Poker News - Complete Poker Coverage at

Syndicate content
All the must-read poker news from around the world! Live and online poker tournament results, top player news, exclusive poker news features and interviews with your favorite poker pros. Follow your favorite poker players and get the latest from the WSOP, PokerStars, 888poker, partypoker & more.

Each year of its existence the Battle of Malta has shattered its record for both entries and prize pool set the year before.

Expect the same (and more) for 2018.

We're still six months out from the shuffle up and deal for the 2018 Battle of Malta but it's already shaping up to smash its all-time records for entries and buy-ins yet again - the 7th consecutive time that would happen.

Pre-sales of all-inclusive packages have boomed and the 2018 BoM is on track to hit enormous heights. And it now has the space to do it in.

New Guarantee, New Space, New Dates!

If you're not up to speed on the latest developments for the 2018 Battle of Malta, here's a quick run-through:

€1m Guarantee! The 2018 BoM Main Event has doubled its guarantee to a full €1 million!

Last year's main event prize pool topped out at over €1m and players can likely expect the same to hold true. Unlimited rebuys are also now on the table to further boost the prize pool.

Massive New Space! With the sale of the BoM brand to Eden Leisure Group (ELG) the location will shift to the massive new Casino Malta and Hotel InterContinental (Malta’s largest 5-star hotel).

The 3000m2 conference center can hold over 140 tables and 1,000 players every day!

With smoother registration and more room to breathe expect the experience of Europe's best low buy-in destination poker festival to get even better.

New Dates! The 2018 Battle of Malta Festival will now take place Oct. 25-30 - a week before its usual dates. A €55+5 Super Satellite runs the night before (Oct. 24) at 6 pm for anyone looking for a last-minute entry.

Nine Events, Massive Potential!

With the boosted guarantee and massive new space the potential for the 2018 BoM Festival to hit unthinkable highs is, well, high.

Package pre-sales are already at a record high and no slow down appears in sight with a broader new casino network to draw on and live satellites running across the continent already.

While the €1 million guarantee Main Event is the centerpiece 2018 BoM attendees will have at least 9 events to partake in. The full 2018 Battle of Malta schedule has now been released here but here's a quick overview of the events and dates:

So much space!

Thursday, October 25th

Battle of Malta Main Event Day 1a - Buy-in €550

Friday, October 26th

Battle of Malta Main Event Day 1b  - Buy-in €550 NLH Bounty - Buy-in €100+100+20

Saturday, October 27th

Battle of Malta Main Event Day 1c - Buy-in €550 BoM Ladies Event - Buy-in €100+10 PLO Double Chance - Buy-in €150+15

Sunday, October 28th

BOM Main Event Day 2 NLH Siege Of Malta Day 1 - Buy-in €220+25 NLH BoM High Roller Day 1 - Buy-in €1200+120 NLH Deep Stack Day 1 - Buy-in €300+30

Monday, October 29th

BoM Main Event Day 3 NLH Siege of Malta Day 2 NLH BoM High Roller DAY 2  NLH Deep Stack Day 2 NLH Battle Turbo Buy-in €200+20 TBD Side Event Buy-in €130+20

Tuesday, October 30th

BoM High Roller Final Table Siege of Malta Final Table BoM Main Event Final Table

For a full rundown of the start times, starting stacks, level times, entry limits and satellites during the festival check the full 2018 Battle of Malta Calendar.

2018 Battle of Malta Tournament Structures

See the full structures for the 2018 Battle of Malta Main Event and side events here. A quick overview:

Battle of Malta Main Event

Starting Stack: 25k Day 1 Level Time: 40 mins Day 2 (& Onward) Level Times: 60 mins Re-Entry: Unlimited

Additional Terms & Conditions:

Tournament played with big blind ante. BB will be posted prior to the ante in all-in situations Day 1s end w/ 15% of the field remaining (all remaining players ITM) Player can forfeit his or her stack at the end of Day 1a or 1b but must announce before sealing chips in bag Day 2 will play 8 levels with no dinner break Day 3 will play down to the Final Table Levels will be 45 min when down to 6 players; 30 min when down to 3 players

Battle of Malta Side Events

See the full list of individual Side Event starting stacks, level times and structures on the Schedule page and the Structures page.

Are You Ready for Battle?

Early bird ackages for the 2018 Battle of Malta are already available via the Battle of Malta website. Learn more about the hotel, casino and BoM venue there. 

Online satellites for 2018 BoM packages begin soon! Check our Battle of Malta Facebook page for updates and to ask any questions! Check the video to see the gigantic new space for BoM 2018!


More money, new ownership, new location, new dates.

Europe’s best low buy-in live poker tournament is back and it's bigger and better than ever before.

The Battle of Malta – awarded “Best Low Buy-in Tournament in Europe” in 2015 – will return in 2018 for its seventh edition.

What’s New in 2018?

More Money! For the first time the Battle of Malta main event will have a €1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool of! That’s twice the prize pool it used to have!

New Ownership – PokerListings has sold the Battle of Malta to the Eden Leisure Group (ELG).

The ELG is the owner of the new Casino Malta, the Hotel InterContinental (Malta’s largest 5-star hotel), the Holiday Inn Express and the InterContinental Arena Conference Centre.

With its 3000m2 conference area formerly known as the Bay Arena, the Battle of Malta will now have room to grow even further.

New Dates – The Battle of Malta will take place October 25-30. Despite the double in guarantee the buy-in remains at €550 but for the first time unlimited rebuys will be available, which will result in an even bigger prize pool.

There will also be a range of side events which are still to be announced.

New Location – The next Battle of Malta will take place in the middle of Malta’s entertainment centre in St. Julian’s.

The InterContinental Conference Centre features a main area with enough room for over 140 tables, giving it a potential player field of more than 1,000 players every day!

ELG and OEG Purchase Battle of Malta

Over its six-year existence the BOM has grown every time. Starting out as a 350-player weekend event in 2012 with €150,000 guaranteed it has developed into a massive, week-long poker festival with nine different events.

Nadav Lipszyc, a farmer from Israel, won the main event last year and cashed for €200,000 after beating out more than 2,000 entries.

PokerListings decided to sell the Battle of Malta to the Eden Leisure Group and the Olympic Entertainment Group (OEG) to give it the chance to grow even further. Not only is the ELG one of the biggest players in the hotel and casino industry in Malta, the OEG is also the owner of more than 100 gaming places in seven different countries.

This will give players all over Europe the chance to play live satellites in a lot of different casinos across Italy, the Baltics and other countries. The OEG employs more than 3000 people and generated more than €215 million in revenue last year.

The new home of the BOM. Elevating BoM to the Next Level

Casino Malta owner Kevin De Cesare said, “Being the owner of the hotel, casino and event organization puts us in a unique position to be able to elevate this tournament to the next level.

"Our two hotels provide the largest number of rooms situated around a Casino in Malta, our Arena can easily take some 140 poker tables all on one level and our Casino is significantly larger than any other casinos in Malta.”

Moving the event to new and larger premises will ensure that the BOM can continue to grow in the years to come and establish Malta as the hottest poker location in Europe for small and mid-stakes players.

PokerListings will accompany the new Battle of Malta and provide you with news about the schedule and additional events as soon as possible.

About the Battle of Malta

The inaugural Battle of Malta took place in 2012 had a single main event with a guarantee of €150,000. It attracted 347 players.

Over the years, the main event has grown into the largest standalone tournament in Europe with a buy-in of under $2,000.

In 2017 the winner took home €50,000 more than the original guarantee. The guarantee had been raised up to €500,000 and will reach €1,000,000 for the first time in 2018.

While there was just one side event in 2012 (the Siege of Malta Second Chance) there were nine events in 2017 including a Ladies event, a High Roller event, a PLO event and several Hold’em tournaments.

The Battle of Malta also features daily parties, free casino buffets for the players and, most of all, the chance to escape the early days of winter in Europe and spend them on a sunny island in the Mediterranean while simultaneously having the chance to win life-changing money playing cards.


With big events like the WPT Deepstacks Berlin, the PCA and the Aussie Millions in progress, it already looks like an amazing poker year is in store for 2018.

When the first week of February rolls around 888poker joins the fray with its first London Poker Festival at the Aspers Casino.

It’s a 4-day event with £120,000 guaranteed and a £440 Main Event buy-in.

If you’re a low- or mid-stakes player who likes professionally run tournaments with great structures, set your eyes on East London right now.

888poker Live Kick Off By the Numbers

The dates for the first event of 2018 in 888poker’s home casino are February 8-11.

Aspers place to be.

There will be four Day 1 flights across three days and one long final day to determine the winner.

You’re free to choose your favorite flight and play either in the afternoon or in the evening but you’ll have to invest the £440 buy-in to be eligible to play

(Well, actually, you don’t. More on that below).

The prize pool for the 888poker Live Kick Off in London will be at least £120,000 so we’ll either see a field of over 300 players or an overlay – both heart-warming thoughts if you’re looking at spending February in London.

888poker Live Kick Off Overview




Buy-in £/€/$



Feb 8

6 PM




Feb 9

6 PM




Feb 10

2 PM




Feb 10

7 PM




Feb 11

1 PM



All times are local time. The starting chip stack will be 25,000 chips and level times will be 30/40 min.

888poker guarantee £120,000/€135,000/$160,000 to be paid out to the players. Be there to claim your share.

Qualify Online for Just $12!

If you like to play 888poker events you know there are always ways to make it into the main events via online satellites.

Get on the Fortune Trail, too.

There are two different weekly direct satellites for the 888poker Live Kick Off – a $12 Seat Only and a $30 Full Prize Package satellite.

The $12 Seat Only satellite runs on Wednesdays at 6:25 PM GMT. Winners will get a seat to the 4-day Kick Off event worth €500.

The $30 Full Package satellite runs on Sundays at 6:05 PM GMT and the winner receive the ticket plus $300 for hotel costs and another $300 for travel expenses.

That brings the value of that prize up to $1,200.

As always you can use the 888poker steps system to get into the direct satellites without paying their buy-ins. The steps tournaments run 24/7 and you can choose any of the 1c, 10c, $1 or $5 buy-ins. Move up the levels or start wherever you feel comfortable.

XL Blizzard Incoming!

While you’re at it, note that you can also use the tickets you win in steps satellites to play in the inaugural XL Blizzard online series.

It runs from January 18-28 and features 34 poker events with buy-ins from $8.80 to $2,100. The main event guarantees $1,000,000!

888poker is also running a freeroll promotion called The Fortune Trail. Just open the lobby and you’ll get invited to spin the lucky wheel.

If you don’t have an 888poker account yet, we’ll help you get started with an $888 sign-up bonus.


Champions gonna champion.

Less than a month after the 2014 World Series of Poker Champion was signed by 888poker, he’s already causing a stir.

The ink on his contract is barely dry but Martin Jacobson has already won his new sponsor’s most prestigious weekly event.

Jacobson Takes Down Whale

Last Sunday the signature 888poker Sunday Whale was played as a special $1,050 buy-in edition with a guaranteed prize pool of $150,000.

A total of 159 players including re-entries made for a $159,000 prize pool that was paid out to the top 15 players.

Once a champ, always a champ.

In a tournament that had 888 regs like Kannwas, Jan Graftekkel Arends, Christopher NigDawg Brammer, Fabrizio DrMikee Gonzalez and Jerry PerryMejsen Ödeen in the top 25, Jacobson once more proved his superiority.

The tournament took eight and a half hours and Jacobson cashed for the top prize of $39,750. Astonishingly, this was already his second win in an MTT on 888poker since he signed his new sponsorship deal.

On January 2 Jacobson won the $565 Volcano, another high-level Sunday major event on 888poker. That night Jacobson added $18k to his new online poker account.

That’s two wins out of just six tournaments the Swedish world champion has played as an 888 pro.

On a side note Jacobson was also the bubble boy of the New Year’s Special Whale on January 1 and just missed the money of the Mega Deep New Year’s Special on the same night.

It seems like the relationship between Jacobson and 888poker has already turned out to be a win-win-situation.

Whale $150k Guaranteed FT Results




























Ylitalo Wins Mega Deep for $25k Ylitalo joins in the fun.

It was a weekend of Swedish success on 888poker. While Jacobson was taking down the “Whale” his countryman and former EPT London winner Robin Ylitalo was busy cruising through the $215 Special Edition Mega Deep.

With 643 entries this was a much larger tournament to get through and consequently it took three hours longer than the Whale.

Ylitalo eventually prevailed and earned $24,434 for his efforts. Niklas tutten7 Arendt, another Swedish player, also final-tabled this event to add to the feeling of Swedish dominance.

$215 SE Mega Deep FT Results




























It's been a good weekend for the Swedes but take note of Argentinian player lasochobi, who made it to the final table of both these events and finished in 3rd and 5th place!

888poker in January

The Sunday Majors are not the only tournaments to go for on 888poker. Right now they’re preparing the first edition of the XL Blizzard, a 34-event series starting on January 18 with a wide range of buy-ins.

Also, join the Fortune Trail. Just open your lobby and spin the Wheel. You''ll win freeroll tickets and much more.

Create your own 888poker account within minutes. Download the software through PokerListings and start playing with an $888 bonus!


2018 has arrived and 888poker has apparently made the resolution to keep firing on all cylinders.

Just weeks after signing rising Brazilian star Vivian Saliba – winner of the last 888poker Ladies Event in London – they’ve now added one of the biggest names in poker to the 888 pro roster.

2014 World Series of Poker champion Martin Jacobson is now a member of Team 888poker and together they have big plans to continue 'taking back the game' for the amateur player.

All-Time Swedish Great

Jacobson didn’t emerge on the poker scene when he made the final table of the WSOP main event like so many champions before him.

Seasoned pro even before the big show.

He was already an accomplished pro at the time with achievements under his belt like:

6th place in the $111,111 Big One for One Drop 10th place in the PCA Main Event Runner-up finish at the WPT Venice Final tables at EPTs in Hungary, Portugal, France and Germany

His $10 million win in Las Vegas - the second highest prize money ever paid out in the WSOP main event and the only year the WSOP put a guarantee on the winner’s prize money - propelled Jacobson to the top of the all-time Swedish money list.

But in fact he would have gotten there as well by now without it - that’s how big his lead in the national rankings is.

Helping People Realize Their Dreams

This comfortable position has enabled Jacobson to focus on things away from the poker table, too.

He donated a quarter of a million dollars to the REG charity – of which he had become a member a few months prior – even before he sat down at the final table of the WSOP Main Event. He’s been even more active in charitable donations since.

Helping others is at the top of Jacobson’s list of life hacks.

“I want to help people realize their dream of starting from the bottom and eventually becoming a World Champion,” says Jacobson.

“I believe that everyone who has accomplished great things in poker has an amazing story behind them because we all have a long journey behind us. From the moment we learnt the rules of the game until we start lifting trophies, there are no shortcuts.” 

The dream is real. Get an $888 Sign-Up Bonus!

Jacobson joins a growing team made up of absolute top earners of the game like Chris Moorman and Dominik Nitsche, sports stars like Denilson, female aces Saliba, Sofia Lövgren and Kara Scott and promoters of the world’s fastest growing poker market – Brazil – like Nicolau Villa-Lobos and Bruno Kawauti.

There are also now two former November Niners as one of Jacobson’s new team mates is Bruno 'Foster' Politano, who finished in 8th place in 2014, sitting right across from Jacobson.

You always meet twice, they say.

You can meet any of the 888poker pros at the tables but you need your own 888poker account. If you want to know how to open a poker account at 888poker, click through to our review page and we’ll show you how easy it’s done alongside an $888 sign-up bonus.

Check back here for more about 888's new Fortune Trail promotion, the Lick-off in London and the latest edition of the Poker Brief.


Free spins. Free tournaments. Prizes with every spin.

If you've yet to have a go at 888poker's Jackpotland Wheel of Fortune, it's not too late.

You've still got to the end of the year to take advantage of free spins and tournament tickets and, if you're lucky, reel in up to $100,000 in cash.

In fact three free tickets are waiting for you right now.

$100k Every Day!

First things first: If you already have an account at 888poker you've likely taken advantage of your free spins. If you haven't, they're just a few minutes away.

You'll also be eligible for our $888 sign-up bonus and get free spins on the Jackpotland wheel.Create a new account at 888poker via our review page and three tickets to play in the Jackpotland daily freerolls (worth $3k and $5k).

Each spin is a winner and can be either a free tourney ticket, casino perks or a cash prize. 

Cash prizes run all the way up to $100,000 and that can be won every day.

Use the promo code JACKPOT100 and deposit at least $10 when you create your account. Here are the daily tournament details:

$3,000 Jackpotland Skills Tournament

When: Every day at 19:05 and 22:05 GMT Runs: until December 24, 2017

$3,000 Jackpotland Lucky Tournament

When: Every day at 10:05 and 15:05 GMT Runs: Until December 24/12/2017

$5,000 Jumbo Tournament

When: Every Sunday at 21:05 GMT Runs: Until December 31, 2017

As you can see, you can play up to four times a day. Skills tournaments are Turbo MTT satellites with fast-rising blinds; Jackpotland Lucky tournaments are all-in fests where each player is all-in all the time. 

To play in the weekly Sunday Jumbo you need to make the top 500 in a Skills or Lucky tournament and win your ticket on the Wheel of Fortune.

Each time you make it to the top 500 players in any of the tournaments you'll win a spin on the Jackpotland Jackpot wheel where you can when more tickets, cash, sportsbetting credits, casino spins etc.

More Tickets, More Ways to Win

You can also win more tournament tickets by completing some easy challenges.

Play in 5 or more BLAST tournaments with a minimum buy-in of $1. Play Tournaments or Sit & Gos with a total buy-in of $4 or more. Win 15 hands or more in cash games including SNAP, with minimum stakes of 2¢-5¢. Play 40 hands in Flopomania cash game with Antes of 5¢ or more

You can win up to 4 tickets per day with one ticket per challenge.

Get in on the holiday Jackpotland action by signing up for an 888poker account right here.

This article is an advertorial.


Liv Boeree grew up in Kent, England and received a first-class degree in Astrophysics from the University of Manchester before she played poker.

She made her first appearance in the Showdown in 2005 where she was coached by Phil Hellmuth and Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott.

In 2010 Boeree won the EPT San Remo Main Event which at the time was the largest poker tournament ever played in Europe. She was then signed to Team PokerStars Pro and has been a banner member ever since.

Her accomplishments on and off the felt are plentiful (European Poker Award for best female player three years in a row, first WSOP bracelet this summer, etc) but reached a new apex in 2017 when she was voted the Most Inspiring Player in our annual Spirit of Poker Awards.

She’s easily one of the most popular players the game of poker has ever seen and the fact our voters selected her as MIP in a landslide only reinforces that notion. 

PokerListings met up with Liv at the PSC in Prague this week to give her the award and get her feelings on things.

PokerListings: Congratulations on winning the PokerListings Spirit of Poker Award in the main category “Most Inspiring Player of the Year”!

Liv Boeree: Thank you! It really means a lot to me.

PL: You’ve become very much a role model in the industry. Does this lift you up or put pressure on you?

LB: It’s definitely an honor and I hope my role-model-ness also includes all my screw-ups. Also, it’s nice to feel some pressure. It keeps you motivated.

PL: Contrary to many other awards, this one is not determined by a panel of professionals but by the “average Joe” and readers of PokerListings. Does that make a difference?

LB: Absolutely. First of all, the recreational players are the majority and they are as important as the professionals.

Their opinions matter and they’re often a little bit more broad-minded people. So, it’s a big compliment.

PL: A large part of your popularity comes from what you do off the poker tables. What are your current projects with REG?

LB: There’s a project right now that involves Dan Smith and the Crowley brothers (ed. note: Martin and Tom, who are highly successful players in Fantasy Sports).

They’re donating over a million dollars and REG is supporting them. I’m not directly involved in it but I’m happy to promote the initiative.

As for myself and 2018, I’m looking at a couple of book projects. I can’t say too much about them now but one of them is poker-related and the other one is very un-poker-related.

Both projects have their merits and I haven’t decided which one to go for yet.

PL: Do you have someone to ghost you?

LB: No. I’ll do it myself, unless I really struggle.

PL: There are quite a few awards in the poker industry. Do you feel the Hall of Fame is the most important one?

LB: Quite frankly, it means nothing to me. Maybe it should but it was never something on my mind that one day I want to be in the Poker Hall of Fame.

In my mind it’s pretty much an expression of that you were around in poker in the late 1990s or early 2000s. If you were, you’ll be in it. If not, you know…

PL: But you would be the first female player from Europe to be inducted.

LB: So? It feels like the Hall of Fame is a very American thing. It would be a cool idea in some ways but it’s just nothing that’s ever been on my radar.

I do think that there should be just one Hall of Fame but there should be a bit more of an international touch to it.

PL: Would you like to come to the Battle of Malta next year?

LB: There’s always a chance but I can’t say for sure now. All I can say is always invite me.

PL: Thank you, Liv Boeree!

Watch the video below for Liv’s response to winning the PokerListings Spirit of Poker Award for Most Inspiring Player of the Year.


The two hottest topics at the ongoing PokerStars Championship in Prague this week?

The return of the “old” PokerStars tournament brands and the introduction of a new high-roller event that will change high-roller events as we know them.

Yes, PokerStars is bringing back the iconic European Poker Tour and its other regional brands.

On top of that the new $25k Players No-Limit Hold'em Championship will be a pinnacle event for the poker "everyperson."

EPT, APPT, LAPT are Back!

It’s been called a “controversial subject," but it really wasn’t.

Long live the EPT!

When PokerStars announced the end of the EPT brand at what was called “the last EPT ever," we couldn’t find a single player who thought is was a good idea – at least not one who wasn’t wearing a PokerStars patch.

Although it was understandable that the market leader in the world of poker was trying to find a more universal approach to live poker, the decision to eradicate the most powerful brand in poker outside the WSOP was met with skepticism.

Exactly one year later things are going back to where they were. The European Poker Tour brand is back and so is the Latin American Poker Tour and the Asia-Pacific Poker Tour.

All the stops haven’t been officially announced but Sochi, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Prague will definitely be on the EPT schedule for 2018.

The New PokerStars Players Championship

The new “Players No Limit Hold’em Championship” is by far the biggest innovation of the week and PokerStars isn't holding back in promoting it - $9 million added, anyone?

What to know about the new Players Championship:

It's a $25,000 buy-in tournament played live for the first time at the PCA in January 2019! There will be $1,000,000 added for first place. There won’t be any rake

But that’s not all. PokerStars will add another $8 million of value in hopes of making the inaugural PSPC a smashing success.

300 Platinum Prizes to Win!

“Platinum Pass” is the title that’s been given to the prize packages that include the buy-in, hotel accommodation and travel expenses. Every Platinum Pass has a value of $30,000.

Over the course of the coming 12 months more than 300 Platinum Passes will be given away. And as one of the main goals for the Players Championship is for it to be an event for all players, the majority of these passes will be given away at random.

You can win a Platinum Pass by simply playing in online or live events as well as in cash games. Now and again a table will be singled out and one of the players will be given a Pass.

There will also be Platinum Passes in some of the Stars Rewards Chests.

Not all the Passes will be just handed out randomly, though. Winning a large online tournament – let’s say in the Micro Millions, the WCOOP, or the upcoming Winter Series, can get you a Platinum Pass.

If you’re going to play live at one of the following events – the Italian Poker Open in Italy, the PSL in Macau, the PCA, or the PokerStars Festival in London - you might also be the lucky winner of a Platinum Pass.

Fun begins in Bahamas!

Note: There will not be any special satellites for the PSPC!

5 Platinum Passes at 2018 PCA

The first two Platinum Passes have been given to the two players who simultaneously bubbled the PSC Prague Main Event.

“We’ll carry on with giving five Passes away at the PCA," said PokerStars ambassador Daniel Negreanu to PokerListings.

“Then we’ll do something for the WCOOP, for the SCOOP, for Deepstack events like $11 tournaments. It’s going to be a wide spectrum of people and it won’t be based just on winning.”

“The Platinum Passes are giveaways; they’re free, there’s no money that you need to risk to get one. It’s based on participation, it's great value for everyone and it’s a tournament that nobody wants to miss.”

You shouldn’t miss it either so get your own PokerStars account through PokerListings and start playing now!


The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure has always been more than just a poker festival.

As the kickoff to the poker year for the past decade it’s been a celebration of the game, a celebration of hard-earned camaraderie among grinders (both live and online) and, truly, a celebration of the poker life.

As PokerStars has revealed over the past few months the 2018 PCA will return with a bang this January -- and you still have a chance to be a part of it.

Return to PCA of Old

PokerStars has revamped the 2018 PCA festival with, among other things, a return to the original $10k buy-in for the Main Event.

It also added a number of promotions to enable as many players as possible to make the trip to the Bahamas.

As of this past weekend hundreds of players have already qualified online for the main event and this coming weekend will see the last chance for a lucky few to book their seats on a plane and in the Main.

The main way is to grind through the final Main Event direct satellite. This is a $530 NLHE tournament that will run on December 17 at 2:35 PM ET/8:35 PM CET.

Depending on the number of buy-ins a number of top finishers will all get 2018 PCA packages.

Packages are worth $15,855 apiece and will get you the ME buy-in, full accommodation, travel expenses and pocket money.

5 Levels of Satellites

There are also five different levels of satellites you can enter to make it to that direct qualifier.

They run with buy-ins of $109, $55, $16.50, $5.50, and $1.10. There are a lot of them in the lobby under the live events and/or satellites tab.

But there is also a side way to the PCA. You can find it in the Spin and Go area of the lobby.

Play the $27.50 buy-in level and they have surprise prizes from $55 tournament tickets all the way up to a full $16k PCA prize package.

“I will tell you from my own experience," says PokerStars Team Pro Felipe Ramos, "because that’s how I started to play in live events. Play the $530 satellite. This gives you a real shot at the prize package.”

“Try to satellite into the direct qualifier with a buy-in according to your bankroll, so you have several shots. Try the $55 or even lower, any of these gives you a realistic chance.”

Get your own PokerStars account through PokerListings. Check out our PokerStars review and download the poker software from there.

$50k Player Giveaway

PokerStars has also added some additional prizes for anyone to win. Win a share in the $50k Player Giveaway, for example.

This is a lottery giving away $5,000-$20,000 to six different players at the PCA.

Every time you enter an event before the end of Level 1 you’ll get five tickets. There are more tickets to be won by making the money or finishing on the bubble.

The buy-in level has no influence on the number of tickets you get. You can also get them by getting certain hands in cash games. 

At the end of the adventure there’s a $50k Freeroll awaiting you! Everybody who enters any PCA event is eligible to play for the $50k prize pool. The freeroll runs on January 14.

If you make the final table of any official PCA event you’ll add an iPad, a GoPro, a digital camera or something similar to your prize.

There’ll be even more rewards and promotions live on-site and you’ll even get the chance to meet sports icon Usain Bolt and Hollywood comedian Kevin Hart. 

A Poker Trip to Remember

The 2018 Caribbean Adventure takes place January 6-14 with 30 events including, of course, the main event.

But the Atlantis Resort is no ordinary poker location. You’ll stay on pretty much a private island that has white-sand beaches, pools and a wide range of water slides at your disposal - some of which are not for the faint-hearted.

The Atlantis is a maritime museum, a beach club, an international food court, a whole collection of bars and a big casino that can get as busy as some on the Strip in Vegas.

It WILL be something you’ll talk about for many years after. Don't miss your chance to experience one of the iconic events in poker by creating a new account here.


34 must-play events. A $1 million Winners promotion. Online satellites starting at 1c.

888poker will dominate the online poker scene again this January with the 3rd instalment of its revamped poker festival schedule.

This time around it's the XL Blizzard Series, which helps kicks off the online poker year in 2018 and follows in the trailblazing footprints of this past year's XL Eclipse and XL Inferno. 

Key Dates

This is the first-ever XL Blizzard series and a tight 34-event schedule has been planned from January 18-28. It's a pare down from the 200-event smorgasbord of the Eclipse and Inferno but still offers a variety of games and big guarantees. 

Some key events to look forward to:

January 18: $109 Opening Event, $80,000 guaranteed January 20: $88 Crazy Eights Event, $50,000 guaranteed January 21: $160 Tune Up, $200,000 guaranteed January 23: $2,100 High Roller Event, $250k guaranteed January 28: $1,050 Main Event, $1,000,000 guaranteed Expect to see 888 pro Vivian Saliba in deep in the PLO.

888poker wouldn’t be 888poker if there wasn't a ton of added value and this time there are some big incentives for both winners and the unlucky.

2018 Main Event Package for CoC Winner

Once again there will be a leaderboard across the tournament series and the top 50 ranked players will meet again in a "Best of the Best" tournament.

The winner of this special invitational will receive the dream prize for every poker player – a WSOP main event ticket plus travel and hotel expenses for the 2018 World Series in Las Vegas.

The second- and third-place finishers in the Champion of Champions event will also travel to Vegas and play the $3,000 Crazy 8 Event. All finishers up to 40th place will receive online tournament tickets for $1,050, $600 and $55.

$1,000,000 to the Winner of Winners!

Players who manage to win two tournaments in the XL Blizzard will receive an extra $1,000 into their poker account. Anybody who wins three Blizzard events will receive an extra $10,000.

If anybody can win four events they will get $100,000 and, in case there is someone so good they win five, it’ll grant them an additional $1,000,000!

2018 WSOP awaits!

One player – Kaktus26rus – took down three events during the XL Eclipse so while it's clearly a tough task, it's not unreachable should a bit of run-good come your way.

Bubble of Bubbles Tourney

If the run-good isn't on your side in this one there's something for you, too.

As a very nice consolation prize 888poker will invite all the “bubble boys” to play in a special tournament whose winner will still make it to Las Vegas next summer to play the $3,000 Crazy 8 event.

The other final table players will get tournament tickets for $160 and $55. For new players, the "bubble" is the last spot in a tournament that doesn’t pay out money.

3 Seats to the Main Event Every Day!

To get into the XL Blizzard Main Event you can use the 888poker steps system and climb your way up the hard way by starting at level 1 for just one cent.

Satellites on now!

However, to celebrate the first of these winter festivals, 888poker is giving away three seats to the ME every day!

The freerolls are in the lobby under the XL Blizzard tab and they run daily at 7:30 PM GMT.

Every freeroll has three $1,050 main event tickets up for grabs.

All you need to do is make a deposit and use the promo code blizzard10. You’ll find three tickets to the freerolls in your account just hours later.

Create your 888poker account with the help of PokerListings. Check out our 888poker review and download the software to access our huge $888 sign-up bonus and exclusive freerolls!


November has been quite a month for poker.

Poker circuit stalwart Dominik Nitsche won the WSOPE One Drop High Roller for his biggest career score.

Spaniard Marti Roca de Torres, a former teacher, turned €250 into a €1.1m WSOPE main event win.

Chris "Jesus" Ferguson - he of the famed leather coat and cowboy hat and Full Tilt Poker scandal - won the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year Award.

Pennsylvania also became the 4th state to regulate online poker in the United States.

It was a busy four weeks and 888poker ambassador Kara Scott breaks it all down for you in the latest edition of The Poker Brief.

Online Poker Makes Progress in US

Pennsylvania is the now the fourth state where online poker has been regulated and legalized again. The other three states are New Jersey, Delaware and, not surprisingly, Nevada.

This is another – albeit small – step in the right direction. There are 12 brick-and-mortar casinos in Pennsylvania and it’ll be interesting to see which will be the first to step into the market by co-operating with online poker operators.

Jesus an Unpopular POY

The King’s Casino in Rozvadov played host to the WSOP Europe for the first time and will also be the host of the next edition in 2019.

New banner incoming.

What was supposed to be a great marketing coup for the now-largest casino in Europe was a little overshadowed, however, by the outcome of the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year race.

The winner was Chris “Jesus” Ferguson.

Having taken the lead of the table in the summer Ferguson wouldn’t miss the European finale of the race. He cashed in five more events and even won one of them for the sixth WSOP bracelet of his career.

Ferguson was one of the co-founders of Full Tilt Poker and previously was one of the most popular poker players in the world. However, his involvement – or to be exact, his alleged involvement in the major Full Tilt scandal turned that reputation on its head and many players frowned upon seeing Ferguson race to that prestigious title.

That’s probably going to get worse next year when Ferguson’s face will be hanging from 5m high banners at the Rio for everyone to see.

Nitsche Wins 4th Bracelet in One Drop High Roller

Rarely has there been a better decision for an online poker operator than to sign Dominik Nitsche. 

The German poker nomad proved his skills in both his poker game and his ambassadorship when he took down the $111,111 WSOPE One Drop for $4 million, which is the biggest cash of his career.

Nitsche liked to point out that the money isn’t the most important thing for him and he’s one of the few players from whom that actually sounds like a credible statement.

But let’s not forget that the most important thing of that tournament is the money raised for charity and this event collected another $1m for Guy Laliberté’s One Drop initiative.

The Spanish Cinderella

Marti Roca de Torres is the newest WSOP Europe champion. The former Economics teacher had been playing professionally for a while but hadn’t left any particular marks.

That changed last month when he prevailed in the Main Event field at the WSOPE in Rozvadov. Roca earned his main event entry through a €250 satellite on 888poker so his story more than just echoes Chris Moneymaker’s.

We’ll see if his achievement will trigger a similar development in Spain but one thing’s for sure – he didn’t have it easy. 

Other players at the final table were former BOM host and “Last Woman Standing" in the WSOP main event, Maria Ho, EPT Monte Carlo runner-up Jack Salter and Scottish poker champ Niall Farrell who also took down the €25k High Roller event to complete his live Triple Crown.

Jump In with an $888 Bonus

If you want to be part of December's headlines check out our 888poker review page, download the 888poker software and get started.

You'll get access to our exclusive $888 sign-up bonus and weekly/monthly freerolls just for PokerListings players.


Winner of our 2017 Spirit of Poker Rising Star Award, Espen Uhlen Jørstad is a man of many talents beyond poker.

Among the many skills of his we learned about in a previous interview, though, there was one in particular that sparked our interest.

Not only does Jørstad have a Bachelors degree in Food Science, he took it all the way to the next level and graduated with a Master's degree in Brewing Science.

So he knows how to make - and recommend - great beers. That's something we needed to learn more about.

PokerListings: Can you tell us again how you became interested in beer, especially as a profession?

Espen Uhlen Jørstad: I was studying food science and technology at university in Norway. We studied things like meat, dairy products and beer, and the different ways you can work with them.

I did my internship in a Norwegian brewery where I met a lot of beer geeks, obviously. (smile) They're not interested in drinking beer to get drunk - they won’t drink a 6-pack of Heineken just for the sake of it.

Instead they'll just drink one or two better beers, enjoy the experience and discuss the flavors, etc. It was a bit of a revelation for me because until then I had never considered beer that way. I found it very interesting.

IPA brewing at Norwegian Craft brewery Waldemars Brygghus.

PL: Then you were a process technician in a Norwegian brewery. What exactly is that job?

EUJ: First, I finished my Master’s degree and wrote my thesis for that brewery. Basically, my thesis was about creating a new beer for the brewery, trying out all the different flavors, recipes and so on.

First you have to pick what beer style you want to create, then you do research about what the characteristics of that style are. For example, we picked a blonde ale so we studied the appropriate characteristics -- the foam, the aroma, the bitterness, the color, the alcohol content it should have, etc.

And then from there you work backwards to figure out how you can fulfil these criteria. For bitterness and aromas you work mostly with the hops; for alcohol you need sugars, which you get from the malts.

In some beers it’s appropriate to use added sugar like for the Trappist monasteries ones. But most beers you find in the supermarket that have added sugar are cheaper, lower quality ones.

In addition to deciding the ingredients and which malt you want in which amount, you also need to figure out how long you mash the malt with water, how long you should boil it, the temperatures …

You then also decide how much residual sugars you want for more sweetness or more alcohol.

And then yes, I became a process technician. I was pretty much the brewmaster’s assistant.

I was working on a lot of projects in the brewery and in the lab with microbiological, chemical and sensory analysis. It’s actually very scientific in a lab with a white coat and all! (laughs)

PL: You preferred to work on your own after that and started a craft beer business. So why in Budapest?

EUJ: When I started my Master’s degree with a few friends of mine the plan was always to create our own craft beer business.

But the microbrewery market in Norway was totally saturated; there was at least one new microbrewery opening every week, it was crazy. We actually see the effect today with a lot of them going bankrupt. So we decided to avoid the Norwegian market.

"Hungary was a good starting point for us."

We looked at other markets and it so happened that my partner knew someone in Budapest who already had a microbrewery. This was a good starting point for us to work on our recipes and brew them from there at first.

I also had a Hungarian girlfriend at the time, who was living with me in Norway, and obviously she was very excited about moving back to Hungary. Craft beer was still really new in Hungary at the time so it was a really fresh market for us.

PL: How did it go? You told us previously you put the project on hold because of poker. Where is it now?

EUJ: Right now we have a dormant webpage, we have some recipes ready and we have a logo, but that’s about it.

We did produce one beer, a stout with vanilla and coffee. It was a special Christmas beer with 9% alcohol content; very dark, called Baltazar. I think it’s still in production because it was co-produced with my partner’s uncle’s brewery.

PL: What is the secret of a good brewer?

EUJ: That’s a good question. I think it’s just about not being scared to try and fail a lot. I can’t say it’s all about creativity because that’s just not true.

Obviously it helps if you drink beer, because you know the flavors and you know the market. You know what’s trendy at any given time.

Most of the brewers I admire, the ones that are recognized for their knowledge, it’s all because they’ve been on the market for 20 years and they have tried and tried and tried again.

They know exactly what will happen if they increase the temperature of the mash by two degrees, let the brew boil for 20 minutes more or if they add or subtract a certain hop or malt.

PL: What is the most important thing you learned about beer (and which people maybe don’t know about)?

EUJ: I would say that people should try a lot of different beers. Craft beer is still minor in a lot of European markets, maybe 1 or 2% of the market, so I would advise people to try craft beers.

Mass-produced beers are lagers basically all tasting the same with only minor variations. So go out and try some different beers, find the craft bars in your town and sample various styles.

Ask the bartender; he will guide you in the right direction and then you’re hooked. (laughs)

PL: Can you tell us more what you call the “microbreweries and craft beer culture?”

Where it all began. Bathroom floor homebrewing during college.

EUJ: The culture is all about the experience and the flavors, finding new flavors, aromas, exploring different sensations, discussing and, of course, the people.

Most beer geeks write notes, rate beers on apps, go to festivals to discover new beers … it’s a really interesting community.

PL: What is your favorite type of beer? Your favorite beer? And the best beer you ever drank?

EUJ: It depends a lot on where I am and what the time of the year is. If I’m in Malta and it’s 35° outside, I will not be drinking a barrel-aged imperial stout with 12% alcohol because it’s too heavy. I’d rather have a Heineken to be honest. (laughs)

More seriously, in summer I like Belgian sour beers or lighter IPAs, refreshing beers. In winter in Norway, in front of a fire place watching a movie, I’d prefer a darker beer like a stout, a porter or maybe a barley wine.

If I really have to pick one beer that got me interested in beer at first, which I found different, I’d pick the beer #500 by a Norwegian brewery called Nøgne Ø. It’s an imperial IPA with 10% alcohol and five different types of both hops and malts.

It’s very complex and it has lots of interesting flavors, it’s really delicious. But other than that I can’t pick a “favorite.” I’ve had so many “perfect” beers it’s hard to find one that really stands out. Still, here are a few of my favorites that you can find in Europe:

#1:  Oude Kriek – Sour beer with cherries from legendary Belgian Brewery Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen. #2:  Spresso – Imperial Espresso Stout from London-based brewery Beavertown. #3:  Yang – Double IPA from New York-based Danish brewer Evil Twin. Sampling some great US beers.

PL: Do Norwegians drink lot of beer?

EUJ: Yes, but still much less than the big beer-drinking countries like Czech Republic, Denmark or Germany.

If you look at statistics we are far behind our neighbors in Denmark for example. (laughs)

Also alcohol in Norway is so heavily taxed that buying a Norwegian beer in Sweden would be half the price compared to buying it in Norway.

In Norway craft beer became really popular only about 5 years ago while in Denmark it’s been happening for at least 9 years. And then even more in the US.

I think in the US craft beers represent 20% of the market, then about 7% in Denmark and almost 5% in Norway. But in Europe everything is still pretty new and overall I’d say that most of Europe is way behind.

In the US home brewing became very popular in the 80s when it got legalized and this lead to microbreweries, then competitions, etc.

They have some of the best beers in the world. For example San Diego, California, and Portland, Oregon, are two of the best beer cities in the world. Even some of the best “Belgian-style beers” are from the US.

PL: Any Norwegian (or Scandinavian) beer you would recommend?

EUJ: I can give you my three favorite Norwegian beers:

"#500 is the beer that got me interested in beer. Complex, delicious and perfect." #1:  #500 – Pretty much flawless Double IPA from Norway's biggest craft brewery, Nøgne Ø. #2:  La Shaman Aztec Stout – Delicious dry stout brewed with smoked chipotle chilli peppers, habanero chilli peppers and raw cacao beans, from new school superstar brewery Austmann. #3:  Tasty Juice – Super fruity and fresh New England-style IPA from Stavanger brewery Lervig.

PL: Do you feel the view on beer has changed? And that it is seen more and more as a gourmet thing like wine?

EUJ: Wine always had the image of the fancy drink and beer a more “rowdy” drink. But I think it’s changing a bit now because beer is just as complex and interesting as wine and the flavor spectrum is very wide.

I think there is a beer for everyone. When people tell me they don’t like beer I always tell them they just haven’t found the beer they like.

Beer is everything from fruity beers like lambic or Belgian krieks to 60% alcohol ice-distilled beers that you drink in cognac glasses.

PL: Can these still be considered as beers?

EUJ: It is still technically a beer if it is brewed with barley and yeast and water and hops. Same goes for the ice-distilled beers even if you can discuss if it’s maybe more a liquor.

Basically they freeze it in a machine, scrape away the ice, freeze it again, over and over… The brewery that got famous from brewing this first was BrewDog from Scotland with their dark beer called Tactical Nuclear Penguin which is 32% ABV.

They also have a 41% ABV quadruple IPA, super hoppy. It tastes like a pure hop cocktail basically. Those are very interesting beers.

PL: Which is the best beer to drink while playing poker?

"There's a beer for everyone. Try!"

EUJ: Alcohol-free! (laughs). But if you really want to drink alcohol I’d suggest one that is light in alcohol, like a berliner weisse or a pale ale.

No more than 3-4%! At least if you want to win. If you just want to have fun then it doesn’t matter. (laughs)

PL: Did you know there's a beer from Colombia called poker? It’s a lager produced by Bavaria, one of the leaders in Bogota.

EUJ: I’ve never heard of that one but I’ve had a few beers with poker-related names like “Ace on the River” etc. It’s all marketing but I have to admit it works.

I always try them when I see them. And usually they are not good. (laughs)

PL: Any anecdote you have about beer or something you want to add? Any advice maybe?

EUJ: I do have some advice and it’s really simple: if you want to buy beer, just download RateBeer or Untappd and you can see how high beers are rated.

With beer there’s no way to know the quality of a beer unless you actually know the brewery, so this is really useful.

Otherwise, I’ll just say that people should just try many different beers. For poker people who travel a lot, don’t rely on what you know -- be adventurous. Ask bartenders or beer geeks and try!


For a retired poker player, Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz still wins a lot of poker tournaments.

Poker's most famous retiree proved yet again how unstoppable he is both live and online as he triumphed over an elite field in the first event of PokerStars' new online High Roller series.

Meanwhile, in Hamburg, another German player in Ulrich Pauls took down his first official poker tournament cash by winning the PokerStars Hamburg Festival main event.

Holz Wins First Event in High Roller Series

The first-ever PokerStars High Roller series is underway with events having an average buy-in of over $3,000 and ranging from $1,050 to $10,300. The first event of the series was a $1M guaranteed, $2,100 NLHE tournament that attracted 442 entries.

Grayson Ramage

Surprisingly it wasn't enough to meet the prize guarantee so the high rollers got a little treat in the form of an overlay.

Unsurprisingly, Holz scored another win to add another entry to his foot-long list of tournament cashes. The victory comes with $180k on Holz’ PokerStars account to give him just a few more reasons to continue playing poker.

Dinesh “NastyMinder” Alt made the final table as well and finished in third place for over $100k. Further notables included Grayson "gray31" Ramage in 4th for $75k, Patrick "pads1161" Leonard in 6th for $42k, Jordan “JWProdigy” Westmorland in 11th for $14k and Roman “Romeopro” Romanovsky in 22nd.

Westmorland and Alt both ran deep at the same EPT San Remo main event in 2014 when Vicky Coren became the first two-time main event winner. Alt finished in 25th place in that tournament while Westmorland came close to winning it himself and then finished 3rd.

PokerStars team members Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree seem to have a private high-stakes duel going as they’re both playing almost every event. In the first of this series Kurganov “won” the last longer between the two as he finished 25th while Liv didn’t make the money.

PokerStars High Rollers Event 1; $2100 NLHE





Fedor “CrownUpGuy” Holz






Dinesh “NastyMinder” Alt




















First Time's a Charm for Pauls

Before PokerStars hosts the final big poker event of the year at the PokerStars Championship Prague, its smaller Festival series rolled into Casino Schenefeld near Hamburg, Germany.

Ulrich Pauls (Photo: Manuel Kovsca, PokerStars)

Overall 2,609 players joined in across 10 days of poker, 567 of which were participants in the main event.

The winner of that event is Ulrich Pauls, a 36-year-old recreational player who’s never had an official tournament result before. Now he has one, and that comes with prize money of over €100k.

The runner-up finish from Michal Lubas from Poland might be even more impressive as he also finished in second place in the PokerStars Festival Rozvadov main event. That event took place last March and with almost twice as many players in the event at the King’s Casino.

Lubas also cashed at the WSOP Main Event this year and at the PSC Barcelona main event. Marcin Horecki, long-time member of the PokerStars team, also reached the final table and finished in 8th place.

The main event in Schenefeld had a total prize pool of €550k which was half of the money the festival generated overall.

PokerStars Festival Hamburg Final Table Payouts






Ulrich Pauls




Michal Lubas




Jan Sigel




Behzad Zarnegar




Bo Rundström




Andrei Nodea




Karolis Domarkas




Marcin Horecki




Rudol Köster



Want to play in the PokerStars High Roller or any of the other countless tournaments on PokerStars? Create your own account via our PokerStars review to access our $600 sign-up bonus.


If you didn't know it by now, sports superstar Usain Bolt and comedian Kevin Hart are battling it out in the #GameOn challenge ahead of the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

The two will square off in a heads-up poker match at the PCA and their starting chip stacks will be determined by their scores in the ongoing #GameOn Challenge.

#GameOn is a series of battles designed to test their “core qualities and skills of poker, including reading opponents, emotional control, and bluffing."

While Hart was off to an early advantage Bolt, as is his style, has gained ground quickly and is looking to score some more chips in a new ice-bath challenge.

The referee? None other than PokerStars pro Daniel Negreanu. 

The Ice-Bath Challenge

Enter Usain Bolt – 8-time gold medallist and 23-time winner of international sports events. 

Does Hart have the heart for ice?

Hart is one of the most successful contemporary comedians in the US and among other films starred in Grudge Match, so he knows what a good duel looks like.

The two of them are PokerStars’ latest additions to their team of sports and TV celebrities and they’re going head to head again in the PokerStars’ #GameOn promotion.

To show how good they are at controlling their emotions and keeping a straight face, they’re told to step into a bathtub filled with ice water.

Whoever stays in the longest with a straight face, wins the challenge. But a duel needs a referee and PokerStars team pro and most popular poker player in the world Daniel Negreanu steps up to take that role.

Turns out, however, that one of them isn’t taking the challenge seriously enough. Then again, that person seems in way more control of their facial expression.

Either way it’s an easy call for the referee and we’re off to the next challenge. Watch it play out below:

Follow along with all of the #GameOn challenges by checking in on Twitter. 

Win Your Way to the Bahamas for $1.10!

Traditionally the PCA is the first big poker event of the year and since it has received a bit of a facelift this year it’s going to be a big, vibrant event with large player fields and buy-ins ranging from $160 to $100,000(!).

The Bolt vs Hart poker match will be one of the many side/show events scheduled for the PCA but the speech play has already started.

“Usain may be a quick thinker but let’s see what happens when he’s taken away from the track,” said Hart. “If I were a betting man, I’d say I’ll be the one celebrating in the sun in January. It will be so easy, like taking candy from a baby.”

Usain remains confident, however, saying, “Kevin may be the funniest, but jokes are not going to get him anywhere against me at the poker table. I know how to keep my cool under pressure and that’s what it takes to win, my friend.”

If you want to watch it play out alongside them PokerStars has added another direct satellite to the main event. It’s a $530 satellite and it runs on November 26.

You can find it in the lobby under Events > Live > Direct Satellites and there are feeder tournaments starting at $1.10 buy-in.

Create your own account through PokerListings’ PokerStars review page and take a shot. A trip to the Bahamas, a week in the luxury hotel resort Atlantis and a ticket to a $10,000 main event are up for grabs.


Spin the wheel and play in up to four freerolls every day to boost your bankroll.

Three tickets guaranteed. No costs involved. Win up to $100k!

Jackpotland is an 888poker promotion that was a smash hit earlier this year and, as it proved to be very popular with players, it’s back.

3 x $3,000 Freeroll Tickets

Jackpotland is a combination of a “Wheel of Fortune” and a lot of freerolls with $3,000 and $5,000 guaranteed prize pools.

If you have an account at 888poker you don’t have to register or anything. You’re already part of the promotion and you already have three freeroll tickets in your account.

If you don’t have an account at 888poker, you have to create one before you can join Jackpotland. Go to the 888poker review page, click on the download button and follow the directions to access our $888 bonus.

While creating your account you must use the promo code JACKPOT100 and deposit at least $10. When you’re done your account will be credited with three tickets to the $3,000 freerolls.

Every Spin Wins

It starts when you open up the 888poker lobby. Log in and the Wheel of Fortune – or Slot of Fortune, to be precise – will appear automatically.

Click the button and see what your win of the day is. There are freeroll tickets, BLAST tickets, casino game vouchers, sportsbetting vouchers and cash prizes to be won. Every spin wins!

There are two types of $3,000 freerolls. The Skills tournaments are turbo MTT satellites the way you know them – fast climbing blinds will make you take a lot of decisions in a rather short time.

If you want things to go even faster, register for the Jackpotland Lucky tournaments. In these you don’t have to worry about making decisions because everybody will be all-in all the time.

These tournaments are fun even to watch when you’re out. They bring down player fields of several thousand players to one within minutes. It’s a lottery with $300 up top.

Both the Skills and the Lucky tournaments run twice a day

$3,000 Jackpotland Skills tournament at 19:05 and 22:05 GMT $3,000 Jackpotland Lucky Tournament at 10:05 and 15:05 GMT

There’s also the $5,000 Jumbo tournament. This runs every Sunday at 21:05 GMT. To play in it you have to make the top 500 in any Skills or Lucky tournament and then spin the wheel of fortune.

Win Extra Tickets for Jackpotland Tournaments

There are also more freeroll tickets to be won and you can win up to four tickets a day.

Play 5 BLAST tournaments with a buy-in of minimum $1. Play SnGs or MTTs with a total buy-in of at least $4. Play cash games with 2c-5c minimum stakes and win 15 hands Play at least 40 hands of Flopomania with a minimum of 5c antes

Don’t forget -- every time you spin the wheel you have the chance to win the main prize of $100,000 in cash!

This article is an advertorial.


“Taking back the game” is 888poker’s current slogan and they're doing everything they can to make poker fun for the recreational player.

They’re not only taking the game back -- they’re also bringing it back to the German capital.

You can now qualify on 888poker for the highly renowned World Poker Tour Deepstacks and the first joint venture will take place in early January in Berlin.

WPTDeepstacks Berlin, January 5-8

There hasn’t been an event of one of the big poker series in Berlin since the WSOPE in 2015. Thanks to this new cooperation, that’s going to change in 2018.

The WPTDeepstacks Tour is the WPT main tour’s little brother. It has lower buy-ins and is occasionally used to kick off larger festivals. 

That will also be the case in Berlin where the WPTDeepstacks will directly be followed by the European Championship Main Event.

Dates: January 5-8; two starting days Start times: Day 1A – 4 PM; Day 1B – 2 PM; Day 2 – 2 PM; Day 3 – 3 PM Buy-in: €1,350 + €150 Guarantee: €500,000 Qualify for 1c on 888poker

You can now win your seat for the WPTDeepstacks main event on 888poker and you can do so for just 1 cent.

888poker runs direct satellites every Monday and Thursday, both as Seat-only and full package satellites. Every full package has a value of $2,400.

The satellites cost $109 and $160, respectively, but you can use 888poker’s well-established steps system to get into them.

This is a six-step system starting at a 1 cent buy-in where you can work yourself up to getting tickets for higher buy-in online or live events.

888poker Satellites by the Numbers

$109 buy-in Seat-only satellite; runs weekly on Mondays, 8.35 PM CET until Dec 24; 1 WPTDeepstacks Main Event for every $1,750 in the prize pool $160 buy-in full package satellite; runs weekly on Thursdays, 8.35 PM CET until Dec 24; 1 WTPDeepstacks Main Event Package for every $2,400 in the prize pool

The WPTDeepstacks event is part of the WPT European Championship that takes place in Berlin from January 5-15. The feature event will run after the Deepstacks tournament.

The European Championship Main Event starts on January 10 and will have a €3,300 buy-in. Other events at the WPT European Championship will be:

6-Handed €10,300 High Roller Event €15,300 High Roller Progressive Bounty Event €330 Deep Freeze €550 PLO event and the €330 Pokerfloor Cup Back to Spielbank

The location is the Spielbank Berlin casino right next to the famed Potsdamer Platz. There will be live satellites at the Spielbank on Jan 4 and 5. 

The WPT and 888poker have also partnered with the Grand Hyatt Hotel and The Mandala Hotel and you can book your room directly via email.

Use the booking codes G-WPTE for the Grand Hyatt and the booking code Spielbank Berlin for the Mandala.

888poker is the second largest online poker room in the world. You can get your own account through the secure links on PokerListings and get an $888 starting bonus.Check out our 888poker review for further information.

This article is an advertorial.


As the youngest female player in the WSOP Main Event this summer, Brazil's Vivian Saliba naturally grabbed some air time.

When the audience saw she was both vivacious and lively but also a very good player, she became the most searched-for name on the web’s poker databases.

The meteoric rise into the poker public's consciousness has paid off as the 24-year old PLO specialist has now been signed to the burgeoning pro team at 888poker.

From Brazil to the WSOP

Despite her young age, Saliba clearly wasn’t as big of a rookie as some players thought. In fact by the time they hit the money spots of the Main Event Saliba had claimed her fifth cash of the 2017 World Series highlighted by an 11th-place finish in the $10k Omaha Championship.

Prior to this summer's WSOP Saliba already had several cashes in events in her native Brazil, but it was this summer her career took off.

She finished the WSOP Main Event in 421st place for another cash and has proceeded to conquer poker events in Europe since.

She final tabled another PLO event at PSC Barcelona and finished 3rd. She returned to the European poker scene in October where she won the Ladies Event of the 888poker festival in London and then travelled to the King’s Casino in Rozvadov for the WSOPE.

There she managed to score another four cashes including a 59th-place in the main event.

“I couldn't be happier about joining the 888 Team,” said Saliba. “As a professional poker player, I always looked forward to a partnership. 888poker is one of the biggest poker companies and I am very fortunate to be a part of it.

"I am ready to give 100% and see us both growing together.”

"Everything We Believe In"

Saliba has been playing on a professional level for about five years and at 888poker they think that she’ll be a great asset to the pro team.

“Saliba represents everything we believe in here at 888poker, which includes having fun at the tables, talking to her fellow players and always wearing a smile while enjoying the game we all love.”

“We at 888poker believe the poker world will be seeing a lot more of Saliba and we are extremely excited to have her on our team.”

It’s a strong team she’s joining with Dominik Nitsche, Chris Moorman and Sofia Lövgren by her side but also a strong Brazilian presence with Bruno Politano, Nicolau Villa-Lobos, Bruno Kawauti and – sometimes - Denilson.

Saliba brings a new, interesting element to the team as she’s a PLO player more than a NLHE player, representing a trend towards PLO that PokerListings recently reported on

“I prefer PLO because there is way more action compared to Hold’em which makes it more enjoyable to play,” Saliba revealed.

“A lot of players are new to the game and make many mistakes which is obviously good for me as a professional poker player.”

Jump In with an $888 Bonus

Would you like to take Vivian on in a game of PLO? She’ll be playing at 888poker on a regular basis from now on.

Get your own 888poker account through the secure download links on PokerListings and play in great online tournaments or qualify for one of the many live events 888poker puts on around the world.


A former teacher from Catalunya has won the main event of the re-invigorated World Series of Poker Europe and over €1,000,000 at the Kings’ Casino in Rozvadov.

888poker was the main sponsor of this year’s World Series of Poker Europe and somehow they managed to provide the winner, too. 

While established pros Maria Ho, Niall Farrell and Jack Salter were all at the final table it was the unheralded 888 qualifier Torres who claimed the glory.

Qualifier Goes All the Way

Spain's Marti Roca de Torres only had about $30,000 in tournament winnings before the WSOPE 2017 and none of his cashes came from a tournament win.

Now he’s a member of the millionaires’ club.

The WSOPE took place at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov this year (and will return there in 2019) and it had 12 tournaments on the schedule.

The Main Event drew 529 entries which was just enough to break the €5,000,000 guarantee. With the King’s Casino now being the most successful casino in Europe it came as no surprise that numerous international stars flocked to the tables.

That was reflected at the final table as well. EPT Monte Carlo runner-up Jack Salter, former BOM host Maria Ho and EPT Malta winner Niall Farrell all made it to that famous last table but they weren’t able to get a hold on the trophy.

Instead, it was formerly unknown player Marti Roca de Torres from Barcelona who prevailed. de Torres was delighted, but also exhausted after the last hand was dealt.

“I am more nervous now than before when I was playing. But for sure I am very happy and it is a dream come true. I don’t know what to say.”

de Torres Finds Aces

Salter finished the tournament in 7th place after losing two big hands to runner-up finisher Gianluca Speranza. It was the last elimination of the penultimate day.

By this time many other big names had already busted out long ago – like Stefan Schillhabel (78th), Dominik Panka (76th), Will Kassouf (64th), Anatoly Filatov (55th), Pierre Neuville (53rd), Phil Gruissem (47th), David Peters (44th), Mike Leah (39th), Parker Talbot (25th), Rainer Kempe (22nd), Kristen Bicknell (18th) and eventually Kevin MacPhee (10th).

Maria Ho came into the final as chipleader – with de Torres in 2nd place – and had high hopes of becoming the second female winner of a WSOP main event but then things went horribly wrong.

First she lost two sizeable pots against De Torres and then she pushed all-in with pocket deuces against NFarrell’s open raise with jacks.

Farrell called and won the hand. It propelled him into the second place of the leaderboard while Ho fell to last place. Her demise was the biggest hand thus far and, sensationally, it also cost the Scotsman Farrell his tournament life.

Ho was all-in with A-J, Farrell found pocket kings and came along but then de Torres found aces in the big blind and took them both out.

de Torres’ emotional rollercoaster

de Torres moved into a huge chiplead then and for a while it looked like the other three players were only competing for second place.

However, 4-handed play lasted over six hours and Gianluca Speranza, Mathijs Jonkers and Robert Bickley fought back and bit piece by piece off of Torres’s stack.

In fact, de Torres was taken from first all the way to last place in the chip counts and, at that point, few people still thought he’d be able to come back.

"For a moment I thought it's done. Then, for a moment it looked impossible. But finally I was growing my stack hand by hand. I tried to play hand by hand and don't think in the future," commented de Torres.

de Torres hung in and after Bickley and Jonkers – who is the organizer of the Dutch Championship of Poker – bowed out, he came into the final as a rather short stack.

Speranza had pretty much the opposite experience at this table, having been the short stack for most of the time, and he had a psychological advantage. But de Torres came back once again, took over the chiplead and eventually found a way to grind down his Italian counterpart.

The deciding hand was – as ever so often – a coin flip: de Torres’ pocket fives against Speranza’s A-J. An ace on the flop and a five on the turn showcased the drama of this finale very well and de Torres, now with all the chips but two big blinds, won the tournament on the very next hand.

Astonishingly, de Torres had won his ticket for the WSOPE Main Event in an online satellite. He played a €220 sub-satellite, worked his way up the levels and eventually won the tournament package.

WSOP Europe 2017 Final Table Payouts






Mati Roca de Torres




Gianluca Speranza




Mathijs Jonkers




Robert Bickley




Niall Farell




Maria Ho




Jack Salter




Luis Rodriguez




Stepan Osinovskii



To play on 888poker and qualify for big live events, register through PokerListings on our 888poker review page.


In the mid-2000s, online poker "challenges" were all the rage.

From bankroll building to hands played per hour/day/month, players were starting online poker challenges almost daily to show how big their edge was and how easy it was to make money online.

Mind you, a lot of these players never made their goals and most challenges slipped by the wayside.

Now, in the late 2010s, the nature of the online challenge has changed. And Ukraine’s top online player Roman Romanovsky is setting an example for how it should be done.

Challenges in Challenging Times

The general consensus these days is it’s not that easy to make a ton of money online anymore. Surely you're heard the phrase “everyone’s solid” by now.

So why is at this time that Romanovsky -- aka “Romeopro” -- has started an official campaign playing the toughest online tournaments there are to raise $1 million for charity. 

What drives a player to start such an altruistic poker challenge? Says Romanovsky:

“My inspiration comes from the total mess in which the world is right now and the desire to fix it at least a little bit.

"I feel bad for all the people who live in poverty, the refugees, all these kids who die under the age of five. It’s just very frustrating that in the 21st century we’re facing this. It’s ludicrous.”

"You Can Save a Life In Africa for $5k"

Few players seem to be able to see the bigger picture the way Romanovsky does. But there is a growing group, like the guys at REG, who strive to do something beneficial for society -- and for the weakest members of that society in particular.

“I think [REG] is overall great. It’s basically the same as GiveWell. It’s the GiveWell version for poker players.

"In general, these kind of aggregation charities that show you the possibilities on how to be the most effective are very important. For example, in Ukraine there are a lot of people who donate to helping cancer patients. On average the cost there is $100K.”

“You can save a life in Africa for $5K, so you spend 20 times more on basically the same result. You can save either 20 people or children, or one person or child. It’s unfortunate that so many people are spending so much money ineffectively.”

A Full Million Now the Goal

When Roman started out last year he set $600k in profit as his goal with $400k of that going to charity. He started with a bankroll of $66.6k and didn't set himself a time limit.

As you can see in the graph, he’s already there. So now he’s upped the target money to a full million dollars.

It helped quite a bit that Romanovsky won the XL Eclipse High Roller this summer.

Ending on a High Note

The million might still not be the end of the challenge -- after which Romanovsky says he'll end the poker era of his life.

“I updated the goal to make it $1 million. Maybe I will change it once again, but we will see next year. The maximum I’d change it to if things go well is $1.5 million profit, meaning $1 million would go to charity. After finishing the marathon, I’d essentially end my poker career and focus on how to make the world better.”

Romanovsky truly is a remarkable player. And while the poker community hopes for him to achieve his goal, it's with mixed emotions because it would hurt to see a player like him leave the community.

Join In with an $888 Bonus

Do you want to take on “Romeopro33” and maybe contribute to his charity? He plays all the tournaments with $109 buy-in and higher on 888poker – plus some $55 tournaments.

You can satellite into all these high buy-in events for as little as one cent so all you really need is an account at 888poker. Get all the information and your 888poker download here on PokerListings.


In the days before Christmas the Czech Republic’s capital will once more turn into the European capital of poker.

PokerStars returns to Prague in December for its annual PokerStars Championship and you can qualify online. 

It’s the last big poker event of the year and, among a slew of accessible low buy-in events, a €50k Super High Roller and the Championship POY finale are on schedule.

43 Events, Satellites from €5.50

The 2017 PokerStars Championship Prague runs from December 7-18 with a total of 43 events on the schedule.

These are the most important ones in ascending buy-in order:

€170 buy-in; PokerStars Megastack; Dec 15-17 €220 buy-in; Prague Poker Cup; Dec 9-11 €1100 buy-in; National Championship; Dec 8-12 €2200 buy-in; National Championship High Roller; Dec 11/12 €5300 buy-in; PSC Main Event; Dec 12-18 €10,300 buy-in; 8-handed NLHE; Dec 7-9 €10,300 buy-in; PL Omaha Championship; Dec 14/15 €10,300 buy-in; PokerStars Championship High Roller; Dec 16-18 €25,500 buy-in; NLHE 8-handed; Dec 13 €25,500 buy-in; NLHE; Dec 15 €50,000 buy-in; PokerStars Championship Super High Roller; Dec 10-12

There are online satellites in the PokerStars lobby for both the Main Event and the National Championship and they’re running 24/7.

The direct satellites are tournaments for €215, €320, and €530 but you can satellite into them for as less as €5.50. There is one direct satellite every day.

PSC Player of the Year

PokerStars is hosting an internal ranking list to determine the best player in the Championships across the whole calendar year.

Every PSC has its own leaderboard and the winner of each of them has received a full PCA prize package including buy-in, accommodation and travel costs worth $17,000.

All seven winners of 2017 will play a one-table Sit-and-Go where the winner will take all -- and all here means $100,000! These are the players who’ve already won their seat:


Won LB in

Bryn Kenney


Chris Hunichen


Nick Petrangelo


Daniel Dvoress

Monte Carlo

Vladimir Troyanovskiy


Koray Aldemir


Prague will determine the last of the seven contestants and the winner will enjoy the Caribbean Adventure in January.

Among them will be a large array of international stars but they’ll have to pass by Team PokerStars pros like Igor Kurganov, Liv Boeree, André Akkari, Marcin Horecki and now Prague local Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, who’ve all announced their participation. Says ElkY:

“There is no better way to end the poker year than playing poker on your own home turf. I’m really looking forward to the variety of high class tournaments that are on offer and, not to forget, getting to spend some time at the Christmas markets during the PokerStars Championship in Prague.”

Cash Games Brimming

As always the location of the PSC Prague will be the Hilton Hotel and cash-game tables will be brimming.

Christmas markets are aces.

In addition there’ll be a Players Party at the Cloud 9 club on December 11. As it's the last one of the year, expect some fireworks.

If you want to take some time away from the tables you’ll soon find out that Prague is one of the most fascinating cities in Europe.

There are several Christmas markets in the city, all selling amazing local produce and all the Christmas accessories and souvenirs you can think of.

Other than that there is much more to see in Prague than you can get through in a couple of days, from the Astronomic Clock to Charles Bridge to the Powder Tower to the Dancing House.

Prague has been on the PokerStars premier events schedule every year since December 2007 and the main event will again be live streamed in seven different languages starting from Day 2.

Register with PokerStars through PokerListings and win your own ticket to the PSC Prague or to any of the other numerous live events organized by the largest online poker operator in the world.


At a fast-paced final table that only lasted five hours, Israel's Lipszyc pushed through to take down the €200,000 top prize in his first big live poker tournament.

In the last hand his pocket fours held up against the A-4 of runner-up Yaron Borenstein.

The story of Lipszyc's journey to the Battle of Malta title is the stuff poker dreams are made of.

Lipszyc, who said "99% of the players in this field had more experience than me," won a satellite in his hometown in Israel that gave him a full package for the Battle of Malta.

He then cruised all the way through a field of 2,074 entries. It was the biggest field ever at the Battle of Malt and Lipszyc was stunned and overwhelmed when it was over.

Channeling DNegs

“I think that Daniel Negreanu entered my body and played for me," said Lipszyc in the aftermath of his win. “I can’t believe this was my own performance.”

"I Don't Read Books on Poker"

“All I did was play my instincts. I don’t read books on poker. I don’t study. When I play online, I play for one or two Euro. I came here with basically no money in my pocket. I barely had money for breakfast.”

“You might not believe it but this is the first live event I’ve ever played except for the satellite. I’ve never known what I was really good at. I think I know it now.”

It’s going to be difficult to top that, though, as the farm manager Lipszyc just won the largest prize the Battle of Malta has ever paid out - €200,000!

Early Eliminations

Nadav Lipszyc came into the final table as chipleader but, as the dynamic of a finale goes, other players did gain some ground.

In this case it was Asbjorn Elvevold from Norway who turned into Lipszyc’s biggest threat. Elvevold eventually finished in third place.

The final table was a duel between Israel and Scandinavia. Four of the players were from Israel, while the rest of the field consisted of three Norwegian and two Swedish players.

While the Scandinavians are traditionally a strong force in the Battle of Malta, it was the first time that one country brought forth four of the last players.

Fredrik Akerholt from Norway was the first player to go. He was looking for a double up with pocket queens that didn’t hold up against A-K of Borenstein.

Back-to-back FTs for Hahnert

Jonas Hähnert was next about an hour later. He was involved in the exact same situation, playing A-K vs the queens of Elvevold, but this time the queens won.

Hähnert is the first player to make consecutive final tables at the Battle of Malta, which is probably the best performance there’s been at the BOM. Last year he finished in ninth place and this time he improved by one spot.

Dor Adda, who’d been chipleader for a long time on Day 3, eventually bowed out in seventh place in the very next hand. He also lost a flip to Elvevold.

The Final Six

Norway's Per-Eirik Koi lost a big hand against Borenstein when he ran J-T into pocket aces and busted soon after. Borenstein continued his run as just another hour later, he found queens again and took out his fellow countryman Avihai Benshosham in fifth place.

Wickstron out 4th.

By then, it was Joakim Wickström who had shown the most resilience at the final table. He had started the day as the second-shortest stack but picked his spots wisely and won a couple of flips when he really needed to.

His time had come, though, when he didn’t want to get pushed around by the big stack of Nadav Lipszyc and pushed all-in from the blinds with Q-Js against a button raise from the Israeli.

Unfortunately, Lipszyc had A-K and called. The last Swede found flush and straight outs on the flop but nothing hit so Wickström finished in a very strong fourth place.

The Top 3

With stacks of 7 million for Borenstein, 13 million for Elvevold and 30 million for Lipszyc we went to the top three spots. Borenstein was getting short and it looked like there would be a Norway-Israel final, but the poker gods had other plans.

Nadav Lipszyc opened with Q-4 and Elvevold called with K-J. The board ran out A-T-8 --- K --- J, and while Elvevold found two pairs on turn and river, this became a runner-runner straight for Lipszyc.

Third place for bjorn Elvevold.

Elvevold couldn’t find a fold to Lipszyc’s push on the river and we had an all-Israeli heads-up. Lipszyc began with 42 million to Borenstein’s 8 million and although Borenstein managed to double up once, the end came fast.

Borenstein took a stand with A-4 and Lipszyc called with pocket fours. No ace on the board and the sixth Battle of Malta main event had found a winner.

Read all the details and bust-out hands of the BOM final table 2017 in the PokerListings live blog.

You can find all the results and payouts of all Battle of Malta 2017 events on our results page. The High Roller final table is still running but all the results will be available within 24 hours.

Battle of Malta Main Event Final Table Payouts


Nadav Patrick Lipszyc



Yaron Borenstein



Asbjorn Elvevold



Joakim Wickström



Avihai Benshoham



Per-Eirik Koi



Adda Dor



Jonas Hähnert



Fredrik Ronneberg Akerholt


And this concludes the 2017 edition of the friendliest and – according to the European Poker Awards – best low buy-in tournament in Europe.

We would like to thank everyone for coming, we congratulate the winners, and we’d like to invite every player who hasn’t been to the “BOM” to make the experience next year.


It took three days and almost 24 hours of sheer playing time to turn the largest ever BOM main event field into a table of just nine lucky finalists.

Here's how it happened.

Main Event Day 3 – Rapid Bust-outs

63 players started the penultimate day of the Battle of Malta 2017 and we expected it to be a slow race to the finish line.

Instead, what happened was a bust-out bonanza and within just three hours we were down to the last three tables.

But it wouldn’t stop there. An hour later we were redrawing for the last two tables and before 9 PM the final table was all set.

As it turns out, it’s going to be a battle between Israel and Scandinavia.

Men of the hour!

Nadav Patrick Lipszyc is now the player to beat, as he leads the pack with 11.6 million of the overall 50 million in chips.

His fellow countryman Avihai Benshoham is hot on his heels, and behind him two Norwegian players are looking for their chance to take over – Per-Eirik Koi and Asbjorn Elvevold.

Incredibly, Jonas Hähnert from Sweden, who made the final table of the Battle of Malta main event last year and finished in ninth place, now has reached that table again!

He’s sitting in sixth place with 2.1 million chips and now has to fade becoming the Mark Newhouse of the BOM. Newhouse famously finished ninth in two consecutive WSOP main events.

Battle of Malta Final Table Players






Nadav Patrick Lipszyc




Avihai Benshoham




Per-Eirik Koi




Asbjorn Elvevold




Yaron Borenstein




Jonas Hähnert




Fredrik Ronneberg Akerholt




Joakim Wickström




Dor Adda



The finalists will receive the following prizes.

Battle of Malta Final Table Payouts





















The final table is set for 3 PM tomorrow. We will also live stream with a delay of 30 minutes. Check out the PokerListings live blog for details.

Side Event News

The second big event of the day was the €1320 Grandmaster High Roller event. 135 entries generated a prize pool of almost €160k.

The tournament will play deep into the night and then finish off tomorrow parallel to the main event.

The €245 “Siege of Malta” finished surprisingly early, as it was originally intended to be a 3-day event. It drew 560 runners this year, making it one of the largest side events we’ve had at the BOM.

Eirini Kokoni from Greece took down the title and a healthy €30,000! She’s also the first female winner of an open event at the Battle of Malta. Congratulations!

Our host Gaelle Garcia Diaz made the money in the Deepstack Turbo tournament. It started with 259 players and then went down and into the money in just over 6 hours. Check out the daily BOM video below.


In the Money! Battle of Malta ME Down to 63, €200k to Winner!

A blistering fast day today at the Portomaso Casino saw the field chopped from 414 to just 63. Over 130 players have been paid already.

Get all the updates and latest stories from Day 1C here in our live coverage on PokerListings.

Meanwhile, side events are selling out one by one ...

Battle of Malta = Massive Poker Festival

Since its inception the Battle of Malta has grown in numbers every single year. 2017 marks the year in which, for the first time, we broke the sound barrier of 2,000 players.

Jonas Hahnert is deep again.

That means that also for the first time there's over 1 million Euro in the prize pool - €1.006 million, to be exact.

And there are over 50 million chips in play!

Out of that million Euro prize pool the winner of this tournament will bag €200,000 on Tuesday when the Battle comes to an end.

There are a few dozen players left who all have a shot at the biggest prize, but some have bigger shots than others.

Top 10 Chip Counts Battle of Malta Main Event 2017

Soile Lerviks - the Battle of Malta's first Ladies event winner


Dor Adda



Valerio Città



Dominik Martan



Timmy Agius



Madav Lipszyc



Nuriaykutalp Yilmaz



Kjell Ingvar Johansson



Jon Satoen



Johan Goslings



Antonio Muscolino


Check back with us tomorrow when we play down to a final table of nine. These will be the payouts at the final table.



















The first side events played out as well yesterday and we have the first woman to prevail in an all-female battle. Soile Lerviks from Finland went all the way through a field of 74 players to take down the inaugural Ladies Event for €2,100.

Meanwhile, heads-up finalists André Haneberg from Germany and Jakob Nielsen from Denmark decided not to battle it out to see who would win the “Win the Cross."

André Haneberg - Winner of the Cross

Instead, they ended the tournament on a truce that consisted of chipleader Nielsen getting the higher prize money of €3,965 while Haneberg received €3,675 and a proper Crusader’s trophy.

Sunday saw the next side events kicking off and expectedly the “Siege of Malta” caught most of the attention.

560 players in the original BOM side event had the Spinola Suite bursting at the seams, and the winner will take home €30k from a prize pool of almost €120k -- not much less than the winner of the first BOM main event back in 2012.

The Siege is a 3-day event but the PLO Knight’s Crusade also went down and well into the night. We’ll bring you the results later.

140 players jumped into the satellite for the High Roller event so we expect that to become the largest one yet as well.

The Cap for the €1,320 single re-entry event is at 150 players. It could be the first time we reach it.

Check back to our live coverage page where we’ll post news and updates. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Check out or video of Day 2 to get some impression of what it’s like to be part of the Battle of Malta.

It's a Record! 2017 BoM Hits €1,000,000 Prize Pool on Day 1c

Every single starting day of the BOM 2017 turned out to be the biggest yet and the magic moment came late in the afternoon.

Cartarius is on to Day 2.

The number of players ticked up to 901 for Day 1C and that meant we had the 2,001st entry registered for the main event.

All the dealers available and almost all the tables in all three different tournament rooms were needed to accommodate them all, but everyone eventually found a seat.

This also means that for the first time ever there’s a cool million Euro in the prize pool, and first prize might well be more than the full prize pool of the first Battle of Malta in 2012, which was €170k.

Our host Gaelle Garcia Diaz hit the table again, as did Norwegian model Linni Meiser and former champion Nicolas Proust.

None of them made it to the end of Day 1 but German ex-champion Louis Cartarius, also on his second bullet, did.

Him and Antoan Katsarov are the last two former winners who made it into Day 2. 

The biggest stacks of the day, however, belong to the Italian players Lucio Bernardo and Gianluca Deledda.

Chipcount Top 10 BOM ME Day 1C

Changes might still apply.


Lucio Bernardo



Gianluca Deledda



Ola Peter Bremer



Yaron Ben Avi



Antonios Onoufriou



Uri Greeberger



Florian Schulze



Fabio Rubino



Yaron Borenstein



Timothy Agius


The overall chipleader is Valerio Citta from Day 1B with 438,000.

Two side events kicked off on Saturday as well – the inaugural €100 Ladies Event and the €110 “Win the Cross” – we’ll bring you the results later today.

The first of these are going tonight.

177 players tried to win the cross and the €4.3k that came with it but the bigger surprise was that 75 female players turned up to play the first Ladies Event in the history of the Battle of Malta.

Saturday is party night, of course, and lots of players followed the call of the BOM’s official Players Party.

Come Back for Day 2

With 414 players left to fight for the win, Day 2 starts on Sunday at 1 PM local time. There are over 50 million chips in play and they are all in one room now -- as is the next BOM champion.

Sunday is also the starting day of the 3-day Siege of Malta, which is the biggest side event of the festival. There will also be the PLO tournament and the satellite for the High Roller event.

Check back to our live coverage page where we’ll post news and updates. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Check out or video of Day 1C to get some impression of what it’s like to be part of the Battle of Malta.


Guarantee Reached on Day 1b

Right from the start of Day 1b it felt like this could be another record year. With 600 players in Level 1 we only needed 80 to fill up the guaranteed half million Euro.

Turned out there would be 180 more. This means for the first time we were able to get there before the last starting day.

It was also a day where we found many players who had deep runs in the past. Last year’s Rising Star Silje Nilsen made a return to the BOM stage and delivered a good battle until she had her two-pair counterfeited in a big pot.

Her successor fared a lot better. Espen Uhlen Jörstad is just back from a road trip along the American West Coast, where he learned that he was the SOPA “Rising Star” 2017, travelled to Malta, received a trophy and then started building a stack. It doesn’t look like he’s finished building yet.

BOM Champion Louis Cartarius.

Former BOM champion Louis Cartarius from Germany also returned and relished in being back where he once won the main event title.

He couldn’t make it through the day, though, and we’re hoping to have him back tomorrow.

Our host Gaelle Garcia Diaz also sat down to play today, but succumbed to the pressure that is the Battle of Malta. She’ll be back tomorrow for another introduction and another bullet.

Former final tablists Uri Gilboa (2015) from Israel and Robert Sverre Eik (2016) from Norway were there just as Swedish player Jonas Hähnert (2016) and Anne Meri from Finland (2015).

And then there was Valentin Messina, who’s achieved the rare feat of making the top 30 of the BOM twice, finishing second in the last EPT Malta and then made the final two tables of the WSOP main event this summer.

Chip Count Top Ten Day 1B

Valerio Citta


Joel Nystedt


Peter Cameron


Madon Lipszye


Angelo Patane


Mark Attard


Alessandro Picchieri


Martin Gudvangen


Yotam Bar Yosef


Vincenzo Dainotti


Also at the BOM

The last Super Satellite went down tonight and added another 30 players to tomorrow’s Day 1c of the Battle of Malta main event.

Meanwhile, 100 meters above us, the players who are off today celebrated the All-in Friday, a party located in the highest club and lounge on Malta on the 22nd of 22 floors of the Hilton Tower.

Silje Nilsen.

In addition to the main event, tomorrow will also see the first side events running in the Spinola Suite. Among the is our first Ladies event and the Maltese “Win the Button” variant called “Win the Cross” – it’s essentially the same, though, so get yourself a seat.

Come back to PokerListings tomorrow when we answer the magic question of whether we can break the 2,000 player sound barrier, and check out the live coverage. You can also find us on

Facebook Twitter Instagram

Have a look at what happened on Day 1c in our short video of the day.


Rise & Fire! 2017 Battle of Malta Soars Again on Day 1a

After 14 levels were put in the books for Day 1a just 68 of the starting 320 players were left with chips in their bags and hope for Day 2 on Sunday.

All told it was another blistering start to BoM as the number of players rose again, a past champion returned and the first party kicked off, too. 

Biggest Day 1a Yet

If you missed our Day 1a Live Coverage, here’s a quick rundown of the most notable happenings on the first starting day of BOM #6.

The official tally is 320 players for Day 1A which makes it the largest Day 1A since we added a third starting day to the main event in 2015.

In 2016 the BOM grew to a new record total of 1,813 entries but just 271 of those came on Day 1A.

The Katsman Cometh

What does that portend for the total field this year? We’ll find out late on Saturday when registration closes on Day 1c.

The Kats Comes Back

By the end of the day the field had whittled down to just 68 players with Anthony Healy packing up the biggest stack.

He'll have 254,00 to work with when he returns on Day 2. Veronese Stefano with 250,000 and Anita Kmiciewicz with 197,00 are also among the big stacks.

Here's a look at the unofficial Top 10:

Anthony Healy 254,000
Stefano Veronese 250,000
Marko Grujic 228,000
Andrea Grandi 217,500
Antonino Gassinaro 209,000
Gabi Gabraiel 208,500
Jonathan Tigell 203,000
Mirko Willsch 202,000
Anita Kmiciewicz 197,000
Quentin Larique 193,000

One of our former champions was in the field today, too. Bulgarian Antoan Katsarov won the whole shebang in 2014 and he clearly hasn’t lost his edge since. He moved into the last level of play with about 100k and held steady to finish the day with 95,500.

Norwegian Andreas Hoivold is now a veteran of the BOM, having played pretty much every year since its inception.

Lately he's been more concerned with his health than poker, but he felt good enough to make his return today - even though it didn't quite work out for him.

While he busted in the early levels today he'll still have his re-entry to use tomorrow or Saturday.

We’ll Have a Mojito, If You're Pouring

While late registration closed without any disappointed players left out and while the tournament moved past the dinner break, the Opening Cocktail Party took place in the Quarterdeck bar at the Hilton.

Rising Star gets rewarded

The Cocktail party was also the setting for this year’s Spirit of Poker Awards ceremony. Norway's Espen Uhlen Jörstad was on hand and collected his award as the Rising Star of year, courtesy of PokerListings readers.

Per Hildebrand – the Living Legend of the Year – and Liv Boeree, the Most Inspiring Player, were also recognized.

Day 1B starts at 2 PM tomorrow from the Grandmaster Suite and we'll be slinging up-to-the-minute updates at you over in the Battle of Malta 2017 Live Coverage section!

Follow us on:

Facebook Twitter and Instagram

for more!

The 3 Pillars of BoM 2017

This year the Battle of Malta has grown into a full-fledged poker festival with 9 different tournaments (including the Main Event, Siege of Malta 2nd Chance and Grandmaster High Roller), 4 player parties and more value than ever before.

The main focus of BOM 2017 will, of course, be the main event. We’re staying true to the legacy of our signature poker event so the buy-in will stay at €550 with one re-entry allowed.

We are also keeping the €500,000 guarantee for the prize pool - but if history serves that will be close to doubled.

There are 3 starting days again this year – Day 1A on Thursday at 2 PM, Day 1B Friday at 2 PM and Day 1C Saturday at 2 PM.

We’ll play down to the final table on Tuesday and it'll be accompanied by a cards-up live stream on an appropriate delay.

Our signature side event - the Siege of Malta - is also back and is now a three-day event starting on Sunday, Nov 5, at 4 PM. Buy-in is the usual €220+€25.

The Grandmaster High Roller runs on Monday/Tuesday Nov 6/7 and will have a buy-in of €1,320. Watch out for the High Roller satellite on Sunday, the day before the event, where 1 in 10 players will get a ticket to play.

Side Events Galore

Our growing list of side events now also includes the following:

€330 NLHE Deepstack Turbo €220 PLO Knight Crusader €110 NLHE Win the Cross €220 IPC After Battle Turbo Battle of Malta trophies.

Two brand new events are also in the line-up:

PLAY2CARE Charity €165 Crazy Pineapple €110 Ladies Event

By popular demand we’ve also brought back the Blackjack tournament and we’re raising the number of players to a cap of 25.

If you want in, be early!

Find the complete Battle of Malta event schedule here.

All Tomorrow's Parties

A major part of BOM has always been to ensure the players have a good time and with that good time usually comes a few adult beverages.

In fact, at the Battle of Malta, there’s a party every day! Join us for the Opening Cocktail Party, All-in Friday, the Official BoM VIP Players Party, the Prosecco Breakfast, the Hilton Pool Party, and/or the Thirsty Barber Speakeasy Drinks.

The party never stops if you don't want it to, basically. Check the full list of when and where the parties happen on the schedule page.

By the way ... here's the weather forecast for BOM 2017. Feel free to compare with your place.

Kudos to Liv Boeree, Per Hildebrand & Espen Uhlen Jørstad

The winners of the 2017 PokerListings Spirit of Poker Award were announced last month and we'll have a SOPA award ceremony to honor them at BoM 2017.

(Y)our winners:

Liv Boeree – Most Inspiring Player Per Hildebrand – Living Legend Espen Uhlen Jørstad – Rising Star

The 2017 SOPA Awards will be handed out during the Opening Cocktail Party on Thursday at the Quarterdeck of the Hilton.

Gaelle Garcia Diaz - the new BOM host.

Host of the ceremony (and the Battle of Malta) will be, for the first time, Gaelle Garcia Diaz.

She’s been a player at BOM and now she’s taking over from Maria Ho as the host.

Welcome Gaelle! it’s a pleasure to have you with us.

And players ... please come and say hello to her.

Battle of Malta Live Satellites

As mentioned above there’ll be a Super Satellite to the Grandmaster High Roller event for €132+€18 on Sunday, Nov 5 at 9.30 PM.

It’s capped at 100 players and it’ll be full, so ask at the reception soon to secure your ticket.

We’ll also host last chance satellites to the Battle of Malta Main Event. The satellites run on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 7 PM downstairs in the Portomaso Casino. The buy-in will be €55+€5, and 1 in 10 players get a ticket to the main event.

Again, the number of players is capped for each of the satellites, as there is limited space available, but we’ll give you a chance to re-enter and register late.

Prepare for battle. It is nigh.


The €111,111 One Drop at the 2017 WSOP Europe was the highest buy-in WSOP event of the year - even bigger than the one in Vegas because of the currency difference.

The title is coming home to 888poker Team Pro.

Dominik Nitsche, one of the longest-standing poker ambassadors for the brand, took down the elite-field event over the weekend to claim almost €3.5 million, beating Andreas Eiler in an all-German heads-up.

Star-Studded Field

88 players registered to play and with 44 re-entries, that meant 132 total entries and a prize pool of just shy of €13 million. Just under €1 million was raised for the One Drop charity.

Even Fedor didn't make the money.

It was by far the highest class field of this year’s WSOPE with names including Phil Hellmuth, Ryan Riess, Benjamin Pollak, Patrik Antonius, Gus Hansen, Igor Kurganov, Liv Boeree, Bertrand Grospellier, Phil Gruissem, Fedor Holz, Rainer Kempe, Sam Trickett and Ole Schemion.

And those are the players that didn’t even make the money.

There were 20 spots ITM and Vladimir Troyanovskiy was the unlucky bubble boy after Charlie Carrel hit a straight on him on the river.

Carrel would later finish in 9th place but outlasted Daniel Pidun, Jack Salter, Bryn Kenney, Christopher Frank, Nick Petrangelo, Eugene Katchalov, Koray Aldemir and eventually Kenny Hallaert in 10th place.

At that point Christoph Vogelsang held a massive chiplead with more than 60 million chips equalling 25% of the chips in play.

Martin Kabrhel and Ahadpur Khangah followed Carrel to the rail and then luck ran out for Vogelsang, who finished in sixth.

Mikita Badziakouski was the only one of the five remaining players whose native tongue isn’t German. It took just 90 minutes to eliminate Steffen Sontheimer, Thomas Mühlöcker and Badziakouski and then there were just Nitsche and Eiler left to battle for the title.

Runner-Runner Surge

Eiler started the heads-up as the chipleader but Nitsche quickly surged ahead when he hit a runner-runner flush against Eiler’s pair of aces in just the third hand of the finale.

Nitsche crushed the heads-up and moved into a 5-1 chiplead within 90 minutes before Eiler managed to double up.

But it was Nitsche’s night, the cards fell his way, and he played them well. Less than two hours after heads-up play began Nitsche had all the 264 million chips in front of him.

WSOPE One Drop Final Table Payouts


Dominik Nitsche



Andreas Eiler



Mikita Badziakouski



Thomas Mühlöcker



Steffen Sontheimer



Christoph Vogelsang



Ahadpur Khangah



Martin Kabrhel



Charlie Carrel


"I Think I Played Perfect"

The champion appeared to be extremely pleased with how he handled this tournament.

Picture perfect.

“A lot of time recently that I put into playing was heads-up cash games, specifically," Nitsche said.

"So I felt extremely comfortable all the way through. Maybe a little bit three-handed was not the strongest part of my game, and Mikita is one of the best in the world at that, so I wasn’t the strongest player there.”

“But I felt as good a player as Andreas Eiler, who played fantastic. I felt like I was the strongest player at this point. And I felt like I made no mistakes at all.

"I think I played perfect. There was no bet size, no fold, anything that I would change in hindsight. That’s why I’m happy.”

It’s the fourth WSOP bracelet for the young German which puts him in on par with Mike Matusow, Huck Seed, Max Pescatori, George Danzer, Tom McEvoy and Amarillo Slim, to name just a few.

Still, the bracelet isn’t the most important thing for Nitsche. And it’s not the money either.

“It’s not about the bracelets for me, mostly. It’s about playing really well. I’m more proud of how I played rather than that I won. […]

"The bracelets are nice, but the bracelets show me that my hard work pays off. I’m not the kind of guy to go trophy chasing. I’m more the kind of guy to play in a high roller because I love competing against the best.”

Nitsche is a member of the 888poker pro team and plays regularly on 888poker. If you want to play there, too, get your own account through the PokerListings links on our 888poker review page.


In March 2018 the PokerStars Championship will return to Sochi, Russia, for the second time.

While PokerStars just had an event in Sochi in October, that one was part of its smaller buy-in festival series. 

The main event attracted 699 players to the dazzling resort on the Black Sea and spearhead of Russian poker, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, finished second.

This time around it'll get the full championship treatment and the main event will have a guarantee of €2.2 million (RUB150 million).

Springtime in Russia

Not everything about the upcoming PSC schedule has been publicized yet, but here's what’s already official.

The full Championship schedule will take place March 20-29 with the main event scheduled for March 23-29.

The main event will have a buy-in of €2,830 (RUB192,000) and a guaranteed prize pool of €2.2 million.

This is the lowest buy-in for a PokerStars main event in their premier tournament series since Season 1 of the EPT.

Re-Entry, High Roller Included

PokerStars has added the clause “single entry per starting day," which leaves some room for interpretation, but likely means that players who bust on Day 1A will be allowed to re-enter on Day 1B.

There will be a High Roller event for €9,000 (RUB617,000) with a single re-entry. A PokerStars National Championship with a €975 buy-in (RUB66,000) and a Sochi Cup for €280 (RUB19,000) will also run.

The location of the event is the Sochi Casino and Resort in Estosadok Village, which is Russia’s most popular holiday resort.

Second PSC in Sochi

PokerStars hosted a PSC in Sochi last May with the buy-in then twice what it will be now. The main event guarantee was also the same RUB150 million.

The main event didn’t reach the guarantee which meant the players got to enjoy quite an overlay. There were 387 players in that main event, which means that this time PokerStars will have to attract more than twice as many to reach the 150 million.

Things went well for Vovtroy last time.

There were several reasons why the first PSC didn’t have the turn-out it was supposed to. The event was scheduled relatively late, and it was moved to the end of May after the PSC Monte Carlo and to a time when many players were already on the way to the WSOP.

Also, it was the third new destination on the new PSC calendar after Panama and Macau in March/April, which probably was a bit too much travelling even for professional tournament players.

For 2018 the schedule has been scaled down and the PSC Sochi has hence become more accessible. It is now scheduled for the end of March, meaning that it’ll take over the spring slot from the events in Panama and Macau.

Prague next! PSC Schedule First Half of 2018

Although there hasn’t been an official finalization for the first half of the 2018 PSC schedule, it’s very likely going to look like this:

January 6-14, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Paradise Island, Bahamas. (NOTE: The last direct satellite runs on November 5!)  March 20-29, PSC Sochi, Russia May 2018, PSC Monte Carlo

On the immediate horizon is the PSC Prague, running December 7-18. You’ll shortly find more information here on PokerListings.

PokerStars is the largest online poker operator in the world running thousands of tournaments on all buy-in levels every day.

Find out more on our PokerStars review page. You’ll also find secure download links there to start you own poker career in a matter of minutes.


More than 60,000 players have already won cash and prizes in the daily Action Squad tournaments on 888poker.

But there's still plenty of cash left to be had.

All this week the 888poker Action Squad is giving away $10k every day and a shot at a daily $100k prize.

The final $10,000 Ultimate Hero Freeroll runs this Sunday, Nov. 5 but in the meantime get your hands on extra cash through a trio of high-value freerolls.

Fast Fold, 4-Max & Super Turbo Mania

There are three different types of Action Squad freerolls but they all have one thing in common – they’re lightning fast.

It's a Blast.

The freerolls are called Blast Man, Turbo Warrior and Captain Snap and you can read in detail how they work right here

Every Action Squad freeroll has a prize pool of $3,000 and the top 888 players receive a scratch card to give them even more chances of winning great prizes.

On top of that there’s a Daily Power Up Freeroll that has a prize pool of $1,000. You need tickets to play in any of these, but it’s never been easier to get them.

All you need to do is spin the Wheel of Fortune that will automatically pop-up once you start your 888poker lobby. You can spin once a day and you will win tickets if you keep on trying. We’ve tried it; it works.

Action Squad Schedule




Captain SNAP


16.10 CET

Turbo Warrior


20.10 CET

Blast Man


1.10 CET

Power Up


23.10 CET

Ultimate Hero

Nov 5

21.30 CET

Scratch for $100,000!

The Wheel of Fortune can also provide you with Power Scratch Cards and Super Power Scratch Cards. They're the same you can win in the Action Squad tournaments.

Power Scratch Cards are nice, while Super Power Scratch Cards are amazing. Power Scratch Cards can win you tickets to the $10,000 Ultimate Hero tournaments and cash bonuses up to $1,000.

Super Power Scratch Cards are the ones that give you the chance to win the ultimate prize of this promotion - $100,000 in cash straight into your 888poker account. To sum things up:

Action Squad freerolls let you win money and scratch cards Scratch cards let you win money and tickets Wheel of Fortune gives you all of the above

In short: you can’t lose.

Time is of the Essence!

The Action Squad promotion only runs for a few more days and all the freerolls will end after November 5. If you haven’t taken your shot at the $100,000 main prize, do it now.

Get in the game!

If you still have a couple of freeroll tickets in your lobby (which you do if you play regularly on 888poker) go ahead and use them in the freerolls. 

888poker is the second-largest online poker site in the world and runs big, high-value poker promotions for low-limit players in particular.

To be eligible to take part in these promotions get your own 888poker account.

Learn more and get started through our 888poker review page, where you’ll find all the information you need and safe download links to install the 888poker software and access our $888 sign-up bonus.


The poker world has a long history of charitable giving but in recent years, more and more young poker pros have made an extra effort to contribute something meaningful to society.

Of those who have made the decision to "give back to the world," many have done so through donating a percentage of their wins to the Raising for Effective Giving (REG) charity.

REG is an organization co-founded by poker pros Phil Gruissem, Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree that's dedicated to Effective Altruism - meaning maximizing the benefits to at-risk populations via the most effective donations.

888poker has jumped in to the cause as well and, this year alone, generated $100k in contributions to REG via tournament fees collected during the XL series.

888poker Directs XL Funds to Combat Malaria

For the inaugural XL Inferno tournament series back in March, 888poker decided to raise money for REG so declared it would donate all the fees from three major tournaments of said series.

Gruissem: Seen first-hand how much of a difference it makes.

That generated $50,400. During the following XL Eclipse series 888poker repeated that initiative with another three events for charity and gathered another $40,825.

So, with just a few online poker tournaments, 888poker managed to collect almost $100k and contributed it directly to the Against Malaria Foundation, which is one of the institutions REG supports.

And if you’re wondering what they money went to, in the case of the AMF it was something as simple as mosquito nets.

That might not sound like much, but every year more than 700,000 people die from malaria and a mosquito net costs but $2.50.

With the money raised by 888poker during the XL series, almost 40,000 people can be provided with mosquito nets -- meaning that they can protect themselves and their children, the most vulnerable victims of this disease, for the next 2-3 years.

888poker collaborates with REG

REG was founded in 2014 and has since raised more than $3 million for its various causes. Its founders mentioned above, along with Stefan Huber, have all committed to an ongoing donation of a percentage of their winnings.

Since, many others have joined. If you check the REG website their main ambassadors are listed as WSOP champion Martin Jacobson, Erik Seidel, Cate Hall, Justin Bonomo, Christopher George, George Danzer and John Juanda.

World champ Jacobson also on board.

All of these personalities are involved in all sorts of charitable activities, some of which are directly connected to poker and thus easily accessible for the poker community.

This summer, for example, Liv and Igor won the Tag Team event at the WSOP. The teams were allowed to have four members so there were four bracelets for the winning team.

Liv and Igor put the two spare bracelets on eBay and collected a sales price of $10,200. That’s $10k for charity that didn’t hurt anybody, didn’t cost anybody anything and didn’t even involve any work.

Phil Gruissem once told PokerListings that being a poker player and putting his talent to work making money through the game was the way he was 'most useful' in the world. He also compared it to one of the teachings of Buddhism.

“Buddhism says giving will make you happy. I agree with that a lot.”

All you have to do is play! You Can Contribute, Too

If you play on 888poker you can also support these kinds of important and effective charitable institutions just by playing.

The next XL series - the XL Blizzard series starting in January - will have more REG Chip In events which you can play and contribute your fees to a great cause.

Create your own 888poker account by downloading the software securely from PokerListings’ 888poker review page. You'll have an account up and running within a few minutes and get access to our exclusive $888 bonus.


PokerStars’ new Power Up game went live last week and is now running smoothly with $1, $3 and – since October 20 – $7 buy-ins.

Power Up features several “super powers” added to regular No-Limit Hold’em that let you control parts of the gameplay, your hole cards and even those of your opponents.

The game was first introduced at PSC Barcelona last August and we spoke with the Director of Innovation, Severin Rasset, about it.

Meanwhile, the members of Team PokerStars have been eager to try Power Up out and have a few suggestions about its best weapons.

X-Ray & Intel, Obv.

It appears that there’s one power – out of 9 total – that resonates particularly well with the pros.

Given how successful they are in the regular game of No-Limit Hold'em, you might want to pay attention to it when you play Power Up yourself.

Igor Kurganov, Jeff Gross, Jason Mercier, Felipe Ramos, Jamie Staples, Adrienne Rowsome and Mikhail Shalamov were the pros asked for their first impressions of the game and their answers were revealing.

Three out of 7 opted for X-Ray -- the power to see one of your opponent's hole cards at random) as the one power card they like the most. 

Mercier picked X-Ray because it “seems like a huge advantage and should make it very easy to make decisions throughout the hand.”

Shalamov agreed, saying it’s “always easier to play against your opponent when you know 50% of their holdings." Rowsome raved about X-Ray’s ability to “reveal so much about your opponents’ hand and there is nothing they can do about it."

There's something about seeing more cards than other players that PokerStars pros consider to be more valuable as Intel -  which let’s you peek at the top card of the deck - proved to be the second most popular power in this group.

As Jaime Staples explained, it "gives you a sick advantage while the your opponent is still blind." Kurganov agreed and adds “having certain information, or as certain as it gets in Power Up, is a very nice advantage – more so than getting to shuffle the cards."

Upgrade & Clone Have Their Fans

2017 Most Inspiring Play nominee Jeff Gross says he prefers Upgrade, " as being able to obtain an extra card and then combine two of the three is a very nice advantage to have.”

2016 Most Inspiring Player winner Felipe Ramos, on the other hand, is known to be excitable and for having his own views on things. He picked Clone as his preferred power: “Imagine if you could clone anything in your life … you can in this game!”

Avatars, as Expected, are Personal

Another feature of Power Up is that get to pick an avatar to represent you at the table.

All the characters depicted have different background stories and playing styles, although they don’t actually have any effect on the game.

So you can either pick your personal avatar to describe your own style or you can pick your avatar to hide it and mislead your opponents.

Or, of course, you can go the Jason Mercier way, who decided on Sora Hamada not just because Hamada has strong memory and a short attention span, but also because “he has facial hair."

Hamada is the only avatar that two of the PS team pros considered their favorite as Jeff Gross also said Hamada’s memory skills and focus weaknesses reminded him of himself.

The other favorites of the PS players:

Jaime Staples – Hitch Reider Mikhail Shalamov – Arlo Shank Adrienne Rowsome – Shayu Jyn Igor Kurganov – Charlotte Nagy Felipe Ramos – Miles Legend

If you want to know more about the natures of the different avatars, check in on Power Up in the PokerStars lobby. You’ll go through a short tutorial before you get started to learn all you need to know to play the game.

If you don’t have a PokerStars account yet visit our PokerStars review page where you’ll find links to download the PokerStars software securely and get yourself a $600 bonus.


At his peak, David Beckham was the richest sportsperson of his era.

The Manchester United/Real Madrid/England star was the icon for millions of people of all ages - a truly global star.

Can you imagine Beckham turning up for training, drinking a can of Red Bull, a razor in one hand, and a rusty can of shaving foam in the other?

Do you think he had football genes enabling him to turn up and play - no training, no advanced learning, no need to reach peak fitness, no dietary considerations, no brand awareness, no business acumen -  and he was that good?

So why do so many poker players think they can sit down in the local library, read a few poker books by Dan Harrington and hey, presto!?

No Room for Troubled Joints

There has been a shift in power within the higher echelon of poker; gradual, but it's there. To win millions today you need to be a well-oiled machine. There is no room for frozen joints and troubled minds.

It's time the casinos began erecting signs of poker boom players in wheelchairs leading to the exit.

The education of the new breed is different. Sure, they work on the technical aspects of their game, harder than anyone else. But they find their edge in the work they do away from the tables.

The hard work is in the smoothie ingredients, the posture of the downward-facing dog and the 40-minutes of daily transcendental meditation.

They have Silicon Valley savvy, they draw business plans on the blackboard using the finest chalk and they exist in the most fulfilling, loving and spiritual relationships.

If you want to join them, here are 24 books that will help get you there.

1. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Steven Pressfield hammers home his points with a minimum of fuss. You will finish the book during your morning poo.

The War of Art is a tale about resistance and how it constantly tries to cripple us. Poker is art and resistance is everywhere in poker. 

Also try Turning Pro and Do The Work

2. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

At times this book can feel morally incomprehensible. But it’s perfect for the cutthroat world of poker.

Law #3 Conceal Your Intentions.

Law #4 Always Say Less Than Necessary.

Law #5 So Much Depends on Reputation - Guard it With Your Life.

Get the picture?

3. Deep Work by Cal Newport

Knowledge is power in poker but how you accrue knowledge is critical. Don't lie in bed watching RunItOnce training videos until you fall asleep.

Focus on one thing and devote 100% of your attention. Distractions are a hum that will reverberate around your life until something cracks.  

4. Meaningful by Bernadette Jiwa

If you want to be a professional poker player you need to learn about marketing and branding. If you don't want to be a pro but you want to sell some action, or get backing, you still need to learn about marketing and branding.

Bernadette Jiwa is a genius in both areas. Also try: Marketing: a Love Story, Difference and Hunch

5. It’s Not What You Sell It’s What You Stand For by Roy M. Spence

Here is another fantastic book on marketing and branding. Roy M. Spence shares his personal experience working with some of the world’s most profitable businesses during his time at the ad agency GSD&M.

Learn how the very best cultivate the right brand story and create your own.

6. Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy

This book is designed to get you to see that eating meat is an invisible, violent and dominant belief system called Carnism. It makes this list - not for that purpose - but for the way it teaches you to look at the world more philosophically.

Thinking about the way the world works is a skill that is often overlooked by poker players and yet all the top poker players have this skill. Also, try watching Okja on Netflix. 

7. Doing Good Better by William MacAskill

Poker has become one of the most charitable sports in the world. In recent years, Raising For Effective Giving (REG) has made it cool for young poker players to donate to effective charities.

If you want to know why people like Martin Jacobson donated over a quarter of a million dollars to charity, let the founder of Effective Altruism tell you all about it. 

8. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

The poker world is full of vices. Addiction lies not only within the core structure of the game but on the periphery in the form of drugs, alcohol, and expensive food bills.

Learn to understand why we do the things we do so that you can make a more informed decision next time.

9. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Elon Musk comes across as a right dick. But deep down, his empathy is so far beyond what we can comprehend; it's invisible to us.

He is a man making billions of dollars so he can change the world in ways people haven't even considered. Poker players looking for greater meaning in life can learn a great deal by using Elon Musk as their poster boy.

10. An Astronauts Guide to Life by Chris Hadfield

There are two reasons why this book is perfect for poker players. The first was Chris Hadfield's desire to be an astronaut at a time when no Canadian had ever been in space and then making that dream come true.

The second reason is Hadfield's continual preparation and management of risk. When you are living millimetres from death, you always have to figure out what can go wrong and how to adapt. This should be one of poker's 10 Commandments.

11. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns

Even those amongst us who have won 14 WSOP gold bracelets can feel a little depressed or unworthy from time to time. The pressure gets to us and, the next thing you know, you're calling cage fighters moronic motherfuckers.

David D. Burns is the Gandalf of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and this book is a brilliant way to diagnose and fix a variety of different mental disorders that will prevent you from reaching your true potential.

12. The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz

What are your Primary and Secondary choices in life and how do you make them? Have you made a Fundamental choice in life; and if so, in what direction will it take you?

Robert Fritz teaches you that The Path of Least Resistance is the one containing the most footprints but it's not the one that you want to be taking.

13. E3 by Pam Grout

Pam Grout's thought experiments are both fun and insightful. Think of the number ‘222' and it shall appear.

Do you want to see rabbits? You'll see them everywhere?

Based on the theory of the Law of Attraction this book is less hocus pocus and more about the power of positive mind and visualizing what it is you want in your life; WSOP bracelet, anyone?

Also try E2.

14. Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal

You should give this book to every person who doubts that you can make a difference in the world by playing poker.

Jane McGonigal is a gaming expert who believes that games have the power to change the world. As a poker player, you will learn a great deal about how you can add deeper meaning to the time you spend on the felt.

Also try SuperBetter.

15. Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse

Who doesn't need a little help organizing life? Poker players need to play, study and spend time with those they love.

Kevin Kruse asks the billionaires, Olympic athletes, top-grade students and some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world for their productivity tips. The only problem is where to start implementing all the strategy.

16. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

If you aren't religious, then this book may be a little difficult to stomach, but stomach it. If you can push aside the religious tone of the book and focus on Rick Warren’s message, there is some great advice on how to find meaning & purpose in life.

As a poker player, whose sole purpose is taking money from people, it will help.

17. The Here And Now Habit by Hugh G. Byrne

Fedor Holz didn’t create Primed Mind because he was bored. Holz believes that the edges in the game now come from places other than the game and mindset is on top of that list.

The Here and Now Habit is the perfect portrayal of mindfulness and how you can implement it into your life to help reduce stress, anxiety and tilt.

18. The Liver Cleansing Diet by Dr Sandra Cabot

Playing poker is a dangerous pursuit if you don’t look after yourself. Casinos aren’t renowned for the best haute cuisine in the world and even Jake Cody lives on Pot Noodles when in the midst of a Sunday online grind.

The Liver Cleansing Diet teaches you the importance of maintaining a tip-top liver and you will also lose a lot of weight in the process.

19. Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

Money is fuel and you can't play poker without it. You need solid bankroll management skills to become a great poker player and why this book stands out is because of the way it uses your time as a financial metric.

How many hours of your life are you willing to sacrifice playing poker, learning about poker and talking about poker? This book hits home the importance of prioritizing how you spend money.

20. It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden

Paul Arden's classic is another one of those books that you can finish during a trip to the loo. It's short, sharp and concise. It's witty and thought provoking. 

If you want to persuade people to buy something from you - whether that's a bluff, pieces of action, or your brand - then this book is a delight.

21. Results by Jamie Smart

Every poker player has blamed external forces for their failures in the game. The deck, the idiotic fish who can't play, or the stupid dealer.

Jamie Smart is a student of Sydney Banks and the Three Principles of Mind, Consciousness, and Thought. It's a perfect book for a poker player looking to find clarity through all the noise.

Results help you realize that all of your feelings come from thought in the moment, a powerful lesson for a poker player. Also try Clarity

22. People Skills by Robert Bolton

How often do you see someone selling communications training for poker players? And yet, isn’t that what the game is all about?

Robert Bolton helps you to communicate with people both verbally and non-verbally better than anyone, in particular, his advice on how to manage conflict. 

23. If The Buddha Married by Charlotte Kasl

Poker can be a very time-intensive pursuit that doesn't leave you much time for the special loved one in your life.

If you find that time at the tables, or financial difficulties, is having an adverse impact on your relationships, Charlotte Kasl's book is a great way for you to resolve your issues.

24. Tribes by Seth Godin

All great poker players will confirm that the most exceptional education in poker is talking shop with other great poker players. But how do you do this? Where are they? Why would they listen?

Fedor Holz became one of the greatest players of his generation because of the support of his tribe. Martin Jacobson won the 2014 WSOP Main Event because of the support of his tribe.

You are already a part of a tribe. You are a poker player. Learn how to cultivate and create more intimate tribes through this fantastic book.


Now it’s your turn. What non-poker book would you recommend?


There was a new Sunday Major in the 888poker lobby this past weekend.

Dubbed The Great 8 it’s a $88 buy-in tournament played 8-handed with 8,888 starting chips.

Low buy-in players might recognize the format as it echoes the popular 8-8-8 event – a daily event with an $8.88 buy-in that regularly draws 500-700 players and gives them plenty of room for deep-stack play.

The new Major certainly agreed with Russian player BillyBon8, who swept to victory in the first Great 8 to top a weekend where he also won the Baby Whale.

Double for BillyBon8 

Last year BillyBon8 had an amazing couple of days on 888poker in November. He first won the Lightning 6-Max and then 48 hours later won the Crocodile.

Moorman in contention as always.

This time around, he won tournaments simultaneously.

For a player to take down two tournaments on one day is a rare feat but BillyBon8 did it again in the new Great 8 and the biggest Sunday Major, the Baby Whale.

There were 582 entries in the Great 8 including 888poker pro Chris Moorman, who finished 51st, but BillyBon8 was the last man standing.

That was worth almost $9k, but he didn’t stop there.

BillyBon8 also prevailed against the strong player field the Baby Whale always has. 888poker pro Parker Talbot, for example, finished in 24th.

At the final table BillyBon8 survived highly profitable players like DonkMaster99 and eventually both Jans Graftekkel Arends and Simon Isildur1337x Mattson, who finished in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Overall the $320 event had 378 entries to generate a prize pool of $113,400.

888poker Baby Whale Final Table Payouts



Prize Money




























Germaxii Maxes Out

Despite BillyBon8 being a double winner, the player of the weekend was arguably Argentinian player germaxii.

The former XL Eclipse winner had six tournament cashes this weekend -- four of which were final tables.

Germaxii is now at 24% ITM rate and 135% ROI for this year. Impressive stats and proof that playing online profitably is still possible.

The Action Squad wants you! Daily Super Hero Freerolls!

It's difficult to make deep runs in tournaments but 888poker will give you plenty of chances to make one yourself - for free.

Three different Super Hero freerolls run daily with $3,000 prize pool each and you can win tickets to play in them just by spinning the wheel when you open your 888poker lobby.

Don’t worry if it doesn’t work the first time; It will work and you’ll get plenty of tickets. There are also Power Up freerolls with $1,000 prize pools and once a week there's an Ultimate Hero tournament with a $10,000 prize pool.

To play in that one you just have to make the top 888 in any of the Super Hero freerolls. More about the Super Hero freerolls here

To kick-start your poker career, create your 888poker account by downloading the 888poker software from our 888poker review page. If you do, you'll also get up to an $888 bonus.


Dan Cates turned his online nickname, "jungleman12," into a full-on poker brand when he clearly dominated poker whiz kid Tom Dwan in the second durrrr challenge.

Since then Cates has become renowned as one of the best cash game players around.

When he came to play on the new Poker after Dark he had to face players like Ike Haxton, Doug Polk, Jason Koon and Brian Rast and it proved to be a tough test.

One of the most exciting hands of the episode was, however, a hand between Cates and Matt Berkey. It didn’t go exactly to Cates’ plan.

A Little $300/$600 Among Friends

The game is $300/$600 No-Limit Hold’em and Berkey just put in a straddle of $1,200. Cates is in first position. He sits with $321,000 – way over 500 bb – and finds    

Cates raises to $3,000. Haxton gets out of the way and Rast ($71,000) calls from the button. Polk and Koon fold and Berkey ($355,000) calls from the straddle.

There'd $10,500 in the pot and they go to a       flop.

Berkey checks and Cates bets $5,000. Rast calls and Berkey raises to $25,000.

Cates calls and Rast folds. There's $60,500 in the pot and effective stacks are $296,000.

The turn is the  

Berkey takes the lead and bets $30,000. Cates calls. There's now $120,500 in the pot and effective stacks are $266,000.

The river is the  

Berkey slows down and checks. Cates bets $97,000 and Berkey thinks about it for several minutes. Evntually, he calls reluctantly and shows    

Berkey wins a pot of $314,500.


What a hand! The run-out is quite different depending on the perspective you take. We’ll take both.

Pre-flop, Cates opens with the second best hand in NLHE. His raise is standard and exactly 2.5 straddles.

He gets two callers: Brian Rast has pocket tens but Matt Berkey’s call with Q-5o is on the loose side of calling here.

Yes, Berkey gets great pot odds. And because of the deep stacks he has the chance to take down a huge pot with a hidden monster – if he flops trips fives, for example.

It takes a lot of chutzpah to call out of position with such a poor hand like Q-5 when you’re up against Brian Rast and Dan Cates. But there are even more astounding things to come in this hand as we’ll soon see.

Betting is the Obvious Play

The flop Q-9-7 might be rainbow but it opens up several straight draws. Berkey checks his top pair to the initial aggressor, who doesn’t need long to c-bet his overpair.

Betting is the obvious play for Cates here. He wants to get money from every queen and straight draw as well as from a hand like Rast’s tens.

Rast calls indeed and now Berkey goes for a surprising move. He check-raises top pair, which is a move usually a weaker player would make. Why does he do that?

It’s a dubious move as Berkey is basically turning his hand into a bluff. There really aren’t many hands that call his raise and don’t beat top pair, weak kicker.

On the other side, the board is draw-heavy and goes very well with his perceived drawing range. So he’s putting himself in a position where he might be able to represent a straight and make better hands fold by the time they get to the river.

But maybe his predominant motivation here is to balance his check-raising range for this spot, so that he doesn’t only raise with monsters like sets or with semi-bluffs like J-T, but also with top pairs.

Holding an overpair to the board, Cates is unwilling to go away. So he doesn’t only call the flop-raise but also the turn bet.

The Donkey End of the Straight

The 6♥ doesn’t change much except one reasonable draw has come in – T-8 – while 8-5 can be excluded here with almost certainty.

Berkey bets half the pot, but he has so many bluffs in his range that Cates can’t lay down his pocket kings.

Already here on fourth street you can see how fierce high stakes games are but the river turns everything on its head again.

Berkey finds himself at the donkey end of a straight -- meaning he has the low end to a four-card straight on the board.

Would you check or bet? Many weaker players would lead out here but Berkey is smart enough to do the right thing, which is check.

It’s highly unlikely that a weaker hand like a queen or an overpair would call him here but Cates might well have a hand like J-T, so Berkey would be crushed.

Brilliance denied. The Brilliant River Bluff

Cates bets 80% of the pot and that move is nothing short of brilliant.

With the action that's happened he’s aware that his kings might not be good anymore, but he sees the chance to represent something much bigger – big enough to make two pair and even sets fold.

Let’s compare Berkey’s range and how it plays against Cates’ bluff bet on the river. Remember he still holds a pair of kings.

top pair hands worse than his are going to fold two pair hands like 9-7 or Q-9 as well as sets with 7-7 or 9-9 better than his will fold more often than they call hands with a 5 better than Cates’ kings will fold some of the times

Overall, the bet clearly gives Cates positive expectations about the outcome. Also, by checking the river, Berkey has capped his range as he would certainly bet a ten or better.

Cates’ bet makes a lot of hands better than his fold. Look at how difficult it is for Berkey to even call with a 5. He takes ages to make the decision.

How did he finally make that call, you ask?

Cates’ body language might be one factor, as it’s not very confident. But the main point is certainly that Berkey believes Cates is good enough for a bluff like that. He’d probably have folded to a weaker player.


Now we know why Matt Berkey can call a pre-flop raise out of position with Q-5. His post-flop game is good enough to make it profitable. Dan Cates played the hand beautifully. He just tried to bluff the wrong guy.


With its accessible buy-in and relaxed atmosphere, many poker players came to the recent 888Live London festival just for the experience.

For Newcastle's Jonathan Bowers, it was a chance to break through into bigger and greater things.

Bowers was a student when he started playing poker back in 2013. He acquired his first live poker experience at the Circus Casino where he played plenty of low-stakes tournaments.

He went on to take a job as a data analyst but his idea of a career, at least since he turned 18, was based around poker all the time.

“I just got the bug right away," he says, "and it just went from there.”

Time to Make the Leap

Bowers played dozens of under £50 tourneys at the Circus in 2013 to hone his skills before he moved on to bigger buy-ins.

He also met his now-girlfriend through poker and they now travel and play together -- although they try to avoid each other at the table.

About eight months ago Bowers eventually (and after a lot of hesitation) quit his job while his girlfriend Beth put her medical studies on hold.

They went to Malta first where Jonathan finished 11th in the MPNPT main event.

They then went on to Sin City itself where Bowers managed to clinch a first big cash when he finished 2nd for $15k in a $400 tournament at the famous Aria.

“It Was a Risk, but it Paid Off”

Bowers got lucky. Dropping out of a day job to pursue poker full-time has been the demise of many a poker player. But it worked for him.

After travelling to Malta and then spending three month in the US, Jonathan and Beth came back to England and ventured out to play the 888Live festival at the Aspers Casino in East London.

Bowers registered for the £2,200 High Roller event against players like 888poker pro Chris Moorman, the most successful online tournament player of all time.

Bowers made it to the final table and finally found himself playing heads-up against Jamie Lunt. Lunt prevailed and took the title but Bowers earned the highest pay check as he ahead in chips when they agreed on a deal.

Travel just one of the perks of pro poker.

Bowers came out of that tournament with around €40k in his wallet and it looks like he’s not going to go back to his old job.

“I don’t miss early mornings," he says, "and getting up to work 9-5s at all.”

Still Down to Fate

Jonathan and Beth's living costs are comparatively low as, when they’re not on the road, they live with Beth’s mom -- a rather unusual lifestyle for a poker pro.

Beth will at some point go back to University and finish her studies but she hasn’t made a decision yet. But she finds some surprising parallels between poker and medicine.

“You use all the knowledge you have," she says, "but still it is down to fate if you win or if the patient gets better.”

$888 Bonus Awaits

888poker offers a wide range of online poker tournaments and cash games. It also hosts plenty of live events and you can qualify for them online 24/7.

To get in the game, you simply need to get yourself a personal poker account. Download the 888poker software via one of the secure links on our 888poker review page and you'll instantly get access to a world-best $888 sign-up bonus.


The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will be the big kick-off event to the 2018 poker year and last weekend 100 players were added to the main event field.

The first of two Ultra Satellites for the 2018 PCA ran on Sunday and not only did the top 100 win full PCA prize packages, they reaped the rewards of a $500,000 overlay.

While 1,906 entries equaled just over a million dollars in buy-ins, the 100 guaranteed packages were actually worth $1.5 million to make for an extra level of value.

Ultra Satellite #2 Runs Nov. 5

All 100 winners received a full $14.8k prize package that covers the $10k Main Event buy-in, hotel, $1,000 in cash into their PokerStars accounts and 1,000 in hotel credits to spend at the Resort.

Door to Atlantis still wide open.

With that kind of value out there, you're likely wondering how you can get in on it. Thankfully you haven't missed your window.

A second Ultra Satellite will run on November 5 with the same $530 buy-in and multiple ways to qualify.

There's no guarantee of an overlay again, of course, but it's still a good idea to put the date in your calendar.

There are lots of sub-satellites to the Ultra Satellites all this month but also plenty of alternate ways to win a 2018 PCA package outright.

PCA Spin & Gos and Cash Game challenges are also running. Overall there will be over 400 online qualifiers in the PCA main event field this year which is the highest number in years. Nov. 5 is the date when all qualifier promotions for the PCA come to an end. More details here

Power Up Powered Up Again

Last week PokerStars went live with its new game Power Up but it had a few teething issues. Due to a bug the Power Up games were the only ones shown in the mobile lobby when certain filters were used -- although the games weren't affected.

Powered up again.

PokerStars Head of Communications Lee Jones published an official statement to explain the issue. PokerStars has since resolved the issue and Power Up is back in the lobby and running fine.

At the moment games are offered with $1 and $3 buy-ins but a bigger buy-in range is coming soon. 

If you want to try Power Up but feel a little intimidated, note that there's a guide to how to use the powers of Power Up.

Every Power Up player has to go through the tutorial before playing a Power Up hand. The tutorial is just two minutes and quickly gives you a grasp on how to use the powers correctly.

Want to give it a go? Create a new PokerStars account via or download link to access it all along with a $600 bonus. Our review page will also give you all the information you need about the biggest online poker room on the internet.


If it weren't for Tournament Director Ivonne Montealegre, the Battle of Malta wouldn't exist.

The native Costa Rican walked in to the PokerListings offices in 2012 to pitch the ‘crazy’ idea of a poker tournament in Malta in November and walked out with a directive to make it happen.

She did. After some impossibly long hours and a litany of hurdles overcome, 349 players put up the buy-in for the first BoM main event in 2012 and sowed the seeds for the 6-day, 9-event poker festival you’ll see this year.

Now six editions in, Montealegre is still the backbone of the Battle of Malta. And the work of more women behind and in front of the cameras is likewise.

Down to Every Detail

Over the last decade since the peak of the American poker boom, there's been a slow tick upwards in the amount of women playing the game of poker. Estimates of 20-30% of online poker players being female might even be too conservative. 

In live poker, though, it’s still another story. A generous average for female players in any given tournament field might be 5-7%.

At the highest buy-ins the figures are even smaller. Just 272 female players played the $10,000 WSOP Main Event in 2017 to make up 3.8% of the field.

At the Battle of Malta, we’re working hard to change those percentages. And that means in all aspects of poker tournament production as well.

"It hasn't necessarily been on purpose," says Montealegre, "but Battle of Malta relies a lot on the hard work on women. Mothers, daughters, colleagues and wives ... all amazing dedicated workers.

"From the Swedish House Hostesses to the Portomaso dealers to our floor managers to our sponsors and ambassadors, women are indispensable in making BoM happen. 

"Every detail at BOM has been carefully designed and has a female touch. We work very hard for something we care about. The commitment we get from our female staff members is just overwhelming." 

From Kara Scott to Maria Ho to Gaelle Garcia Diaz 

Host Kara Scott was the most prominent female player/personality at the first BoM but, much like that first event, the groundbreaking Scott set a precedent for BoMs to come. 

As the prestige of the tourney increased (it won Event of the Year Under 2k buy-in at the 2015 European Poker Awards), so did its female leads. 

Maria Ho took over from Scott as host in year 3 while prominent poker players like Fatima Moreira de Melo, Leo Margets, Sofia Lovgren, Claire Renaut, Sabina Hiatullah, Charlie Godwin, Silje Nilsen, Jackie “Poker Mama” Cachia and Gaelle Garcia Diaz have all taken seats among the field.

Celebs like Norwegian actor Tone Damli and Finnish DJ Amanda Harkimo have also jumped in to BoM to get their poker feet wet.

Finland’s Anne Meri became our first female final-tablist in 2015; last year we had more women in the field than ever before with Norway's Anne Mette Standal, Spain's Marina Ribas, Poland's Anita Kmiciewicz and American Sally Stephens (on a poker "bucket list" tour no less) all putting on impressive showings.

Nilsen, Cachia and last year's Last Woman Standing Standal have all confirmed they'll return for 2017. And keeping with our tradition of having a strong female host who plays great poker, Garcia Diaz will take over hosting duties.

New Ladies Event in 2017

Alongside Diaz comes our first-ever Ladies Event set to go this year.

With a €100 buy-in the stakes may be relatively small but with a growing contingent of female players led by Malta local Cachia, Standal and Nilsen, it’ll be one of the most spirited and social events of the series.

Anne Mette Standal

It’s also fitting that on the year we introduce our first Ladies event that none other than Liv Boeree – who we also hope to see at the 2017 BoM to receive her award in person – ran away with the votes for our 2017 Most Inspiring Player Award.

Friendliest Poker Festival in Europe

Beyond our high-value, 'big tour' feel, BoM is renowned for its friendly atmosphere and that starts with our popular group of hostesses, affectionately dubbed the ‘Swedish House Hostesses.’

Pernilla Sakert, Mimmi Bengtsson, Linda Vesterby, Carolin Kumlin and Anna Lindegren spend each tournament day circulating through the Hilton and Grandmaster Suite helping people find their tables, answering questions, listening to bad beat stories and making people feel as welcome and comfortable as possible.

When it comes to the nitty gritty details of the poker itself, women are front and center as well.

BoM floor manager Mikol Taifu has the daunting task of coordinating all of the dealers and staff for the events while Betsson VIP Manager Claudia Lama takes care of a massive group of Scandinavian players. 

When it comes to our huge cohort of Italian players, ambassador/journalist Romina D’Agostino has carried the torch across the Mediterranean to extol BoMs virtues and will be on hand in November to ensure our Italian contingent is celebrated and looked after during the festival.

"When You Get the Opportunity, Go!"

Ariela Rojas Gonzales, who took care of the photography for last year's Main Event, returns this year all the way from Costa Rica fresh from snapping pics at the Punta Cana Poker Open.

"When you get opportunities you can't really believe," says Gonzales, "what else can you do but go!  

"It's an amazing tournament that should interest any poker player. I'm excited to come back and work with the incredible PokerListings team and amazing BoM TD Ivonne Montealegre." 

As a Mom of 2, no time to waste!

Our in-tournament massage therapists, REVIVE TOUCH, will be all over the tourney floor again keeping everybody relaxed and in the mood for poker but it’s a decidedly collective effort from all that makes the BoM so special.

It couldn’t happen without the leadership and talent of our female staff.

"In my personal case," adds Montealegre, "BOM has become a substantial part of my life.

"And now that my life has to do with being a mother, my level of commitment is even more focused. The fact that I can’t be wasting time is a great motivator!"


It was a festival of long nights in London.

In the 888Live London Main Event, which wrapped on Sunday, the night had already advanced into the wee hours when Tom Hall won the last hand.

After a 13-hour marathon in the £2,200 High Roller Jamie Lunt was the last of 69 players at the table as dawn broke in East London.

And while it didn't run quite as long, 2017 Rising Star nominee Vivian Saliba from Brazil put her stamp on the Ladies Event to add another impressive line on her growing poker resume.

Hall Steals the Show in Main

Brit Tom Hall has been a steady presence on the European poker scene over the past few years and announced himself as part of the elite with a win in the 2016 EPT Prague High Roller.

Hall on top again.

He did nothing to change his rep at 888Live London with another impressive performance. 

Hall came into the final with a big lead and kept it for a long time, dominating alongside Spanish player Pol Hernandez.

But when Ning Lu eliminated Paul Scipioni to make things 3-handed he caught up with Hernandez and later even took over the lead. Lu actually started the heads-up with a 3-1 chip lead over Hall.

On the way there Lu had his opponents and the rail shaking their heads in slight disbelief when he took several minutes to call with pocket nines when Scipioni pushed 13 big blinds from the small blind.

There were more gasps when Hernandez pushed his last 15 BBs into the middle from the button and Ning asked for a count before he made the call – with pocket queens!

The heads-up players agreed on a deal before they sat down to play to a winner. Despite “only” £8,888 to play for and despite the levels being shortened to 30 minutes, it took until 4:30 AM before both players finally had hands good enough to risk all their chips.

Hall had the upper hand with A♣ 5♥ over Ning’s Q♣ T♦ and also found an ace on the flop. It was his second tournament win this year after he took down the DTD200 at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham in July.

888Live London Main Event Final Table Payouts




Prize Money


Tom Hall




Ning Lu




Pol Canals Hernandez




Paul Scipioni




Daniel Stanway




Charles Akadiri




Paul Nugent




Shao Zhen




Pascal Pflock



*2-way deal

Lunt Wins High Roller Over Geilich, Sperling

As mentioned it was a festival of long nights in London and the £2,200 High Roller event was no exception.

It was a small affair but it was a top-class field that included 888poker ambassadors Chris Moorman and Dominik Nitsche as well as Scotsmen Niall Farrell and Ludovic Geilich, who were happy to return to 888Live after they both made the Main Event final table in Rozvadov last winter.

Jack Salter, Martin Jacobson, Fabio Sperling, Giovanni Rizzo, Opening Event winner Christopher Kyriacou and Main Event winner Hall were also in the field but it was Lunt who claimed the title at 6 am London time.

888Live High Roller Final Table Payouts




Prize Money


Jamie Lunt




Jonathan Bowers




Ludovic Geilich




Iaron Lightbourne




Oliver Price




Aymon Hata




Fabio Sperling




Giovanni Rizzo



*2-way deal

Saliba Rises Above Ladies’ Field

Fifty-one female players and 75 entries got together to sort out their own champion and it turned out to be Vivian Saliba from Brazil.

Star continues to rise.

Saliba, who we caught up with at this year’s WSOP Main Event and who was nominated for the “Spirit of Poker Award” in the category Rising Star, came back from being down to three big blinds and managed to take down the whole tournament.

Saliba captured her first official tournament win which also came with a £13,000 Main Event prize package for the WSOP Europe at the King’s Casino – compare that to the buy-in of just £55!

Meanwhile, 888 ambassador Nitsche lived up to his reputation of being a poker nomad.

He went from the Aspers Casino straight to the airport, travelled 30 hours to Macau and jumped into the HK$250,000 6-max event.

Finally made it to Macau. Casual 30 hour trip. Quick nap and then time for the 250k hkd 6max@888poker

— Dominik Nitsche (@DominikNitsche) 16. Oktober 2017 Get Your Own 888poker Account!

Would you like to play in 888poker live events? Then get yourself a personal account at 888poker and start playing.

Download the 888poker software through our PokerListings review and you'll immediately be eligible for an $888 bonus.

It’s quick and it’s easy and you'll be playing in minutes.


If you're thinking it's too late to qualify online for the 2017 Battle of Malta, think again.

This week will see the last online satellites play out on Betsson, Betsafe and NordicBet capped by the last €100+€10 weekly final on Sunday, Oct. 22.

At least one €1,650 package for the Battle of Malta is up for grabs which will lock you in for a €550 BoM Main Event seat, 5 nights at the 5-star Hilton Malta, €250 for travel and more.

If €110 is still too rich for your bankroll steps qualifiers are running all week from as little as €1.10. They also include €2.20 freezeouts, €11 Daily Finals and €11 Sunday Flips.

Qualify on Betsson, Betsafe & NordicBet

All three of the Betsson group sites are in on the satellites so you can pick and choose between Betsafe, Betsson or NordicBet for your playing pleasure. 

The schedule is the same on each and looks like this:


Buy-in: €1+ €0.10
Frequency: Daily
Style: Freezeout
Time: 18.00 CEST
Late Reg: 30 Mins

GTD Prize: €11 Ticket to level 2 - Daily Final


Buy in: €2 +€0.20
Frequency: Daily
Style: Turbo/Rebuy
Time: 21:00 CEST
Late Reg: 30 Min

GTD Prize: €11 Ticket to Level 2 - Daily Final


Buy-in: €10 + €1
Frequently: Daily
Style: Rebuy
Time: 20:00 CEST
Late Reg: 60 Min

GTD Prize: €110 Ticket to Sunday Final


Buy-in: €10 + €1
Frequency: 30 & 15 minutes before Sunday Final starts
Min Players: 8

GTD Prize: €110 Tickets to Sunday Final


Buy in: €100 + €10
Frequency: Every Sunday
Style: Rebuy
Time: 20:00 CEST
Late Reg: 90 Min

GTD Prize: €1,650 Battle of Malta Package

If you're good (and lucky) enough to come out on top of the weekly final you'll be whisking your way to the 2017 Battle of Malta in just over a week's time.

Hilton awaits.

If you've yet to Malta in November, expect average temperatures in the low 20s (Celsius) and more sunshine than Northern Europe might see in weeks.

You'll also get to take advantage of a newly refurbished Hilton Malta that was already 5-stars to begin with.

Your 2017 Battle of Malta Package includes:

• €500+€50 buy-in to the €500,000 GTD Main Event
• 5 nights at the 5-star Hilton Hotel (breakfast incl.)
• €250 credit for travel and spending money
• Tickets to all 4 BOM player parties
• Daily buffet dinner at casino

2017 BoM Bigger, Better Than Ever

If you haven't checked out the 2017 Battle of Malta schedule yet, you're in for a pleasant surprise.

Gaelle awaits too!

Nine events will run over the 6-day festival with buy-ins from €100 to €1,320 for the Grandmaster High Roller.

Included in that calendar is our first-ever Ladies Event and super fun PLO Knight's Crusade, NL Win the Cross and PLAY2CARE Charity Pineapple tournaments.

If it's value you're looking for €650,000 is guaranteed between the BoM Main Event, Siege of Malta Second Chance and Grandmaster High Roller but if last year's turnout is a benchmark expect that to be closer to €1,200,000 or more.

New host Gaelle Garcia Diaz, 4 player parties and a cards-up live stream of the main event final table on Nov. 7 are also on tap to boost the atmosphere of what's already known as one of the friendliest tournaments in Europe.

Check our Battle of Malta main page for all of the details! Buy yourself a package including Main Event seat from as low as €1,025 right here.

Last Satellite at GUTS Poker Sunday at 20:00 CET! Guts pro Silje Nilsen is in!

Also of note: Players on Guts Poker have one last chance to qualify for the 2017 Battle of Malta this Sunday!

The last weekly €135 buy-in freezeout plays at 20:00 CET and two €1,500 package are guaranteed! Win seats in the final via:

3 Hyper turbo satellites with €15+1 buy-in (starting from 18:00) 3 Flip satellites with €15+1 buy-in (starting from 19:15)

Your €1,500 packages include:

€550 Main Event Buy-in 5 Nights at the Hilton Hotel from Nov. 2-7 €250 Travel money Exclusive access to Battle of Malta VIP Events!


What do you do with a decent overpair if the board gets wetter and wetter on every street?

If you’ve ever played a couple of cash games, you know what that situation feels like.

Your overpair is almost never going to improve and your opponent might even have a higher pocket pair. It’s a spot where you can end up getting crushed terribly.

Jared Jaffee and Jim Carroll faced that very situation at the Golden Gate Casino.

Body Language Says It All

We’re guests at the Golden Gate in Las Vegas for a new episode of Poker Night in America. The game is $25/$50 NLHE and the line-up is a healthy mix of amateurs and professionals.

In the hand in question, Brandon Cantu has put in a $100 straddle. Jim Carroll – who has over $3 million in tournament winnings – opens with a raise to $400.

He has     It’s folded to Jared Jaffee on the button who re-raises to $1,275. The blinds fold and Cantu gets out of the way, too.

Carroll decides to call and the two players go to the flop with each of them having about $15,000 in front of them and $2,725 in the pot.

The flop is       Carroll checks and Jaffee bets $1,550. Carrol makes the call.

There's $5,825 in the pot and both players have roughly $13,500 behind. The turn is the  

Carroll has already checked in the dark and Jaffee fires another barrel of $4,200. Carroll gives up his hand after a little hesitation.

Jaffee wins a $10k pot and shows     Watch the hand again in the video below and pay extra attention to the body language of Carroll.


As we said before, this situation probably sounds familiar. You have a good hand out of position and are put under pressure all the time.

Does your opponent maybe have a higher pair? How could Carroll have gotten away from Jaffee’s pressure? Could he have avoided getting into that spot at all?

Carroll's open with JJ is a standard move but then Jaffee pops it up to $1,275 from the button. When the other players fold and the action comes back to him, Carroll needs a plan for how to proceed.

Right now raise, call and fold are all legitimate options. But which one is best? Let’s take a look at each of them.

1) Call – By calling Carroll can keep Jaffee in the hand with his full button 3-bet range. But he also has to brace himself for at least one overcard on the flop (this happens the majority of times) and for a tough time out of position.

2) Re-raise – A 4-bet to about $3,500 would have a couple of advantages as Carroll might be able to take down the pot of $1,500 right there. He might also be able to lay it down to a 5-bet. Both players are deep enough that Carroll wouldn’t be pot-committed even after his 4-bet.

3) Fold – Against a very tight player you might even consider folding pocket jacks to a 3-bet, but against any regular player that would be far too weak of a play and easily exploitable.

That means we’re basically down to call or re-raise. As we’ll see, the decision depends on the opponent.

Already Uncomfortable

After Carroll makes the call the flop is rather friendly to him. There's no overcard so he’s probably still ahead if he was ahead before the flop. The only reasonable hand that has overtaken Carroll’s jacks is a pair of sevens.

Consequently Carroll check-calls Jaffee’s bet of a little over half the pot. However, if you look at Carroll, you can clearly see that he already doesn’t feel comfortable with his hand.

Although he calls rather quickly his body language doesn’t really confirm the move. But this is a must call as Jaffee will continue here not only with better hands than Carroll’s but with basically every hand.

Carroll’s plan has to consider that against such an aggressive player he'll probably have to face two more barrels.

Giving Up On the Turn

Apparently Carroll’s plan was to call the flop and fold the turn whatever the board is as he folds pretty quickly when Jaffee fires $4,200.

Carroll's aware that not only will he have to pay the $4,200 but probably more -- maybe everything -- to get to showdown.

If Carroll calls the turn he invests more than a third of his stack, which means that from a mathematic standpoint he’d have to call the river, too.

But does that mean folding here is the right move? That depends on several factors. The two most important are:

A) what Jaffee’s range is and B) is he capable of betting all three streets with air? The Threat is Stronger than the Execution

Let’s take on range first. Sure, it has aces and kings in it. But a player like Jaffee would also 3-bet hands like 9-8 or A-J.

We also have to take into account that Jaffee might have flopped a club flush draw and is trying to break Carroll’s resistance by betting twice.

The only thing that’s for sure is that Jaffee isn’t necessarily holding premium hands and is very capable of a double-bluff.

The question that remains is whether Jaffee would really bet out again on the river. But we simply can't get a satisfactory answer to it.

This hand is overall a good example for how important aggression and position are at the table and how much persistence is required when your opponent has the upper “hand."

In the great game of chess they say that “the threat is stronger than the execution." It’s the threat of an all-in that makes Carrol fold his jacks on the turn versus a hand that he has beat.

He possibly regretted afterwards that he didn’t go for the 4-bet pre-flop.


Jared Jaffee makes Jim Carroll fold a much better hand with his massively aggressive play. Part of Carroll’s demise was that he capped his range when he made the pre-flop call while Jaffee still had kings and aces in his.


We know you like poker already.

How do you feel about poker mixed with science fiction, fantasy role play and esports?

PokerStars' game-changing Power Up variation was introduced to the poker world at the PSC Barcelona last August and PokerListings got a first-hand impression of the new game.

We also spoke with Severin Rasset, PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation and Operationsabout the idea behind it

As of this week, Power Up is now live on PokerStars for real-money play. The goal of the new variation is more action and less edge.

Will it become a must-play game for poker players? Here's a quick look at the main features, the differences to regular Hold’em, the powers explained and more.

What is Power Up?

Power Up is a 3-player Sit-and-Go. As with every Sit-and-Go the goal is to collect all the chips -- particularly because it’s played in winner-take-all format.

There might be more players at the table in later stages, PokerStars says, but for now the 3-player SnG is the only format available.

Game play follows the regular Texas Hold’em rules but it adds “special powers” that turn a lot of traditional Hold'em game play on its head.

How Power Up Works

At the core of PokerStars Power Up is the power to change the game in your favor by changing cards – your own, your opponents’ and the board cards.

There are nine different powers (at least for now). You'll be dealt three of them at random at the start of the game.

You can use one power at a time. It’ll then be replaced by a random new one (but not one that you already have in your arsenal).

You are also provided with a certain amount of energy. Using a power will cost some of that energy. It says at the top of each power how much energy it costs to use.

When you run out of energy you can’t use any more powers. Every hand you don’t use a power you’ll get more energy in your “energy account.”

Every Power Revealed

PokerStars can add, remove and replace any of the powers at any given time to prevent players from developing an edge and to perpetually change the dynamic of the game.


Here are the powers in place as the game went live this week. The order is alphabetical and doesn’t represent the quality or force of any power.

Clone – Passive; gives you the last power that was played in the hand instead of a random one

Disintegrate – Active; lets you destroy the community card just dealt when used on turn or river; when used on the flop, you pick the card for destruction

EMP – Passive; protects one card on the board from being affected from any powers your opponents might use

Engineer – Active; reveals the next three cards from the deck for all to see but you pick the one that’ll be dealt on the next street

Intel – Passive; reveals the top card of the deck for you before it’s being dealt for any of the streets still left in the hand

Reload – Active; discard one of your hole cards at the start of the hand and get a new one

Scanner – Active; lets you peak at the top two cards of the deck and discard one of them; your opponents will not know which card you eliminated

Upgrade – Active; gives you a third hole card at the start of the hand but you have to get rid of one of them before the flop

X-ray – Passive; lets you look at one of your opponent’s hole cards; neither of you can pick the one that’s exposed

NOTE: If a player goes all-in they lock the cards, visualized by red frames. When the cards are locked no more powers can be played.

Who are you?

The Avatars

Contrary to regular Hold’em, you’re not just picking a screen name that you play with.

Instead you’re picking from a wide range of avatars like you do in fantasy and video games. Every avatar has its own unique history and personality.

The avatars have no actual influence on the game, though (albeit maybe a psychological one). Says Severin Rasset:

“…we believe it will make a difference for you and how you play depending on which avatar you pick. It’ll show some part of your own personality and that’ll be different from one person to the other.”

Check the PokerStars Lobby Now!

PokerStars Power Up should be live as you read this although it did go offline temporarily during its launch week.

Play now!

Availability in international markets will added one by one so the game won’t show up everywhere at the same time.

When Power Up goes live on your market it’ll appear in the lobby in the top tabs next to “Cash," “Zoom,” “Spin & Go” and so on.

Play PokerStars Power Up or any other poker game on PokerStars for real or play money any time you want.

if you've yet to get your own PokerStars account, find a secure download link on our PokerStars review page and get a $600 bonus.


The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is one of the longest-standing traditions in live poker and, with a return to its roots in 2018, should see one of its best editions ever.

Back are the $10,000 Main Event buy-in and the original PCA branding (after a year of being PokerStars Championship Bahamas) in the hopes of revitalizing the PCA as a 'must-play' festival to bring in the New Year.

Also back is the emphasis on qualifying as many players as possible online to bulk up the field, and that's reflected in one of PokerStars' biggest promotions ever.

Hundreds of qualifiers will win their way all-expenses paid to the Bahamas in January and it starts with a massive 100-package Ultra Satellite this Sunday.

How to Qualify Online for 2018 PCA

There's a whole range of ways to make your way to the 2018 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event but pay special attention to the PCA Ultra Satellites.

No shortage of ways to spend money.

These are $530 buy-in online tournaments that each guarantee 100(!) main event packages. This is what these packages are made of:

$10,300 Main Event buy-in Accommodation at the Atlantis resort (worth $3000+) $1,000 pocket money paid into your PS account $1,000 spending money put on your room tab

At the Atlantis Resort it’s customary to pay for everything with your room card so the last bullet point above is for your daily expenses at the hotel.

$1,000 should not only be enough to get you through a week there it’ll let you 'live the life,' so to speak. And there’s plenty of opportunity to spend money at Atlantis.

If you don’t have the bankroll to buy directly into the Ultra Satellites, though, you can satellite into them in several different ways.

Phase Tournaments and Sub-Satellites

You can satellite into the Ultra Satellite by making it through three phase tournaments. Phase 1 is just $1 to play and the top 25 of Phase 3 get tickets to the direct qualifier.

If you want to save time and spend a little more, you can also play an $11 Phase 1 and you only have to go through two phases to claim your main satellite ticket.

There are also MTT sub-satellites to get into the $530 satellite starting at $11. There are both scheduled and SnG sub-satellites.

Spin & Gos can get you there, too. 250 Full PCA Packages and More!

You can also qualify directly for the PCA by playing Spin & Go satellites. Spin & Gos have become an extremely popular pastime with PokerStars players and that popularity continues to grow.

On the $27.50 level PokerStars is throwing in:

800,000 $55 PCA satellites tickets 180,000 $109 PCA satellite tickets 18,500 $530 Ultra Satellite tickets and 250 full $15,855 PCA prize packages

per 1 million Spin & Gos played.

There are also Spin and Go challenges where you simply have to play and win enough of them to collect a certain amount of points. When you get there, you’re in the weekly Road to Bahamas Spin and Go final.

There are 729 tickets to the Ultra Satellites and sub-satellites and one full PCA prize package up for grabs in every weekly final.

Cash Game All-in Shootout

Sounds cool and works a little differently from the ways described above. Click on the challenges tab on the right column of your PokerStars lobby.

You’ll see a puzzle and a guide for how to complete it. For example, you might have to get each of the four aces as a card in your starting hand, so it’s pretty straightforward.

When you’re done you’ll be automatically registered for the daily All-in shootout at 6.05 PM CET. The top 128 players of the shootout will take part in the Road to Bahamas Cash Game Weekly Final.

Each weekly final has a $50k prize pool. The winner will go straight to the PCA Main Event while the next 200 players all get tickets to further satellites worth $27.50 to $530.

Only 2 Ultra Satellites Scheduled!

Get started soon because there are only two of $530 Ultra Satellites and the first is this Sunday, October 15 at 8:35 PM! The second Ultra Satellite will take place on November 5.

The cash game and Spin & Go challenges run all the time but also end on November 5.

Here’s a little extra tip: While you’re trying to qualify, you’ll collect Stars Rewards Chests. These are mostly filled with Star Coins but there are also tickets to the Ultra Satellites hidden in some of them giving you additional chances to qualify without doing anything.

If you don’t have a PokerStars account yet, click through to PokerListings’ extensive review of PokerStars. We provide you with the download links to get you started quickly.

Watch the big kids live! Highlight PCA Events

As always the PCA will take place in January, partly because that’s a good time to get away from the winter in North America but also because it’s not hurricane season.

The main event, which is the one that you can satellite into online, will run January 8-16. One of the major changes for this year is that the buy-in is $10,300 again after being cut in half for the last couple of years.

Also watch out for the following events which you'll be able to watch on the PokerStars Live Stream:

$100,000 Super High Roller Event, unlimited re-entry, January 6-8 $50,000 High Roller Event, single re-entry, January 8-9 $25,000 High Roller Event, single re-entry, January 12-14


The latest 888Live poker festival has started and, once again, the tables in the Aspers Casino in East London are buzzing.

888poker kicked off the festival with a £220 buy-in, £120,000 guaranteed tournament that featured four Day 1s.

Over 650 players registered, making sure that the guarantee was reached.

The tournament ran through the weekend and reached its conclusion on Sunday night with Christopher Kyriacou claiming the title and £20,000.

Incredibly, last year’s Main Event winner came second.

Kyriacou ftw. Ka Him Li Thrives Again

The final three players agreed on a deal and Kyriacou was utlimately the one to claim all the chips.

Most astoundingly the man Kyriacou had to beat heads-up was Ka Him Li, the player who came to the inaugural 888poker festival at the Aspers Casino last year and went on to win the main event.

Li also placed 35th in last year's opening event which had an even bigger field with about 700 players.

Quite an achievement for somebody who doesn’t play poker on a regular basis, as the fact he only has one other cash in a live poker event points to. Don’t be surprised if his name pops up again in the Main Event.

Opening Event Top 5 Payouts



Prize Money


Christopher Kyriacou



Ka Him Li



Terry Simpson



Tom Hughes



Vinny Anderson


*represents a 3-way deal

High Roller Wednesday, Main Event Thursday

The 888Live London poker festival is now in full swing with side events playing out every day at different buy-in levels.

The £2,200 High Roller Event starts on Wednesday and then on Thursday the £1,100 Main Event kicks off.

There are still live satellites directly in the 888poker room, so hurry up if you’re up for a major poker experience.

Talbot almost topples KOTH.

You can also find a complete schedule of the 888Live festival here

Talbot Climbs Half the Hill

While London was preparing for the festival, Pittsburgh was hosting a completely different event.

The second 4-player, heads-up King of the Hill Challenge was on and 8888poker pro Parker 'tonkaaaap' Talbot took on the reigning champion Phil Hellmuth in the first round.

The match was played as a best-of-three and Talbot came back from 1-0 down to knock the champion off his throne.

He wasn’t able to take his seat entirely, however, as Olivier Busquet (who beat Shaun Deeb in his first match) rolled over Talbot for the title.

Busquet said afterwards that he was 'hit by the deck so hard it would have been difficult to lose.' Busquet took the full $200,000 prize money as it was a winner take all event.

The Home Alone Experience

While all this happened in places thousands of miles apart, the player you’d least expect to be at home made it to the final table of 888poker’s last edition of the Baby Whale.

Dom dominates as usual.

We’re talking about none other than Dominik Nitsche  (who by the way is on his way to East London, too, so there’s another reason for you to try to satellite into the main event).

Nitsche spent the weekend online playing a couple of tournaments and, as it happened, made his deepest run in the one with the highest buy-in – the Baby Whale.

The term “Baby” is a little misleading as this tournament has a $320 buy-in and often high six-digit prize pools. 

Nitsche finished that tournament in fifth place for $8k. He also won five of the seven $1k Heads-up Turbos he got involved in, so be careful when 888Dominik is waiting for you at a table that only has two seats.

If you’re a beginner and don’t have an account yet, visit our 888pok review page and read more about the second largest poker room on the internet. You’ll also find the links to download the 888poker software there and get started with an $888 sign-up bonus.


The first-ever Poker Masters at the Aria Casino in Vegas was a highlight of the Fall so far.

Thirty-six of the game's best players joined in for the $100,000 finale and played for $1.5 million to the winner.

Neither of our two well-known contestants in this hand - Phil Hellmuth and Brian Rast - even made it to the money, but they sure did get a lot of attention. And deservedly so. 

Hellmuth Forced to Show

It's near the end of Day 1 of the $100k buy-in event with 17 players still in. Daniel Negreanu leads the chip counts with the blinds at 2k/4k plus a big blind ante of 4k.

Brian Rast has 715,000 chips (178 bb), which is also close to the top. Right now he’s sitting on the button with    

It’s folded to him so he raises it up to 10,000. Dan Shak folds the small blind but Hellmuth decides to 3-bet to 34,000.

At the beginning of the hand Hellmuth had a stack of 189,000 or 34 bb. Rast calls and there's 74,000 in the pot with Hellmuth having 151,000 left.

The flop is      

Both players check so effective stacks are still at 151,000. The turn is the  

Hellmuth bets 45,000 and Rast calls. The pot is now at 164,000 and effective stacks down to 106,000. The river is the  

Hellmuth bets 66,000 leaving him 40,000 chips behind. Rast uses two minutes of extra time to think about his decision and eventually calls with third pair.

Hellmuth is forced to show his bluff with     Sitting on just ten big blinds, Hellmuth didn’t last much longer and busted the tournament.

If you have PokerGo, you can watch the hand again from 6:40 in this video:


This is a rather strange hand where both players start off with pretty weak starting hands and still manage to build up a pretty sizeable pot of 74 big blinds.

What can he rep here?

How did this happen, you ask?

To understand the moves of the players and how Rast was able to make that river call, we’ll have to take it step by step.

When Dan Shak folds Hellmuth decides to go down an unconventional road with his rather small stack and raises.

Obviously, Rast has a very wide range. But you should still think twice before you take on a world-class player like Brian Rast with a hand like Q-6o out of position.

We’ll soon see why. Rast doesn’t budge at all. Instead, he just continues with his small one-gapper in position.

His hand is apparently behind Hellmuth’s range but he has a big stack and good players don’t like to fold.

What Does Hellmuth Represent?

On a flop with low cards and two clubs, Hellmuth clearly cuts his range down. Because who would check here with an overpair?

This could be a very tricky move but it looks much more like a hand with two high cards that hasn’t improved on the flop.

Rast has made a pair but it doesn’t really make much sense to bet as mostly better hands than his will call.

On the 9♦ turn Hellmuth decides to bet. Did the nine help him or did he already have it on the flop? Did he pick up a flush draw or a combo draw, or is he just making a move? 

Either way, his play looks a little inconsistent and doesn’t make too much sense. That’s why Rast feels good enough to call as not only might his hand still be best, he can also represent the flush draw if it hits the river.

A Stunt on the River

The river is another low card and a third diamond but Hellmuth hesitates a little (as you can see if you have the video at hand) before moving two thirds of his remaining stack into the middle.


So, what does that bet mean? There are two main options.

A. Hellmuth has a hand so strong that he wants to get called. He makes the bet small to ensure he gets called. B. He doesn’t have anything and wants to represent A.

Hellmuth’s hand is highly polarized and his play was overall inconsistent. But there is one type of hand that would suddenly connect all the dots – a runner-runner flush.

It’s possible that Hellmuth missed the flop, stepped on the brakes, but then semi-bluffed the turn and then bet again on the river to make more chips. But then why doesn’t he go all-in to maximize his profit?

Rast Considers, Strikes

Now, Brian Rast knows all of this. But it’s a hard thing to make a call with just a pair of fives.

What makes calling attractive is that Hellmuth also has hands like A-K and A-Q in his range. They make sense and lose to any pair.

You might want to add A-9 to Hellmuth’s range, but would he 3-bet that pre-flop? And would he barrel with it twice


At the end of the day Rast has two good reasons for his call:

1. Hellmuth’s range has more weak than strong hands in it. 2. His play and particularly his river bet are inconsistent and suspicious.

Also, Rast can actually afford losing this hand as he would still have a healthy stack.


Making a strong call versus a weak range, Rast delivers a fatal blow to the Poker Brat -- one that he wouldn’t recover from.

Maybe Hellmuth over-complicated things a bit. An all-in would have probably made Rast fold his hand.


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is an extended power nap, a drowsy amble to the reg desk and all the -EV needed to win your next afternoon poker news bracelet.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or drop a note in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find the Go0se gutting Phil Hellmuth's game, Kristen Bicknell checks in from Brazil and Miikka Anttonen puts it all on the line.

1) White Magic What?

There are few more polarizing poker players than Phil Hellmuth - especially if you're talking about whether he's actually any "good" at poker.

Phil and fans point to his 14 WSOP bracelets as all the evidence needed; Phil's detractors say it's smoke and mirrors and his actual technical skills, at least as far as No-Limit Hold'em go, are abysmal.

Put Steffen 'Go0se.core!' Sontheimer among the latter. We pointed you to his full interview with Joe Ingram on the Poker Life Podcast on Monday but this amazing clip of him dismantling Phil's technical prowess is hitting the rounds today:

I asked @RunGo0seRun his thoughts on Hellmuth on our podcast yesterday and... well.... I learned about reducing negative edges #BangBang

— gN PapiGTO (@Joeingram1) October 3, 2017

Tell us how you really feel, Go0se. Props to him, though, because if you call someone out you better be ready to put your money where your month is and Sontheimer is very keen on that:

"I'm ready to play him. Over and over and over again." 

Phil's response?

Sigh...The haters told me I “couldn’t win” in the 1980’s, I was “done” in the 1990’s, the game “passed me by” in the 2000’s, and now

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) October 4, 2017

Something tells us this is all going to come to a head on Poker Night in America somehow and we can't wait to see it.

2) Kristen Bicknell: Brazil is Fun, for Ev-ery-one

Two-time WSOP bracelet winner and partypoker Ambassador Kristen Bicknell narrowly missed the final nominee list for both our Most Inspiring Player and Rising Star awards this year and for good reason.

Couple of these will get you places.

She's a total boss at the poker table and a good spirit on and off the felt. partypoker obviously felt the same way and scooped her up for a new pro contract this summer during the WSOP.

The new gig has afforded her some opportunities to hit the road and experience the poker circuit in far-flung places and she's taken advantage with a stop at this week's WSOPC event in Brazil.

She's even made the final table of the main event, to boot.

Codigo Poker caught up with her for a short interview where she talked about her experience, where she's headed next and just how you might characterize the playing style of her South American tablemates.

Check a short clip below; click through to see the full 3-minute interview.

Check out @krissyb24poker from #partypoker answering questions @WSOP Brazil! Thanks to @CodigoPoker
full interview:

— partypoker (@partypoker) October 4, 2017 3) Turn €500 into €10,000 in 100 Days or Leave Poker Forever

How confident are you that you could win at this game when you really had to?

Famed grinder/TwoPlusTwo poster Miikka 'ChuckBass' Anttonen is about to find out for himself with an inspired prop bet challenge that really puts all he's ever learned in poker to the test.

The craziest prop bet of my life is about to begin. If I lose I will pretty much have to quit poker forever. Wish me luck ! @UpswingPoker

— Miikka Anttonen (@chuckbasspoker) September 30, 2017

Anttonen puts himself at about 50% to do it although acknowledges he has, umm, a few obstacles to overcome (as posted on 2+2):

"As for background, I've played poker for ~10 years, but I've shared my time 50-50 between writing and poker in the last 2 years or so. I've made less than 10k in this entire year playing poker, and over the last two months I've booked like 95% losing sessions making 30 deposits without a withdrawal.


"I'm feeling washed up as ****, I haven't studied in forever and when asked what the correct unexploitable 10BB BTN pushing range is I'm pretty sure I'd miss by 5-10%. I haven't really won anything remotely respectable at poker in about 2 years (although I haven't really devoted myself to it either). I'm 30, I can't physically take massive grinds anymore, and honestly don't have a whole lot going for myself poker-wise."

Wow. He'll be streaming 16 days of it live for a Finnish poker website; we'll have our editor keep an eye on it.


Unibet Poker has jumped on the eSports curve with its super fun Battle Royales on its live tour.

The Global Poker Index has completely redesigned its business model to incorporate eSports rankings and poker/eSports mashups into its future.

Now the World Poker Tour has climbed on board, too.

The WPT announced last week it is joining forces with ELC Gaming for a multi-day poker/eSports collaboration at the Holland Casino in Valkenburg, Netherlands, October 9-15.

Included will be a WPT DeepStacks €1,100 Main Event, an eSports festival with recreational and pro events and a number of "integrated events" that combine the two disciplines in new and groundbreaking ways.

Roll In Big Betty

What exactly will that experience entail? Well, alongside the poker festival and its highlight €1,100 Main Event (Oct. 12-15), ELC Gaming will have its 18-wheel mobile eSports arena, “Big Betty,” on hand.

eSports bigwigs like Hotted89 getting into poker, too.

Players and fans can try out combined eSports/poker events both in the casino and in the mobile arena to win entry into WPTDeepStacks poker tournaments and various smaller eSports competitions.

An interactive virtual reality experience, a casual gaming lounge and daily eSports battles between local universities will be on display and ELC will also stream the Legend Series final on its Twitch channel, ELCgamingTV.

Two eSports teams who qualified from across Europe through online matches will play in the final.

Andrey "Reynad" Yanyuk, Alan "Hotted89" WidmannCharlotte 'sjlot' van Brabander and Jeffrey 'SjoW' Brusi are just a few of the prominent eSports stars who have dabbled in poker.

Famed poker stars Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier, Lex 'RasZi' Veldhuis and Randy 'nanonoko' Lew are gamers who've crossed over successfully into pro poker.

“The World Poker Tour is proud to partner with ELC Gaming for this first international poker and eSports venture,” said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour.

“The crossover between the poker and eSports communities is undeniable, and the addition of a live eSports event to one of the WPT’s live poker festivals is a perfect fit to provide an even greater experience for our players."

“This is an inspiring time in both poker and eSports, the two mindsports that have only begun to realize their enormous collaboration potential," adds Frank Ng, CEO of Ourgame International.

"We have seen firsthand the popularity in both industries grow exponentially," says Leon Groenewoud, COO of ELC Gaming, "and I’m confident this partnership is a natural next step for players, fans, and business partners alike.”

Read more about the collaboration here


The 888Live festival is set to return to its home casino at the Aspers Casino in East London and you have just one chance left to qualify for the main event.

The festival will run until Oct. 5-16 with 10 events of different games and buy-ins so it’ll be well worth going even for the side events.

Past 888 London festivals have seen continuous growth and a range of superstar poker players have made appearances.

Among them have been Antonio Esfandiari, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Will Kassouf and, of course, the 888poker ambassadors Dominik Nitsche, Chris Moorman and Sofia Lövgren.

The winner of the last 888Live London main event – Kim Ha Li – will also be back to defend his title.

Final Satellite October 5

The Aspers Casino is situated in the huge Westfield Mall in Stratford, East London. It’s 888’s home casino where they have their own branded poker room.

Kassouf among the local celebs.

The Opening Event with £120,000 guaranteed starts on Oct. 5, which is also the day of the last online satellite for the Main Event.

The last online satellite on 888poker runs on Oct. 5 at 8 PM CET. It’s a $109 Holdem tournament and there will be at least one seat to be won for the main event at the Aspers.

There’s also still a feeder tournament that gives you the chance to play the satellite for just $12. Check it out in the 888poker lobby.

You can find all the remaining satellites and a list of the players who have already qualified under the tabs All games > Tournaments > Live Events, or simply type “London” into the search box.

Shot Clock Introduced

Select tournaments of the 888Live festival this time around – including the Main Event – will have a shot clock in place.

This will be a digital clock run by the dealer and everybody at the table will be able to see the countdown running.

Ka Him Li

The idea here is not to put more pressure on the players but to prevent stalling.

As there are obviously spots in a tournament where you have to make a big decision, you’ll get a number of extensions that’ll give you more time to think.

The Main Event is an £1,100 NLHE freeze-out with 30,000 chips to start and 60-min levels. There will be three starting days for you to choose from beginning on Thursday October 12.

Day 2 will be on Sunday Oct. 15 and the final table will take place on Monday. There's a £400,000 guaranteed prize pool and re-entries are allowed.

Side events include a Ladies event, an Omaha event and a High Roller. See below for the complete list.





Opening Event



The Hurricane



High Roller



Ladies Event



888Love Main Event



The Swordfish



The Whale



Turbo Deepstack



Pot Limit Omaha



The Lightning


If you want to play on 888poker, go ahead and visit our 888 review page. We’ll provide you with the download links and get you started.


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a found tenner, an impulse pack of scratch cards and three lucky sevens appearing before your afternoon poker news eyes.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or tell us about it below.

Today in the 3-Bet we get to know the hottest player in high-stakes poker, two wildcards go toe-to-toe and Celina Lin inspires in Macau.

1) Joey + Go0se

Before the start of the Poker Masters early last month the name Steffen Sontheimer was known only within a pretty tight circle of hardcore grinders/poker fans.

This is Go0se.

Playing online under the nickname go0se.core! Sontheimer had built up an impressive array of results (and an endorsement as the game's best player from mentor/backer Fedor Holz) but had yet to really break through into the poker world at large.

Then he went and manhandled 45 or so of the game's best high-stakes players, final-tabled all 5 Poker Masters events and left Vegas with $2m a sweetly-tailored Purple Jacket.

More people know his name now. But he's still far from a household name yet.

If you want to know more about him, Joe Ingram has him on his Poker Life Podcast as we speak and will be talking to him for an hour or two. Watch it live (or on replay) below:

2) Aussie Matt Kirk vs. Isildur1 HU

When Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom went on an online poker tear last week and boosted his bankroll by about $1m, we speculated we might be in-sotre for some high-stakes action this week.

True to form, Blom is now sitting at the $100/$200 PLO tables on partypoker playing the similarly non-risk-averse Aussie Matt Kirk - a guy who once bought in to a $250,000 cash game 'because he was bored."

So ... that should be a good watch.

Matt Kirk and @ViktorBlom back playing HU on @partypoker ...Its a fun watch this one ,crazy action

— Sam Trickett (@Samtrickett1) October 2, 2017

Rail it all at partypoker by signing up for an account here.

3) Celina Lin: Poker has Become "the Golf of China"

As you likely know, we always love to highlight a good, inspiring story about a good, inspiring poker player. There's another good one in the South China Morning Post today on the fantastic Celina Lin.

Starting her own Lin-sanity craze in China.

The multi-talented, Shanghai-born, Melbourne-raised Lin tells the story of her move to Macau in 2007 to go pro and how hard it was to convince her parents it was a respectable - and feasible - profession.

“My parents did not understand the game and they felt like it was very similar to playing blackjack and baccarat.


“Because poker tournaments are organised inside a casino, people relate it to all the other games.


"I had to say to them ‘No, you do realise we play against other players, we are not playing against the house? We make decisions after we’re given information’.


“It ended up taking almost three months to turn my dad around and when he did he was really proud."

She also delves into her rise up the poker ranks, the rise of poker itself in the esteem of the general Chinese public and just how many girls have been inspired enough by her poker journey to take up the game themselves.


When the press covering a poker tournament use the adjective "masterful" to characterize your play, you know you're doing something right.

29-year-old Irishman Gary McGinty soared to a huge chip lead over the final 2 days of the €1,100 PokerStars Festival Dublin Main Event yesterday and didn't stop until he had the title in hand.

After a four-way deal secured him the biggest chunk of the prize pool, McGinty went on the claim the extra money left to play for in a heads-up duel with countryman Jim O'Calaghan.

When all was said and done McGinty collected €91,808 and the admiration of his tablemates to boot: "You played brilliantly," said O'Calaghan, the last player knocked out by McGinty, to confirm the press' assessment.

PokerStars Festival Dublin

Date: Sept. 28 - Oct. 1 2017
Players: 544
Buy-In: €1,100
Prize Pool: €681,720
Winner: Gary McGinty

Ireland's Declan Connolly part of strong local contingent at FT. Irish in Charge

A predominantly local (five Irish, one UK) final table resumed with McGinty in charge.

When play reached four-handed they decided to look at the numbers and agreed on an ICM deal which gave McGinty the majority of the prize money still to be distributed.

€13,000 was left on the table for the three Irishmen and one Italian left as play continued.

Sean Prendiville finished fourth when his A7 couldn't catch the AT of McGinty and shortly thereafter Antonio Merone said goodbye when his QT lost to McGinty's AQ.

The final heads-up duel started with a clear 5-1 lead for McGinty and didn't last long. Jim O'Calaghan got his last 2.6 million chips over the line with Q6 and McGinty called with KJ.

The better hand won and McGinty stood up as a brilliant winner from the table.

"It's fantastic," McGinty said. "It was pretty hard for long stretches of the day, but I was lucky and I ran pretty well. I played well, won the all-in, and now I have the trophy and that's all that matters, right?

PokerStars Festival Dublin - Final Results

1. Gary McGinty Ireland €91,808 *
2. Jim O'Calaghan Ireland €74,797 *
3. Antonio Merone Italy €78,554 *
4. Sean Prendiville Ireland €71,161 *
5. Ivan Tononi Italy €35,780
6. Declan Connolly Ireland €28,110
7. Mick Graydon Ireland €20,980
8. Alexander Bretherton UK €14,530

* four-handed deal

€150,000 Overlay

As with any poker tournament in Ireland the Craic was strong across the entire festival. Three starting days were on the agenda for the Main Event with the first on Thursday.

Nice payday for Silver, too.

With a total of 137 registrations on Day 1A, Days 1B and 1C needed to see an increase in the number of players to hit the targeted 700 and meet the guarantee.

259 players on Day 1B and 148 on Day 1C brought the total number of players to 544, meaning an overlay of around €150,000 to be paid by PokerStars.

Veteran pro Max Silver, meanwhile, won the €2,000 High Roller for €45k and author Maria Konnikova finished second in the NLHE Deepstack.

Return to Hippodrome

The next stop for the PokerStars Live tour is The Hippodrome in London this week for the October London Series.

Four days of play begins this Thursday with the main draw being the £40,000 guaranteed main event with a £275 buy-in.

Visit the PokerStars London homepage for the full schedule details. Visit our PokerStars review to sign up for a new account and get a $500 sign-up bonus.


The Poker Masters was a five-event, high buy-in tournament series played at the Aria in Las Vegas earlier this month.

The buy-ins were $50k for the first four events and $100k for the final tournament.

The Poker Masters winner - who claimed the first-ever purple jacket - was the player who made the most money.

The series attracted dozens of the world’s top players and featured several dramatic battles including this one between Daniel Negreanu and Koray Aldemir - the #2 ranked player on the Global Poker Index for 2017.

The End for Aldemir

In the final $100k event there were 16 players left and action was approaching the money bubble. Negreanu and Aldemir were the big stacks at this table, sitting with 634,000 and 414,000 respectively.

Blinds were 1500/3000/300. It was folded to Aldemir in the cut-off who raised to 7,000 with    

Phil Hellmuth folded on the button but Negreanu in the small blind re-raised to 27,500. Steffen Sontheimer - the ultimate winner of the purple jacket - folded the big blind.

Aldemir called. There were 61,000 chips in the pot and effective stacks were 387,000. The flop fell      

Negreanu led out with a bet of 16,000 which Aldemir called. So now 93,000 in the pot and effective stacks at 371,000.

Turn was the   Negreanu bet again - this time for 45,000 and Aldemir called again. Now 183,000 in the pot and effective stacks down to 326,000.

River:   Negreanu fired 125,000 and Aldemir took a quick moment to think before he moved all-in. Negreanu quickly called and showed the nuts with    

That was the end of the line for Koray Aldemir in this tournament. You can watch the hand at 11:30 in the video here but it’s behind a paywall.


It was a brutal run-out for Aldemir, who flopped a monster and then was presented with one of only three hands that beat him.

Was it possible for the young German to avoid his fate? Let’s take a closer look.

Pre-flop, Aldemir made a standard raise to 2.33 bb and Negreanu – the biggest stack at the table – 3-bet to 27,500, equalling about 9 bb.

Before acting Aldemir has to put his opponent on an approximate range and make a first assessment.

Having that big stack, Negreanu will 3-bet a lot more than he would with a small stack. Also note that Aldemir is in late position and also playing a sizeable stack so he has a wider opening range, too.

Let’s look at Negreanu’s range, which roughly has the following hands in it;

Pocket pairs 7-7 or higher, Broadway hands like A-K or K-Q, Some suited connectors like 8-7s and a few bluffs like A-4 or even K-2

The next step for Aldemir is to estimate what his best next move is. Many amateurs would now 4-bet because they’re afraid to see an overcard on the flop and would rather end the hand right there.

The probability of an overcard hitting the flop is actually 57% but a top player like Aldemir still just calls here and does so for several reasons.

A 4-bet would only isolate him against strong hands. By just calling he keeps all possible bluffs in Negreanu’s range in the hand. He has position and a better range of hands than Negreanu, making it well worth it to continue the hand. He doesn’t invest too much money while playing a hand against the table’s biggest stack. Semi-Bluff and Rope-a-Dope

The flop makes this hand very interesting as Aldemir hits middle set while Negreanu is open-ended.

The Canadian obviously tries to take down the pot right there – two high cards on the flop hit his range and he can often make better hands than his fold, like 9-9 or 7-7.

This is also a textbook spot for a semi-bluff. Aldemir has no reason to get out of line here. There’s no reason for him to raise and maybe chase away any of Negreanu’s weaker hands.

He calls and the two players see the 2♥ on the turn, which is a complete blank. Negreanu uses it to fire a second barrel.

Thanks to his 3-bet pre-flop his range has A-A, K-K, and A-K in it as well as J-J and 8-8.

By representing these he can still make hands like A-J or A-Q fold despite only having queen high At the same time he can build the pot without taking too many risks and win a lot of chips if he hits his outs on the river.

Aldemir stays calm and calls again. As the turn is a blank nothing has changed and by raising he would still only drive away hands like A-K or K-Q that would pay him more chips on the river.

Ka-ching on the River

The river is Negreanu’s dream card – the 9♠. He has hit the nuts and he can still hope to get paid.

Even a hand like A-K would still consider calling but there are also several two-pair hands and sets in Aldemir’s range.

Negreanu bets around a third of the pot and now Aldemir asks himself whether he should call or raise.

To make a raise a viable option there have to be enough hands worse than his that can call and Aldemir holds the fourth nuts. The hands that beat him are K-K, Q-T and T-7, but the last one is highly unlikely.

A more conservative player like Hellmuth would probably simply call without thinking about it too much, but a New School player like Aldemir tries to maximize on his profit in a spot like this.

So, which hands could realistically call an all-in here? Obviously, the three hands that beat him – three possible combinations of K-K, 16 possible combinations of Q-T.

We can definitively neglect T-7 as, although Negreanu once called this his favorite hand, he wouldn’t 3-bet it from the small blind pre-flop.

Then there are three possible 8-8 combos, nine possible K-J combos and maybe nine 9-8 combos -- if Daniel had decided to go with that.

As Negreanu wouldn’t call an all-in with A-K there are more better than worse hands to Aldemir’s set that would call.

That’s why Aldemir’s push is not convincing in this spot. A call would have left him with 200,000 chips -- equalling 50 big blinds in even the next level -- and that would have been a much better move.


At the main event of the inaugural Poker Masters in Las Vegas, Daniel Negreanu rivers jackpot and then gets even luckier when his opponent Koray Aldemir gets greedy and overlooks Negreanu’s calling range.


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a bright light, a bag of swag and the eyes of the poker world staring intently at your afternoon poker news stage show.

Got a hot tip for a future 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or drop a comment below.

Today in the Daily 3-Bet we find a major bankroll boost for Viktor Blom, a major milestone for Poker in the Ears and the PLO cavalry arrives on PAD.

1) Not So Fast, Go0se!

Remember last week when the newest 'mystery' sensation to hit the poker world, Steffen 'Go0se.core!' Sontheimer, ran wild at the Poker Masters?

Still got it, Fonzie style.

It evoked a few memories of the glory days of online poker back in 2008/2009 when a young unknown from Sweden stormed onto the scene and had the poker world glued to his every move.

That mystery man, of course, was Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom - a guy who's star had begun to fade somewhat over the past few years due to some game selection/bankroll issues.

Turns out Blom isn't quite ready to give up the mantle of poker's best mystery man. Not only did Blom win his first WCOOP title this month, he made 4 final tables and cashed for close to half a million dollars.

Yesterday he did that all in one fell swoop when he finished second to legendary nemesis Ben Tollerene in the $25k partypoker Super High Roller for $529,272 - outlasting Sontheimer's pal/mentor Fedor Holz in the process.

That's a tidy $1m+ injected in the bankroll of one of online poker's most notorious splurge grinders. HU4rollz with Go0se.core! in Trickett's Room incoming?

2) Poker in the Ears Hits 100

If you've yet to listen to the Poker in the Ears podcast, you're missing out.

Hosted by PokerStars live stream heartthrob Joe Stapleton and his work wife James Hartigan, it's always a delightful run-through of the latest poker world news plus varied, obscure pop culture tidbits and lewd sexual innuendo.

Hilarity ensues.

Sounds good, right?

There's no better time to break your PitE seal as their ultra-special 100th episode was recorded live on stage at The Hippodrome in London just a couple nights ago. What, exactly, does this special edition feature?

A short stand-up set from Stapes; behind-the-scenes tales from PokerStars' new Winning Moments videos; ‘Adventures in Online Poker,' recounting Joe’s #WCOOP odyssey in a $1,050 event; a preview of #PSFDublin; a Q&A with Jake Cody and Chris Moneymaker from Team Pro; the ultimate edition of ‘Superfan vs Stapes;' “Happy 100th Anniversary” messages from some former podcast guests

and, importantly ... the password for the $5k ‘Poker in the Ears’ freeroll taking place on Sunday, Oct. 1. Listen below!

3) No More Knittin' Sweaters on PLOMG

Ever been sitting on your couch, watching poker players not do what you think they should do on TV, and feel like you should have their seat instead? Just Tweet at them and presto!

This group playinPLO on @PokerGO is RIDICULOUSLY nitty!!! Wtf is the worlds infatuation w @junglemandan ? What a damn nit! Sorry @BenbaLamb

— Joshua Arieh (@golferjosh) September 28, 2017

I've watched @junglemandan for a total of about 2 hrs, between this and the NLH on @PokerGO and he hasn't put an unforced chip in the pot

— Joshua Arieh (@golferjosh) September 28, 2017

Did @junglemandan really just open fold QT94ds??? Wtf am I watching on @PokerGO

— Joshua Arieh (@golferjosh) September 28, 2017

I've heard @badams78 say check coulda done better than this @PokerGO

— Joshua Arieh (@golferjosh) September 28, 2017

Well, I ran my mouth again! What did I get myself into??? Poker After Dark tonight on @PokerGO app! 8pm

— Joshua Arieh (@golferjosh) September 28, 2017

Note: this likely only works if you finished 3rd in the 2004 WSOP Main Event and can afford a $300/$600 PLO game with minimum $100,000 buy-in.

Watch Arieh and Chance Kornuth sub in to the game - which will still feature Dan 'Jungleman' Cates, Tom 'durrrr' Dwan, Phil Galfond, Brandon Adams and Isaac Haxton - tonight at 8pm ET on PokerGO.

Ka-pow. Should be fun.

Joining the final night of “PLOMG” week and making their #PokerAfterDark debuts is @ChancesCards & @golferjosh! Watch live at 8 PM ET:

— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 28, 2017


The massive XL Eclipse series on 888poker has come to a close and it finished off in style with the Champion of Champions event.

On the day after the Main Event wrapped, 99 former XL Eclipse title holders came together to battle once more.

Almost half of them would win prizes ranging from a $55 online tournament ticket up to a full $13,000 prize package for this year’s WSOP Europe Main Event in Rozvadov.

None other than XL Main Event champion CllsDntMttr prevailed and will now proceed to use his clearly on-point tournament skills live at the King’s Casino in November.

CllsDntMttr Backs ME win with CoC Title

If you win the Main Event of a major tournament series like the XL Eclipse you at least have some claim to the "player of the series" crown but many will say 'anyone can win a single tournament.'

If you also win a high buy-in event like the Whale during the same series, your claim gets a little stronger.

If you then proceed to win the tournament played only by players who have also won an event during the series, you're king of the hill.

For the XL Eclipse, that’s CllsDntMttr.

Zeniok30 from Lithuania came second in the CoC and will won a trip to the main event at 888Live London this October while RendOss from Russia received a $1,050 tournament ticket for finishing third.

Kaktus26rus Takes XL Triple Crown

Over the course of the series 10 players managed to bag two titles. In Event #169 out of 197, Kaktus26rus from Russia amazingly did it a third time.

Having won a $15,000 Breeze with 324 players and then a $100,000 guaranteed Quarterback, Kaktur26rus also took down a $15,000 guaranteed Lightning to become the only player with three XL Eclipse titles.

Combined, these three tournament wins added almost $30k to the Russian’s 888poker account.

Sampaoli First to Win Inferno & Eclipse Titles

With just one edition of both the Inferno and the Eclipse series in the books, there's just one player who managed to win a tournament in either series.

Argentinian regular Cristian progree69 Sampaoli took down one of the last events of the XL Inferno series back in May.

He came back to play in the Eclipse and it paid off again. Sampaoli was the last player at the table of Event #35 – a $20,000 guaranteed Monsoon.

Sampaoli outlasted 509 players to give a $5k boost to his poker account.

Parker Talbot Carries 888poker Flag

888poker ambassadors are all over the action in the big XL series, not only because they want to represent the operator but also to claim one of the coveted event titles.

This time Parker 'tonkaaap' Talbot led the way for them and took down the Sunday Tornado on the very first day of the series and finished runner-up the day after.

Chris Moorman had a third-place in the $50k Octopus and another 3rd in the Sunday Monsoon while Xuan Liu, former 888poker ambassador, also made a final table.

888Live in London up next

With the XL Eclipse series finished the 888poker event machine moves to the Aspers Casino in East London for another booming live poker festival.

Online satellites for the Opening and the Main Event are running until October 5. Head over to our 888poker review to get your own account and be eligible for our $888 sign-up bonus.

Hit us up in the 888 news section on PokerListings for more info on chances to qualify.


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet isa mystical knack for short stack play, a hair trigger fuse and a good long look in the afternoon poker news mirror.

Have something you want to share in a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a surprising appearance by the newest WCOOP champ, Fedor does Fedor and Phil Hellmuth plays good guy, bad guy.

1) Next Stop: 2c/4c

Longtime Dutch grinder Steven 'SvZff' van Zadelhoff completed his dream of winning the WCOOP Main Event yesterday.


Coming into the final table with a huge chip lead, van Zadelhoff actually lost that lead for a short while but managed to turn things around and overtake joshuah333 again for the win and the $1.6m first-place prize.

True to his chat box humor van Zadelhoff didn't go for any deals, either, giving him the full $1.6m payday into his bankroll.

Well, almost. Due to missing a few swaps and selling action SvZff said he ended up with only 16% of his action (which worked out to $266k). But, as he says, all the better to share with a very happy group of friends.

The title of World Champion of Online Poker is all his own, though, and he celebrated in grand style in Paceville in Malta last night. He also, hilariously, found some time to drop in and rebuy in a 2c/4c Limit table. REBUY!

Congrats to van Zadelhoff on all of his hard work paying off! And we hope to congratulate him in person at the 2017 Battle of Malta!

2) Fedor 3/16 in Powerfest $25k

Are you tired of hearing that Fedor Holz, despite being 'retired' from professional poker, is deep in another big tournament? Has it gotten old?

Mind is still Primed it turns out.

Tbh, we still find it fascinating. Talk about run-good, sample size, whether it's easier to win in 35-player HR fields or 2,000-player donkfests, Fedor is a force of nature.

And he's at it again. After winning $1m and narrowly missing the Purple Jacket in the Poker Masters, the Primed Mind of Fedor Holz found some time to drop in on the $25k High Roller finale of partypoker's Powerfest.

The newly signed partypoker pro of course is now 3/16 heading into the final day with $846,000 up top for the winner.

Will he add another dazzling cash to his audacious poker resume? Sam Greenwood, Jason Koon and Viktor Blom still have something to say about it but odds are still very, very high.

Rail all the action on partypoker today starting at 8 pm CET. If you don't have a partypoker account yet, get one via our review page for a $500 bonus. Watch the action (along with some $100/$200 PLO with Sam Trickett and friends) on the partypoker Twitch stream below:

3) "I Assumed World Would Know I Was Good Guy by 2007 or 2008"

With the launch of his new book Poker Brat this summer Phil Hellmuth has been on an extended promotional jag with no shortage of new/illuminating interviews with one of poker's biggest icons.

Good guy or bad guy face?

Add another one to the pile today with a new interview with Phil up from VegasINC magazine.

This one delves into Phil's thoughts on the coming 'sonic boom' for poker, the accuracy of his Poker Brat persona, his best friends on the circuit and what's left for him to achieve in poker.

Excerpt below; check out the full interview here.

"Listen, when I became the Poker Brat in 2003 and ’04 and ’05, I assumed the world would know I was the good guy by 2007 or 2008. Because I’ve never cheated on my wife, I don’t do drugs, I’m not a big drinker.


"I’m the good guy, I’m a family guy. I have a super-balanced life, and I’m a super balanced guy. I was hoping the world would figure that out. But they never figured it out. And that hurts. It hurts because I don’t want to be viewed that way.


"However, I made a lot of extra money being the bad boy in poker. But I think the bad boy is someone who is out there doing crazy things. I just lose my temper at the poker table."


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a big stack, a bowl of mom's spaghetti and one shot to lose yourself in your afternoon poker news moment.

Got a hot tip for a future 3-Bet? Drop us a line about it in the comments below.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Steven Van Zadelhoff on the brink of a career-making moment, Unibet launches Sunday majors and Jungleman makes it clear who he is.


After 15 years of grinding online (and live) poker, Dutch player Steven Van Zadelhoff (who played the €550 Battle of Malta last year btw) has a massive chip lead at the final table of the 2017 WCOOP Main Event with $1.6m waiting for the winner.

How satisfying do you think that might feel? About like this:


— Steven van Zadelhoff (@svzff) September 26, 2017

1/18 WCOOP Main. 15 years i worked and waited for this, i think i am ready now Pokergods.... $1.6M please #teamviking

— Steven van Zadelhoff (@svzff) September 26, 2017

With $1.5m in live earnings and well over $4m online it's not like Van Zadelhoff has never had a major score but we can only imagine the mix of nerves and anticipation he's feeling as play is just about to get underway in one of online poker's most iconic events.

Are the poker gods ready to deliver for him? Tune in on PokerStars Twitch channel below to watch it all play out! Best of luck to svzff!

2) Unibet Joins Sunday Major Game

After a month that has dished out over 900 online poker tournaments and almost $120m in prize money, you'd think the market was flush enough to maintain the status quo for awhile

No chance. The ever-evolving landscape of online poker has shuffled over to make room for another new round of MTTs - this time at Unibet Poker.

The Swedish poker site announced today it has jumped into the tourney game with a new line-up starting Oct. 2 and a space-themed set of Sunday majors starting Oct. 8.

The lineup for the Sunday rumbles:

Cosmic Rays - €10 Buy-in, €5,000 GTD 

Start Time: 17:00 (CEST)
Starting Stack: 3,000
Blind Levels: 8 mins
Format: Unlimited rebuys

Spectrum - €4 Buy-in, €2,000 GTD

Start Time: 17:00 (CEST)
Starting Stack: 3,000
Blind Levels: 8 mins
Format: Unlimited rebuys

Ice Giant - €25 Buy-in, €5,000 GTD

Start Time: 18:00 (CEST)
Starting Stack: 10,000
Blind Levels: 10 mins
Format: Progressive Bounty

Nebula - €4 Buy-in, €2,000 GTD

Start Time: 19:00 (CEST)
Starting Stack: 10,000
Blind Levels: 8 mins
Format: Freezeout

Odyssey - €50 Buy-in, €5,000 GTD

Start Time: 20:00 (CEST)
Starting Stack: 5,000
Blind Levels: 12 mins
Format: 2R1A

Supernova - €100 Buy-in, €20,000 GTD

Start Time: 19:00 (CEST)
Starting Stack: 12,000
Blind Levels: 12 mins
Format: Freezeout

Looks good, yeah? Also coming online soon are qualifying tourneys for its awesome Unibet Live events. Check out more on Unibet Poker here.

3) I'm F'in Jungleman

We don't know exactly who this fool is but we love anyone who brings out the Jungle in Jungleman. We'll try to find out what's up and report back.

This guy wants to battle me for days without end HU and asks if I want to do it. Did no one tell him that I'm the fckin JUNGLE???

— Daniel Cates (@junglemandan) September 26, 2017


The PokerListings readers have spoken.

For the fifth consecutive year, the PokerListings Spirit of Poker Awards aimed to recognize a group of players who have contributed more than just big results at the poker tables.

Their enthusiasm, passion and contributions to the game go well beyond the felt and the nominees put forward in 3 categories - Most Inspiring Player, Rising Star and Living Legend - symbolize the "Spirit" of poker that will keep the game flourishing for decades.

Our readers then took over and voted for the players they found most inspiring, most promising and most revered. After three months of online voting the results are now in and we're proud to announce our 2017 winners:

Most Inspiring Player - Liv Boeree Rising Star - Espen Uhlen Jørstad Living Legend - Per Hildebrand Liv Boeree – Most Inspiring Player

For most readers, no introduction is needed for Liv Boeree.

A long-time Team PokerStars pro, EPT main event winner, Raising for Effective Giving (REG) co-founder, astro-physicist and Burning Man regular, Boeree is widely known as one of the top poker ambassadors on the planet.

Liv began her poker career on a reality TV show where she learned the game from Phil Hellmuth but cemented her status as a rising star when she won the EPT San Remo main event in 2010 -- at the time the largest EPT event on European soil.

Unlike many EPT winners before and since, though, instead of fading back into the crowd she took it to even higher levels.

By working meticulously on her game she's now at home among the game's elite, exemplified by such varied turns as being captain of the London Royals of the GPL, appearing on the revived Poker after Dark and winning her first bracelet in the $10k Tag Team event at the WSOP this summer with her partner Igor Kurganov.

Outside of poker she’s an active supporter and co-founder of Raising for Effective Giving (REG), a burgeoning charity that raises money from poker players (and non-players alike) to maximize the impact charitable donations can have on those most in need.

Liv will often raise her voice to criticize political leaders and short-sighted decisions and discuss important issues like climate change while still finding the time to marvel at an amazing picture of Saturn.

If you ever get a chance to sit with her at the poker table, chances are that it’ll be an experience you'll remember on a number of levels.

Espen Uhlen Jørstad – Rising Star

From World of Warcraft to the world of poker to the world of meditation, Espen Uhlen Jørstad has lived in all of them.

The popular Norwegian Twitch streamer and Hans Zimmer fan is 29 years old, which makes him one of our oldest nominees yet for this award. But poker is a game for everyone, and people come to it when the timing is right for them.

Uhlen Jørstad has undergone quite a remarkable development. He went from being a “fat anxious slob” addicted to WoW to being a soldier in the Norwegian army to being an athletic poker player to being an ambassador for Unibet poker.

Based in Malta for the last couple of years Jørstad is currently travelling the US West Coast with a friend from Estonia, playing his favorite format - cash games – in the casinos between Seattle and San Francisco.

Based on the time and effort we know he puts into his game, take it from us -- it won’t be long until you see him at the final table of a big international event.

He shares his poker life via open and heartfelt blogs and vlogs so this will hopefully find him somewhere on the road and make for another great chapter in his expanding poker book.

Per Hildebrand – Living Legend

It’s been a good year for Per Hildebrand, one of the pioneers of Swedish poker, as he was recently inducted into the Swedish Poker Hall of Fame -- only the fourth player ever to enjoy this privilege.

In his induction ceremony Hildebrand was commended for both his attitude and for “greatly contributing to enhancing the reputation of poker both in Sweden and internationally as a player and organizer."

Our readers agree.

His poker career officially began when he came second in the European Poker Championship in Malta of 1988, which was won at the time by Norwegian poker legend Thor Hansen (who won this award in 2014).

Hildebrand’s biggest success was probably reaching the final three tables of the 2005 WSOP Main Event – the year Joe Hachem won – but just this past summer he missed a WSOP bracelet by a hair, finishing second in the $10k 2-7 Championship to show he hasn't lost a step at all.

For many years Hildebrand was one of the organizers of the Swedish Poker Championships and he was also active in one of the first poker clubs in Sweden. He later founded the website 24h poker which has since become the Entraction poker network.

For over 30 years, Hildebrand has given back to the game of poker and clearly remains both a gentleman and a role model for young players to admire in Sweden and beyond.

Spirit of Poker Awards at Battle of Malta!

The Spirit of Poker Awards ceremony will take place this November at the 2017 Battle of Malta, Europe’s friendliest poker tournament.

Previous winners of Spirit of Poker Awards include Felipe Ramos, Humberto Brenes, Silje Nilsen, Thor Hansen, Dominik Panka, Charlie Carrel, Anatoly Filatov and Konstantin Puchkov.

All SOPA award winners are personally invited to come play the Battle of Malta and attend the award ceremony.

Congratulations to this year's winners and thank you greatly for your contributions to the poker world! We'd be honoured to see you in Malta in November! 


The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is back for 2018 and you could be there to experience it with one of close to 400 $15,300 packages.

Two special PCA Ultra Satellites will run on October 15 and November 5, respectively, with 100 packages for the 2018 PCA in the Bahamas up for grabs.

Another 250 packages are available in direct Spin & Go qualifiers as well, making it one of the biggest live qualifying offers in PokerStars history.

Virtually anyone can find their way to a package via one of 6 different ways. On-demand SnGs, Stars Rewards chest and daily Cash-Game Challenges are just a few of the options.

What's At Stake?

If you ever wanted to play the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure you'll know the cost of a trip to the Atlantis Resort can be an obstacle.


With the buy-in restored to $10,300 and the original PCA brand brought back, too, 2018 is shaping up to be one of the bigger events of recent years and PokerStars is going out of its way to put as many online qualifiers in as possible.

Getting there for free makes it one of the best potential ROIs in poker and experiencing the Atlantis on someone else's dime is a thrill on its own. 

Each PCA package for 2018 includes:

the $10,300 PCA Main Event buy-in Free hotel accom. at Atlantis Resort & Casino (valued at $3k) $1,000 in cash (credited to your Stars Account) and  $1,000 credited to your room How to Qualify

There are 6 different ways to qualify for either the Ultra Satellites and/or win a full PCA package.

Stars Chests

Between Sept. 25 and Nov. 5 more than $1m in PCA satellite tickets will be awarded in Stars Rewards Chests. If you want to find out more about Rewards Chests, read this article.

Spin & Go Qualifiers

Also from Sept. 25-Nov. 5, $27.50 Road to Bahamas Spin & Go qualifiers will run daily. Each Spin & Go has a random prize pool with payouts ranging from $55 PCA Satellite tickets to full 2018 PCA Packages. Prize Probabilities:

$15,855 PCA Package -- 250 in 1,000,000 $530 direct entry to next available Ultra Satellite -- 18,510 in 1,000,000 $109 PCA Satellite ticket -- 181,625 in 1,000,000 $55 PCA Satellite ticket -- 799,615 in 1,000,000

On-Demand SnGs

Special $55 18-player Sit & Go's will run on demand starting Sept. 25 with two $530 PCA Ultra Satellite tickets to win in each.

$55 MTTs

If MTTs are more your bag $55 satellites are being added to the tourney schedule with both PCA seats and packages to win.

Daily Cash-Game Challenges

Every day from Sept. 25-Nov. 4. a unique puzzle will arrive in your Challenges box. Complete a puzzle and you'll be registered in a daily All-in Shootout.

Spin & Win

In these Shootouts you can win a seat into the Road to Bahamas Cash Game Weekly Final with a $50,000 prize pool. Winners in those get a full PCA package.

Weekly Spin & Go Challenges

Weekly Road to Bahamas Spin & Go Finals will also run until Nov. 4. $50,000 in prizes including full PCA packages are available and you'll need to earn just 25 points to qualify.

Earn them by playing Spin & Gos:

Win a Spin & Go with 2x multiplier - 2 points
Win a Spin & Go with 4x multiplier - 4 points
Win a Spin & Go with 6x multiplier - 6 points
Win a Spin & Go with 10x multiplier - 10 points
Win a Spin & Go with 25x multiplier or more - 25 points and instant completion!

Opt in via your Challenges Window. 

If you've yet to create a PokerStars account of your own, head to our review page to qualify for our $500 bonus.


No deal!

Almost $1m of the XL Eclipse main event prize pool was on the line at the final table yesterday but even after a 13½ hour marathon the final foes played it out for the win.

Not only did eventual winner CllsDntMttr turn down a 4-handed deal and claim the title, it was his second title of the series and second payday over $250k.

With his second big win CllsDntMttr easily became the most successful player of this XL series and he’ll be favorite in today’s Champion of Champions tournament -- an invitational that only XL Eclipse winners are eligible to play.

Calls Do Matter

It was the finale of the two-week, $18m XL Eclipse series and everybody wanted in. 

Nice run for Hallaert

A total of 1,149 players generated a prize pool of $1,562,000 to be distributed among the top 144 players. 

Several big names even came close to the deepest of runs.

November Niner Kenny SpaceyFCB Hallaert from Belgium was busted in 36th place by then chipleader Niklas tutten7 Astedt, who dominated the field for some time in the later stages but busted just two spots off the final table.

The final table ultimately had nine players from eight different countries. 

When the tournament was down to four players chipleader thrust. from Bosnia-Herzegovina suggested a 4-way deal but none of his three opponents responded.

Two of them probably regret that now. These are the final payouts from the XL Eclipse Main Event Final Table.










































By that time players like Sergio zcedrick Aido, Christopher NigDawg Brammer, Ruben rubenrtv Visser, Adrian ADRI_ATM Mateos, Anton anteen Bertilsson and Thomas wushu_TM Mühlöcker were long gone.

The 888 ambassadors also couldn’t make it to the top this time. Dominik Nitsche already has a title under his belt, but neither he nor Chris Moorman, Sofia Lövgren or Nathalie Hof was able to reach the money spots.

Even More Main Event Winners

Apart from the main main event mentioned above, at 888poker you don’t get just one or two main events to finish a series - you get 5.

In the $215 Mini Main Event the title went down under as New Zealand player aghghghghghg took down the title worth $62,730. Sergio Aido made another deep run and finished in 19th place.

The $30 Micro Main Event was taken home by RakDoll for $11,288 while in the $109 Turbo Main Event AboldMove from Denmark triumphed over the rest of the field for $4,300.

It took only 2h12min to decide the winner of the $75 Super Turbo Main Event where the blinds increased every three minutes. Madjelly from Norway was up against three opponents from the UK but busted all three of them to crown his night with $2.7k.

Special thanks go to all the players who took part in the $5,200 “Chip in” High Roller Event where all the fees went to the Raising for Effective Giving (REG) charity founded by Liv Boeree, Philipp Gruissem and several other professional players.

Winter is coming. Get Ready for the XL Blizzard

The XL Eclipse series finishes off tonight with the Champion of Champions tournament for all players who won a previous event.

Three of the players will get a ticket to play live in the main events of the WSOPE in Rovzadov, the 888Live festival in London and the 888Live festival in Dublin.

This marks the end of the 197-tournament XL Eclipse and a poker crazy September with large series on 888poker, PokerStars and partypoker.

All the daily and weekly tournaments on 888poker – from the Goldfish to the Whale – continue to run, though, and will give you plenty of chances to hone your skills before the next big marathon series arrives.

It’ll run in January and it’ll be called the XL Blizzard. Stay tuned for more information.

To play on 888poker all you need is a computer and an account. Registering is fast and easy. Head to our 888poker review page to get started with an $888 bonus.


The poker community is thrilled about the revival of Poker After Dark - and rightly so.

The first couple of episodes featured Tom Dwan, Andrew Robl, Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu, among others, and had some downright spectacular hands.

In this week's hand multi-millionaire Bill Klein took on Aussie Matt Kirk and found out just how costly a single mistake can be when you’re swimming in a shark tank.

It was the largest pot since the show’s relaunch.

Flop to River

In this episode Dwan, Robl, Kirk and Jean-Robert Bellande represent the pros while Lauren Roberts and entrepreneur Klein are the added affluent – and poker-savvy – amateurs.

There are six players at the table and the stakes are $200/$400 but straddling and double-straddling has become customary. Such is the case in the following hand. 

Matt Kirk put in the first straddle - $800 – and Tom Dwan put in another straddle of $1,600. Roberts (stack: $365,000) opens from first position to $5,000. Robl folds and Klein ($486,000) in the small blind wakes up with    

He re-raises to $14,000, which gets Bellande in the big blind out of the way. Kirk ($482,000) calls from the first straddle. Dwan folds but Roberts comes along.

Three players go to the       flop with a pot of now $44,400. Klein leads out with a bet of $30,000 and Kirk raises to $75,000. Roberts folds her hand and Klein pops it up again to $175,000. Kirk calls.

There's suddenly $394,000 in the pot and effective stacks are $292,000. Here comes the turn  

Klein moves all-in for $292,000 and Kirk snaps him off. The Australian pro shows     which proves to be good after the   hits the river.

The $980k pot goes to Matt Kirk. Watch the hand unfold in the video below.


“How unlucky can you get?” Bill Klein’s face looks like that’s the question he’s asking himself as the cards get turned over and he sees the mess he’s in.

Surely, many viewers in front of their screens agreed with him. 

Indeed, it’s very bad luck (and also very unlikely) that the best starting hand in poker gets overtaken by a dominated hand that hits bulls-eye on the flop.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Klein had to lose his full stack.

 If you take a closer look at this hand you might discern the crucial poker mistake that Klein made that cost him a significant amount of money.

One Thing Going for Him

The pre-flop play isn’t really the issue here. Roberts opens and of course Klein should 3-bet here as this is a group of very loose players and Klein doesn’t want them all to call.

Kirk makes the call with A-4s, which is exactly that kind of loose play you can expect here.

But he has one thing going for him: stacks are over 1,000 big blinds deep and that favors hands like suited connectors, suited A-x, Broadway hands and low-to-medium pairs as they have the potential to make monsters.

The 5♠ 4♦ 4♣ flop is what you’d usually call very dry. There are a few flops that are even drier – maybe K-7-2 rainbow – but this flop is one that has helped very few hands.

The best hand now is almost always going to be the best hand at showdown.

Bad for His Win Rate

Klein naturally follows up with a value bet because he can get calls from many worse hands than his, like A-Q or a medium pair. But he’s in for a surprise.

Kirk responds to his bet with a raise to $75,000, which should raise a question in Klein’s mind – what hand would the Australian play like that?

The majority of hands are bluffs and semi-bluffs like A-3 or 7-6, but there’s also a small chance that Kirk is holding 5-5, a 4 and even 4-4.

On the other hand Klein can pretty much rule out hands like T-T or 9-9 as Kirk would never raise with these.

Why, you ask? Because he might be up against Klein’s A-K and he wouldn’t want Klein to fold that. It would be bad for his win rate.

The Dilemma Emerges

Good players don’t play like this. They don’t like to turn their good hands into bluffs, meaning here that only hands better than his would call while all the worse hands would fold.

Let’s dissect Klein’s range to see if this makes sense. After 3-betting the flop it’s roughly limited to pocket pairs 9-9 to A-A, A-K and A-Q, a couple of bluffs.

If Kirk had pocket tens he would force all the bluffs and overcards to fold, making pocket nines almost the only hand that could call.

Instead, Klein comes forward with another raise.

This 3-bet on the flop is so strong that there's now almost no hand that can still continue and is worse than pocket aces – except maybe kings.

When Kirk calls, the dilemma Klein is now in emerges. There's almost $400,000 in the pot, which usually means the rest of the money will go in on any turn or river and the only hands that can come along are better than Klein’s.

Yet, Klein decides to keep the lead and pushes all-in from first position, only to find out how bad the situation really is for him. (By the way: it would have been a slightly better move to just check-call on the flop).

A Different Line

Now let’s look at what would have happened if Klein had played the flop correctly. Had he just called Kirk’s raise, there would’ve “only” been $194,400 in the pot and stacks would've been $392,000 instead of $192,000.

Klein would then check the turn and Kirk would probably bet another $100k or $120k. If Klein calls, there would be $400,000 in the pot and $290,000 left with the players.

Klein would again check on the river and Kirk would go all-in. Now, seriously, what hand can Klein now still beat except an absolutely crazy bluff?

Of course, Klein would have to give Kirk some possible bluffs, but he would still have the option to fold if he feels that he’s behind.

Even more important is this: Had Klein taken this line, he would have kept all the bluffs in the hand and could have won a lot of money. But by re-raising the flop, he’s made all these bluffs fold and can only get called by better hands than his own.


In what’s almost a textbook hand Klein manages to limit his opponent's range to only hands that are better than his by playing an ill-timed 3-bet on the flop – and it costs him dearly.

Matt Kirk, on the other hand, builds up the pot with a raise that makes his hand look like a bluff and gets rewarded generously.


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a pocket pair, a brick of singles in the middle and the fastest heartbeat ever recorded in the afternoon poker news office game.

Got a hot tip for a future 3-Bet? Drop us a note about it in the comments or tweet us @PokerListings.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Dan Bilzerian spilling about his biggest poker moments, $23 million in online poker tourneys and Living Legend Mike Sexton turns 70.

1) "I Never Want to Be the Best"

Dan Bilerzian is a peripheral figure in poker as he really never plays in any of the big high-stakes cash games or tournament we in the poker-watching public get to sweat.

He's referred to as a "poker player" a lot, though, and tales of the private high-stakes games where he's made his millions are rife in mainstream media pieces on him.

While we've heard bits and pieces of those stories before, Bilzerian recently sat down for an in-depth interview with sports reporter Graham Bensinger and revealed a few more details.

In particular he talks about a $10k/$25k Heads-Up No-Limit match against a billionaire who "always had him covered." Bilzerian says he won $12.8m over a few sessions and had $18m on the table - a figure always at risk whenever the billionaire shoved. Check out the clip below:

Bilzerian's poker skills are frequently mocked in the poker forums but it's hard to argue with his understanding of how it works as a money-making tool:

"That was kind of my thing about poker. I never want to be the best poker player. I just want to play against super rich guys that weren't very good ... I didn't mind people thinking I was a rich trust fund kid. That helped me get into really good games."

2) Biggest Online Poker Weekend Ever?

Quietly slipping under the radar this week is the fact we're heading into one of the biggest weekends in online poker history.

Big weekend coming.

You read that right. After three weeks of amazing tournament action on PokerStars, partypoker and 888poker the big Fall tournament series on each site are coming to an end.

With 8 tournaments with $1m guarantees and $23m GTD total this Sunday might be the hottest tournament day ever in online poker. 

Check out the biggest guarantee events on the schedule Sunday:

17.00 PokerStars $530 WCOOP Sunday Warm-Up ($1m GTD) 18.30 partypoker $1,050 Championship Final Phase ($1m GTD) 18.30 partypoker $5,200 Championship Final Phase ($1.5m GTD) 20.00 PokerStars $5,200 WCOOP Main Event ($10m GTD) 20.00 PokerStars $215 WCOOP Low Main-Event ($2m GTD) 20.00 888poker $1,050 XL Eclipse Main Event ($1.5m GTD) 20.00 partypoker $215 Championship ($1m GTD) 20.00 partypoker $1,050 Highroller ($1.5m GTD)

Seems like a good weekend to take a shot at something, yeah? Also still plenty of lower buy-in events to take advantage of on Saturday so don't hesitate - get in there!

3) Mike Sexton is 70!

It might be against his wishes but we're gonna wish Mike Sexton a very happy 70th birthday anyway. HB to one of poker's great ambassadors!

Thx but Shhhh! @SavagePoker When you get my age, you just want b-days to go by quietly & get to next one. #oldasyoufeel #stillfeelyoung

— Mike Sexton (@Mike_partypoker) September 22, 2017

Happy 70th Birthday @Mike_partypoker! Poker's greatest Ambassador, charitable, and always willing to help out a fellow poker player. #TopMan

— Matt Savage (@SavagePoker) September 22, 2017


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a rickety patio table, a set of folding chairs and the most talked about rematch in afternoon poker news home-game history.

Have something you'd like featured in a future 3-Bet? Drop us a note below.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom getting a WCOOP first, Seth Davies misclicks at the Masters and a major challenge brewing on Poker After Dark.

1) Isildur Wins 1st WCOOP

While all of the poker world is either bowing down to or trying to figure out just who "The Goose" is today, let's not forget about one of the OGs of mysterious poker buzz.

OG of poker mystery men.

There was a time back in the day when, as he took on all comers and tore up the game's highest-stakes online, "Isildur1" was just a nickname to most.

When it was revealed to be Sweden's Viktor Blom and he became a sponsored pro a bit of the mystique wore off but there were still plenty who saw Blom as a true revelation in poker - and the game's future.

Fast forward a decade or so and Blom has morphed into a semi-strange figure in the game. He still battles it out at the highest-stakes games online (and occasionally live) but the "awe factor" has faded.

There's no doubt he still has chops, though, as he proved yesterday by winning the $2,100 WCOOP HORSE event - an event he finished runner-up to Daniel Negreanu in last year.

It's Blom's first WCOOP title, which is somewhat surprising given how long he's been around (he has 3 SCOOP wins incl. Main Event).

And it's an interesting footnote on a day the Germans are being universally pegged as the greats of the day. More about Blom's win here.

2) Tough Moment for Seth Davies

We've all done it. But you certainly never wish for it to happen to someone in a huge moment like at the final table of the Poker Masters $100k.

We don't usually post clips of pre-flop action, but when we do, #misclick #PokerMasters

— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 20, 2017

 Davies still managed to take 4th for $324,000 so it's not all bad news. But, ouch.

3) Hellmuth vs. Germans Coming to Poker After Dark

If you haven't caught up with all the Phil Hellmuth vs. Daniel Negreanu vs. the Germans banter firing on Twitter over the last 24 hours, catch up here.

In a nutshell? Daniel said the Germans are the best NL tournament players in the world and he needs to work to improve his game to catch up. He also suggested they play rings around Hellmuth; Hellmuth disagreed vehemently.

Many, many people chimed in - including poker pro and commentator David Williams, who threw out this potential challenge:

Hey @PokerGO. How many RTs for this #PokerAfterDark:@RealKidPoker@phil_hellmuth@RunGo0seRun@CrownUpGuy@becksundsoda and C Christner

— David Williams (@dwpoker) September 21, 2017

Now, because poker is amazing like that, it just might be a thing in December on Poker After Dark - as long as Phil's 'schedule isn't too busy.'

PAD CHALLENGE @phil_hellmuth:

Cash game and tourney 6 handed

Me@CrownUpGuy @RunGo0seRun @becksundsoda @GatsbyKempinho

Let's go

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 21, 2017

I was invited to every PAD (Poker After Dark). I LOVE PAD, but my schedule has been JAMMED UP! Maybe December. My terms in next tweet.

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 21, 2017

Terms: PAD on @PokerGo: 3 days in-a-row. Day 1: 25K buy in sit and go. Day 2: 25K buy in cash game $100-$200 blinds. Day 3: not sure yet!

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 21, 2017

We'll be back in December. Pls make this happen @PokerGO

— Stefan Schillhabel (@becksundsoda) September 21, 2017

God bless us. What a time we live in. Also god bless to Dominik Nitsche who's trying his best to get in the game, too.

I'd sit on @RunGo0seRun's lap to play in this game. Let's gooo

— Dominik Nitsche (@DominikNitsche) September 21, 2017

Also: respect to Daniel who will take the Challenge on with or without Phil:

An honest post game discussion about hands I played and any and all mistakes I made. I'll pay for the lessons.

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 21, 2017


The first-ever Poker Masters, from beginning to end, belonged to Steffen Sontheimer.

The 27-year-old online pro known as 'Go0se.core!', who had his first live cash just two years ago, rolled into Vegas last week with his talented German cohorts and never let off the gas.

Not only did Sontheimer win the final $100k Challenge last night to seal the Masters and the Purple Jacket, he final-tabled four of the five events and won another.

All told he hauled in $2.7m over the week of intense poker and clearly announced he's a force to reckon with for years to come.

Sontheimer Wins $100k Final

With a good stack coming into the final yesterday Sontheimer was a heavy favorite to claim the first-ever Poker Masters crown but still had to fend of a challenge from a few of his countrymen.


Friend and phenom of his own, Fedor Holz, was there as was Christian Christner and Stefan Schillhabel - each standing a chance of winning the Purple Jacket themselves if the cards played out right.

Americans Justin Bonomo and Seth Davies joined them in the final 6 but would have to win outright to take over the money lead from Sontheimer.

The finals began quite placidly and the first orbits saw chips exchanged without many big hands. The first exciting moment came when Davies 3-bet pre-flop with kings but failed to notice when Christner 4-bet with AQ and mucked his hand when Sontheimer folded ahead of him.

The first player to bust was Schillhabel on hand 93 when he was all-in with A-3 against Bonomo's K-Q but a king hit the river. Bonomo busted 30 hands later when his K-T couldn't catch up to Sontheimer's A-T. Shortly thereafter Davies hit the rail when his A-7 lost to Christner's K-7.

Fedor Out 3rd

Sontheimer's last obstacle was a big one in Fedor Holz. Christner had the chip lead ahead of them both but Fedor could still claim the Purple Jacket if he won and Sontheimer finished third.

Fedor pushed 16 BB with Q-J out of the small blind against an open shove from Sontheimer. Christner paid the all-in with 7-7 and won the flip, though, to bounce Holz out in 3rd. With another $500k payday Holz took his total winnings at the Poker Masters to over $1m.

Another week, another $1m for Fedor.

The heads-up began with Christner in a 5m-2.3m lead but Sontheimer doubled with A-8>2-2 and quickly took over the lead. 

Christner was on the ropes but doubled five times before getting all-in with 2-2 against Q-Q and failing to catch.

Sontheimer fittingly won the final event of the Poker Masters and was fitted for the Purple Jacket with $2.7m in earnings over the week.

Final results for Event #5, the $100k Challenge

Steffen Sontheimer $1,512,000 Christian Christner $864,000 Fedor Holz $504,000 Seth Davies $324,000 Justin Bonomo $216,000 Stefan Schillhabel $180,000 Germans Dominate

A total of $13 million was played for in the first Poker Masters and 43 players participated. Seven German players took part and they took a total of $5.6 million dollars in prize money.

Individual event winners were Sontheimer (2), Bryn Kenney (1), Brandon Adams (1) and Nick Schulman (1). Check the full results of the week-long series below:


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a nickname on your helmet, a top-flight wingman and an unquenchable need for afternoon poker news speed.

Got a hot tip for a future edition of the 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or drop a line below.

Today in the 3-Bet we find two Top Guns duking it out for the Purple Jacket, Rainer Kempe re-imagined and shots fired between poker legends 1A and 1B.

1) Maverick v. Go0se

After 7 days, millions of dollars in buy-ins and dozens of impossibly intense, high-level poker hands, it all comes down to this.

A jacket to go with the haircut?

Six elite poker players return to try and become the first-ever Poker Masters champion and wear the Purple Jacket.

The heavy favorites? Fedor Holz and Steffen 'Go0se.core!' Sontheimer.

Holz, of course, is the best tournament player in the world (more on this later) of late with a mind-boggling, multi-million-dollar series of results over the past 24 months that will likely never be matched.

Sontheimer is the heir apparent, anointed by King Holz himself as the best player in the game right now

It's an epic showdown on Highlander/Rocky v Drago levels and we can't wait to watch it all play out on PokerGO shortly.

Mind you there's still a chance any of the six can claim the crown depending on how it plays out - as long as Sontheimer crashes out early. Here's how they stack up to start:

1. Fedor Holz 1,471,000
2. Christian Christner 1,367,000
3. Steffen Sontheimer 1,354,000
4. Stefan Schillhabel 1,218,000
5. Justin Bonomo 1,050,000
6. Seth Davies 740,000

2) Rainer Kempe ... You are the Weakest Leak!

If you didn't already know (more on this later), the elite group of German high-rollers who descended on the Poker Masters this week are, by verdict of those in the know, the best in the game right now.

Rough week for Kempe.

Holz, Sontheimer, Stefan Schillhabel, Christian Christner, Koray Aldemir and Rainer Kempe as a group of friends/horses/poker thinkers have clearly shown they're a step ahead of the standard in tournament poker.

With four of them at the final table of the $100k today - and all over the final tables all week - it's not a big leap to say it's beyond variance with this group.

It's hasn't been smooth sailing for everyone this week, though, as Kempe, $5m winner of the Super High Roller Bowl in 2016, has failed to cash - much to the delight of the playful Sam Grafton:

When you have a super strong franchise but it's let down by just one weak link...

— Sam Grafton (@SquidPoker) September 19, 2017

Lol. Btw, if you're not a big Bond fan that's George Lazenby (of On Her Majesty's Secret Service) Grafton's comparing Kempe to. And we beg to differ he's the worst Bond - that's Pierce Brosnan by a mile.

3) Daniel Looks In, Phil Lashes Out

When you've been at the top of your chosen profession for years it's hard to hear you've been surpassed by younger, more talented players who've put the time and effort in to re-shape how the game is played.

Some, like Daniel Negreanu and Erik Seidel, have acknowledged the winds of change and worked to bring their skill level up accordingly.

Some, like, Phil Hellmuth, refuse to give up the mantle just yet - despite a raft of evidence to the contrary - as demonstrated by an amazing Twitter exchange spurred by Negreanu' yesterday.

The full thread/conversation is really quite amazing and worth a full read; excerpts/highlights below:

Playing against the worlds best #PokerMasters

I have a lot to learn, but I'm a quick learner. Watching @RunGo0seRun is a lesson in itself

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 19, 2017

Oct-Dec I will be working really hard on my poker game. It's time. The top players today are just too good and I need to improve and I will.

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 20, 2017

If I had to rank my current skill level against the best I'd say I'm in the top 100. My goal by Jan 2018 it to crack the top 20.

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 20, 2017

I'm not embarrassed to say I don't think I'm as good as these guys. They are unreal. In order to improve you have to humble yourself & learn

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 20, 2017

I was the best NLH tourney player in the world in early 2000's. I truly believe that. I'm inspired to be able to compete with the best now.

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 20, 2017

I am always the #1 seed in no limit Hold'em tourneys DNegs, best ROI in history kid. And yes, I agree: one of us is delusional...

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2017

And one other thing @realkidpoker, you told me in 2009 (and 2011) that the kids were better than you & me at NLHold'em: you were 100% wrong

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2017

I respect them. I berate everyone (Poker Brat!), and I always learn and improve. But I see too many flaws to concede they are better

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2017

Yo @RealKidPoker pardon me if I disagree w your "Truth." I've seen your "Truth" be wrong way too many times. Write up a list of players that

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2017

2 are better than me, and let's compare notes in 7 yrs, Sept 1, 2024. Your last "list of guys better than me," from 2010, all disappeared

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2017

Cmon DNegs, that's WEAK!! Put your list up for the world to see or admit I'm the best: no other way out of the mess for you kid

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2017

Give us the list of these players that will "Crush me badly" in No Limit Hold'em tournaments, don't be a coward Daniel

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2017

The Germans are the best players in the game right now, give them their due Phil, this is such a BS argument

— Erik Seidel (@Erik_Seidel) September 20, 2017

Yes, I want all of them listed

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2017

Your list @phil_hellmuth

Sorry it took me 6 minutes to come up with your request of 40 players to crossbook. Here you go:

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 20, 2017

More thoughts from Negreanu about it below along with a parallel perspective that seems to fit. Enjoy!


Please choose an option to vote



partypoker's flagship Sunday poker tournament just doubled its guaranteed prize pool.

On a surge lately with its booming new partypoker Live tour and massive Powerfest tournament series, partypoker is back to a Top 4 site in terms of traffic and looking to get even higher.

Its next step on that path is a new $500,000 guarantee - twice the usual $250,000 - for its signature Sunday Title Fight starting on Oct.1

$215 Buy-In, 2nd-Biggest GTE

Much like its competitors, the PokerStars Sunday Million and the 888poker Mega Deep, partypoker's signature Sunday event has a $215 buy-in.

It also has the second-biggest guarantee. And plenty of options for the lesser-rolled among us to participate for much less.

Works for Natalia

On partypoker that's as low as 1 cent due to the 'centroll' satellites that feed into the $1.10 buy-in satellites.

It'll take you a few steps to get to the Title Fight, of course, but with an $82k first-place prize the past few weeks the rewards could be substantial.

Once you get there you can also register up until the end of Level 15 and two re-entries are available if you bust.

partypoker Pros On Board

The partypoker Team pros, like Natalia Breviglieri, are excited about the change:

“partypoker’s flagship Sunday tournament, the Title Fight, is a regular fixture in my week that’s now about to get bigger and better with the guarantee increasing from $250,000 to $500,000!

"With a $215 buy-in, it’s excellent value and players will have to be at the top of their game to be in with a chance of winning!"

Dzmitry Urbanovich agrees:

“After the huge guarantees during Powerfest, increasing the guarantee of the weekly Title Fight to $500,000 is fantastic news and I’m looking forward to its return next Sunday!


"It is further proof that partypoker care about us, the players and are committed to paying out huge prize pools. It will be great competing for even more prize money every week and I’m sure the guarantee will only keep increasing, with $1 million surely not far away!”

If you've yet to sign-up for a partypoker account, visit our review page for more information and to access our $500 sign-up bonus.

Check out the full Title Fight satellite schedule below:

Time (CET)TournamentBuy-in18:00 Title Fight Mini Feeder: 100 x $8.80 Gtd Hyper Turbo $1.10 19:00 Title Fight Feeder: 25 x $44 Gtd Hyper Turbo $8.80 20:00 Title Fight Satellite: 10 x $215 Gtd Turbo $44 20:00 Title Fight Mini Feeder: 200 x $8.80 Gtd Hyper Turbo $1.10 21:00 Title Fight Feeder: 50 x $44 Gtd Hyper Turbo $8.80 22:00 Title Fight Satellite: 20 x $215 Gtd Turbo $44 22:00 Title Fight Mini Feeder: 100 x $8.80 Gtd Hyper Turbo $1.10 23:00 Title Fight Feeder: 25 x $44 Gtd Hyper Turbo $8.80 00:00 Title Fight Satellite: 10 x $215 Gtd Turbo $44 00:00 Title Fight Mini Feeder: 100 x $8.80 Gtd Hyper Turbo $1.10 01:00 Title Fight Feeder: 25 x $44 Gtd Hyper Turbo $8.80 02:00 Title Fight Satellite: 10 x $215 Gtd Turbo $44


Time (CET)TournamentBuy-in14:00 Title Fight Mini Feeder: 500 x $8.80 Gtd Hyper Turbo $1.10 15:00 Title Fight Feeder: 125 x $44 Gtd Hyper Turbo $8.80 16:00 Title Fight Satellite: 50 x $215 Gtd Turbo $44 16:00 Title Fight Mini Feeder: 500 x $8.80 Gtd Hyper Turbo $1.10 17:00 Title Fight Feeder: 125 x $44 Gtd Hyper Turbo $8.80 18:00 Title Fight Satellite: 50 x $215 Gtd Turbo $44


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a bag of cash, a pile of receipts and an increasingly clear picture of how much you made in the afternoon poker news Masters.

Want something featured in a future 3-Bet? Tell us where to find it in the comments.

Today in the 3-bet we find Phil Hellmuth getting Go0sed in the Poker Masters, Ben Tollerene has some ground to make up and the King of the Hill challenge is back.

1) Hellmuth Uncorked

As we mentioned yesterday the breakout star of the Poker Masters has been Steffen 'Go0se.core!' Sontheimer and boy did he deliver more of the same yesterday.

The front runner for the Purple Jacket not only finished Day 1 in the $100k in the Top 5 in chips, he put Phil Hellmuth in the cement mixer and got him so worked up over the last hour Phil could barely see straight. Sample below:

It's either a #PokerMasters "nightmare or a dream" for @Phil_Hellmuth. Which is it @RunGo0seRun?

— PokerGO (@PokerGO) September 19, 2017

Needless to say, that was fun to watch.

With 15 players left and $1.5m up top to the winner Sontheimer still has to fade Brian Rast, Daniel Negreanu and German cohorts Fedor Holz and Stefan Schillhabel, among others at the top of the counts, to secure the jacket.

But if there's any poker justice after Sontheimer's week (3 final tables, a bubble and a win) even a 2nd or 3rd-place finish will put him over the top. Here's how they stack up heading into today:

1. Brian Rast 959,000 USA
2. Justin Bonomo 780,500 USA
3. Daniel Negreanu 745,500 Canada
4. Steffen Sontheimer 696,500 Germany
5. Fedor Holz 662,500 Germany
6. Stefan Schillhabel 539,000 Germany
7. Jake Schindler 507,000 USA
8. Ben Tollerene 499,000 USA
9. Seth Davies 479,000 USA
10. Dan Smith 476,500 USA
11. Christian Christner 377,500 Germany
12. Dan Shak 236,000 USA
13. Byron Kaverman 200,000 USA
14. Stephen Chidwick 69,500 UK
15. Phil Hellmuth 49,500 USA

Watch the full replay of yesterday's action on PokerGO and follow the live stream today as they play to the final table of 7.

2) Tollerene in for $450k

The flipside to playing the Poker Masters is, of course, that while there's obviously a lot of money and prestige to be won there's a lot at stake if you don't run well.

Down but not out. (Photo: Neil Stoddart)

A $50k a pop (with 1 re-entry) for the first 4 prelims and a single $100k for the finale, buy-ins add up quickly. And if you don't hit one of those 6-8 payout spots you're taking a pretty big dent in your bankroll.

Among the high-stakes regs who haven't seen their buy-ins pay off are Jason Koon, Isaac Haxton, Stephen Chidwick, Scott Seiver, Alan Schein, Sean Winter, Rainer Kempe and Ben Tollerene, all of whom are down over $300k (or percentage thereof).

Tollerene appears to be down the most at $450k but with a 499k stack in the $100k still might rub some salve on the wound. Chidwick also still has a shot at a cash but the rest will have to lick their wounds and battle another day.

Here's an updated look at ROI as of today (Note: Seven $50k buy-ins unaccounted for Event #1)

Player Cashes Net Winnings Buy-Ins ROI Steffen Sontheimer $1,221,000 $821,000 $400,000 205% Bryn Kenney $1,085,000 $635,000 $450,000 141% Brandon Adams $819,000 $569,000 $250,000 228% Nick Schulman $918,000 $568,000 $350,000 162% Doug Polk $612,000 $262,000 $350,000 75% Matt Hyman $561,000 $261,000 $300,000 87% Erik Seidel $576,000 $226,000 $350,000 65% Fedor Holz $550,000 $100,000 $450,000 22% Tom Marchese $300,000 $50,000 $250,000 20% Jake Schindler $409,500 $9,500 $400,000 2% Daniel Cates $0 -$50,000 $50,000 -100% Keith Lehr $0 -$50,000 $50,000 -100% Layne Flack $0 -$50,000 $50,000 -100% Sam Soverel $0 -$50,000 $50,000 -100% Zach Clark $0 -$50,000 $50,000 -100% David Peters $273,000 -$77,000 $350,000 -22% Phil Hellmuth $200,000 -$100,000 $300,000 -33% Ben Lamb $0 -$100,000 $100,000 -100% Lawrence Greenberg $0 -$100,000 $100,000 -100% Nick Petrangelo $0 -$100,000 $100,000 -100% Seth Davies $0 -$100,000 $100,000 -100% Stefan Schillhabel $306,000 -$144,000 $450,000 -32% Dominik Nitsche $178,500 -$171,500 $350,000 -49% Christian Christner $175,000 -$175,000 $350,000 -50% Dan Shak $100,000 -$200,000 $300,000 -67% Brian Rast $0 -$200,000 $200,000 -100% Dan Smith $192,000 -$208,000 $400,000 -52% Adrian Mateos $277,500 -$222,500 $500,000 -45% Justin Bonomo $175,500 -$224,500 $400,000 -56% Koray Aldemir $153,000 -$247,000 $400,000 -62% Zach Hyman $0 -$250,000 $250,000 -100% Sergio Aido $96,000 -$254,000 $350,000 -73% Cary Katz $120,000 -$280,000 $400,000 -70% Daniel Negreanu $102,000 -$298,000 $400,000 -75% Stephen Chidwick $0 -$300,000 $300,000 -100% Isaac Haxton $0 -$350,000 $350,000 -100% Jason Koon $0 -$350,000 $350,000 -100% Scott Seiver $0 -$350,000 $350,000 -100% Sean Winter $0 -$350,000 $350,000 -100% Alan Schein $0 -$400,000 $400,000 -100% Rainer Kempe $0 -$400,000 $400,000 -100% Ben Tollerene $0 -$450,000 $450,000 -100% 3) Busquet, Deeb, Talbot Join for KOTH 2

After yesterday's tailspin at the Poker Masters Phil Hellmuth might have headed back to his suite with a need for some affirmation that he's still the best in the game, as he so often reminds us.

He didn't have to look far, though, as he won the $200,000 King of the Hill Heads-Up Challenge and finished 2nd in the WPT Legends of Poker main event just last month.

As champions tend to do, Hellmuth probably got over it pretty quick. He'll need to keep that spirit up, though, as he'll be back to defend his title in a new King of the Hill Challenge Oct. 6-7.

This time around his foes will be Olivier Busquet, Shaun Deeb and 2017 Rising Star nominee Parker Talbot - an intriguing mix of talent/personality. Action will be live streamed again on Poker Night in America's Twitch channel. Check the preview below:


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a popped hood, a set of brass knuckles and a right turn into the darkest afternoon poker news alley, ready to rumble.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Tweet us @PokerListings or drop a note in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a budding superstar rising at the Poker Masters, Daniel Negreanu goes to the street and it's finally Phil Gruissem's turn.

1) Everybody After Go0se

At the beginning of 2017 Fedor Holz tweeted this out about friend/stablemate Steffen 'Go0se.core!' Sontheimer:

Predicting the breakout year of @RunGo0seRun. Best player in the game right now.

— Fedor Holz (@CrownUpGuy) January 26, 2017

When the de facto #1 tournament poker player over the last few years calls you the best player in the world, that's "high praise."

But despite cashing for over $4m already this year Sontheimer has still gone under the radar - at least until this past week's Poker Masters.

Sontheimer has been a tear. He's been on the final table of three of the $50k prelims this week and bubbled the other.

He won Event #2 for $900,000 - defeating none other than Holz heads-up to do it. And with $1,221,000 in combined earnings he leads the chase for the Purple Jacket heading into the $100k Challenge today.

Fedor knows.

He's got 3 more days to prove himself but if he makes, say, a top 4 finish (and the winner's cut isn't over $1.6m) he just might find himself the first-ever Poker Master. Here's how the Top 12 stand heading into today:

Steffen Sontheimer $1,221,000
Bryn Kenney $1,085,000
Nick Schulman $918,000
Brandon Adams $819,000
Doug Polk $612,000
Erik Seidel $576,000
Matt Hyman $561,000
Fedor Holz $550,000
Jake Schindler $409,500
Stefan Schillhabel $306,000
Tom Marchese $300,000
Adrian Mateos $277,500

Watch all the action live on the PokerGO app starting at 5:30 local time in Vegas.

2) Don't Count Out DNegs

The biggest story heading into the Poker Masters was Daniel Negreanu and his side bets.

Putting himself up against 23 of the game's best pros Negreanu stands to win over $1.1m if he wins the Purple Jacket and pay out just $50,000 if one of those others wins.

Sontheimer is on that list so if he does continue his dominance DNegs will be out an extra $50k.

After a solid min-cash (bounced on a bad beat) in Event #1 Negreanu has been shut out of the past 3 events to leave him at just $102,000 coming into the $100k.

That said, don't count DNegs out. A win in the $100k, given how big it should be, should still grab him the jacket. He also says he's playing the best NLH he's ever played:

I'm quite certain I've played the best NLH poker I've ever played this week. No luck in races,but the big one starts tomorrow! #PokerMasters

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 18, 2017

We wouldn't bet against him. Check his latest Vlogs about playing some poker "in the streets:"

3) Phil Gruissem Wins His First WCOOP!

While we're trumpeting the praises of next-gen German superstars like Sontheimer, Holz, Christner and Kempe let's not forget about one of the OGs (Original Germans), Phil Gruissem, who finally, after 12 years, won his first WCOOP title:

After 12years tryin hard i made itjust needed to win 14 allins in a row on day 2...i guess it was #myturn

— Philipp Gruissem (@TheRealPhilbort) September 18, 2017

Congrats to the Philbort!


With over 10 events on the schedule some days, the results of the 888poker XL Eclipse series have come in with lightning speed over the first week.

Some results, though, have stood out more than others.

Several regular poker grinders demonstrated their prowess over the first week of the massive series and three players won two events.

888poker pro Chris Moorman, meanwhile, made his first Eclipse final table and showed as usual why he's one of online poker's all-time greats.

Double Winners Do It Again

Every poker player knows how difficult it is to play for 10 hours+, continually make good decisions, not get bad beat and eventually prevail in an online tournament with hundreds or more players.

Roman Romanovskyi

Only a few players, however, know what it feels like to do it twice.

During the XL Eclipse series Ukrainian player Roman 'Romeopro33' Romanovskyi became the first to know after he took down Event #27, the $15k Tornado, for $5.3k.

Within 24 hours he also claimed Event #36, the $500k High Roller, for over $100k. 

Over the weekend Cristian progree69 Sampaoli and GSwarrior30 caught up with Romanovskyi. GSwarrior30 took down his second $15k guaranteed event on Sunday morning while Sampaoli didn’t even need a week to win both a $20k Monsoon and a $15k Tornado.

Swedish 888poker regular Anton 'anteen' Bertilsson hasn't won an event but has already made five final tables during this XL Eclipse series.

Germany’s luckyr1ver managed to reach the final table twice in one day, just like his fellow player allesrigged did one week ago.

Moorman Nearly Clinches First XL Title - Again

888poker’s own Chris Moorman – to date the most successful online tournament player ever – played up to his reputation when he final-tabled the 800-player Sunday Monsoon.

On his 11th cash of this XL series Moorman eventually finished in third place for $5.3k. It marked the end of an astonishing weekend that saw Moorman final-table four events in less than two days, although one of them was not an XL Eclipse tournament.

On Saturday night Moorman came third in a $50k Octopus at a final table with Ole Schemion, Jerry Ödeen and the eventual winner 1LevelAbove, who also has an XL Inferno title.

Schemion getting some hands in.

Moorman went on to finish seventh in the Monsoon on Saturday, just to run deep again in the same tournament one day later.

Arends Big Weekend Winner

Jans Arends has been one of the most successful players online over the last two or three years and he doesn’t show any signs of stopping.

Playing as Graftekkel online, Arends won the $250k Whale at 6 AM CET Monday morning.

Arends cashed for $64,930 but is used to winning even bigger numbers, coming third in a previous XL main event for $112,000 and second in the Sunday Million for more than $200,000.

See below for the final-table payouts of this XL weekend’s biggest tournament.






Jans Graftekkel Arends









Costa Rica
















Costa Rica










The action is far from over on 888poker as the XL Exclipse series continues all week. Get your account through PokerListings and get in the action with an up to $888 bonus.


If you go deep in the WSOP Main Event, the pay jumps become so big that one wrong decision can cost you six-figures.

On Day 7 of the 2017 WSOP Main Event, Scott Stewart found himself in a spot that would have ended his tournament long before it actually did.

Stewart really needed to find his nerve for a winning call - and he did.

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Situation

Just 22 players are left on the final three tables of the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event. Each player will definitely cash for $263,000. 

Survive one more spot and they get $80,000 extra. Most of the players will never be in this kind of situation again. At this point the blinds have reached 150k/300k/50k so the ante is now what the starting stack was.

Jack Sinclair, a very aggressive player from Britain, has amassed over 40 million chips and is leading the table. Just minutes ago he took a sizeable pot from John Hesp with aces versus tens.

Now he raises again from the cut-off. Sinclair makes it 700k to go, which gets everybody out of the way except Scott Stewart in the big blind with     and a stack of 5.7 million.

Thus 1,950,000 chips have been moved into the middle and effective stacks are at 5 million chips.

The flop falls      

Stewart checks and then calls a bet of 650,000. That brings the pot up to 3.25 million and effective stacks down to 4.3 million.

The turn is the  

Stewart checks again, Sinclair bets 1.3 million and Stewart makes the call. The pot is now 5.85 million with effective stacks down to 3 million.

The river is the  

Stewart checks another time and Sinclair pushes him all-in with another bet of 3 million. Stewart takes several minutes and finally announces call.

Sinclair shows     and doubles up to over 11 million chips.

Stewart later finishes the tournament in 13th place and earns $535,000 -- almost twice the money he would have won if he had busted in the hand.


In this crucial situation Stewart – who’s had a couple of successes in smaller events – makes the right decision and stays alive.

Big stack not afraid to throw it around.

Now let's take a closer look at the hand to understand how he could do it with a marginal hand like A-4.

Pre-flop, Sinclair raises from the cut-off just after he’d won a nice pot against John Hesp. Considering the tournament situation, his position and his style, Sinclair has an extremely wide range here.

Under these circumstances Stewart can’t really fold a weak ace in the big blind. The problem with this is that he can rarely turn this into a very strong hand.

It’s also a long way to the river – despite his hand being ahead of Sinclair’s range pre-flop.

A Raiser's Flop

The flop A♠ 9♠ 3♦ is rather dry. There's a spade draw and some unlikely gut shot draws – 5-4, 5-2 or 4-2 – but not much else.

This is what you would usually call a raiser’s flop because it’s much better for the raiser’s range than it is for the caller’s range (which would have a lot of queens, jacks, tens, kings, middle pairs and suited connectors).

So it’s perfectly normal what happens on the flop. Stewart checks to the raiser, the raiser makes the c-bet and Stewart calls with top pair.

This is also a good example of a spot where a raise achieves next to nothing. Sinclair would fold all his worse hands apart from the flush draw and Stewart would have problems continuing if Sinclair calls.

Commitment on the Turn? In for his stack if he calls now.

The 8♥ on the turn is a card that doesn’t change too much but it creates more possible draws and 9-8 and 8-8 have now become the best hand.

After Stewart checks, Sinclair bets again. That shows Stewart that he'll have to play for his whole stack if he calls now.

The pot odds of 3:1 are pretty good for Stewart but his hand just isn’t very strong. Now, should you really call a bet on the turn knowing you’ll have to call all-in on the river?

There's obviously the possibility that Sinclair was on a bluff and would give up on the river but Stewart must be aware that he might be playing for his life.

What Goes Around

And there we go. A ten on the river, a check from Stewart and a big bet from Sinclair. So: which hands are in Sinclair’s range now?

1. Strong hands – A-A, 9-9, 3-3, 8-8, A-9, A-8, A-3, 9-8. An A-T would probably not bet twice before the river. Also, there are Q-J, J-7 and 6-7 which would semi-bluff twice.
2. Busted draws – two spade hands and some gutshots
3. Air

A good bully denied this time.

We've excluded hands like A-K, A-Q and A-J, which in that order become less and less likely. The reason for this omission is simple.

Good tournament players don’t often bet three times with top pair because they’re often beat if they get called three times. You can sometimes win more chips if you check on one street.

This is also the main reason why Stewart takes such a long time to find a call in this situation.

There are actually quite a few good hand combos he could be up against – 12 different possible sets + 3 flushes + 36 two pair = 51 combos – but these are still significantly less than if we didn’t exclude better aces.

Stewart’s A-4 is thus just as good as A-K in this spot as both these hands only beat a bluff and Sinclair’s range only has complete air and two pair or better in it.


Jack Sinclair is chipleader and pretty good at bullying Scott Stewart. First, he represents the ace, then adds a gutshot draw.

Then he puts the chips in the middle when the spade draw doesn’t come in, hoping he can force folds out of busted draws and weak value hands.

Stewart, on the other hand, keeps his cool in a very hot spot and finds the winning call when it was very possible that he could have run into a better hand and busted the tournament.


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a diving volley, an overhead smash and a blistering cross-court winner that seals the tiebreaker in the first afternoon poker news set.

Want to see something featured in a future 3-Bet? Let us know in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find Nick Schulman grabbing the lapels of the Poker Masters, Daniel Negreanu enjoys a German sandwich and Fedor Holz has jet lag.

1) Chapter 1 to Nick

Over the last couple of years Nick Schulman has rapidly become everyone's favorite poker commentator.

Player 1st, commentator 2nd.

His humanistic, inquisitive approach to calling the action coupled with his impeccable understanding of the game at its highest level have made him the best we've ever heard in the booth.

A key part of that sentence: his impeccable understanding of the game at its highest level.

Schulman is a poker player first and proven his mettle on poker's biggest stages over and over in a career that's spanned over a decade.

Perhaps commentating on the game has even opened a few more levels in his game as he's been on a High Roller tear himself in 2017.

Besides a $50k SHR win at Seminole Hard Rock earlier in August Schulman was runner-up in two episodes of Poker After Dark before winning the first $50k event of the Poker Masters last night.

With a $918,000 cash he's the current frontrunner for the Purple Jacket - at least until the second $50k final table plays out today. Final-table results below; watch the full replay over on PokerGO.

1. Nick Schulman, $918,000
2. Matt Hyman, $561,000
3. Stefan Schillhabel, $306,000
4. Steffen Sontheimer, $204,000
5. Dominik Nitsche, $178,500
6. Koray Aldemir, $153,000
7. Adrian Mateos, $127,500

2) DNegs Starts with German Sandwich

Speaking of the Poker Masters ... as mentioned many times live streaming of the feature tables/final tables is available on PokerGO and, at just $10/month, a steal of a deal.

We're also lucky in this age of Twitch streams and poker Vlogs that a few players involved are producing their own supplementary content with real behind-the-ropes access like never before.

Daniel Negreanu is, of course, one of those content providers and he delivered a 13-minute snapshot of his experience of the first $50k in a new Vlog posted last night. It covers the usual kind of ground but also includes our new favorite expression - "The German Sandwich" - aka having a German player on your left and right.

With at least 7 German high-stakes kingpins expected in every PokerMasters event it's likely something we'll hear a few more times. Watch the Vlog below:

Update: Here's Day 2 now, too:

3) Fedor has Jet Lag, Watches Overwatch at 4 am

The kingpin of all those German kingpins is Fedor Holz and he's also one of those generous players providing his own supplementary coverage of the Poker Masters.

Can't sleep, watch Overwatch

As part of his Primed Mind project Fedor is filming an "In the Life of a Champion" mini-doc over his week in Vegas and the first instalment arrived last night.

It covers much of the same ground as DNegs usually does - his diet, buying in, etc - but also follows him as he looks at a potential investment, does an interview and, as jet lag hits him, finds himself up at 4 am watching some Overwatch.

Fedor busted two bullets in Event #1 but as he got adjusted to the North American time zone his game picked up and he's one of the final 7 in Event #2 starting today.

And guess who has the German Sandwich? Check the chip counts and watch the video below.

Event #2 Poker Masters $50,000 Buy-in

1. Fedor Holz 1,138,000 Germany
2. Adrian Mateos 745,000 Spain
3. Bryn Kenney 391,000 USA
4. Tom Marchese 1,011,000 USA
5. Steffen Sontheimer 848,000 Germany
6. Phil Hellmuth 702,000 USA
7. Christian Christner 1,416,000 Germany


With its smash hit poker festival in Sao Paulo now in the books, 888Live is going back to its roots.

At the beginning of October 888poker returns to its home poker room at the Aspers Casino in London, England. 

This time around the festival will be bigger than ever before and offer 10 varied events over 12 days – but only 30 seconds to make a move.

£30 Sats, £400,000 Main Event

The next 888live London festival starts on October 2 with £30 satellites to the Opening Event.

Get ready for action.

There’ll be seven of these before the Opening Event kicks off the festival on Thursday, October 5.

It’ll be a £220 buy-in event with a guaranteed prize pool of £120,000. This will be followed up by the £2,200 High Roller with £50,000 guaranteed. 

The Main Event has an £1,100 buy-in and a proper £400,000 in guaranteed prize money. There’ll be three Day 1s and simultaneous ME satellites running until the last possible minute.

The days in between will be filled by a number of other tournaments that should be familiar to the online player -- a Hurricane, a Swordfish, a Lightning and a Whale. But you’ll also find a PLO and a Ladies event.

The final day of the festival will be October 16 when the Main Event restarts with just nine players left. The event will be live streamed so you can watch the action from home.

Bring in the Action Clock, Qualify Live or Online

The 888poker Action Clock will also be back on the tables for the Main Event and the High Roller events.

This means you just have 30 seconds to make your next move. This speeds up the game and stops unnecessary stalling.

The Aspers is running satellites for the Opening and the Main Event but there are also online satellites running.

The satellites cost $109 for the Main and just $12 for the Opening Event. As always, you can play sub-satellites to get into the direct qualifiers for even less money.

Join the 888 gang in London!

The 888poker steps system lets you try your luck for as little as 1 cent so make as much use of it as you can.

Apart from the scheduled qualifiers, the steps tournaments run all the time and you can use the tournament tickets you win for all sorts of live and online events.

Get Into the Game

Everybody is welcome to play at the 888poker festival in London but if you want to win yourself a ticket online, you need an account.

To get started all you need to do is go to our 888poker review, click on the download button and take it from there. The whole procedure takes but a few minutes and will give you access to an $888 sign-up bonus.

If you need to cut your teeth, get some practice in the scheduled tournaments or the ongoing XL Eclipse series.

The buy-ins for the XL series start at $5 so you can experience the epic battle of a big tournament for the price of a sandwich (actually, compared to London, you won’t get a sandwich for that money).


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a picture of you wearing a t-shirt with a picture of yourself on the cover of your own afternoon poker news magazine.

Got a tip for a future 3-Bet? Lay it on us on Twitter or in the comments below.

Today in the 3-Bet we find a delightful moment of Phil Hellmuth inception, Spain's David Laka takes Sochi by storm and Nipun Java joins GPL India.

1) Hellmuth Wears Hellmuth

One thing Phil Hellmuth has never been accused of over his decades of prominence in the poker industry?

Should have been pin of this, tho.

Being too humble.

For the amount of attention he's brought to the game, though - and, despite the haters laments, how extraordinarily successful he's been at it - how could we expect him to be?

It's what makes Phil, Phil.

And what makes poker so watchable when he's at the table.

Also, as Jeff Gross recently reminded us, poker isn't just a game to Phil - it's his life.

And for that no one should begrudge him.

Still ... wearing a pin of your own face on your jacket as you play the Poker Masters yesterday?

That's some next level self-love.

While Phil didn't cash in the first of 5 Poker Masters events he did finish 14th and perhaps built some momentum for the hard week's grind ahead. That pin would look pretty good on a Purple Jacket, too. 

H/t to 2+2er Rmbxr9 for noticing and grabbing the screenshot:

2) Laka Soars in Sochi

When we put together the long list of rising young poker stars for our 2017 Spirit of Poker Awards, it was Oriol Fernandex who grabbed most of the attention for the Spanish market.

David Laka (Photo: Seminole Hard Rock)

If we narrowed our list down after the Summer, though, perhaps it would be David Laka who would be the man on everyone's ballots.

After a couple of nice final-table showings in Marbella (2nd in €2,200 HR) and Barcelona (7th in €10k HR) Laka's taken things to the next level this week at partypoker Live in Sochi.

Over the weekend he nabbed the title in the $10k HR for $285,000 and, just moments ago, he finished second overall in the Main Event for another $600,000 payday.

Do the math and that's just under $900,000 in six days. Rising Star potential? Yep. That definitely qualifies. Check the full rundown of the final-table action here on the partypoker Live blog or watch the full replay on the partypoker Live Twitch channel.

3) Nipun Java Joins Global Poker League India

The Global Poker League has abandoned thoughts of a Season 2 in the Americas/Europe this year and, despite some high points in Season 1, we're not likely to see the full return of the Berlin Bears, San Francisco Rush and New York Rounders et al. when a Season 2 is played.

The GPL as a brand, though, is still an ongoing entity and in the process of making a big push in China and India with full Season 1s planned for 2017/2018. Season 1 in China, in fact, began September 9th with 12 teams that made it through a qualifying process that will play down to a champion over the next six months.

GPL India, meanwhile, has yet to begin (it should start in Q1 2018) but six teams will participate including the Bengaluru Hackers, the Delhi Diehards and the Mumbai Jetsetters.

It has also been busy signing some big local names to be a part of it including Shark Cage star Muskan Sethi, Vidwath Shetty and now 2-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Nipun Java as both the official ambassador and caster for the league.

Check the announcements below; more on GPL India here.

Super excited to be a part of @GPLIndia @gpl let's go!!!

— Muskan Sethi (@muskaansethi) September 7, 2017

| More #GPLIndia News: "We're happy to announce that @nipunjava will be the official ambassador & caster of our 1st season.

— GPL India (@GPLIndia) September 11, 2017


To win the first-ever Poker Masters Purple Jacket, Daniel Negreanu speculated he would need at least a win and a 3rd-place finish over the 5 events.

He had to settle for an 8th-place finish for $102,000 in Event #1 yesterday - short of both of those targets.

It certainly beats no cash at all, though - even if there's a tantalizing $918,000 still out there for first and seven players he'll have to catch on the money list before the week is up.

Team Germany Excels

The inaugural $50,000 buy-in event of the Poker Masters played down to a final table of 7 yesterday and Negreanu was the last to fall before it was set.

Nitsche makes the FT.

Getting his 500k stack in good with JJ he fell to Nick Schulman's KJ on a runner-runner straight and will have to fire early in Event #2 today and hope for better luck.

Schulman, meanwhile, advances to the final table where he'll start third in chips behind Matt Hyman (1,460,000) and Steffen Sontheimer (1,255,000).

Sontheimer leads a quartet of impressive Germans into the final as Koray Aldemir (660,000), Dominik Nitsche (635,000) and Stefan Schillhabel (570,000) will join him when action picks up again today.

Spanish superstar Adrian Mateos (745,000) rounds out the final 7. Here's how they stack up:

1. Matt Hyman 1,460,000
2. Steffen Sontheimer 1,255,000
3. Nick Schulman 1,050,000
4. Adrian Mateos 745,000
5. Koray Aldemir 660,000
6. Dominik Nitsche 635,000
7. Stefan Schillhabel 570,000

51 Entries, $2.5m Prize Pool

With one re-entry available until Level 9 many of the early bustees took advantage to push the total entries up to 51.

Comes up short in Event #1.

That made for a prize pool of $2,550,000 and a nice $918,000 up top for the winner. Negreanu's min-cash of $102,000 set the early bar for the leaderboard in the race for the Purple Jacket.

Here are the full payouts for Event #1:

1. $918,000
2. $561,000
3. $306,000
4. $204,000
5. $178,500
6. $153,000
7. $127,500
8. $102,000

Among those to miss a cut of the money in Event #1 were Sean Winter, who finished 9th, Dan Smith, Phil Hellmuth, Ben Lamb and Ben Tollerene.

Event #1's final table will be live streamed on PokerGO on a 30-minute delay starting at 12:30 p.m. Vegas time. Event #2, another $50,000 NLHE with one re-entry, will start at 2 pm and play down to a final table of 7.

Watch a full replay of yesterday's action on PokerGO. See the full schedule for the week right here.


Have you got your vote in for the 2017 Spirit of Poker Awards?

If not, the time is now as the voting closes this Sunday, September 17.

Voting is open in three categories - Most Inspiring Player, Rising Star and Living Legend - and there's still plenty of room to sway the votes for the three finalists in each.

Staples Leads MIP Count

As of today the leader of the signature Most Inspiring Player voting is, unsurprisingly, Jaime "PokerStaples" Staples.

The affable Canadian has earned a legion of fans through his ambitious live streaming and Vlogging and his epic 150k weight bet with Bill Perkins has endeared him to even more.

Don't count Hesp out yet.

The Team PokerStars Online pro and his Streamboat cohorts had to evacuate the Virgin Islands last week in advance of Hurricane Irma but he took the opportunity to visit New York City for the first time and swing back to his hometown of Lethbridge, Alberta.

The noticeably slimmer Staples has a "slim" (see what we did there?) lead in the voting, though, with British WSOP sensation John Hesp and Italian legend Max Pescatori currently joining him in the Top 3.

Liv Boeree and Kenny Hallaert are very close behind and could easily jump into the Top 3 with a surge of last-minute votes. Jeff Gross, Ema Zajmovic and Mikhail Semin need to rally the troops.

Get your vote in right here!

Most Inspiring Player - Current Top 3

Jaime Staples (CAN) John Hesp (ENG) Max Pescatori (ITA) Jørstad, Fernández Neck-and-Neck for Rising Star

In our Rising Star category Spain's Oriol Fernández and Norway's Espen Uhlen Jørstad are a lock to make the final 3.

Espen Uhlen Jorstad

Jørstad's particularly inspiring story of finding poker and changing his life around has clearly moved the needle with voters but Fernández's fans aren't letting it go without a fight.

Who will join them for the final selection panel? Right now 888poker pro Parker Talbot has the edge but Brazil's Vivian Saliba could make a last-gasp push too.

Kelly Winterhalter is trailing but undoubtedly deserves her spot alongside the other four, regardless of the voting.

Make your vote for Rising Star here!

Rising Star - Current Top 3

Espen Uhlen Jørstad (NOR) Oriol Fernández (SPA) Parker “TonkaaaaP” Talbot (CAN) Hildebrand Running Away with Living Legend

When Sweden's Per Hildebrand made the final 5 nominees for the Living Legend Award, he may have been overshadowed by some bigger names but he was never a "throw-in."

Hildebrand = HoF

The 2017 inductee into the Swedish Poker Hall of Fame deserves every accolade that comes his way but, it seemed, was a longshot to leap over such poker luminaries as Mike Sexton and Marcel Luske.

Consider that longshot to have come in. Hildebrand has crushed the voting over the past couple of months and now holds a commanding lead heading into the final days.

Could Sexton or Luske overtake him before Sunday? It's possible, we suppose. Barny Boatman and Padraig Parkinson could, too. 

But Hildebrand is clearly much-loved in Scandinavia and beyond and now the clear favorite to bring the award back to Sweden.

Vote for Living Legend right here!

Living Legend Award - Current Top 3

Per Hildebrand Mike Sexton Marcel Luske

The 2017 Spirit of Poker Awards will be presented in a live ceremony at the 2017 Battle of Malta. See our past winners here.


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a flat-seam shoulder, a two-button closure and the perfect 2.5" lapel on your dashing new afternoon poker news sports coat.

Want to squeeze something in a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find poker's heavy hitters converging on Aria, Patrick Serda has a nice week and the critics (save a couple) are sweet on Molly's Game.

1) Poker Masters Primed

Are you ready for a new tradition to stake its turf in the high-stakes poker world?

Mateos: Purple Jacket dark horse?

We definitely are, and if you haven't primed up for the first-ever Poker Masters on Poker Central, here's a quick guide to get you up to speed.

Besides two of poker's biggest stars in Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth a deluge of the game's brightest talent has descended on Vegas to try and grab their share.

Team Germany is in the house. Justin Bonomo is back and ready for battle.

Spain's Adrian Mateos and Sergio Aido are in. And a true who's who of high-stakes poker from Doug Polk to Charlie Carrel to Brian Rast to Ben Lamb should be in the mix.

It's gonna be lit and it starts today at 5 pm PT. Some of the buzz from the participants:

Getting used to playing the best of the best again... #preparation #PokerMasters #TeamGermany #Vacation

— Stefan Schillhabel (@becksundsoda) September 12, 2017

Next-lvl-prep for #PokerMasters with @becksundsoda and Christian
Let's crush 1/3 for now#ariapoker

— Go0se.core! (@RunGo0seRun) September 13, 2017

The first half of Team Germany arrived in Vegas today :) #PokerMasters starts on Wednesday. Livestreamed by @PokerGO. Let's win that jacket!

— Stefan Schillhabel (@becksundsoda) September 12, 2017

I was so happy to leave Vegas in July and now I'm excited to be back for Poker Masters! Nothing like a month off to reignite the flame

— Justin Bonomo (@JustinBonomo) September 13, 2017

Aggg no pudo ser el HR quede el 19... mañana a vegas para jugar el poker masters!

— Adrián Mateos Díaz (@Amadi_17) September 11, 2017 2) Serda Looks Super

So, Canada's Patrick Serda is in the midst of a pretty solid week of poker.

Reason to smile. (Photo: PokerStars)

Semi-famous for his deal in the 2016 EPT Prague €10,300 High Roller where he gave William Kassouf the trophy and walked away with most of the cash, Serda is putting his own name in lights with a couple of big showings.

After running away with the WCOOP $10,300 NLHE High Roller title and $469,191 earlier this week, Serda is now chipleader with 21 players left at the $2,220 Canadian Poker Championship.

There's $400,000 up top for that one and with 90m chips heading into Day 4 Serda is in line for one hell of a good ROI this week if he takes it down.  He'll still have to outlast a few poker beasts in Ema Zajmovic, Kyle Bowker and Mike Leah to get there but there's no doubt he's got the chops.

Watch the action on the live stream from the Playground Poker Club below:

3) The Reviews Are In ... and They Like It (Mostly)

As we mentioned earlier in the week, the Aaron Sorkin written/directed Molly Bloom biopic premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival over the weekend and gave critics a sneak peek at the much-anticipated film.

So far, a lot of them like it. Besides this dude at The Guardian, most were quite generous on their takes - and in particular towards Jessica Chastain's performance as Bloom.

It currently has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes which, while still very early in its run, is a pretty good start. Check out some of the more glowing reviews at The Verge, Slashfilm, Collider and Vulture. Here's the trailer again below:


Please choose an option to vote



As the warm tones of broadcaster Jim Nantz remind us every April, The Masters is "a tradition unlike any other" in golf.

Will tonight's first-ever Poker Masters eventually inspire that same lofty, hushed admiration?

The poker world gets a new prestigious trophy to aspire to this week but it's not the usual shiny bracelet or creative sculpture.

Instead, it's a purple jacket - inspired by the legendary green jacket of The Masters and designed by American designer Waraire Boswell.

Who will wear the first one? And will it - along with the teems of cash to be won - become a new poker tradition?

We'll find out this week on Poker Central.

What is the Poker Masters?

If you've missed the lead-up to this week's series, the Poker Masters is a five-event High Roller series playing out at the Aria Casino in Las Vegas from Sept. 13-20.

Team Germany wants it too.

There are four opening 'prelim' tournaments each with a $50,000 buy-in followed by a final $100,000 Championship tournament.

The purple jacket goes to the player who wins the most money over all five tournaments.

The fees for players are mostly waived (late reg and re-entries excepted) and those who play in all four prelims play the $100k for free as well.

The Format

The $50k tournaments will be played over two days while the $100k tournament will run over three days.

Starting stacks will be 125,000 chips and levels are 30 minutes. Every day will play down to a final table of nine, which return the following day to play to a winner.

Re-entry is available until Level 9.

In the $100k Championship tournament starting stacks are 200,000 chips and levels are 60 minutes. This one is a Freezeout so no re-entries are possible.

The following rules also apply:

Tables are seven-handed Big blind pays ante for entire table 30 second shot clock; each player also three 60 second extensions No headphones, sunglasses or cell phones at the table Dress code is business casual Who's Playing?

There's no public registration list yet so we don't know exactly how many players are expected in the Poker Masters.

Jason Koon is in.

However, it seems that the initiative has been welcomed and many of the usual High Rollers have tweeted about it.

Just a few of the players who have confirmed their participation:

Daniel Negreanu Phil Hellmuth Fedor Holz Koray Aldemir Doug Polk Rainer Kempe Jason Koon Stefan Schillhabel Dominik Nitsche

Holz will even have a documentary team following him in Vegas for the full week. Ali Nejad and David Williams will call the action in the commentary booth.

Side Action

In addition to the tournament action there will likely be plenty of side bets between the players.

The most prominent so far is, of course, Daniel Negreanu, who has announced $50k 'must win' side bets between him and over 20 players.

If Negreanu wins the Purple Jacket he's in line for a $1m+ added payout; if he loses to one of the selected players, he's only out $50,000.

Current list of players I have $50k bets against to win the Purple Jacket

If Christoph or DP don't play the first event those bets are off.

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 12, 2017 Where Can You Watch?

The Poker Masters will air all week on PokerGO, the subscription poker streaming service provided by Poker Central.

All the action from Aria on PokerGO

Feature tables will be cards-up and air on a 30-minute delay.

Poker Masters PokerGO Stream Schedule

Wed., Sept 13 – Event 1 $50,000 Day 1 Feature Table – 8 pm ET

Thurs., Sept 14 – Event 1 $50,000 Final Table – 3:30 pm ET

Friday, Sept 15 – Event 2 $50,000 Final Table – 3:30 pm ET

Sat., Sept 16 – Event 3 $50,000 Final Table – 3:30 pm ET

Sunday, Sept 17 – Event 4 $50,000 Final Table – 3:30 pm ET

Monday, Sept 18 – Event 5 $100,000 Feature Table – 8:30 pm ET

Tuesday, Sept 19 – Event 5 $100,000 Feature Table – 5:30 pm ET

Wed., Sept 20 – Event 5 $100,000 Final Table – 3:30 pm ET

A full replay of the previous day's action will be available within a few hours after play ends.

Subscribe to PokerGO for $10 a month or $99 for an entire year. Read more about PokerGO here.


It’s a busy month at 888poker.

888Live Sao Paulo just ended, the next festival in London has been announced and, to bridge the gap, you have the XL Eclipse series with almost 200 tournaments in between.

The first weekend saw huge player fields to get things started including the Opening Event where 2,300 players generated a $345,000 prize pool.

888poker pro Parker Talbot is also off to a good start as he won an event, almost won another and secured his main event ticket.

ImTriggered is Player of the Weekend

The Opening Event gave ImTriggered – a player based in Costa Rica – the biggest payday of their online career.

In fact ImTriggered not only took down the Opening Event and $58,200, they also final-tabled the $1,050 Whale for another $18,400 and finished 45th in the MegaDeep.

What makes it even more impressive is that these were the only three tournaments ImTriggered played on the XL Eclipse opening day.

#7 Opening Event Final Table Payouts







Costa Rica


































The largest sum won on the first XL weekend, however, went to Germany. CllsDntMttr was victorious in the Whale and added $64,826 to his 888poker account.

Talbot Wins One ... and Almost Another

He’s one of the recent additions to the 888poker ambassador team and he’s quickly become one of the most successful.

Live or online, Talbot making waves.

While streaming live on Twitch, Talbot went all the way in Event #12, The Sunday Tornado, and won $6.5k.

At the same time he played in a $1k satellite to the XL Main Event and won a ticket.

"I think Day 1 of XL was a huge hit" said Talbot. "I'm biased of course as I shipped event #12 for 6.5k.

"This tournament was a pretty nice day saver for me. I think I still managed to lose $$$ on the day (1k whale) but overall it was a beauty ship with some nice hands 13 hours into the stream/session. 

"I'm really really looking forward to playing more XL Eclipse events, other Sundays and some of the high roller events in particular." 

After 13 hours of live streaming Talbot not only went back to the tables the next day he also played in the “Tornado” again – and finished second!

Get Your Hands Dirty

The Tornado seems to be pretty popular among 888 ambassadors. Former 888 pro Xuan Liu also made the final table of the Sunday edition and finished in 5th place.

Dominik Nitsche added another two cashes to his 888poker resume when he became the only 888poker ambassador to cash in the Whale – the highest buy-in event of the weekend at $1,050 to play.

Nitsche finished just off the final table in 16th while he also made the top 50 in the Opening event.

$888 Bonus

The XL series runs until September 24 with tournaments from $5 to $5,000 buy-in, so get your hands dirty and play. If you don’t have an account yet, use our download links on the PokerListings 888poker review page to get yourself an $888 bonus.


888poker’s largest online series yet – the XL Eclipse – has been on since Sunday and you can play in 13 tournaments every day until September 24.

Check here for the complete schedule.

Meanwhile 888poker has started another promotion and, again, it’s a big one.

Complete challenges, get scratchcards and play daily freerolls with 888poker’s new super heroes Blast Man, Captain SNAP and Turbo Warrior.

Spin the Superhero Wheel

“Taking Back the Game” is a mantra of 888poker and that means more fun and more power over the games that you play.

Open your 888poker lobby and you’ll see the new Superhero spin wheel pop up.

Spin it and you’ll win tickets to $1,000, $3,000 and $10,000 freerolls, get sports betting or casino bonuses and even €10 BLAST tickets.

Spin that wheel.

You can spin the wheel every day. But that’s only the beginning.

Every Power Scratchcard is a Winner

Next up are the Action Squad challenges. Complete any of the following challenges for more prizes:

The BLAST Man challenge – Win two BLAST tournaments with at least $1 buy-in in one day. (BLAST tournaments are 4-max SnG tournaments with an ultra-fast structure and a randomly generated prize pool).

The Captain SNAP challenge – Win 15 hands in No Limit SNAP. You must play at least stakes of 2c/5c. (SNAP is the fast-fold cash game on 888poker. No more waiting for stalling players.)

The Turbo Warrior challenge – Play any tournament or Sit-and Go with a buy-in of $8 or more.

The Flopomania challenge – Play 50 hands with an ante of 5c minimum no matter if you win or lose. (888poker’s latest innovation in poker. See a flop every hand and rethink your strategy.) 

Complete any (or all) of these challenges and you'll get a Power Scratchcard (up to 4 per day). Every scratchcard wins and there are the following prizes:

$3,000 Action Squad tournament ticket $1 Bonus $2 Bonus $5 Bonus $10,000 Ultimate Hero tournament ticket $1,000 in cash Daily Action Squad Tournaments 3 shots at $100k daily.

There are three of them every day and each has a guaranteed prize pool of $3,000. But they’re not all the same…

The BLAST Man freerolls end in just six minutes. From then on it’s all in for everybody all the time.

In the Captain SNAP freerolls, you get to fast fold every hand you wish and move on to the next table.

And the Turbo Warrior freerolls – you guessed it – are just faster than any other freeroll you know.

$100,000 Grand Prize

If you make it to the top 888 players in any of the Action Squad freerolls you’ll get a Super Power Scratchcard (up to 3 per day).

Again, every scratchcard wins. But here the prizes are even bigger. The bonuses go up to $50 and you could win a ticket to the Ultimate Hero Freeroll, which has a prize pool of $10,000.

If you get really lucky you might win the ultimate cash prize of $100,000 – with nothing but a scratch of a card.

Ready to Unleash your Inner Hero?

The Action Squad promotion will run until November 5. To be eligible you must be a depositor on 888poker.

Create your own account through our 888poker review page and you'll be eligible for our exclusive $888 bonus.

Sign up today and you can play the full two weeks of the XL Eclipse series and, as always, qualify for amazing 888poker Live events.


Nobody can match the 14 bracelets of Phil Hellmuth, the most successful player in WSOP history by a mile.

Because of his personality, however - and his controversial playing style - he’s not popular with everybody.

Those who say he isn’t really that good (and there are lots of them) better have a look at this one.

In our Hand of the Week Hellmuth takes on JC Tran (not last week at the WPT final table but a few years ago) and finishes the hand with a call that is both brave and spectacular.

Flop to River

It’s one of the preliminary rounds of PartyPoker Premier League Season 3. JC Tran – four years before he made the WSOP Main Event final table – is heads-up against the Poker Brat.

He’s leading with 388,000 in chips; Hellmuth sits with 212,000. Blinds are at 7000/15,000 (sic). 

Hellmuth is on the button and limps with    

Tran checks. There's 30,000 in the pot with effective stacks of 197,000. The flop is   8♣  

Tran checks, Hellmuth bets 15,000 and Tran doubles the bet to 30,000. Hellmuth calls and the pot now has 90,000. Effective stacks are at 167,000.

The turn is the   Tran now bets 35,000 and Hellmuth calls again. There's 160,000 in the pot and effective stacks are 132,000.

The river is the   Tran puts Hellmuth all-in and sends him into the tank. Hellmuth eventually decides to call with third pair and wins a huge pot.

Tran held    

Enjoy this amazing hand in the video below. By the way: you’ll also realize how much you miss Jesse May as a commentator.


Phil surely didn’t have much in this hand but manages to make an astonishing call (just look at JC’s face) and doubles his stack.

Too strong to fold.

Did he just feel it? Did he have the perfect read? Or was there method in this apparent madness? Let’s find out.

We start at the stack sizes. Hellmuth has just 14 big blinds left and is under quite a bit of pressure.

8-5s on the button, however, is too strong to fold. It doesn’t often make top pair but it’s semi-connected -- and at least it’s suited.

Tran checks the big blind, which gives Phil some information about his hand. Tran won’t have a strong ace or a big pair because then he would’ve certainly exerted more pressure with a raise.

With hands like K-Q and K-J, he would probably raise as well.

Mysterious Check-Raise on the Flop

As Tran’s range now doesn’t have many aces in it, the flop is pretty good for Hellmuth. He’s hit middle pair, which heads-up is a pretty strong hand.

Tran checks and Hellmuth goes for a classic value bet. He’s trying to get money from two low clubs, gut shots like 7-6, 7-5, or a 4. But he’s in for a surprise as Tran responds with the smallest of check-raises.

What now, JC?

What do you make of a min check-raise that gives Hellmuth 5:1 odds to call? It’s a move that essentially polarizes Tran’s range on the flop.

As we said, there aren’t strong aces in his range but he could certainly play A-8 or A-4 two pair like this, which in this spot would be veritable monsters.

But the number of strong hands in Tran’s range is limited. He probably wouldn’t play A-7 or A-3 like that, as good players rarely turn their hands into bluffs if they don’t have to.

Easy Call

Obviously, Hellmuth continues in this hand. He isn’t getting pushed out that easily and Tran’s move smells very much like a semi-bluff.

Every strong player knows a flop check-raise is often a semi-bluff

Every strong player knows that a check-raise on the flop often is a semi-bluff mainly used to get the initiative and this flop allows for quite a few draws – club flush draws and gutshots with 7-6, 7-5, 5-2, and 5-3.

Hellmuth makes the call and the turn is the K♠, which shouldn’t change much in this situation and thus doesn’t weaken Hellmuth’s hand.

If Hellmuth had the better hand on the flop, he still has it most of the time and this applies even more to Tran’s hand. As Tran bets he confirms that, because if Tran had a king he would probably check to take it to showdown.

So, it still looks like Tran has either a draw or a monster. But there are still so many draws in Tran’s hand that Hellmuth had almost no choice but to call with 3:1 pot odds.

All or Nothing on the River All or nothing time.

This is how Tran might be looking at the way this hand's gone down.

On the flop he took over the initiative, and with another bet on the turn he tried to make a good hand fold (if maybe not a very good hand).

At the same time he has to consider what Hellmuth is putting him on and in that range he must have the club flush draw among others.

Pushing all-in is one way Tran was planning to play his hand to the end. His check-raise on the flop gave him several options:

1) If he hits the straight on the turn, he has a very well-hidden monster

2) He might be able to make Hellmuth fold a mediocre hand on a later street

3) He might be able to credibly represent a hand on the river that he doesn’t have

Hellmuth on the other side of the table doesn’t like this river card as it fills up several of the draws he had put Tran on. But then Hellmuth still finds a call, showing that he’s difficult to intimidate even by a scare card on the river.

Pretty good instincts.

Yes, Tran still has bluffs in his range as some gutshots haven’t come in. But it might have been the tournament situation that was the decisive factor.

If Hellmuth folds now he’s left with fewer than 10 big blinds, exposing him to even more pressure from an aggressive player like JC Tran. 

Yet it’s an amazing call because, let’s be honest, how many players would have even given it so much thought?


JC Tran pulls all the strings he has to drive Phil Hellmuth out of a pot where Hellmuth has a marginal holding.

But Hellmuth proves to be very stubborn and even stands his ground when a scary card on the river fills up some of the draws that are in Tran’s range.


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a hint of Tobey, a dash of Leonardo and all of Ben's white magic needed to encapsulate afternoon poker news' Player X.

Want to see something featured in a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments.

Today in the 3-Bet we find the Mercier family headed North on I95, partypoker zeroes in on Ladies and Aaron Sorkin reveals some Molly's Game secrets.

1) Merciers Reverse Course

"Poker Twitter," as it's become known, more often than not has brought out the (very) dark side of those most intricately connected to the game. 

Lots to consider.

It may have just saved the Mercier family from the worst of Hurricane Irma, though.

Last night one of South Florida's most famous poker denizens, Jason Mercier, tweeted his intention to ride out the powerful storm at home with his wife, Natasha Mercier, and their soon-to-be-born son.

After a collective and authoritative push from friends and poker players (read the mass replies to his tweet below) Mercier reversed course a few hours ago and is now on I95 as part of the evacuating masses:

I know everyone thinks I'm crazy. But my wife and I are going to be staying in south Florida during hurricane Irma. Half my family left...

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) September 8, 2017

... and half stayed. While I know this isn't the sartest decision, it's one that I was lead to by a number of factors. Appreciate every1s...

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) September 8, 2017

... concern and texts. And most of all. Your prayers.

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) September 8, 2017

Changed our minds this morning. Traffic doesn't look so bad now and we are headed north. Planning to stay in Orlando #PrayforSouthFlorida

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) September 8, 2017

Can't believe how empty I95 is so far ...

I guess most ppl have already left or have decided they aren't leaving.

If you were worried...

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) September 8, 2017

... about traffic. It doesn't seem to be a huge issue. The further north u are the better off you should be. Get out now while u still can

— Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) September 8, 2017

It obviously wasn't an easy decision but it seems the outpouring of concern and support from Twitter helped push them to make the safer choice. 

Even being in Orlando the storm is still definitely nothing to trifle with and we wish the best and safest outcome for the Merciers and all of South Florida.

2) By Female Poker Players for Female Poker Players

On a lighter note ... partypoker today announced it has launched partypoker Ladies.

Be like Kristen, too.

It's a collective social media/live tourney project to give female poker players "the opportunity to socialize and play poker with like-minded women from around the globe."

It starts with a ladies-only tournament at Grand Prix Killarney this week and a new $109 buy-in Powerfest Ladies event on Sept. 24.

It also includes a dedicated partypoker Ladies Instagram account, a Brazilian partypoker Ladies Instagram account and a partypoker Ladies Forum on Facebook.

Also expect "many more tournaments designed with female poker players in mind," party says, so join in on the social media channels to stay up to date.

Kudos to party for the still much-needed push to make the game more inviting to all. Jump in and join the movement with a $500 bonus by opening an account here.

3) Michael Cera is Player X

The more we read about Aaron Sorkin's upcoming Molly's Game, the more intrigued we get.

It's always hit-and-miss whether mainstream Hollywood movies 'get poker right,' so to speak, but Sorkin's vision for the dramatization of Molly Bloom's memoir is clearly more character piece than poker movie anyway.

Still it seems like he has at least some grasp on the poker elements, too, as he revealed in a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter.

Player X

Interestingly, while he says he was never going to use the real names of the A-List Hollywood stars who played in the poker games (Tobey Maguire, Leo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck) in the movie, he did compile a composite character named Player X:

"... One of the first things I said to Molly at our first meeting was that I'm not going to dish on any of these guys. I wouldn't have wanted to under any circumstances, but in a movie where the hero is the hero because she doesn't dish on anybody, you can't either as the filmmaker.


"I kept bopping around as to how I was going to handle that visually. When these guys came in, was I going to pixelate their faces? There was a time where I thought, 'OK, we'll never really see their faces. We'll just see hands and chips and cards, or they'll always be in shadow.'


"But I didn't like that, either. It was around then that I thought maybe there should be an experienced director doing this. Then I landed on Player X, this one player who wouldn't have a name and who would do everything plotwise that I needed that character to do."

And who will play this Player X? None other than Arrested Development/Superbad star Michael Cera.


Worn out from the WCOOP? Punch-drunk from Powerfest?

Better get some Red Bulls and Swanson dinners ready to rebuild your resilience for another big online series coming down the pike.

The $9m 888poker XL Eclipse series kicks off this Sunday with a massive 197-event schedule over the next two weeks.

The series finishes with its signature $1.5m GTD Main Event on Sept. 24 but there are dozens of big-money opportunities before then starting with this Sunday's $300,000 GTD Opening Event.

Big Money Opps Abound

With a $160 buy-in this year's Eclipse Opening Event has $300,000 in the prize pool to begin with but should most likely top that.

Dough will be spilling out everywhere.

Daily qualifiers have been running on 888poker for a while now with the Top 10 players in each earning Opening Event seats.

That should swell the prize pool up past the $300k mark and make for a tidy early payout for the champion.

The big Guarantees continue all next week and beyond with a $500,000 GTD High Roller, $500,000 GTD Super High Roller and $1.5m GTD Main Event punctuating things along the way.

Satellites for all the big events run daily for as little as 1¢ with plenty of ways to work your way up the ladder.

Deposit $10 or more with the promo code ECLIPSE10 and you'll also get three tickets to daily XL Eclipse Qualifiers.

XL Eclipse Main Event qualifiers run every day at 19:30 GMT with the Top 3 all earning $1,050 Main Event seat.

Don't Forget About the Minis

While the big-money events will grab the headlines don't forget that with around 13 events per day there's plenty on the table for low-stakes players.

The Opening Event, for example, is available in four different buy-in levels starting at $12. At least eight more events also cost just $12 to play including an Omaha tournament.

Four tournaments have buy-ins of just $5 and guarantees from $3k-$10k, which will most certainly be topped.

Fire up the lobby and jump in.

Daily qualifiers to the Mini events can also be found including one at 13:30 GMT that gives the Top 30 finishers seats to the $12 Mini Opening Event.

Freeroll into XL Eclipse Main Event

Making things even more accessible 888poker is running freerolls several times a day with tickets to the $1,050 Main Event.

Just log in to your 888poker account and you'll find tickets for the freerolls in your account.

If you don’t have an 888poker account yet, check out our 888poker review page where we’ll guide you through the registration process and get you access to an $888 sign-up bonus.

Check the full 888poker XL Eclipse schedule here.


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a smoked meat sandwich, a slice of sugar pie and a leisurely Spring stroll down the afternoon poker news Rue Ste-Catherine.

Got a hot tip for a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments or on Twitter.

Today in the 3-Bet we find PokerStars stretching out its tournament payouts, partypoker brings the dough to MTL and Phil Galfond gives a non-update update.

1) More Paid on PokerStars

Interesting announcement by PokerStars this morning re. future tournament payouts.

In a nutshell: As of September 11, most tournaments (around 70% of them) on PokerStars will now have deeper payout structures. So:

Tourneys that paid 12% now pay 14% Tourneys that paid 14% >> 16% Tourneys that paid 16% >> 18% Tourneys that paid 18% >> 20%

For about 30% of the weekly tourneys, payouts will stay the same including in the Progressive Knockouts, most high buy-in events and tournaments that already pay 20%. Says PokerStars:

"Changes will be subtle and most players will only notice when they realize that they're experiencing the thrill of cashing a little more often."

Read the full explanation of the changes here. Ostensibly, of course, this means more money returns to the hands of poker players.

Which is a good thing, right? Or is it? Give us your thoughts below.

2) $10m partypoker Millions Comes to Playground

Speaking of paying out more players ... this looks like another big move from the surging partypoker Live with a huge $10m Millions event now planned for May:

Wow! A $10,000,000 GTD @partypokerlive Millions announced for May @PlaygroundPoker. This is massive!!!

— Kristen Bicknell (@krissyb24poker) September 2, 2017

If you've yet to hit the Playground Poker Club in Montreal, much like Sao Paulo it's a must visit for poker players with amazing hospitality and great amenities - not to mention just outside one of North America's best cities.

Get a taste of the venue and the vibe with the playdown of the $10,000 World Cup of Cards happening right now; More info on qualifying at partypoker via our review page.

3) Run It Once Still In Progress. Also: More Coming

When Phil Galfond announced in September last year he was launching his own real-money, RunItOnce poker site, the hardcore poker grinding community were overjoyed. His mission statement certainly hit the right chords:

"A poker site should value poker players. It should value the casual player for the money he's willing to put on the line to play a game he loves. For choosing poker over other hobbies, and for choosing their site over other sites.


"It should value the enthusiast and semi-professional for the liquidity they provide and for growing the game. For spreading the word, across different mediums, about their favorite site...


“I want a fair, honest, transparent poker site that believes in the dream that I have lived. I'm going to give it my best shot.”

A year down the road, however, the project hasn't quite moved along as quickly as hoped ... and still has a ways to go, as Phil explained on Twitter in a poker-industry special pre-announcement of future announcements:

1/ Hey all. I've been asked many times for updates on @RunItOnce Poker. Unfortunately, there still isn't much to update on right now.

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2017

2/ I mentioned in my last update that I'd let you know when we're approaching a date we're sure of.

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2017

3/ That's still true, and that time has not yet come. Trust me, nobody wants us to get there ASAP more than I do.

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2017

4/ The reason for this non-update update is that we have some unrelated projects in the pipeline which I'm excited to announce when ready.

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2017

5/ I don't want you to take my enthusiasm for these future announcements to mean I've forgotten about the project you've been waiting for.

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2017

6/ The overwhelming majority of our resources have been and will remain focused on RIO Poker.

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2017

7/ Thank you for your patience. Hopefully you'll share my excitement for everything we've been working so hard on!

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 6, 2017


São Paulo, Brazil, is pretty lovely these days.

The sun is shining, the days are warm ... and there’s poker in the air.

888Live São Paulo officially got underway yesterday and by the looks of it players are having a blast already.

Locals, Big-Names Alike

For this South American edition of 888Live players have gathered in the Casa Bossa Cidade Jardim.

Felipe Ramos brings the hospitality.

Casa Bossa is a large mall in the heart of the 12m-person metropolis and the tournament area is a multi-functional hall that's also been used for events like the introduction of the Porsche Panamera

While there was never a doubt the locals would come out in force in this poker-mad city, 888Live wisely moved the High Roller event to the beginning of the schedule to secure the early arrival of all sorts of big names in the poker business.

888 Pros and ambassadors from across Europe have made the trip to Brazil including Kara Scott, Chris Moorman and Sofia Lövgren, who have all been overwhelmed by the magnificence of one of the largest cities in the world.

OMG I'm in São Paulo, Brazil. That's so wild. #888liveSP

— Kara Scott (@KaraOTR) September 7, 2017

Arrived in São Paulo for @888poker Festival here this week 6th-12th. How cool isn't this city?!

— Sofia Lövgren (@Sofia_Lovgren) 6. September 2017

888poker also, as per usual, invited some special guests which this time around include Leo Margets and Tiffany Michelle, both previous Last Women Standing in the WSOP Main Event.

Empezamos el HR del #888liveSP y este es mi table draw

— Leo Margets (@LeoMargets) September 6, 2017

When you get seated with @Sofia_Lovgren, @TiffnyMichelle and @LeoMargets at the #888LiveSP High Roller, you bet it's #SelfieTime!

— 888poker (@888poker) September 6, 2017

November Niner Bruno Foster Politano and winner of PokerListings 2017 Most Inspiring Player Felipe Ramos are also of course there and will do their part with tons of local hospitality.

Amanhã começa o 888 Live in SP !! Mais precisamente no Shopping Cidade Jardim 

Amanhã ja…

— Bruno Foster (@brunofoster) 5. September 2017 Things to Do and Denilson, Too

The main event has R1,000,000 guaranteed but there is also an Invitational where former football stars Denilson and Cafu will play. The winner will get a 2017 WSOPE main event prize package and travel to the King’s Casino in November.

What's a poker event in Brazil without a football legend?

David Tuchman and WSOP runner-up Jesse Sylvia will be in the commentary booth and the live stream will start when the main event gets going.

If you’re in Brazil for the first time, though, take advantage of it. 888poker has even collected a Top 5 list of things to do when you’re not playing including:

-- Visit Ibirapuera Park. It’s a big place with enough room for museums and monuments. The buildings were planned by star architect Oscar Niemeyer, the guy who also planned the complete city of Brazilia.

-- There's a Football Museum and if you know about the status of football in Brazil, you know it’s a must.

-- Samba. Head to bar-ridden Vila Madalena and you’ll see it really is a street dance.

-- Head to Paulista Avenue to shop

-- To satisfy your cultural needs, visit the longest running musical in the world, Les Misérables, at Teatro Renault.

London Awaits

Want to be a poker hero and experience the thrill of another major cosmopolitan city at the next 888poker festival?

888Live London takes place in October at the Aspers Casino in London and you can qualify online. Simply open an account via our review page and you'll also be eligible for our exclusive $888 bonus


Jan-Peter Jachtmann is a household name in the German poker scene.

The publisher of a German poker print magazine and owner of a German poker news site, Jachtmann has also made a name for himself on the felt with, among other things, a gold bracelet in the $10k PLO Championship at the 2012 WSOP.

Jachtmann as well stars in several TV poker shows including Cash Kings - an ongoing entity filmed at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov and one of the biggest cash games in Europe.

PartyPoker recently secured Jachtmann as an ambassador for the German poker market (alongside former tennis champion Boris Becker) and both are now promoting the former market leader’s return to online poker glory.

Jachtmann's specialty is the game of Pot-Limit Omaha and we met up with him in the high-stakes cash game area of the Gran Casino Barcelona last month to find out why PLO is on course for a dramatic rise.

PokerListings: Is PLO generally underrepresented?

Jan-Peter Jachtmann: Pretty much the only $10k buy-in PLO events happen here and at the PSCs in Prague and Monaco.

The World Series is obviously unmatchable; they even have a $25k tournament. I’m a bit disappointed, though, that the PLO event at WSOP Europe only has a €2k buy-in.

PLO still needs a push, though.

PL: You mean €5k would have been more appropriate?

JPJ: Definitely. PLO is unfortunately still treated a bit poorly there. If you ask why that is, you’d always get the answer that there are more Hold’em players, which of course is true.

However, there are now a large number of PLO cash-game players.

At many poker festivals in Europe you’ll now find more PLO than Hold’em cash-game tables running -- for example in Austria, but also here in Barcelona or in Monaco.

There is an indisputable trend towards Pot-Limit Omaha.

PL: You often hear people say poker is dead, everyone is solid, there’s no value in it anymore. Nobody ever says that about PLO.

JPJ: The development from being a beginner to becoming a good player is just longer in PLO.

In Hold’em you have that option to just put it all-in pre-flop and then hope to get called – or not get called. Either way the action is over before the flop comes down.

In PLO, that option isn’t there. Not just because it’s not a No-Limit game but also because there isn’t that perfect starting hand like pocket aces in Hold’em.

It takes more to become good at PLO and to avoid mistakes. But the general level of play is going up in PLO, too.

Yet it’s far from becoming boring. This game has so many variants – and so much variance – that it’ll never be boring.

Ronny Kaiser (left)

In PLO every player can develop his own personal style and you can play many hands in different ways which might all be legitimate. There’s no simple right and wrong way.

You have plenty of space for tactical manoeuvres because the hand values are so close to each other. Some players prefer to raise with high cards, while other rather use rundowns.

Ronny Kaiser, who is one of the best Omaha players in the world, sometimes raises with completely bizarre hands and the result is he’s almost impossible to figure out.

But there are parallels to Hold’em, too. For example, you shouldn’t bluff a beginner as he doesn’t know the thought process behind that bluff – yet.

PL: Should there be PLO streams at poker events?

JPJ: Let me put it this way: in German poker shows like the Cash Kings, the episodes where we’re showing PLO always get a lot more feedback than the others.

Part of the reason is that these are the nights with the biggest pots. But it’s also because there are a lot of weird, funny and sometimes absurd situations -- particularly if you have players like Gus Hansen, Leon Tsoukernik and me at the table.

Leon has his say.

In Hold’em that just doesn’t happen very often. You need people like Rob Yong who do crazy things sometimes.

Leon, of course, is also someone who not only loves the game but also the show. If nothing happens at the table Leon goes mad. If you turn out to be a rock at the table you just won’t get invited anymore.

But Hold’em won’t go away. It’s far too easy to learn for that. Everybody gets two cards and then let’s go. The other game is just more complex.

PL: The number of online players has been dwindling for years but Barcelona saw some of the largest live tournaments ever in Europe. The fascination seems to still be there.

JPJ: I’m very happy to see live poker so alive. Because poker is awesome. Poker is the most awesome thing! I’m saying that even though I’m now representing the online provider partypoker.

I started playing online again, too, because of my contract. After several years of a hiatus I’m surprised that I’m actually having fun doing it.

However, I must admit that technological progress has passed me by. I’ve never used software like Hold’em Manager or any of the others and I really don’t want to either.

That’s the beauty of live poker. You have that one single table. You can see the people; you see the dynamic, the psychology. You look someone in the eye and you find that read.

Big in Germany.

That’s just missing online. Which is why I like how PartyPoker, but also the other big operators, give players the chance to use online poker as a vehicle to qualify for live events.

Just think of all the events in the Caribbean, in Sochi, Rozvadov or Nottingham. There are always plenty of players there who qualified online for little money and then play for millions of euros in big events.

PL: partypoker has been rising like a phoenix lately. They went from market leader to oblivion to back in business.

JPJ: Several factors play into this. Some of the most important driving forces at partypoker are recently employed. John Duthie, who was one of the founders of the EPT, and Rob Yong of Dusk till Dawn, who never shies away from things like paying an overlay if it helps the game.

Also, competition is good for the industry. That’s just a fact. My impression is that the operators now care more than they used to and players can only benefit from this. I think that, in general, things are really looking up.

PL: Thank you, Jan-Peter Jachtmann.


The month after the World Series of Poker is usually the 'summer break' in poker, but there's been no shortage of big tournaments and developments this year.

We've seen the return of Poker after Dark (and Tom Dwan), Phil Hellmuth winning the $200,000 King of the Hill heads-up challenge and joining the WPT, a live poker record set in Barcelona and the smashing debut of 888poker’s new Flopomania.

Every month 888poker ambassador and former Battle of Malta host Kara Scott recaps the main events and developments in the poker industry for the 888 Poker Brief.

Here's a quick look at all the territory she had to cover this month:

Poker After Dark

The biggest talking point of the month was certainly the return of the popular TV show Poker after Dark, and boy, did it deliver.

Return of durrrr!

Already in the first episodes the set-up hand between Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari and Tom Dwan gave us what will later be remembered as a modern classic.

It was a “nostalgia palooza,” as Scott aptly named it, and it brought back not only the cash games but also the good old “Winner Take All” format.

Remembering that the show used to feature names like Shawn Sheikhan, Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson, who were popular players at the time, it's a sign the times have decidedly changed.

King of the Hill

The second topic was King of the Hill, the special edition of Poker Night in America. This heads-up, winner-take-all, four-player tournament almost brought back memories of the NBC Heads-up Championship.

It had a top line-up with the WSOP’s most favorite player of all time in Phil Hellmuth, heads-up poker specialists Dan Cates and Doug Polk as well as the dark horse Frank Kassela -- if you can call someone who’s won WSOP Player of the Year a dark horse.

If you don’t know how this ended you can read about and watch it here. But even if you do, check out one of the most spectacular hands in our “Hand of the Week” feature.

It's Hellmuth's world. Hellmuth at the WPT Mike

Phil Hellmuth, the man who has won 14 bracelets and would win every tournament “if luck weren’t involved," has always jumped in as a guest commentator on various poker broadcasts but it seems he’s found a new passion for it.

The World Poker Tour announced this month that Hellmuth will be joining the commentary team on the WPT, replacing Tony Dunst as the host of the Raw Deal segment.

Dunst, of course, takes over the position vacated by the voice of the WPT, Mike Sexton, who left to become Chairman of partypoker.

A Live Poker Record

Have you heard people say that “poker is dead?" Well, listen to Kara Scott recount the largest tournament ever hosted by PokerStars.

At the Gran Casino in Barcelona 4,557 entries were counted for the National Championship, which meant the guarantee of €4 million was smashed to pieces.

Cut straight to the action.

Barcelona remains one of the top spots in European poker as 888poker also has live events there. You’ll have to wait, though, as their next stop is in Sao Paolo and it runs this week.

Play Flopomania

Meanwhile, give 888poker’s new game a try. Flopomania is a low-stakes NLHE game where the flop is always dealt before any action occurs.

To play, create your own 888poker account via our 888poker review page and you’ll also access our exclusive $888 sign-up bonus..

Watch the Poker Brief for August 2017


Poker Night in America has become a popular poker show over the past couple of years with a lot of interesting line-ups.

In its new King of the Hill Challenge Doug Polk, Dan Cates, Frank Kassela and Phil Hellmuth squared off in a two round, heads-up, winner-take-all tournament.

In the end Hellmuth came out victorious and scooped the $200,000 by beating HU powerhouses Polk and Cates – and surviving several critical situations.

Flop to River

It's the final match of the best-of-three King of the Hill final between Cates and Hellmuth. The winner gets $200,000; the loser, nothing.

Cates has dominated Hellmuth in the early stages of the final. Of the 200,000 chips on the table Cates already has 165,100 in front of him. Hellmuth is left with 34,900 so Cates has an almost 5 to 1 chiplead.

The blinds are 800/1600 with Cates on the button with    

He raises to 3,200 and gets a call. There's 6,400 in the pot and Hellmuth has 31,700.

Flop       Hellmuth checks, Cates bets 2,200 and Hellmuth calls. There's now 10,800 in the pot and Hellmuth is down to 29,500.

The turn is the   Hellmuth checks, Cates bets 7,600 and Hellmuth check-raises to 19,600.

Cates calls. There's exactly 50,000 in the pot now and Hellmuth has 9,900 chips behind.

The river is the   Hellmuth quickly goes all-in and Cates just as quickly folds his hand with a disgusted look on his face.

Hellmuth held     for queen high, also known as the “complete air ball."

Had Cates made the call he would have stacked Hellmuth and won the $200,000. Instead, Hellmuth started a massive comeback with this hand and went on to win the match. Watch the hand again in the video below:


How is it possible that one of the best heads-up poker players in the world – Daniel jungleman Cates – folds such a strong hand in such a big pot?

How is it possible?

Did he have a blackout? Was Hellmuth’s bluff so well-played that he just had to?  We need a closer look at this hand to answer that question.

Pre-flop, Cates takes a very mediocre (but at least suited) hand and tries to exert some pressure. Hellmuth holds a better-than-average Q-Jo and obviously calls.

From Cates’ point of view Hellmuth at this point has a very broad range. As they’re playing heads-up Hellmuth will defend his big blind with a lot of hands if he’s getting 3:1 pot odds -- even though he’s already getting short.

Cates flops top pair so when Hellmuth checks. he has no reason not to bet. He would usually have the best hand and will still get called by worse hands like diamonds, a three, a deuce, a middle pocket pair or even two overcards.

Hellmuth, on the other hand, only has to pay 2,200 to win 8,600. Meaning he gets 4:1 pot odds -- too good to give up here.

The Turn Paradox

The turn is another 10 and Hellmuth checks again to the raiser. Cates, of course, loves this turn.

It’s not an overcard and it has improved his hand so much that he's now even overtaken unlikely hands like slow-played overpairs J-J to A-A.

Obviously, Cates bets out again and he sizes his bet to 7,600 so if he gets a call he can put Hellmuth all-in on the river with a bet just under pot size (22,000 into a pot of 26,000).

Still some surprising moves in Hellmuth arsenal.

But Hellmuth now finds a surprising move in his arsenal that’s probably born of desperation. He check-raises Cates but doesn’t go all-in, instead leaving himself with 9,900.

What’s the point of that?

Well, he’s trying to make his move look even stronger by not going all-in. An all-in, by the way, that Cates would have snap-called.

This is a check-raise that says “please call me here with your great pot odds so you can’t fold the river."

Cates now realizes he might be up against a monster like pocket threes, pocket deuces or against a better 10.

Then again, it’s possible that Hellmuth is simply trying to push Cates out of the hand because on that board Cates rarely has a good hand. Also, Hellmuth could be semi-bluffing -- a move you often see in cash games.

Hellmuth’s move does make Cates think. He was probably considering both an all-in and a fold. When he eventually decides to call that's certainly the best decision because if he goes all-in Hellmuth could still fold a bluff and then try to come back with a six BB stack.

Jungle jumps gun. The River Execution

On the river Hellmuth completes his move by going all-in. This is a move reminiscent of short stack Sit-and-Go strategy where you’ll always go all-in in certain spots but you do it in two steps.

That gives your opponent the chance to still make an (incorrect) fold they couldn’t make (because of the pot odds) if you went all-in at once.

But back to Hellmuth and Cates. When Hellmuth goes all-in, Cates gets astronomical 6:1 pot odds. There's 60,000 in the pot and he only has to pay another 9,900.

Mathematically speaking that means Cates only has to win 14% of the time to make that call profitable. But Cates doesn’t even think about numbers here and almost insta-folds.

The diamond on the river certainly influenced his decision process as he apparently considered it impossible that Hellmuth could still be bluffing. Most notably, however, there’s exactly one good hand in Hellmuth’s hand that Cates is beating apart from bluffs.

So ... is it Correct?

Let’s see what Hellmuth’s range looks like:

Strong hands – 3-3, 2-2, 9-9, any ten, any two diamonds Bluffs – all other hands

Of the strong hands Cates can beat T-4 only, which is negligible because of all the possible monster hands surrounding it.

So, is Cates’ fold correct? If Cates assumes that Hellmuth is incapable of a bluff like that, then he indeed has to fold his hand because he’s only beating one hand in Helmuth’s range.

The King!

The tournament situation is also of importance here. If Cates calls and wins, it’s over and he’s won it. If he doesn’t, Hellmuth doubles up to 69,800 and is still at a 2:1 chip disadvantage.

It’s a rather marginal difference to fold and leave Hellmuth with 59,900.


Hellmuth shows he has a couple of tricks up his sleeve. Here, he manages to outsmart Cates and force him to fold a big hand against what looks like an admittedly very strong range.

If Cates had taken a little more time on the river, though, he would have certainly found the call he needed to make


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is an extra-large cooler that’s packed to the brim with ice-cold cans of pure mid-afternoon poker news goodness.

You can always make suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at PokerStars changing live satellites, Phil Hellmuth’s WPT results and a new prop-betting poker show on PokerGO.

1) PokerStars' Satellite Change

Live satellites should be for players who actually want to play live tournaments and not just accrue a king’s ransom in extra packages.

No money in satellites?

That’s the argument PokerStars is making with a new change to its live tournament qualifiers.

With the new changes, players on PokerStars will only be allowed to win one package and one seat.

The idea is that it will keep predatory end bosses from exploiting weaker fields by winning multiple packages and cashing them in.

It seems like a decent tweak considering recreational players who play live events tend to be heavily incentivized to play more poker but it will certainly hurt the bottom line of any grinders who specifically targeted satellites.

You might remember that Stephen “stevie444” Chidwick was famous for absolutely crushing satellites back in the day. He won a staggering 63 packages to the 2010 Main Event before he was even old enough to play. It appears those days are over.

The change will go live with the qualifiers for the upcoming PokerStars Festival Dublin and will continue using that format from then on.

2) Hellmuth Looks to Break WPT Curse

Phil Hellmuth, winner of 14 WSOP bracelets, has never won a WPT title.

It sounds crazy but it’s true.

He’ll have a chance to rectify that today as he (along with JC Tran) made the final table of the 2017 Legends of Poker event at the Bike.

How close has he come? Well he’s made four final tables. Here’s where he finished in each one:

2010 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars — 6th for $117,000 2008 WPT LA Poker Classic — 6th for $229,820 2003 WPT World Poker Finals — 3rd Place for $281,000 2002 WPT Gold Rush — 4th place for $34,000

The reality is that Hellmuth doesn’t play THAT many tournaments outside of the WSOP but that may be changing as he’s the WPT’s new Raw Deal analyst and he’ll be journeying to numerous WPT events regardless of whether he’s actually playing.

The 2017 Legends final table is completely stacked, btw, with Marvin Rettenmaier and DJ Alexander on deck. You can watch it all play out on PokerGO starting at 4 p.m. today.

Is this the year he finally gets the monkey off his back? Final table chip leader JC Tran doesn’t seem to think so:

Me looking at Phil Helmuth and thinking to myself I'm getting my 3rd WPT title before you are going to get your first. Haha
photo cred @wpt

— JC TRAN (@jctran23) August 31, 2017 3) PokerGO Releases Trailer for Prop-Betting Show Major Wager

When we were constructing a list of the best poker TV shows we had a thought: Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak’s I Bet You was criminally underrated.

The show was very raw but the concept of poker pros making outlandish prop bets against each other actually works quite well for a show. There was a ton of potential.

Low and behold, PokerGO seems to agree as the streaming giant dropped a trailer for a new show called Major Wager today.

The new show, which hits the Interwebs on Sept. 5, will feature Sam Abernathy, Daniel Negreanu, Jeff Gross, Brian Rast and Antonio Esfandiari (Where’s Phil Laak?) and it will be hosted by Poker Life Podcast hero Joey Ingram.

Check it out:


Over 900 different online poker tournaments across four poker sites.

Over $117 million in guaranteed (and likely much more in actual) prize pools.

If you think you’ve seen a big month in online poker before, get ready for September. 

PokerStars, partypoker, 888poker and Winamax are about to offer the biggest three weeks in online poker history with huge tournament series covering virtually every day of the whole month. 

Here’s an overview of all the events from Sept. 3-26 starting with this Sunday’s signature WCOOP on PokerStars.

$60m GTD, 160+ Tourneys for WCOOP

The World Championship of Online Poker on PokerStars has been one of the most important online series for many years. The 2017 edition runs from September 3-26 with over 81 tournaments and $60 million in guaranteed prize money.

The main event will have a $5,200 buy-in and guarantee $10 million overall and $1.5m to the winner. Last year's event attracted 2,011 players. Jonas "llJaYJaYll" Lauck won the title and over $1.5 million.

Additional prizes will also be on offer via the Player of the Series Leader Board and over $700,000 in WCOOP tickets will be handed out in Stars Rewards Chests.

Check the full 2017 WCOOP schedule here.

WCOOP Low on PokerStars

The WCOOP is known for its fairly high buy-ins and isn't necessarily affordable for every player.

That's why there's a parallel version of the same tournaments this year that cost only a fraction of the usual buy-ins.

These tournaments still guarantee $12 million with buy-ins going at $11 and up.

$35m Powerfest Biggest Ever

While the PokerStars SCOOP/WCOOPs have set the bar, partypoker and 888poker have stepped up to offer their own massive tournament series.

partypoker is putting on an even larger Powerfest than the one in May when a total of $20m was guaranteed over more than 300 tournaments.

Over $27 million was ultimately paid out but several of the biggest tournaments had an overlay -- including $330,000 for the $1m main event.

This time around the total guarantee is $35m over 330 tournaments. A total of 10 championship events will have a guarantee of at least $1,000,000.

The big events have phase satellites which you can buy in to for one-tenth of the buy-in. Check the full Powerfest schedule here. Sign up for a 

$9.2m in 888poker XL Eclipse

888 will be ready in September with its third XL series of the year.

The XL Eclipse has 197 tournaments from Sept. 10-24 and over $9.2 million in prize pools.

Buy-ins are between $5 and $1,050. The heart of the series will be the main event on Sept. 24 which will guarantee $1.5m.

The Main Event will have 888 daily freeroll satellites and there will also be a main event in turbo and mini-mode for players with smaller bankrolls.

See the full XL Eclipse schedule here. Sign up for an 888poker account via our review to access our $888 sign-up bonus.

€11m in Winamax Series XIX

Winamax is a French provider but allows international players to play at their tables.

Winamax also has a comprehensive September tournament series with 129 events from September 3-14.

Overall Winamax guarantees €11m and has two tournaments with a guarantee of €1m in the program: The Million Event for €150 and the High Roller for €1,000.

Unprecedented Guarantees

So many tournaments which such huge guarantees have never been offered over such a short period of time in online poker.

A total of 30 tournaments guarantee at least $1m (or euros) and a total of over $117 million will be paid out minimum! Check the full scope of all the events below:




Events over $1m

Events over $500k

Stars, WCOOP Low





Stars, WCOOP





Party, Powerfest





888, XL Eclipse





Winamax, XIX











888poker’s new Flopomania game is live and two of its highest profile ambassadors are ready to jump in and see how it plays.

Dominik Nitsche and Parker Talbot were in Barcelona, Spain this past week for some live PSC Barcelona action but still found some time to speculate on how Flopomania changes the game they know so well.

We talked to both to see what their expectations are and how they plan to adapt.

PokerListings: Regarding gameplay, what are the main differences between Flopomania and regular Hold’em?

Parker Talbot: I’m not quite sure yet, it’ll give the game some weird dynamic. In regular Hold’em you make judgments on the other players’ hands based on their pre-flop action.

Now it’s completely different and you’ll make judgments on the turn and river. It’s going to be interesting to see.

Expect TonkaaaaaP to stream some Flopomania soon.

Dominik Nitsche: There will always be six players on the flop, and everyone can have any possible card combination, so position will be extremely important. You need a completely different hand to give action in first than in last position.

We’ll see a lot of weaker players make the mistake of not letting go of their hands. I think you shouldn’t, for example, push middle pairs as there will be stronger hands behind you.

PokerListings: How do you adapt?

Parker Talbot: Well, what’s going to change is that pairs become weaker. Hand strength overall has to go up. All your top pairs with weak kickers will be worth less.

As everyone goes to the flop 7-3 off is going to flop bottom two much more often than previously. You’ll need to be more cautious but you’ll also be able to represent more hands.

Dominik Nitsche: Play and see. I’ll probably check all hands in early position except those that profit from other players folding.

Typical examples would be straight draws and weak flush draws, which many people just can’t let go. It’s a bit like Pot Limit Omaha where weak draws often get massively overplayed and you should exploit this.

PokerListings: Are you going to stream Flopomania?

Parker Talbot: Yes! I’ll be playing in Montreal next week but I’ll put Flopomania on my stream when I’m back. Expect to see me play a few days before the XL Eclipse starts, where I’ll play a bunch of tournaments.

Dominik Nitsche: Actually, yes, why not? I’ll probably sit there and say I don’t know what to do … all-in? So, deal. When I’m back in Germany I’ll sit down and stream Flopomania.

PokerListings: Is Flopomania suitable for live play?

Parker Talbot: Yes, absolutely. Basically any online format can be played live. It could, for example, be a side event at an 888Live festival.

Running some Flopomania numbers?

Dominik Nitsche: I think it rather won’t be. We’ll now run it online and see how well it’ll be accepted. I think it’ll probably find its own niche like BLAST.

In the beginning that wasn’t really taken seriously and now it’s one of the most important games for several providers.

PokerListings: Could Flopomania work in a tournament format?

Parker Talbot: Absolutely. Come to think of it, it would be very interesting. In cash games you’re always a hundred big blinds deep but in tournaments there’ll be very different stacks.

Also, the dynamic would change. Players could for example take middle pair and just shove on the flop.

Dominik Nitsche: Yes, definitely. You can play pretty much everything in tournament format. The main difference is that there’s always a flop.

If the players want a tournament format, we’ll certainly provide it. However, I think that regular tournament Hold’em is so popular that tournament Flopomania won’t become very big.

But it sure can be a breath of fresh air and that’s something we’ll all profit from.

Try Flopomania with an $888 Sign-Up Bonus

Flopomania is 888poker’s latest innovation in online poker. Read more about it here.

If you want to play Flopomania go to the 888poker review page and you can get started in no time with a download link that secures your eligibility for an $888 bonus.


There’s a suite on the 25th floor of the luxurious Arts Hotel next to the Casino Barcelona.

This is where Daniel Negreanu chilled out between High Roller events at the most recent PokerStars Championship Barcelona.

The view over the city is absolutely fantastic but, based on some recent proclamations from his always popular Vlog, we had to talk about some serious things.

For starters: the Player of the Year system at the World Series of Poker must change, says the Canadian/American pro. Also: What's really good for poker.

PokerListings: In your latest Vlog you mentioned a lot of things that don’t “have any real meaning." Does the Player of the Year trophy at the WSOP mean something to you?

Daniel Negreanu: What I meant was that we in the poker community decide what is meaningful and what isn’t.

"I believe the Player of the Year award is prestigious"

I believe the Player of the Year award is prestigious in that it requires a really good run and only a small amount of people can win it.

PL: Is it unfortunate that Chris Ferguson is leading that ranking this year? Should Jack Effel have done something about this?

DN: What they should have done has nothing to do with Chris Ferguson. Whoever wins, wins, right?

He certainly didn’t have the best series. He didn’t really do that well. 

It’s the points system of the WSOP that’s completely broken. It focuses way too much on player numbers and not on buy-in and quality of players.

The $10k Championships were totally underrated. I was disenfranchised with it and over it halfway through the series. Despite this being my best World Series ever I barely cracked the Top 10.

The system was so based on ROI that you could easily be a losing player over the summer and still win the title. A min-cash in a low buy-in event gave you pretty much the same points as coming 12th in the 10k Stud Hi-Lo where you played against the best in the world.

In the future they either have to improve it to at least where it was, or I stop playing it. And that would mean they lose a lot of other people because many of them are chasing the POY title.

PL: You wouldn’t really stop playing the WSOP just because the points system isn’t good, would you?

DN: Yes, I would. That title is the main reason why I play the WSOP.

Streams like Lex's = good for poker.

I’d still come out and play the $50k and the Main Event but the idea of grinding all the tournaments for nothing … I don’t want to play in a system where I have to play the $565 PLO.

People say it has to be an award for everybody but I say what the f…, not everything has to be for everybody. There are enough events for the everyman like the Colossus and several others.

Is it really so wrong to have something prestigious, something that requires a full schedule of play that incorporates some high buy-in events? Is that really such an evil thought?

I don’t think so. It might sound elitist but it’s really not.

PL: In your Vlog you mentioned a couple of things that are good for poker. I’ll ask you about some other things. Number 1 – Twitch.

DN: Definitely good for poker. We have a great team of Twitchers with Jeff Gross, Jason Somerville, Lex Veldhuis, Jamie Staples and they’re doing a really good job.

Personally, I’m focussing more on YouTube. When Power Up becomes available there’s a good chance I’ll stream on Twitch because I really enjoy that game.

PL: Number 2 – PokerShares. Good for poker?

Fun, but NBC HU ran its course.

DN: This is a controversial one. A lot of pros think it’s bad for poker; I think it’s fantastic. Sure, it undercuts the market. But it also corrects it. If people oversell, you can get better odds there.

It’s great from a fan perspective. Look at the NFL. It’s popular because people can gamble on it. They watch it to the end because they have money on it.

PL: Last but not least – the NBC Heads-up Championship.

DN: I’d say it’s somewhere in the middle. It’s certainly not bad for poker but I don’t think heads-up poker does very well as a viewing experience.

It served its time. It was good that it was on NBC so it went to the mainstream and reached more viewers than other shows.

PL: People took issue because you now say you always said 'less rake is better' while you were defending more rake when PokerStars changed the system. Can you please clear this up?

DN: This is probably one of the most frustrating things for me. It’s taking one thing out of context, taking one statement out of a 30-minute Vlog, where I was mainly talking about rewards.

About that rake thing ...

Now, I wrote a blog about it and explained in full. It was very logical and not even controversial. 

Essentially you can have situations where a player might be better off and have a better chance to win in a game with high rake compared to a game with low rake against only pros.

I’ve seen it happen myself. I saw a guy playing in a low-rake game with pros and he got destroyed.

Then he moved to a different place where the rake was too high so the pros didn’t play there as they couldn’t beat it.

The guy still lost ... but at a much slower rate. So my point was that from a loss-rate perspective, the losing player has two enemies – the rake and the winning players.

Now, if rake eliminates winning players as an obstacle that means that chances are that more money stays in the losing player’s pocket for a longer time.

PL: Thank you, Daniel Negreanu.


The quote in the headline says it all.

Whatever the ups and downs of the game, the brutal beats, the relentless travel or epic online sessions, if you can shut it down at the end of each day and say "I still love poker," you win.

Jeff Gross wins. 

Formerly better known as the "Professional Best Friend" of Antonio Esfandiari and Brian Rast, Gross has forged his own impressive path in poker over the last few years and the results are showing everywhere.

A super popular - and growing - Twitch stream. A legion of loyal fans. Great results at the tables, live and oniine. Guest spots on major poker commentary teams. And now a prestigious patch as a member of Team PokerStars Pro.

It's a position Gross has earned by hard work, determination and unrelenting enthusiasm and it's no surprise he made the final list of nominees for our 2017 Most Inspiring Player Award.

A man perpetually on the go, Gross hit PSC Barcelona last week for a couple of the events and we caught up with him quickly on his day off to find out more on the next Streamboat in the British Virgin Islands, the highlights of his Twitch career and more.

PokerListings: Let’s talk about Streamboat first. Please explain what it is and what’s happening next.

Jeff Gross: The first one was pretty much just Bill Perkins inviting a couple of people on a boat. So me, Jamie and Matt Staples, Bill Perkins and a couple of friends went on a boat off the US Virgin Islands where Bill has a house. We were streaming from the boat because it’s US territory so you can’t play from Bill’s house.

The second one is going to be more organized. There will be six people coming down to play and we’ll have a house in the British Virgin Islands, so we can play from there.

This means there will be more streaming as we have a physical location, and Kevin Martin from Team PokerStars Online is joining as well as is Mike McDonald.

Last time it was just a random week and we played a little cash games or random tournaments. But this time the WCOOP will be on so we’ll be streaming every day plus there will be six contestants.

PL: Contestants?

JG: What we’re going to do is we’ll invite six people to come down there and play with us. You can send in a video about why you should be part of this in my home games and then we’ll pick six winners to get the Streamboat experience with us.

There’ll be two groups of three staying there for three days each. Should be fun for all of us.

There’ll also be some organized activities, we’ll be out on the boat and a couple of other things and it will be chaos.

PL: Is that a promise?

JG: Yes. Bill in particular is a wild card. Every time we meet we do something nutty and crazy and he always has a good time. It’s going to be a very special event.

Let's do this! 6 contestants coming down, looking forward to this & #wcoop2017

— Jeff Gross (@JeffGrossPoker) August 23, 2017

PL: In a time where it’s increasingly difficult to get sponsorship has Twitch taken over as a new money source for poker players?

JG: There’s a fair amount of Twitchers but I wouldn’t say it’s a replacement. Also, you have to understand that only the top Twitchers make decent money.

Twitch gave the love back.

It’s not that you start a Twitch channel and you’ll instantly make a lot of money. 

But it of course is a new income source if you have really good content. I see a resurgence in online poker and it certainly has to do with Twitch.

It gave me back my love for online poker. Being part of a community is so much more fun.

When you’re on the online grind and there are people watching how you win a flip deep in a tournament and you’re dancing around and people are happy for you, it’s just such a nice experience.

I see a lot of people talk about it, it gets people interested in the game and it makes people play again. Someone told me recently they saw Doug Polk’s channel and it made them want to get back in to poker.

Of course, it’s polarizing and other people don’t like the content at all, but as long as it makes people talk it’s good for poker in general. Look at the live events like here; the numbers of players are pretty much at an all-time high.

PL: What are some highlights of your Twitch experience?

JG: One highlight was when we had a stream house in Montreal. Kevin Martin was there and Jaime Staples and Matt Staples, too.

Friends in high places.

I was there for about three weeks but one week we did a 24h stream for seven days. We were streaming in six-hour shifts to raise money for the Michael Phelps Foundation and managed to collect over $20,000.

Another real highlight happened just before I got married. I was in Brazil at my now wife’s parents’ house, and I did a 25h stream. I jumped into a Razz tournament where I eventually chopped with the last three players.

I remember my parents-in-law going to bed and when they got up again they saw me still sitting there playing. This was a couple of days before my wedding, and they were like 'who is this degenerate and doesn’t he have something else to do just before he’s getting married?' so it was pretty funny.

My biggest show was during the SCOOP when I final-tabled a $1,050 tournament and I had over 20,000 people watching. I remember I got it in one hand with kings versus ace-king when we were down to about 50 players.

Guy flops an ace and then the case king came on the turn but he still had a redraw to a heart flush. I won the hand and the people just went crazy. It was absolutely incredible.

Sometimes people ask me if it isn’t tiring but I now understand Phil Hellmuth when he says poker is my life. I can say I truly love poker.

PL: You also commentated on the WSOP. What was that like?

JG: I did some of the commentary for the Main Event and I also did some for the early tournaments of the series. I’m not even 100% sure if it went on ESPN or not.

The thing is, I love playing. I gave up a possible career in soccer to play poker and whenever I’m there watching poker I want to be in there. 

Then again, as a Twitch streamer, I’m used to talking for hours on end so I enjoyed doing the commentary as well.

PL: Do you like the idea of being the next Gabe Kaplan or Norman Chad?

JG: Who knows what’s going to happen? I love playing but there are certain shows and formats that combine both. Look at Tony Dunst playing those events and also doing his show.

I think going to big PokerStars events and being in the commentary booth for final tables is definitely something that I’d like to do, and then we’ll see.

PL: Thank you, Jeff Gross!


Six players came back for the final day of the 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event on Sunday.

Nobody expected what they had in store.

In an almost surreal final Swedish Sebastian Sorensson prevailed in only his second live event while PokerStars team pro André Akkari had his deepest run yet and finished fifth.

Most Ridiculous FT Ever?

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something like Sunday's PSC Barcelona final table happens.

After Usman Siddique was eliminated in 6th place, it took more than 4 hours to eliminate the next player. With just 100 big blinds on the table there were still five players left so the average chip stack was just 20 bb.

At one point the Brazilian superstar Akkari was down to 5 big blinds; later, Brian Kaufman Esposito shrunk to just 4. But the shortstacks just kept coming back.

The man to beat.

Even the commentators couldn’t believe what they were seeing and their descriptions went from “most ridiculous final table ever” to “mind-boggling."

The chiplead went back and forth with almost every hand and, over time, each player saw himself at the top and the bottom of the counts.

Sorensson Prevails

Eventually it was Akkari who had to face elimination after he first found himself on the wrong side of a bad beat (see below) and then had his pocket fours counterfeited against the A-9 of Lachezar Plamenov Petkov with two pairs on the board.

Kaufman busted with K-Q to Sorrenson’s A-Q in the very next hand. At this point a deal was suggested but rejected by Rafaele Sorrentino, who then thought better of it at the next break when all three players had almost equal stacks.

It proved to be a good change of mind for Sorrentino because he was next to go. At this point just 60 big blinds were left on the table.

No EPT or PSC main event had ever gone beyond Level 40 - 600k/1200k – but this one did. Twenty minutes into Level 41 – 800k/1600k – it was Sebastian Sorensson who eventually took down the last hand of the tournament and won both the title and the top prize.

When both players were fairly even Petkov moved all-in with K-9 pre-flop and Sorenssen called with A-K. The flop brought an ace and Petkov was drawing dead on the turn.

The winner's check was supposed to be €1.4 million but the last three players agreed on a deal that guaranteed everybody over €850,000 and left €100,000 to play for. A sound idea if you consider that there were barely more than 60 bb on the table at that time and, as Sorrentino put it, they were “basically playing a Spin and Go."

Sorensson, who works in a warehouse in his hometown of Lund in Sweden, was only playing his second live tournament ever.

PSC Barcelona Main Event Final Table Payouts






Sebastian Sorensson




Lachezar Plamenov Petkov




Raffaele Sorrentino




Brian Kaufman Esposito




André Akkari




Usman Siddique




Aeregan Arunan




Albert Daher



*3-way deal

Remarkable Feats

Not only did the PSC Barcelona feature its biggest tournament of all time there were several other astonishing feats accomplishe this week in Barcelona.

Near back-to-back for Sorrentino.

Dutch young gun Sander van Wesemael beat a field of 2,638 players to win the PokerStars Cup event but, incredibly, this was the third PokerStars Cup he’s won in just two months!

Van Wesemael first won the Cup at the PS Festival in Marbella (788 players; €36,450 prize) and thenat the PS Festival in Lille (558; €28,704). In Barcelona he received €127,000.

Brian Kaufman Esposito from Uruguay reached the final table of the 4,557 entry National Championship and finished 8th for by far his largest cash of €66,370 only to then also reach the final table of the main event where he finished 5th for €400k -- more than six times more than said largest cash.

Raffaele Sorrentino won the PSC main event in Monte Carlo last May in a field of 727 players for €466,714 only to make the next final table here in Barcelona with 1,682 players.

His third-place finish meant there were just two players between him and a “back-to-back” title if you disregard PSC Sochi and Macau as he didn’t play there. It took the EPT 12 years and 101 main events to crown Vicky Coren as the first two-time winner while the PSC almost did it within the first season.

André Akkari made his first final table appearance at a PokerStars main event – his best result having been a 23rd place in Monte Carlo. It could have gone all the way for the popular Brazilian, too, if he hadn’t suffered from a terrible suck-out when his pocket queens were bested by Sorrentino’s A-Q by an ace on the river.

2017 PSC Barcelona By the Numbers

The PSC Barcelona saw the largest live tournament ever played at a PokerStars event. The €1,100 National Championship drew 4,557 entries to generate a €4.4 million prize pool.

Another success for Kurganov.

Pedro Cairat from Argentina emerged victorious and bagged €432,178. The original first prize was €575,000 but the last three players agreed on a deal.

The €330 PokerStars Cup that started on the same day as the National Championship also saw a record 2,648 players.

Dutch player Sander van Wesemael, as mentioned, achieved the unlikely feat of winning his third PokerStars Cup within half a year.

On the high end Igor Kurganov won the €50k Super High Roller event for €1,084,100. Again, the last two players made a deal so the original first prize of €1,135,500 was not quite reached.

The main event was almost the same size as last year. Here’s a rundown of the most important numbers compared.

Main Event



No. of players



Prize pool



1st prize



Places paid



This year’s main event was a lot top heavier than last year’s, which is mainly the result of PokerStars taking back the new concept of paying 20% of the field after feedback that implied the majority of players preferred the traditional pay-out system.

Uruguay, Dublin, Sochi, Hamburg, Prague

PokerStars will now follow up with Festivals in Uruguay, Dublin, Sochi and Hamburg before the next Championship will be played in December in Prague.

If you want to qualify online for any of these events, go to our PokerStars review page and download the PokerStars software. Create your account, and you might be the next player to lift up a PokerStars main event trophy.


The comeback of iconic poker TV show Poker after Dark last week was highly appreciated by poker fans the world over.

Especially because it also brought about the spectacular return of Tom "durrrr" Dwan.

Dwan won almost a million dollars on his return to PAD but Andrew Robl showed some astonishing moves as well, demonstrating that he’s still in the top class of live cash-game players.

Flop to River

This is Day 3 of the PAD cash game and apart from Robl and Dwan there are also Jean-Robert Bellande, Matt Kirk, Lauren Roberts and Bill Klein at the table.

The game is $200/$400 No-Limit Hold’em but we’ve long reached a phase where one or two straddles have become the rule more than the exception.

In this hand Dwan has brought in the $1,600 double straddle and after Lauren Roberts folds Robl - $1.3 million stack – raises to $4,500 with    

Klein gets out of the way but Bellande calls from the big blind with a stack of $270,000. Kirk folds and the action moves to Dwan, who has a stack of $285,000 and re-raises to $26,500.

Robl calls, Bellande calls and suddenly we have $80,900 in the pot. The effective stacks are at $260,000. The flop falls      

Bellande checks and Dwan bets $45,000. Robl and Bellande both call. The pot has grown to $215,900 and effective stacks are down to roughly the same - $215,000.

The turn is the   It's checked around on fourth street. There's still $215,900 in the pot and the effective stacks remain the same.

The river is the   Bellande checks again. Dwan bets $120,000 and Robl goes into the tank. When he makes his decision he announces all-in and both his opponents fold.

Bellande was playing     and Dwan was playing     as if they’d been something completely different.

The $645,000 pot goes to Robl, though. Unfortunately you can’t watch how this hand played out on YouTube as it isn’t available.


This is a highly interesting hand even if the best hand wins -- mainly because the best hand also bluffs for a $645,000 pot.

Not thinking fold.

How did Robl come to the decision to make a move on the river that's pretty much the opposite of textbook poker?

Pre-flop, Robl finds A-Jo and raises like you’d expect. Bellande flat calls, which is a smart move.

If he raises it up again he would build a big pot with his pocket pair and there’d be a big risk of facing overcards on the flop -- plus one of the toughest players on the other side of the table.

If you know Tom Dwan, you also know that after this action and holding a veritable monster in 9-3o, the last thing on his mind is a fold. Instead he elects to re-raise to $26,500 with what many people would call “total garbage."

You really shouldn’t try this at home too often. However, it’s good to include the odd bluff-raise into your arsenal to balance your ranges. If you only re-raise with aces and kings, you’ll never get paid off.

On the other hand – quite literally – this means Robl and Bellande can’t just throw away their good hands here. A-Jo and 10s are pretty much automatic calls.

Decision Postponed

The J-6-2 rainbow flop is very dry. It hits the range of the re-raiser the most as this would generally have a lot of big pairs and high cards in it.

When Bellande checks, Dwan consequently follows up with a c-bet. If this $45k bet works 1 in 3 times, it’s already profitable. But Robl has flopped top-top and has no reason to give up his hand. His call is a mandatory one.

Things are different for JRB. His pocket tens might still be the best hand on this kind of flop, but making the overcall isn’t easy as he has to continue the hand out of position. A fold from Bellande would also be justifiable.

10s just keep losing value. The Twilight Turn

With no less than $215,900 in the pot they go to the turn. It now becomes a major factor that both Bellande and Dwan only have about a pot-size bet left.

How does the K♥ affect the players’ ranges? Dwan might have A-K here just as well as the other players so we can’t pretend it's helped one of the players in particular.

But Bellande’s pocket pair keeps losing value so there’s no good reason for him to bet. Dwan seems to give up now as well to limit his losses.

However, going all-in wouldn’t have been a bad move at all as he could have credibly represented A-K or better. This would probably have won him the pot, but things sometimes turn out a weird way. Robl also doesn’t see a reason to bet as his pair of jacks might still be the best hand.

Now It Becomes Spectacular

This hand’s been pretty interesting already but now it becomes spectacular. The river Q♥ fills up possible flushes and straights which also opens up bluffing possibilities.

No slouch.

When Bellande checks again, Dwan decides to take a stab and exploit the situation.

Betting $120,000 into $215,900 is smart because it only has to work 35% of the time. But it also has a significant disadvantage -- he can’t properly represent anything.

Pocket queens would be possible because of his 3-bet pre-flop, bet on the flop and check on the turn. A-T is also realistic, but all the other strong hands like flush draws or sets would certainly have moved all-in on the turn.

Robl apparently recognizes this and is bound to think his jacks are still better than Dwan’s hand. However, he must be worried about Bellande.

In this spot Robl uses his PLO experience and goes for the full push. As he’s holding the A♥ he’s blocking the nut flush while simultaneously representing it.

This doesn’t only win him the pot if he has the best hand (which he does) but he can also make several better hands than his fold. Although Dwan’s getting fantastic odds to call, $90,000 is still a lot of money and you can’t call that off lightly.


Once again Andrew Robl proves he can think along different lines than many other players and that he’s an extremely tough opponent.

Tom Dwan, on the other hand, missed the opportunity to run a big bluff. At the end of the hand his range had become almost empty and he was facing an opponent at eye level.

Respect, Andrew Robl!


It’s clear that Power Up Poker is a huge deal to PokerStars.

The upcoming poker variant, which is basically an all-new game that uses poker hand rankings, is looking to shake up the industry and give poker players some entirely new strategies to master.

It’s something that has been attempted before but never really caught on as poker players always seem to migrate back to the classic game.

Power Up Poker may be the most compelling offering in the poker/video game category yet, however, and PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation and Operation

Severin Rassét took some time at PSC Barcelona to tell us how the game came to exist.

PokerListings: Who is the target group of Power Up?

Severin Rassét

Severin Rassét: Short term it’s mostly about re-activating existing players – to bring those players back to the tables who dropped because of lack of interest or other reasons.

Long term we’ll try to improve and evolve the game and get some experience and then we can think about tapping into other fields like the gaming industry but we’ll be humble and take it one step at a time.

PL: The graphics of the game are impressively crisp. How did you achieve that almost industrial look?

SR: We’re using a new graphic engine that’s been in use for other video games, so it’s not one that we created ourselves. We integrated that into our own engine.

It’s a different way of working because before we needed to code almost everything that we wanted to do in animation.

Now we can build the graphics and drop them into the engine, which allows us to work much faster.

PL: Poker players often play other games, too. It looks like you’re trying to implement elements from these other games into poker to make it more appealing.

Power Up Poker's Disintegrate ability.

SR: Yes. We want to stress the unique aspects of poker -- the gambling aspect and the competitive aspect -- something that no other game has to offer.

Then we’re taking that and improving the environment, giving the game a universe and in the long run, we’re hoping that this will attract new players to the game.

PL: Why did you go the futuristic way regarding the graphics? You could for example have gone fantasy, too.

SR: It had to do with feedback from players and our own decision process. Obviously, the Lord of the Rings world is great, but it’s been emulated by thousands of games.

We wanted a poker universe that is positive and futuristic, because we’re taking poker into the future.

If you go down the fantasy road, you have to follow a thousand rules that already exist. Going into the future made it easier for us to create our own world.

PL: What’s the point of the avatars? They have individual backstories, but they don’t have anything to do with the game, or do they?

A look at the Power Up Poker avatars.

SR: For now -- and this is just a starting point -- you might think they’re just there. But we want to reinforce avatars because we believe it will make a difference for you and how you play depending on which avatar you pick.

It’ll show some part of your own personality and that’ll be different from one person to the other.

PL: But the avatars won’t ever have any influence on the game themselves, like characters in fantasy games do, for example in games like Baldur’s Gate?

SR: I don’t want to completely rule this out but we’ve made the decision that your choice of an avatar cannot give you an unfair advantage or an edge over other players. It can’t even be perceived as if there was that advantage.

There’s money involved in this game so we have to keep the balance.

PL: Will there always be three players at the table?

Pro gamer/poker pro ElkY is a fan of Power Up Poker.

SR: We’ve tried different numbers. It seems that with four or five players the game starts to slow down a little bit. We’ve also tested heads-up but that gets very stressful as you’re under constant attack by your opponent.

For now, three players is where we want to be.

PL: How do you keep the game from slowing down by stallers?

SR: For once the blinds go up after a number of hands, not after time. The number of hands per level is one way for us to control the length of the game.

We’re aiming for ten minutes per game, give or take one minute. We do have several ways to control the game length. For example, we can change the energy costs for the special powers, the amount of energy that’s replenished, the level structure.

We’re quite confident that we have a lot of control and that we can achieve our goal regarding the maximum length of the game.

PL: Poker has been around for a long time but it’s so complex that it hasn’t been figured out. It’s a bit like chess in this regard. Why would you take such a complex game and make it even more complex?

RS: Poker is a simple game with a lot of depth. It’s not a complex game in the sense that the rules are complex. You can learn the rules in minutes.

Power Up is a little less simple, but you’ll still be able to learn the rules and get a handle on the game within half an hour.

PL: It seems that poker operators today think they have to come up with something new all the time. Is there a feeling of panic because eSports is growing so quickly?

eSports are blowing up.

SR: eSports are very interesting. I see it more as an opportunity than a threat. There are many parallels but the gambling part is unique in poker.

Also, the beauty of this market is that it is big enough for all of us. The video game industry has a turnover now of about 100 billion dollars. That means we can continue to grow and take advantage of the development.

PL: There are a lot of smart players out there who’ll figure out the optimal way to apply those special powers and find an edge. What can you do about that?

SR: We’re going to change the rules on a regular basis. We will force the players to reconsider the game all the time because some things that used to be important might not be relevant anymore tomorrow.

Just like with LOL or Dota where they regularly change what they call the metagame, we’ll do similar things, for example by introducing new powers and removing others and enabling new combinations.

It’ll be a constantly changing challenge.

PL: Will the game be available for real money play?

SR: Yes. We’re planning to keep the buy-ins relatively low, but we could for example push them as high as Spin & Go's. But we’re really going to decide this as we go along.

PL: Thank you, Severin Rassét.


Following in the popular footsteps of its fast-fold SNAP Poker and hyper-fast BLAST SNGs, 888poker has launched another innovative game into the poker world – Flopomania.

It's a fast-paced new No-Limit Hold'em game where every hand goes straight to the flop.

Its purpose is to create more and faster action and it's already delivered with several records in 888poker’s online history broken over its debut weekend.

Flopomania Reels 'Em In

It seems that Flopomania struck a chord with a big set of online players.

Compared to the day BLAST went online Flopomania attracted 50% more players to the tables. That also translates into an 11% increase of overall players on the website compared to any regular Sunday.

In fact last Sunday marked the day with the most active cash game tables of the whole year on 888poker.

“The first day of Flopomania was a blast, no pun intended,” said three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche.

“The timing was perfect as players logged on to play online tournaments like the Mega Deep and Whale and had the opportunity to check out a new game - one with a unique twist.

"I know I had a lot of fun going straight to the flop and putting my skills to the test.”

More Hands Per Hour

Sunday also saw more flops in cash games than any other day in 888poker’s history -- which isn't exactly surprising as Flopomania is a game that literally begins on the flop.

More significantly, though, the average number of hands played per hour on any given Flopomania table was 15% higher than on regular 6-max cash game tables.

Dom dug it.

If you haven’t heard of Flopomania yet, it’s essentially NLHE without the pre-flop play. All players at the table get their two hole cards and then the flop is dealt straight away.

From then on the betting rounds work just as you know it from regular Hold’em. As everybody goes to the flop with any two given cards there's an Ante that all players have to bring in.

So there's more money in the pot when the action starts and there are much more random hands to play against – or with.

Start Flopping

Flopomania is now available at low stakes at 888poker so join in and try it out. If you don’t have an account yet, go through to our 888poker review page. You’ll find all sorts of useful information about special freerolls, our $888 sign-up bonus and find direct download links.

Once you’ve downloaded the software all you need to do is register and you’re good to go. Special hint: Use the promo code FLOPOMANIA10 and you’ll take part in a scratch card lottery that’ll give you the chance to win $100,000!

Check the infographic below for an overview of the records Flopomania broke on the first day.


At long last, PokerStars is ready to unleash its experimental Power Up Poker variant on the general public.

Now scheduled to release in the fourth quarter of 2017 PokerStars hosted a demo of the game during this week's PSC Barcelona.

PokerStars is hoping the new game will shake up a stagnant poker meta and potentially reverse some of the decline in traditional poker over the last few years.

The game will hopefully attract new players and give existing players a reason to play again.

Enter the Supercharger

Poker players often play other video games in their spare time so it seems natural to create a game that brings poker closer to eSports.

One of the new Power Up powers.

For years video games like League of Legends or Hearthstone have had one component that poker has never been able to offer: Thematic flavor.

PokerStars is trying to change that with Power Up and even hired several writers to create an in-game universe for the game.

Power Up has its own background story and players will choose from an array of avatars that all have their own individual features and story.

To improve animation the new game uses a special graphic engine that is also used in other games. Supernova players were invited to test the first version of the game to find out weaknesses and/or bugs.

“We wanted fun to be the main focus and move away from the hoodies and sunglasses type of game," said PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, Severin Rasset.

“The concept was to add new powers and features to poker without destroying the natural balance.”

What’s New About Power Up?

In Power Up you’ll sit at a 3-max table -- at least for now. You’ll get cards like a standard game of poker but you’ll also receive special power up abilities.

You start with three different powers out of a total of nine. These powers include things like:

Liv Boeree testing Power Up Poker in Barcelona

Reload – exchange one of your hole cards

X-Ray – lets you see one of your opponent’s hole cards

Scanner – shows you the first two cards of the deck

Upgrade – gives you a third hole card and lets you discard one

Disintegrate – lets you destroy one community card

All the powers cost you energy units, of which you only have a limited number, so you can’t just keep on using your special powers. Players will be able to generate some of their energy with every hand played.

At the presentation in Barcelona Team PokerStars Pros Bertrand Grospellier and Liv Boeree joined in to give a practical demonstration. It became quite clear rather quickly that the special powers give the game a hitherto unknown depth.

Powers can be combined so there will be dozens of different potential combos, each having a different effect on how the game will play out. Also, whenever you’re using one of your powers, you’ll receive a new one randomly chosen from the original nine.

A Constantly Shifting Meta Game

As we know there are a lot of very smart players out there and they’ll figure out quickly what the optimal strategic use of these powers is. However, PokerStars has taken measures to stop anybody from getting a real edge.

A look at all nine current Power Up abilities.

In the future there will be powers added and others removed and the price of individual powers might go up or down.

Thus the game will always be changing and it will be difficult for anyone to dominate forever using one strategy.

Power Up Poker also alleviates concerns over stalling. Blinds don’t go up after a certain amount of time but rather a defined number of hands. Therefore stalling is essentially impossible.

Still, it’ll take you some time to figure out how and when to use the different powers. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes a very fast-paced, action-packed game that turns out to be a lot more than traditional Texas Hold’em.

Parallels to HoldemX

Anyone who follows poker closely will instantly be reminded of HoldemX, which the GPI introduced last year but which never really went anywhere.


Both games were based on very similar concepts and it seems like that concept was taken up by two parties at the same time.

We can’t say for sure who originally had the idea, but what we can say is that the PokerStars product is a much more polished one.

Whereas HoldemX was abundant with powers, many of which were not very useful, Power Up is a more thoroughly thought-out product and the graphics are a mile away from what HoldemX was.

In fact, the graphics are a large part of the fun in Power Up. They are reminiscent of the worlds of Terminator, Robocop, and Cube, and the avatars recall fantasy characters from Lord of the Rings and Gormenghast.

Target Date: Q4

Making predictions on how successful a game will be is incredibly difficult but Power Up will surely find its spot in the poker world.

Power Up brings with it an almost board game-like interactivity, the way you might know it from games like Catan or El Grande.

The target date for the full version to go live is the last quarter of 2017. Power Up will also be available for Mac and Mobile and it will come with a full tutorial. Create a new account at PokerStars via our review page to get ready to give it a go.


Streamers Fintan Hand and Benjamin Spragg aren't the most well known poker players PokerStars has ever signed to its online team.

They could, though, play a pivotal role in the years to come.

Spragg and Hand were only announced to PokerStars Team Online Pro last month but they add yet another valuable weapon to a streaming arsenal that already includes Jason “Jcarver” Somerville, Jaime Staples and Kevin Martin.

The pair seem like long-time friends but in reality Hand, who hails from Ireland, and Spragg, of England, met just three months ago. Both have been playing online poker since they were 18 years old but mostly low limit cash games and tournaments.

They both started streaming full-time and PokerStars soon took notice. Spragg and Hand bring a unique low-stakes angle to poker streaming and could potentially bring a new generation of players into the fold.

We caught up with the pair at PSC Barcelona and tried to get a read on the future of streaming and how Spragg and Hand got involved with it in the first place:

PokerListings: What do people like to watch the most?

Fintan Hand: They prefer big tournaments to Sit & Go’s, mostly because an MTT is like a long story that has a beginning, a middle and an end. In Sit & Go’s you just play for 40 minutes, which isn’t long enough to really engage people.

Benjamin Spragg in his natural habitat.

Benjamin Spragg: It’s definitely easier to engage people through tournaments than cash games as well. If you have a really good day in cash and win ten buy-ins, that’s $1,000, which is good money but not exactly life changing.

I recently turned $7.50 into five grand in one tournament and it’s much more interesting to watch that than to watch a cash game player grind out the same amount of money.

PL: There are many who play well but only few who want to show others how they play. Why did you get into streaming?

FH: Oh, we’re not really that good, though. We’re really more of attention whores.

BS: Well, you are. I’ve always enjoyed the entertainment aspect of things so I would have liked to stream any game. The problem is I’m not good at anything else and I’m only passable as a poker player.

Nobody would watch me stream anything else because I’m terrible.

FH: We’ve been grinding for a number of years and it can get a little tiresome because you’re mostly just sitting at home. Twitch gives you the chance to build and be part of a community. It’s just far more social.

PL: Isn’t live streaming a lot more about entertainment than just poker? Because most of the time you’re not actually doing anything.

Fintan Hand announcing his deal with PokerStars.

FH: Yes, even a short 30-second gap where you’re not saying anything is horrible. You need to be talking all the time without being repetitive. You need to be talking all the time without being repetitive.

BS: You’re just talking completely nonsense all the time.

PL: Which is probably the best you can do in these situations...

FH: Only if you’re one of the top 20 players in the world could you stream without talking and still get a big following.

BS: Yeah, Phil Ivey could probably sit there without a microphone and would still have a huge following…

FH: …but most people actually would need a personality.

PL: Where are you going to go with these streams?

Fintan Hand wearing a clover suit at the Irish Open.

BS: The idea is to bring our two streams together under the PokerStars channel so that at some point we can stream simultaneously and the people can see both our hole cards and our tables on one screen.

It would give us much more action. Also, if we’re playing in the same tournament and one of us busts there’s still a good chance that the other one goes deep into it.

FH: Even before we were streaming together we would look into each other’s streams and… can I say “take the piss” out of each other?

PL: Yes.

FH: Ok. It got to a point where people actually thought we don’t like each other.

BS: Which we don’t, by the way.

FH: Well, we get along very well but there was a night when I was teasing him about his clothes and some people took it the wrong way and thought I stepped over the line.

PL: Since you were sporting a clover suit at the final table of the Irish Open, we’re not sure you’re in the position to tease anybody for the way they dress.

Benjamin Spragg and Fintan Hand vlogging.

FH: I killed that suit.

BS: It was shocking. I know you think that was funny but it wasn’t.

FH: I got free drinks and everything. Everybody loved it.

BS: The thing is that he craves attention and I don’t. He’s very outgoing but I don’t like having fun. I enjoy being miserable.

PL: Have you ever tried something else. Like… a job?

BS: I’ve never had a job. I’m fine with video games. But to get an audience streaming video games, you either have to be very good or very funny.

FH: I used to be a dealer. I also had a couple of other jobs, like stacking shelves in a supermarket. I worked from 16 to 21, and then I got into streaming.

PL: What are your next projects?

BS: When we’re done here in Barcelona we’ll be streaming the WCOOP.

FH: After that I’ll be at the PokerStars Festival in Dublin.

BS: And in October we’ll be at the TwitchCon in Long Beach, California, so if any of your readers will be around there, come and say hi!

PL: Thank you Ben and Fintan.


There are some things you simply can’t account for when planning a poker festival.

This year’s horrific terrorist attack in Barcelona, which led to 14 fatalities, qualifies as something no one could have predicted.

The attack took place while PokerStars was holding its massive PSC Barcelona festival just a few kilometers away.

Despite the serious nature of the attack, PokerStars decided to move forward with the event and Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree believed it was the right decision.

We caught up with Boeree and talked to her about what it’s like to play cards while having to deal with an omnipresent threat in the back of your mind.

PokerListings: Do you remember where you were when you first heard about the terror attack that happened here in Barcelona last Thursday?

Liv Boeree: I was at the table, deep in the €10k High Roller event. My mom messaged me and then tried to call.

I was surprised at first. She asked if I was okay and I said, "sure, why?". Then she explained to me what had happened.

PL: What was your initial response?

LB: My initial response was to make sure Igor [Kurganov] was okay. And then… it’s difficult to put in words, and I don’t want to use the word desensitized but this has unfortunately become a part of life.

Igor Kurganov

It’s not that I don’t realize what has happened, but there are 20,000 people dying every day for needless things, terrible things that are avoidable.

There are murders all the time, committed by horrible -- but also mentally ill people -- but they don’t get as much press, so they’re not even at the forefront of our minds.

The media coverage is a difficult subject to talk about here. Of course these terrorists have been brainwashed and believe stupid things but they also want the notoriety.

They see other attacks making the front pages, and that inspires them. It makes them want their own moment of “glory”.

The more we make of it the more we’re going to have it. Something’s gotta give there. We obviously need to try and minimize terror and remember the victims but we also can’t overhype it because it becomes a self-perpetuating thing.

These people want fame and they want it for really bad things. We shouldn’t give them that.

PL: Did you go to La Rambla where the attack happened?

Casino Barcelona

LB: No. Not only because I was very busy but also… I’m sad enough about what happened. I don’t need to go there and make myself even sadder.

PL: What do you think about the way Barcelona is handling the situation?

LB: I’m very impressed with the city in general. I love how the next day there were people out on the beaches. People went to work.

There was a more sombre mood but people were getting on with their lives because that’s what we have to do!

If we don’t, the terrorists get what they want. They want fear, they want disruption and they want to be talked about. We have to carry on and not give them what they want.

PL: One question on everybody’s mind here was whether this poker event here should carry on.

Liv Boeree

LB: Of course it should! It’s not even close! What else would we do? Let the terrorists win? Cancelling the event can’t be an option unless there was a chance that it wasn’t secure, but security here has been the strongest I’ve ever seen at any event, which is reassuring.

There’s always a risk to anything that anyone of us is doing but it’s comparatively small. It was absolutely the right call to carry on.

In fact, now you can see the poker community being even nicer to each other. It has given everyone a bit of perspective. It shows that we’re all here for the same thing and we all want to live our peaceful lives. That was nice to see.

PL: Looking at bigger events, they didn’t stop either. The CF Barcelona played yesterday, almost as if to make a point.

LB: Exactly and good for the Spanish that they did this.

We should not forget that the chances of being hit by a terrorist attack are tiny, compared to almost anything else. We have to be aware that our minds are playing tricks on us, overvaluing some things and undervaluing others.

We’re getting bombarded by the media with some things but not others. Air pollution is much more likely to kill us but we don’t hear much about that all the time.

PL: Have you ever experienced that this religious conflict – if you can even call it a conflict – in the poker community?

LB: Never. Literally, no time. I highly doubt it ever will.

PL: Thank you, Liv Boeree.


The more things change, the more they stay the same.

While the online poker world has changed drastically over the last few years, Barcelona remains a centerpiece of the PokerStars Live Tour.

In fact it could easily be construed that the latest PSC in the city is proof that PokerStars is edging further away from the competition in the live arena.

The numbers are, quite simply, staggering.

It hasn’t been easy lately for poker’s biggest operator. Several measures that PokerStars has taken in online poker have raised the eyebrows of more than a handful of players in the last couple years and the re-branding of the EPT didn’t have the desired effect either.

Barcelona, however, remains a success story for the company. And things are once again looking up.

Numbers Climb to Record Heights

Pundits have been predicting the demise of poker and big live festivals over the last few years but the number of new players taking up the game is nothing to scoff at.

The PokerStars National Championship is an example of a tournament that just continues to grow no matter what expectations you throw at it.

The first National Championship was played in 2012 and it attracted a huge field of 1,037 players. The number exceeded expectations at the time.

In the following years the numbers not only went up: they exploded. The field over the last five years:

2012: 1037 players; €1,004,940 prize pool
2013: 1798 players; €1,744,060 prize pool
2014: 2560 players; €2,483,200 prize pool
2015: 3292 players; €3,193,240 prize pool
2016: 3447 players; €3,343,590 prize pool

In 2017 PokerStars guaranteed €4 million in the prize pool for the first time ever and expectations were at an all-time high.

Somehow the tournament continue to smash estimates. By the time the smoke had cleared the event claimed 4,557 entries, of which about 1,000 were re-entries. It was enough to qualify as the biggest PokerStars live tournament ever.

The National Championship is slowly catching up with some of the bigger events at the WSOP. The prize pool tipped the scales at €4,420,290 with €575,000 for the winner. That’s more than 50% of the inaugural event’s full prize pool.

The National Championship isn’t the only tournament that’s drawing big, however. The new PokerStars Cup, a €330 buy-in tournament, attracted nearly 2,400 runners this year.

A Trend Towards Lower Buy-ins

PokerStars also offers a slightly bigger version of the National Championship at a buy-in of €2,200 and that event attracted 1,470 players this year. That’s almost 300 players more than last year.

Pedro Cairat, winner of the National Championship.

On the high end of the scale the €50k Super High Roller event shrunk from 102 to 86 entries.

Of course the number of players in these events is so small that this doesn’t really give us enough information to call it a trend but the growth in lower buy-in player fields is significant.

Meanwhile the Main Event started earlier today and in the first couple of hours the numbers looked similar to last year’s event.

With its buy-in of €5,300 the Main Event could signify the threshold between the lower and higher buy-in tournaments regarding attendance.

Last year 1,785 players entered the Main Event, which was a record high. Actually, it was a record high for the seventh year in a row as the field in Barcelona has been growing every year since the inaugural one in 2004, except once in 2009.

The final numbers for the PSC Main Event will be released in the early afternoon on Wednesday. It’s unclear if the tournament will top last year’s attendance but it’s going to be a big one, regardless.

Could this be the year that the PSC Barcelona hits 2,000 players? It certainly seems more possible than ever before.


The Daily 3-Bet is a delicious and nutritious smoothy made from grinding up the very best mid-afternoon poker news ingredients with a 1,560-watt blending machine.

You can always make your own suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces by plunking them in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Igor Kurganov grabbing yet another SHR title, a great Live at the Bike lineup and the massive $33m UB/Absolute payout.

1) Kurganov Snags Barcelona SHR Title

Because Igor Kurganov always comes across as such an incredible nice, generous guy it’s easy to forget he’s a beast at the tables.

Also at the final table.

Kurganov reminded people in Barcelona this week by taking down a hefty €50,000 buy-in PSC Super High Roller for €1m.

The Team PokerStars Pro overwhelmed a final table that included Daniel Negreanu, Koray Aldemir, Ivan Luca and Dietrich Fast.

Kurganov out-dueled Polish pro Bartlomiej Machon to clinch the title and €1,078,106. There was a heads-up deal, however, so Machon likely wasn’t that disappointed with his €864k haul.

It’s been quite a year for Kurganov as he won his first WSOP bracelet with girlfriend Liv Boeree in the $10k Tag-Team event. Last February Kurganov also got a sponsorship deal with PokerStars.

The Russian-born pro is now up to $2m in earnings in 2017 alone and $14m lifetime. Definitely one of the most consistent high rollers around.

2) Live at the Bike Line Up

What’s with the recent glut of high-profile, high-stakes cash games getting streamed lately?

We’re not complaining but with the revitalized PAD hitting it out of the park on PokerGO earlier this month and a new Live at the Bike line-up set for this Friday it’s getting tough to find the time to watch it all.

The Live at the Bike game will kick off at 2 p.m. on Friday and include the likes of Antonio Esfandiari, Ryan Fee, Lauren Roberts and Ronen Porat playing $50/$100 No-Limit Hold’em.

Perhaps Esfandiari can find a way to make up for that nasty KK vs. Tom Dwan’s AA hand that saw him lose close to $700k on PAD last week.

At the rate we’re going it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see GSN’s classic High-Stakes Poker or even Full Tilt Poker’s Million Dollar Cash Game make a return in the near future. Don’t hold your breath for those two, though.

As per usual you’ll able to watch the entire Live at the Bike cash game on

3) DOJ to Dole Out $33m in UB/Absolute Repayments

It’s actually happening.

UB and Absolute Poker are set to return $33m to former players who’ve had their accounts frozen since Black Friday rocked the poker world in 2011.

Took long enough.

It’s taken over seven years but the US Department of Justice finally approved the first round of payments from UB/Absolute to former players.

Garden City Group, the group handling the re-payments, estimates 7,400 former players will be included in the process with nearly $33.5 million being returned to players.

Players have until Sept. 7 to file a claim, so make sure you get in there if you have an outstanding balance on either UB or Absolute Poker.

It’s somewhat incredible it’s actually gotten to this point as even some of the most optimistic poker pros didn’t have a lot of hope about ever getting their money back after Black Friday.

Apparently the US government was able to acquire enough money from Black Friday that it was able to officially repay players.

It’s the second major payout in regards to Black Friday as Full Tilt Poker, thanks to being acquired by PokerStars in 2012, was able to return more than $100m to players.


Hot on the heels of an actual solar eclipse, 888poker is prepping its biggest XL series ever, which is fittingly called XL Eclipse.

Having rebranded and boosted the XL series, 888poker is about to flood the online poker world again with more tournaments than most people play in an entire year.

Taking place from September 10-24, 2017, the latest edition of the XL series will offer a total of 197 events spread across two action-packed weeks of poker.

Over $9,000,000 in Prizes

Once again this is the biggest guarantee yet for an XL series.

The overall series will offer a total of $9.17m in guaranteed prize money with the Main Event alone featuring a $1.5m guarantee.

888poker ambassador Kara Scott.

That’s quite a journey from the $2 million guaranteed over the entire span of the first XL series that 888poker ran several years ago.

Every single one of the 197 tournaments has a prize pool guarantee and judging from experience with the XL Inferno, which had $7.5 million guaranteed, there will be very few overlays.

XL Eclipse, and its nearly 200 tournaments, will play out over a span of just two weeks, which means that on average there will be 13 tournaments offered each day.

So if you want to benefit as much as possible from the XL Eclipse you had better take some time off from work and stock up on food and drink.

And just in case you’re thinking you might want to do something else with your vacation, have you ever come back with more money than you went with on a holiday trip? Playing the XL Eclipse, you might.

With with such a vast schedule you’ll find a couple of tournaments to play no matter when you have time.

Multiple Main Events, $5,200 SHR Returns

The most important event is always the Main Event. This one will be a $1,050 buy-in Deepstack NLHE event with $1.5 million guaranteed.

Big tournaments, big money.

As usual at 888poker, the Main Event will come in four different variations. Apart from the $1,050, there will be a $215 Mini Main Event, a $109 Turbo Main Event, a $75 Super Turbo Main Event and a $30 Micro Main Event.

There will also be two “Whales” with $1,050 buy-in. They will run on Sundays as usual. There will also be $2,100 High Roller Event with $500,000 guaranteed on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Of course, all the eyes will be on the $5,200 Super High Roller. All the top pros and ambassadors will play in this one to get the most coveted title of this series apart from the main event.

The Super High Roller event also has a guaranteed prize pool of $500,000.

The Opening Event is also available in four different buy-in and speed levels from $12 to $160 and it has up to $300,000 guaranteed.

On the other end of the scale, you’ll find four tournaments for just $5 and with guarantees from $3000 to $10,000.

Eight events will have just $12 to play, and among them is also an Omaha tournament.

Freeroll your way into the XL Eclipse Main Event

888poker is running freerolls that award tickets to the $1,050 Main Event several times a day. Open your 888poker lobby and spin the wheel, you’ll soon find tickets for the freerolls in your account.

Play to win, register to play

This will be a series for all levels and bankrolls, and you shouldn’t miss out. Do you have an account at 888poker? Then you’re all set.

If you don’t check out our 888poker review page, where we’ll guide you through the registration process. 888poker XL Eclipse complete schedule here.


This week saw the highly anticipated return of “Poker after Dark” – and Tom "durrrr" Dwan.

Dwan used to be a trademark of the highly popular poker show, but then disappeared from the TV poker scene for several years. On his return he first turned his attention to the one-and-only Antonio Esfandiari.

It was the first episode of the new season of Poker after Dark, and “The Magician” found himself in a terrible spot versus Dwan and Daniel Negreanu and simply couldn’t find an escape.

From the Flop to the River

Poker After Dark is back, and the game is No-Limit Hold’em $200/$400 with a $400 button ante. Six players are in the game, and Antonio Esfandiari has just turned his UTG position into being the last player to act by putting in a straddle of $800.

Also at the table are Lauren Roberts, Bill Klein, Jean-Robert Bellande, Tom Dwan, and Daniel Negreanu.

Roberts and Klein throw their hands into the muck, and then Daniel Negreanu raises to $3,500 from the button. Bellande folds, but Tom Dwan re-raises to $14,000.

Antonio Esfandiari checks his cards.

They are


Esfandiari 4-Bets to $41,100 and Daniel Negreanu is not backing down. He thinks about it for a while and decides to call. The pot is now up to $96,800 and the pre-flop action is not yet over.

It’s back to Tom Dwan, who also takes his time and eventually goes all-in with $328,000. The action goes back to Esfandiari who calls. Negreanu lays his cards down with a smile. He had


But Tom Dwan has something better. It’s showdown time and he turns over the best starting hand in Texas Hold’em.


They’re dealing it twice, but Esfandiari fails to catch and Tom Dwan takes the complete $697,100 pot.

Do watch this hand again as it played out:


Obviously there has been a lot of discussion about this hand on the internet and there were quite a few people who seemed astonished about Esfandiari not being able to fold his kings.

Others claimed there was no way out for “The Magician” and that he was doomed from the start of this hand.

Who’s right? We need to take every involved player’s position to find out.

Daniel Negreanu - Q♦ Q♣

The Canadian pro finds pocket queens and makes a standard raise from the button with the third-best starting hand.

Daniel Negreanu

Then things get interesting. First, Dwan raises to $14,000 and then Esfandiari pops it up again to $41,100.

Negreanu can now reasonably choose any of his three options.

Raise – Negreanu might put in a 5-bet here. This would mean, however, that he would cross the all-in threshold and can’t fold anymore.

With this hand, that would put Negreanu into a really bad spot, because the only hands he would get called with are A-A, K-K, and A-K, and the best-case scenario would be a coin flip.

Considering how the other two players in this hand play, aces or kings are definitely in their ranges.

Call – By calling, Negreanu gives himself a chance to stay in the hand and watch what Tom Dwan is doing behind him. If Dwan just calls, his range is weaker than expected and Negreanu gets to see a flop.

If, however, Dwan raises again, then Negreanu will get more information by what Esfandiari is going to do, and then he can still decide to lay his hand down relatively cheap.

Fold – If Negreanu folds here, he’s making sure to stay completely out of trouble, and he’s limiting his investment to $3,500.

But he’s facing two very aggressive players at a six-handed table, so he can’t just fold such a strong hand just because there’s some resistance.

Making the call is clearly Negreanu’s best move here, and when both Dwan and Esfandiari are all-in, folding becomes inevitable.

Tom Dwan - A♠ A♣

Pocket aces play very nicely and easily when things go like this but there is one move that is of crucial importance.

Tom Dwan

When Negreanu makes the call, should Dwan raise again to $100,000 or should he just go all-in?

As it were, Dwan – after taking some strategic thinking time – opts for the all-in, which is the best option.

Now you might think that sounds wrong as Dwan really wants to get called but does his best to drive away his customers, but at the end of the day, the opposite is true.

By going all-in, Dwan adds A-K to his range. Being known as an extremely aggressive player, he can now get a call not only from K-K, but from Q-Q, too, and even from A-K.

If he would on the other hand 5-Bet his hand, it would basically scream “I have aces and want you to call me”, and that would have everyone get suspicious.
With this, let’s look at the last player involved.

Antonio Esfandiari - K♥ K♣

In the first betting round, Esfandiari plays everything correctly. He sees Negreanu raise and Dwan re-raise, and since he's holding the second best starting hand, he doesn’t mind building an even bigger pot and maybe eliminating one of his opponents along the way to improve his own pot equity.

But then strange things happen. Daniel Negreanu calls his 4-Bet although he’s sandwiched between Esfandiari and Dwan, and then Dwan comes back with another raise all-in!

Let’s look at his opponents’ ranges.

Antonio Esfandiari

Negreanu plays like he has a strong, but not very strong hand. It looks a bit like T-T, J-J, Q-Q or A-K and he wants to see a flop. Esfandiari’s kings are ahead of this range, but then there’s still Dwan.

When Dwan is all-in, Negreanu’s range becomes secondary. The crucial question is, which hands would Tom Dwan push all-in in this spot and how do Esfandiari’s kings play against them?

We’ll have to take a look at numbers. Pocket kings versus a loose range – A-A, K-K, Q-Q, and A-K – a tight range – A-A, K-K, A-K – and a very tight range – A-A, K-K.

Against the loose range, kings win 55% of the times, draw 5% of the times, and lose 40% of the times.

Against the tight range, kings win 44%, draw 7%, and lose 49% of the times.

Against the very tight range, kings win 16%, draw 14%, and lose 70% of the times.

We also have to take into account the money in the pot. Esfandiari has to pay $287,000 into a pot of $410,500 to call, giving him pot odds of 1.4 to 1. That means he has to win 41% of the times to make his play profitable.

Is that enough if your opponent is Tom Dwan?

Very likely, yes. If Dwan pushes all-in with any more hands than aces and kings, Esfandiari is generally on the profitable side.

But then all the cash game players have one thing in common: They don’t like to call with kings.


It’s an unfortunate spot for Antonio Esfandiari. He loses a gigantic pot of almost $700,000 because his opponent Tom Dwan is not a rock who only plays the nuts but has a wider range.

Mental note – If your stack is over 100 bb deep, or even 800 bb like in this case, kings become a dangerous hand for pre-flop all-ins.


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a quick-fire recap of the latest going ons in a mid-afternoon poker news world that moves at the speed of Usain Bolt.

You can always fire suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at the horrific attack in Barcelona and its ramifications for PSC Barcelona, an NJ lottery fail and a Timofey 'Trueteller' Kuznetsov interview.

1) PSC Barcelona Goes On

We generally like to keep the 3-Bet lighthearted with various tidbits and clips from the poker world but it would be impossible to ignore the tragedy that occurred in Barcelona yesterday.

If you haven’t heard, a van plowed into a crowd of pedestrians and left 13 people dead with more than 100 injured. ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the attack.

There’s a connection to the poker, as well, as PokerStars was in the midst of hosting its latest National Championship in the city as part of PSC Barcelona.

Poker pros from around the world quickly updated to their Twitter status to let everyone know they were safe.

There was one poker player, however, who was actually injured. Danish poker pro Claus Vallø told the Danish media his ankle was cut in the attack and he saw someone get hit first-hand.

Incredibly Vallø was in Phuket, Thailand, when the Tsunami struck in 2004 so it wasn’t his first time seeing a tragedy unfold on a large scale.

Meanwhile PokerStars has released a statement saying that, as of right now, tournaments will go forward as planned in Barcelona although players will be allowed to unregister and receive refunds if they choose.

Stay safe everyone.

Here’s the complete PokerStars statement:

Our thoughts are with those affected in Barcelona today. Players with concerns or questions can email [email protected] (1/3)

— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) August 17, 2017

We have taken immediate steps, together with casino & hotel partners, to review & improve security measures. Liaising with police. (2/3)

— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) August 17, 2017

We will continue to monitor the situation. At this time tournaments are proceeding. Players that unregister will have buy-ins refunded. 3/3

— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) August 17, 2017 2) Epic NJ Lottery Poker Hand Ranking Fail

Poker is often used as a gambling vehicle with incredibly popular casino games like Three-Card Hold’em and Pai Gow.

Wait, who wins?

The game is also used for various scratch and win tickets and lotteries. Those games have little to do with actual poker except for the hand rankings.

A recent game offered by the New Jersey lottery didn’t even follow those basic rules and got itself into trouble this week.

The game, called High Card Poker, essentially didn’t fully utilize a five-card hand. Instead players had to have a higher top card against the dealer and the rest of the cards that made up the hand didn’t matter.

According to, Robert Chalet, of Bloomfield, bought a $5 ticket and thought he won $150,000 before the company announced he had a draw and only a $10 prize.

The NJ has since pulled the game from shelves. This seems like a good lesson for enterprising casinos looking to make a new poker gambling game: Follow the hand rankings.

3) Paul Phua Interviews Timofey 'Trueteller' Kuznetsov

Russian Timofey 'Trueteller' Kuznetsov is one of the biggest online winners ever but he’s also been notoriously hard to interview.

Fortunately businessman/poker pro Paul Phua doesn’t seem to have the same problems as the rest of the poker media as he’s been scooping interviews with high-stakes icons Dan "jungleman" Cates, Dan Colman, Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey over the last few years.

His latest video is with Kuznetsov and it’s a great one. The young Russian seems to have a real passion for playing high-stakes with his standout quote: “I find it fun to fight my own fears.”

Check it out below:


888poker is giving its players a little more incentive to try out its action-packed Flopomania poker variant with a series and a $100k jackpot.

Poker sites around the world are putting significant resources into developing new games these days but 888poker seems to have hit on something with the Flopomania variant that eschews the first round of betting in No-Limit Hold’em so that everyone gets a peak at the flop.

It’s not the first time that 888poker has contributed something new to the poker world as the site introduced Poker Cam tournaments where players could actually see each other through webcams and BLAST tournaments with a time limit twist.

The game will go live soon and we’ll give you a quick rundown of how it works and what kind of prizes will up for grabs in the coming weeks.

What is Flopomania?

Flopomania is a No-Limit Texas Hold’em without the first betting round. There is no pre-flop action. Every player gets two cards and then the flop is dealt before anybody can act.

Everybody has to pay an ante to get cards in the first place. When the flop is dealt, action commences as you know it from regular Hold’em.

The idea behind this is to bring more speed and action into the game to make it fast and exciting.

How Will Flopomania Differ From Hold'em?

888poker’s new game Flopomania is probably going to have a deeper effect than just speeding up the game. The following factors will become important if you want to play the new game.

Speed won't be a problem for Moorman1.

Speed – Yes, as the first betting round gets skipped, it will be much faster getting to the flop. However, instead of two or three players, everybody goes to the flop, which will prolong the flop action.

Pot size – With everybody putting an ante in, the pot is significantly larger than usual, which will have an impact on how players should continue.

Beyond NLHE – Flopomania introduces elements of both Stud and Draw poker into NLHE. The fact that everybody has to bring in an ante is clearly a Stud feature. Depending on the flop action, players might be getting the odds to continue with a hand they would usually fold.

You’ll be looking at five cards instead of two, which is essentially the starting point in 5-Card Draw poker. But instead of drawing you’ll be able to add more cards to your hand and improve the top five.

This will greatly diminish the value of pocket pairs and particularly big pocket pairs. Two aces are always way ahead of any two other cards (except the other two aces), but pocket aces plus three random cards will be much less of a favorite compared to the aforementioned three plus two further random cards.

The takeaway is that you’ll generally need better hands to win as everybody starts with five cards instead of two making potentially way better “starting hands” than just a pair.

The Flopomania Promotion

To get the game rolling there will be a promotion on 888poker that includes scratch cards, daily challenges and a $100,000 jackpot.

To win the jackpot – or anything – you need 888poker’s virtual scratch cards. You can get a scratch card by depositing a minimum $10 with the Promotion code FLOPOMANIA10.

However, you can win more scratch cards by completing the daily challenges offered to you in the 888poker lobby.

For every completed challenge you’ll get another scratch card and you can win a maximum of three per day. The number of tickets you have will pop up once you open the lobby.

Scratch the cards and you win a prize. There are no blanks. You can win tickets to the Flopomania promotion tournaments which run twice a day and have a $3000 guaranteed prize pool or you can win cash prizes starting at $1 and going all the way up to $100,000!

The promotion starts on Sunday, August 20, and will run until September 7.

The new Flopomania game is supposed to celebrate its live debut at the next 888poker festival at the Aspers Casino in London.

That’s plenty of time for you to create your own account in case you don’t have one yet. Click through to our 888poker review page and get started. It’s quick and it’s easy.


It’s been called one of the greatest small buy-in tournaments ever held in Europe but that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to pay the full buy-in.

PokerListings released a complete schedule of live qualifiers for the 2017 Battle of Malta today.

Satellites season will run from Aug. 27 to Oct. 30, 2017, with a variety of events at Portomaso Casino, one at the Oracle Casino in Buggiba and even one at Casino Mediterráneo in Alicante, Spain.

It's all leading up to the €500,000-guaranteed Battle of Malta, which will take place Nov. 2-7, 2017, at the Portomaso Casino in St. Julian’s, Malta.

Live Satellites Start at €55

There are already 11 events listed on the official qualifier schedule with more to be announced in the future.

The satellites start at €55, which is pretty modest considering Robert Berglund walked with €160,000 when he won the 2016 edition of the Battle of Malta.

“The BOM organization is very excited to kick off the live satellite season,” said Event Director Ivonne Montealegre.

“With the start of the live satellites we also mark the beginning of the multi-faceted BOM experience. The live satellites are super affordable — starting at just €55.

“During live satellites we also get a lot of feedback from players and we are always listening. This year the live satellite tournament structure is identical to the Main Event one, scaled down to less players. It’s great practice for the actual Main Event!”

Of course live satellites aren’t the only way to qualify for the 2017 Battle of Malta. Players can also attempt to win their way in via one of the numerous online qualifiers.

Huge Numbers Expected for 2017 BOM

Last year the Battle of Malta attracted 1,813 but this year could be even bigger with more events with guaranteed prize pools than ever before.

Gianfranco Scordato, Portomaso General Manager, had this to say about the importance of BOM to the Maltese poker scene in general.

“BOM is the largest tournament in Malta and also a very important one in Europe,” he said.

“All players love the BOM and the start of live satellites also marks the start of the BOM season. We expect a massive field this year and, along with PokerListings, we have no doubt this BOM will also leave players impressed with the quality of the service we provide.

“I cannot think of a friendlier tournament, yet with a staggeringly-large field.”

The qualifiers begin on Aug. 27 with a Kickoff Event that features a €55 buy-in and at least three seats to BOM are guaranteed.

Every event on the qualifying schedule guarantees at least two Main Event buy-ins but some of the later qualifiers will award at least five seats.

Head over to our 2017 Battle of Malta Live Satellite Schedule Homepage to get a complete list of the qualifiers.

Of course if you want to skip the qualifying process you can still just go to our BOM registration page and buy-in directly for €550.


The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a caffeine-boosted attempt to snag the top score at the mid-afternoon poker news arcade’s most popular video game.

You can always fire suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Isildur1 making an appearance at the PokerStars National Championship in Barcelona, Steph Curry playing poker in Montana and Daniel Negreanu assessing #GoodforPoker.

1) Isildur1 Stops by PSC Barcelona

Tom Dwan on TV shows and Isildur1 playing major live tournaments. What year is it again?

He's back!

Viktor “Isildur1” Blom is one of the 800+ players in the thick of the action on Day 1a of the €1,100 buy-in PokerStars National Championship in Barcelona.

Barcelona has always been one of the crown jewels of the international poker circuit and it looks like this year will be no different with Casino Barcelona already full to the brim with poker players.

Isildur1 has never been a big tournament guy but he did take down a $100k Super High Roller for $1.2m at the 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

Jamie “PokerStaples” Staples, Vitaly Lunkin, Anton Wigg and Dominik Panka are also amongst the early registrants for the 2017 National Championship in Barcelona, which runs Aug. 16-21.

Blom was of course a member of Team PokerStars Pro back in the day and then later on a member of the short-lived Professionals for Full Tilt 2.0.

Considering his legendary online background, Blom is probably one of the only poker pros who could still command a decent deal with a major online poker room.

Perhaps another tour with PokerStars? Dare to dream.

2) Steph Curry Plays in Montana Poker Room Spotted by TwoPlusTwo's pure_aggression.

The Golden State Warriors just can’t seem to get enough poker.

Several members of the team play in the big Silicon Valley game that Phil Hellmuth frequents. Hellmuth has spoken about it numerous times but won’t name anyone specifically.

That game may not be enough, however, as Steph Curry was recently spotted at the Remington Bar and Casino in Whitefish, Montana.

Hey it’s the offseason, what else are you going to do?

Maybe next year Curry can take a slightly trip and make an appearance at the WSOP. They’ve got a few games there.

Besides Curry seems to have this basketball thing figured out with yet another championship this year. Time to conquer poker!

At the very least we’re getting to the point where a casino could host a rather sizable tournament of just NBA players with Paul Pierce, Gilbert Arenas, David Lee, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green among the many, many basketball stars who enjoy a turn at the tables.

3) Daniel Negreanu Discusses "Good for Poker”

Something that gets tossed around the poker world quite a bit is the concept of “Good for poker.”

It’s somewhat of a nebulous idea (we think the old Wicked Chops Poker Blog had a part in popularizing the term) and no one has exactly been clear about what it means and why.

Fortunately Daniel Negreanu is breaking it down this week and giving people an idea of what he believes is “Good for poker” in a new Vlog.

One of the key elements of Negreanu’s video is the argument that the poker community should embrace people who try to do things in the poker space instead of mock them.

Makes sense, right? Check it out below:


You stand at the base of the Great Pyramids of Giza thinking, 'how did they manage that?'

Then you see your nine-month-old daughter, chasing after a dirty nappy blowing around the feet of a carnival of camels, and it doesn’t seem that daunting of a task after all.

In November I wrote about the lessons learned during my first five weeks of fatherhood and how to apply them to poker.

Nine months later and things are going well. My daughter is still alive, but the challenges of parenting a nine-month-old are proving to be more challenging than a five-week-old.

It’s time for a sequel. There is much to learn.

1. Balance

Back in the day there was an advert on TV with the slogan Work, Rest, and Play. It’s supposed to be the perfect trifecta for balance. I don’t think the creator had children.

How much is too much Kassouf?

Will Kassouf became the most recognizable face (and voice) in poker last year. His antics during the 2016 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event turned him into a celebrity and gave the presence of poker in the mainstream press a gentle boost.

But imagine sitting next to him? It would be like sitting next to one of those slave-like giant wind turbines, slowly peeling the skin off your cheek with the constant air pressure.

12 hours of Kassouf and you end up like the people who sat next to Stryker in the movie Airplane. Now, double that, add breastfeeding into the mix and that’s what it’s like when you have a nine-month-old to entertain.

They are adorable. You love them. But they do your head right in.

People forget there are two parents. If you are a professional poker player chances are you spend most of your time playing poker, talking poker and learning about poker.

Take the WSOP as an example. How do you manage a six-week bracelet hunt when you have a nine-month-old? 

Carving out time to care for your child is an incredible experience. Not only will your eyes continually sting with the heavily chlorinated like streams of hormonal love, but it teaches you that there is more to life than poker.

The break from the game not only benefits your partner and your child but you will return to the tables reinvigorated, fresh and eager to do well.

2. Values

At nine months you may start having premonitions about your child’s future. What will they wear? Who will they date? Will they want to play poker?

Kurganov values service.

You realize that your baby is like a new computer. They have hardware (digestive system, circulatory system, you get the picture system). They have software (beliefs, values, worldview).

When it comes to programming the software it's evident that the motherboard is fresh. The wiring, in the shape of beliefs, values and worldview, comes from your child's mentors; primarily you.

Yes, it's very likely that your child will grow up thinking the same foundational thoughts that you do, including views on religion, race and whether or not Father Christmas exists.

Having a child provides the impetus for having an archaeological dig into your mind. What are your beliefs, values and worldview? Who helped program your motherboard? How does it serve you, today?

Most of us are so caught up sifting through Tweets and Facebook Likes in our steel sifting pan hoping for some gold that we don't spare a second thought considering why we believe the things we do.

Values are the core drivers of our action and they will be the core drivers of your child’s action. So what are they? And, most importantly, what do you want them to be?

One of Igor Kurganov's highest values is service, meaning when he wins money playing poker his software instructs him to donate some to effective charities.

Maybe one of your highest values is affluence and fashion so you spend your winnings on clothes and fast cars. Your children will (likely) adopt your values. What will it be? Fast cars or feeding the poor?

3. Focus

The azure blue sky is mottled with cotton balls. A kestrel is perched patiently on a telegraph pole waiting for the mouse to move. A group of thugs are picking on a young lad with a harelip.

Where's your focus?

But you don’t see any of these things. You are a cyborg. Your mobile phone is your fifth limb and you spend all day searching through social media feeds of friends who you will never be there for and who will never be there for you.

We live in an unfocused world and the poker table, be it live or virtual, is also a hotbed of distraction. If you are not focused 100% on the game then you are giving up an edge.

When you have a nine-month-old baby, focus is critical. Take your eye off them for a second and they have fallen off the bed, picked up a pair of scissors or began sucking on the bottom of your shoe.

But the focus is not only about preventing your baby from death, disease and diaper rash. By intently focusing on your child you are teaching them the power of connection.

It also allows you to unplug; to slow the pace of burnout. To turn the time machine off and remain present for a few minutes of playtime with your little one.

This is good news for your poker game. 

4. Nutrition

Obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis and dental disease are the most common forms of death and illness linked to poor diet, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

But you know that, right?

The problem with being human is we believe we are immortal. Maybe it’s a switch preventing us from having to deal with the overwhelming nature of our unstoppable demise.

Eating right matters. A lot.

We never make the right choices because we never think our time will come. And the poker lifestyle can be one of the most dangerous when it comes to the neglect we put on our bodies when it comes to our nutritional choices.

Playing online poker for 15 hours a day with one solitary five-minute break per hour - what are you going to eat? Sitting in a casino for 15 hours a day - what are you going to eat?

How do you keep awake? What do you drink? When your child starts eating solids, things are different. You may not think about your death but you will think about the death of your nipper.

In an age where everything you purchase at a supermarket, from baby formula to ready packed baby meals, is full of sugar, how do you protect and nurture your child?

You do your research. And when you have carried out your research and are feeding your child in the right way, it will have an effect on you. You want to set an example and you want to live long enough to see your child act as a role model for their children.

And guess what happens when you start eating healthier? You play better. Much better.

5. Learn to Put Poker Down

I have built a barricade, sealing my child off from the kitchen. It consists of a yoga mat, two suitcases and an old helium canister.

Put the game away, too.

It's not pretty, but it does prevent her from crawling over to me and attempting to climb me like Bear Grylls once climbed Everest.

At nine months old they don’t want to be alone, put into the car seat or into the pram. They want to be close to you at all times. The pressure becomes unbearable. You can’t even go to the toilet in peace.

The instinct is to pick them up. You view crying as suffering. But all children need to learn they won't spontaneously combust if there is no skin to skin.

The kids need to learn independence and you need to know that your life won't fall apart if they cry. It’s the same with poker.

Poker is a game that can become very addictive. Tournaments take hours to complete. 15 hours at the cash-game tables can rush by like an express train.

You can develop a sense of FOMO if you miss the local home game and Fred calls you to explain how soft it was the one night you had to babysit.

But you need time away from the game. It does become clingy and that's not healthy. Learn to put poker down. Build a barricade if you like.

Find something else to do and keep what you do fresh, alive and as brilliant as it was the first day you found it.


Updated: 2 years 14 weeks ago