China Banning More Poker Apps

November 9th, 2018

china-bans-poker-appChina has proven particularly tough on online poker, banning a number of apps back in June. They’re apparently not done with this crackdown either, because a new round of poker app bans has recently been announced.

The only difference in the current ban is that China isn’t blacklisting apps operating out of their own country. Instead, the latest moves are aimed at poker sites operating from foreign countries, such as the Philippines, India, and Vietnam.

Two of the most-famous apps that’ll be blacklisted include Poker Tribe and Poker King, both of which are available through iOS and Android devices.

Poker App Bans Announced on China Central Television

The recent blacklisted poker apps were revealed during a government-supported piece that appeared on China Central Television (CCTV).

The segment discussed how Poker King has been earning 50 million yuan ($7.1 million) per day in player-paid commissions. Poker Tribe and Poker Horde were also mentioned on CCTV as successful operations.

The news segment dove into how some Chinese poker players are gambling away thousands of dollars on offshore poker sites. For example, a man named “He” said that he’s lost 400,000 yuan through Poker King.

China Poker Crackdown Will Continue Into Foreseeable Future

China’s mission to ban poker apps doesn’t appear to have any end in sight. This is the second major move they’ve made in less than six months’ time, and the government seems determined to prevent its citizens from playing online poker.

Of course, Chinese players can still use alternative means to enjoy poker apps, such as Bitcoin and virtual private networks (VPNs). But for the time being, it seems that these legal moves may produce the desired effects regarding the average player.

After all, most Chinese online poker players don’t want to deal with the hassle of the learning how to use a VPN or Bitcoin.

PokerStars Rolls Out Fusion – A Blend of Two Poker Games

November 7th, 2018

pokerstars-fusionPokerStars has always been one of the biggest innovators in the online poker industry. And they’re rolling out an interesting new game called Fusion, which blends Texas hold’em and Omaha.

Fusion is very similar to hold’em in that you receive two hole cards. But after the flop, you and everyone else still remaining in the hand receive a third hole card. Following the turn, you get a fourth hole card.

Game Turns from Texas Hold’em to Omaha

As you may know, Omaha is characterized by each player receiving four hole cards to start the round. Therefore, a Fusion game gradually changes from hold’em to Omaha as rounds move past the turn.

The winner of the hand is whoever pieces together the top 5-card hand, using two out of their four hole cards along with three of the five community cards.

Unique Strategy Involved

Pocket aces is the best starting hand you can receive in Texas hold’em. But it’s important to realize that this game also blends Omaha elements, meaning pocket aces doesn’t always guarantee you anything. After all, hand winners tend to form stronger hands in Omaha games.

Another thing to consider is that you’re acting with less information than you normally would in Omaha. You don’t receive your fourth hole card until after the turn, which makes it more difficult to evaluate your hand.

Nevertheless, Fusion presents a different type of strategy that players who are experienced with hold’em and/or Omaha may enjoy.

Fusion Is Available for a Limited Time

Severin Rasset, PokerStars’ Director of Poker Innovation and Operations, discussed the site’s latest offering.

“We want to give our players games that they have never played before and bring a unique offering to the table,” Rasset said.

“Fusion mixes two well-loved formats together, giving an exciting twist to the game. We eagerly await player feedback and look forward to seeing everyone joining the tables and giving Fusion a try.”

Keep in mind that Fusion will only be offered on a temporary basis. So if you’re interested in trying it, you’d better do so soon.

Jack Sinclair Wins 2018 WSOP Europe Main Event

November 4th, 2018

British poker pro Jack Sinclair has triumphed over 534 players at the 2018 WSOP Europe Main Event. He collects a first-place payout worth €1,122,239 ($1,277,013) along with his first WSOP gold bracelet.

Afterward, the Brit credited a great run with helping him win this prestigious tournament.

“I never really lost a big pot as far as I can remember and just got all the hands when I needed them,” he said.

“Every time I felt like things were getting precarious, I instantly won a big pot. I’m very happy with how I played and even more happy with how I ran!”

Recap of 2018 WSOPE Main Event

The 2018 WSOP Europe Main Event drew 534 players, creating a prize pool worth €5,073,000. Notable players who cashed include Mustapha Kanit (78th, €15,074), Rainer Kempe (52nd, €18,210), Sergio Aido (47th, €20,262), Jack Salter (37th, €23,025), Niall Farrell (27th, €26,712), Igor Kurganov (22nd, €31,623), Andy Black (13th, €47,019), and Koray Aldemir (7th, €130,350).

The six-player final table began with Ihor Yerofieiev hitting the rail in sixth place, after his pocket 6’s were bested by Milos Skrbic’s A-Q combo. Skrbic didn’t have long to celebrate, as he busted out when his KJ hand fell short against Lazlo Bujtas’ AQ.

Ryan Riess would be the next elimination, when Krasimir Yankov’s pocket aces dominated his pocket 7’s. Yankov would bow out in third place when his pocket 5’s fell against Sinclair’s pocket 7’s.

Sinclair began heads-up play with a small lead. He continued building on this momentum and quickly reduced Butjas’ stack. The final hand saw the latter move all-in preflop with J7. Sinclair (Q9) called and paired his queen with the board to win.

WSOPE Main Event Final Table Results

1. Jack Sinclair – (UK) €1,122,239 ($1,279,352)
2. Laszlo Bujtas – (Hungary) €693,573 ($790,673)
3. Krasimir Yankov – (Bulgaria) €480,028 ($547,232)
4. Ryan Riess (US) – €337,778 ($385,067)
5. Milos Skrbic (Serbia) – €241,718 ($275,559)
6. Ihor Yerofieiev (Ukraine) – €175,965 ($200,600)

Negreanu and Hellmuth Skipping 2018 WSOP Europe

October 24th, 2018

phil-hellmuth-wsopThe 2018 WSOP Europe is being held at King’s Casino Rozvadov, Czech Republic for the second straight year.

While many players are pleased with the location, some American pros have chosen not to make the long trip this year.

This includes Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, who’ve yet to show at King’s Casino. But why are successful pros like Hellmuth and Negreanu skipping the WSOPE?

WSOP Europe Isn’t Economically Feasible for Everyone

The WSOP Las Vegas draws thousands of poker players ever year. It makes sense for tournament pros to attend, considering that they have access to 70+ events over one and a half months.

The WSOP Europe, on the other hand, doesn’t offer as much value trip-wise. North American players must travel thousands of miles for an event that only features 10 bracelet tournaments.

One reason why players might consider the WSOPE is because of the Player of the Year (POY) race. However, even Shaun Deeb, who’s firmly in the lead this year, was hesitant to visit Rozvadov just to seal his POY title.

“To be honest, it’s probably unprofitable for me to go there, when you consider the buy-ins and the travel expenses,” said Deeb.

“If it was strictly about money, I would never bother going there, but I really want to win POY, and this is the best shot I’ve had at doing it.”

What’s Up with Hellmuth and Negreanu Being Absent?

Phil Hellmuth is always looking to add to his record 15 WSOP bracelets. And Negreanu wouldn’t mind adding to his total of six bracelets either. Nevertheless, neither player is in attendance for the 10 bracelet events happening at King’s Casino.

Hellmuth tweeted that the trip is the main thing keeping him away:

“I believe that this is the first @WSOP WSOPE or WSOPA that I’ve missed since 1989. Love @PokerRoomKings, but long long flight from California!! It seems to take me 5 groggy days to adapt to Europe…If they have WSOPE in 2019, I will be there… #HardToMissWSOPE”

Negreanu has chosen to skip due to the poor year that’s he’s having, which saw him cash just five times at the WSOP Las Vegas. The $185,103 that he earned for these cashes pales in comparison to the $2 million in buy-ins he spent.

Stars Group’s Takeover of Sky Bet Approved by UK

October 21st, 2018

the-stars-group-pokerThe Stars Group has been in the process of taking over Sky Bet in a $4.7 billion (£3.6bn) acquisition. The UK Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has now approved the move.

When the takeover is complete, Stars Group will become the world’s biggest publicly listed online gambling company.

Why Is Stars Group Acquiring Sky Bet?

The Stars Group has done a good job of transitioning to the online casino and sports betting industries. They earned $1.3 billion in 2017 revenue and are headed in the right direction.

Nevertheless, the Canadian company is still overly reliant on poker (i.e. PokerStars), given that $877 million of their revenue comes from it. Furthermore, internet poker offers lower profit margins than casino and sportsbook products.

Sky Bet isn’t as large as Stars Group, considering that they generate $400 million in annual revenue. However, the British gaming company does have a strong following in the casino (Sky Casino) and betting (Sky Bet) departments.

The Stars Group notes:

“[Sky Bet] dramatically improves The Stars Group’s revenue diversity, creating a balanced spread across poker, casino and sportsbook with a broad geographic reach.”

Still Details to Finish Before the Deal is Complete

The Stars Group still needs to finish paying Sky plc and GVC Capital Partners $4.7 billion to complete the deal. $3.6 million of this amount will be in cash, while the remainder will consist of shares in The Stars Group.

Debt financing is the main source of the $3.6 million cash. This includes unsecured notes, a revolving credit arrangement, and loans.

The deal will also see Sky Bet CEO Richard Flint move to an executive chair position, while former CFO Ian Proctor will move to the CEO position.

Flint seems to be fine with the move, stating the following:

“I am confident that the new management structure, which includes an operational board for SBG, will allow us to maintain our unique culture that has delivered success over the years and continue delivering market share gains in the UK online betting and gaming market, building on our position as the UK’s most popular online betting brand.”

Mykhailo Gutyi Wins 2018 WSOPE €1.1k Turbo Bounty Hunter

October 18th, 2018

Mykhailo Gutyi has triumphed over a field of 387 players to win the €1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo Bounty Hunter tournament at the 2018 WSOP Europe.

Mykhailo, a Ukrainian poker player, collected a payout worth €61,299 ($70,627) after beating Germany’s Florian Sarnow heads-up.

He becomes just the fifth Ukrainian poker player to win a WSOP gold bracelet.

Recap of 2018 WSOPE €1,100 NLHE Turbo Bounty Hunter

The €1,100 Turbo Bounty Hunter (NLHE) offered a €200,000 guaranteed prize pool, with the top 59 players all earning a piece of the money.

The last remaining nine players made the final table, including notable pros like Angelos Pettas, Philipp Zukernik, Darko Stojanovic, Vangelis Kaimakamis.

In the end, though, it was the amateurs Gutyi and Sarnow facing off for the victory. Gutyi had a 3.5-to-1 chip lead to start.

Sarnow quickly doubled up and narrowed the gap. However, he would lose everything on the next hand.

Gutyi (Qd-2d) made a flush on a board of 10d-9d-3d. Both players checked, before a 10c landed on the turn.

This sparked multiple raises, which eventually saw Sarnow (10h-8s) shove his stack into the middle. A harmless 4d landed on the river, thus giving Gutyi the hand and the tourney win.

2018 WSOPE €1.1k Turbo Bounty Hunter Final Table Results

1st. Mykhailo Gutyi (Ukraine) – €61,299
2nd. Florian Sarnow (Germany) – €37,678
3rd. Vangelis Kaimakamis (Greece) – €25,468
4th. Angelos Pettas (Greece) – €17,565
5th. Darko Stojanovic (France) – €12,367
6th. Kale Halstead (Australia) – €8,891
7th. Philipp Zukernik (Czech) – €6,531
8th. Andrey Ivlev (Russia) – €4,904
9th. Luca Marchetti (Italy) – €3,765

Greg Raymer to Release Fossilman’s Winning Tournament Strategies Book

October 17th, 2018

greg-raymer-ppa-prostitutionGreg Raymer is the 2004 WSOP Main Event champ and a four-time Heartland Poker Tour winner. And now, he’d like to share his poker strategy with the world through his upcoming book, “Fossilman’s Winning Tournament Strategies.”

He’s targeting a release just before the 2019 WSOP, when many players will be looking to pick up additional tips.

Raymer touts the aim of his book as turning “beginners into winners” and “good players into great ones.”

Expect Advanced Strategy in Greg Raymer’s Book

Many poker books are aimed at beginning and intermediate poker players. But Raymer claims that his work will go beyond conventional strategy and dive into less-known subject matter.

“There is also a lot of advice that is more advanced, and not known or at least not well understood,” he said, “even by some of the very successful and high-level tournament players out there right now.”

Why Is Raymer Releasing His Poker Book Now?

It seems strange that Raymer wants to drop his poker book in today’s climate, rather than when he was a huge star after winning the 2004 Main Event. Furthermore, book sales aren’t quite what they used to be.

Raymer explains that he originally wanted to release a book after his ME victory in 2004. However, he was “lazy” and didn’t do so.

Perhaps the laziness came from the fact that he was sitting on a $5 million payout back then. Whatever the case may be, he still plans on releasing the strategy work in the near future.

Obviously it doesn’t stand to be as successful in 2019 as it would’ve at the height of his poker fame, 15 years ago. But if the content is truly unique, then perhaps Fossilman’s Winning Tournament Strategies will sell some copies.

Tamir Segal Wins 2018 WSOP Europe COLOSSUS and €203,820

October 16th, 2018

Israeli poker player Tamir Segal is the first winner at the 2018 WSOP Europe. He won the Event #1: COLOSSUS and €203,820 ($234,252) after defeating a field of 2,992 players.

Segal is an amateur who doesn’t have many cashes to his name. He had just $10,917 in live tournament winnings before his recent victory. Segal is now just the 10th Israeli to capture a WSOP bracelet.

Recap of 2018 WSOPE COLOSSUS

The €550 COLOSSUS, which was set to run for eight days, attracted nearly 3,000 players. Only 10% of this field was left standing after the Day 1 flights were finished.

Day 2 saw the field whittled down to 10 players, which formed the final table. Poland’s Wojciech Wyrebski led this final table group with a stack worth 40 big blinds, while Germany’s Hannes Neurauter was just behind him with 39bb. Segal sat in fifth place with 28bb.

Segal quickly surged to the front of the pack, though, by eliminating four out of the first five final table players. He also knocked out Askel Ayguen in third place after making a king-high straight.

Segal took a large lead into his heads-up match with Wojciech Wyrebski, holding 58.5 million chips to 16.2 million. Their matchup only lasted for two hands.

Wyrebski (A-Q) raised preflop, which convinced Segal (K-10) to shove. The board ran out 8-6-K-8-10, which gave Segal a pair and the victory.

2018 WSOP Europe COLOSSUS Final Table Results

1st. Tamir Segal (Israel) – €203,820, ($234,252)
2st. Wojciech Wyrebski (Poland) – €125,966, ($144,774)
3rd. Askel Ayguen (Belgium) – €92,385, ($106,179)
4th. Dariusz Glinski (Poland) – €68,331, ($78,533)
5th. Hannes Neurauter (Germany) – €51,854, ($59,596)
6th. Francesco Delfoco (Italy) – €38,349, ($44,075)
7th. Flavio Decataldo (Italy) – €29,104, ($33,449)
8th. Krasimir Yankov (Bulgaria) – €22,281, ($25,608)
9th. Björn Bouwmans (Belgium) – €17,209, ($19,778)
10th. Nelio Gatta (France) – €13,410, ($15,412)

Winamax Sued for Poker Bot Issues

October 15th, 2018

winamax-online-pokerWinamax, a French online poker room, is being sued by players who feel that the site has done a poor job of keeping bots off their tables.

The lawsuit involves 16 players who want compensation for losses suffered as a result of poker bots.

What are Poker Bots?

Poker bots are programs that people can design to play online poker games for them. Bots were initially looked at as harmless due to their inability to beat the average player. However, these programs have become far more sophisticated and successful over the years.

They also allow account holders to “play” for hours without getting fatigued. Most poker sites now watch for bot-type behavior and ban any suspected accounts using these programs.

How Was Winamax Affected by Bots?

Winabax features “Expresso” games, which are hyper-turbo sit and go’s that work like a lottery. Three players compete for a prize pool that’s randomly picked before the SNG starts.

A TwoPlusTwo user called “Dontsaycat” brought up the issue that Expresso games were infiltrated by bots. And the primary suspect was a screen name called “twopanda”:

“He [twopanda] is playing 12 hours a day, every day, 8 tabling and chatting on tables like he is on pool drinking cocktails.

“Now seeing that Winamax was not punishing him, he added other players with the same bot, who are playing in different hours than him and together they are owning totally the rankings of promotions and the tables.”

Other players jumped in the discussion and questioned why Winamax wasn’t taking action.

The site responded by asking twopanda to come to their Paris office, so they could see twopanda replicate their same SNG feats in person.

Twopanda never showed up to the office. Winamax responded by shutting down his account, confiscating the money, and refunding affected players. Nevertheless, some don’t feel they’ve done enough and are now suing the French poker giant.

Dallas Mavericks Hire Poker’s Haralabos Voulgaris to Research and Development Team

October 11th, 2018

haralabos-voulgaris-mavericksThe Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise has hired poker pro and sports betting expert Haralabos Voulgaris to be the team’s director of quantitative research and development.

In addition to being an amazing gambler, Voulgaris is also an NBA expert. He used his expertise to make millions wagering on basketball games.

As a member of the Mavericks organization, he’ll help out the analytics department. Data has become a much bigger part of the NBA over the past few years.

Mark Cuban Wants to Use Voulgaris’ Strategic Thinking

Mavs owner Mark Cuban is reportedly interested in tapping into Voulgaris’ strategic way of thinking about basketball. Here’s more from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

“Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is expected to utilize Voulgaris as a strategic thinker who will help examine on-court strategy in big-picture ways.

“The state-by-state legalization of sports gambling has inspired the NBA and teams to better harness information and betting expertise to create revenue, and advance the gathering of information.”

Dream Realized for Voulgaris

Haralabos has previously stated in interviews that he’d like to work for an NBA organization. And it appears that his dream has finally come true.

He’ll now help the Mavs, who’ve been struggling over the past couple of years. Dallas could really use some fresh talent, which Voulgaris will help find through analytics.

More on Voulgaris’ Poker Career

Haralabos Voulgaris doesn’t spend much time playing poker these days. But he had a great run from 2003 to 2012, when he amassed over $3 million in live tournaments.

His biggest cash includes $904,122 that he earned for finishing runner-up in the 2005 L.A. Poker Classic Main Event. He now spends the bulk of his time betting on sports, managing his Twitter account (145k followers), and, now, working for the Mavs.