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What to expect from WSOP this year
What to expect from WSOP this year

World Series 2016 starts in the very end of May. The biggest poker event of the year traditionally attracts thousands of players from the entire planet including the most experienced regulars. Get to know what organizers prepared this year. 

So WSOP 2016 begins May, 31, and the address is still Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Satellites, bracelet tournaments (total number of 69) and cash games will be played 50 days is a row.

One of the main tournaments begins right from the start. The first open event is $565 Colossus II, which had 22,374 registrations last year. Now it’s even bigger with increased prize fund of $7 million in comparison with $5 million last year and guaranteed $1,000,000 to the winner.

We’re expecting a new record on number of players in a live tournament this year.

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Mommy, I’m in the hand, call me back, kiss you…
Mommy, I’m in the hand, call me back, kiss you…

Usually it is prohibited to use mobile devices during the hands of tournaments. However couple of days ago room manager and tournament director of Aria told about changes of rules of the famous casino.  Now people can call right in the middle of the hand without any punishment.

 “Players are disallowed to speak on the phone while at the table. Regardless of whether the player is in the hand or not. The call can be made only out of the table”.

This is an excerpt of the European Poker Tour tournament rules. It is said that players can use phones, tablets and laptops but not during the hand.

WSOP is pretty much the same:

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Is it hard to be a profitable tournament player?
Is it hard to be a profitable tournament player?

“My goal is to break even until I win a big tournament,” – these are words of American live tournament pro who has some good results. And this phrase shows strategy for the most players. And many fail to do that. Most of the players who hit the road to take part in different series lose money. That is the fact. And that’s it.

There is a good article, a little bit outdated and imprecise in some points. It author claims (basing on online MTT player data) that $60,000 per year with 25% ROI is a good result for a tournament player. The ROI part is Chris Moorman’s and based on 40,000 MTTs.

Most players are as far from Chris Moorman as YotaPhone is far from Apple production, but let’s let it slide.

Therefore, player needs to make $240,000 a year to get $60,000 as profit. This is $1,000 a day if you work 5 days a week… what is, as one could guess, is far from reality for most of the tournament players. Especially in Russian-speaking countries. However, we expect profits much lower.

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Playing long: records and effects
Playing long: records and effects

Long lingering playing sessions are usual to online and live players. Top high rollers are able to maintain high level of game for 20+ hours. Famous private high stakes cash in Macao often has long sessions also. But what are possible effects?

Live players like to tell stories about them playing day after day without coffee or lunch breaks. These are quotes from 2+2 forums about playing long poker sessions:

  • “Been playing for 52 in Venetian… drank a lot. As soon as I arrived and checked in, went straight to the casino. Had a 16-hour sleep and flew home. I was 3-4 buy-ins up but finished losing a little bit. Never going to repeat that.”
  • “Year 1998. Lucky Chances Casino, 92 hours. No alcohol, just black coffee. I had some clean clothes, deodorant and a toothpaste in my van. Did everything to not fill the place with my scent. I couldn’t drive home (40 minute drive) so I had to stop – I just blacked out for 8-10 ours. Later it was all OK. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Sessions for 9 hours are too long for me now”.
  • “I had my longest session at 20 hours. It was the last day of rakeback promo, couldn’t miss it. The most interesting part I played without a profit. But hasn’t lost: not a single dollar.”
  • “15 hours in Caesar’s, Vegas. Wanted to leave earlier but caught a great upstreal. Was up $1,500 at stakes $1/2».
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Meet the maniac who lost $500k in $250k Aria Cash Game
Meet the maniac who lost $500k in $250k Aria Cash Game

Last summer Aria held big cash game with many famous “whales” and the toughest pros participating. The person who draws maximum attention with his entertaining non-standard and incredibly loose game was an Australian Matt Kirk, who, by his own words, was just warming up before the real game.

It is quite hard to discreet name of the top online and live regulars. Sooner or later hype grows that big, the personality of this or that pro becomes practically public.

Almost nothing was available on the Australian Matt Kirk. His style reminded us of the one of Viktor Bloom or Ilari Sahamies. Fist name of famous live players that come to mind as an example is young David “Viffer” Peat.

Kirk is 28 and unlike many he never played online. He visited casino at the age of 18 for the fist time and soon joined under-the-table games in Australia.

“My usual stakes I play at are much higher,” said Matt (Aria stakes were $400/$800/$200+).

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Eli Elezra: Degenerate Gambler with Big Debts
Eli Elezra: Degenerate Gambler with Big Debts

Do you remember Eli? This handsome man with round smiling face participated in all the possible and impossible poker TV shows. On the screen Elezra looked like Santa who shaved his beard and decided to have a rest in Vegas.

In reality, this man is not like that at all. Many people respect Eli. He has a beautiful wife, wonderful children, but when it comes to poker things start to become awkward.

“He owes me and other people lots of money. I have absolutely no idea how many people he owes money to”, tells Shaun Deeb in his recent podcast.

Eli owes only $52,000 to Deeb alone. God know how much total money we’re talking of.

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Shady secrets of High Stakes, Negreanu’s revelations
Shady secrets of High Stakes, Negreanu’s revelations

Daniel Negreanu decided to come back to high stakes world this year and faced known to every Russian problem: those players “with connections” have more rights than others. Love to the private high stakes games came from Macao and took over all the popular rooms in Las Vegas.

Last year Daniel hasn’t played a single hand at live cash tables. In the beginning of the year the Canadian set a goal: to play at least 200 hours and year at least $250k.

The first playing session of mixed games took place in Aria, where Negreanu was invited personally. Blinds were $300-$600 with $600 antes. There were quite strange exemplars of the game besides traditional poker formats.

One of them is called PLO Flip. Each player contributes $10k, gets dealt four cards and they deal the board cards. The best hand wins. As easy as a pie, no skill involved.

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WSOP 2016: first information and $100,000 WPT Alpha8 results
WSOP 2016: first information and $100,000 WPT Alpha8 results

Official WSOP website gave us first info about the biggest poker event. Among major changes are Colossus II and reschedule of the Main Event. Also among news: the biggest WPT events finished including $100,000 Alpha8 and Five Diamond World Poker Classic.

So let’s start from the World Series, it would be a nice thing to do. Let us provide you with link to the official site. Here is what we see:

  • World Series 2-16 is scheduled from May, 31 to July, 18.
  • Main Event is scheduled July, 9-18.
  • Collossus II guaranteed prize money is $1,000,000 now and total guaranteed prize fund is $7,000,000 (used to be $5 million).
  • 100% in the schedule are the following events: Millionaire Maker, Monster Stack, Little One for ONE DROP, Seniors Event and Ladies Championship.

This is all relevant information. There are talks mostly about Collossus, this year tournament has the fans with mixed feelings: 22,374 buy-ins in the tournament with $565 buy-in and $11,187,000 prize money had only 638k for the winner…

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Las Vegas vs. Los Angeles, or The Last Stand of «Gambling Poker»
Las Vegas vs. Los Angeles, or The Last Stand of «Gambling Poker»

You are about to know one of the greatest secrets of the poker world. Probably we should have tried a less direct approach to telling you this. The secret is the world poker center has not been Las Vegas for quite some time, it’s LA! O yeah, baby! Bring the cash! And a couple of squids in spicy sauce to add, please!

So what is the place for World Series of Poker? Las Vegas/ First city in mind when it comes to gambling? Las Vegas. Most films about poker players shoot at? Las Vegas! Where is the biggest poker room in the world? Las… Los Angeles!

Yeah. Yeah, not Macao, not Vegas are really close to LA when ot comes to the most monumental poker buildings in the world. Commerce Casino alone has over 200 tables! Two hundred tables! Poker only, no some sort of roulette or baccarat.

And there is also The Bicycle, Hollywood Park, Hustler  and other facilities comparable to Commerce!

That is just one feature between two poker Meccas. Let’s see the list of all the differences between poker life in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

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WSOP November Nine: McKeehen is the New Champion ($7,683,346)!
WSOP November Nine: McKeehen is the New Champion ($7,683,346)!

24-year-old professional player has started the play on the Final Table with the biggest chip advantage in the history of the World Series. It was total domination of Joe McKeehen over his opponents from the moment it all begun. The American has earned $7.7 and stood cool as a cucumber all the time.

26th World Series has come to its end in the capital of poker games Las Vegas. It’s culminations was the final table of the Main Event which has started couple of days ago.

 “I still don’t fully realize what just happened, but soon the recognition will come, - McKeehen admitted right after the win. – I still have a lot of discussions to make with my family and friend, this is the most interesting part for me.”

In the first day of play on the final table, McKeehen has eliminated three players by himself. The second playing period when the field was just of three players and it was won by McKeehen. You can look at numbers of chip count to make the same conclusion:

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WSOP November Nine: Six in Play, McKeehen atop of the crew
WSOP November Nine: Six in Play, McKeehen atop of the crew

The first day of WSOP Main Event Final Table is over; six players continue to fight for $7,683,346! Original chip leader Joe McKeehen has accumulated more chips and it looks like nobody is able to stop him.

Few month earlier Joe McKeehen have registered into the Main tournament of the year - WSOP Main Event 2015. As usual, we had to wait for the outcome for quite some time, but now this time has come.

Nine players are to fight for the most respected title in poker and a huge prize of almost $8 million on the bright shining blue and red arena.

To start with, let us remind you who’s fighting for all these trophies, anyone could forget about this right now.

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Why Patrick Antonius doesn’t play online poker any more
Why Patrick Antonius doesn’t play online poker any more

Player who has earned $17 million just stopped playing NL Hold’em and Omaha at the highest stakes. The reason is the most trivial: “I don’t beat ‘em”. This player’s name is Patrik Antonius…

In his latest interview, Patrik Antonius told to one well-known poker resource some interesting things.

  1. The world of live high rollers has seen better days

The Chinese, according to Antonius, more and more play by themselves (organize private games and do not invite others). They only begin poker movement on Philippines; there is no regular game yet.

There is no game in London, Macao, Vegas. It used to be better back in the days. That is the reason Patrik Antonius plays poker so rare. Sometimes sits out for months. However, it’s not the best part.

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Heart-to-heart: Sammy Farha, Mr Raisy Daisy
Heart-to-heart: Sammy Farha, Mr Raisy Daisy

Ihsan Farha, aka Sammy, aka Mister Cool is a legendary high stakes player. He is a true example of old school gambler. Farha was the runner-up of WSOP Main Event 2003, second to only Chris Moneymaker to whim he has lost in the famous heads-up battle. Later Sammy will become one of the most recognized high stakes players and one of the most dangerous cash players in Las Vegas.

Farha was born in Lebanon and moved to the USA when he was young to escape civil war. He had relatives in the USA, including his brother. He wanted to work with this brother (to become a medicine doctor).

But eventually Sam will choose another path. He’ll get a degree in economics and will be closely connected with playing cards.

By the way, despite loyal attitude towards different card games inside the family, Farha was staying aside those games. Due to unknown reasons. Even when his friends started to play, our hero wasn’t following their example.

But when eventually Sammy made it to the poker table, the passion to cards started to burn like the wildest fire.

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Heart-to-heart: Brian “Steel Balls” Rast
Heart-to-heart: Brian “Steel Balls” Rast

Man of steel, aka Big Bet King, aka $500,000 Aria Super High Roller Bowl champion, aka one of the best super high rollers of modern poker. One of the Big Three: Rast – Esfandiari – Laak. Brian Rast. 33 years of age. American. Married to Brazilian spouse.

 “…as hard as a hammer and as bent as the sickle that crosses it,” – this description of one of the heroes of a famous movie “Snatch” characterizes our today’s person in interest the best.

He is that tough. He has such a poster at his home:

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Valeriu Coca is accused of cheating at WSOP
Valeriu Coca is accused of cheating at WSOP

The big scandal rises around one of participants of heads-up tournament with buy-in of $10,000 at WSOP which takes place in Las Vegas these days. The Moldavian player Valeriu Coca is suspected of cheating by respected players. The investigation is on the way, the results are yet to be sounded.

The story began in Event #10: $10,000 Heads Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship. Moldavian Valeriu Coca took the 5th place in it and stayed ahead of such dangerous opponents as Matt Marafioti, Pratyush Buddiga, Aaron Mermelstein, Connor Drinan, and Byron Kaverman.

Coca lost only to 51-year-old American Keith Lehr, future tournament champion.

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