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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. Analysis In this crucial situation Stewart – who’s had a couple of successes in smaller events – makes the right decision and stays alive. 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 gutshots3. Air 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. Conclusion 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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. 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, $918,0002. Matt Hyman, $561,0003. Stefan Schillhabel, $306,0004. Steffen Sontheimer, $204,0005. Dominik Nitsche, $178,5006. Koray Aldemir, $153,0007. 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: Update: Here's Day 2 now, too: 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 Germany2. Adrian Mateos 745,000 Spain3. Bryn Kenney 391,000 USA4. Tom Marchese 1,011,000 USA5. Steffen Sontheimer 848,000 Germany6. Phil Hellmuth 702,000 USA7. Christian Christner 1,416,000 Germany Visit www.pokerlistings.com

$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 be bigger than ever before and offer 10 varied events over 12 days – but only 30 seconds to make a move. £30 Sats, £400,000 Main Event The next 888live London festival starts on October 2 with £30 satellites to the Opening Event. 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. 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).Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. Super excited to be a part of @GPLIndia @gpl let's go!!! pic.twitter.com/1eOQxRpxUE — Muskan Sethi (@muskaansethi) September 7, 2017 | More #GPLIndia News: "We're happy to announce that @nipunjava will be the official ambassador & caster of our 1st season. pic.twitter.com/2OohqjMgeY — GPL India (@GPLIndia) September 11, 2017Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. 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 1,460,0002. Steffen Sontheimer 1,255,0003. Nick Schulman 1,050,0004. Adrian Mateos 745,0005. Koray Aldemir 660,0006. Dominik Nitsche 635,0007. 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. 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. $918,0002. $561,0003. $306,0004. $204,0005. $178,5006. $153,0007. $127,5008. $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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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? 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 pic.twitter.com/jwK0fBNKww — Stefan Schillhabel (@becksundsoda) September 12, 2017 Next-lvl-prep for #PokerMasters with @becksundsoda and ChristianLet's crush 1/3 for now#ariapoker pic.twitter.com/WBpUrgMUnY — Go0se.core! (@RunGo0seRun) September 13, 2017 The first half of Team Germany arrived in Vegas today :) #PokerMasters starts on Wednesday. Livestreamed by @PokerGO. Let's win that jacket! pic.twitter.com/VMoD8C5vVe — Stefan Schillhabel (@becksundsoda) September 12, 2017 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, 2017 Aggg no pudo ser el HR quede el 19... mañana a vegas para jugar el poker masters! — Adrián Mateos Díaz (@Amadi_17) September 11, 2017 2) Serda Looks Super 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: Poll Please choose an option to vote Vote Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. 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 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 JacketIf Christoph or DP don't play the first event those bets are off. pic.twitter.com/TxGLWCXR2B — Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 12, 2017 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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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 Place Name Country Prize 1 I’mTriggered Costa Rica $58,270 2 Tsipras Finland $41,469 3 89Diamonds UK $31,740 4 I_R_BABOON Netherlands $22,425 5 LucySagara70 Netherlands $16,387 6 Binkasaurus UK $13,110 7 HinduKrush UK $9832 8 GetLuckyAK Canada $6555 9 Ignatiik Ukraine $3726 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. 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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

Join the 888poker Action Squad, Win Up to $100k Every Day
888poker’s largest online series yet – the XL Eclipse – has been on 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. 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. Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. Analysis 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? Conclusion 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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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.  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, 2017 ... 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, 2017 ... concern and texts. And most of all. Your prayers. — Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) September 8, 2017 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, 2017 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, 2017 ... 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, 2017 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. 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. 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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

$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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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!!! pic.twitter.com/lgJMMQBwv4 — Kristen Bicknell (@krissyb24poker) September 2, 2017 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, 2017 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, 2017 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, 2017 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, 2017 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, 2017 6/ The overwhelming majority of our resources have been and will remain focused on RIO Poker. — Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2017 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, 2017Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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 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, 2017 Arrived in São Paulo for @888poker Festival here this week 6th-12th. How cool isn't this city?! pic.twitter.com/nu6neg3svC — 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 pic.twitter.com/WvNoZhIB92 — Leo Margets (@LeoMargets) September 6, 2017 When you get seated with @Sofia_Lovgren, @TiffnyMichelle and @LeoMargets at the #888LiveSP High Roller, you bet it's #SelfieTime! pic.twitter.com/d5n825VjjH — 888poker (@888poker) September 6, 2017 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… https://t.co/dZUQI4sv8P — 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 bonusVisit www.pokerlistings.com

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. The Beauty of Live Poker 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. 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. 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 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. 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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com


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