Apr 03

Is postponement in the cards for the 2020 WSOP schedule?

Is Postponement in the Cards for 2020 WSOP Schedule?

An unprecedented series of events flipped the world upside down in March 2020. Covid-19 went from a shocking news story out of China to a global pandemic that’s got everyone huddled in their homes; some voluntarily, some by government mandate. That includes the countless professional and amateur poker players who flock to Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas each year to attend the world’s most prestigious poker festival of them all – the World Series of Poker.

Last year, more than 182,000 people turned out for the 2019 WSOP, registering for one or more of the 90 events in the 50th anniversary edition of the poker tournament series. This year, just as many – if not more – were expected to attend. But with the current situation, it’s not certain what’s going to happen when it comes time to “Shuffle Up and Deal!

Postponement in the Cards for 2020 WSOP Schedule?

Seth Palansky, the WSOP’s Vice President of Corporate Communications, has been on the phone with numerous media outlets in the past week or so. The biggest question on the interview docket is an obvious one:

Will there be a 2020 WSOP?

There are only three possible answers to this question. It can either be held, canceled, or postponed. Unfortunately, that’s a question Mr. Palansky has been unable to answer. According to the WSOP spokesman, that’s not going to change for a while. He doesn’t expect organizers to come to a decision before May.

That’s a long wait for the countless poker players who are surely waiting for a decision. The 2020 WSOP was originally scheduled to run from May 26 to July 15, with a record-setting 101 gold-bracelet events on the roster.

To date, World Series executives have already pulled the plug on 10 WSOP Circuit events since March 13, when the global pandemic first led to social distancing. Future Circuit events schedule through May have already been scratched off the menu, as well. It only makes sense that the official WSOP bracelet series would be either canceled or postponed, but to date, officials refuse to make the call.

“We Don’t Need to Make a Decision Now”

Last week, in an interview with Jim Barnes of the Las Vegas Review Journal, Seth told the poker community that no decision will be made until it has to be, and until then, it will remain business as usual.

“We keep our heads down, keep planning in place,” said Palansky. “We don’t need to make a decision now.”

Further comments pointed towards potential postponement. Palansky said that the WSOP is normally unable to reschedule, due to the Rio in Las Vegas having a packed convention slate. Now, with many conventions being canceled, he says it could give them enough wiggle room to run the tournament series at a later date.

But again, no official word has come down, nor does he expect it to anytime soon. In another interview with CardPlayer Magazine this week, he reiterated his previous statements.

“Everyone’s health and safety is paramount in the decision making, and there is no need to make a decision today,” said Palansky.

As for what might impact the decision of organizers in weeks to come, he said:

There are a plethora of factors to consider, especially when you conceptualize alternatives. That said, the only factor that matters for the WSOP, for it to be held as planned, is the health and safety of guests and staff. So, if we can’t host an event like we have in the past 50 years in Las Vegas, where everyone can participate safely and without risk, we won’t.”

Seth added that contingency plans are being discussed everyday, but as the situation constantly changes and evolves, it’s impossible to come up with a definitive solution at this time. His best prediction for a final answer to the mystery of the 2020 WSOP schedule is early May, at best.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Apr 20

It really is possible to get an edge at casino games.

Play Smart: It Really is Possible to Get an Edge at Casino Games

How many times have you heard that casino’s are in it to win it? That there’s no practical way to turn the tides in your favor? Or that you must have at least a little luck to walk away a winner? This is said so often because, for the majority of gamblers, it’s true. That’s only because the majority of gamblers are playing the wrong casino games.

Walk onto the gaming floor, and you’re immediately bombarded by the reverberating sounds and flashing lights of reel slots and video slots. Isle after aisle, they line the walls and gaudy carpets as far as the eye can see. The casinos would love for you to stop here – as so many players do – and start dropping your money into these machines. Those who aren’t fooled by these may still find themselves attracted to video poker, baccarat, roulette, the craps table, pai gow poker or the big money wheel.

There are so many games just waiting to take your money. And the casinos know they’re going to win, because these games cannot be beaten. A few players may get lucky and beat them, but many more players will lose, earning the casino its dues. That is, unless you know which games to play, and how to exact the ever-illusive player’s advantage at the casino.

Three Ways to Get an Edge at Casino Games

There are exactly three ways to gamble your money, and slide the advantage into your favor while doing it. Only one is found directly on the casino floor, and you can probably guess which one it is. I’m talking, of course, about blackjack.

The other two you’ll have to do a little extra walking to get too; one being the poker room, and the other the sportsbook. Unfortunately, for Canadians like myself, sportsbooks aren’t legal. You will either need to visit a foreign casino or take your wagering to international gambling websites to gain an edge with sports betting.

Blackjack Player’s Edge

The criteria for surpassing a 100% RTP in blackjack sounds simple enough. It only takes two things – a basic strategy and a good card counting technique. The strategy part is easy. You can print out a situational decision-making chart for the game and keep practicing until you get it down. Counting cards will be a bit tougher.

Being able to keep up with the count is only the beginning. You must be a able to do it flawlessly, size your bets appropriately, and be so perfectly nonchalant about it that the dealer, pit bosses and security surveillance team don’t suspect you’re doing it. Most casinos will kick you out for it, not because it’s illegal, but because they have ‘the right to refuse service to anyone‘.

Profitable Poker Pros

Casinos love to host poker games, because it doesn’t matter who wins or loses. The casino wins a small percentage of each pot (i.e. poker rake) regardless of the action on the table. Poker pits player versus player, and therefore the player who is most skilled is going to win more often. Like house edge casino games, luck can swing one players way over another regardless of skill, but in the long term, skill will prevail in any legitimate poker game.

Being the bet poker player at the table is no easy task, though, especially since the big live/online poker boom of 2003 (aka the Chris Moneymaker Effect). Its takes a special set of skills to truly excel in poker, calculating math quickly in your head, making smart value bets and accurately observing poker tells.

Sports Betting Advantage

If you’re a terrible actor and supreme mathematics isn’t your thing, how about trying your hand at sports betting? Pick a sport you follow, or want to follow, and learn everything you can about it. Get to know the athletes and/or teams. Understand outside influences that might impact a game, like weather, turf conditions, injuries or suspensions.

Having a good head for the games is just one aspect of being a good sports bettor. You have to understand the odds and different types of bets, like straight-up wagers, points spreads and over/unders, and live betting features. The more you know, the more you can slide the scales of profitability into your favor.

The average gambler relies on luck. The smart gambler doesn’t need luck. Choosing the right games and playing them with ultimate skill will produce a positive expectation for long-term profitable results.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

May 10

Online poker pro suing PokerStars for $692k SCOOP tournament win; says he was in Canada, not US.

Online Poker Pros Sues PokerStarsWhat’s the biggest difference between live and online poker? No, it’s not the ability to read opponents, or ease of pulling off a successful bluff. It’s the way winners get paid. At a live event, you collect your check on the way out the door. In an online poker tournament, you must rely on the operator to deposit the winnings in your account balance.

PokerStars is largest, and arguably most respected and trustworthy poker operator in the world. For more than 15 years, it’s seen exponential growth in players, tournaments and monumental prize pools. Even when the US cracked down on them and other poker sites in 2011 for accepting American players, PokerStars took the high road. The company paid an enormous settlement, and returned hundreds of thousands in funds to players of Full Tilt Poker (which it purchased in doing so).

But now, PokerStars’s integrity is in question, and it’s got a lot of online poker players angry. None more so than American poker pro Gordon Vayo, who’s suing the Canadian iGaming juggernaut for failure to pay nearly $700,000 in tournament winnings.

Live and Online Poker Pro Gordon VayoUS Online Poker Pro Sues PokerStars

Gordon Vayo is a professional live and online poker player from Illinois, USA. In 2016, he placed second in the World Series of Poker Main Event for $4.66 million. Then in 2017, he placed first in Event #1, $1,050 NLHE, in PokerStars famous Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) tournament series. That win should have earned him $692,000. But it didn’t…

Instead of receiving the 6-figure payout in his account, Vayo got a message that his winnings were frozen pending investigation of his location during the event. PokerStars requested Vayo supply them with evidence that he was not in the US at the time of the tournament.

According to a lawsuit filed by Gordon Vayo on April 7, 2018, the poker pro supplied that evidence. Yet PokerStars continues to withhold the winnings.

VPN Failure Costs Vayo $692,000

PokerStars claims that Vayo may very well have been in the US, because he was using a virtual private network (VPN) during the SCOOP event. VPNs are often used to mask a persons true location by connecting to a proxy server elsewhere in the world. Thus the server a player is connecting to – in this case PokerStars – is made to believe the player is in the location of proxy server.

PokerStars’s servers were able to verify that Vayo was using a VPN, but were not able to verify that the SCOOP tournament winner wasn’t in the US. Vayo is adamant that he was in Canada at the time, and says that using a VPN isn’t out of the ordinary. Even players in legal geographic locations sometimes use a VPN for security reasons.

Vayo claims that his VPN malfunctioned during the online poker tournament, and that’s why PokerStars’ geolocation system was unable to verify his Canadian position. That may very well be… but if it can’t be proven beyond a doubt, it’s a gamble PokerStars wasn’t willing to take.

Catch 22 for Canadian Online Poker Room

Realistically, PokerStars had no choice but to freeze the online poker pro’s winnings. If the company pays out the $692,000, it could face tremendous retribution from the US government for potentially allowing someone in the US (outside of New Jersey) to access its real money poker games. I’m sure most of you will remember the catastrophic fallout of April 15, 2011 (i.e. the Black Friday of Online Poker).

However, by refusing to take that risk, PokerStars’ integrity is being dragged through the mud by this lawsuit. And I if Vayo wins the case, the poker room’s reputation will surely suffer. Especially since Vayo is accusing them of a lot more than erroneous withholding of winnings. The lawsuit also claim a “pattern and practice of conduct intended to defraud users”, “retroactively” verifying geolocations of winners, and using the US law as a “whipsaw to maximize its profits”.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , ,

May 04

Taylor Black wins $1m at PPL Canada Poker Main Event.

PPL Millions Canada Poker 2018The partypoker Millions North America wrapped up on Wednesday at the Playground Poker Club in Kahnawake, Canada. The first festival of partypoker Live Season 2 (PPL S2), the two-week festival took place from April 24 to May 2, attracting thousands of players from all over the world; most especially from Canada and the US.

The NA Main Event kicked off last weekend, nearly drawing 2k entrants. A total of 1,954 players turned out for the tournament, each doling out the $5,000+$300 buy-in to build a prize pool of CA$9.7 million. With a $10 million GTD, that resulted in a $300k overlay worth of added value for the field.

In the end, it was American poker player Taylor Black who outlasted the competition for the PPL Title and more than a million in cash. Canadian poker pros performed quite well though, making up half of the final table, and more than half of the overall winners.

Taylor Black Takes NA Canada PPL Poker Title

Taylor Black wins PPL Millions North America Poker Main EventAmerican Taylor Black, a young poker pro who’s been making his presence known at major events since 2013, nearly doubled his career earnings with this week’s PPL main event win. Collecting CA$1.4 million (US$1,093,425) brings the young American’s live earnings total to just over US$2.07 million. That impressive bankroll includes last year’s 2nd place finish in the WSOP Colossus III for US$545k.

Black didn’t have any easy time of it. Despite being well ahead in the chip count (1,590,000,000 to 350,000,000) over fellow American Daryll Fish, their heads-up battle lasted more than 2 hours. On the final hand, Fish pushed all-in following a 9 6 4 flop. Black instantly called, tabling A A to Fish’s Q 9. The 6 turn was no help, and the Q river came too late. Black had the higher pair, and it was all over.

Daryll Fish collected an impressive CA$1.2 million for the runner-up finish.

Canadian Poker Pros Dominate Final Day

When the final day opened, there were nine players remaining, 5 of Canadian descent. Guillaume Nolet of Montreal fell first, bringing up a final table that was half-full of Canadian players. Unfortunately, they were the first to go, leaving a single German and trio of Americans to finish out the final four.

Tommy Nguyen of Mississauga, ON fell in 8th place ($215k) when his all-in push ran into a brick wall of trips held by Black. George Lagos of Stouffville, ON fell in 7th ($302.5k) when he and Anthony Ruberto each came up with a diamond-flush; Ruberto’s was stronger.


Next it was Toronto’s Demosthenes Kiriopoulos exiting the table in 6th ($400k). With about 9 big blinds to go, he shoved on A 2, only to be called by Black with pocket 5s. No help came, and Kiriopoulos was out. Finally, Charles La Boissonniere of Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, QC took his leave in 5th ($600k) when a 3-way pot favored Ruberto’s pocket 10s.

Immediately after, Germany’s Markus Pinz fell to Fish (4th, $800k). Soon after, Ruberto exited in 3rd ($1m) with the first 7-figure cash of the day, leaving Fish and Black to battle it out for 1st.

All in all, the final day of the partpoker Millions North America main event was a good one for our hometown heroes. In fact, of the 251 entrants who landed in the money, 131 of them are Canadian poker pros. Even our favorite femme fatale, Kristen Bicknel, earned her buy-in back (and then some) with a 57th place finish worth $15k.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , ,

Jan 30

It’s WPT Canada Style! The World Poker Tour Fallsview Poker Classic is coming to Ontario in February.

WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Feb 5-12 2018Let’s see here… three days, four events, a pair of super satellites, innumerable poker pros and a pristine view of the majestic Niagara Falls. That can only mean one thing, ladies and gentleman. It’s WPT Canada style!

The World Poker Tour is coming to Ontario. Just one week from now, the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic will kick off with its first events, as well as a pair of super satellites to the $5k Main Event. There’s already energy in the air as Ontario’s casinos prep for the big game.

Casinos? Isn’t it just one casino? Not if you’re looking for a cheap ride into the main event.

Satellites to WPT Fallsview Poker Classic

Generally speaking, Casino Fallsview and Niagara Casino are rivals. After all, they’re only a few minutes apart. Heck, you could walk from one to the other in 20 minutes. But their competitive nature halts when the WPT comes to town. In this area, they share the love of the game, and the felt upon which it’s played.

Right now, players can enter satellites to the WPT Fallsview Main Event at Casino Niagara. These tables will continue to run through 6pm on February 2, at which point that poker room will close its doors until the conclusion of the Fallsview Poker Classic up the road.

Once the poker tour gets underway, players still seeking satellite entry will have one opportunity left. The final $500 Super Satellite to the Main Event will be held on February 9th in the Grand Hall at Fallsview Casino.

WPT Canada Events Schedule

The action gets underway on February 5th with Event #1, $1,000 NLHE. It features two days of starting flights, and a third day to duke it out. Players who fall to the way side on day one have the option of re-entering for the second day’s flight. Or, on February 7th, players can pay $250 to join in the Super Satellite to the next day’s event…

Event #2, $2,500 NLHE, begins on February 8th. Players will have one re-entry option, should thy need it. That tournament will wrap up on Feb 10th, just in time for the grand finale. And again, if you don’t make it to day three of that event, there’s a $500 Super Satellite to the Main Event on February 9th.

Darren Elias wins Fallsview WPT CanadaThe WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Main Event kicks off Feb 10th with a $5,000 buy-in and one optional re-entry per player. Tournament officials are hoping to see the entries top 500 this year, following last year’s close-call of 489. That crowd built a prize pool of $2,229,954. The highest slice (C$ 429,384) went to American poker pro Darren Elias, marking a record-tying third WPT title.

No doubt Elias will be returning to Ontario, Canada next month to compete once more in the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic. If he can scoop one more win, he’ll surpass his current equals – Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortenson, David Rheem and Anthony Zinno – as the first player to claim 4 WPT titles.

Note: The WPT Canada tour dates have not yet been finalized. The schedule above is still subject to change until finalization.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Jan 15

Yellowhead Casino Alberta kicks off week-long Poker Championship series.

There’s big news in Canadian poker tournaments this week. While most of the today’s biggest pros made their way to Kahnawake, Quebec to take part in the prestigious 2018 Winter Festival, another big event was kicking off 3,500km to the west in Edmonton, Alberta. I’m talking, of course, about the 2018 Alberta Poker Championship.

Yellowhead Casino Alberta to host 15th Annual Poker Championship Series

The APC is a week-long poker tournament series that takes place each January at Alberta’s Casino Yellowhead. 2018 marks the 15th annual hosting of the poker tournament, where 5 events will wrap up with the APC Main Event next weekend.

Each year, the Alberta Poker Championship gets a little bigger than the last. In 2017, the tournament’s finale drew 176 entries, building a $162k prize pool for the APC Main Event. The eventual winner, Chris Symesko, collected the top prize of $46,480.

What’s So Special about the Yellowhead Casino Alberta Poker Championship 2018?

This is a particularly lucrative poker series for Canadian poker players – especially those with proven skills, who aren’t of pro status. Why, you ask? There’s one very simple reason for it.

Everybody who is anybody in the Canadian poker world will be playing their hardest his week. But the vast majority of them won’t be in Edmonton, Alberta. Most of the high-profile players will be looking to cash big in the Winter Festival Poker tournament at Kahnawake’s Playground Poker Club. That series aso got underway yesterday, and will continue through the end of January.

If you’re looking to come up big, without taking on the toughest competition in the Great White North, Yellowhead is the better place to get your game on. Here, the competition will be less fierce, made up mostly of amateurs and local business types with enough change and spare time on their hands.

That’s not to say every pro will be absent from Yellowheads’ tables, though. Poker players are a smart breed, and there’s no doubt I’m not the only one who came up with this valuable assessment of the 2018 APC series. But a narrow margin of exceptional skill is certainly worth competing against, compared to the level of talent gathering in Quebec this week.

2018 APC Event Schedule

The APC kicked off yesterday afternoon with Event #1, a $550 NLHE Bounty. Just about an hour ago, Event #2, $330 NLHE got underway. Tuesday and Thursday, the Edmonton casino will play host to $440 PLO and $220 NLHE Turbo events at 2pm and 4pm respectively.

Thursday is reserved exclusively for satellites tournaments to the Main Event tables that start up on Friday and Saturday. These NLHE satellites cost $190 to enter; a fraction of the Main Event’s standard $1,100 buy-in.

The Main Event will take place with a pair of starting flights to kick off the weekend. All players begin with 25,000 chips, with blinds increasing at 40 minute intervals. Sunday, all remaining players will converge back on the tables for the final day of action, whittling their way down to the final table and, eventually, a 1st place victor.

See the complete 2018 Alberta Poker Championship Series schedule below for more information.

Date/Time Description Buy-In
Jan 14 @ 2:00pm Event #1 No Limit Holdem Bounty $550
Jan 15 @ 2:00pm Event #2 No Limit Holdem $330
Jan 16 @ 2:00pm Event #3 Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) $440
Jan 17 @ 4:00pm Event #4 No Limit Holdem Turbo $220
Jan 18 @ 7:30pm NLHE Satellite Tournament to Main Event $190
Jan 19 @ 12:00pm Event #5 Day 1A – APC Main Event NLHE $1,100
Jan 20 @ 12:00pm Event #5 Day 1B – APC Main Event NLHE $1,100
Jan 21 @ 2:00pm Event #5 Day 2 – APC Main Event Finale

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , ,

Jan 11

Poker pros Matt and Jaime Staples are 34lbs away from winning a year-long $150k weight loss prop bet in March.

Hailing from Alberta, Canada, brothers Matt and Jaime Staples are career poker pros who’ve gained celebrity status in recent years. Being world-traveling Twitch streamers, they’ve made quite the name for themselves. But it was a rather unique prop bet on March 26, 2017 that really got the attention of fans.

On that fateful day, Matt Staples and his older brother Jaime were relaxing in the Virgin Islands with their good friend Bill Perkins, a fellow poker pro best known for his 3rd place, $2M win in the 2013 WSOP One Drop High Roller. They were streaming live via Perkin’s StreamBoat when something incredible happened.

One of their Twitch viewers made a simple, offhand comment:

Imagine Jaime and Matt at the same weight”.

You see, Matt Staples was a mere 134 pounds at the time – all skin and bones, as my grandmother would have said. His ‘big brother’ Jaime, on the other hand, weighed in at 305. That was a rather significant difference of 171lbs.

Jaime read the comment aloud as they continued to stream poker and day-to-day happenings in the tropics. As the elder Staples brother recalled last fall, Perkins responded without hesitation, “I’ll give you 50 to 1!”

Jaime knew in a heartbeat that he had to take the bet, and it didn’t take much convincing to get Matt on board. “Within a minute we had booked the bet,” said Jaime. The picture below, shared on Instagram, shows the two brothers, and their difference in weight, as they spoke with Perkins about the terms of the prop bet that day.

Canada Poker Pros Matt (right) and Jaime Staples (left) talk Prop Bet in March 2017

Prop Bet Rules – 1 Year, Same Weight

According to the quickly negotiated terms of the prop bet, Matt and Jaime had exactly one year to weigh within a pound of each other. There could be no surgery, steroids or other unnatural means of weight loss/gain.

At precisely 5:00pm on March 26, 2018, an official weigh in will take place. They can weigh themselves all they want up until then, but only this particular weighing will count towards the bet.

The Canadian poker pros put up $3,000 between them, $1,500 each. At 50 to 1 odds, they stand to win $150,000 ($75k each) from Perkins.

As Jaime Staples confirmed, it was also decided no further bets could be taken on the challenge. “So we can’t book side action to get up to a million dollars or something; it has to stay at $150K max incentive for us.”

34lbs to Paydirt for Canada Poker Pros

This week, Pocketfives caught up with the Staples brothers in their worldly travels. In a brief interview with the Team PokerStars Online Pro, Jaime revealed that only 34lbs now stand between the brothers and Perkins’ six-figure payout.

“I weighed in about six days ago and I was 212 pounds, and my brother was 178 (Monday) morning,” said Jaime. Although 180 was the original goal, they now believe the best, realistic match in weight is to shoot for 187. That leaves Matt with 9lbs to gain, and Jaime with 25 to lose.

The photos below reveal a drastic difference from the photo taken almost 10 months ago. If it’s a bit harder to recognize them, that’s Matt on the left, Jaime on the right.

Matt Staple 178lbs, Jaime Staples 212lbs, 2 months to go

They’ve both been working diligently with personal trainer Matt Vacanti, who’s been traveling with them as they continue to play poker events both online and on land. Jaime said it hasn’t been easy watching Matt chow down on potatoes, rice, pizza and potato chips every day, whilst he consumes a portion-controlled chicken breast and salad (approx 1300 calories a day). But he’s stuck to it, and has no intention of quitting while the prize looms so close.

The biggest incentive, says Jaime, isn’t the money, but the accomplishment of losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle. In reference to his potential win, Staples admitted the money “doesn’t really cross my mind at all. Because I think the equity of being healthier — extending my life, being able to do more, having higher energy, even just vanity — is worth a lot more than $75,000.”

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Jan 10

Comprehensive and accredited poker history based on chronicled evidence.

Poker HistoryI’d love to tell you that the following text is a concise and factual story of the history of poker. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a genuine, historical account of its origins. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that no one really knows where it truly came from.

Postulating the Early History of Poker

There are multiple versions of the tale. Some say poker is “undoubtedly” derived from “the Persian game of As-Nas”. That quote is taken from the 1937 edition of Foster’s Complete Hoyle, by R. F. Foster. But few believe that anymore.

Evidence also supports the theory that poker originated in France as a game called “poque”. That game was similar to poker, and a direct descendant of the German card game “pochen”, which means ‘to knock‘, or ‘to brag as a bluff‘. These names are certainly more indicative of the name “poker”, as well as the strategic tool of bluffing.

It also makes sense because the French began populating the Louisiana Territory, along the Mississippi River (you’ll see how this ties in below), in the late 1600s. The land was later sold to the United States in 1803, which is about the time the factually-known history of poker games begins.

Known Poker History – 18th Century to Present

One of poker’s most prominent features – betting – came about around this time. In fact, it was the absence of a betting format that leads so many to discount the above tales of its origins. In that regard, today’s poker games can be dated back to the early- to mid-1700s. At that time, the Mississippi River was the most viable means of transporting goods to/from the southern lands of America.

By 1800, poker had spread all along the Mississippi River region, carried northward (from the previously French territory) by riverboats. Over the next few decades, the 52-card deck (also a French derivative) was introduced, ften playing straight poker and stud poker games. 20-card games still existed, but were usually reserved for 2-player games.

History of Poker Games - 114th Pennsylvania Infantry 1864

Officers of the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry in Petersburg, Virginia, August 1864

In Jonathan H. Green’s 1843 publication of An Exposure of the Arts and Miseries of Gambling, he details the history of poker’s suffusion throughout North America via the passage of Mississippi riverboats. As the game made its way further north, it was inevitably carried west by the gold rush of the mid-1800s.

More poker variants came about at this time. The 52-card deck became universally accepted, and the Flush hand was included among the ranks. Draw Poker came about prior to 1850, according to its mention in a game rule guide published that year. 5 Card Stud games, and the straight hand rank, were introduced during the American Civil War, with other additions like wild cards, lowball and split-pot games leading up to the turn of the century.

Texas Holdem Poker

The most popular poker game played today is Texas Holdem. This format dates back to around 1925, when the first community card games were played among small circles in the south. Known simply as Hold’em at the time, it was popular among high-stakes players in that region, but took nearly half a decade for the concept to really catch on.

A group of gamblers from Texas made their way to Las Vegas in 1967. They included Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim, among others. They were determined to bring this game to Vegas poker rooms, because its biggest allure was the four-round betting structure (as opposed to 2-round betting in draw poker).

More betting rounds offer a more strategic approach; a “thinking man’s game”, as Crandell Addington once called it.

Over the next three years, these gamblers managed to get the word out. They also managed to win untold amounts of money from anyone inexperienced at the game who dared compete against them.

First, they played Texas Hold’em exclusively in the Golden Nugget Casino. Then, they were invited to play at the (former) Dunes Casino, where the Second Annual Gambling Fraternity Convention was held in 1969. By 1970, Benny and Jack Binion (of Binion’s Horseshoe Casino) bought the rights to the convention, changed the name to the World Series of Poker, and by 1971, No Limit Texas Hold’em was the crown jewel (main event) of the WSOP.

Popularity of Poker Stems from TV, Internet

Technology really is a marvelous thing. In 1997, European television audiences were introduced to the “hole cam” (or “pocket cam”), allowing networks to broadcast poker games while showing the audience at home what cards each player was holding. That technology came to North America in 2002.

Chri Moneymaker wins 2003 WSOP ChampionshipBy then, online poker was just beginning to blossom. It wasn’t until 2003 that internet poker rooms gained ultimate fame. That was the year poker player Chris Moneymaker won a $40 online satellite (bypassing the $10k buy-in) to the WSOP Championship. He then whittled his way through the competition to win the bracelet and the $2.5 million prize.

Poker history was made that day. Now, it is among most popular professional gambling activities in the world, both online and on land.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , ,

May 02

Why Men play Poker, women play slotsWalk into any active live poker room, and you’ll notice right away that the vast majority of the players – if not all of them – are men. Now, walk into a slots parlor or bingo hall, and the opposite is true. Most of the players here are going to be women.

The question I’d like to explore today is why so many men play poker, while so many women are more attracted to slot machines. There’s clearly a psychological pattern fueling the phenomenon.

Why Men Play Poker, Women Play Slots

The poker segment is the most divided of all. It’s evident in every major live poker tournament in the world. Unless it’s specifically labeled a “Ladies Event” (and even some of those have been known to draw men), at least 95% of the field tends to be of the male persuasion.

Based on numerous clinical studies throughout history, there are some clear psychological reasons why more men play poker than women.


Studies have shown men are more competitive than women. They have a need to feel superior to other men, and will take any opportunity to show off that superiority. It’s a trait not just found in humans, but in nature, as well.

Take birds for example. The male species is vibrantly colored and often puts on a big show (aka the mating ritual) to attract a female. Other animals have been known to fight to the death to impress a female, earning the right to mate with her.

Such competitive behavior is inherent among males. Poker provides the perfect arena for competition, pitting numerous players against one another in the ultimate challenge for mental and monetary supremacy.

While some women are competitive, the majority feel no need to outwardly exude their authority over others. If they deem themselves superior, just believing it is enough for them. Women don’t necessarily have the desire to prove it. Thus they are perfectly comfortable playing slot machines by themselves.

The Size of the Prize

Men are also considered the ‘providers’ of the family. A married couple may both have jobs, but a man’s natural desire to provide will often result in conflict if the woman happens to make more money than him.

In any case, many men play poker because the imminent prize is so appealing. In a 8-seat cash game where the buy-in is $500, the male is looking at the potential to increase his cash value by 8x, up to $4,000. Likewise, entering the $10k WSOP offers a shot at millions!

When the prize is a large multiple of the investment, men are much more likely to be attracted to it.

Women, on the other hand, are perfectly satisfied with instant gratification. A win is a win, so to speak. If they start playing a slot machine with $50, and end up with $60 in their purse, their desire for gratification is perfectly fulfilled.


In an already male-dominated sport, it’s easier for men to play poker than it is for women. There’s a clear intimidation factor here, and psychologically speaking, women are more intimidated in male-dominated areas.

A man can walk up to a poker table full of other men and take a seat, but if a woman walks up to the same table, whether the men visibly or verbally react in an intimidating manner or not, it can still be a very intimidating experience.

I’m not suggesting that it should be this way. Woman have proved to be very successful poker players, and fearsome foes against male opponents.

However, throughout the history of the WSOP, only one woman has made it to the final table of the Main Event. That honor went to Barbara Enright in 1995. And as much as some men have argued that the reason for this is that men are better poker players, that’s simply not the case.

It’s a statistical probability that the final table – the November Nine – will be made up of all men. In the last few years, female participation in all events of the WSOP has only been about 5%. Based on that alone, with only 9 players eligible to compete in the final table of the main event, statistically speaking, all of them will be male.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , ,

Dec 08

Canadian Poker Pros going strong in WPT Five Diamond

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Canadian Poker Pros at WPT Five Diamond World Poker ClassicAside from the World Series of Poker, few live card tournaments hold more prestige than the WPT Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas. That’s where you’ll find two famous Canadian poker pros, Daniel Negreanu and Jennifer Tilly, as they held leading positions among the remaining field after Day 2.

The biggest news out of the WPT Five Diamond this week was a record breaking field. The previous record of 664 entries was tallied in 2007, but this year’s rendition, with buy-ins and rebuys, shattered the record with 791.

It also generated a record prize pool of $7.7 million, guaranteeing two millionaires will walk away when it’s all over on December 10. An impressive $1.938 million will go to the eventual WPT Champion, an $1.124 million to the runner up.

Negreanu Seeks 2nd WPT Five Diamond Title

Canadian Poker Pro Daniel NegreanuDaniel Negreanu, born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, did his fare share to boost this season’s record entries. Following a few frivolous Day 1 attempts to boost his stack, Daniel paid the $10,400 buy-in not once, not twice, but six times before he finally doubled up and secured a good position in the chip stacks.

He’s clearly looking to reap the rewards of his investment, valued at $62,400. To do so, he’ll need to finish in the top 12 at least. The Canadian poker pro was well on his way to pursuing that goal Tuesday, finishing out Day 2 in 19th place with 183,400.

Negreanu has been in this position before. In 2004, he won the Five Diamond for $1.77 million, besting Humberto Brenes for the WPT Championship title. While he’d surely like to repeat that triumphant moment, he won’t be crying over the loss if it doesn’t pan out. Daniel Negreanu holds the current #1 position on the Live Poker All Time Money List with over $32.6 million under his belt.

Jennifer Tilly Enters Day 3 in 2nd

American-Canadian Poker Pro Jennifer TillyAnother famous poker pro of Canadian-American decent is Jennifer Tilly – often best known for her award winning performances in Hollywood films like Bride of Chucky (1998), and an Academy Award nomination for Bullets over Broadway (1994) – who’s done well enough to pull into Day 3 with the second largest stack.

Tilly’s 279,100 was only bested by the 364,600 of 2x WSOP bracelet winner Ryan Hughes. Having competed in hundreds of live poker events throughout her long and illustrious career, Jennifer is well aware of the mental toll poker can take on its players.

“Trying to hold on to my big stack is exhausting! It’s like trying to keep a giant rock from rolling down the hill,” she wrote on Twitter.

Tilly has a WSOP bracelet of her own, earned in 2005, as well as a WPT Ladies Night Championship and a few other esteemed titles. She’s been named CardPlayer Celebrity Player of the Year and won the WPT Bellagio Cup 5K in 2010.

More Stiff Competition Looms

Plenty of other big names joined these Canadian poker pros around the felt on Tuesday. Justin Bonomo finished strong with 219,800, while Chance Kornuth (176,300), Matt Glantz (170,000) and Layne Flack (151,600) came in just behind Neagreanu.

2x WSOP bracelet winner and 2x WPT titlist JC Tran was hunting for a another victory with 142,400 chips to his name. Other famous players in the hunt included Joe McKeehen (130,000), Brian Rast (125,000), Mike Matusow (112,400), Dutch Boyd (107,400), Antonio Esfandiari (97,400), Phil Laak (85,900), Joe Hachem (70,000), and Doug Polk (59,900).

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , ,