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PokerStars policy update; full US player balances being confiscated

Written on August 19, 2014

Since the events of Black Friday sent big-name poker sites scattering from US soil, PokerStars has been adamant about maintaining its ‘no more US players’ policy. The Department of Justice monitored the online poker room for the next few years to ensure PokerStars held up its end of the settlement bargain. Now that the monitoring period has ended, a representative for the company, Michael Josem, said they are committed to perpetuating the blockage of US players.

Unfortunately, there are means by which a player residing in the US can mask their location to gain access to the online poker room. … Read More

Sources say PokerStars and Full Tilt headed for US as early as Oct 1

Written on August 15, 2014

According to an article by Jennifer Newell of NJPokerOnline that appeared on Tuesday, PokerStars and Full Tilt could be prepared to launch online poker websites in New Jersey as early as October 1st, 2014. It wasn’t long ago that Rational Group’s internationally renowned online poker sites were deemed unworthy of a spot in US regulated markets. That all changed when Amaya Gaming, a software provider that is already licensed and operating in the Garden State, paid $4.9 billion to acquire the Rational Group, along with its notorious iGaming assets.

PokerStars and Full Tilt were both major competitors in … Read More

Bruno Politano represents Brazil in 2014 WSOP November Nine

Written on August 13, 2014

Of all the members of the 2014 WSOP Main Event’s November Nine, none have a story to tell quite like that of Bruno Politano. The final table will be teeming with professional table grinders, online poker prodigies and even an outright amateur of the felt, but Politano falls into his own classification of poker player; one that’s hard to define, but incredibly fun to watch.

Politano has been playing poker for as long, if not longer than all of his fellow November Niners, but he doesn’t consider himself a poker pro. He is a hard worker, owns his own shop … Read More

Martin Jacobson’s trek to the 2014 WSOP November Nine

Written on August 12, 2014

There is absolutely no question concerning the impeccable skillsets of Martin Jacobson. At 27 years of age, the Swedish poker pro has been tossing chips on the live tournament circuit since he was 21. Henceforth, the young poker pro has cashed in 52 major tournaments, racking up an impressive $4,807,316 along the way. Most recently, Jacobson’s undeniable talents saw him immediately get to work at the 2014 WSOP Main Event, ending Day 1A and Day 6 as the chip leader, and Day 7 as an elite member of the November Nine.

Jacobson’s journey has been a storybook picture compared to … Read More

William Tonking: Bio of a 2014 WSOP November Niner

Written on August 11, 2014

William Tonking is the perfect picture of a young, professional poker player in this day and age. He’s been playing both live and online poker for real money since the moment he reached legal age to do so, and the statistics show exponential progress right from the start. Now 27, the New Jersey native finds himself in the best possible seat his profession has to offer – amid this year’s WSOP November Nine.

Tonking may not have the highest chip stack of the Main Event’s final table, but he’s consistently managed to stay above the elimination waters since the World … Read More

William Pappaconstantinou: 2014 WSOP November Nine Bio

Written on August 8, 2014

William Pappaconstantinou – or Billy Pappas, as he’s best known among his friends – is the most decorated play among the 2014 WSOP Min Event’s November Nine, but not in the way that you might think. His championship titles are copious, but do not relate to the game of poker. Pappaconstantinou is an elite master of the Foosball world, and the only player among the November Nine affixed with an amateur label.

At 29 years of age, Billy Pappas takes his love for poker in stride; a hobby that he undertakes in his spare time. It’s a convenient leisure pursuit … Read More

Welcome to the DurrrrChallenge

Who is this man Durrrr ? At just 22 years of age, Tom Dwan has become one of the most respected poker pros in the history of the game. From nosebleed cash games to some of the world's largest live and online poker tournaments, the man they call "durrrr" can be found everywhere. Recently, Dwan issued the Million Dollar Challenge: open to any member of the poker community except Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond, the challenge requires opponents to play Dwan in 50,000 hands of $200/$400 or higher on four tables at a time. If either player drops below 75 big blinds in their stack at any point, they must reload. At the conclusion of the Pot Limit Omaha or No Limit Hold'em hands, a winner will be crowned. If Dwan is ahead by $1 or more, his opponent must fork over $500,000. If Dwan's opponent is ahead by $1 or more, the youngster has offered to pay $1.5 million. In each case, the victor will also keep the spoils of the 50,000 hands of play. In addition to the money, the Million Dollar Challenge is about bragging rights.

The Challenge, as you'd expect, generated a considerable amount of buzz even before any poker pros raised their hands to play. However, three of the game's best will face Dwan and receive 3:1 odds on their money: Patrik Antonius, Phil Ivey, and David Benyamine. The latter two are World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet holders; in fact, Ivey owns five of them. In 2005, Antonius won the prestigious European Poker Tour (EPT) Baden event. He also finished third in the 2007 WSOP World Championship of Pot Limit Omaha for $311,000. The trio combines for $5.25 million in career WSOP cashes. Ivey and Antonius are both members of Team Full Tilt.

Dwan also has plenty of live tournament experience. He made the televised final table and finished fourth in the World Poker Tour's (WPT) Foxwoods Poker Finals during Season VI for $324,000. He's appeared on NBC's "National Heads-Up Poker Championship" and "Poker After Dark." First up for Dwan is Antonius. Designated Pot Limit Omaha tables have already been set up on Full Tilt Poker to host the spectacle. Keep checking back for up to the minute details on one of the world's most unique Real Money Texas Holdem Challenge.

Myths about Texas Holdem and the Challenge

Myths can be useful. On the surface they provide plausible explanations of why things are the way they are. Beyond that, they keep believers from discovering the truth, allowing those who know better to profit at the expense of others’ naiveté.

In poker, the abundance of myths certainly keeps play interesting. Following are a dozen of the most pervasive ones, many of which encourage inexperienced players to put more in the pot than they should or inhibit potentially good ones from playing at all.

  • Poker is a game of chance . The inventor of this one obviously wanted to entice more novices to stop studying the game, give up calculating odds and put their chips in the hands of fate (with “fate” being a particularly good player). Quite the contrary, scientific research has shown that a player’s talent is the single most important determinant of success. Winning poker is about six parts skill for every one part luck.
  • Good players always win. Don’t tell that to anyone who has ever finished second at a World Series of Poker (WSOP) title event. Even in cash games, the randomness of the cards is still a factor. Although good players succeed more than they fail—perhaps 60% or even 70% of the time—lose they most certainly do, walking away to play another day. That means there is at least an opportunity for lesser players to take them down.
  • Winners must be super aggressive. Hollywood might like that script, and relentless pressure certainly has its place, especially in big money tournaments. But in cash play and limit games, it can actually work against a good player. Most successful professionals, like a Chip Reese or a Dan Harrington, are selectively aggressive. They can turn it on or off and will go full throttle only for short periods of time.
  • Great poker players are born, not made. There might be such a thing as “natural poker talent,” but it is no substitute for experience and learning. Many of the top players today have an aptitude for math; they are good with numbers and quick at making calculations. Others are masters of human psychology. But those are just foundations on which to build their poker prowess. It takes playing in real game situations to develop one’s skills to the point of greatness.
  • Poker is a man’s game. This has to be true, right guys? Just look at the WSOP poker rankings—all men—except for Annie Duke, Kathy Liebert, Jennifer Harman Traniello, Vanessa Selbst, Vanessa Rousso, Annette Obrestad, Joanne Liu, Liv Boeree and ten other women who have earned more than $1 million at the tables, not to mention dozens of other females who now play professionally. Sorry fellas, but it’s time to apologize to the ladies for this myth.
  • Poker is all about reads . Players who can identify poker tells and understand what they mean certainly have an advantage. But if that were the secret to success, nobody would ever be successful online, where opponents are faceless, bodiless and perhaps just poker bots with poor programming. It’s much more important to know how to play your own cards than to focus on mind reading.
  • Bad players ruin the game . That might be true at the Blackjack table, but in poker, bad players are the fish that feed the sharks. Even the ones that consistently overplay hands, raising when they should fold, staying in and catching lucky draws on the River, will eventually feed the chip stacks of the better players at a table. Bad players welcome!
  • Losing bluffs help big hands win. Folks who subscribe to this baloney truly believe that they can’t get opponents to go along with their monster hands unless it appears they might be bluffing. What nonsense! Although getting caught in a bluff isn’t the worst thing that can happen in poker, it should never be a player’s intention. The sole purpose of bluffing is to turn a weak hand into a winner, not to advertise incompetence. Good players win big on big hands regardless of whether they bluffed previously or not.
  • Online poker is fixed . Pardon the double entendre. Online poker is certainly not fixed (rigged) but it has been fixed (corrected) ever since the poker cheating scandals of 2005-07, involving Absolute Poker and UltimateBet. Today’s reputable online poker rooms are secure, monitored by regulators and audited to prevent any types of cheating or scams. If the games were ever found to be unfair, users and the industry would come down on them like a flopped flush on a pocket pair.
  • It’s easier to win online than at live tables. So much depends on who is playing, where and when that no generalization of this sort can be made. In fact, the opposite may be true. Las Vegas poker regulars say a constant flow of tourists makes winning there easier than online, where the same players can be seen day after day. Online multi-tabling also means a single shark can feed on more fish, so in that respect it may be even more difficult to succeed in the virtual version.
  • More bad beats occur online . It sure might seem like this is true, especially to anyone who has played a lot online and off. But it’s mainly a mathematical illusion. Online play is faster, meaning more hands per hour at the table and, hence, more bad beats in total than at real tables, where play is much, much slower. On the other hand, a real contributing factor might be looser play at online tables, leading to more bad breaks.
  • Playing Texas Holdem for money is illegal . Unfortunately, this is true in some places, but not universally so. In Nevada, licensed casinos have poker rooms. In California, legal card clubs abound. New Jersey bans cash games played at home, but allows poker operated by some 12,000 organizations throughout the state. Online poker playing is lawful in most parts of the world, and some web sites welcome players from the U.S. and other countries where it is not. It is up to each individual to be aware of what laws apply, as they vary greatly from one jurisdiction to another.

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