Viktor Blom, Gus Hansen dropped by Full Tilt Poker

October 21st, 2014

Sponsored pros were once a staple of the online poker industry. But Viktor ‘Isildur1′ Blom and Gus Hansen recently found out the hard way that this is no longer the case these days. Both were let go by Full Tilt Poker in a move that’s officially disbanded “The Professionals.”

Blom, Hansen and Tom Dwan were signed to be Full Tilt’s Professionals after the site’s post-Black Friday launch in late 2012. Dwan was eventually dropped by FTP in late 2013 while Isildur1 and Hansen remained with the team. However, almost one year later, they are both gone too.

Anybody who’s searching for reasons why need look no further than what’s currently happening in the online poker industry. Few sites see the use in having sponsored pros wearing their patch, given the heavy focus on recreational players. So offering lucrative contracts to players like Blom and Hansen is an archaic business model in today’s poker world.

An additional reason for getting rid of their remaining sponsored players is likely their recent performance. After bursting on to the internet poker scene in late 2009, Isildur1 has failed to recapture the magic he had back in those days. Currently, HighStakesDB shows Blom as being over $3 million in the hole at Full Tilt.

Of course, this is nothing compared to Hansen – perhaps online poker’s biggest loser ever (close competition with Guy Laliberte). The Great Dane has over $20 million in losses, and his graph shows a consistent downward spiral since the relaunch of Full Tilt.

So if the industry trend wasn’t already against these two, their lackluster results didn’t exactly convince FTP that they couldn’t do without Blom and Hansen. And don’t expect any more big signings to fill these guys’ void.

Poker Night in America incites Massive Twitter Battle

October 19th, 2014

Who knew that a group of poker pros sitting around a table and bullshitting with each other would incite such anger? WSOP bracelet winner Allen Bari recently stirred up some emotions when tweeting his opinion on how bad it was that David “ODB” Baker was the show’s biggest name. This drew the attention of PNIA’s creator, Todd Anderson, and the twitter battle was on:

Todd Anderson – @allenbari @PokerNightTV @audavidb only because we couldn’t get you!! Whiners not allowed!!!!!!

Allen Bari – @PokerNight_Todd @PokerNightTV @audavidb I wish I was watching the usual bull fight/Nascar rather than this poker show you guys puked up

Todd Anderson – @allenbari @PokerNightTV @audavidb Well why don’t you? 800 channels to watch but you always find @PokerNightTV How does that happen?

Allen Bari – @PokerNight_Todd @PokerNightTV @audavidb I enjoy seeing what not to do when creating a poker show.. using it for research purposes buddy

Todd Anderson – @allenbari @PokerNightTV @audavidb Critics are easy to find. How about you create something yourself buddy? I DARE You

Allen Bari – @PokerNight_Todd @PokerNightTV Dare accepted.. I think I’ll create a food business, btw thx for running out of content that u had to use me

Todd Anderson – @allenbari @PokerNightTV I doubt you could create a decent bowel movement. And will never use you again so stop watching. @please #loser

Allen Bari – @PokerNight_Todd @PokerNightTV remember me when you look back on this time and realize what an awful product you put into the world

Todd Anderson – @allenbari @PokerNightTV remember me in 5 years when this show is a world wide reality and airs every night. Bet on it. @whineyassbitch

Todd Anderson – @allenbari @PokerNightTV And you obviously want to be on the show. It’s Shakespearian. “You doth protest too much” Sorry. #never

Allen Bari – I love the nights where I get out of line on twitter, and weed out those that follow me but are begging to be blocked

Did Bari poke the hornets’ nest because he’s jealous of not being on the show? Perhaps, but he’s been known to stir up trouble in the past anyways. And Anderson definitely didn’t sit back and take Bari’s comments with a grain a salt. In any case, I don’t agree with Bari that this is a terrible show and I recommend that you watch it below:

Mike Leah wins WSOP APAC High Roller – Grabs $600k and First Bracelet

October 17th, 2014

With over $3.3 million in live tournament winnings and plenty of huge online poker victories, Mike Leah was starting to enter those discussions about the greatest poker player to never win a gold bracelet. However, Leah finally got his first bracelet in the 2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific $25k High Roller.

Like any high roller victory, this one certainly wasn’t easy as the Canadian was pitted against a stacked 68-player field. Despite the tough competition, Leah built a stack so big that he had over half the chips in play when the final table started. From here, the skilled pro used his advantage to bully other players and adapt when the table dynamic changed.

Leah’s prize for his expert play was a massive A$600,000 payout. Other players who fared well include Jesse Sylvia (3rd, A$216,811), Jonathan Duhamel (4th, A$145,003) and Brian Roberts (6th, A$85,027).

Following the win, Leah expressed relief about winning his first bracelet. “I’m obviously very happy – I don’t know if it has sunk in yet,” he said. “I’ve been trying to accomplish this goal for so long. There is just relief that I’ve finally done it.”

Leah went on to discuss how badly things were going for him at the 2014 WSOP APAC, before he turned it around with the high roller win:

I just tried to stay focused on every single hand. I didn’t want to think too far ahead. I wanted to bully the table around, but was trying to find a balance between using my chips and not being reckless.

This has been a great year for me. The first nine events here I felt I really played awful. I punted a bunch of events and wasn’t happy with how I played. It just seems once I can get into a tournament and off to a good start, getting a lot of chips, I really zone in. All the tournaments I have done well in this year have been like that.

2014 WSOP APAC $25k High Roller (AUD)
1st: Mike Leah – $600,000
2nd: David Yan- $360,025
3rd: Jesse Sylvia – $216,811
4th: Jonathan Duhamel – $145,003
5th: Sam Khouiss – $110,078
6th: Brian Roberts $85,027
7th: Sam Higgs – $65,035
8th: Andrew Hinrichsen – $50,021

Study says Poker Players are Skinny Drunks

October 13th, 2014

If you’re a poker player, then we have good news and bad news: you are most likely skinny and a drunk.

This finding comes courtesy of a study from Jackpot.co.uk, which undertook the task of finding out which type of gamblers were the healthiest. We can tell you right now that it wasn’t slots players because they topped out at 31 on the BMI scale – well above the UK national average of 27.

Poker players, on the other hand, fared much better with a BMI of 25. A good reason why is because 58% of the rounders said they exercise at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week. One more healthy habit of poker players is that they’re less likely to smoke than the average Brit.

But on the downside, they did rate pretty high in the drinking category. Of course this shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, given that many poker players hang out in bars.

So what is it that makes poker players largely healthier than their slots counterparts. Well a big factor is age since the average poker player/survey-taker was 38, while the average slots player was 45. People tend to gain more weight as they get older, which explains that it’s not just watching reels spin that makes slots aficionados fat.

The relative youthfulness of poker players may also explain why 23% of them drink more than the UK’s recommended weekly amount. Many players spend time traveling to tournaments and hang out at bars or clubs when they’re away. Likewise, many young internet grinders like to socialize at bars since they don’t meet many people at work.

In any case, it’s good to hear that the study of 2,131 gamblers found that poker players rank low on the BMI scale.

Poker Pro Matt Smith wins $1 Million in Fantasy Football

October 9th, 2014

Fantasy sports have been growing in popularity over the past decade and a half. And since fantasy sports offer positive expected value for those with skill, it’s little surprise that many poker players embrace the activity.

Case in point, numerous poker players flocked to the recent “Millionaire Maker” fantasy football event at DraftKings. For a $27 buy-in, entrants got to play for a $1 million top prize and an overall prize pool of $2.2 million.

As this event got near the end, poker players Brian Hastings, Aaron Jones and Tony Dunst all had a shot at winning. However, it was a lesser-known poker player named Matt Smith who’d eventually capture the title along with a $1 million payout. After winning, Smith wasn’t quite sure what to say so he just tweeted this:

I don’t even know what to say. I’m in complete shock and can’t thank everyone enough for all the support!

As mentioned before fantasy sports have been attracting more and more people every year. And this has given rise to daily fantasy sports, where players pay a buy-in, draft their team and see the game play out in a single day.

Switching to another note, somehow daily fantasy sports continue to be completely legal across the United States – yet online poker is only legal/regulated in three states. I’m not sure why this is the case….oh wait, yeah I am. Professional sports leagues have done heavy lobbying over the years for various interests, and making sure that fantasy sports stay legal is one them.

The NFL has especially benefited from the widespread popularity of daily fantasy sports – and season-long leagues too – because these generate far more interest in the games. Call it a double standard while online poker waits on the sidelines, but it’s an unfortunate reality now.

Phil Ivey loses £7.7m Crockfords Case – Is Precedent set for Borgata?

October 8th, 2014

Phil Ivey took a bad beat in court when a UK High Court judge ruled against him in a £7.7 million baccarat edge sorting case.

Predictably, Ivey argued that edge sorting is not cheating and he wouldn’t use the technique if he thought it cheated the casino. The judge believed that Ivey didn’t think he was really cheating. However, the judge still sided with Crockfords’ argument that Ivey went above and behind the normal scope of advantage play, including asking for a bunch of favors under the guise of being superstitious (i.e. cards tilted at 180-degree angle, same deck used, Chinese-speaking dealer).

After the case was decided, a disappointed Ivey continued to profess his belief that he won fair and square. The 10-time WSOP champ said the following:

I am obviously disappointed with this judge’s decision. As I said in court, it is not my nature to cheat and I would never do anything to risk my reputation.

I am pleased that the judge acknowledged in court that I was a truthful witness by saying that ‘I am entirely convinced that Mr Ivey did not consider that what he was doing was cheating.

I believe that what we did was a legitimate strategy – we did nothing more than exploit Crockfords’ failures to take proper steps to protect themselves against a player of my ability – clearly today, the judge did not agree.

There’s also a $9.6 million lawsuit filed by the Borgata against Ivey that’s yet to be decided. Another edge sorting case, Ivey was actually paid the $9.6 million in baccarat winnings before he left the casino. However, Borgata now wants their money back and, like Crockfords, they’re taking their case to court.

Given what happened in the Crockfords judgement, there may be some precedent here. Of course, Borgata is dealing with a different country and they already gave Ivey the money. This case is supposed to be decided next year, so it’ll be interested to see if Ivey goes 0-for-2 or he gets better luck this time.

Popular Jason Somerville gone from Ultimate Poker

September 27th, 2014

Over the past year, Ultimate Poker has been busy slashing their roster of pro players. Once boasting over a dozen signed pros, Team U now has only a handful of players representing them. And you can count one less because Jason Somerville is rumored to be out at Ultimate Poker (UP).

This is quite strange, given that Somerville is one of the more popular poker pros in the game today. Furthermore, he just launched a webseries called “RunItUp,” which was supposed to be exclusive to UP. However, one sign that Somerville is done at the site includes the fact that he’s been uploading RunItUp episodes to his own channel as well.

As F5Poker reports, the main reason why Somerville could be done is because UP doesn’t have the money to keep sponsoring him. They just pulled out of the New Jersey market after their partner, Trump Taj Mahal, announced a tentative closing date of November 13th. Upon announcing their exit from New Jersey, UP’s parent company, Ultimate Gaming, also said that Taj Mahal still owes them $1.5 million in revenue payments – money they might never see.

Things haven’t exactly been booming in Nevada either. According to PokerScout, UP averages 60 cash game players an hour in Nevada, which trails market-leader WSOP.com and their 100 players an hour. UP’s cash game traffic has remained relatively stagnant over the past year, thus indicating little growth in the Silver State.

Seeing as how the poker room doesn’t seem to be gaining much ground, it’s a wonder if their remaining pros will be around in another year. Antonio Esfandiari, Danielle Andersen and Dan O’Brien are still sponsored by the Nevada-based company. But these three can’t be cheap – especially Esfandiari – and UP continues to struggle in an American online poker market that hasn’t quite taken off yet.

Joe Cada’s Split with PokerStars foreshadows Grim Future

September 25th, 2014

The death of the sponsored poker pro is something that’s been discussed frequently over the past few years. But Joe Cada’s recent split with PokerStars has hammered the point home that sites are increasingly moving away from sponsored pros.

In Cada’s case, all he wanted was 100% rakeback from PokerStars to continue representing them. And this seems like a reasonable request from a former Main Event champion. Amazingly, Stars saw this as too high a price, as you can see from Cada’s tweets:

If everyone is wondering what happened with Poker Stars and myself it’s pretty simple. I asked for 100percent rake back, they said no.

I asked for zero money. I just wanted the rake back that I used to get.

Cada added that he’s never heard of a company asking somebody they sponsor to pay for their product. Seeing as how Stars wouldn’t keep the 2009 Main Event winner on their roster, it seems highly likely that they’ll continue dumping more pros over the coming years.

This trend already began weeks ago when Humberto Brenes, Jose “Nacho” Barbero and Angel Guillen didn’t get their contracts renewed. A PokerStars spokesman came out and said that these players were from countries where they don’t hold live tournaments. So Stars felt there was little reason to sponsor these players any longer.

But Cada is arguably more marketable than any of these guys because he has worldwide recognition as a Main Event champ. He is, however, from Michigan, yet another spot where PokerStars had no live presence.

The world’s largest poker site will always have some players representing their brand like Daniel Negreanu, Bertrand Grospellier and Liv Boeree. But it’s becoming obvious that they aren’t interested in having dozens of signed pros from every corner of the world.

Randy “Nanonoko” Lew uncovers Secrets of Multi-Tabling

September 24th, 2014

Randy “Nanonoko” Lew is perhaps the most legendary multi-tabler of all time. The online poker pro has made millions from his ability to handle numerous tables at once and still make profits. And recently, Lew was in the sharing mood as he offered up some great tips on how players can become better at multi-tabling. Here’s a quick synopsis on the five pieces of advice that Nanonoko offers:

1. Add Tables Slowly

One of the biggest faults of multi-tablers is that they try to move up tables too quickly. But rather than worrying about how many tables you’re playing, you should concentrate on win rate and move up slowly.

2. Use a Heads-Up Display (HUD)

When playing 10 tables or so, you don’t have time to analyze each player at every table. So HUDs can help you quickly identify which players are loose and tight.

3. Limit Distractions

Keep your phone away, TV off and distance yourself from any other distractions. After all, it’s nearly impossible to focus on many tables when you’re worried about what your latest text says.

4. Use Hotkeys

Rather than wasting time clicking the bet, fold and check buttons in the exact spot, hotkeys help you do this with a simple keystroke. Using hotkeys can even be helpful for bet sizing, such as a 3 big-blind bet for example.

5. Tile your Tables, rather than Stack Them

Tiling tables is better because it gives you a better visual of all the action. Stacking, on the other hand, makes it more difficult to follow each street on every table.

If you’d like to see Nanonoko explain these tips in their entirety, please visit PokerListings and watch the multi-tabling video.

Poker Scammer steals $280k – Confesses after speaking with God

September 20th, 2014

What do you do when you’ve stolen $280,000 from the poker community? For most, the answer would be to hide out and try to get away with the crime for as long as possible. But for Justin Archuleta, the answer was to confess his sins to the TwoPlusTwo community and offer up a list of everybody whom he’s scammed.

Archuleta outlined his activities by explaining how he used everything from Keyloggers to Chase Quickpay Scams to steal thousands of dollars from various players. He also worked with another individual, whose name he doesn’t know, to rip off TwoPlusTwo users.

So what made Archuleta decide to come clean and work out a plan to repay the defrauded? Here’s one excerpt from his confession:

I am in no way, shape, or form proud of what I have done.

I have repented seriously with God in July and cried hard. I feel really bad for what I’ve done and wish that all my victims give me a chance to make things right. I’ve come a long long way to get to this point. My last scam was last year around August for $8000 to young_bluffkin.

Please forgive me, I was desperate, lacked self control, and didn’t know the seriousness of what I was doing.

It’s obvious that Archuleta wants to try and make things right for the crimes that he committed. However, there are also some people who were seriously affected by these scams and aren’t quite ready to forgive him. As you can read in the TwoPlusTwo thread, there are hundreds of posts admonishing Archuleta for what he did. But while his crimes are truly terrible, at the very least, it’s good that he came forward and has promised to pay people back.