How to crush low stakes in live poker
How to crush low stakes in live poker

Most of today’s books teach to be tight playing at the low stakes in casinos or poker clubs. Being TAG is profitable but it is also profitable to crush the stakes. To destroy your opponents and get your win rate to the maximum you must act in other way. Some of the principles are good for small stakes in live poker, the others are universal for all stakes.

How often do you see tight players with big stacks (6+ times bigger that the buy-in)? Usually people with most chips are the most aggressive opponents; sometimes they get them with several coolers.

But the point is still the same. Aggression is always better than passiveness, especially at the low stakes ($1/$2, $2/$5). Aggression in position is the key to success. That is an obvious live poker strategy.

Golden rule: play as many pots as you can in position. Bunch of limpers and you have J-10o on the button? Raise! You’ve got Q-8s on CO and limpers keep limping? Raise! Set of treys? Raise!

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Poker potential of Eastern Europe
Poker potential of Eastern Europe

WPT and WSOP have already paid a visit to Eastern Europe. They were a success. West starts to realize it’s not just about finding treasure in Asia, something is out there In some European countries. Georgia, Armenia, Poland, Moldova, Bulgaria, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan all have huge demand and growing passion towards poker.

Not so long ago Tbilisi hosted the first stage of WSOPC. American took home victory, Steve O’Dwyer was the best high roller. And there are reasons for that. But we’ll talk about it later.

World Series of Pokers wasn’t the first. Tbilisi hosted first stage of World Poker Tour National last year. It was a tremendous success. Looks like movement at WSOP started right after that series: it was a successful market so we should try something as well.

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American wins WSOP Tbilisi Main Event
American wins WSOP Tbilisi Main Event

The champion of the most expensive tournament in Georgia history is… American Brian Senie ($85,800)… Highroller tournament was won by Steve O’Dwyer himself, one of the top players in the world. The list of those who travelled to Georgia also included: Daniel Cates, Dominik Panka, Konstantin Puchkov, Vitaliy Lunkin, Dzmitry Urbanovich and Peter Eastgate. The latter opened the series.

Debut of World Series of Poker in Tbilisi was a success. The proof of this fact is that guaranteed money were covered almost in every single event! Main Event had 395 entries registered with guaranteed prize fund exceeded by $90,000 making $390,000. The same story with all other events.

All the sevens rings found their owners, many of them just visited Georgia for a brief time. Meanwhile, about the guests. There were lots of good reviews and comments about local people and players. Famous Georgian hospitality and cordiality can’t stop surprising guests. It’s uneasy to get used to it. But we’ll come back to that.

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Praise to the women poker players
Praise to the women poker players

Should children be called the flowers and men are considered children (bigger ones but still), women are the most tolerated and resistant gardeners. They feed the roots, wash the buds and cut dry leaves. In poker women are equal to men, but they always play special role at the table.

Hendon Mob database has data of approximately 9,000 who have been ITM at least once in live tournaments. This is just 2.6% of total number of players of male sex. Relatively small number.

There are even fewer female pros – several times fewer. Stats try to persuade us that poker is not for women. But we can see women in tournaments all the time and sometimes even at the cash tables. Feelings of being raised by the opponent that beautiful are quite opposite to those of being raised by the bearded man.

Well, there is just one conclusion – there is not many women in poker. So we must save them as last pieces of your bankroll.

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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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Six-Plus Hold'em: from Macao to Online Poker Rooms
Six-Plus Hold'em: from Macao to Online Poker Rooms

Today new poker variant named Six-Plus Hold'em (6+ holdem) is going to get to one of  the biggest networks in the world – iPoker. That game resembles standard Texas Hold’em with adjustments made to satisfy Macao high rollers’ interests.

6+ holdem was first introduced to masses by Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan, we’ve written about this in summer last year. You should remember this as poker Macao creates a lot of headlines in recent years.

Professionals were addicted to this filled-with-action game in Macao where they still spend lots of time.

If Six-Plus Hold'em was only high rollers room exclusive guest, from now on it’s available in online poker rooms, or at least one online poker room for now.

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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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HoldemX: New Holdem on Steroids
HoldemX: New Holdem on Steroids

Never-ending “infantilization” of modern poker lead to the birth of the new “disciplines”, like Spin-n-Go and Rush Poker. The owner of GPI and the founder of GPL, unstoppable poker innovator Alex Dreyfus jumped over his own head and crated Hearthstone and poker hybrid.

In the beginning of the year, Full Tilt Poker started to sponsor professional Hearthstone players. In other words, created their own team. Almost simultaneously, FullTiltPoker.net appeared on gaming platform Steam. In other words, got 100 million gamers auditory.

Now everyone us able to load Full Tilt Poker from Steam and start playing. It’s only on play money (otherwise, there would not have been official license). It’s irrelevant though, once you start hanging around strip clubs, it’s just a matter of time you’re going to enter it.

Alex Dreyfus, who is actively promoting his new team poker show (there is no other way to name it) Global Poker League went in other way.

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WSOPC Tbilisi: an Exclusive Service For PokerDiscover Players
WSOPC Tbilisi: an Exclusive Service For PokerDiscover Players

On March, 3-9 in The Sports Palace of capital of Georgia, in the very heart of the city, a grand event will take place: World Series of Poker makes a first stop in Eastern Europe! PokerDiscover team made a special service package for our players and subscribers who decided to visit series.

WSOP took a step on lands of Eastern Europe for the first time in its history. This stage will go down in history. The most famous tournament series in the world took with itself not just many years of experience of such competition but $700,000 in guaranteed prize money, which is spread between twenty something events.

World Series tournaments have a different structure and many peculiarities. One of which is WSOP Circuit branded rings distribution with seven of the tournaments where you can win one at the Georgian stage.  This is some sort of equivalent to WSOP Golden Bracelets but on a smaller scale.

WSOPC Tbilisi Main Event with $1,100 buy-in champion and the best player of the series will go to Las Vegas to participate in the biggest event of the whole season – WSOP Global Casino Championship with $1,000,000 guaranteed.

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WSOPC Tbilisi: a tale of 20% taxes
WSOPC Tbilisi: a tale of 20% taxes

The first stage of WSOP Circuit in Georgia with guaranteed prize pool of $700,000 scheduled to the beginning of March could have become a disaster or a tournament with gigantic overlays at least. Turned out that all the tournament winnings will be paid without 20% of income tax!..

First info about this enormous tax came from Adjarabet representative in the evening of January, 29th:

“The situation with taxes is the following – 20% of income tax will be taken from those prize money owners during the payout”.

“It is required by Georgia law. We don’t take commission on this prize fund, like 3% to the stuff or anything else”

A real tropic storm started momentarily. Players were threatening with their fists and were telling they have given the tickets back or going to do that; they were telling all the reservations were cancelled and this entire situation looks like racketeering and stealing from them in the middle of the day.

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Urbanovich vs. Selbst: $2,000,000 prop bet!
Urbanovich vs. Selbst: $2,000,000 prop bet!

People make lots of prop bets on winning a WSOP bracelet or multiple bracelets annually. Many of those bets remain out of public sight but some blow the general public’s minds. This one is a bet of latter category. Vanessa Selbst made a prop bet on $2 million for Dzmitry Urbanovich not being able to win three bracelets this summer!

The most interesting part of this prop bet is odds: 200 to 1. Urbanovich risks just $10,000! This is 0.5% of the sum the American puts in risk. In other words, had he been able to win three bracelets he’ll receive two million dollars.

That is in theory.

It is not very obvious in practice. Let’s figure can a professional player pull that trick.

In previous March Russian speaking player won four events at EPT Malta, including $25,000 High Roller. Those tournaments weren’t major – mainly with under a hundred participants. And there were less of them in comparison with World Series.

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Tomorrow is inevitable: What’s to come in 2016?
Tomorrow is inevitable: What’s to come in 2016?

Extrapolation is a friend of statistician, economist, marketer and any other person who works with huge amounts of data. They are no numbers relevant to poker. Poker stands alone. And sometimes logic behind its development is very hard to get.

Extrapolation can be used to make a forecast of some events or trends. Everything is very chaotic in poker to make some scientific conclusions, however it is very interesting to speak about it.

We’ve already defined the best poker players of 2015, told of the most important events of 2015, it’s time to look into the future.

Other World

The world has changed. It is in human nature that he can’t see everything with an untired eye. There are always tons of factors separating him from the right conclusions. The oil is becoming cheaper with each and every day despite many countries were trying to make the most of it by selling and selling it over the years.

One just can’t change the way of thinking he got through the years momentarily.

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Why Esfandiari was banned from PCA ME 2016?
Why Esfandiari was banned from PCA ME 2016?

Poker players make prop bets as often as they play poker. Sometimes they go beyond the permitted and play with death. So where from do they take a will to jump into the shark tank, or lose ten kilos putting their life on the line.

Life is so short, why do we need more fear and restrictions? We over valuate our fears – it is in our revolution. Man is not running in the jungles or savannas, he has nothing to fear of. The instinct of self-preservation hasn’t been lost. It very often doesn’t give us an opportunity to jump with a parachute or to run a marathon.

Many afraid of public speaking or going to North Korea. These fears are too big in our heads as well. But life could be simpler and more entertaining. Some pros prove it by making prop bets on all the possible and impossible stuff.

However, Antonio Esfendiari’s ban from PCA Main Event 2016 isn’t about fear…

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The Best Poker Players of 2015
The Best Poker Players of 2015

So again here we are with the hardest of tasks to define who the best players of the year were. We couldn’t do that with the great precision without gigabytes of statistics and army of specialists. So we’ve got some data to build an adequate rating of the best poker players of 2015.

Let’s use our logic. We’ll start with the definition of the term ‘best’. What does it take to be the best player? The biggest earner or the most frequent ITMer? Maybe the one who played the biggest number of tournaments or the biggest number of cash tables? What is the main criteria to define world best poker player?

Yeah, we have to forget about cash games, unfortunately. There are many top poker players playing cash only. But cash games always stay aside. Nobody knows who won the biggest money playing cash. No exact, no approximate figures. And we won’t try to think out all the numbers.

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