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

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

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

$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.Visit

Daily 3-Bet: PStars Pays More, $10m Millions, Galfond RIO-K
The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a smoked meat sandwich, a slice of sugar pie and a leisurely Spring stroll down the afternoon poker news Rue Ste-Catherine.Got a hot tip for a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments or on Twitter. Today in the 3-Bet we find PokerStars stretching out its tournament payouts, partypoker brings the dough to MTL and Phil Galfond gives a non-update update. 1) More Paid on PokerStars Interesting announcement by PokerStars this morning re. future tournament payouts. In a nutshell: As of September 11, most tournaments (around 70% of them) on PokerStars will now have deeper payout structures. So: Tourneys that paid 12% now pay 14% Tourneys that paid 14% >> 16% Tourneys that paid 16% >> 18% Tourneys that paid 18% >> 20% For about 30% of the weekly tourneys, payouts will stay the same including in the Progressive Knockouts, most high buy-in events and tournaments that already pay 20%. Says PokerStars: "Changes will be subtle and most players will only notice when they realize that they're experiencing the thrill of cashing a little more often." Read the full explanation of the changes here. Ostensibly, of course, this means more money returns to the hands of poker players. Which is a good thing, right? Or is it? Give us your thoughts below. 2) $10m partypoker Millions Comes to Playground Speaking of paying out more players ... this looks like another big move from the surging partypoker Live with a huge $10m Millions event now planned for May: Wow! A $10,000,000 GTD @partypokerlive Millions announced for May @PlaygroundPoker. This is massive!!! — Kristen Bicknell (@krissyb24poker) September 2, 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

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?! — Sofia Lövgren (@Sofia_Lovgren) 6. September 2017 888poker also, as per usual, invited some special guests which this time around include Leo Margets and Tiffany Michelle, both previous Last Women Standing in the WSOP Main Event. Empezamos el HR del #888liveSP y este es mi table draw — Leo Margets (@LeoMargets) September 6, 2017 When you get seated with @Sofia_Lovgren, @TiffnyMichelle and @LeoMargets at the #888LiveSP High Roller, you bet it's #SelfieTime! — 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… — 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

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

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

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

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 — 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

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

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

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

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 — 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

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

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