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WSOP Capitalizes on Tournament Boom with New International Schedule

November 14, 2019 in Poker


The 2020 World Series of Poker (WSOP) International Circuit schedule has been locked in and will look to capitalise on the current wave of interest in live events.

WSOP International Circuit

The WSOP International Circuit will introduce new stops and revisit old favourites in 2020. (Image: WSOP)

Buoyed by another record-breaking WSOP in Las Vegas, the organisation’s Circuit schedule has been beefed up for 2020.

As per a November 13 press release, the tournament team has confirmed seven events will take place next year.

Y viva España

As well as returning to Morocco, the Czech Republic, Germany, St Maarten and Cannes, the WSOP bandwagon will roll into Spain.

Hoping to achieve the same level of success as the always popular EPT Barcelona, the tour will set up camp inside Casino Barcelona.

That event will bring the 2020 schedule to a close between June 11 and 21. However, before that, players will be able to play for WSOP Circuit rings in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.

2020 WSOP International Circuit Schedule

  • January 10 – 19, 2020: Casino de Marrakech (Morocco)
  • March 5 – 23, 2020: King’s Resort (Rozvadov, Czech Republic/Germany)
  • March 25 – April 5, 2020: Sonesta Maho Beach, Casino Royale (St. Maarten)
  • April 9 – 19, 2020: Casino Barrière Le Croisette (Cannes, France)
  • May 18 – June 1, 2020: Club Pierre Charron (Paris, France)
  • May 30 – June 7, 2020: Casino de Marrakech (Morocco)
  • June 11 – 21, 2020: Casino Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)

From relatively humble beginnings, the WSOP Circuit has grown to become a major international affair. When the first five events were held in 2005, it was seen as not much more than an offshoot of the original WSOP.

However, the following season, affordable buy-ins started to become the norm and the Circuit became a proving ground for emerging talent.

With tour established as an entity in its own right, rather than an afterthought, expansion became a priority. National success was matched by international interests in 2015.

With the WSOP International Circuit making the tour accessible to a global audience, innovations started to flow. More stops were added to the calendar, while the WSOP Circuit National Championship was replaced by the Global Casino Championship.

WSOP Expansion Part of Something Bigger

The latest schedule is not only a testament to the WSOP’s growth but the growth of poker in general. Around the world, attendance figures have soared over the last 18 months.

Indeed, the summer WSOP is often used as a measuring stick for the health of live poker. With numbers steadily improving in recent years, a trickledown effect is now in full flow.

In July, the Aussie Millions announced a revamped schedule in the hope of attracting record numbers in 2020. Along similar lines, the GUKPT Goliath reaffirmed its status as the largest live event outside of Vegas this summer.

Beyond burgeoning tournament fields, buy-in records have also fallen in recent months. Just as the masses have anted up in their droves, the influx of Asian money has reinvigorated the high roller scene.

Triton cornered the market in August when it hosted a record-breaking £1.05 million/$1.3 million buy-in event in London.

Across the board, value is on the up and poker players are the direct recipients. The WSOP is aiming to continue this trend when it hosts another series of Circuit events in 2020.



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Kahle Burns Wins $25K NLH, Sam Soverel Extends Poker Masters Lead

November 14, 2019 in Poker


Kahle Burns and Sam Soverel both came out victorious in separate ways in the Poker Masters $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em event on Wednesday.

Kahle Burns Poker Masters

Kahle Burns just keeps on winning high rollers. (Image: Poker Central/ Drew Amato)

Burns won the tournament for $416,500, beating out 49 entrants. With that, he earned 300 series points, bringing his total to 630, good for second place. Soverel also cashed in the no-limit hold’em event – fourth place for $122,500. That cash was worth 120 series points, which extended his lead.

Soverel won Event #7 for $340,000 and has six cashes through nine events for 830 points. Only one tournament remains on the 2019 Poker Masters schedule – $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em which kicked off Wednesday afternoon at the PokerGo Studio in Las Vegas.

Chance Kornuth, who has three runner-up finishes during the Poker Masters, is tied with Burns for second place.

Kahle Burns Continues Hot Streak

Kahle Burns is having the best month of his life in terms of poker tournament success. It all started for him at the recently completed WSOP Europe series. He cashed in four events and shipped his first bracelet in the €25,500 No Limit Hold’em Platinum High Roller for €596,883.

The run good has continued for the Aussie at the Poker Masters series. After a runner-up and fourth place finish during the first eight tournaments, he took down the $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em event on Wednesday for $416,500.

Burns defeated a difficult final table that included Sam Soverel, who leads the chase for the Purple Jacket. Ali Imsirovic, one of the top young stars in the game, finished in second place and took home $269,500.

Poker Masters Event #9 Final Table Results

  1. Kahle Burns (Australia) $416,500
  2. Ali Imsirovic (Bosnia) $269,500
  3. Sean Winter (United States) $183,750
  4. Sam Soverel (United States) $122,500
  5. Elio Fox (United States) $98,000
  6. David Peters (United States) $73,500

Contenders for the Poker Masters Purple Jacket only have one more event to earn enough points. Unless Burns or Kornuth win the $50,000 no-limit hold’em finale and Soverel fails to cash, Soverel will be declared champion.

At the time of publishing, Soverel was among the 13 remaining players with an average-sized stack. Burns and Kornuth were also still in it with similar stack sizes. The top five players will be paid on Thursday, with the winner receiving $680,000. You can catch the final table action live beginning at 1 pm PT.



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Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov Split From PokerStars

November 14, 2019 in Poker


After more than 10 combined years, Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree are ending their relationship…with PokerStars. The poker couple becomes the latest big name pros to ditch the world’s largest online poker site for greener pastures.

Liv Boeree Igor Kurganov PokerStars

Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov no longer represent PokerStars. (Image: YouTube)

It doesn’t appear there were any hard feelings over the split. Both players expressed gratitude towards the internet poker giant and the feelings were reciprocated on Twitter.

Liv Boeree Playing Less Poker

Liv Boeree becomes yet another poker pro who is moving on to other opportunities. She said on Twitter that she will continue to “jump in the odd tourney here and there.” But she’s more focused on “creating science,” “giving talks,” and “effective altruism content.”

As a poker player, Liv has nearly $4 million in live tournament cashes. The British pro won her first and only WSOP bracelet in the $10,000 Tag Team Championship for $136,982. Her partner in that event, Igor Kurganov, also happens to be her boyfriend.

Igor has long been one of the top high rollers in the world. He surpassed the $18 million mark earlier this year and also won his only WSOP bracelet in that Tag Team event.

Liv Boeree joined PokerStars in 2010 and has represented the poker site ever since. Kurganov hopped on board seven years later. They have both announced their decision to end the relationship with PokerStars. Igor didn’t share any future plans, although he said he was “thankful for the experience.”

Boeree thanked the “incredible staff” and her teammates at PokerStars. The online poker site’s Twitter account wished the poker couple “good luck.”

PokerStars Team Pro Roster Demolished

If you’ve visited the PokerStars main website recently, you may have noticed something is missing, The Team Pro page which has always listed the site’s ambassador’s is non-existent. That may be temporary or it’s possible they no longer want to market the Team Pro aspect.

Either way, the PokerStars Team Pro roster no longer has many mainstream players remaining. Long-time ambassadors such as Jason Mercier and Vanessa Selbst left a couple years ago. Last spring, the big announcement that Daniel Negreanu, the face of the company, resigned. And now Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov are also moving on.

PokerStars once had a roster as talented at the game of poker as the 1997 Chicago Bulls were at basketball. In November 2009, 10 years ago, Team PokerStars had just about all the big names that weren’t affiliated with Full Tilt Poker.

That included Daniel Negreanu, Chris Moneymaker, Barry Greenstein, Jason Mercier, and many others. Many past WSOP Main Event champs such as Joe Cada, Greg Raymer, and Joe Hachem have worn the PokerStars patch. Moneymaker is now the only one former world champion left on the roster.

Over at Partypoker, however, you may have noticed a plethora of familiar faces are representing the brand. Many of whom, including Isaac Haxton and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, even left PokerStars for a new opportunity. But even with all those stars now representing Partypoker, PokerStars continues to dominate the online poker market, and likely will in the coming years.

 

 





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Las Vegas Sports Bettor Continues Jeopardy Dominance, Secures Spot In Tournament Of Champions Final

November 13, 2019 in Poker


The professional sports bettor from Las Vegas who made $2.46 million with an epic Jeopardy! 32-game winning streak was back to his old ways Tuesday night.

James Holzhauer secured a spot in the finals of the 2019 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions Tuesday night with another dominant performance on the show. He won his semifinal matchup against Steven Grade, a sports industry consultant from Atlanta and Rachel Lindgren, an astronomy interpreter from Oregon.

Heading into Final Jeoppardy!, Holzhauer had already secured the victory. He had amassed $30,466 over the first two rounds of play compared to Grade’s $11,400 and Lindgren’s $7,200. Holzhauer answered incorrectly, but only wagered $310 and ended the contest with $30,156.

According to stats from The Jeopardy! Fan, Holzhauer has only given an incorrect answer, in any round, 3 percent of the time.

Last Wednesday, Holzhauer won his quarterfinal matchup against Lindsey Shultz and Alan Dunn for his 33rd career victory. With his win Tuesday, fans of the game show got the matchup they have been waiting for. A rematch of Holzhauer and Emma Boettcher, the librarian from Chicago that ended Holzhauer’s streak in June, in the Tournament of Champions final.

The last, and only time, Boettcher and Holzhauer squared off, the three contestants on stage put on one of the most well-played games on Jeopardy! in history. They combined for a coryat score of $53,200. A perfect score would be $54,000.

Coryat scores are a measure of total clues answered correctly without taking into account any wagering. In that game, only one incorrect answer was given throughout the entire match.

The winner of the final semifinal matchup Wednesday will join Boettcher and Holzhauer in the final round, which will air on Thursday and Friday night.

Through his entire 32-game winning streak, Holzhauer answered correctly 1,154 out of 1,186 times. He averaged a win of $77,000 per game and reached seven-figures in winnings in just 14 games.

 

 

 





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Professional Sports Leagues Lobby Missouri Lawmakers To Implement Integrity Fee Into Sports Betting Legislation

November 13, 2019 in Poker


Representatives from the MLB, NBA and PGA Tour spoke with Missouri lawmakers last week to help influence the language of any bill that would legalize sports betting in the state.

Missouri lawmakers are expected to reconsider legalizing sports betting in the 2020 legislative session after a couple years of stalled legislation. The state first talked about legalizing the activity in 2018 and in 2019, Republican lawmakers from both the Senate and House sponsored a sports betting bill, but neither even reached a vote.

According to local media, the leagues showed up to a hearing Thursday and lobbied for a cut of the revenue. The leagues want any legislation to include a provision that would send a small percentage of total revenue to the league in exchange for the use of official league data, known as an integrity fee.

Leagues have tried to implement this fee in nearly every state that has legalized sports betting, but have yet to get a single government to enact it.

Lobbyists from the leagues argued that without mandating official data usage, sportsbooks would become unreliable. With the fee threatening the profitability of operators, casinos and other sportsbook operators have pushed back against this idea.

“You can’t have sports betting without our sports, but you can certainly have sports betting without a casino,” said Jeremy Kudon, an attorney representing the leagues, at the hearing.

Representatives from players associations were also in attendance to push for new laws surrounding player privacy. Player unions worry that if athletes’ private information hits the web, they could face retaliation from fans who have lost bets.

While Missouri doesn’t have legal sports betting, casino gaming is legal in the state on its 13 riverboat casinos. In 2018, those 13 casinos generated $1.75 billion in revenue. The government received $446.5 million in tax revenue from gambling operators.

Early estimates have the government adding $289 million in annual tax revenue from sports betting.

 

 

 





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Omaha Hi-Lo Fundamentals With Randy Ohel

November 13, 2019 in Poker


The World Series of Poker is the one time of year where all of poker’s variants are on display at the highest level. Randy Ohel is a regular in the high-stakes mixed game scene, both in tournaments and cash games.

Ohel has a WSOP bracelet from his victory in the $2,500 2-7 triple draw in 2012 and has cashed in several other variants, including runner-up finishes in the 2018 $10,000 2-7 triple draw, the 2016 $10,000 seven card stud eight-or-better championship and the 2014 $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. championship.

The Florida native and Las Vegas resident has more than $2 million in live tournament earnings, almost exclusively in mixed events. Ohel has delved into the world of poker coaching and is currently taking on students who wish to learn non-hold’em games. You can contact him on Twitter @RandyOhel.

In an effort to provide readers with a solid fundamental strategy of mixed games, Card Player sat down with Ohel to break down a hand from the 2019 WSOP $10,000 Omaha eight-or-better championship.

The Hand

The Action

Owais Ahmed raised from the cutoff, Frankie O’Dell called out of the small blind, and Nick Guagenti called out of the big blind. On the flop, O’Dell checked, Guagenti bet, Ahmed folded, and O’Dell called. On the turn, O’Dell checked, Guagenti bet, and O’Dell check-raised. Guagenti made it three bets and O’Dell called. On the river O’Dell bet, and Guagenti raised. O’Dell called and was all in.

Steve Schult: Before we dive into the actual hand, let’s just get an idea about what premium starting hands in this game are. How important is it to have A-2 in your hand as opposed to A-4 or A-5? Just give me some overall preflop hand selection advice.

Randy Ohel: The key card in Omaha eight-or-better is the ace. Hands with the ace are always better than the hands without one because it’s both the highest card and the lowest card. After that, the next most important cards to have are deuces, threes, and kings. Having A-K is a lot stronger than people realize. Particularly to a lot of newer players. A-K matters more short-handed. That’s what is going to happen more in tournaments and high-stakes cash games.

In a game where eight people are seeing the flop, then A-K is nowhere near as important. Having A-2 is a lot more important. The A-2 is obviously important at any stakes, as you always want to have A-2 or A-3.

If we look at the hands that our players have, Nick’s hand is quite good. If he was on the button against Owais’ cutoff open, he would definitely three-bet. Actually, it’s a really good hand to three-bet because of the A-K, and that hand will play better heads-up.

Since Frankie’s second-highest card is an eight, it doesn’t play as well heads-up and he doesn’t mind having more opponents in there, so he just calls and entices the big blind in.

SS: What characteristics should we look for in a hand to three-bet as opposed to wanting to take it multi-way.

RO: The concept is called push-pull. Hands that want to make it heads-up are going to be hands like aces, hands like kings, hands that have A-K in them. Hands that have better hot and cold equity.

Hands that are going to want to keep multiway are going to be hands that have a lot of potential to make the nuts. With a hand like A-K, you’re kind of looking to make top pair and a good low or something like that. It’s easier to beat one person with that hand. Whereas, if you have something like A-2-3-4, that’s like the ultimate candidate to keep a lot of people in, because if it hits, you’re more likely to hit it really hard and beat any number of people. If it misses, you can’t win anything because it has to have a low board.

Just look at a hand like A-K-J-3. It can hit high boards, it can hit low boards, and it can hit top pair and stuff like that, so it’s better to have fewer players. If you’re not as likely to hit, those are the types of hands where you want more people in the pot.

SS: What about high-only hands like A-K-Q-10?

RO: It’s super dependent on the position you’re in. In this case, we are looking at a tournament, and tournaments are different. If we were talking about a full-ring cash game, you can make a case for almost anything. Some people limp them, some people raise them. You’re never going to be three-betting with them because you can’t make a low hand. It’s like the opposite of A-2-3-4. You need a high board to come. If the high board comes, you have a monster.

SS: In this particular hand, when Owais raises from the cutoff, is that a possible holding for him there or does he need to be on the button to raise that?

RO: There’s not a ton of combinations of those hands. It’s not that easy to pick up high hands that are good enough. But the premium high hands are definitely possible. His fold on the flop indicates that he probably had something like that.

SS: On the flop, Nick leads out into the preflop raiser. In hold’em, everybody generally checks to the preflop raiser. In Omaha, that doesn’t seem like it’s the case.

RO: There’s definitely less continuation-betting. In addition, equities don’t change as much in hold’em. The person who was ahead preflop is likely going to be ahead on almost any flop texture in hold’em. The stronger range in hold’em is ahead almost invariably no matter what the flop is. Obviously, there are exceptions, but that has to be the case.

In Omaha, it’s much more flop dependent. A top 10 percent hand in Omaha is not going to be very strong on a board of Q-J-9, whereas the wider range is going to have more hands that hit that board. The top 10 percent will hit it occasionally, but it’s a very poor flop for that hand and it will have a lot of check-folds. If the action checked to Owais, he would never bet with nothing because he’s never going to take this down three ways on a flop of 7-6-5.

SS: With boards like this and other boards that have three low cards, what types of hands would you even be thinking about putting multiple bets in since you immediately have to worry about both halves of the pot?

RO: You’re looking for hands with two-way potential. You’re looking for situations where you can have a low with a high and maybe knock someone out and get heads-up. Maybe you have top pair with a low or you have a straight draw with a pair.

Nick’s hand is a perfect hand to lead out with because he has A-4, which has value and the 8-4 has a ton of value because there aren’t going to be a lot of 8-9 combinations that you are up against. He could end up freerolling against something like A-2 or A-3 without much of a high because a deuce or a three comes, He could also get heads-up and he can’t lose to those hands potentially because they don’t have a high. It’s a rare situation where the better high hand can actually freeroll against a low.

In this case, against Frankie’s hand, he’s not freerolling. But what if someone had A-K-J-2? Nick would be completely freerolling that hand. In this case, Frankie’s hand is stronger because Frankie can scoop with a nine. A nine comes and Frankie makes a nine-high straight and Nick only has an eight-high straight. And he could three-quarter him with an eight or a four. Frankie only gets scooped with a three.

SS: Is Frankie’s hand strong enough to check-raise?

RO: It depends on the field. You could even lead out with that hand. But yeah, it’s quite strong. It’s very hard for him to be very behind. In this case, is it strong enough to check-raise? To a certain extent, it’s nearly a moot point because they end up all in for about a third of a bet at the end. He’s not going to really go wrong unless he check-folds.

With Nick’s hand, I really like his lead on the flop because he really doesn’t want this to get checked back by Owais. Also, suppose Owais has something like A-A-2-X or something like A-2-K-7. If he has a hand like that, Owais will raise the flop to try and knock out a lot of Frankie’s hands. Not this exact hand, but now Nick is freerolling some of those hands that Owais hands. And if not freerolling, then way ahead.

Ideally, he’d like to get heads-up against a guy with a strong low and a marginal high. It’s very easy for Owais to have a hand like that.

Imagine this. Imagine if Owais had A-K-4-3. It looks like a super strong hand on this board, but when Nick bets and Owais will certainly raise with it, then Nick is freerolling Owais.

SS: That was one of the hands I was thinking of on this board that seems like you could get yourself in a tricky spot. Not those exact four cards, but the 3-4 combination in general. I know it’s a straight, but should you even be raising with it?

RO: Owais will only have 3-4 if it were K-K-4-3, A-3-4-X, or like 2-3-4 with like a 5 or a 6. Those are going to be the only types of hands that Owais will have with a 3-4 in them and all of those types of hands will be hands that he will raise the flop with.

Not so much because it’s so strong, although the A-3-4-X is, it’s because he wants to force Frankie out. Frankie can have a lot of hands that can have a decent amount of equity, like an A-4 that will call some bets on the end. And Owais can knock him out with something like K-K-4-3 and pick up a lot of equity.

Nick defended out of the big blind, so Nick will have the highest proportion of 9-8 combinations in his range and because of that, maybe Owais can have the only low or something. There are many good things that can happen by knocking Frankie out. A-3-4-X is very strong, but it just so happens that it gets obliterated by the hand Nick happens to have. Nick’s hand is a total freeroll against A-3-4-X because it can’t make an eight-high straight, and would lose if a three comes. And, that hand can’t ever win the high.

SS: I did want to ask you about the 8-9 possibilities. Obviously, nines are one of the worst cards in this game so I didn’t think anybody would have 8-9 in their hands.

RO: Remember, you get four cards. Anyone can have it. The question is how often do you have it. The person that is going to have it the most often is Nick because his range is the weakest. He’ll have some of the high and intermediate rundowns that the other players can’t have. And everyone could have A-2-8-9, A-3-8-9, or A-A-9-8. But only Nick can have some of the other ones.

SS: On the turn, Frankie check-raises, and Nick three-bets. Is this too aggressive of a play since his hand isn’t as strong anymore?

RO: Well, they’re just getting it all in. The betting action is almost irrelevant.

SS: How about for debate’s sake. Let’s say they were deeper stacked.

RO: Then Nick would never do that. Nick will be getting freerolled very often, or he would be chopping. He rarely has an advantage.

SS: So then by that same logic, I guess if they were deeper, Nick wouldn’t be raising the river either then? It would likely go bet-call?

RO: Nick would raise this particular river because he can’t lose very often. He can win three-quarters sometimes because he has a live ace with an eight-high straight. Live ace is the second nut low on this board. He only loses to 9-8 with a wheel. A-3-9-8 are the only four cards that can scoop him. Those exact four cards.

He could get three-quartered by A-3-9-8 or A-3 with an eight-high straight, which is really hard to have. It really required a lot of really specific combinations to win more than half against Nick’s hand there.

SS: So this is kind of a cooler then?

RO: Yes. Frankie had one of the few hands that could win more than half. The turn is pretty gross. The turn just wins a quarter of the pot for Frankie and then the river comes and forces Nick to put in extra action.

That being said, I don’t think Nick needed to bet the turn. I think Nick might be able to check it back since they weren’t as close to all in as I initially thought. I don’t love it. I think you can check this turn, especially when there is a flush draw that you don’t have.

 

 

 





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Partypoker Reintroduces Anonymous Downloadable Hand Histories

November 13, 2019 in Poker


Earlier the year, Partypoker made the controversial decision to eliminate downloadable hand histories from its site as a way to stop players from effectively using heads up displays (HUDs) filled with information on their opponents. Last week, Rob Yong announced that hand histories would finally be coming back to the site, though in a different form.

Partypoker Hand Histories

Downloadable hand histories are back at Partypoker, though information on all opponents has been anonymized. (Image: Rob Yong/Twitter)

Yong posted a video on Friday explaining that Partypoker players would once again be able to download their hand histories from the site, but that they would contain no identifiable information about opponents.

Partypoker Committed to Limited Hand Histories

According to Yong’s post, both PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager were contacted to ensure that these new hand histories would be compatible with the popular tracking programs.

We committed that when we were absolutely 100 percent confident [that the encryption methods were effective], we would allow players to download their hand histories, but anonymized,” Yong said in a video. “Because we’ve never been against – and I certainly haven’t – players using hand histories to track their results, track their play, to improve their game.”

Yong acknowledged that what he and others at Partypoker were against was the use of hand histories to track the play of opponents, which he feels gives experienced and professional players an even larger edge against the casual player base. When hand histories were eliminated on the site, HUDs were also banned, a rule that remains in place.

However, Yong said that since the new hand histories will only allow players to track their results, and not those of other players, that shouldn’t create an uneven playing field.

The new hand histories feature has already gone live, and can be found in the MyGame function of the Partypoker software. There is now an export hands option that allows players to choose a date or time range from which they would like to download all of their hands played, with users able to go as far as 40 days back to get their hands.

Decision to Eliminate Histories Caused Controversy

In follow-up answers to questions received about the feature on Twitter, Yong said that the hand histories should allow players to properly track their tournament winnings as well. Partypoker Community Manager Coletter Stewart said that a similar feature will “hopefully” be available at Bwin Poker in the first quarter of 2020.

While many players have generally been supportive of the moves made by Partypoker to improve the room’s ecosystem, the decision to remove downloadable hand histories was probably the most controversial decision from the operator. Partypoker officials said that allowing hand histories and HUDs made it virtually impossible for new players to win, as they were not only outgunned strategically, but also technologically.

Many felt that the move would make it harder for players to detect and police cheating, as hand histories have sometimes been used in the past to detect collusion, superusers, and other types of fraud. That argument was also made by representatives from Hold’em Manager, who said that games would be less safe without hand histories, and that Partypoker was essentially asking players to simply trust their security team with no way to verify that they were effectively protecting game integrity.





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2019 World Series of Poker Circuit Bicycle Casino Series To Run Nov. 30 – Dec. 15

November 13, 2019 in Poker


The World Series of Poker Circuit is set to return to the legendary Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Los Angeles from November 30 through December 15. The series features thirteen gold ring events, with the centerpiece of the whole affair being the 2019 WSOP Circuit Bicycle Casino $1,700 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event, which kicks off with the first of two starting flights beginning on Sunday, Dec. 8 at noon local time.

Players will begin with 30,000 in chips with initial blinds of 100-100. Blind levels will be 40 minutes long throughout the starting days but will increase to 60 minutes in length on day 2. Players can re-enter the event once per starting day, with registration remaining open until the start of level 13 on each starting day.

Those that survive day 2 will return at noon on Wednesday, Dec.11 to play down to a champion. The final table will be streamed on Live At The Bike.

Click here to check out the official tournament structure sheet for the main event.

2018 WSOPC Bike December Champion Steven SpuntThe December running of the WSOP Circuit main event at the Bicycle Hotel and Casino in 2018 drew a total of 547 entries to create a prize pool of $828,705. Steven Spunt emerged victorious in the end, capturing his second WSOPC ring and the top prize of $174,055.

Other past champions of WSOPC main event at the Bike include the likes of Sean Yu ($210,585), Dylan Wilkerson ($216,790), Antonio Esfandiari ($226,785), Jared Jaffee ($211,220), and Freddy Deeb ($171,810), who won the first-ever WSOP Circuit main event held at the Casino.

In late 2015 the Bicycle Hotel and Casino unveiled a $50 million hotel expansion to the property. The 117,907-square-foot addition boasts 99 rooms, including 29 suites, as well as a multitude of amenities including the Bike Brewery, full spa and elevated outdoor pool deck with private cabanas. The poker room is an expansive 100,000 square feet, with 185 tables available.

For more information you can visit the WSOP Circuit or the Bicycle Hotel and Casino websites.

 

 

 





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Low-Stakes Grinder Irene Carey Flags More Bots at America’s Cardroom

November 13, 2019 in Poker


Could the bots be back at America’s Cardroom? At least one online grinder at ACR believes she’s been witnessing suspicious play in low-stakes tournaments.

Irene Carey sees ACR bots

WSOP Circuit ring winner Irene Carey believes she might’ve seen a bot while playing online poker at America’s Cardroom. (Image: Twitter/WSOP)

Irene Carey — whose live tournament record includes 40 cashes, 12 final tables, and in August her first WSOP Circuit ring — goes by the handle “ShillinAintEasy” online. And early Friday, she tweeted videos of questionable hands played by “ChicagoIllinoisUSA” at the final table of an $11 buy-in, $6,000 guaranteed event at America’s Cardroom.

Carey (@UPay4MyShoes on Twitter), who finished 9th in the tournament, noticed that this player exhibited quite unusual behavior and began chronicling his or her play.

“He doesn’t open buttons. He doesn’t defend (his big blind). I have 4,240 hands on him and his VPIP is 16%, his postflop is 1.6%,” Carey explained in an email. “I’ve never seen postflop like that, meaning he doesn’t see a flop often. It’s just all-in pre.”

 

Bot-Like Behavior?

To support her case on Twitter, Carey posted hand videos that show ChicagoIllinoisUSA three-bet jamming for unusually large stack sizes at the three-handed final table, often for more than 45 big blinds effective.

Twitter user @TheBumpsta claims to have noted some timing tells in that the user registers “1 minute before late reg ends every tournament.” Another Twitter user added, “Yeah def botty.”

On Sharkscope, ChicagoIllinoisUSA (location: Chicago) is shown to have made a profit of $32,982 through 10,584 games, with an average buy-in of just under $20. Most notably, graphs for the player show a remarkably steep and steady upswing over its last 6,000 games.

ChicagoIllinoisUSA Results

If ChicagoIllinoisUSA isn’t an automated script playing poker, he’s notably and robotically crushing $19 tournaments at ACR. (Image: Twitter/5AcrossTheEyes)

“There are no players who are profitable and have no downswings on ACR,” Carey said. “All regs, good regs, have tons of downswings.”

Recurring Bot Suspicions

Allegations of widespread bot infestation have plagued Costa Rica-based America’s Cardoom since at least 2017, primarily from accounts based in Russia. YouTuber Joey Ingram publicly campaigned for ACR to clean up their site, resulting in a brief feud with ACR CEO Phil Nagy.

In April, Winning Poker Network (the parent company of America’s Cardroom) announced the banning of 46 accounts it identified as bots, and issued refunds to thousands of affected players.

On Friday, @ACR_POKER thanked Carey on Twitter, saying her information had been passed on to security, and provided contact information for players to send any additional documentation. 

An ACR representative confirmed to CardsChat that the company was looking into the matter.

“We have a team in charge of reviewing these types of claims and reports,” customer service rep “Geoffrey D” said. “Every single report that reaches us is reviewed thoroughly by our team and people affected are contacted by them.”





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PokerStars Pennsylvania Pays Out Almost $1 Million in Opening Week

November 13, 2019 in Poker


PokerStars Pennsylvania has parlayed a successful soft launch into an opening week of positive activity according to the stats.

PokerStars Pennsylvania

PokerStars Pennsylvania has paid out close to $1 million in its first week of action. (Image: US Chamber of Commerce)

Updating the community on its first few days of real money gaming, PokerStars PA has revealed more than $950,000 has been won already.

The first player to boost their bankroll was JeremyBearimy. The Pennsylvania resident scooped $3.82 in a cash game on November 4.

That hand signaled the start of a two-day testing period, during which PokerStars PA had to prove its software complies with state regulations. When the blinkers were removed on November 6, the site’s full selection of games were able to take flight.

First Day Fun Generates Thousands in Prize Money

By the close of the first official day, love2playpoker topped the bill with a $3,248 win in the $100 Nightly Stars MTT. From there, the masses poured in and the payouts started to increase.

Within eight hours of going live, 12 tournaments had generated $12,305 in prize money. As the week progressed, 15,000 sit n’ go tournaments paid out over $500,000, while MTT prizes topped $450,000.

The biggest winner of the opening week was Catfur77. Part of a 472-strong field in the first ever PokerStars Pennsylvania Sunday Special, the online grinder outlasted all others to win $7,712.

Just a few hours later, the Sunday High Roller generated an equally impressive prizepool. Taking the honors in that event was NeolithicFarmer who banked $4,902.

Overall, the official launch of PokerStars PA has been hailed as a success by executives. Although the state’s online poker launch took than expected, the omens are positive.

With a population of 12.8 million, the Pennsylvania has the ability to create a strong gaming economy. Indeed, with New Jersey (population 8.9 million) showing that online casino, poker and sports betting sites can be profitable, the Keystone State has everything to play for.

PokerStars Pennsylvania Must Remain Proactive

However, the one sticking point that’s held back other US states could also hurt Pennsylvania in the long run.

When the initial fervor subsides, PokerStars PA will have to ensure network activity remains high. Even with a liquidity sharing pact with Nevada and Delaware, New Jersey has struggled to maintain a buoyant online poker economy.

Although Pennsylvania has a larger population, that may not be enough on its own to prevent a downswing in the coming years.

In online poker, success breeds success. As more players ante up, prizepools increase and that attracts new players.

If PokerStars Pennsylvania is going to survive in the long run, cooperation is necessary.

With federal regulation unlikely at this point, state-based pacts are essential. By joining forces with New Jersey et al, Pennsylvania could generate more action and, potentially, encourage other states to enact their own online gaming laws.

For now, however, PokerStars PA can enjoy a positive start to its latest venture in the US.



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