSOP, Super High Roller Bowl, Poker After Dark, The Poker Masters and now the WPT all available.

It’s getting very difficult to find any major tours that aren’t under the PokerGO umbrella these days and we wouldn’t be surprised to learn about one or two more deals in the next few months.

2) Blumstein’s Plan for $8.1m WSOP Prize

Worried about how recent WSOP Main Event champion Scott Blumstein is going to spend his $8m haul from the final table?

Don’t be.

It turns out that Blumstein has a plan in place for his earnings and it seems pretty foul-proof:

Look I appreciate everyone telling me to hire an investor to handle the $ but I can handle buying crypto & betting the Jets under on my own.

— Scott Blumstein (@SBlum2711) August 20, 2022

All joking aside there has been at least one former Main Event champ who actually declared bankruptcy in the years following his victory so be careful, Scotty!

3) $1.2m Jackpot Paid Out at Playground Poker

Sometimes it seems like no one ever hits those massive bad beat jackpots offered by casinos around the world.

That certainly wasn’t the case at Playground Poker earlier this week as quad jacks were beaten by a straight flush.

The card room’s Bad Beat Jackpot, which had been building for months, awarded to $1.2m with 40% going to the player who lost the pot and 20% to his opponent.

Ever other player at the table received $30,000 and another $1,200 was awarded to every player in the room.

Fortunately someone captured the moment on video and the energy in the room was clearly palpable.

Fun stuff.


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Liv Boeree: “It Was the Right Call to Carry On with PSC Barcelona”

There are some things you simply can’t account for when planning a poker festival.

This year’s horrific terrorist attack in Barcelona, which led to 14 fatalities, qualifies as something no one could have predicted.

The attack took place while PokerStars was holding its massive PSC Barcelona festival just a few kilometers away.

Despite the serious nature of the attack, PokerStars decided to move forward with the event and Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree believed it was the right decision.

We caught up with Boeree and talked to her about what it’s like to play cards while having to deal with an omnipresent threat in the back of your mind.

PokerListings: Do you remember where you were when you first heard about the terror attack that happened here in Barcelona last Thursday?

Liv Boeree: I was at the table, deep in the €10k High Roller event. My mom messaged me and then tried to call.

I was surprised at first. She asked if I was okay and I said, “sure, why?”. Then she explained to me what had happened.

PL: What was your initial response?

LB: My initial response was to make sure Igor [Kurganov] was okay. And then… it’s difficult to put in words, and I don’t want to use the word desensitized but this has unfortunately become a part of life.

Igor Kurganov IMG 4337

Igor Kurganov

It’s not that I don’t realize what has happened, but there are 20,000 people dying every day for needless things, terrible things that are avoidable.

There are murders all the time, committed by horrible — but also mentally ill people — but they don’t get as much press, so they’re not even at the forefront of our minds.

The media coverage is a difficult subject to talk about here. Of course these terrorists have been brainwashed and believe stupid things but they also want the notoriety.

They see other attacks making the front pages, and that inspires them. It makes them want their own moment of “glory”.

The more we make of it the more we’re going to have it. Something’s gotta give there. We obviously need to try and minimize terror and remember the victims but we also can’t overhype it because it becomes a self-perpetuating thing.

These people want fame and they want it for really bad things. We shouldn’t give them that.

PL: Did you go to La Rambla where the attack happened?

20170427 casino barcelona

Casino Barcelona

LB: No. Not only because I was very busy but also… I’m sad enough about what happened. I don’t need to go there and make myself even sadder.

PL: What do you think about the way Barcelona is handling the situation?

LB: I’m very impressed with the city in general. I love how the next day there were people out on the beaches. People went to work.

There was a more sombre mood but people were getting on with their lives because that’s what we have to do!

If we don’t, the terrorists get what they want. They want fear, they want disruption and they want to be talked about. We have to carry on and not give them what they want.

PL: One question on everybody’s mind here was whether this poker event here should carry on.

Liv Boeree

Liv Boeree

LB: Of course it should! It’s not even close! What else would we do? Let the terrorists win? Cancelling the event can’t be an option unless there was a chance that it wasn’t secure, but security here has been the strongest I’ve ever seen at any event, which is reassuring.

There’s always a risk to anything that anyone of us is doing but it’s comparatively small. It was absolutely the right call to carry on.

In fact, now you can see the poker community being even nicer to each other. It has given everyone a bit of perspective. It shows that we’re all here for the same thing and we all want to live our peaceful lives. That was nice to see.

PL: Looking at bigger events, they didn’t stop either. The CF Barcelona played yesterday, almost as if to make a point.

LB: Exactly and good for the Spanish that they did this.

We should not forget that the chances of being hit by a terrorist attack are tiny, compared to almost anything else. We have to be aware that our minds are playing tricks on us, overvaluing some things and undervaluing others.

We’re getting bombarded by the media with some things but not others. Air pollution is much more likely to kill us but we don’t hear much about that all the time.

PL: Have you ever experienced that this religious conflict – if you can even call it a conflict – in the poker community?

LB: Never. Literally, no time. I highly doubt it ever will.

PL: Thank you, Liv Boeree.


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Record-Setting PSC Barcelona Continues to Spark PokerStars LIVE

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

While the online poker world has changed drastically over the last few years, Barcelona remains a centerpiece of the PokerStars Live Tour.

In fact it could easily be construed that the latest PSC in the city is proof that PokerStars is edging further away from the competition in the live arena.

The numbers are, quite simply, staggering.

It hasn’t been easy lately for poker’s biggest operator. Several measures that PokerStars has taken in online poker have raised the eyebrows of more than a handful of players in the last couple years and the re-branding of the EPT didn’t have the desired effect either.

Barcelona, however, remains a success story for the company. And things are once again looking up.

Numbers Still Climbing to Record Heights

Pundits have been predicting the demise of poker and big live festivals over the last few years but the number new players taking up the game is nothing to scoff at.

The PokerStars National Championship is an example of a tournament that just continues to grow no matter what expectations you throw at it.

psc barcelona 2017 poker tournament area Vertical2

The first National Championship was played in 2012 and it attracted a huge field of 1,037 players. The number exceeded expectations at the time.

In the following years the numbers not only went up: they exploded. This is a look at the field over the last five years:

2012: 1037 players; €1,004,940 prize pool
2013: 1798 players; €1,744,060 prize pool
2014: 2560 players; €2,483,200 prize pool
2015: 3292 players; €3,193,240 prize pool
2016: 3447 players; €3,343,590 prize pool

In 2017 PokerStars guaranteed €4 million in the prize pool for the first time ever and expectations were at an all-time high.

Somehow the tournament continue to smash estimates, however, and by the time the smoke had cleared the event claimed 4,557 entries, of which about 1,000 were re-entries. It was enough to qualify as the biggest PokerStars live tournament ever.

The National Championship is slowly catching up with some of the bigger events at the WSOP. The prize pool tipped the scales at €4,420,290 with €575,000 for the winner. That’s more than 50% of the inaugural event’s full prize pool.

The National Championship isn’t the only tournament that’s drawing big, however. The new PokerStars Cup, a €330 buy-in tournament, attracted nearly 2,400 runners this year.

A Trend Towards Lower Buy-ins

PokerStars also offers a slightly bigger version of the National Championship at a buy-in of €2,200 and that event attracted 1,470 players this year. That’s almost 300 players more than last year.

Pedro Cairat winner pokerstars national championship barcelona 2017

Pedro Cairat, winner of the National Championship.

On the high end of the scale, the €50k Super High Roller event shrunk from 102 to 86 entries.

Of course the number of players in these events is so small that this doesn’t really give us enough information to call it a trend but the growth in lower buy-in player fields is significant.

Meanwhile the Main Event started earlier today, and in the first couple of hours, the numbers looked similar to last year’s event.

With its buy-in of €5,300, the Main Event could signify the threshold between the lower and higher buy-in tournaments regarding attendance.

Last year 1,785 players entered the Main Event, which was a record high. Actually, it was a record high for the seventh year in a row, as the field in Barcelona has been growing every year since the inaugural one in 2004, except once in 2009.

The final numbers for the PSC Main Event will be released in the early afternoon on Wednesday. It’s unclear if the tournament will top last year’s attendance but it’s going to be a big one, regardless.

Could this be the year that the PSC Barcelona hits 2,000 players? It’s certainly seems more possible than ever before.


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Daily 3-Bet: Igor the Great, Cash Game Goodness, $33m Payout

The Daily 3-Bet is a delicious and nutritious smoothy made from grinding up the very best mid-afternoon poker news ingredients with a 1,560-watt blending machine.

You can always make your own suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces by plunking them in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Igor Kurganov grabbing yet another SHR title, a great Live at the Bike lineup and the massive $33m UB/Absolute payout.

1) Kurganov Snags Barcelona SHR Title

Because Igor Kurganov always comes across as such an incredible nice, generous guy it’s easy to forget he’s a beast at the tables.

Daniel Negreanu IMG 4523

Also at the final table.

Kurganov reminded people in Barcelona this week by taking down a hefty €50,000 buy-in PSC Super High Roller for €1m.

The Team PokerStars Pro overwhelmed a final table that included Daniel Negreanu, Koray Aldemir, Ivan Luca and Dietrich Fast.

Kurganov out-dueled Polish pro Bartlomiej Machon to clinch the title and €1,078,106. There was a heads-up deal, however, so Machon likely wasn’t that disappointed with his €864k haul.

It’s been quite a year for Kurganov as he won his first WSOP bracelet with girlfriend Liv Boeree in the $10k Tag-Team event. Last February Kurganov also got a sponsorship deal with PokerStars.

The Russian-born pro is now up to $2m in earnings in 2017 alone and $14m lifetime. Definitely one of the most consistent high rollers around.

2) Live at the Bike Line Up

What’s with the recent glut of high-profile, high-stakes cash games getting streamed lately?

live at the bike DHw6B0AVYAEH59J.jpg large

We’re not complaining but with the revitalized PAD hitting it out of the park on PokerGO earlier this month and a new Live at the Bike line-up set for this Friday it’s getting tough to find the time to watch it all.

The Live at the Bike game will kick off at 2 p.m. on Friday and include the likes of Antonio Esfandiari, Ryan Fee, Lauren Roberts and Ronen Porat playing $50/$100 No-Limit Hold’em.

Perhaps Esfandiari can find a way to make up for that nasty KK vs. Tom Dwan’s AA hand that saw him lose close to $700k on PAD last week.

At the rate we’re going it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see GSN’s classic High-Stakes Poker or even Full Tilt Poker’s Million Dollar Cash Game make a return in the near future. Don’t hold your breath for those two, though.

As per usual you’ll able to watch the entire Live at the Bike cash game on

3) DOJ to Dole Out $33m in UB/Absolute Repayments

It’s actually happening.

UB and Absolute Poker are set to return $33m to former players who’ve had their accounts frozen since Black Friday rocked the poker world in 2011.


Took long enough.

It’s taken over seven years but the US Department of Justice finally approved the first round of payments from UB/Absolute to former players.

Garden City Group, the group handling the re-payments, estimates 7,400 former players will be included in the process with nearly $33.5 million being returned to players.

Players have until Sept. 7 to file a claim, so make sure you get in there if you have an outstanding balance on either UB or Absolute Poker.

It’s somewhat incredible it’s actually gotten to this point as even some of the most optimistic poker pros didn’t have a lot of hope about ever getting their money back after Black Friday.

Apparently the US government was able to acquire enough money from Black Friday that it was able to officially repay players.

It’s the second major payout in regards to Black Friday as Full Tilt Poker, thanks to being acquired by PokerStars in 2012, was able to return more than $100m to players.


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888poker Announces XL Eclipse Schedule with 197 Events, $9m GTD

Hot on the heels of an actual solar eclipse, 888poker is prepping its biggest XL series ever, which is fittingly called XL Eclipse.

Having rebranded and boosted the XL series, 888poker is about to flood the online poker world again with more tournaments than most people play in an entire year.

Taking place from September 10-24, 2017, the latest edition of the XL series will offer a total of 197 events spread across two action-packed weeks of poker.

Over $9,000,000 in Prizes

Once again this is the biggest guarantee yet for an XL series.

The overall series will offer a total of $9.17m in guaranteed prize money with the Main Event alone featuring a $1.5m guarantee.

Kara Scott

888poker ambassador Kara Scott.

That’s quite a journey from the $2 million guaranteed over the entire span of the first XL series that 888poker ran several years ago.

Every single one of the 197 tournaments has a prize pool guarantee and judging from experience with the XL Inferno, which had $7.5 million guaranteed, there will be very few overlays.

XL Eclipse, and its nearly 200 tournaments, will play out over a span of just two weeks, which means that on average there will be 13 tournaments offered each day.

So if you want to benefit as much as possible from the XL Eclipse you had better take some time off from work and stock up on food and drink.

And just in case you’re thinking you might want to do something else with your vacation, have you ever come back with more money than you went with on a holiday trip? Playing the XL Eclipse, you might.

With with such a vast schedule you’ll find a couple of tournaments to play no matter when you have time.

Multiple Main Events, $5,200 SHR Returns

The most important event is always the Main Event. This one will be a $1,050 buy-in Deepstack NLHE event with $1.5 million guaranteed.

cash money

Big tournaments, big money.

As usual at 888poker, the Main Event will come in four different variations. Apart from the $1,050, there will be a $215 Mini Main Event, a $109 Turbo Main Event, a $75 Super Turbo Main Event and a $30 Micro Main Event.

There will also be two “Whales” with $1,050 buy-in. They will run on Sundays as usual. There will also be $2,100 High Roller Event with $500,000 guaranteed on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Of course, all the eyes will be on the $5,200 Super High Roller. All the top pros and ambassadors will play in this one to get the most coveted title of this series apart from the main event.

The Super High Roller event also has a guaranteed prize pool of $500,000.

The Opening Event is also available in four different buy-in and speed levels from $12 to $160 and it has up to $300,000 guaranteed.

On the other end of the scale, you’ll find four tournaments for just $5 and with guarantees from $3000 to $10,000.

Eight events will have just $12 to play, and among them is also an Omaha tournament.

Freeroll your way into the XL Eclipse Main Event

888poker is running freerolls that award tickets to the $1,050 Main Event several times a day. Open your 888poker lobby and spin the wheel, you’ll soon find tickets for the freerolls in your account.

Play to win, register to play

This will be a series for all levels and bankrolls, and you shouldn’t miss out. Do you have an account at 888poker? Then you’re all set.

If you don’t check out our 888poker review page, where we’ll guide you through the registration process.

888poker XL Eclipse complete schedule:


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Hand of the Week: Tom Dwan Scoops $700k in PAD Blockbuster

This week saw the highly anticipated return of “Poker after Dark” – and Tom “durrrr” Dwan.

Dwan used to be a trademark of the highly popular poker show, but then disappeared from the TV poker scene for several years. On his return he first turned his attention to the one-and-only Antonio Esfandiari.

It was the first episode of the new season of Poker after Dark, and “The Magician” found himself in a terrible spot versus Dwan and Daniel Negreanu and simply couldn’t find an escape.

From the Flop to the River

Poker After Dark is back, and the game is No-Limit Hold’em $200/$400 with a $400 button ante. Six players are in the game, and Antonio Esfandiari has just turned his UTG position into being the last player to act by putting in a straddle of $800.

Also at the table are Lauren Roberts, Bill Klein, Jean-Robert Bellande, Tom Dwan, and Daniel Negreanu.

Roberts and Klein throw their hands into the muck, and then Daniel Negreanu raises to $3,500 from the button. Bellande folds, but Tom Dwan re-raises to $14,000.

Antonio Esfandiari checks his cards.

They are


Esfandiari 4-Bets to $41,100 and Daniel Negreanu is not backing down. He thinks about it for a while and decides to call. The pot is now up to $96,800 and the pre-flop action is not yet over.

It’s back to Tom Dwan, who also takes his time and eventually goes all-in with $328,000. The action goes back to Esfandiari who calls. Negreanu lays his cards down with a smile. He had


But Tom Dwan has something better. It’s showdown time and he turns over the best starting hand in Texas Hold’em.


They’re dealing it twice, but Esfandiari fails to catch and Tom Dwan takes the complete $697,100 pot.

Do watch this hand again as it played out:


Obviously there has been a lot of discussion about this hand on the internet and there were quite a few people who seemed astonished about Esfandiari not being able to fold his kings.

Others claimed there was no way out for “The Magician” and that he was doomed from the start of this hand.

Who’s right? We need to take every involved player’s position to find out.

Daniel Negreanu - Q Q

The Canadian pro finds pocket queens and makes a standard raise from the button with the third-best starting hand.

Daniel Negreanu 5932

Daniel Negreanu

Then things get interesting. First, Dwan raises to $14,000 and then Esfandiari pops it up again to $41,100.

Negreanu can now reasonably choose any of his three options.

Raise – Negreanu might put in a 5-bet here. This would mean, however, that he would cross the all-in threshold and can’t fold anymore.

With this hand, that would put Negreanu into a really bad spot, because the only hands he would get called with are A-A, K-K, and A-K, and the best-case scenario would be a coin flip.

Considering how the other two players in this hand play, aces or kings are definitely in their ranges.

Call – By calling, Negreanu gives himself a chance to stay in the hand and watch what Tom Dwan is doing behind him. If Dwan just calls, his range is weaker than expected and Negreanu gets to see a flop.

If, however, Dwan raises again, then Negreanu will get more information by what Esfandiari is going to do, and then he can still decide to lay his hand down relatively cheap.

Fold – If Negreanu folds here, he’s making sure to stay completely out of trouble, and he’s limiting his investment to $3,500.

But he’s facing two very aggressive players at a six-handed table, so he can’t just fold such a strong hand just because there’s some resistance.

Making the call is clearly Negreanu’s best move here, and when both Dwan and Esfandiari are all-in, folding becomes inevitable.

Tom Dwan - A A

Pocket aces play very nicely and easily when things go like this but there is one move that is of crucial importance.

tom dwan 2

Tom Dwan

When Negreanu makes the call, should Dwan raise again to $100,000 or should he just go all-in?

As it were, Dwan – after taking some strategic thinking time – opts for the all-in, which is the best option.

Now you might think that sounds wrong as Dwan really wants to get called but does his best to drive away his customers, but at the end of the day, the opposite is true.

By going all-in, Dwan adds A-K to his range. Being known as an extremely aggressive player, he can now get a call not only from K-K, but from Q-Q, too, and even from A-K.

If he would on the other hand 5-Bet his hand, it would basically scream “I have aces and want you to call me”, and that would have everyone get suspicious.
With this, let’s look at the last player involved.

Antonio Esfandiari - K K

In the first betting round, Esfandiari plays everything correctly. He sees Negreanu raise and Dwan re-raise, and since he’s holding the second best starting hand, he doesn’t mind building an even bigger pot and maybe eliminating one of his opponents along the way to improve his own pot equity.

But then strange things happen. Daniel Negreanu calls his 4-Bet although he’s sandwiched between Esfandiari and Dwan, and then Dwan comes back with another raise all-in!

Let’s look at his opponents’ ranges.

Antonio Esfandiari 22843

Antonio Esfandiari

Negreanu plays like he has a strong, but not very strong hand. It looks a bit like T-T, J-J, Q-Q or A-K and he wants to see a flop. Esfandiari’s kings are ahead of this range, but then there’s still Dwan.

When Dwan is all-in, Negreanu’s range becomes secondary. The crucial question is, which hands would Tom Dwan push all-in in this spot and how do Esfandiari’s kings play against them?

We’ll have to take a look at numbers. Pocket kings versus a loose range – A-A, K-K, Q-Q, and A-K – a tight range – A-A, K-K, A-K – and a very tight range – A-A, K-K.

Against the loose range, kings win 55% of the times, draw 5% of the times, and lose 40% of the times.

Against the tight range, kings win 44%, draw 7%, and lose 49% of the times.

Against the very tight range, kings win 16%, draw 14%, and lose 70% of the times.

We also have to take into account the money in the pot. Esfandiari has to pay $287,000 into a pot of $410,500 to call, giving him pot odds of 1.4 to 1. That means he has to win 41% of the times to make his play profitable.

Is that enough if your opponent is Tom Dwan?

Very likely, yes. If Dwan pushes all-in with any more hands than aces and kings, Esfandiari is generally on the profitable side.

But then all the cash game players have one thing in common: They don’t like to call with kings.


It’s an unfortunate spot for Antonio Esfandiari. He loses a gigantic pot of almost $700,000 because his opponent Tom Dwan is not a rock who only plays the nuts but has a wider range.

Mental note – If your stack is over 100 bb deep, or even 800 bb like in this case, kings become a dangerous hand for pre-flop all-ins.


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Daily 3-Bet: Barcelona Fallout, Hand Ranking Fail, Trueteller Tell-All

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a quick-fire recap of the latest going ons in a mid-afternoon poker news world that moves at the speed of Usain Bolt.

You can always fire suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at the horrific attack in Barcelona and its ramifications for PSC Barcelona, an NJ lottery fail and a Timofey ‘Trueteller’ Kuznetsov interview.

1) PSC Barcelona Goes On

We generally like to keep the 3-Bet lighthearted with various tidbits and clips from the poker world but it would be impossible to ignore the tragedy that occurred in Barcelona yesterday.


If you haven’t heard, a van plowed into a crowd of pedestrians and left 13 people dead with more than 100 injured. ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the attack.

There’s a connection to the poker, as well, as PokerStars was in the midst of hosting its latest National Championship in the city as part of PSC Barcelona.

Poker pros from around the world quickly updated to their Twitter status to let everyone know they were safe.

There was one poker player, however, who was actually injured. Danish poker pro Claus Vallø told the Danish media his ankle was cut in the attack and he saw someone get hit first-hand.

Incredibly Vallø was in Phuket, Thailand, when the Tsunami struck in 2004 so it wasn’t his first time seeing a tragedy unfold on a large scale.

Meanwhile PokerStars has released a statement saying that, as of right now, tournaments will go forward as planned in Barcelona although players will be allowed to unregister and receive refunds if they choose.

Stay safe everyone.

Here’s the complete PokerStars statement:

Our thoughts are with those affected in Barcelona today. Players with concerns or questions can email [email protected] (1/3)

— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) August 17, 2022

We have taken immediate steps, together with casino & hotel partners, to review & improve security measures. Liaising with police. (2/3)

— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) August 17, 2022

We will continue to monitor the situation. At this time tournaments are proceeding. Players that unregister will have buy-ins refunded. 3/3

— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) August 17, 2022

2) Epic NJ Lottery Poker Hand Ranking Fail

Poker is often used as a gambling vehicle with incredibly popular casino games like Three-Card Hold’em and Pai Gow.


Wait, who wins?

The game is also used for various scratch and win tickets and lotteries. Those games have little to do with actual poker except for the hand rankings.

A recent game offered by the New Jersey lottery didn’t even follow those basic rules and got itself into trouble this week.

The game, called High Card Poker, essentially didn’t fully utilize a five-card hand. Instead players had to have a higher top card against the dealer and the rest of the cards that made up the hand didn’t matter.

According to, Robert Chalet, of Bloomfield, bought a $5 ticket and thought he won $150,000 before the company announced he had a draw and only a $10 prize.

The NJ has since pulled the game from shelves. This seems like a good lesson for enterprising casinos looking to make a new poker gambling game: Follow the hand rankings.

3) Paul Phua Interviews Timofey ‘Trueteller’ Kuznetsov

Russian Timofey ‘Trueteller’ Kuznetsov is one of the biggest online winners ever but he’s also been notoriously hard to interview.

Fortunately businessman/poker pro Paul Phua doesn’t seem to have the same problems as the rest of the poker media as he’s been scooping interviews with high-stakes icons Dan “jungleman” Cates, Dan Colman, Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey over the last few years.

His latest video is with Kuznetsov and it’s a great one. The young Russian seems to have a real passion for playing high-stakes with his standout quote: “I find it fun to fight my own fears.”

Check it out below:


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888poker Kicks Off Upcoming Flopomania with $100k Jackpot

888poker is giving its players a little more incentive to try out its action-packed Flopomania poker variant with a series and a $100k jackpot.

Poker sites around the world are putting significant resources into developing new games these days but 888poker seems to have hit on something with the Flopomania variant that eschews the first round of betting in No-Limit Hold’em so that everyone gets a peak at the flop.

It’s not the first time that 888poker has contributed something new to the poker world as the site introduced Poker Cam tournaments where players could actually see each other through webcams and BLAST tournaments with a time limit twist.

The game will go live soon and we’ll give you a quick rundown of how it works and what kind of prizes will up for grabs in the coming weeks.

What is Flopomania?

Flopomania is a No-Limit Texas Hold’em without the first betting round. There is no pre-flop action. Every player gets two cards and then the flop is dealt before anybody can act.

Everybody has to pay an ante to get cards in the first place. When the flop is dealt, action commences as you know it from regular Hold’em.

The idea behind this is to bring more speed and action into the game to make it fast and exciting.

How Will Flopomania Differ From Hold’em?

888poker’s new game Flopomania is probably going to have a deeper effect than just speeding up the game. The following factors will become important if you want to play the new game.

chris moorman 888 london aspers 1

Speed won’t be a problem for Moorman1.

Speed – Yes, as the first betting round gets skipped, it will be much faster getting to the flop. However, instead of two or three players, everybody goes to the flop, which will prolong the flop action.

Pot size – With everybody putting an ante in, the pot is significantly larger than usual, which will have an impact on how players should continue.

Beyond NLHE – Flopomania introduces elements of both Stud and Draw poker into NLHE. The fact that everybody has to bring in an ante is clearly a Stud feature. Depending on the flop action, players might be getting the odds to continue with a hand they would usually fold.

You’ll be looking at five cards instead of two, which is essentially the starting point in 5-Card Draw poker. But instead of drawing you’ll be able to add more cards to your hand and improve the top five.

This will greatly diminish the value of pocket pairs and particularly big pocket pairs. Two aces are always way ahead of any two other cards (except the other two aces), but pocket aces plus three random cards will be much less of a favorite compared to the aforementioned three plus two further random cards.

The takeaway is that you’ll generally need better hands to win as everybody starts with five cards instead of two making potentially way better “starting hands” than just a pair.

The Flopomania Promotion

To get the game rolling there will be a promotion on 888poker that includes scratch cards, daily challenges and a $100,000 jackpot.

To win the jackpot – or anything – you need 888poker’s virtual scratch cards. You can get a scratch card by depositing a minimum $10 with the Promotion code FLOPOMANIA10.


However, you can win more scratch cards by completing the daily challenges offered to you in the 888poker lobby.

For every completed challenge you’ll get another scratch card and you can win a maximum of three per day. The number of tickets you have will pop up once you open the lobby.

Scratch the cards and you win a prize. There are no blanks. You can win tickets to the Flopomania promotion tournaments which run twice a day and have a $3000 guaranteed prize pool or you can win cash prizes starting at $1 and going all the way up to $100,000!

The promotion starts on Sunday, August 20, and will run until September 7.

The new Flopomania game is supposed to celebrate its live debut at the next 888poker festival at the Aspers Casino in London.

That’s plenty of time for you to create your own account in case you don’t have one yet. Click through to our 888poker review page and get started. It’s quick and it’s easy.


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