Dwan, Cates, Trickett Among 50 Entered in £1 million Triton Tourney

July 31st, 2019

Just months ago, the Triton Poker Tour announced a record-breaking £1 million buy-in event. The pricey Triton Million, which will take place in London’s Park Lane Hotel, has already attracted 50 players.

A number of pros and businessmen have anted up the fortune to participate. Some of the entrants are quite well known in high-stakes circles, including Dan Cates, Tom Dwan, Fedor Holz, and Sam Trickett.

Holz is especially notable for his high-roller accomplishments. The German, who has over $32.5 million in live winnings, has won several high rollers in his career.

Trickett is also quite adept at these tournaments. The Nottinghamshire native once took second in the 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop ($10.1 million).

Plenty of Businessmen in the Field

Big high rollers like the Triton Million rely on wealthy businessmen to help fill out the field and prize pool. Such will be the case here too, with a number of prominent international moguls willing to ante up the £1 million buy-in.

Bill Perkins is one of the most-notable inclusions. The famed gas trader has accumulated over $2.7 million in live tournaments and made some very interesting prop bets. For example, he once bet $600,000 against Dan Bilzerian’s ability to ride a bicycle from Las Vegas to Los Angeles in under 48 hours.

Paul Phua is another notable name in the field. The Malaysian-Chinese businessman is known as the “world’s biggest bookie” and serves as a VIP junket operator in Macau. Phua also happens to be pretty good at poker, as his $11.4 million in winnings indicate.

Tony “G” Gouga is yet another famed businessman-poker player involved. Tony G, who made a fortune through poker-related businesses, has been relatively absent from the game in recent years. He previously served as one of Lithuania’s EU Parliament reps. With his political duties now over, Gouga has more time to play poker.

One Woman Has Entered

Female players are largely absent from most high rollers. However, New Zealand’s Sosia Jiang will take her chances in this big tourney.

Jiang is quite well traveled. Her family moved to Mongolia to escape communist China. Then, when she was seven, they immigrated to New Zealand.

She’s since become one of poker’s true rags-to-riches stories. Jiang grinded her bankroll up through live and online poker games. Now, she’s poised to enter the biggest poker tournament ever in terms of buy-in.

The Borgata Wants Their $10m from Phil Ivey Now

July 26th, 2019

The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa won a major legal victory over poker pro Phil Ivey. The latter is now supposed to pay the Atlantic City $10 million stemming from a baccarat edge sorting case.

Borgata officials have waited to receive their funds since a 2016 ruling. After seeing Ivey win well over $250k at the 2019 WSOP, they’re more adamant than ever about getting their money.

Ivey Owes $10m Plus Interest

The 10-time WSOP champion tried to fight paying the Borgata $10 million anytime soon. Ivey argued that he didn’t have the money and wasn’t making as much on the poker tables.

But a judge looked past Ivey’s complaints to see that he has plenty of assets to pay back the Borgata. He also ruled that the pro gambler must pay interest as well.

Jeremy Klausner, the casino’s lawyer, told the WSOP that he has a writ of execution on the $10 million sum. Therefore, it’s possible that Ivey’s WSOP winnings could be held for the time being.

Ivey’s Nevada Assets Are on the Table

Earlier in 2019, a District Court judge gave the Borgata permission to go after the poker pro’s Nevada-based assets. He owns multiple properties in Las Vegas and likely has other valuables (e.g. cars) in the Silver State.

That said, his WSOP winnings could definitely be on the table too. As of now, though, nobody knows if he was able to cash out or not.

This whole matter started after Ivey won $9.6 million from the Borgata through a technique known as edge sorting. He argued that this is an advantage-play technique, rather than cheating.

Courts have agreed that he didn’t knowingly cheat casinos through edge sorting. However, they still believe that he went beyond reasonable advantage play and have ordered him to repay winnings.

Dan Bilzerian Discusses Winning $54 Million Off a Poker Player

July 24th, 2019

Dan Bilzerian recently appeared on the True Geordie Podcast. One of the highlights of the podcast involved Bilzerian discussing an incident where he once took $54 million off a poker opponent.

The conversations revolved around far more than poker. But the subject eventually switched to poker when “Blitz” began discussing the film Rounders.

“It resonates so strongly with me, because that was kind of like my poker career,” he explained. “Going broke, putting it on the line, going into underground games, the whole thing.”

Most of Bilzerian’s Success Has Come from Underground Poker

Bilzerian has had some live tournament success. However, his biggest winnings have come through underground cash games.

Part of the reason behind his success is that nobody ever suspected he was a shark.

“I never wanted to be the guy on TV showing everybody how good I was,” said Bilzerian.

“I wanted to be the guy that people thought sucked, that I could play with the rich guys. It was the one thing in my life that wasn’t about ego, it was about bank account.”

Using a LAG Style to Win a Fortune

Bilzerian claimed that he was one of the first poker players to use a loose-aggressive (LAG) playing style. Of course, this isn’t entirely true, given that LAG has been around longer than Bilzerian has been playing.

Nevertheless, he was able to use an aggressive style to beat millionaire fish out of fortunes. He told a story about winning an ungodly amount off one particular tycoon.

“2014, 2015, I beat this one dude for like $54 million. That was like my Scarface moment where we were taking in more money than we could spend,” he said.

“We had bags of cash. I was making money from gambling and sports betting. I had money coming in from every f***ing direction.”

Sorting the truth from fiction can sometimes be difficult with Bilzerian. But if true, this story is definitely a good one.

Truth Behind Nick Schulman Being Removed from WSOP Commentary

July 22nd, 2019

The 2019 WSOP Main Event was another successful chapter in the illustrious tournament’s history. But there was some controversy on the side, when Nick Schulman mysteriously vanished from the telecast during the final table.

Many theorized that Schulman was taken off the broadcast for disparaging comments that he made about the remaining competition. Much of the poker community was quick to defend him in light of this.

However, the truth is that there’s a far less nefarious reason at play. We’ll discuss the truth and how Schulman should still be announcing WSOP events in the future.

What Happened to Ignite the Schulman WSOP Controversy?

Nick Schulman made a comment that cast the Main Event in a negative light. During Day 4 of the ME, he said, “If you want to get better at poker, don’t watch the Main Event.”

He was simply stating that the final table didn’t feature the greatest competition. But it didn’t go over well with everybody.

One viewer criticized Schulman’s choice of words. The latter responded with the following tweet:

This tweet caused many to think that Schulman was removed for a single comment. He tried to explain that this wasn’t the case in a follow-up Twitter video.

However, his mention of not feeling “censored by PokerGo or ESPN” puzzled people even more.

The Truth of the Matter

Schulman being removed from the 2019 Main Event broadcast had nothing to do with what he said. Instead, it was all about the new formatting of the show.

Ever since running on ESPN, the event has been aired after the tournament is over. The world’s leading sports network will continue in this fashion; however, things are slightly different in 2019.

Before, Lon McEachern and Norman Chad would record extra commentary after the WSOP was over. But this year, ESPN will just edit live stream content into a more-condensed version.

The producers decided that the best way to accomplish this was to keep a single broadcast team from Day 5 onward. Schulman and Ali Nejad were thus edited out of the final few days.

Schulman’s disappointment was merely over being left out. Again, though, he was thought to be kicked off the broadcast for mentioning the soft competition.

Patrik Antonius Suffers $500k Downswing During Summer

July 19th, 2019

Patrik Antonius showed up to Vegas for the WSOP. But, as usual, he stuck to the high-stakes cash games, rather than entering WSOP tournaments.

Everything was going well for him at the beginning of the summer. He was winning a lot of money and playing at the top of his game.

However, some unfortunate events broke Antonius’ hot streak and quickly reversed his luck. By the end of the WSOP, he’d lost $500,000.

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Antonius Suffers Food Poisoning

The Finn explained how his summer went through a recent Instagram video. Everything began to go awry for him after a bout with food poisoning.

He started off by explaining how he won most days in the “smaller” $2k/$4k and $3k/$6k games. But the last three days before the video was posted went terribly.

“I got food poisoning from, I don’t know what I ate. And I recovered fast from it actually,” he explained.

“I managed to go back to play before losing my seat. I lost one hundred ($100k) back, and I quit — was not feeling good anymore. And since then, I have not won a hand.”

The timing for his downswing couldn’t have been worse either. The stakes jumped up to $5k/$10k at a time when Antonius was suddenly playing his worst poker of the summer.

He only managed to win a single hand in five hours at one point. Antonius also lamented about “having the second best hand in every hand.”

Antonius’ Dog Recently Died Too

Besides the food poisoning, another factor that may have contributed to Antonius’ rough outing is his dog recently passing away. The Finn’s french bulldog died shortly before the age of 13.

“That hurt more than I thought it would hurt,” he said. “It still hurts.

“It’s almost weird for me to get emotional about anything in life. I don’t get my feelings involved in too much, but my dog, he was close to me.”

He finished by saying that the games are still going, and me may get some money together to keep playing.

Regardless of how the summer finishes out for him, Antonius is still one of poker’s all-time greats and will get back to his winning ways at some point.

2019 WSOP Easily Sets the Attendance Record

July 18th, 2019

The 2019 World Series of Poker has officially become the biggest year in the event’s history. It featured 187,259 total entries, which smashes the previous record of 123,865.

The $500 Big Fifty event was a big part of this attendance record. It features 28,371 entries, which is a record for any poker tournament.

The 2019 WSOP Main Event also played an important part as well. 8,569 players entered this tourney, which is the second most in its history.

WSOP Is Truly an International Affair

The WSOP used to mainly be known as an event for Americans. However, it’s drawn more and more players from other countries in recent years.

The event featured 89 bracelet tournaments. Not surprisingly, Americans led the way with 52 bracelet wins. After all, the WSOP is in their backyard.

However, 37 tournaments were won by international players from a collective 22 countries. In other words, almost 42% of the bracelets were captured by non-Americans.

What’s the Reason Behind the 2019 WSOP’s Success?

Many have thought that poker has been declining ever since the poker boom ended over a decade ago. However, the WSOP presents a different story.

This year’s number of entrants smashed any previous summer. In fact, attendance has been increasingly for years now.

The online poker boom may be long dead. However, the live tournament sector is as thriving as ever.

Some believe that a stronger economy is the driving force. Players have more disposable income and can better afford to enter these pricey tournaments.

Whatever the case may be, poker seems to be as alive as ever. Nearly 190,000 entrants proved this to be the case in 2019.

Hossein Ensan Wins 2019 WSOP Main Event and $10m

July 17th, 2019

Hossein Ensan has won the 2019 WSOP Main Event and $10 million. He defeated a field of 8,569 players to emerge victorious.

Interestingly enough, this win was just Ensan’s first WSOP cash. This first came in dramatic fashion along with an eight-figure prize.

The Iranian-born pro, who now lives in Germany, is now the oldest Main Event champion in history at 55 years old.

“I am so happy. I am so happy,” he said after the victory. “I thank my fans at home in Germany, also in Iran and my fans, my buddies here.

“This is the best feeling in my life. Unbelievable! I am so happy, I’m here with the bracelet in hand. What can I say?”

Dominating Final Table Run

Hossein Ensan began the final table with over a third of the chips in play. Of course, this lead was by no means insurmountable.

Ensan did what he could, though, to create distance between himself and his final eight competitors. He played aggressively from the outset and was able to overwhelm many of his opponents.

Three-handed play took place on the final day. By this point, Ensan had amassed 60 percent of the chips. Canadian Alex Livingston was the first to go, bowing out in third place with a $4 million payout.

This set up a heads-up match between Hossein and Italy’s Dario Sammartino. The two battled back and forth for four hours.

Finally, Sammartino shoved with 8-4 suited on a flush draw on the turn. Ensan snap-called with pocket kings. Sammartino got no help from the board, leaving Ensan as the champ.

No Amateur

Ensan may not be a poker household name. But he’s a skilled player who already had $2.7 million in live tournament winnings prior to the 2019 Main Event.

He now runs his total winnings up to nearly $12.7 million. As for Sammartino, he cashed for $6 million and is Italy’s biggest poker tournament winner with $14.4 million.

Chris Moneymaker, David Oppenheim Voted Into Poker Hall of Fame

July 15th, 2019

Chris Moneymaker and David Oppenheim have been voted into the 2019 Poker Hall of Fame class.

Moneymaker is legendary for having won the 2003 WSOP Main Event and being one of the primary catalysts for the poker boom. Oppenheim is a cash game legend who’s made millions of dollars through the game.

Moneymaker Is a Controversial Induction

Many within the poker community have debated Moneymaker’s inclusion into the HOF. His contributions to the game are undeniable. His rise from an unknown accountant to a WSOP champion helped spark a boom that lasted several years.

The problem with Moneymaker, though, is that the rest of his career doesn’t scream hall of fame. He’s only won $1.37 million in live tournaments outside of his ME victory. This isn’t great when considering that he’s been playing in live tourneys for the past 16 years.

Nevertheless, he does deserve the HOF honor on some level. Moneymaker has been a good ambassador for the game for over a decade and a half.

“I’m very honored, very happy,” Moneymaker said regarding his induction. “It’s great for my kids — it’ll be a cool thing for them to see when they grow up.”

Oppenheim Excited About HOF Honor

David Oppenheim isn’t quite as famous as Moneymaker. However, he’s definitely respected among his peers.

Oppenheim has been crushing high-stakes cash games for years. Many players, including Daniel Negreanu, have touted his abilities.

“Being recognized as one of the all-time greats by my peers is truly humbling and I am honored to have been selected to the Poker Hall of Fame,” Oppenheim expressed.

“I have been so fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living. I never planned to be a professional poker player, rather it was a passion that became my job.”

He added, “People often ask me, how does one become a professional poker player? The answer is hard work and that goes for everyone that plays at the highest level.

“From the time I began playing I was incredibly passionate about poker and it led to me being able to travel this road that has been travelled by very few. Again, I am extremely grateful to be receiving this honor. Thank you.”

Other players who were nominated for the 2019 Poker Hall of Fame Class and didn’t get in include Chris Bjorin, David Chiu, Eli Elezra, Antonio Esfandiari, Mike Matusow, Ted Forrest, and Huckleberry Seed.

Poker AI Pluribus Crushes Top Level Pros in Competition

July 12th, 2019

Poker bots have gotten better and better over time. In fact, they’re so good now that they can even beat elite pros in no-limit games.

Case in point, Pluribus recently crushed a group of top-level players. 13 pros, including the likes of Darren Elias, Chris Ferguson, and Greg Merson, had no answer for the AI.

Results of Pluribus vs Poker Pros

This competition was set up by computer scientists Tomas Sandholm and Noam Brown. They created two competitions, including the bot facing groups of five pros and heads-up matches.

Elias, Ferguson, and Merson were all involved in the heads-up portion. Each had 10,000 hands over the course of 12 days to take down the bot.

Pluribus beat Merson out of 48 milli big blinds (mbb) per game. It went on to beat both Elias and Ferguson by 32 mbb/game. The bot also defeated two different groups of five pros handily.

Why Is Pluribus So Good?

This AI has taught itself to play poker over the course of 1 trillion hands. It used this large volume of hands and deep learning to become an elite player in just 20 hours.

Pluribus plays optimally at the beginning of a game. It searches its own database to improve and adjust based on how opponents are playing.

The one downside to Pluribus is that it takes 20 seconds on average to make a decision. In contrast, the average player only needs 10 seconds to make a move.

Of course, the bot’s slow decision-making wasn’t against the rules of the contest. Maybe it won’t be able to multi-table with the best of them anytime soon. But it can certainly crush some mid and high-stakes tables.

Many thought that no-limit poker couldn’t be solved due to its complex decision process. However, Pluribus proves that this is far from the case.

Daniel Negreanu Explains His Long-term Poker Success

July 4th, 2019

Daniel Negreanu began playing poker before software programs and AI were prevalent. Therefore, he’s seen how the game has evolved over the years.

Through an interview with CBS’ Bill Reiter, Negreanu discussed how technology advances have made poker players better. He also mentioned how keeping up with these advances and learning from younger pros is important.

“The game of poker, the way it looked when I started playing in the 1990s, is very different than it looks today,” Negreanu explained.

“The game will always continue to evolve and improve in terms of the quality of players. But if you don’t study as well, you’re very likely to be surpassed by the young up-and-comers.”

Being a Long-term Success Requires Humility

Reiter noted that many poker pros from years past are no longer in the limelight. Negreanu agreed and described what it takes to stay a success.

“It requires some self-awareness and some humility,” he explained.

“I’ve been a pro for 20 years, but these kids are learning things that I don’t know. So let me learn something from them.”

Reiter and Negreanu Discuss Main Event

Aside from their talk on continual improvement, Negreanu and Reiter also discussed the WSOP Main Event. “Kid Poker” noted that the Main Event has changed greatly since he began playing.

Negreanu has finished 11th twice, including in 2001 and 2015. But he’s quick to admit that he’ll likely never win this prestigious tournament.

“It’s obviously likely that I don’t [win the ME], because you’re looking at 8,000-plus player fields,” he told Reiter. “There’s a little bit of luck involved, and there’s also just so many great players across the world today.”

Negreanu is still a relevant force in the poker world. But it’s interesting to hear the 44-year-old admit that it’s tough to keep up with younger players, even when one tries.