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Spragg & Hand: PokerStars’ Breakout Powerhouse Streaming Duo
Streamers Fintan Hand and Benjamin Spragg aren't the most well known poker players PokerStars has ever signed to its online team.They could, though, play a pivotal role in the years to come. Spragg and Hand were only announced to PokerStars Team Online Pro last month but they add yet another valuable weapon to a streaming arsenal that already includes Jason “Jcarver” Somerville, Jaime Staples and Kevin Martin. The pair seem like long-time friends but in reality Hand, who hails from Ireland, and Spragg, of England, met just three months ago. Both have been playing online poker since they were 18 years old but mostly low limit cash games and tournaments. 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

Daily 3-Bet: Igor the Great, Cash Game Goodness, $33m Payout
The Daily 3-Bet is a delicious and nutritious smoothy made from grinding up the very best mid-afternoon poker news ingredients with a 1,560-watt blending machine.You can always make your own suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces by plunking them in the comments section below. In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Igor Kurganov grabbing yet another SHR title, a great Live at the Bike lineup and the massive $33m UB/Absolute payout. 1) Kurganov Snags Barcelona SHR Title Because Igor Kurganov always comes across as such an incredible nice, generous guy it’s easy to forget he’s a beast at the tables. Also at the final table. Kurganov reminded people in Barcelona this week by taking down a hefty €50,000 buy-in PSC Super High Roller for €1m. The Team PokerStars Pro overwhelmed a final table that included Daniel Negreanu, Koray Aldemir, Ivan Luca and Dietrich Fast. Kurganov out-dueled Polish pro Bartlomiej Machon to clinch the title and €1,078,106. There was a heads-up deal, however, so Machon likely wasn’t that disappointed with his €864k haul. It’s been quite a year for Kurganov as he won his first WSOP bracelet with girlfriend Liv Boeree in the $10k Tag-Team event. Last February Kurganov also got a sponsorship deal with PokerStars. The Russian-born pro is now up to $2m in earnings in 2017 alone and $14m lifetime. Definitely one of the most consistent high rollers around. 2) Live at the Bike Line Up What’s with the recent glut of high-profile, high-stakes cash games getting streamed lately? We’re not complaining but with the revitalized PAD hitting it out of the park on PokerGO earlier this month and a new Live at the Bike line-up set for this Friday it’s getting tough to find the time to watch it all. The Live at the Bike game will kick off at 2 p.m. on Friday and include the likes of Antonio Esfandiari, Ryan Fee, Lauren Roberts and Ronen Porat playing $50/$100 No-Limit Hold’em. Perhaps Esfandiari can find a way to make up for that nasty KK vs. Tom Dwan’s AA hand that saw him lose close to $700k on PAD last week. At the rate we’re going it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see GSN’s classic High-Stakes Poker or even Full Tilt Poker’s Million Dollar Cash Game make a return in the near future. Don’t hold your breath for those two, though. As per usual you’ll able to watch the entire Live at the Bike cash game on the Live at the Bike live stream. 3) DOJ to Dole Out $33m in UB/Absolute Repayments It’s actually happening. UB and Absolute Poker are set to return $33m to former players who’ve had their accounts frozen since Black Friday rocked the poker world in 2011. Took long enough. It’s taken over seven years but the US Department of Justice finally approved the first round of payments from UB/Absolute to former players. Garden City Group, the group handling the re-payments, estimates 7,400 former players will be included in the process with nearly $33.5 million being returned to players. Players have until Sept. 7 to file a claim, so make sure you get in there if you have an outstanding balance on either UB or Absolute Poker. It’s somewhat incredible it’s actually gotten to this point as even some of the most optimistic poker pros didn’t have a lot of hope about ever getting their money back after Black Friday. Apparently the US government was able to acquire enough money from Black Friday that it was able to officially repay players. It’s the second major payout in regards to Black Friday as Full Tilt Poker, thanks to being acquired by PokerStars in 2012, was able to return more than $100m to players.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

888poker Announces XL Eclipse Schedule w/ 197 Events, $9m GTD
Hot on the heels of an actual solar eclipse, 888poker is prepping its biggest XL series ever, which is fittingly called XL Eclipse.Having rebranded and boosted the XL series, 888poker is about to flood the online poker world again with more tournaments than most people play in an entire year. Taking place from September 10-24, 2017, the latest edition of the XL series will offer a total of 197 events spread across two action-packed weeks of poker. Over $9,000,000 in Prizes Once again this is the biggest guarantee yet for an XL series. The overall series will offer a total of $9.17m in guaranteed prize money with the Main Event alone featuring a $1.5m guarantee. 888poker ambassador Kara Scott. That’s quite a journey from the $2 million guaranteed over the entire span of the first XL series that 888poker ran several years ago. Every single one of the 197 tournaments has a prize pool guarantee and judging from experience with the XL Inferno, which had $7.5 million guaranteed, there will be very few overlays. XL Eclipse, and its nearly 200 tournaments, will play out over a span of just two weeks, which means that on average there will be 13 tournaments offered each day. So if you want to benefit as much as possible from the XL Eclipse you had better take some time off from work and stock up on food and drink. And just in case you’re thinking you might want to do something else with your vacation, have you ever come back with more money than you went with on a holiday trip? Playing the XL Eclipse, you might. With with such a vast schedule you’ll find a couple of tournaments to play no matter when you have time. Multiple Main Events, $5,200 SHR Returns The most important event is always the Main Event. This one will be a $1,050 buy-in Deepstack NLHE event with $1.5 million guaranteed. Big tournaments, big money. As usual at 888poker, the Main Event will come in four different variations. Apart from the $1,050, there will be a $215 Mini Main Event, a $109 Turbo Main Event, a $75 Super Turbo Main Event and a $30 Micro Main Event. There will also be two “Whales” with $1,050 buy-in. They will run on Sundays as usual. There will also be $2,100 High Roller Event with $500,000 guaranteed on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Of course, all the eyes will be on the $5,200 Super High Roller. All the top pros and ambassadors will play in this one to get the most coveted title of this series apart from the main event. The Super High Roller event also has a guaranteed prize pool of $500,000. The Opening Event is also available in four different buy-in and speed levels from $12 to $160 and it has up to $300,000 guaranteed. On the other end of the scale, you’ll find four tournaments for just $5 and with guarantees from $3000 to $10,000. Eight events will have just $12 to play, and among them is also an Omaha tournament. Freeroll your way into the XL Eclipse Main Event 888poker is running freerolls that award tickets to the $1,050 Main Event several times a day. Open your 888poker lobby and spin the wheel, you’ll soon find tickets for the freerolls in your account. Play to win, register to play This will be a series for all levels and bankrolls, and you shouldn’t miss out. Do you have an account at 888poker? Then you’re all set. If you don’t check out our 888poker review page, where we’ll guide you through the registration process.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

Hand of the Week: Tom Dwan Scoops $700k in PAD Blockbuster
This week saw the highly anticipated return of “Poker after Dark” – and Tom "durrrr" Dwan.Dwan used to be a trademark of the highly popular poker show, but then disappeared from the TV poker scene for several years. On his return he first turned his attention to the one-and-only Antonio Esfandiari. It was the first episode of the new season of Poker after Dark, and “The Magician” found himself in a terrible spot versus Dwan and Daniel Negreanu and simply couldn’t find an escape. From the Flop to the River Poker After Dark is back, and the game is No-Limit Hold’em $200/$400 with a $400 button ante. Six players are in the game, and Antonio Esfandiari has just turned his UTG position into being the last player to act by putting in a straddle of $800. Also at the table are Lauren Roberts, Bill Klein, Jean-Robert Bellande, Tom Dwan, and Daniel Negreanu. Roberts and Klein throw their hands into the muck, and then Daniel Negreanu raises to $3,500 from the button. Bellande folds, but Tom Dwan re-raises to $14,000. Antonio Esfandiari checks his cards. They are     Esfandiari 4-Bets to $41,100 and Daniel Negreanu is not backing down. He thinks about it for a while and decides to call. The pot is now up to $96,800 and the pre-flop action is not yet over. It’s back to Tom Dwan, who also takes his time and eventually goes all-in with $328,000. The action goes back to Esfandiari who calls. Negreanu lays his cards down with a smile. He had     But Tom Dwan has something better. It’s showdown time and he turns over the best starting hand in Texas Hold’em.     They’re dealing it twice, but Esfandiari fails to catch and Tom Dwan takes the complete $697,100 pot. Do watch this hand again as it played out: Analysis Obviously there has been a lot of discussion about this hand on the internet and there were quite a few people who seemed astonished about Esfandiari not being able to fold his kings. Others claimed there was no way out for “The Magician” and that he was doomed from the start of this hand. Who’s right? We need to take every involved player’s position to find out. Daniel Negreanu - Q♦ Q♣ The Canadian pro finds pocket queens and makes a standard raise from the button with the third-best starting hand. Daniel Negreanu Then things get interesting. First, Dwan raises to $14,000 and then Esfandiari pops it up again to $41,100. Negreanu can now reasonably choose any of his three options. Raise – Negreanu might put in a 5-bet here. This would mean, however, that he would cross the all-in threshold and can’t fold anymore. With this hand, that would put Negreanu into a really bad spot, because the only hands he would get called with are A-A, K-K, and A-K, and the best-case scenario would be a coin flip. Considering how the other two players in this hand play, aces or kings are definitely in their ranges. Call – By calling, Negreanu gives himself a chance to stay in the hand and watch what Tom Dwan is doing behind him. If Dwan just calls, his range is weaker than expected and Negreanu gets to see a flop. If, however, Dwan raises again, then Negreanu will get more information by what Esfandiari is going to do, and then he can still decide to lay his hand down relatively cheap. Fold – If Negreanu folds here, he’s making sure to stay completely out of trouble, and he’s limiting his investment to $3,500. But he’s facing two very aggressive players at a six-handed table, so he can’t just fold such a strong hand just because there’s some resistance. Making the call is clearly Negreanu’s best move here, and when both Dwan and Esfandiari are all-in, folding becomes inevitable. Tom Dwan - A♠ A♣ Pocket aces play very nicely and easily when things go like this but there is one move that is of crucial importance. Tom Dwan When Negreanu makes the call, should Dwan raise again to $100,000 or should he just go all-in? As it were, Dwan – after taking some strategic thinking time – opts for the all-in, which is the best option. Now you might think that sounds wrong as Dwan really wants to get called but does his best to drive away his customers, but at the end of the day, the opposite is true. By going all-in, Dwan adds A-K to his range. Being known as an extremely aggressive player, he can now get a call not only from K-K, but from Q-Q, too, and even from A-K. If he would on the other hand 5-Bet his hand, it would basically scream “I have aces and want you to call me”, and that would have everyone get suspicious.With this, let’s look at the last player involved. Antonio Esfandiari - K♥ K♣ In the first betting round, Esfandiari plays everything correctly. He sees Negreanu raise and Dwan re-raise, and since he's holding the second best starting hand, he doesn’t mind building an even bigger pot and maybe eliminating one of his opponents along the way to improve his own pot equity. But then strange things happen. Daniel Negreanu calls his 4-Bet although he’s sandwiched between Esfandiari and Dwan, and then Dwan comes back with another raise all-in! Let’s look at his opponents’ ranges. Antonio Esfandiari Negreanu plays like he has a strong, but not very strong hand. It looks a bit like T-T, J-J, Q-Q or A-K and he wants to see a flop. Esfandiari’s kings are ahead of this range, but then there’s still Dwan. When Dwan is all-in, Negreanu’s range becomes secondary. The crucial question is, which hands would Tom Dwan push all-in in this spot and how do Esfandiari’s kings play against them? We’ll have to take a look at numbers. Pocket kings versus a loose range – A-A, K-K, Q-Q, and A-K – a tight range – A-A, K-K, A-K – and a very tight range – A-A, K-K. Against the loose range, kings win 55% of the times, draw 5% of the times, and lose 40% of the times. Against the tight range, kings win 44%, draw 7%, and lose 49% of the times. Against the very tight range, kings win 16%, draw 14%, and lose 70% of the times. We also have to take into account the money in the pot. Esfandiari has to pay $287,000 into a pot of $410,500 to call, giving him pot odds of 1.4 to 1. That means he has to win 41% of the times to make his play profitable. Is that enough if your opponent is Tom Dwan? Very likely, yes. If Dwan pushes all-in with any more hands than aces and kings, Esfandiari is generally on the profitable side. But then all the cash game players have one thing in common: They don’t like to call with kings. Conclusion It’s an unfortunate spot for Antonio Esfandiari. He loses a gigantic pot of almost $700,000 because his opponent Tom Dwan is not a rock who only plays the nuts but has a wider range. Mental note – If your stack is over 100 bb deep, or even 800 bb like in this case, kings become a dangerous hand for pre-flop all-ins.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

Daily 3-Bet: Barcelona Fallout, Hand Ranking Fail, Trueteller Tell-All
The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a quick-fire recap of the latest going ons in a mid-afternoon poker news world that moves at the speed of Usain Bolt.You can always fire suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below. In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at the horrific attack in Barcelona and its ramifications for PSC Barcelona, an NJ lottery fail and a Timofey 'Trueteller' Kuznetsov interview. 1) PSC Barcelona Goes On We generally like to keep the 3-Bet lighthearted with various tidbits and clips from the poker world but it would be impossible to ignore the tragedy that occurred in Barcelona yesterday. If you haven’t heard, a van plowed into a crowd of pedestrians and left 13 people dead with more than 100 injured. ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the attack. There’s a connection to the poker, as well, as PokerStars was in the midst of hosting its latest National Championship in the city as part of PSC Barcelona. Poker pros from around the world quickly updated to their Twitter status to let everyone know they were safe. There was one poker player, however, who was actually injured. Danish poker pro Claus Vallø told the Danish media his ankle was cut in the attack and he saw someone get hit first-hand. Incredibly Vallø was in Phuket, Thailand, when the Tsunami struck in 2004 so it wasn’t his first time seeing a tragedy unfold on a large scale. Meanwhile PokerStars has released a statement saying that, as of right now, tournaments will go forward as planned in Barcelona although players will be allowed to unregister and receive refunds if they choose. Stay safe everyone. Here’s the complete PokerStars statement: Our thoughts are with those affected in Barcelona today. Players with concerns or questions can email registrations@pokerstarslive.com (1/3) — PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) August 17, 2017 We have taken immediate steps, together with casino & hotel partners, to review & improve security measures. Liaising with police. (2/3) — PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) August 17, 2017 We will continue to monitor the situation. At this time tournaments are proceeding. Players that unregister will have buy-ins refunded. 3/3 — PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) August 17, 2017 2) Epic NJ Lottery Poker Hand Ranking Fail Poker is often used as a gambling vehicle with incredibly popular casino games like Three-Card Hold’em and Pai Gow. Wait, who wins? The game is also used for various scratch and win tickets and lotteries. Those games have little to do with actual poker except for the hand rankings. A recent game offered by the New Jersey lottery didn’t even follow those basic rules and got itself into trouble this week. The game, called High Card Poker, essentially didn’t fully utilize a five-card hand. Instead players had to have a higher top card against the dealer and the rest of the cards that made up the hand didn’t matter. According to NJ.com, Robert Chalet, of Bloomfield, bought a $5 ticket and thought he won $150,000 before the company announced he had a draw and only a $10 prize. The NJ has since pulled the game from shelves. This seems like a good lesson for enterprising casinos looking to make a new poker gambling game: Follow the hand rankings. 3) Paul Phua Interviews Timofey 'Trueteller' Kuznetsov Russian Timofey 'Trueteller' Kuznetsov is one of the biggest online winners ever but he’s also been notoriously hard to interview. Fortunately businessman/poker pro Paul Phua doesn’t seem to have the same problems as the rest of the poker media as he’s been scooping interviews with high-stakes icons Dan "jungleman" Cates, Dan Colman, Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey over the last few years. His latest video is with Kuznetsov and it’s a great one. The young Russian seems to have a real passion for playing high-stakes with his standout quote: “I find it fun to fight my own fears.” Check it out below: Visit www.pokerlistings.com

888poker Kicks Off Upcoming Flopomania with $100k Jackpot
888poker is giving its players a little more incentive to try out its action-packed Flopomania poker variant with a series and a $100k jackpot.Poker sites around the world are putting significant resources into developing new games these days but 888poker seems to have hit on something with the Flopomania variant that eschews the first round of betting in No-Limit Hold’em so that everyone gets a peak at the flop. It’s not the first time that 888poker has contributed something new to the poker world as the site introduced Poker Cam tournaments where players could actually see each other through webcams and BLAST tournaments with a time limit twist. The game will go live soon and we’ll give you a quick rundown of how it works and what kind of prizes will up for grabs in the coming weeks. What is Flopomania? Flopomania is a No-Limit Texas Hold’em without the first betting round. There is no pre-flop action. Every player gets two cards and then the flop is dealt before anybody can act. Everybody has to pay an ante to get cards in the first place. When the flop is dealt, action commences as you know it from regular Hold’em. The idea behind this is to bring more speed and action into the game to make it fast and exciting. How Will Flopomania Differ From Hold'em? 888poker’s new game Flopomania is probably going to have a deeper effect than just speeding up the game. The following factors will become important if you want to play the new game. Speed won't be a problem for Moorman1. Speed – Yes, as the first betting round gets skipped, it will be much faster getting to the flop. However, instead of two or three players, everybody goes to the flop, which will prolong the flop action. Pot size – With everybody putting an ante in, the pot is significantly larger than usual, which will have an impact on how players should continue. Beyond NLHE – Flopomania introduces elements of both Stud and Draw poker into NLHE. The fact that everybody has to bring in an ante is clearly a Stud feature. Depending on the flop action, players might be getting the odds to continue with a hand they would usually fold. You’ll be looking at five cards instead of two, which is essentially the starting point in 5-Card Draw poker. But instead of drawing you’ll be able to add more cards to your hand and improve the top five. This will greatly diminish the value of pocket pairs and particularly big pocket pairs. Two aces are always way ahead of any two other cards (except the other two aces), but pocket aces plus three random cards will be much less of a favorite compared to the aforementioned three plus two further random cards. The takeaway is that you’ll generally need better hands to win as everybody starts with five cards instead of two making potentially way better “starting hands” than just a pair. The Flopomania Promotion To get the game rolling there will be a promotion on 888poker that includes scratch cards, daily challenges and a $100,000 jackpot. To win the jackpot – or anything – you need 888poker’s virtual scratch cards. You can get a scratch card by depositing a minimum $10 with the Promotion code FLOPOMANIA10. However, you can win more scratch cards by completing the daily challenges offered to you in the 888poker lobby. For every completed challenge you’ll get another scratch card and you can win a maximum of three per day. The number of tickets you have will pop up once you open the lobby. Scratch the cards and you win a prize. There are no blanks. You can win tickets to the Flopomania promotion tournaments which run twice a day and have a $3000 guaranteed prize pool or you can win cash prizes starting at $1 and going all the way up to $100,000! The promotion starts on Sunday, August 20, and will run until September 7. The new Flopomania game is supposed to celebrate its live debut at the next 888poker festival at the Aspers Casino in London. That’s plenty of time for you to create your own account in case you don’t have one yet. Click through to our 888poker review page and get started. It’s quick and it’s easy.Visit www.pokerlistings.com

Daily 3-Bet: Señor Blom, Steph Curry All-in, What's Good for Poker?
The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a caffeine-boosted attempt to snag the top score at the mid-afternoon poker news arcade’s most popular video game.You can always fire suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below. In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Isildur1 making an appearance at the PokerStars National Championship in Barcelona, Steph Curry playing poker in Montana and Daniel Negreanu assessing #GoodforPoker. 1) Isildur1 Stops by PSC Barcelona Tom Dwan on TV shows and Isildur1 playing major live tournaments. What year is it again? He's back! Viktor “Isildur1” Blom is one of the 800+ players in the thick of the action on Day 1a of the €1,100 buy-in PokerStars National Championship in Barcelona. Barcelona has always been one of the crown jewels of the international poker circuit and it looks like this year will be no different with Casino Barcelona already full to the brim with poker players. Isildur1 has never been a big tournament guy but he did take down a $100k Super High Roller for $1.2m at the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Jamie “PokerStaples” Staples, Vitaly Lunkin, Anton Wigg and Dominik Panka are also amongst the early registrants for the 2017 National Championship in Barcelona, which runs Aug. 16-21. Blom was of course a member of Team PokerStars Pro back in the day and then later on a member of the short-lived Professionals for Full Tilt 2.0. Considering his legendary online background, Blom is probably one of the only poker pros who could still command a decent deal with a major online poker room. Perhaps another tour with PokerStars? Dare to dream. 2) Steph Curry Plays in Montana Poker Room Spotted by TwoPlusTwo's pure_aggression. The Golden State Warriors just can’t seem to get enough poker. Several members of the team play in the big Silicon Valley game that Phil Hellmuth frequents. Hellmuth has spoken about it numerous times but won’t name anyone specifically. That game may not be enough, however, as Steph Curry was recently spotted at the Remington Bar and Casino in Whitefish, Montana. Hey it’s the offseason, what else are you going to do? Maybe next year Curry can take a slightly trip and make an appearance at the WSOP. They’ve got a few games there. Besides Curry seems to have this basketball thing figured out with yet another championship this year. Time to conquer poker! At the very least we’re getting to the point where a casino could host a rather sizable tournament of just NBA players with Paul Pierce, Gilbert Arenas, David Lee, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green among the many, many basketball stars who enjoy a turn at the tables. 3) Daniel Negreanu Discusses "Good for Poker” Something that gets tossed around the poker world quite a bit is the concept of “Good for poker.” It’s somewhat of a nebulous idea (we think the old Wicked Chops Poker Blog had a part in popularizing the term) and no one has exactly been clear about what it means and why. Fortunately Daniel Negreanu is breaking it down this week and giving people an idea of what he believes is “Good for poker” in a new Vlog. One of the key elements of Negreanu’s video is the argument that the poker community should embrace people who try to do things in the poker space instead of mock them. Makes sense, right? Check it out below: Visit www.pokerlistings.com

5 Surprising Ways Raising a Toddler Improves Your Poker Game
You stand at the base of the Great Pyramids of Giza thinking, 'how did they manage that?' Then you see your nine-month-old daughter, chasing after a dirty nappy blowing around the feet of a carnival of camels, and it doesn’t seem that daunting of a task after all. In November I wrote about the lessons learned during my first five weeks of fatherhood and how to apply them to poker. Nine months later and things are going well. My daughter is still alive, but the challenges of parenting a nine-month-old are proving to be more challenging than a five-week-old. It’s time for a sequel. There is much to learn. 1. Balance Back in the day there was an advert on TV with the slogan Work, Rest, and Play. It’s supposed to be the perfect trifecta for balance. I don’t think the creator had children. How much is too much Kassouf? Will Kassouf became the most recognizable face (and voice) in poker last year. His antics during the 2016 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event turned him into a celebrity and gave the presence of poker in the mainstream press a gentle boost. But imagine sitting next to him? It would be like sitting next to one of those slave-like giant wind turbines, slowly peeling the skin off your cheek with the constant air pressure. 12 hours of Kassouf and you end up like the people who sat next to Stryker in the movie Airplane. Now, double that, add breastfeeding into the mix and that’s what it’s like when you have a nine-month-old to entertain. They are adorable. You love them. But they do your head right in. People forget there are two parents. If you are a professional poker player chances are you spend most of your time playing poker, talking poker and learning about poker. Take the WSOP as an example. How do you manage a six-week bracelet hunt when you have a nine-month-old?  Carving out time to care for your child is an incredible experience. Not only will your eyes continually sting with the heavily chlorinated like streams of hormonal love, but it teaches you that there is more to life than poker. The break from the game not only benefits your partner and your child but you will return to the tables reinvigorated, fresh and eager to do well. 2. Values At nine months you may start having premonitions about your child’s future. What will they wear? Who will they date? Will they want to play poker? Kurganov values service. You realize that your baby is like a new computer. They have hardware (digestive system, circulatory system, you get the picture system). They have software (beliefs, values, worldview). When it comes to programming the software it's evident that the motherboard is fresh. The wiring, in the shape of beliefs, values and worldview, comes from your child's mentors; primarily you. Yes, it's very likely that your child will grow up thinking the same foundational thoughts that you do, including views on religion, race and whether or not Father Christmas exists. Having a child provides the impetus for having an archaeological dig into your mind. What are your beliefs, values and worldview? Who helped program your motherboard? How does it serve you, today? Most of us are so caught up sifting through Tweets and Facebook Likes in our steel sifting pan hoping for some gold that we don't spare a second thought considering why we believe the things we do. Values are the core drivers of our action and they will be the core drivers of your child’s action. So what are they? And, most importantly, what do you want them to be? One of Igor Kurganov's highest values is service, meaning when he wins money playing poker his software instructs him to donate some to effective charities. Maybe one of your highest values is affluence and fashion so you spend your winnings on clothes and fast cars. Your children will (likely) adopt your values. What will it be? Fast cars or feeding the poor? 3. Focus The azure blue sky is mottled with cotton balls. A kestrel is perched patiently on a telegraph pole waiting for the mouse to move. A group of thugs are picking on a young lad with a harelip. Where's your focus? But you don’t see any of these things. You are a cyborg. Your mobile phone is your fifth limb and you spend all day searching through social media feeds of friends who you will never be there for and who will never be there for you. We live in an unfocused world and the poker table, be it live or virtual, is also a hotbed of distraction. If you are not focused 100% on the game then you are giving up an edge. When you have a nine-month-old baby, focus is critical. Take your eye off them for a second and they have fallen off the bed, picked up a pair of scissors or began sucking on the bottom of your shoe. But the focus is not only about preventing your baby from death, disease and diaper rash. By intently focusing on your child you are teaching them the power of connection. It also allows you to unplug; to slow the pace of burnout. To turn the time machine off and remain present for a few minutes of playtime with your little one. This is good news for your poker game.  4. Nutrition Obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis and dental disease are the most common forms of death and illness linked to poor diet, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). But you know that, right? The problem with being human is we believe we are immortal. Maybe it’s a switch preventing us from having to deal with the overwhelming nature of our unstoppable demise. Eating right matters. A lot. We never make the right choices because we never think our time will come. And the poker lifestyle can be one of the most dangerous when it comes to the neglect we put on our bodies when it comes to our nutritional choices. Playing online poker for 15 hours a day with one solitary five-minute break per hour - what are you going to eat? Sitting in a casino for 15 hours a day - what are you going to eat? How do you keep awake? What do you drink? When your child starts eating solids, things are different. You may not think about your death but you will think about the death of your nipper. In an age where everything you purchase at a supermarket, from baby formula to ready packed baby meals, is full of sugar, how do you protect and nurture your child? You do your research. And when you have carried out your research and are feeding your child in the right way, it will have an effect on you. You want to set an example and you want to live long enough to see your child act as a role model for their children. And guess what happens when you start eating healthier? You play better. Much better. 5. Learn to Put Poker Down I have built a barricade, sealing my child off from the kitchen. It consists of a yoga mat, two suitcases and an old helium canister. Put the game away, too. It's not pretty, but it does prevent her from crawling over to me and attempting to climb me like Bear Grylls once climbed Everest. At nine months old they don’t want to be alone, put into the car seat or into the pram. They want to be close to you at all times. The pressure becomes unbearable. You can’t even go to the toilet in peace. The instinct is to pick them up. You view crying as suffering. But all children need to learn they won't spontaneously combust if there is no skin to skin. The kids need to learn independence and you need to know that your life won't fall apart if they cry. It’s the same with poker. Poker is a game that can become very addictive. Tournaments take hours to complete. 15 hours at the cash-game tables can rush by like an express train. You can develop a sense of FOMO if you miss the local home game and Fred calls you to explain how soft it was the one night you had to babysit. But you need time away from the game. It does become clingy and that's not healthy. Learn to put poker down. Build a barricade if you like. Find something else to do and keep what you do fresh, alive and as brilliant as it was the first day you found it.Visit www.pokerlistings.com


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