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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. 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 Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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: Analysis 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? 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). 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. 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. 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. Conclusion 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 makeVisit www.pokerlistings.com

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. 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. 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 has 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 tournaments 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 pic.twitter.com/ahBYMdvgG1 — JC TRAN (@jctran23) August 31, 2017 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 show 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: Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. 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:   Guarantee Events Events over $1m Events over $500k Stars, WCOOP Low $12,070,000 87 1 3 Stars, WCOOP $49,790,000 87 16 28 Party, Powerfest $35,020,000 331 10 19 888, XL Eclipse $9,171,000 197 1 3 Winamax, XIX €11,030.000 202 2 4 Total $117,081,000 904 30 57 Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. 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. 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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. WSOP Points System is Broken 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. "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. 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? 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. 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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. Hard Work and Unrelenting Enthusiasm 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 https://t.co/4zECOiSmAA — Jeff Gross (@JeffGrossPoker) August 23, 2017 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. 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 Jaime Staples and Matt Staples, too. 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. 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!Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. 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 Place Name Country Prize 1 Sebastian Sorensson Sweden €987,347* 2 Lachezar Plamenov Petkov Bulgaria €917,347* 3 Raffaele Sorrentino Italy €850,110* 4 Brian Kaufman Esposito Uruguay €402,000 5 André Akkari Brazil €317,960 6 Usman Siddique UK €252,000 7 Aeregan Arunan UK €193,000 8 Albert Daher Lebanon €136,000 *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. 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. 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 2016 2017 No. of players 1,785 1,682 Prize pool €8,675,250 €8,157,700 1st prize €1,122,800 €1,410,000 Places paid 359 247 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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. Analysis 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. Conclusion 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!Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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 for Real-Money Play 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 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 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? 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? 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? 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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

Flopomania Draws in Record Numbers in 888poker Debut
Following in the popular footsteps of its fast-fold SNAP Poker and 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. 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. 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. Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. 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 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. 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. HoldemX 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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. Two Poker Streams, One Poker Channel 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 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 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 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. 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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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. Boeree: Media Coverage is a Difficult Subject 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 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? 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 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.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

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 Climb to Record Heights Pundits have been predicting the demise of poker and big live festivals over the last few years but the number of 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. 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. The field over the last five years: 2012: 1037 players; €1,004,940 prize pool2013: 1798 players; €1,744,060 prize pool2014: 2560 players; €2,483,200 prize pool2015: 3292 players; €3,193,240 prize pool2016: 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. 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 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 certainly seems more possible than ever before.Visit www.pokerlistings.com


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