2015 WSOP Europe Day 9: Greece's 2nd Bracelet, Doug Lee Leads PLO Final Table & More

Day 9 of the 2015 World Series of Poker Europe in Berlin, Germany saw Pavlos Xanthopoulos capture Greece’s second-ever bracelet by taking down Event #6: €3,250 No-Limit Hold’em, Event #7 €550 Pot-Limit Omaha reach it’s final table, and Event #8: €1,100 Turbo No-Limit Hold’em with Reentry kick off. Here’s a look at everything you need to know from Friday action.

Pavlos Xanthopoulos Wins Event #6: €3,250 No-Limit Hold’em

One week ago, Greece was a country without a World Series of Poker bracelet. Now it’s a country with two. Greece’s Pavlos Xanthopoulos took down the 2015 WSOP Europe Event #6: €3,250 No-Limit Hold’em Friday night in Berlin, Germany, collecting €182,510 and the most coveted prize in all of poker – a WSOP gold bracelet.

"I am super excited," Xanthopoulos told PokerNews. "This is my first big tournament win."

The win comes less than a week removed from Greek native turned German restaurant owner Makarios Avramidis‘ victory in Event #1: €2,200 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em at 2015 WSOP Europe, claiming Greece’s first-ever piece of WSOP hardware.

"I am very excited that this is our second bracelet in Berlin," he said. "But the poker community is small in Greece. There are only one or two tournaments a year, so I don’t expect a lot more results."

Here’s how the final table finished up:


1Pavlos XanthopoulosGreece€182,510

2Mario LopezArgentina€112,785

3Thierry GogniatFrance€81,500

4Sam ChartierCanada€59,970

5Farid JattinUnited States€44,920

6Alex RochaUnited States€34,270

7Fabrice SoulierFrance€26,520

8Artan DedushaUK€20,860

9Sergi ReixachUK€16,685

For more on Xanthopoulos’ win, click here.

Doug Lee Holds Big Lead at Event #7 €550 PLO Final Table

Day 2 of Event #7 €550 Pot-Limit Omaha saw 25 players from a 503-entry field return to play down to the final table of eight. At the start of the day, Doug Lee held the most chips, a position he maintained when the final seconds of the clock ticked down.

Not only did Lee bag the most chips, he did so by a wide margin up nearly 2-1 over WSOP bracelet winner Barny Boatman (474,000), though both of them are well ahead of the rest of the final table.

The Final Table


1Shannon ShorrUSA242,000

2Dominik MaskaGermany167,000

3Doug LeeCanada827,000

4Jose ObadiaSpain152,000

5Damian PawlakPoland155,000

6Barny BoatmanUK474,000

7Grzegorz GrochulskiPoland284,000

8Pawel BakiewiczPoland214,000

Over the course of Day 2, 17 players hit the rail including Claus Carlsen (16th – €2,220), Marius Fritz (15th – €2,220), Frederic Vacher (14th – €2,780), Wlodzimierz Laczkowski (13th – €2,780), John Gale (12th – €3,510), and Yigit Aktulga, who bubbled the final table in ninth place.

According to updates from the event, it happened when Lee raised from the hijack only to Aktulga three-bet to 57,000. Lee made the call and then snap-called when Aktulga moved all in on the {k-Spades}{4-Clubs} flop.

Lee: {k-Clubs}{a-Spades}{q-Hearts}{q-Clubs}

Aktulga: {a-Diamonds}{a-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}{8-Spades}

Neither the {3-Spades} turn nor {4-Diamonds} river helped Aktulga, and he made his way to the payout desk to collect €4,490.

The third and final day will get underway at 12:00 p.m. local time. Be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews to see who walks away with the €54,725 first-place prize and the coveted gold bracelet.

Just 25 Players Advance from Day 1a of Event #8: €1,100 Turbo NLHE

Day 1a of Event #8: €1,100 Turbo NLHE saw 289 players take to the felt, but after 15 levels of play, just 25 remained with Byron Kaverman and his stack of 247,000 leading the way.

Others who bagged decent stacks included Benjamin Zamani (135,500), Asher Conniff (107,000), David “ODB” Baker (71,000), and four-time bracelet winner Jeff Madsen (45,500), who was actually featured in the 888 Hand of the Day after slow playing pocket rockets.

Top 10 Day 1 Chip Counts


1Byron Kaverman247,000

2Benjamin Zamani135,500

3Volkan Aydin108,000

4Asher Conniff107,000

5Oluwashola Akindele87,000

6Sergio Braga79,000

7Alex Gecel78,500

8Faraz Jaka72,000

9David "ODB" Baker71,000

10Paul Tedeschi56,500

Some others who punched their ticket to Day 2 include Stefan Jedlicka (38,500), Kevin MacPhee (36,500), and Mike Gorodinsky (21,000), just to name a few. Of course not everyone was so lucky. Among those to fall on Day 1a were Max Pescatori, Anthony Zinno, Phil Hellmuth, Shaun Deeb, Will “The Thrill” Failla, Fedor Holz, and Brian Hastings, who spoke to PokerNews about contending for WSOP Player of the Year and more.

Day 1b will kick off at Noon local time on Saturday, and then on Sunday the survivors from both starting flights will reconvene for Day 2.

Want to stay atop all the latest in the poker world? If so, make sure to get updates on your social media outlets. Follow us on and find us on both and +!



2015 WSOP Europe 888 Hand of the Day: Jeff Madsen Slowplays Rockets

The 2015 World Series of Poker Europe continued in Berlin, Germany, Friday with the first of two starting flights in Event #8: €1,100 Turbo No-Limit Hold’em w/Re-Entry.

PokerNews was on hand for all the action and will be in Berlin for the duration of the 17-day series. As a part of our coverage, which is brought to you by 888poker, we will be bringing readers a special "888 Hand of the Day" every single day throughout the entire WSOP Europe schedule.

Today’s 888 Hand of the Day saw 2006 WSOP Player of the Year and four-time WSOP bracelet winner Jeff Madsen vault into the chip lead with some very cagey play holding pocket rockets.

It was Level 8 with blinds at 250/500 and a 50-chip ante, and Madsen had already built up to six times the starting stack when he was moved to a new table and immediately looked down at the {A-Clubs}.

"It was the first hand I’d played at this new table and I picked up aces," he told PokerNews with a smile.

Madsen raised to 1,000 from early position and it folded to the cutoff, who three-bet to 2,300 having started the hand with close to 15,000.

"I think it’s a pretty standard spot to just flat," Madsen said. "If he has jacks, queens, or kings he’s probably going to get it in on the flop here anyway. Sometimes you’ll allow a scary flop to scare him away, but if he’s just bluffing, he’s usually going to fold to a four-bet, so I think it’s better to flat here."

The flop came {a-Hearts}{6-Clubs}{3-Clubs} and Madsen checked top set. His opponent bet 2,400.

"No reason to raise here obviously, because how can he have anything," he said. "I have a very strong hand and if he has kings he’s probably not going to call a raise, so I just call again."

The turn came the {9-Hearts}, putting a second flush draw on the board. Madsen checked again and his opponent bet 4,800.

"I could call again, but I figure he could have a flush draw and he already has most of his chips in. Plus, if he’s bluffing, he’s probably not going to bluff the river, so I shoved."

Madsen’s opponent called it off with {9-Clubs}{9-Spades}, having turned a set of his own.

"I pretty much coolered him," Madsen said. "But by not four-betting preflop and not raising the flop, I let him hit a two outer. That’s why you slow play big pairs and sets."

The river bricked and Madsen collected all of his opponent’s chips, jumping up into the chip lead, winning the 888 Hand of the Day, and putting himself in position for a run at a fifth bracelet lifetime and second on the year.

"I haven’t had the best week up to this," he said of his time in Berlin. "Hopefully I can do something here. When I get momentum I usually keep my foot on the gas pedal, so I’m feeling good about it."

As the 2015 WSOP Europe rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage, including regular 888 Hand of the Day articles.

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Pavlos Xanthopoulos Wins Greece's Second WSOP Bracelet of the Week and All-Time

One week ago, Greece was a country without a World Series of Poker bracelet. Now it’s a country laying claim to two.

Greece’s Pavlos Xanthopoulos took down the 2015 WSOP Europe Event #6: €3,250 No-Limit Hold’em Friday night in Berlin, Germany, collecting €182,510 and the most coveted prize in all of poker – a WSOP gold bracelet.

"I am super excited," Xanthopoulos told PokerNews. "This is my first big tournament win."

The win comes less than a week removed from Greek native turned German restaurant owner Makarios Avramidis‘ victory in Event #1: €2,200 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em at 2015 WSOP Europe, claiming Greece’s first-ever piece of WSOP hardware.

Xanthopoulos couldn’t have been more happy to join the newly formed Greek bracelet winner’s club, but cautioned against expecting all that much from his home country going forward.

"I am very excited that this is our second bracelet in Berlin," he said. "But the poker community is small in Greece. There are only one or two tournaments a year, so I don’t expect a lot more results."

Xanthopoulos came into Friday’s final nine second in chips trailing only Argentine Mario Lopez by a slim margin. After beating Lopez heads-up to win the bracelet, he credited early patience and late aggression with the win.

"I had a lot of chips," he said of the start of the final table. "I was second in chips and there were three big stacks. At first I played tight, but as time went on and three or four players busted, I began to play aggressive. I think that aggression is what won me the tournament."

The UK’s Sergio Reixach was the first out, running his short stack and a pair of nines into Canadian Sam Chartier’s {7-Clubs} and a rivered straight.

Chartier also took care of the UK’s Arthur Dedusha a hand later, calling his short-stack shove and holding with the {a-Diamonds}{10-Clubs} over Dedusha’s {a-Clubs}{5-Diamonds}. WSOP bracelet winner Fabrice Soulier was the next to go, finishing seventh when his pocket queens were outdrawn by Lopez’ ace-queen.

American Alex Rocha notched his third cash of the 2015 WSOP Europe taking sixth when Xanthopolous turned big slick into three kings against his nines. Farid Jattin was then eliminated in fifth place getting short and getting outckicked by Lopez in what would be his final hand.

Chartier lost a race with tens to Frenchman Thierry Gogniat’s ace-queen and his tournament life was snuffed out in fourth, leaving Lopez to enter three-handed play with a substantial chip lead.

Xanthopolous got Gogniat’s stack with aces over sevens all in preflop and came into heads-up trailing Lopez only slightly.

Lopez, who also finished runner-up in the 2015 WSOP $1,111 The Little One for One Drop, was simply run over by Xanthopoulos’ continued aggression and eventually fell when he shoved fives and Xanthopolous called with the {a-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}, flopped two pair and faded the two outer.

While Xanthopolous said the tax situation will keep him from chasing bracelet number two next year in Las Vegas, he was excited to bring this bracelet back home.

"I will celebrate with my friends and family back in Greece," he said. "We will go out for drinks and everything."

Here’s how the the final table finished up:


1Pavlos XanthopoulosGreece€182,510

2Mario LopezArgentina€112,785

3Thierry GogniatFrance€81,500

4Sam ChartierCanada€59,970

5Farid JattinUnited States€44,920

6Alex RochaUnited States€34,270

7Fabrice SoulierFrance€26,520

8Artan DedushaUK€20,860

9Sergi ReixachUK€16,685

As the 2015 WSOP Europe rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage.

Want to stay atop all the latest in the poker world? If so, make sure to get updates on your social media outlets. Follow us on and find us on both and +!



Open-Face Chinese Poker by Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, Part 4: Knowing Is the Key

Tonybet Poker ambassador Isabelle Mercier returns with more tips and advice for playing open-face Chinese poker, this week demonstrating the importance of knowing points and royalties when setting your hands.

Hello all, and welcome back to my “Open-Face Chinese No Mercy Little Guide”! Now that we have gone over the history of the game and its basic rules, today we will start to explore the “Pineapple” variation of OFC with Fantasyland in more detail.

Remember that placing a pair of queens or better on the top line (without fouling, of course) gets you to Fantasyland initially. However, once you are in Fantasyland, the only way to stay there will be to make trips on top or at least four of a kind in the middle or in the back. Otherwise, you can imagine how easy it would be to stay in Fantasyland if the queens on top remained sufficient!

Let me guide you through some primary recommendations to help elevate your “Pineapple” game if you are a new player.

Advice #1: Knowing Points and Royalties

On my OFC app, I have a few ongoing games with friends who don’t even know how many points they earn by making a full house on the bottom line! (No wonder I am ahead 800 points against them — LOL!) They know who they are, especially those who keep insulting me because of my supposed “luck”!

Before you start playing OFC at all seriously, you have to take some time to look at the points and royalties and get to know them by heart. It might seem obvious to know the rules of the game, but I assure you that there are a lot of recreational players out there who play intuitively, not knowing how many points they will get in the end and just letting the computer do the math for them.

This is kind of silly and lazy, because we should be setting our cards in different ways according to the points and royalties we can make. It’s even more important to be aware of points and royalties when in Fantasyland, where you have the best chance of getting more of them.

When in Fantasyland, we will often have many possibilities and choices to make when setting our hands. What options can make us scoop? Which placement will give us royalties? What will make us win more money? In order to find the best answers to these questions and make the best possible decisions, you have to know the points and royalties.

Take a look at the following example:

Having been dealt these cards, most of the time inexperienced players will quickly put their full house in the back and their flush in the middle, leaving the crappy cards to make a very weak line on top.

In this particular case, the full house bonus is worth 6 points, and the flush in the middle is 8 points, for a total of 14 points in bonuses. That’s not bad, but you are very unlikely to scoop your opponent with this board because of the 8-high on top.

Say you had the same 13 cards, but instead placed them in this manner:

Open-Face Chinese Poker by Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, Part 4: Knowing Is the Key 102

Here the straight bonus on the bottom is only worth 2 points and trips in the middle also only good for 2 points. But the bonus for trip nines on the top is a whopping 17 points! That’s a huge difference compared to what we had before — we’re getting 21 points’ worth of bonuses versus only 14. On top of that, with a hand that strong on every line, there is a real chance to scoop your opponents and win another 6 points on top of your 21!

The goal is not always to make the strongest possible hand, but it certainly is always to make as many points as possible. You can make more money simply by knowing the points and royalties and placing your cards differently with them in mind.

If you don’t want to learn and memorize the bonus chart, at least remember this — when you can find a way to place trips on top, that’s probably the right play. And it will take you back to Fantasyland!

Advice #2: Setting Your Initial Cards

Let’s turn to talk a little about setting your first five cards in Pineapple OFC. As you will not be able to move your cards once they are placed, your initial positioning is the absolute foundation of your hand. It reminds me of classic chess openings, which set the stage for everything that follows.

Sometimes it’s obvious how to set your first five cards, and other times there will be a few different possibilities. Whenever I receive an {A-} or a {K-}, for instance, I’m very much inclined to put this card in the middle, as it is my “joker” card that makes it easier to make a pair of queens on top. That being said, if either my ace or king is a diamond to go along with four other diamonds, there is a very good chance I will place my flush in the back, especially if I am last to act and see many more diamonds already out there in my opponents’ hands.

However, if I receive a pair of kings or aces to start the hand, it is unlikely I will place it on top right away. And when I get two pair to start, I will very rarely separate them. Don’t forget, not giving up points is a big part of this game!

Here are three examples of starting hands that will give you an idea of how I like to set my first five cards:

Open-Face Chinese Poker by Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, Part 4: Knowing Is the Key 103

In this first example, you’ll have to choose whether to put a three-card flush in the back, or separate those three spades in a different manner. I’m a big fan of this positioning, as it makes it quite easy to make two pair in the back, aces in the middle, and kings on top. For sure an ace-high flush in the back is a good hand, but it’s not leaving me with much else, is it? I’ll have that ugly {9-Clubs}{2-Diamonds} in the middle, not to mention a nine is already dead in my back line. Doesn’t seem like a lot of potential to me.

Open-Face Chinese Poker by Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, Part 4: Knowing Is the Key 104

In this one, I’m still looking at my ace in the middle and my queen on top, always with the objective of making at least two pair in the back, then aces in the middle with queens on top.

Here I like to put the {5-Clubs} in the middle, leaving the door open for a flush in the middle in case I successfully make a full house in the back. What justifies my decision is that the five as much as the four are both connecting cards to a straight in the middle with the ace. So no matter which one I choose to place there, it will have the same influence on my chances of making this straight eventually.

Open-Face Chinese Poker by Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, Part 4: Knowing Is the Key 105

Now these five cards offer many different possibilities. Of course, all of these possibilities are theoretical, and observing the cards already showing on your opponents’ boards is crucial for deciding how exactly you’re going to place your five cards. But for practical reasons let’s just assume we are first to act. How do we set these five?

In this particular case, I like to split my aces (which will be extremely rare), because the flush seems relatively easy to make, and I’ll still be aiming for aces in the middle and kings on top. Should I put my king in the middle along with my ace, knowing one ace is already dead in my own hand? I could catch a king in the middle and still make queens on top. I don’t know… what do you think about this?

We’ll stop there for now. Enjoy the weekend, and we’ll rendez-vous next week for the next part of my “OFC No Mercy Little Guide.”

Meanwhile you can try the game today by downloading Tonybet Poker and using the bonus code NOMERCY to receive 100% bonus up to €500 and a free ticket for a weekly Pineapple NoMercy Ride tournament!

Want to stay atop all the latest in the poker world? If so, make sure to get updates on your social media outlets. Follow us on and find us on both and +!

Open-Face Chinese Poker by Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, Part 4: Knowing Is the Key 106



Inside Gaming: Sports Betting Back on Table in New Jersey, Nevada Rules on DFS

This week’s Inside Gaming shares recent news regarding the possibility of sports betting coming to New Jersey, the latest daily fantasy sports news headlines, and the bankruptcy filing of a Fresno casino.

Ruling Against New Jersey Sports Betting Vacated, Case to Be Heard Once More

Supporters of sports betting in New Jersey enjoyed a victory on Wednesday when an appeals court voted to reconsider an earlier ruling striking down a law allowing sports betting at the state’s casinos and racetracks.

ABC News reports that the ruling from August of this year that struck down the law to allow sports betting has now been vacated, meaning that the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia will hear the case anew.

In the state’s petition, attorneys highlighted the fact that a dissenting judge in the August ruling noted how the two decisions by the 3rd Circuit — one for sports betting (from 2013), and the new one against it — were “precisely the opposite,” thus underscoring the need for a rehearing. “The first held that New Jersey could repeal laws against sports betting without violating federal law,” explains ABC, “while the second held that doing so would violate it.”

In response to the news, New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak, a longtime proponent of sports betting in the state who sponsored the bill being considered, excitedly tweeted “YES! 3rd circuit vacates ruling v my sports betting bill,” adding to “expect sports betting” in Atlantic City and at the Monmouth Racetrack “by Super Bowl.”

Read more about the new development at ABC News.

Nevada Rules Daily Fantasy Sports Is Gambling and Subject to Licensing, Among Other DFS News

It was another week’s worth of scrutiny upon daily fantasy sports, with mainstream media, industry observers, legislators, and others embroiled in discussions about the multi-billion dollar industry. Among the topics being debated are the relationship between DFS and gambling, the potential for regulation, and individual states’ positions on whether or not to allow DFS games.

As noted here last week, an October 5 story in the The New York Times prompted by earlier rumblings in DFS forums and news sites drew attention to the current state of the industry, with both New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and other U.S. lawmakers subsequently calling for inquiries and hearings.

Among the latest DFS-related headlines is the report of a federal grand jury convening in Florida to consider the legality of daily fantasy sports, the Federal Bureau Investigation and U.S. Justice Department initiating a probe into the DFS business model, and regulators in Nevada ruling DFS to be gambling and thus subject to licensing in the state.

Last weekend Daniel Wallach, a gaming law attorney based in Fort Lauderdale, followed an earlier tweet by confirming in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times that a federal grand jury in Tampa was “looking into possible criminal violations involving the Illegal Gambling Business Act of 1970.” That news prompted some (not all) DFS operators to leave the Sunshine State.

Then on Wednesday The Wall Street Journal reported the FBI and U.S. DOJ had entered into a “preliminary stage” of a probe into the business model of DFS sites, with the investigation including “FBI agents from the Boston office have been contacting customers of DraftKings Inc. to ask them about their experiences with the Boston-based company.”

Finally late yesterday came word of the Nevada Gaming Commission’s ruling that daily fantasy sports is gambling and thus subject to licensing procedures in order to operate within the state. That ruling was followed by a sequence of announcements by DFS sites they would abide by the ruling and not serve players in Nevada until securing a license to do so. In a report on the ruling, The New York Times quotes Nevada lawyer David Gzech stating that Nevada’s decision “should give other states pause because if it’s perceived as sports gambling here, no other state can offer it when it violates federal law.”

Legal Sports Report has been updating a list of states in which DFS sites are not presently operating. Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, and Washington are the only states that no sites currently serve; currently the two largest sites, DraftKings and FanDuel, are not available in those five plus Nevada.

For more on DFS being “under fire” and the relevance that story to the poker community, check out Mo Nuwwarah’s “Five Thoughts” commentary.

Fresno’s Club One Casino Files for Bankruptcy

Finally, on Wednesday the ownership group for the Club One casino and restaurant located in downtown Fresno, California filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing came a week after a ruling by a New York appellate judge that Club One Casino Inc. and Club One Acquisition Corp. (the two filing entities) “were improperly withholding money” from the club’s former owners, The Fresno Bee reports.

The earlier ruling and this week’s filing date back to the 2008 sale of Club One to Kyle Kirland, now president of Club One Casino Inc., and its CFO Dana Messina by primary owner Elaine Long and minority owner George Sarantos. The Fresno Bee reports the sale was for $27 million, with the buyers obtaining nearly $22.5 million in financing and Santaros and Long each receiving still unpaid notes for $2.5 million.

The appellate judge’s ruling last week stated “through a series of subterfuges and evasions Club One Acquisition Corp. and its principals… succeeded in evading payment properly owed” to Santaros and Long. That ruling is being appealed by the current ownership group.

Club One’s creditors (including others in addition to the former owners) are owed more than $9.5 million. Santaros and Long’s lawyers say they are owed nearly $12 million.

There are no plans at present to close the casino and restaurant as bankruptcy proceedings begin. In a comment on the filing, Fresno City Manager Bruce Rudd stated that Kirland and Messina assured him “a year from now Club One will be in downtown” and generating the same taxes or more for the city.

In recent years the Club One Casino has played host to the Heartland Poker Tour as well as the Central Valley Poker Championships.

For more details about the filing, buzz over to The Fresno Bee.

Photo: “Caesers at Atlantic City, New Jersey,” momentcaptured1. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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A Review of Jivaro – Poker's Next Generation of Poker HUD

A few months back, PokerNews introduced the poker world to Jivaro, a new entry into the heads-up display (HUD) market. Jivaro broke the mold in that it took a usually complex piece of software and made it user-friendly combining graphical indicators and zero configurations.

So how does Jivaro stack up? We at PokerNews decided to answer that questions by giving it try. Here are our thoughts:

Installation Quick and Easy

The first thing that became apparent was the installation process was quick with no configuration required. That allowed usto hit the tables within a matter of seconds. As soon as we logged into our freshly installed PokerStars client, the Jivaro core stats popped-up immediately.

We decided to switch the table theme from the default, and much to our surprise Jivaro automatically adjusted to the new view and the core stats followed the new placement of player avatars. Now, this might not seem like a big deal, but in sevens years of playing poker and using numerous different programs, it’s the first time we’ve come across such a feature. It just goes to show the attention to detail paid by the Jivaro developers.

We were expecting some errors, a long configuration process, and maybe some issues with importing hands or tracking tables, but none of that presented itself with Jivaro.

Jivaro Add-on Features

Jivaro is slightly different than your average HUD displaying software. It’s essentially an add-on to your poker experience, which enhances it without making it feel foreign. It also introduces some new elements to the game without shifting the focus away from what’s really important – the game of poker.

Jivaro comes in two flavors: the free basic version and monthly premium subscription that will cost you just $5.99. Of course free add-on software is a great news for poker ecosystem. Jivaro aims to level the playing field by providing everyone with access to a powerful and easy to use heads-up display. It’s a nice change of pace, from controversial or even downright illegal poker programs.

With the free version of the software you’ll get Jivaro’s signature ring around the PokerStars player’s avatar, which works as a visual representation of three basic stats: VPIP (Voluntarily Put money In Pot), PFR (Pre Flop Raise), and AFq (Aggression Frequency), plus the number of hands you played against certain players. The last advantage of life tracking is that Jivaro will immediately add a color strip to the info panel if you decide to color code a player using PokerStars software.

When it comes to visual representation Jivaro really nails it. With clever use of a traffic light color-coding system and speed meter style dials, you can quickly tell what kind of opponents you’re playing against. When you mouse over the core stats you’re going to see a small panel with additional information, namely opponents’ stacks in chips/currency and big blinds. Here’s what it looks like:

A Review of Jivaro – Poker's Next Generation of Poker HUD 102

One important thing to point out is that Jivaro tracks stack size — or any other stat for that matter — in real time. Why is that important? For one very simple reason, it’s more reliable than calculating stats using only the hand history. You can trust Jivaro to display proper stack size no matter if it’s your first hand at the table or if you’re in the middle of a hand in a tournament.

Another component of the Jivaro software is "The Strip," which shows up on the right side of your desktop as soon as you start the software (you can resize or minimize it). The Strip provides you with your overall stats, your recent hand history, and the ability to share it with just one click. You can also use the strip to quickly submit any errors that you might encounter while using Jivaro, but given the software reliability most players probably won’t find this necessary.

A Review of Jivaro – Poker's Next Generation of Poker HUD 103

As for the premium version of Jivaro, you can switch seamlessly between the free and the premium version of statistics by clicking a button located near the top of the strip. If you decide to go with premium — which only makes sense since you’re paying for it — an additional info panel is always visible and it shows you more stats like three-bet, steal and fold- to-steal. Those stats will change based on the position you’re opponent is sitting in (there’s no point in showing fold to steal stat of the player sitting currently on the button) and the street you’re currently at (preflop stats will disappear once you see the flop and you’ll gain access to adequate postflop stats). The last thing you’re getting with the premium version is the Jivaro command center, but we’ll go back to that feature later in this review.

To try Jivaro for yourself, simply click here.

Social Features

Poker is a very individualistic activity and it can get lonely at times. While some players like it that way, others might enjoy the social features that Jivaro provides. You can follow and be followed by friends, share hands and post comments on your timeline. It’s like a social network, but without the pictures of cats and toddlers. If you have a group of poker playing friends and you always wanted a social media experience that’s about poker, then Jivaro can provide that for you.

If you have a study group and are looking for a tool that can streamline workflow, Jivaro can also be that. You can share your hands with just one click and discuss them with group members. You can use your timeline to arrange a group session. It can be way less intrusive and more efficient than spending countless hours in a Skype chat.

Lastly, you can follow your favorite poker pros who use Jivaro, such as Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and Randy “Nanonoko” Lew.

Jivaro Command Center – Every Tournament Player Dream

As for the aforementioned Jivaro command center, it’s a premium feature that makes the life of a tournament player much simpler. In our opinion this feature alone is worth the price of admission. Here’s what it looks like:

A Review of Jivaro – Poker's Next Generation of Poker HUD 104

With the command center you won’t have to open a tournament lobby ever again (except when you’re registering of course). You’ll never miss a bubble, you won’t have to juggle additional windows just to check the average stack or the number of players remaining. No matter if you’re a serious grinder or you just like playing tournaments, Jivaro command center will make your life a lot easier.

Is command center useless for cash players? Not at all, it will provide you with some additional information like your winnings, average VPIP, average aggression and players per flop. Those stats can help you decide if you want to continue playing on a particular table.

A Review of Jivaro – Poker's Next Generation of Poker HUD 105
Frequently Asked Questions

I’m a beginner and/or I’ve never used any kind of poker software. Is Jivaro for me?

Definitely. Jivaro requires virtually no setup and it won’t overwhelm you with a wall of numbers. Color coding and visual representation of statistics will help you understand them faster and it will quickly become second nature to you.

You can try Jivaro out without risking anything, and if you decide you like it, the premium version won’t overwhelm you with a wall of numbers either. It will show you only what you need to see using the same layout that you already familiarized yourself with using the basic version of the HUD.

Who else is Jivaro for?

If you’re a tournament player. Command center will make your life a lot easier.Your PC isn’t very powerful, but fortunately Jivaro is fairly lightweight. It consumes less of the system memory with six tables opened than other popular programs consume in the idle state. If you bought your PC in the last five years or so you should have no problems running Jivaro. With older machines, your mileage may vary, but you can always try the free version and see for yourself.You’re a Twitch streamer and you don’t want to attack your viewers with a wall of numbers. You need something easy to understand, something that looks nice and can still help you play your best. It’s a good thing you’re reading this review because Jivaro can do just that.You’re playing micro-stakes. Other programs can be expensive and you can have Jivaro basic for free. The cost of the monthly premium is slightly higher than one NL5 or PLO5 buy-in, so even serious micro stakes players can afford it.

Ok, so what’s bad about Jivaro?

As often happens, you pay for the elegance, ease of use, and reliability with the lack of customization options. You can’t add more stats, you can’t swap the existing ones. You can’t move the HUD position (though this isn’t very important since the HUD placement is solid). While you can view your hand history and use replayer to review your session, you can’t really use any advanced filters or anything like that. If you’re an experienced player with a very specific workflow, well Jivaro can’t emulate that for you.

I’m one of those advanced players with very specific workflow and I already own different software, should I completely disregard Jivaro?

We suggest giving it a try anyway. While you can’t replicate what you’re already using, you may fall in love with a slick, elegant HUD Jivaro offers and actually combine it with your current software. As far as our testing went, there are no conflicts between Jivaro and other popular programs — even if you’re playing Zoom Poker — so you can get the best of both worlds and use the stats provided by Jivaro along with the specific ones you can’t live without.

It’s not like Jivaro is all about the looks either. Developers of the software decided on the very specific set of stats after extensive conversations with a group of top pro players. Lastly, Jivaro is constantly updated so your favorite stat or functionality might show up in one of the future releases.


Jivaro is slick, elegant, and reliable. It adds to your poker experience without taking you out of it. Jivaro doesn’t have unlimited functionality and customization options — you can’t tweak everything to your liking — but at the same time you don’t have to tweak anything. It just works.

With Jivaro, you’re getting a powerful, reliable, good-looking tool that gets the job done. Pretty good deal considering it’s free for the basic, and just $5.99 for the premium version. If interested, you can sign up for Jivaro by clicking here.

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2015 MSPT Michigan State Poker Championship Day 1a: Ross Leads 29 Surviving Players

The first of three starting flights in the 2015 Mid-States Poker Tour Michigan State Poker Championship at FireKeepers Casino attracted 154 entries, but after 14 levels of play, just 29 remained with Mike Ross and his stack of 311,500 leading the way.

Ross had been building a stack all day until his stack exploded over 200,000, due in no small part to turning a straight flush against George Janssen (pictured left). Janssen had turned an ace-high flush and the two players got their massive stacks all in, leaving Ross with the chip lead and Janssen with about 30,000. Janssen managed to navigate the rest of the night to make Day 2, even with Ross on his direct right for almost the entire day.

Top 10 Day 1a Chip Counts


1Mike Ross311,500

2Bill Rogers287,000

3Timothy Greiner200,000

4Chad Bienz165,000

5Douglas Singleton164,500

6Douglas Suffel146,500

7Ryan Terpstra129,500

8Brandon Carswell128,500

9Chan Li124,500

10Paul Welke117,000

Bill Rogers, who was the runner-up in May’s MSPT FireKeepers event, won a huge pot right before the end of the night to take the number two spot behind Ross. In one hand, with the board reading {4-Diamonds}{3-Spades}{8-Diamonds}, James Smith bet 24,000 and Rogers raised to 50,000. Smith then shoved all in for about 132,000, and Rogers agonized for several minutes over his decision.

"You can’t have aces," said Rogers, trying to talk himself through Smith’s possible holdings.

After a few more minutes Rogers tilted his hand up while still deciding his next move. Standing up, then kneeling on his chair, then standing again. The answer seemed to be eluding him, until finally he threw one orange chip into the pot.

"Alright, show me a four," he said, "I call."

Rogers turned over his hand, the {a-Clubs}{a-Hearts}, and Smith turned over his, {10-}{10-}. The river was the {8-Clubs} and Rogers won a huge pot shortly before play stopped for the night.

"I’m sorry guys," Rogers said, apologizing to the table for taking so long to make his decision.

Meanwhile former MSPT FireKeepers champions Tommy Midena and Ryan Dykhouse were among the Day 1a casualties, as was 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Ryan Riess.

A big crowd is expected for Friday’s Day 1b flight. The day begins at noon local time and the players will play 14 40-minute levels. Follow live updates from the tournament by visiting our dedicated live blog.

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2015 WSOP Europe Day 8: Soulier Final Tables Event #6; €550 PLO Kicks Off & More

Day 8 of the 2015 World Series of Poker Europe in Berlin, Germany saw Alex Komaromi become Uruguay’s first-ever bracelet winner, Event #6: €3,250 No-Limit Hold’em reach it’s final table, and Event #7 €550 Pot-Limit Omaha kick off. Here’s a look at everything you need to know from Thursday action.

Alex Komaromi Takes Down Event #5 Bracelet

Alex Komaromi became the first-ever player from Uruguay to win a WSOP bracelet, taking down Event #5: €2,200 8-Game Mixed Event at the WSOP Europe in Berlin, Germany.

Alex Komaromi

Komaromi earned €65,740 and the most coveted prize in poker for his efforts, defeating a stacked final table including two-time WSOP bracelet winner and now five-time runner-up Scott Clements heads-up.

"I’m very excited," he told PokerNews. "It feels like a dream to me."

For a more thorough look at Komaromi’s win, click here.

Soulier & Chartier Headline Event #6: €3,250 No-Limit Hold’em Final Table

Event #6: €3,250 No-Limit Hold’em originally began with 256 entrants, but on Thursday just 69 players returned for Day 2 action. Of those, just 27 were slated to get paid. Among those to miss out on a payday were Simon Ravnsbaek, Jeff Gross, Anthony Zinno, Phil Hellmuth, Jeff Lisandro, Pierre Neuville, Dzmitry Urbanovich, and Gintaris Simaitis, who was the unfortunate bubble boy.

Simaitis’ demise came when he committed his last 30,500 holding the {k-Clubs}{4-Hearts} and Sam Chartier looked him up with the {q-Clubs}{q-Diamonds}. Simaitis got it in as a heavy favorite, but the {5-Clubs}{7-Hearts}{8-Clubs} flop made things interesting by giving Chartier a gutshot straight draw. Much to Simaitis’ dismay, the {6-Clubs} turn completed it, and he was drawing dead headed to the {8-Spades} river.

From there, the in-the-money eliminations began to pile up and included Allen Kessler (21st – €6,885), Ilkin Amirov (14th – €11,175), Thomas Dunwoodie (13th – €11,175), and Pavel Veksler (10th – €13,560), who bubble the final table when his {8-Spades}{8-Clubs} failed to hold against the {a-Hearts}{k-Hearts} of Thierry Cogniat after the board ran out {a-Spades}{5-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{7-Spades}{2-Hearts}.

Day three will see the final nine return to battle it our for the bracelet and the €182,510 top prize, with Mario Lopez and his stack of 892,000 leading the way.

The Final Table


1Farid Jattin103,000

2Pavlos Xanthopoulos849,000

3Sergi Reixach197,000

4Samuel Chartier670,000

5Thierry Cogniat502,000

6Mario Lopez892,000

7Alex Rocha298,000

8Artan Dedusha158,000

9Fabrice Soulier171,000

Lee Bags Sizeable Lead After Day 1 of Event #7 €550 Pot-Limit Omaha

Day 1 of Event #7 €550 Pot-Limit Omaha, which featured a single reentry, saw 503 entrants (140 of which were reentries) take to the felt, which created a €243,955 prize pool. To be distributed among the top 56 players. Amazingly, it took just 14 levels of play for the field to be whittled down to the final 25

Among those to leave empty handed on Day 1 were Greg Merson, Marvin Rettenmaier, Scott Davies, Brian Hastings, Roger Hairabedian, Konstantin Puchkov, and bubble boy Michael Vater, who got his short stack in with the {a-Clubs}{a-Hearts}{j-Hearts}{2-Hearts}. Marius Fritz held the {3-Clubs}{3-Hearts}{6-Diamonds}{k-Clubs} and ended up rivering a set when the board ran out {9-Diamonds}{8-Spades}{5-Hearts}{j-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}.

Meanwhile, some notables managed a small cash including Davidi Kitai, Yusuf Kurt, and Ole Schemion, just to name a few.

Of course not everyone was so unlucky to bust. Among those advancing to Day 2 were Doug Lee, who held a more than 2-1 chip lead (593,000) over his next closest competitor, Turkey’s Tayfun Oztoygan (221,500), Barny Boatman (157,000), Shannon Shorr (145,000), John Gale (134,500), Dominik Maska (73,000), and Peter Staudacher (40,000).

Top 10 Day 1 Chip Counts


1Doug Lee593,000

2Tayfun Oztoygan221,500

3Grzegorz Grochulski185,000

4Damian Pwalak159,500

5Barny Boatman157,000

6Shannon Shorr145,000

7John Gale134,500

8Frederic Vacher102,500

9Yigit Aktulga93,000

10Marius Fritz84,000

Players will return for Day 2 action at 1 p.m. local time and play down to the final table of eight.

Be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for daily recaps and more from the 2015 WSOP Europe.

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The Importance of Limping Big Hands from the Small Blind

Covering live poker tournaments for a living affords me the opportunity to see countless thousands of hands played out, many of which offer interesting and potentially valuable insights into how players — both amateurs and professionals — play the game. In this ongoing series, I’ll highlight hands I’ve seen at the tournaments I’ve covered and see if we can glean anything useful from them.

The Scene

This summer, I had the pleasure of covering the Super High Roller Cash Game, a nosebleed affair involving some of the best and/or most affluent poker players on the planet. Sent back to the World Series of Poker beat afterwards, I did not get to return days later for the $500,000 Super High Roller Bowl, which was covered by my esteemed colleagues. That’s the setting for this week’s hand, which I happened to catch on recent TV coverage of the event.

One of the biggest tournaments in recent memory, the Super High Roller Bowl drew 43 of the game’s best and wealthiest, with the titanic buy-in creating a suitably enormous first-place prize of $7,525,000. At the point this hand took place, three of the game’s best — Scott Seiver, Brian Rast, and Connor Drinan — were left battling, with substantial money jumps of about $2 million after each of the final two eliminations.

The Action

Play had recently moved to Level 22 (60,000/120,000/20,000). Rast and Seiver were playing fairly deep with about 10 million and 7 million, respectively, while Drinan lagged behind with about 4 million. Drinan got out of the way from the button in this hand to leave the big stacks to do battle, and battle they did.

Things started slowly enough as Rast completed from the small blind, but Seiver popped it up with a big raise to 420,000. Rast came back over the top for 1.13 million, and Seiver went into the tank for a while before moving all in for 7.195 million total. Rast immediately called with {k-Hearts} and had Seiver’s {8-Diamonds}{8-Hearts} crushed.

Unfortunately for Rast, the board ran out {8-Spades}{10-Spades}{q-Clubs}{4-Spades}{2-Hearts}, giving Seiver a winning set of eights and allowing him to fade Rast’s backdoor flush draw.

Concept and Analysis

Blind battles can be some of the most interesting and fun hands in poker. They usually involve two players going at it with the widest ranges they’ll play, given that everyone else in the hand has folded to leave a default heads-up match. In cash games they don’t come up as often, since many players will just chop. But that’s not an option in tournaments, making the blind-vs.-blind hand an important part of tournament play.

In this hand, Rast picks up a monster when he sees kings in the small blind. Whereas many players would immediately raise in an effort to build the pot and protect their hand, Rast elects to just call.

When Seiver raises, Rast springs the trap, waking up with a reraise to just short of three times Seiver’s bet. Holding two eights, Seiver is in a tough predicament. You’re never thrilled about getting 60 big blinds in with eights, but his options are pretty limited. Just calling isn’t a great option, as most flops will include an overcard to his pair and he will be left guessing at that point. He has to decide whether to go with his hand now.

Rightly figuring that two eights are usually going to be best in a blind battle, Seiver shipped it, only to be shown the kings.

Many players like just to call from the small blind with a wide range of hands, and who can really blame them? You’re getting a great price — at least 3-to-1 depending on antes — and you have just one opponent who is holding any two. In the big blind, many players who see a call from the SB like to bump it up. Again, who can blame them? They know they are facing a very wide range of hands and they’ll have position the rest of the hand.

Thus, it’s important occasionally to limp some very strong hands from the small blind as part of a balanced overall strategy. Otherwise, it’s just too easy for the player in the big blind to exploit you with raises and then taking down pots postflop with continuation bets on the occasions when you miss (which is more often than not). When players see you do this, they will be far less likely to raise your small blind limps in the future, enabling you to see more cheap flops and use pot control when out of position.

This hand seemed to be an incredibly costly beat for Rast at the time. It reduced him to the shortest stack, while Seiver appeared to be in complete command with about two-thirds of the chips in play. Rast shook the bad luck off, though, and got the last laugh as he bested Seiver heads-up to take down the $7.525 million first prize.

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The Importance of Limping Big Hands from the Small Blind 101



partypoker Completes Phase One of Levelling the Playing Field

The first phase of partypoker’s plans to level the playing field as part of its "Poker For The People" remit is complete after the online gambling giant released a software update on the morning of October 15.

Two weeks ago, partypoker announced it was implementing some changes to its software that would prevent players from using third-party software to aid their decision making and bring a stop to seating scripts, the latter being an automated program that automatically sits players on tables with lesser skilled opponents.

Personally, I think it’s great that recreational players are being protected from the using third party software.

A software update this morning has seen two of three planned changes take place. With immediate effect, the following changes are in place:

Players wishing to wait for a cash game will join a room-wide waiting list and be randomly seated when a seat that matches their preference becomes available.Players joining a cash game will see the names of their opponents only once their first hand is dealt.

As you can see in the image below, players are referred to as Player 1, Player 2 and so on, and their avatars are not displayed. However, if you join that table and receive hole cards, the names change to their screen names and an avatar displayed.

partypoker cash games

Mike Sexton, a partypoker ambassador, is pleased to see the first phase completed , saying the move is great for recreational players.

"As a professional poker player, I understand players who seek out games with weaker players, but they must realize that those being ‘stalked’ will most likely quit playing if the same user names continually show up at their table when they opt to play," said Sexton. "Losing these players is not good for the everyday player or the site. Personally, I think it’s great that recreational players are being protected from the using third party software. Hats off to partypoker for implementing this."

The second phase of the changes should arrive in the coming weeks and is the one that seems to have split the opinions of the poker community. Once completed, partypoker players will no longer have their hand histories saved locally to their machine, nor will they be available in a downloadable format, effectively ending the use of software such as PokerTracker 4 and Holdem Manager 2 and their heads-up displays (HUDs).

Players will, however, be able to view their own hand histories via the partypoker client if they so wish.

Have you played at partypoker since the changes were implemented? Do you see the changes as a positive thing for partypoker players or otherwise? What are your thoughts on the prevention of tracking software and HUDs? Let us know in the comments box below.

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2015 WSOP Europe 888 Hand of the Day: Alex Rocha Skyrockets Up the Counts

The 2015 World Series of Poker Europe continued in Berlin, Germany, Thursday with Day 2 of Event #6: €3,250 No-Limit Hold’em.

PokerNews was on hand for all the action and will be in Berlin for the duration of the 17-day series. As a part of our coverage, that is brought to you by 888poker, we will be bringing readers a special "888 Hand of the Day" every single day throughout the entire WSOP Europe schedule.

Play began Thursday with 69 of the 256-player field remaining in Event #6 and plans to play down to a final table. Long Island, NY’s Alex Rocha started with around 90,000 in chips, but after the first two levels of play, he had rocketed up close to 300,000 and into the chip lead.

While his meteoric rise including a ton of small pots picked up along the way, he did manage to make kings hold in a tough spot to bust one dangerous foe, making that particular pot the 888 Hand of the Day.

With blinds at 1,000/2,000 and a 300 ante in Level 14, it folded to Rocha in middle position. He looked down at the {k-Clubs} and decided to come in for a raise. The player in the cutoff seat, with a stack of around 20 big blinds, made the call, and the flop fell {10-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}{5-Hearts}.

Rocha checked and his opponent bet 5,000.

"We had been kind of tangoing," he told PokerNews. "He was kind of sticky and obviously I have a strong hand here. I had kind of put my tail between my legs against him a couple of times before, so I wanted to give him a little wiggle room.

"I don’t want to fold him out too often, so I checked. I thought check-raising was better than betting here because I don’t want to fold out what I thought a decent part of his range was. I was even close to check-calling, but he was just so sticky that he may want to get it in there with a lot of pairs worse than kings."

Rocha check-raised to 13,000 and his opponent made the call, leaving himself little more than a pot-sized bet behind. The turn brought the {k-Diamonds} and a set for Rocha.

"I could have considered checking," Rocha said. "But I don’t want him to realize his equity in position, especially with two flush draws out there now."

Rocha pushed in for what was effectively all of his opponent’s remaining 20,000. His opponent called it off with the the {5-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}, having flopped two pair and turned a diamond flush draw, only to find out the {k-Diamonds} was not a good card for him.

The river bricked out and Rocha’s set of kings held, sending his opponent to the rail, giving him close to 300,000 chips and 888 Hand of the Day honors.

Coming back from the first break of the day in the top spot on the chip counts, Rocha said he plans to keep his foot on the gas going forward.

"A lot of it was just small pots, opening a lot, c-betting, barreling, and just chipping away," he said of how he built the chip lead. "Now I’m not going to start opening 8-3 off or anything, but I’m going to continue to play my game and applying pressure where need be.

"It’s getting interesting. I would like a bracelet. But I know that it’s a long way off and there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done. I just need to stay focused and keep building, because you need every chip to win and that’s my plan."

As the 2015 WSOP Europe rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage, including regular 888 Hand of the Day articles.

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Hand Histories: 50 Years of Debate Over the Last Hand of “The Cincinnati Kid”

Fifty years ago today — on October 15, 1965 — came the premiere of a film that a half-century later remains one of the best poker movies ever made, The Cincinnati Kid.

Based on a short, pulp novel by Richard Jessup, the film directed by Norman Jewison stars Steve McQueen as poker player Eric Stoner, a.k.a. “the Kid,” who after an extended period of dominating poker games against locals is eager to challenge the player known as “the Man,” Lancey Howard, portrayed by Edward G. Robinson.

The two characters’ nicknames unsubtly suggest one of the film’s more obvious themes — the “coming of age” story in which the younger Eric is shown to learn a lesson of sorts after going up against the experienced Lancey. That point gets emphasized in the final scene when Lancey delivers a series of memorable lines to Eric, including one in which he refers to the last hand of five-card stud the pair played.

“Gets down to what it’s all about, doesn’t it?” says Lancey, looking more than a little devilish as he lights a cigar. “Making the wrong move at the right time.”

The Kid sounds less than convinced when he responds with a question: “Is that what it’s all about?” “Like life, I guess,” continues the Man, somewhat inscrutably.

The hand the pair has just played is perhaps the most famous in any poker movie — indeed, one of the most famous in poker, period. It’s certainly one that has earned the most debate, for a variety of reasons.

The Hand

(Fifty years would seem like enough time to make the “spoiler alert” warning no longer obligatory, but know that in what follows the film’s ending is thoroughly given away.)

The game is no-limit five-card stud, appropriate for the film’s Depression-era setting. Incidentally, while the novel is set in St. Louis during the 1950s, the film pushes the story back a couple of decades and moves it to New Orleans, thought by many to be the birthplace of poker.

In five-card stud players initially receive one card down and one card up, followed by the first round of betting. From there they each receive three more cards one at a time, all face up, with betting after each deal. In the end, then, four of each player’s five cards are shown.

By the time the final hand arrives, other players originally involved in the game have dropped out to leave just Eric and Lancey to battle heads-up, and the Kid appears to be having the best of it. A montage shows him winning several hands in a row, with shots of Lancey rubbing his forehead and loosening his collar suggesting the Man is starting to wear down physically, if not mentally, too.

Lady Fingers (portrayed by Joan Blondell) — brought on to deal by Eric after he has discovered the original dealer, Shooter, has been trying to cheat for him — shuffles and deals. Eric’s up card is the while Lancey has the {8-Diamonds} showing, meaning Eric acts first. He bets $500, and the Man calls.

The next round sees Eric pick up the {10-Spades}, pairing his ten, while Lancey is dealt the {Q-Diamonds}. Eric leads for $1,000, then despite his opponent’s pair showing Lancey raises to $2,000. “I’ll just call,” says Eric. There’s now $5,000 in the middle.

On fourth street Eric is dealt the {A-Clubs} while Lancey gets the {10-Diamonds}. “Three diamonds and a possible,” says Lady Fingers when describing Lancey’s board as he has a possible flush draw going. The Kid bets $3,000 — 60% of the pot — causing onlookers to sit up and murmur loudly. A couple are shown speculating that the Man is “going for the flush.”

“A reasonable bet,” says Lancey, who then places forward the cash needed to call. “Deal the cards,” he says to Lady Fingers. Pot is $11,000.

She tosses Lancey the {9-Diamonds}, noting the possible flush and the possible straight flush. She then deals Eric his last card, the {A-Spades}, saying “two pair” then indicating Eric is to act first.

Hand Histories: 50 Years of Debate Over the Last Hand of “The Cincinnati Kid” 101The Kid’s hand

The Kid: {x-} {10-Clubs}{10-Spades}{A-Clubs}{A-Spades}

The Man: {x-} {8-Diamonds}{Q-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}

Both players have scary boards. “Check to the possible,” says Eric, and Lancey wastes no time making a small bet of $1,000.

The Kid doesn’t hesitate either. “Calling your thousand and raise… what I’ve got in front of me,” he says (string-raising as they always seem to do in the movies). He has $3,500 behind, so the total bet is $4,500.

“That ace must have helped you, Kid,” says Lancey, who nonetheless collects bills together to reraise. “Call your thirty-five hundred and raise… five thousand,” he says, fishing money out of his wallet (and showing that “table stakes” doesn’t apply here).

Hand Histories: 50 Years of Debate Over the Last Hand of “The Cincinnati Kid” 102The Man’s hand

There is now $25,000 in the middle. The spectators excitedly speculate over whether or not the Man is bluffing or has the jack of diamonds in the hole. They’re leaning toward a bluff. We get to hear a little internal monologue by Eric, telling himself “I got him! I got the Man!”

The Man offers to give the Kid a marker to cover the $5K more. Finally the Kid calls, indicating he’s doing so by saying “let’s see it.”

The Man promptly turns over the {J-Diamonds} — a straight flush. “That’s five thousand you owe me, Kid,” he says without any expression.

“You raising tens on a lousy three-flush,” smirks Lady Fingers to Lancey, alluding to the Man’s raise on third street. Meanwhile a dazed Kid shows his down card — the {A-Hearts} for a full house.

The Debate

As noted, it’s likely the most discussed poker hand in film history, occasionally derided by some for being so improbable that it tends to undermine what is otherwise a very realistic plot and portrayal of the game.

“In poker terms, the hand is a joke,” declares Anthony Holden in his excellent poker memoir Big Deal: A Year as a Professional Poker Player first published in 1990. In Poker: Bets, Bluffs, and Bad Beats (2001), Al Alvarez echoes the sentiment when after praising the film he admits “authentic poker only goes out of the window at the final showdown.”

Holden cites the odds against a straight flush beating a full house in a two-handed game of five-card stud, noting how with Lancey holding one of the tens the chances are even more “laughable” — “well over 300 billion to 1 against.” He estimates that “if these two played fifty hands of stud an hour, five days a week, the situation should arise once every 443 years.”

He goes on to refer to poker author Michael Weisenberg’s discussion of the hand and another implausibility, namely the fact that the Kid doesn’t suspect any foul play occurring between Lady Fingers and the Man. While those two do have a history, the film doesn’t provide any concrete evidence of cheating having occurred.

For Holden and others, the implausibility of the hand gets in the way of the film’s moral. “You’re good, Kid, but as long as I’m around you’re second best,” says Lancey, pointing a finger in Eric’s direction. “You might as well learn to live with it.”

Hand Histories: 50 Years of Debate Over the Last Hand of “The Cincinnati Kid” 103“Like life, I guess,” says the Man.

But does the hand unambiguously demonstrate the Man’s better skill — or the importance of experience? Or was it all just a matter of luck — of “making the wrong move at the right time”?

Set aside for a moment outrage over straight flushes beating full houses in the movies. (Remember Casino Royale?) In other words, forget for a moment about the luck of the draw and instead think about the skill exhibited by the players in the hand.

As Lady Fingers points out, the Man’s raise with three diamonds and no pair when he can see the Kid’s pair of tens showing is an interesting semi-bluff. What do you think of that play?

The Man’s call on the next street is also worth exploring. He calls $3,000 to win $8,000, still with no pair but with a flush draw, a gutshot to a straight, and of course a one-outer to a straight flush. Meanwhile he sees the Kid’s pair of tens and an ace, with two pair more likely than three of a kind given that the Man has one of the tens. What is your opinion of the Man’s fourth-street call?

Betting on the final street provides still more interesting strategic decisions. What do you think of Kid’s decision to go for the big check-raise with his full house? What about his call of the Man’s reraise? These are points at which some have suggested that despite the Kid’s having been the victim of bad luck, he might have played the hand better, too.

What do you think of the final hand of The Cincinnati Kid? Share your comments below as we begin another half-century of discussion about the hand.

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Hand Histories: 50 Years of Debate Over the Last Hand of “The Cincinnati Kid” 104



PokerNews Book Review: The Education of a Poker Player by Jim McManus

There’s good reason why Jim McManus is often referred to as the "Shakespeare of Poker." Any serious poker fan has read Positively Fifth Street, widely considered one of the best poker narratives ever written, while Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker is the most comprehensive text on poker’s expansive history. Now, McManus has added another poker book, The Education of a Poker Player, to his already impressive résumé.

Released this month by BOA Editions, McManus’ new book is neither a memoir like Positively Fifth Street, nor a historical text like Cowboys Full. Instead, McManus has ventured into the realm of poker fiction, utilizing strong influences from his childhood to construct a narrative on just how strongly religion, world events, and of course poker, can shape a young man, in this case Vincent Killeen (who you can safely substitute for McManus himself).

Here’s how BOA Edition describes the book:

"James McManus offers up a collection of seven linked stories narrated by Vincent Killeen, an Irish Catholic altar boy, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Persuaded at age eight by his grandmother that entering the priesthood will guarantee salvation for every member of his family, Vince eagerly commits to attending a Jesuit seminary for high school. As the meaning of a vow of celibacy becomes clearer to him, however, and he is exposed to the irresistible temptations of poker and girls, life as a seminarian begins to seem less appealing. These autobiographical stories are enlightening and evocative, providing keen, often humorous insight into Catholicism, faith, celibacy and its opposite, as well as into America’s—and increasingly the world’s—favorite card game."

During the 2015 World Series of Poker, I was honored to receive a copy of The Education of a Poker Player and asked to write a review. Poker fiction certainly isn’t my favorite genre, but knowing the strong connection to McManus’ actual life made it a must read, at least for me.

The book is basically broken into two parts – Killeen’s younger days, which are dominated by family, religion, and the JFK assassination; and his formative years, which involve some sex, drugs, and poker. As such, you won’t find much about the game we love in the first part of the book, but there’s plenty of stories to be had in the latter half.

The youthful experiences of Killeen, and for all intents and purposes McManus, were foreign to me – I grew up in a different time period in a family devoid of religion – but the stories in The Education of a Poker Player succeeded in providing an intimate look back at the universal motifs – guilt, rebellion, lust, and adventure — that permeate every boy’s childhood.

At just $16.00 for a paperback, and even a more affordable $9.99 for the E-book, The Education of a Poker Player is well worth the price tag. If you don’t want to take it from me, then consider what the noted author David Sedaris had to say:

"In writing about poker Jim McManus has managed to write about everything, and it’s glorious."

PokerNews had the opportunity to speak with McManus to talk about his new book.

PokerNews: What inspired you to write The Education of a Poker Player, which is a fictional collection of seven stories essentially about a boy growing up?

Book Review: The Education of a Poker Player by Jim McManus 102Yardley’s The Education of a Poker Player

McManus: Reading Herb Yardley’s book of that title changed my life at age 13 or 14. So did reading Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man, which is about a boy in Dublin dealing with pressure his family and teachers are putting on him to be a devout Catholic and maybe a priest. My own parents, as well as my dad’s mother, who lived with us, were all fiercely Irish Catholic and deeply opposed to me playing poker, even though our parish raised money by having "poker smokers" right in the church’s basement. They wanted me to become a priest, and not just any kind of priest, but a Jesuit. Those books and facts were the strongest influences while writing my own book. Toward the end, I was also thinking of it as the third book of a three-genre poker trilogy: Fifth Street as memoir, Cowboys Full as history, The Education as fiction.

But it’s also important to know that only about half of The Education, mainly the second half, focuses on poker. The rest is about Irish Americans during the Kennedy years (1960-63), the ways Catholic school boys and girls interact with nuns and priests and each other, and Vince Killeen’s efforts to remain celibate as an altar boy and future priest as he ages from 8 to 16.

The Education of a Poker Player is also the name of Herbert O. Yardley’s book. Did you have any issues using the same title?

I believe, and hope, that borrowing it is clearly an homage, a tip of the cap, a signal of how crucial Yardley’s book is in Vince’s life. It isn’t a rip-off because the books are too different. Yardley combines straightforward advice about how to play a half dozen variants popular in the 1950s with factual accounts of hands he played for fairly high stakes over five decades, on four continents, during two world wars. My book is a fiction narrated by a naive kid growing up in the 60s, a kid who plays for much lower stakes, though the outcomes of certain hands do change his life.

Herbert O. Yardley had a big impact on the main character of the book. Did he on you as well?

Yardley’s Education was probably the first book an adult gave me that I actually loved reading. It was also a huge national bestseller, a source of pleasure for one side of my family, an outrage for the other. When it was serialized on the cover of the November 9, 1957, Saturday Evening Post, the issue broke newsstand records. It helped usher in the age of square, tactically sound poker, after more than a century as a game dominated by cheaters.

His adventures as a spy, a writer, and a stud player, often in life-threatening situations, were about as far removed from my life as an altar boy and future priest as it was possible to imagine. Yardley’s book showed me alternatives to the career my family and clergy were arranging for me. Even though he looked like Alfred Hitchcock, he was right up there with the Stones, Nellie Fox, and James Joyce as a role model.

While the book is fictional, I understand it to be somewhat biographical in nature. To what extent do the events in the book mirror your real life?

Much more than somewhat. The timing and coincidence of some things is more dramatic in the stories than things that happened to me, but I’ve done just about everything Vince does. His family lives in the Bronx, upstate New York, and suburban Chicago, like mine did.

Are some of the poker hands mentioned in the books really ones you played when you were younger? If so, how is it you remember them so vividly?

I certainly can’t remember the cards, let alone the suits, of pots I played fifty years ago. I had to add details to make the poker feel real to the reader. But I can recall the contours of how certain big hands played out and their consequences away from the table, especially the last hand of the book.

Book Review: The Education of a Poker Player by Jim McManus 103A look at the diary.

Were the war journal entries from the main character’s grandfather real?

Those are taken verbatim from my grandfather James McManus’s diary aboard the USS Baltimore during the North Sea Mine Barrage of World War I. It’s sitting right here on my desk.

Whether real or fictional, whatever became (or do you imagine became) of Figueroa’s $20 bill?

I’d say it was either confiscated by Vince’s dad or the cops, or Vince used it to help pay for that Mercury parked over at Smitty’s, and to take Laurie out on a date. It depends on whether the reader is a pessimist or an optimist.

Why does the seven of clubs appear on the cover of the book? What’s its significance?

Sandy Knight, the designer, used it to indicate the number of stories in the book. She used an actual photo of the author in fourth grade on the spine to emphasize the autobiographical element.

Do you gave any other books in the pipeline? If so, can you tell us a little about them?

I’m working on a script drawn from the stories "Detention," "Picasso," and "Romeoville." I’m also covering a two-year-long case in Boise to decide whether poker is legal in Idaho because it’s a game of skill. I’m testifying again in the jury trial, which begins in November.

To get your copy of Jim McManus’ The Education of a Poker Player, visit our dedicated page in PokerNews’ Book Section.

*Lead photo courtesy of Chicago Magazine

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Financial Professional on Assignment Abroad Wins WSOP Europe Monster Stack

An American financial professional and former semi-pro poker player on assignment in Poland won a World Series of Poker bracelet in Berlin, Germany, early Thursday morning.

New York’s Ryan Hefter took down the 2015 WSOP Europe’s Event #4: "Monster Stack" No-Limit Hold’em, defeating a field of 580 entries to claim the bracelet and €176,205 first place prize.

"I can’t even put into words how I feel right now," said Hefter, who is currently on a two-year assignment with Credit Suisse in Poland. "I don’t play many tournaments. I used to play online professionally when I was younger in the States, but I’m not a tournament player, mostly cash.

"I just took a shot. I came down to Berlin for a few days, busted out of the €560 ‘OktoberFest’, tried this one and ended up taking it down."

Play resumed on the event’s third day Wednesday with 22 players remaining. Once the final table of nine was reached, Denmark’s Henrik Hecklen held a slight lead over a tightly bunched field with Hefter near the bottom.

American David Peters booked his 34th WSOP cash lifetime hitting the rail ninth when he called all in with pocket eights facing a Diego Ventura shove. Ventura turned the {9-Clubs} into a flush.

Hecklen then extended his lead by busting Richard Sheils in a massive preflop flip. Hecklen’s pocket jacks fell behind Sheils’ {A-Clubs}{K-Diamonds} on a {K-Hearts}{10-Clubs}{Q-Diamonds} flop, but Hecklen turned a straight.

They took a dinner break seven handed and returned to see Carlos Chang take the lead making a one-card straight against Hecklen.

Hecklen got that back and more when he doubled through Justin Frolian finding a miracle river to turn pocket aces into a full house and crack Frolian’s flopped straight. Frolian busted a hand later getting it in with pocket fives against Chang’s {A-Hearts}{7-Diamonds} and hitting the exit when Chang four flushed.

Armin Eckl busted fifth when Hecklen made trips against his suited rags in a three-way pot, then Chang sent Ventura out fourth making a set of sixes against his overcards.

Hecklen was the next to go, shoving over top of a Gilbert Diaz open and running the {a-Diamonds}{8-Hearts} into Diaz’s {A-Hearts}{J-Clubs}.

Diaz took the lead into three-handed play, holding as many chips as Chang and Hefter combined. But Hefter grabbed all of of Chang’s chips winning a flip after turning pocket sevens into a full house against Chang’s big slick to start heads-up play about even.

With blinds high and stacks shallow, heads-up boiled down to a series of all in flips for the bracelet, with the worst hand and shorter stack seemingly unbeatable until Hefter won two in a row to seal the victory.

"We had been playing for 14 hours here and we had about 20 big blinds each," Hefter said of the heads-up match. "He’s a really good player, so what am I going to do? I’m not going to outplay him with 20 big blinds. I just figured I’d pick a hand I like and go for it.

"It feels amazing. Like I said, I used to play semi-professionally online, but I work, so I don’t have time to tour the circuits here. I try to play a couple when I can and to win one just feels unbelievable. I can’t describe it."

Here’s how the final table finished up:


1Ryan HefterUnited States€176,205

2Gilbert DiazFrance€109,625

3Carlos ChangTaiwan€80,170

4Henrik HecklenDenmark€59,495

5Diego VenturaPeru€44,725

6Armin EcklGermany€34,180

7Justin FrolianGermany€26,415

8Richard SheilsUK€20,675

9David PetersUnited States€16,455

As the 2015 WSOP Europe rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage, including regular 888 Hand of the Day articles.

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Road to the 2016 WSOP: Working Day and Night, Playing at Dusk Till Dawn

Strategy contributor Matthew Pitt continues his series chronicling his 300-day journey toward building a bankroll to play at the 2016 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It’s been 23 days since my last challenge update, but I’m here now and although recent results do not make great reading, this will not be a bad beat post because there are a lot of positives to take from the recent poor run.

As has been the case since deciding to embark on this challenge, my lack of volume continues to be a problem. Since last checking in, I have only played an additional 64 online tournaments and 243 cash game hands, although I did step into the live arena.

Let’s start with an update from my online poker exploits (or lack thereof).

My available playing time was eaten into by two live reporting gigs. First came a trip to the home of PokerStars, the Isle of Man, for the United Kingdom Ireland Poker Tour festival that took place there. When you consider the travel, the 12-14 hour work days, and extra time spent preparing articles that I wouldn’t have time to do while reporting, eight full days were removed from my playing schedule.

Secondly, this weekend I was at Dusk Till Dawn both playing (more on that later) and working. The latter each day removed a huge block from 12 noon to 3 a.m. from my available grinding time, then a lack of sleep on the final day essentially wrote off any possibility of playing the following day due to needing several strong coffees just to function.

Enough of the excuses, though, because even despite these things getting in the way, 60-plus tournaments and not even 250 cash game hands over 12 actual available days is a recipe for failure because it’s not anywhere near enough volume to overcome variance.

Speaking of which, I feel that Lady Luck isn’t shining down on me right now, although that said, she’s not being overly nasty either. Nothing that would be considered too cruel, anyway. I did manage to pure bubble four tournaments, which obviously doesn’t help matters, but most of those were standard spots where I ran into hands the villains should rarely have had.

Live tournament action

As mentioned, I played a live tournament last weekend, only the 12th I’ve ever played (my lack of volume follows me into the live arena!). It was the UK Team Challenge, a fun tournament for which my three teammates and I qualified at partypoker over August and September.

Overall it went well and I was happy with my play. My exit hand was a little harsh and had that gone my way then this could have possibly been a brag post.

In the hand the blinds were 3,000/6,000 with a 500 ante, and I opened to 12,000 from early positon with {10-Clubs} to 12,000. Sylvia Hewitt was two seats to my left, and she reraised to 35,000. She had been three-betting relentlessly and running extremely well. The action folded back around to me and I called.

The flop fell {A-Diamonds}{K-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}. I checked, Sylvia bet 65,000, and I jammed for 210,000 with my two pair. Sylvia called with {A-Spades}{J-Diamonds}, and I was a 61.21% favorite to double and survive. However, the {7-Diamonds} turn and {5-Diamonds} river gave Sylvia an unlikely flush, and I was eliminated.

After considering playing some cash games, I settled on watching the rugby over a few pints of Guinness instead.

With my having busted on Day 1, I was roped into working on Day 2 and it was here that my severe lack of online volume became even more apparent to me. I saw a young lad playing several tables of partypoker on his laptop so decided to do a search for his username. I found he’d played 1,100 MTTs on partypoker alone during 2015 and it appears that he plays on at least two other sites as well.

Compare that to my lifetime total online MTT count of 1,352 (discounting several thousand 45-man and 180-man MTT/SNGs) and you can see where I am going severely wrong. I keep saying it and failing to act, but I have to start playing more, otherwise I’m only going to have myself to blame when this challenge runs out of steam and I’m left looking like a big fish.

Road to the 2016 WSOP: Working Day and Night, Playing at Dusk Till Dawn 101A big win = big motivation

On a more positive note, something popped up on my timeline this week that spurred me on to grind more. It was a photo I’d uploaded three years ago that showed me winning a $30,000 guaranteed tournament on the old Betfair Poker site that netted me my largest ever score of $5,400 (see right).

I remember back then that my goal for the next year was to enjoy a five-figure score. Now would be the ideal time to secure one of those!

Let’s review where things stand at present, challenge-wise:

Tournaments played: 284Total buy-ins (including rebuys & add-ons): $3,251.80Average buy-in: $11.45Cashes: 52ITM: 18.31%Final tables: 11Wins: 6ROI: 9.49%Net Winnings: $289.35

Cash game hands have increased slightly from 2,285 to 2,527 with a minor dent being made into the losses suffered at the beginning of this challenge. When everything is tallied up, my net profit to date with 230 days remaining stands at a rather pitiful $184.51, meaning I need to win $9,815.49.

It seems a long shot, but even at my current ROI (which isn’t accurate due to the sample size) and average buy-in, this is doable by putting in a lot of volume. Guess I better start doing that then.

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Road to the 2016 WSOP: Working Day and Night, Playing at Dusk Till Dawn 102



2015 WSOP Europe 888 Hand of the Day: Jonathan Duhamel Grabs the 8-Game Lead

The 2015 World Series of Poker Europe continued in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday with Day 2 of Event #5: €2,200 8-Game Mixed Event.

PokerNews was on hand for all the action and will be in Berlin for the duration of the 17-day series. As a part of our coverage, that is brought to you by 888poker, we will be bringing readers a special "888 Hand of the Day" every single day throughout the entire WSOP Europe schedule.

As the final table of six neared, 2010 WSOP Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel played a big pot that saw him take the chip lead, making it Wednesday’s 888 Hand of the Day.

There were 11 players remaining at the final two tables with blinds at 1,000/2,000 playing pot-limit Omaha. Arnaud Esquevin came in with a raise under the gun preflop and Duhamel looked down at the {10-Spades}{8-Hearts}{7-Spades}.

"This hand plays well in position, so I was happy to just call and see a flop," Duhamel told PokerNews. "I was thinking about three betting, but if I do that he has room to four-bet shove. So I would rather just call and see a flop."

Shaun Deeb defended the big blind and they went three handed to the {A-Hearts}{J-Hearts}{9-Diamonds} flop. Deeb checked and Esquevin made it 13,000 with some 50,000 behind.

"I have a big wrap and a queen-high flush draw as well, so I am feeling really confident with that flop," said Duhamel. "I have two options here, either I can call or raise. At this point I didn’t want to call. I don’t mind if Shaun wants to play as well, but my hand is so good on the flop, and it might not be that good on the turn if there’s a brick, so I would rather just raise now and get all my equity in.

"I decided to raise pot and put [Esquevin] all in."

Deeb got out of the way and Esquevin called all in with {A-Clubs}{K-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}.

"Unfortunately, he had a higher flush draw and a lot of my outs for the wrap," said Duhamel. "My hand, which looked so good on the flop, ended up being not that good. I still had quite a lot of outs, but not as many as I thought I would.

"If he flopped a set or two pair, I’m golden against that hand, but against the hand that he had I’m really not."

However, the {q-Clubs} rolled out on the turn, making Duhamel a straight. The {2-Clubs} on the river was a brick and as Esquevin hit the rail 11th, Duhamel took the chip lead heading towards the final table of six and winning the 888 Hand of the Day.

"I got lucky and hit the queen on the turn," he said. "It was weird because the hand looked so good on the flop. He happened to have the one hand that really had me crushed at that point, but I managed to get lucky and hit.

Three final tables at WSOP Asia-Pacific last year for Duhamel included a third-place finish in the A$5,000 8-Game Mixed. He also finished eighth in the 2013 WSOP $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship.

Now, after winning his second bracelet at the 2015 WSOP taking down the $111,111 One Drop High Roller, he is focused on a run at a third in a challenging format he truly enjoys.

"I have two no-limit hold’em bracelets and I’ve never really had a big chance in mixed games before, so it would be good," he said. "It’s fun and its a different format. You have to think and be very alert at the table at all times, looking for what games are the other player’s strengths and weaknesses. You have to adjust a lot more than just a No-Limit Hold’em tournament.

"It’s definitely going to be tough, but I’m up for the challenge. It’s going to be fun."

As the 2015 WSOP Europe rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage, including regular 888 Hand of the Day articles.

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Corey Thompson Tops Largest Field in HPT Daytona Beach Kennel Club History to Win $131,720

The Heartland Poker Tour Daytona Beach Kennel Club & Poker Room $1,650 Main Event attracted 389 runners, which created a $575,720 prize pool. It marked the tour’s seventh visit to the property dating back to 2011, and this year’s turnout was larger than any of the previous six stops.

On Monday, Florida’s Corey Thompson more than tripled his previous best live tournament cash by winning the tournament for $131,720. Prior to the win, Thompson’s best cash was $38,453 for a 270th-place finish in the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event. Aside from that, it was $6,153 for a 102nd-place finish in the 2011 WSOP $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em.

Final Table Results


1Corey ThompsonWinter Park, FL$131,720

2Steve KarpMiami, FL$81,326

3Matt BondDallas, TX$54,122

4Plamen StoyanovSt. Petersburg, FL$37,513

5Corey ZedoDenver, CO$28,350

6Aditya PrasetyoCambridge, MA$22,050

7Thomas GiorgiValrico, FL$18,327

8David JacksonJonesboro, GA$15,177

9Andrew DykemanJacksonville, FL$12,829

According to updates from the event, the first elimination of the day came when Thomas Giorgi opened for 90,000 and Andrew Dykeman three-bet jammed for 590,000. Giorgi called with {q-}, which was behind the {a-}{k-} of Dykeman. However, a queen on the turn drove a dagger through Dykeman’s heart, and he had to settle for ninth place and $12,829 in prize money.

From there, David Jackson and Giorgi hit the rail in eighth and seventh place respectively before accomplished pro Aditya Prasetyo followed them out the door in sixth. It happened When Matt Bond opened for 110,000, Plamen Stoyanov called, and Prasetyo moved all in for 975,000. Bond moved all in over the top, Stoyanov folded, and it was off to the races.

Bond: {a-}{k-}

Prasetyo: {q-}{q-}

Prasetyo got it in good, but a king on the flop gave Bond the lead. Prasetyo watched helplessly as both the turn and river blanked, sending him to the payout desk to collect $22,050.

Thompson then eliminated Corey Zedo in fifth, Stoyanov in fourth, and Bond in third to take a more than 2-1 chip lead into heads-up play against Steve Karp, an entrepreneur from Miami who began the day with less than 12 big blinds.

In what would be the last hand of the tournament, Karp shoved all in preflop holding the {9-Clubs}{9-Diamonds} only to run it smack dab into the {10-Hearts}{10-Spades} of Thompson. The {j-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}{4-Spades} board failed to deliver Karp a third nine, and he had to settle for runner-up and a $81,326 consolation prize.

Congratulations to Corey Thompson, the HPT Daytona Beach Kennel Club & Poker Room champ for $131,720!

The HPT now heads to Vicksburg, Mississippi for the HPT Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg that will run through October 19. For more information, visit hptpoker.com.

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The New Jersey Online Poker Briefing: Garden State Super Series III Kicks Off

To the delight of poker players in New Jersey, the third edition of the Garden State Super Series (GSSS) kicked off this weekend on partypoker NJ and BorgataPoker.com. The GSSS III features 43 tournaments from Oct. 11-25 with $800,000 in guaranteed prizes to be awarded to the winners.

The biggest event in the poker festival thus far has been the GSSS #2 – $75,000 GTD NLH, where 447 entrants ponied up the $215 buy-in to generate a $89,400 prize pool. The tournament ended in a four-way deal, with "Squishy" claiming the top prize of $13,000. Other players involved in the deal that scored big included "NJBorgata" finishing in second place for $11,000, "All_In_Me" securing $9,500 with his third-place finish, and "MickVictory" grabbing fourth place for $8,450.

The GSSS #3 – $20,000 GTD NLH 6Max Rebuy also surpassed its posted guarantee with 113 players contributing towards a $28,000 prize pool. New Jersey’s "mixedfish" was the last man standing in this tournament banking $5,800, while "Glitterbunny3" finished in second place for $4,116.

Over on WSOP.com NJ and 888poker NJ, it was "donkfest85" outlasting a field of 164 players in the Sunday $30,000 Guarantee to win $8,192. New Jersey’s "liquidTLO" won a solid consolation prize of $4,779 for his second-place finish.

Here’s a full look at the New Jersey weekend results on partypoker NJ, BorgataPoker.com, WSOP.com NJ, and 888poker NJ:

Daily $10K

Buy-inDateEntrantsPrize Pool

$100+9Oct. 1094$10,000


1Chris "SLOWROLLED" Daniels$3,000





6Steven "stevenmadara" Madara$740




The New Jersey Online Poker Briefing: Garden State Super Series III Kicks Off 102
GSSS #2 – $75,000 GTD NLH

Buy-inDateEntrantsPrize Pool

$200+15Oct. 11447$89,400







6Kevin "sofcksick" Campbell$4,112




*Reflects four-way deal

The New Jersey Online Poker Briefing: Garden State Super Series III Kicks Off 103
GSSS #3 – $20,000 GTD NLH 6Max Rebuy

Buy-inDateEntrantsPrize Pool

$50+5Oct. 11113$28,000




3Jake "takeAwalk" Schafer$2,800



6Alex "Breza" Breza$1,400

The New Jersey Online Poker Briefing: Garden State Super Series III Kicks Off 104
$10,000 GTD Nightly [R&A]

Buy-inDateEntrantsPrize Pool

$27.50+2.50Oct. 10149$10,182




3David "dak1616" Kotler$927





8Ross "acesfullrjr" Resnick$255


The New Jersey Online Poker Briefing: Garden State Super Series III Kicks Off 105
$30,000 GTD Weekly Sunday

Buy-inDateEntrantsPrize Pool

$185+15Oct. 11164$30,340




3Ross "acesfullrjr" Resnick$2,731

4Jake "schaf4206" Schafer$2,124

5Kevin "nowitsover" Truong$1,820


7William "billy8904" Nicotra$1,153



The New Jersey Online Poker Briefing: Garden State Super Series III Kicks Off 106
$10,000 GTD Weekly Sunday

Buy-inDateEntrantsPrize Pool

$91+9Oct. 11142$12,922



2Mike "CharlesSmith" Azzaro$2,068



5Maureen "HotRedMomma" Ludwig$788


7Anna "JewJon" Antimony$504



If you play regulated online poker tournaments in New Jersey and would like your real name appearing in future articles, please contact this editor at [email protected].

*Special thanks to PocketFives.com for some of the data in this article.

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Hold’em with Holloway, Vol. 49: WCOOP Champ “Coenaldinho7” Offers Up His Biggest Hands

At the end of September, Belgium’s “Coenaldinho7” topped a field of 1,995 entrants to win PokerStars’ 2015 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) for $1.3 million, a prize which he secured after a four-way chop.

The $5,200 buy-in WCOOP Main Event is one of the poker world’s most prestigious titles, so obviously I wanted to learn more about Coenaldinho7. However, the PokerStars Blog beat me to it by offering a great profile on Coenaldinho7, who wished to remain anonymous.

Even so, I wanted to talk with the man, so I decided to reach out and see if he’d be willing to discuss some hands from his big win for my latest Hold’em with Holloway column. Fortunately, he agreed to do so on the condition that I respected his anonymity.

“At the final table three hands come to mind. The first, I give it the highest score, but the other two hands are good, too, though,” said Coenaldinho7. Here’s a look at the hands he singled out:

Hand #1: A Big Heads-Up Bluff

In one of the final hands of heads-up play, Coenaldinho7 was in the big blind with 32 million while his opponent, Poland’s “AlwaysiNduCe,” held 65 million. Coenaldinho7 then picked up {9-}{8-}, and AlwaysiNduCe {a-Spades}{3-Spades}.

“He bets, I three-bet, and he calls,” said Coenaldinho7. “He gets a second three on the flop. With eight million in pot, I bet four million, he raises to 10 million, and I call.”

The turn then delivered a second {10-}.

“Board now shows two 10s, and of course his second three. I got absolutely nothing. I bet 14 million leaving myself with a less than 10 million stack. He folds!”

The hand resulted in the two players evening the stacks at roughly 50 million apiece.

“It was a major bluff and got me back into a great position to eventually win the tournament,” Coenaldinho7 explained.

Hand #2: Picking Off AlwaysiNduCe

Earlier on Hand #103 of the final table with five players remaining, Coenaldinho7 was sitting with 15 million when he picked up {a-}{2-} in the big blind. AlwaysiNduCe, who had 45 million, held {9-Spades}{7-Spades} in the small blind and the two ended up seeing a flop.

“The flop gives me a second {a-}, but of course I have a very low kicker,” said Coenaldinho7. “AlwaysiNduCe bets, I raise, he calls, and nothing [comes] on the turn for either of us, except a gutshot straight draw for him. He checks, I bet a third of the pot, and he reraises for entire pot. I call, and a third {A-} appears on the river.”

With 12 million in the pot, AlwaysiNduCe decided to bluff, and with his trip aces Coenaldinho7 quickly called to score the big double.

Hand #3: Folding an Overpair

A short time later on Hand #144, there were still five players remaining. Coenaldinho7 held 28 million when he picked up pocket jacks, Russia’s “Ravic85” with nine million had {k-}{10-}, and Canada’s Guillaume “Nolet20” Nolet with 12 million was dealt a pair of aces.

“The flop shows a {10-} and Ravic85 bet,” Coenaldinho7 explained. “We all call, and nothing [changes] after the turn. The pot is nine million, Ravic85 goes all in for seven million more, and Nolet does the same for nine million.”

It was an interesting spot for Coenaldinho7 with his overpair of jacks, but to him the decision was easy.

“I fold… not that hard to fold, but a good decision obviously,” said Coenaldinho7. “I felt a higher pocket pair was present. I’d probably do the same with {Q-}{Q-}, but with {K-}{K-}, I don’t know.”

Nolet’s aces held on the river, Ravic85 was eliminated in fifth, and after that the remaining four players were able to negotiate a chop. The deal assured Coenaldinho7 a cash of $1.1 million, to which he added another $200K — and the WCOOP bracelet — after going on to win.

There you have it. Those are the three most important hands Coenaldinho7, a 36-year-old with a newborn son, felt he played on his way to becoming the 2015 WCOOP champion.

When asked about what he planned to do with the money, Coenaldinho7 sounded like he was going to take things as they come — much like he played the final table.

“Nothing spectacular except thinking about career move, finalizing my house without much help of my own two hands now, and spoiling the missus, my son, and my family and friends,” Coenaldinho7 told the PokerStars Blog. “No new car, no luxury, trying to help a good cause now and then… other than my own.”

For more on Coenaldinho7, be sure to check out the profile on the PokerStars Blog.

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Hold’em with Holloway, Vol. 49: WCOOP Champ “Coenaldinho7” Offers Up His Biggest Hands 102



Hollywood Poker Open Reveals Season 4 Schedule; Moneymaker Returns as Ambassador

Over the past three seasons, Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Poker Open (HPO) has experienced tremendous growth, which is due in no small part to bringing 2003 World Series of Poker champ Chris Moneymaker on as a tour ambassador. Moneymaker will return in that capacity for Season 4, which will kick off its first regional tournament November 12 at Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg.

"I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to host the Hollywood Poker Open tournament series," said Moneymaker. "Each year the HPO continues to grow and further cements its reputation as one of the leading poker tournaments in the country."

After the initial stop, the tour will hold four other regional stops across the country through May before heading to the M Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada for the Tournament Championship in June 2016.

Bill Bruce

"Interest in the HPO continues to grow as it becomes more and more competitive and exciting," said HPO Tournament Director Bill Bruce. "As we have in the first three seasons of the HPO, our regional tournament series will determine hundreds of winners that will compete in the Tournament Championship in Las Vegas. The HPO tournament series attracts all levels of poker players with fields featuring a diverse mix of traveling poker professionals and local promotion winners. The HPO offers our regional gaming patrons a tremendous opportunity to compete for large prize pools and the chance to be crowned the ultimate champion."

This past June, Keven Stammen outplayed nearly 700 other players to capture the Season 3 Championship title and a $347,052 first-place prize. Interestingly, the HPO finale has tripled the guaranteed prize each year since the inaugural 2012 season. What’s more, Season 4 is expected to be the biggest and the best with an estimated prize pool of over $2 million.

Other winners from Season 3 included Daniel Swartz (HPO Columbus – $70,560), Loukas Michael (HPO Charles Town – $35,803), Linda Lieder (HPO St. Louis – $48,440), Steven Gurney-Goldman (HPO Grantville – $29,342), Donald McArthur (HPO Tunica – $17,100), and Charles Maxcy (HPO Toledo – $37,465).

HPO Season 4 Regional Schedule


November 12–22, 2015Hollywood Casino LawrenceburgIndiana

February 25 – March 6, 2016Hollywood Casino ToledoOhio

March 10–20, 2016Hollywood Casino St. LouisMissouri

April 28 – May 8, 2016Hollywood Casino ColumbusOhio

May 12–22, 2016Hollywood Casino at Charles Town RacesWest Virginia

June, 2016Hollywood Poker Open Season 4 Tournament Championship at M Resort Spa CasinoNevada

For more information, visit hollywoodpokeropen.com.

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2015 WSOP Europe Day 6: Gryko Grabs Gold, Clements Leads in 8-Game Mixed

Tuesday marked Day 6 of the 2015 World Series of Poker Europe from Berlin, Germany, and three events were in action. Most notably was Event #3: €3,250 Eight-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha, which saw the final table play out and the third gold bracelet of the festival awarded to the UK’s Richard Gryko. Also taking place were Day 2 of Event #4: €1,650 "Monster Stack" No-Limit Hold’em and Day 1 of Event #5: €2,200 8-Game Mixed.

Gryko Grabs Gold

"I haven’t really begun to process this yet," an elated Gryko told PokerNews after the win. "All I can say is that I’ve been a poker player since well before I should legally have been a poker player, so I guess a long time has been leading up to today."

Gryko entered the final table second in chips with tough competition still remaining in the final eight.

Ismael Bojang and Max Pescatori were two of those competitors, but they finished in eighth and seventh places, respectively. Both of them are fighting for a distant chance at snatching the Global Poker Index WSOP Player of the Year title away from current leader Mike Gorodinsky, with each earning a decent chunk of points to move up. After their results, Pescatori moved to 1,701.37 points and is in eighth place, and Bojang increased to 1,808.40 points and is in sixth place.

Following their eliminations, Benjamin Pollak went out in sixth, Lawrence Lazar busted in fifth, and then the man seeking the final piece of poker’s Triple Crown puzzle, Roberto Romanello, was eliminated in fourth place.

According to reports from the event on WSOP.com, Romanello called a 20,000-chip raise from Mike Leah. Leah had opened from early position, and Romanello called from the big blind. The flop fell {J-Spades}{10-Diamonds}{6-Spades}, and Romanello checked. Leah bet 28,000, Romanello check-raised to 104,000, and Leah reraised the pot. The two eventually got all the money in with Romanello’s stack and tournament life at risk.

Romanello had the {9-Spades}{9-Hearts}{8-Spades}{8-Hearts}, and Leah had the {A-Diamonds}{J-Diamonds}{J-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}. The turn was the {10-Spades} to give Romanello a flush, but also pair the board and give Leah a full house. The river was the {K-Hearts}, and that eliminated Romanello.

Then, start-of-day chip leader Mikkel Plum was bounced in third place to set up heads-up play with Gryko against Leah.

For Leah, he was looking for his second WSOP gold bracelet and aiming to become the first player to win a gold bracelet in Europe and Australia, but not have one from the US. Unfortunately for him, the run fell short in second place, and it was his seventh top-10 finish in a WSOP event that fell short of Leah finding the winner’s circle.

On the final hand, Gryko’s {A-Clubs}{J-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds} defeated Leah’s {A-Hearts}{K-Spades}{7-Clubs}{6-Clubs} after the money went in on the {A-Diamonds}{K-Diamonds}{6-Spades} flop. The turn was the {10-Clubs}, and the river was the {3-Diamonds}. Gryko made a flush, and Leah was awarded with a €78,150 consolation prize.

For the victory, Gryko earned €126,345 and his first WSOP gold bracelet.

Final Table Results


1Richard GrykoGermany€126,345

2Mike LeahCanada€78,150

3Mikkel PlumDenmark€55,755

4Roberto RomanelloUK€40,480

5Lawrence LazarUnited States€29,940

6Benjamin PollakFrance€22,535

7Max PescatoriItaly€17,240

8Ismael BojangGermany€13,445

Click here to read more about Gryko’s win.

22 Remain in "Monster Stack"

On Day 2 of Event #4: €1,650 "Monster Stack" No-Limit Hold’em, 182 players started from the field of 580 entries. Those that remained were vying for a piece of the €843,900 prize pool, and the top 63 spots were set to reach the money.

In true poker tournament fashion, someone had to earn the title of "bubble boy." In this event, it was Gylbert Drolet who busted in 64th place when he ran pocket kings into the pocket aces of Carlos Kuo Chang. That secured a min-cash worth €2,785 for those remaining, and Chang went on to bag up 533,000 in chips, which was good for sixth overall of the surviving 21 players.

Leading the way into Day 3 was Sweden’s Jerry Oedeen with 873,000 in chips. From the looks of it, this cash is the first of Oedeen’s live poker career, and he’s put himself in a great position for a highly impressive finish.

Also still remaining were David Peters (441,000), Casey Kastle (282,000), Stefan Jedlicka (217,000), Simon Deadman (168,000), and Yorane Kerignard (124,000). When the players return for action at 12 p.m. local time on Wednesday, the blinds will be 8,000/16,000/2,000. Everyone remaining is guaranteed €7,425, but it’s the €176,205 top prize that they’ll all be gunning for.

Clements Bags Chip Lead in 8-Game Mixed

None other than Scott Clements finished atop the leaderboard in Event #5: €2,200 8-Game Mixed after Day 1. The tournament attracted 113 entries, and the winner will receive €65,740. There were 24 players remaining following the conclusion of Day 1, and the top 12 spots will reach the money.

Clements finished with 116,200 in chips, but there remains plenty of top-level competition in the field. In second place was Gorodinsky, the current GPI WSOP Player of the Year leader, and then Shaun Deeb bagged the third-biggest stack. Per Hildebrand finished fourth, and Jonathan Duhamel finished in fifth.

Elsewhere on the leaderboard were Mohsin Charania, Roland Israelashvili, Bojang, Bryn Kenney, Stephen Chidwick, Richard Ashby, and Brian Yoon.

Those remaining will return on Wednesday at 1 p.m. local time to play down to a final table.

Be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews.com from now until Oct. 24 as we continue to provide coverage from the 2015 WSOP Europe.

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2015 WSOP Europe 888 Hand of the Day: Richard Gryko Gets There Against Ismael Bojang

The 2015 World Series of Poker Europe continued in Berlin, Germany, Monday with the final table of Event #3: €3,250 Eight-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha.

PokerNews was on hand for all the action and will be in Berlin for the duration of the 17-day series. As a part of our coverage, that is brought to you by 888poker, we will be bringing readers a special "888 Hand of the Day" every single day throughout the entire WSOP Europe schedule.

The action at the final table had just begun when the UK’s Richard Gryko got involved in a massive hand with 10-time WSOP final table participant Ismael Bojang that would send Bojang to the rail and set Gryko up in prime position to win his first WSOP bracelet, thus making it the 888 Hand of the Day.

With blinds at 4,000/8,000 Gryko looked down at the {q-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{9-Clubs} under the gun and raised it up to 15,000. Three players called, including Bojang on the {a-Diamonds}{k-Clubs}{j-Spades}{j-Clubs}.

The flop came {J-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{2-Clubs}, giving Bojang a full house. The blinds checked and Gryko continued for 32,000. Bojang called and the blinds released. The turn brought the {q-Diamonds}, filling up Gryko.

"I C-bet slightly dubiously," Gryko said of his play on the flop. "It seems kind of obvious to me, which is easy to say in retrospect, that he had precisely jacks. My job gets quite easy there when I turn a queen. Actually, I don’t think I can quite possibly mess that up. I kind of got pretty lucky with that."

Gryko fired out 72,000 on the turn and Bojang flatted again. The river brought the {8-Spades} and Gryko simply pushed in for 264,000, having Bojang covered. Bojang made the call for his tournament life and got the bad news straight away with Gryko turning over a turned full house that beat the one he’d flopped.

Gryko stacked the chips and cruised to a heads-up match with Mike Leah that he eventually won to collect his first WSOP bracelet along with 888 Hand of the Day honors. Looking back, he said this hand truly propelled him to victory.

"It was definitely the key," he said. "Immediately after, stack distribution was such that there were five or six people within a 150,000 of one another, possibly even narrower than that. And this hand gave me a sizable edge on all of them. Plus, I got quite lucky that there was an extreme short stack at the table after that and I was able to accumulate chips with everyone trying to outlast him.

"It was the cumulative impact of hitting a queen on the turn and the stack distribution after that giving me a very good shot."

As the 2015 WSOP Europe rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage, including regular 888 Hand of the Day articles.

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2015 WSOP on ESPN: Pick Your Spots and Play Along with Max Steinberg

This week ESPN provided us another two-and-a-half hours’ worth of coverage from the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event, picking up the action at the start of Day 6 when just 69 players remained from the 6,420 who began the $10,000 buy-in tournament.

While a lot of preflop all-ins were shown, there was plenty of postflop play featured as well as the field was carved down to 46 players. When play began on Day 6 the average stack of almost 2.8 million represented more than 55 big blinds, and with two-hour levels there was plenty of room for multi-street gamesmanship — usually the case at the slow-structured Main Event.

As Jeff Platt noted in his bustout interview after finishing in 60th, long levels and deep stacks mean “you don’t have to push the panic button in this tournament, because it’s the greatest poker tournament in the world.”

Several interesting hands involving deep finishers Kelly Minkin, Anton Morgenstern, Justin Schwartz, Jake Toole, and Daniel Negreanu highlighted the coverage, with November Niners Tom Cannuli and Josh Beckley also getting a decent amount of airtime.

This week, though, we’re focusing on a couple of hands involving another player who made it to next month’s final table, Max Steinberg, both of which featured Steinberg up against multiple opponents after the flop.

The first came relatively early in the coverage when there were still just over 60 left in the field — just before Platt’s knockout, in fact. It was preceded by a soundbite from Steinberg who similarly referenced the importance of patience in the WSOP Main Event.

“A lot of people, they get a big stack and it’s like the green light to get crazy,” explained Steinberg who has nearly $3 million in live tournament cashes to his credit, including a WSOP bracelet and a 131st-place finish in the 2013 WSOP Main.

“I think that just isn’t the right thing in this situation,” he continued. “You can pick your spots, but if you stay tight you can ensure you progress farther and farther in this tournament. I have plenty of chips.”

Indeed, at the time of this hand Steinberg had a big stack of 4.3 million. The blinds were 25,000/50,000 with a 5,000 ante, and action began with Steinberg making a just-over-3x open to 155,000 from middle position with {J-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}.

It folded to Daniel Negreanu on the button with about 3.1 million, and he called the raise. Amar Anand had about 3.7 million to start the hand, and he called as well from the big blind.

With 530,000 in the middle, the flop came {2-Hearts}{K-Spades}{10-Hearts} to give Steinberg middle pair. Both Anand and Steinberg checked, then Negreanu bet 230,000. Anand called from the small blind, making the pot just under 1 million.

The action was back on Steinberg, sitting in between Negreanu, the world’s winningest tournament poker player with more than $30 million in live earnings, and the amateur Anand with a single $750 cash to his credit previously.

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Much as he’d just described, Steinberg here picked a spot and chose to check-raise to 675,000.

That quickly chased Negreanu who folded his {9-Spades}{9-Hearts}. Anand took a little longer before folding as well, pitching his {Q-Diamonds}{J-Diamonds} for an open-ended straight draw into the muck, and Steinberg collected the pot.

While Steinberg did flop best of the trio here, the combination of his preflop initiative and having both opponents outchipped additionally served him well.

Later on during the final hour of this week’s coverage another three-way hand arose involving Anand and Steinberg, with Justin Schwartz the third player this time.

There were 55 players left, with the blinds having increased by then to 30,000/60,000 with a 10,000 ante. Anand opened the action with a raise from middle position to 150,000, and after looking down at {A-Diamonds}{J-Clubs} in the small blind Steinberg — with about 5 million to start the hand — chose to call.

Schwartz was sitting to Schwartz’s left in the big blind with just under 3.3 million, and he called as well, making the pot 530,000.

The flop came {7-Spades}{A-Spades}{K-Clubs} to give Steinberg top pair, and he chose to lead out with a bet of 175,000. Schwartz called and Anand (who had pocket fives) stepped aside.

There was 880,000 in the middle, and the turn brought the {4-Spades}. Steinberg led again for 175,000 with his pair of aces. Acting with deliberation, Schwartz eventually put in a raise to 550,000.

Steinberg again had a decision to make.

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This time Steinberg studied the board for a moment, then elected to fold his hand. “Should I show one?” asked Schwartz, who eventually turned over the {3-Diamonds}. His other card was the {K-Spades}, meaning he’d flopped second pair and turned the nut flush draw.

Announcer Lon McEachern expressed surprise at the fold, but this time Steinberg chose not to challenge for a postflop pot. What did you decide to do, and why?

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2015 WSOP on ESPN: Pick Your Spots and Play Along with Max Steinberg 101


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Greg Himmelbrand's Hot Year Continues; Ships Parx Big Stax for $80,725

On the same day that PokerNews published our feature piece Putting In Your Dues: Greg Himmelbrand’s Journey to Becoming a Poker Millionaire, the man in the title continued his incredible year by topping a field of 797 entrants to win the Parx Casino Big Stax XIII for $80,725.

Himmelbrand’s win came less than a week after Matt Glantz took down the Parx Casino Big Stax XIII 300 for $55,357 while simultaneously announcing his decision to leave his role as room ambassador.

"Finally winning a Parx trophy feels great," Himmelbrand told PokerNews. "I just missed out on one last year finishing second to Kane Kalas after a five-hour heads-up battle, and the previous year I had chopped four ways but didn’t receive the official title.

"I had the chip lead the entire final table, including having 40% of the total chips seven handed," Himmelbrand continued on that tournament. "However, the literal hand right before the chop I lost {j-} to {a-}{4-} on a {Q-}{10-}{2-}{4-}{4-} run out with betting on each street to cut me down to third in chips and therefore deny me the official trophy. Being one of the closer regional casinos to New York it’s good to take one down here!"

Prior to the win, Himmelbrand had $294,692 in cashes in 2015, which included a Mid-States Poker Tour title and his first World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring.

Final Table Results


1Greg Himmelbrand$80,725

2Grace Zhang$48,776

3Satish Gorrela$26,970

4Joe Simmons$24,599

5Kevin Grabel$19,396

6Mike Hernandez$15,149

7Eugene Kotlyarevski$11,515

8Gary Belyalovsky$9,220

9Anthony Ferraro$6,886

Notable Finishes: DJ MacKinnon (12th – $4,820), Cornel Cimpan (14th – $4,246), David Inselberg (17th – $3,749), and Allan Rabinovich (21st – $3,328)

According to updates from the event, Grace Zhang commanded the final table early as she scored multiple eliminations, and then in Level 27 (30,000/60,000/10,000) Himmelbrand notched his first final table knock out. It happened when, on a flop of {9-Spades}{8-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}, the two players in the blinds checked and Himmelbrand continued for 195,000. Mike Hernandez then check-raised to 650,000 from the small blind, Kevin Grabel folded from the big, and Himmelbrand three-bet all in.

Hernandez called off his last 2 million or so with the {9-Hearts}{7-Hearts}, which was behind the {8-Clubs}{8-Spades} set of Himmelbrand. The {9-Diamonds} turn gave Hernandez some full house outs, but the {4-Clubs} river was not one of them. Hernandez took home $15,149 for his sixth-place finish.

From there, Himmelbrand dispatched Grabel in fifth place – the result of his {a-Clubs}{j-Spades} holding against Grabel’s {a-Spades}{2-Clubs} after a run out of {10-Clubs}{7-Hearts}{4-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{5-Diamonds} – before Zhang took care of Joe Simmons in fourth.

Three-handed play lasted quite some time, but eventually Satish Gorrela grew short and ended up running {a-Clubs}{k-Clubs} smack dab into Himmelbrand’s {a-Diamonds}{a-Hearts} to bust in third. Zhang began heads-up play with a slight chip lead, but Himmelbrand was not discouraged and soon pulled out to a 2:1 lead of his own.

In what would be the last hand of the tournament, which happened in Level 31 (100,000/200,000/25,000), both players checked a {9-Spades}{8-Spades}{5-Hearts} flop and then Zheng check-called a bet on the {A-Clubs} turn. When the {3-Diamonds} completed the board on the river, Zhang checked for a third time and Himmelbrand bet 1.475 million.

Zhang woke up with a check-raise to 3.5 million, and then called off when Himmelbrand moved all in. Zhang held the {8-Hearts}{5-Clubs} for two pair, but it was no good as Himmelbrand rivered a wheel with the {4-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}.

For more on Himmelbrand’s remarkable 2015 run, click here.

*Lead photo and data courtesy of the Parx Poker Blog.

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