Poker Bot Cheater TheMadBotter Confesses – Brags About $30k Profit

July 29th, 2016

online-poker-botA bizarre post appeared on 2+2 from a poker bot cheater, who wanted to both confess and brag about his successful botting operation. “themadbotter” wrote that he booked a $30k profit while explaining some of the advanced techniques that he used with the bots.

“I hope to shed some light on the current economy of botting and to help people understand the relationship between botting and poker sites,” he wrote. “Over the past 6 months, my bot has played 500k+ hands on ACR (Americas Cardroom) mostly at 50-100NL. With various promos and bonuses factored in, it has generated around $30k of profit.”

Expressing his desire to remain anonymous because ACR/WPN network has his personal information, themadbotter explained that advanced botting requires more work than just the standard “plug-n-go” bots.

“Plug-n-play systems generally require minimal technical expertise whereas **** and similar frameworks will require intermediate programming experience,” he explained. “In general, bots in 2016 all come equipped (or can be equipped) with stealth technology that will remove any overt indications of the software running during a session; they will generally show up as some nondescript process running in the background on task manager.”

Themadbotter explained that plug-n-play bots are, at best, only capable of winning at the lowest limits. However, a well-programmed bot that is frequently updated can win at cash game limits of $50 to $100 NL Hold’em.

“Around month 3 is when the bot really took off, after I worked tirelessly to integrate a Poker Tracker database with the bot profile. Depending on VPIP, aggression, cbet%, fold to cbet%, etc., and overall results of a particular opponent, the bot had close to 15 different ‘branches’ of play,” he wrote. “It would play a nit much differently than it would a lag, a fish differently than a rock. It would exploit players based on tendencies: e.g. those who folds to 3bets too often, those who 3bet light OOP, those who folded to positional cbets unless they had top pair+, etc.”

Some of the posters, including “ChicagoJoey,” seemed genuinely interested in learning about what themadbotter had to say, just to get a glimpse into the world of advanced poker bots.

But other players were angered by the brash poster, who violated ACR’s terms and essentially cheated other players out of money.

One poster named “NovaCaine” believes that he knows who the madbotter is based on a couple of regs disappearing from $50 and $100 NLHE games. This, or something else, must have spooked themadbotter, who wrote the following after so many detailed posts/answers:

“Sorry all, I was just lying, just trolling. Why can’t I edit my posts? Can a mod lock this thread please?

“I see from the FAQ that it’s likely due to the way this particular sub was set up. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you all, I was just bored and wanted to troll. This is why I could not post any proof. I hope that admin can delete this thread so as to not cause undue panic in the players or to unnecessarily slander WPN’s reputation. ACR should ask to have this thread deleted since there is no reason why my unfortunate misstep, with no proof or evidence to support any of the allegations in this thread, should unnecessarily cause them financial harm or bring negative publicity.”

Whoever themadbotter is, it looks like they’re done talking about the subject. This disappointed some posters, who were interested in picking the player’s brain more about the advancements in botting.

You can read the entire 2+2 thread here.

Qui Nguyen Gets Tournament Breakthrough in WSOP Main Event

July 24th, 2016

qui-nguyen-wsop-main-eventQui Nugyen has carved out a successful poker career in Las Vegas, frequenting Aria cash games ranging from $1/$2 blinds up to $10/$20. But despite his success and diligence in these games, his bankroll always took a hit in WSOP events. That isn’t the case now, though, since Nguyen is one of nine players who’ll compete on the WSOP Main Event final table.

The 39-year-old racked up three eliminations in six hands at one point in the final day. This helped build his chip stack to the point where, with just nine players left, he holds the second-most chips (69.925m).

“Today I was running hot,” Nguyen said after the final table formed.

With the 2016 WSOP November Nine now official, Nguyen has one of the best chances at the $8 million top prize. Only Cliff Josephy holds more chips (74.6m) right now. Even if disaster stuck and Nguyen quickly fell down the chip count, he’d still be guaranteed a $1 million payout for ninth place.

In either case, Nguyen is just happy that something has went right for him in tournaments.

The Vietnam native has been playing cash games for 10 years after moving from Florida to Las Vegas in the mid-2000s. He quickly learned the ropes of cash games and became successful, but tournament accolades have always alluded him.

“Usually I try to get in the money and never get in the money,” Nguyen told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Known as “Tommy Gun” in the Aria poker room, Nguyen’s best WSOP payout was a $9,029 prize for taking 54th in a 2009 WSOP $1,500 NLHE event. But his best cash is already guaranteed to be $1 million, and it should be a lot higher based on his impressive chip stack.

Nguyen’s road to entering this year’s WSOP Main Event was a difficult one. He busted out of $565 and $1,100 satellites in pursuit of a $10,000 seat. It wasn’t until his third satellite, worth a $1,100 buy-in, that he earned his seat.

Family members tried to convince Nguyen to sell his seat and make a profit. But the Vietnamese-born pro didn’t think the sale price was worth what he stood to gain.

“It’s just $10,000,” he said. “I lost a lot more in baccarat.”

Nguyen and the rest of the 2016 November Nine will take the felt on October 30th to battle for over $25 million of prize money.

2016 WSOP Sets Multiple Records

July 21st, 2016

The 2016 WSOP marked yet another banner year for the annual poker tournament series. Big records were set in terms of attendance, while several other impressive stats stand out from the event. That said, let’s take a look at what WSOP attendance records were set along with other stats from 2016.

Most Players at the WSOP – 107,833

Last year, the WSOP smashed an overall attendance mark by attracting 103,512 players – up 25% from the previous summer. The 2016 WSOP didn’t feature as impressive of a percentage increase, but it did set a new record for entrants with 107,833 – up 4.2% from 2015. With so many players taking part this summer, it’s a wonder how high the WSOP can climb.

Highest Average WSOP Tournament Attendance – 1,563

Another record that sticks out is how the 69 tournaments this summer drew an average of 1,563 players. This is amazing when you consider that the WSOP Main Event didn’t even reach this number until 2004.

jason-mercier-2-braceletsMost WSOP Players to Cash – 15,767

A lot of poker players left Vegas happy since 15,767 of the 107,833 total entrants cashed. Taking player feedback into account, the WSOP has been making a more-concentrated effort to disperse prize money across a larger percentage of the field, rather than offering gaudy prizes at the top.

An International Affair – 107 Countries

Poker is becoming more and more of a global game, with 107 of the world’s 195 countries represented. It’s little surprise that America had the most players at 84,027 since it’s the host country. But Canada (4,586), the UK (4,388), France (1,293), Russia (1,280), Germany (1,169), and Brazil (970) were all well-represented too.

Fifth-Largest WSOP Main Event – 6,737 Players

2016-wsop-main-event-final-tableIt seems like the WSOP Main Event peaked for good at the 2006 ME, which drew 8,773 players and saw Jamie Gold win a $12 million prize. But the 2016 Main Event marked the first time that attendance has increased since 2011. This year’s ME drew 6,737 players, making it the fifth-largest field in the tournament’s history.

Based on all of these impressive numbers, it’ll be interested to see if the 2017 WSOP marks yet another year of growth.

2016 WSOP Main Event Final Table Set – Cliff Josephy Is Chip Leader

July 19th, 2016

2016-wsop-main-event-final-table“I’m just elated right now, relieved and elated,” said Cliff Josephy after making the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table. “I had a goal, I’ve reached it, and now I’ll set some loftier ones.”

The 51-year-old poker pro leads the Main Event final table with 74,600,000 chips. Josephy has already won two gold bracelets, and he has a strong chance to win #3 when the final table reconvenes on October 30th.

Other players who’ll be in the hunt include Qui Nguyen (67,925,000 chips), Gordon Vayo (49,375,000), and Kenny Hallaert (43,325,000. Let’s discuss these players along with the rest of the 2016 Main Event final table below.

2016 WSOP November Nine

1. Cliff Josephy, 74.6 million chips – The Syosset, New York resident has $2,641,620 in live tournament winnings, highlighted by victories in 2005 WSOP $1.5k Seven Card Stud ($191.2k) and 2013 WSOP $3,000 NLHE ($299.5k) tournaments.

2. Qui Nguyen, 67.925 million chips – Qui Nguyen is the only Las Vegas player to make the Main Event final table. He has $52,986 in live tournament winnings.

3. Gordon Vayo, 49.375 million chips – Hailing from San Francisco, California, the 27-year-old Gordon Vayo has $974,714 in tournament winnings along with 21 WSOP cashes.

4. Kenny Hallaert, 43.325 million chips – Kenny Hallaert has earned $1,317,530 in live tournaments, including a fifth-place finish in last year’s WSOP Colossus tournament ($182.35k). The 34-year-old follows in the footsteps of countryman Pierre Neuville, who took seventh place last year ($1.29 million).

5. Michael Ruane, 31.6 million chips – With $44,962 in live tourney winnings, Michael Ruane probably never dreamed of making it this far. But the New Jersey native is on the final table, looking to give his career earnings a huge boost.

6. Vojtech Ruzicka, 27.3 million chips – Ruzicka created a buzz when he led the Main Event going into the final day. After an up-and-down day, Ruzicka survived the final round of eliminations to land on the final table in sixth place. The Prague native’s biggest cash came courtesy of winning the 2013 EPT Deauville High Roller ($426,097).

7. Griffin Benger, 26.175 million chips – As the winner of the 2014 Shark Cage ($1m), and the player with the most online poker tournament winnings in 2011, Griffin Benger is well known in poker. The Toronto resident has earned $2,395,406 in live tournaments along with almost $5.9 million in online events.

8. Jerry Wong, 10.175 million chips – Hailing from Brooklyn, Wong, along with Ruane and Josephy, is the third player from the New York City area on this final table. His biggest cash before the Main Event includes finishing third in the 2013 PCA Main Event ($725k).

9. Fernando Pons, 6.15 million chips – Pons won his $10k Main Event seat through an 888poker satellite, and he’s living the dream after making the final table. He only has $10,589 in tournament winnings, but he’ll increase this amount 100-fold thanks to a guaranteed $1 million prize.

Main Event Final Table Payouts
1. $8,000,000
2. $4,658,452
3. $3,451,175
4. $2,574,808
5. $1,934,579
6. $1,463,906
7. $1,250,000
8. $1,100,000
9. $1,000,000

Fedor Holz Wins 2016 One Drop High Roller and $5m

July 14th, 2016

fedor-holz-2016-wsop-one-dropFedor Holz was already having an outstanding year in 2016 since he won the WPT Philippines High Roller ($3.46m) and finished second in the Aria Super High Roller Bowl ($3.5m). But Holz made 2016 even more magical by winning the WSOP $111,111 High Roller for One Drop along with $4,981,775.

The 22-year-old navigated through a 183-player field to win his first gold bracelet. In a career filled with big scores, the near-$5 million prize ranks as the biggest of them all for Holz.

“I’m really happy right now,” said Holz. “I was very focused coming into this. I told my friends even, that this was going to be a very important week. I had such a great feeling about this tournament and felt really intense about it, which is why it means so much to me to win it.”

Holz was the brightest star of a mixed player pool that included famed pros, businessmen, and even celebrities. Once again, former Cirque du Soleil owner Guy Laliberte led the festivities and helped raise money for the One Drop foundation. Laliberte and One Drop have been providing clean drinking water to third-world countries over five years.

While charity is the reason for the $111k buy-in One Drop High Roller, the massive payouts bring out the competitive side of players. 28 players in all cashed, including 2015 Main Event champ Joe McKeehen, who took sixth along with $829,792. Dan Smith, another highly successful pro, finished second place and netted $3,078,974.

But none of these players could stop the combination of good cards and amazing poker skills that Holz brought to the final table.

“I just ran like a god for four hands in a row,” he said.

Holz faced off against Smith for an hour, before he improved a suited 8-7 combo to a flush and finished off his final opponent.

The German was asked by the WSOP staff how he has such incredible poker skills for a 22-year-old, to which he gave a modest answer.

“I will just try to appreciate it and enjoy this while it lasts,” he said. “I really have to credit a lot of the high-stakes players I play with in the High Rollers. From playing with them, they teach you. If you do not play well, they eat you alive.”

2016 WSOP $111,111 High Roller for One Drop Final Table
1st. Fedor Holz – $4,981,775
2nd. Dan Smith – $3,078,974
3rd. Koray Aldemir – $2,154,265
4th. Jack Salter – $1,536,666
5th. Brian Green – $1,117,923
6th. Joe McKeehen – $829,792
7th. Nick Petrangelo – $628,679
8th. Niall Farrell – $486,383
9th. Scott Seiver – $384,425

Jens Kyllonen Wins 2016 WSOP $25k PLO

July 12th, 2016

jens-kyllonen-wsopJens Kyllonen is not exactly big on the WSOP. In fact, before this summer, Kyllonen’s best finish was a 113th-place effort in 2011. But the high stakes online pro showed up to the 2016 WSOP, winning the $25,000 High Roller PL Omaha tourney as a result.

Kyllonen beat a tough 184-player field to win his first gold bracelet along with $1,127,035. Despite the big names in this field, the Finnish online grinder didn’t seem overly impressed with his competition.

“I don’t want to get into other people’s mistakes at the table in this tournament, but online I play against tougher opposition,” he said.

If there’s a reason why Kyllonen talks of his competition like this, it’s not because he’s being disrespectful, but rather because he’s faced the absolute best that online poker has to offer. Even with that being said, the 26-year-old realizes the implications of winning this event.

“I can’t remember having a rush like I had today,” explained Kyllonen. “I had some big wins online and back in 2011 I won a million in a single day. But other than that, this is the biggest one.”

With this victory, Kyllonen becomes just the third player from Finland to win a WSOP bracelet, joining Jani Vilmunen and Ville Wahlbeck. And it should be little surprise that this bracelet came in PLO, which Finnish players are well known for.

“I think PLO has more action,” Kyllonen said. “You can make more hands with four cards. I also think it’s easier to get lucky in this game.”

Despite Kyllonen’s skill in this game, his heads-up duel with Tommy Le lasted for over three hours. It wasn’t until he won a huge pot with quad aces did he finally take control.

“The heads-up match took much longer than I expected,” he explained. “That’s PLO when you play short-handed. Situations can change so fast. You can play your best, but you can’t help it. You have to win the all-ins.”

Despite the WSOP victory, Kyllonen is likely to continue dedicating most of his time to the online game.

2016 WSOP $25,000 High Roller PL Omaha
1. Jens Kyllonen – $1,127,035
2. Tommy Le – $696,558
3. Dan Smith – $487,361
4. Ryan D’Angelo – $347,641
5. Veselin Karakitukov – $252,909
6. Dmitry Savelyev – $187,724
7. Ludovic Geilich – $142,227
8. Sean Winter – $110,035
9. Robert Mizrachi – $86,969

Doug Polk, Ryan Fee Win First WSOP Tag Team Championship

July 9th, 2016

doug-polk-doug-free-tag-team-wsopFor the first time in 34 years, the WSOP held a team tourney in the Event #61 Tag Team Championship. And long-time pros Doug Polk and Ryan Fee proved to be the best duo as they beat an 863-team field to win the $153,358 top prize (split between them).

Over 2,000 players in all entered this $1,000 buy-in event, which allowed teams to have up to four members. In Polk and Fee’s case, they opted for a two-man team, both earning a separate gold bracelet for the win. As mentioned before, this was the first time that a team event was held since the 1982 Mixed Doubles tournament, which required one male and female participant.

Interestingly enough, Fee and Polk didn’t enter this tourney because they wanted to share a bracelet or play in a historic event. Instead, they thought that it’d be a great opportunity to promote their new coaching site with team patches.

“We entered this tournament because we thought it would be a good way to promote our new coaching site, upswingpoker.com,” said Fee. “We thought – it would be a cool way to promote the website, especially if we won!”

Jonathan Little is another pro who took a unique approach to this tournament, inviting his parents, Larry and Rita, to join his team. The Little’s ended up taking ninth and collecting a $10,724 prize. This wasn’t just a family affair, though, since some very good players made the final table. Marvin Rettenmaier, Moshin Charania, James “Flushy” Dempsey, and Benny Glaser were some of the pros whose teams made the final.

But in the end, Polk and Free’s skills guided them towards the victory.

“I think being one of the skilled teams is a huge advantage (in the team event),” Polk told a WSOP reporter. “It’s not a big deal if your teammate punts off your stack somewhat reasonably. But on the weaker teams there is a lot more pressure to just not screw things up. So, we can play our game and not really care if we bust. The less-skilled teams have players that don’t want to be that guy that goes deep, makes a bad call, and busts out.”

Negreanu Goes Off about Chris Ferguson at 2016 WSOP

July 6th, 2016

negreanu-chris-fergusonChris Ferguson is far from the most-popular guy at the 2016 WSOP. The former Full Tilt Poker board member was helping make decisions when the site failed to repay $444 million in player money after Black Friday. And Daniel Negreanu recently made his feelings clear that he has a major issue with Ferguson being at the 2016 WSOP.

“I am a very forgiving person, but usually you have to ask for forgiveness before you can get it,” Negreanu said. “Clearly he doesn’t give a shit, responding with ‘What are you talking about?’ when people said he owed the poker world an apology.”

Negreanu is referring to early attempts made by PokerNews to interview Ferguson on the Full Tilt fiasco. “Jesus” refused to give any comment, stating that he was “just here to play poker.”

Ferguson has continued to refuse interviews over the matter or even acknowledge any wrongdoing with the company. And this led Negreanu to say the following:

“Let me explain it to you Chris: You were part of a company, a very prominent part, asking people to trust you and the company. You made millions and millions of dollars off of this company, then you hid for five years when things got out of shape. Then you said nothing at all. Whether you’re guilty or not, you’ve said nothing, which makes you guilty. If you don’t feel like you’re guilty, say so. Say something. You asked for the players to trust in you, don’t you believe they’re owed some kind of apology? Any man with a shred of integrity or human decency would understand an apology is owed.”

What makes Negreanu even angrier is that Howard Lederer – another former Full Tilt exec who’s playing at the WSOP – did issue an apology.

“The fact is that [Lederer] humbled himself, and knew that it would be inappropriate for him to just come back without some sort of statement, and he did that. He went through the right channels,” said Negreanu. “This guy Chris, he just shows up and it’s like ‘Fuck you guys, I don’t even need to do nothing.’ Be a man and take responsibility. Even if it’s not all your fault, take responsibility for your part in it. You signed autographs, you took pictures, you were in ads promoting a company that ended up fucking a lot of people. Take ownership of that, at the very least.”

PokerNews reached out to Ferguson for a comment about what Negreanu said. But Jesus continues to avoid the issue, saying “no comment for now.”

Considering how it doesn’t look like Ferguson will issue an apology any time soon, Negreanu continues to wait for answers. And the 6-time WSOP champion said that he’ll even ask Ferguson for some answers himself if they end up at the same table.

John Hennigan Wins at 2016 WSOP, but “Plays Like Sh*t”

July 3rd, 2016

johnny-hennigan-2016-wsopHaving been playing live poker since 1997 and winning his first WSOP gold bracelet in 2002, John “Johnny World” Hennigan knows when his poker game is on or off. After winning the $10,000 Triple Draw Lowball tournament at the 2016 WSOP, Hennigan definitely knew that his game was off.

“I played like shit,” he said in summary of his play.

“What was really striking to me is – I didn’t play that well,” said Hennigan. “I got very lucky in this tournament. I didn’t really have it. But I got lucky at the right times. I bluffed and then caught, and I made so many hands. I normally think I played pretty well. But not this time.”

Despite the harsh criticism of his own play, Hennigan played well enough to navigate through a tough 125-player field and on to the $320,103 top prize. Johnny World also collected his fourth-career gold bracelet with the win.

It’s interesting that Hennigan was able to win on his worst day, given the immense talent at the final table of Event #47. Michael Gathy (2nd, $197,838), JC Tran (3rd, $142,547), Chris Klodnicki (4th, $102,910), and Abe Mosseri (6th, $53,951) were among the talented players left at the end.

Hennigan faced off against Gathy heads up for the bracelet. Johnny World held a 3-to-1 chip lead, but his Belgian opponent made it a contest by pushing the heads-up portion to 90 minutes. However, Hennigan was able to dispatch Gathy and win his fourth bracelet.

“It’s such a great thrill even to go deep in one,” he said afterward. “Normally, you get knocked out on the first day or the second day, or whatever. Especially with the great caliber of players these days, you don’t expect to win too often. Twenty years ago, there were shorter fields. And there were only a handful of great players. Now, it’s flooded.”

2016 WSOP $10,000 Triple Draw Lowball Final Table
1. John Hennigan – $320,103
2. Michael Gathy – $197,838
3. JC Tran – $142,547
4. Chris Klodnicki – $102,910
5. Viacheslav Zhukov – $74,439
6. Abe Mosseri – $53,951
7. Brant Hale – $39,179
8. Scott Abrams – $39,179
9. Andrey Zhigalov – $28,507

Arizona Professor Wins 2016 WSOP Monster Stack

June 29th, 2016

michael-towner-wsopThe $1,500 Monster Stack tournament gives amateurs a way to compete for a WSOP bracelet without spending a fortune. Even still, out of all the amateurs in the 2016 WSOP Monster Stack, Michael Towner seemed like an unlikely candidate to win.

A finance professor at the University of Arizona, Towner had never even played in a WSOP event before. Nevertheless, Towner powered through a field of 6,927 players to win the $1,120,196 top prize.

“I’ve only played in like two events that were buy-ins of more than $100,” Towner admitted after his victory. “I’m like a casual fan who invests maybe an hour a week in this. I really don’t play poker.”

According to Towner, his strategy was to play it safe and wait for his chances.

“I played it pretty straightforward. I didn’t want to get into any marginal spots,” he explained. “Each time I would sit down, I would have some young wizard on my left. I was like, play tight and then wait for a spot. It seemed like some people would blast off occasionally, and of course I got hit with the deck at the right time and it all worked out.”

In the end, the tournament came down to Towner and Dorian Rios, with Towner holding a slight edge. Despite the players having deep stacks and being so close, this heads-up duel didn’t last very long.

Towner won some big hands early and gained a big lead. He was able to put Rios away on a final hand where he held A-7 against Rios’ pair of 3s. A 7 landed on the board and gave Towner the pair he needed to finish this tourney off.

Despite earning a seven-figure poker prize, Towner has no delusions of suddenly becoming a poker pro.

“I came here for a conference and planned to play just one event,” said Towner. “I might play the Main Event, too. But after this, for me, it’s head back to work.”

2016 WSOP $1,500 Monster Stack Final Table
1. Michael Towner – $1,120,196
2. Dorian Rios – $692,029
3. Stephen Nussrallah – $513,902
4. Daniel DiPasquale – $384,338
5. David Pham – $289,497
6. Andrew Moreno – $219,632
7. David Valcourt – $167,838
8. Marshall White – $129,197
9. Cody Pack – $100,185