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Win a Share of $1.5 Million in PokerStars’ Tetris® Spin & Go Games

February 16, 2021
Matthew Pitt

Tetris® combines with Spin & Go tournaments at PokerStars in a fun promotion that sees $1.5 million paid out between February 15 and March 28.
Head to the Spin & Go lobby in the PokerStars client and you’ll see there are Tetris® Spin & Go games with buy-ins of $0.25, $1, $2, $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, and $500. They all play out the exact same way as a traditional Spin & Go, meaning they’re three-handed hyper-turbo tournaments where the prize pool is randomly determined before the first hand is dealt.
It’s still possible to win up to $1 million in some of these game, but there are a few notable differences.
First, the virtual felt is made up of Tetris® blocks, which actually looks pretty cool. Also, the dealer button is now a Tetris® block too, and other blocks fall down the screen.
The Tetris® part of the promotion comes in the form of leaderboards. There’s a separate leaderboard for each Tetris® Spin & Go buy-in level, so 10 in total. You need to opt-in and then fire up some Tetris® Spin & Go tournaments.
Play your tournaments as you would ordinarily, but do so knowing the aim of the game is to clear lines, just like in Tetris®. The number of lines you clear depends on your Spin & Go multiplier and your finishing position in the tournament.
Your level increases each time you clear five lines. This results in you earning even more points so you can climb up your leaderboard faster.
The 2021 Guide to PokerStars Spin and Go Poker
How Many Lines Do I Clear?
 1st2nd3rd

2×432

3×321

Over 3×211

As you can see from the table above, finishing in 1st place in a Tetris® Spin & Go that has a 2x multiplier clears four lines. Just playing a tournament earns you points.
How Do You Earn Points?
The number of leaderboard points you earn is based on your finishing position and your current level. You start off earning 40 points for clearing one line when you’re at Level 0, but this increases to 840 points if you manage to climb to Level 20, which is the highest level you can achieve.
It is possible to earn up to 25,200 points per Tetris® Spin & Go tournament, as you can see in this table.
LevelPoints for 1 LinePoints for 2 LinesPoints for 3 LinesPoints four 4 Lines

0401003001,200

1802006002,400

21203009003,600

31604001,2004,800

n=40*(n+1)=100*(n+1)=300*(n+1)=1,200*(n+1)

208402,1006,30025,200

Tetris® Spin & Go Payout Table
The leaderboards payout $33,000 every day throughout the promotion making for a combined total of $1,500,000 just for playing Tetris® Spin & Go tournaments.
The $0.25, $1, $2, and $5 leaderboard payout the top 100 points earners, so you have a decent chance of walking away with a cash prize. The prizes don’t have any restrictions on them meaning you’re free to do with them as you wish.
 $0.25$1$2$5$10$25$50$100$250$500

1$50$150$250$400$500$500$750$1,000$1,500$3,000

2$40$100$200$300$400$400$600$800$1,000 

3$30$75$150$250$350$350$500$600$750 

4$20$50$100$200$300$300$400$500$500 

5$15$25$50$150$250$250$300$400$500 

6-10$10$20$40$100$150$150$150$200  

11-20$5$10$20$50$100$100$100$100  

21-50$5$5$10$25$50$50    

51-100$5$5$5$10      

Spin & Go Your Way to a PokerStars Sunday Million Seat
The Tetris® Playing Field – Avoid Hitting Game Over
There’s an extra element to this promotion that you have to be aware of at all times. PokerStars calls it the Playing Field.
Just like in a game of Tetris® where it is Game Over when the blocks reach the top of the screen, it can be game over for you if you go on a streak of out of the money finishes!
Finishing in first place either improves your Playing Field status or makes zero change to it. Finish in second place, however, and your Playing Field status either stays the same or actually worsens, which is also the case when you finish in third place.
Your table, or playing field, is green in color when your Playing Field is in a good state. It turns amber when it is worsening and turns red when you’re in big trouble. Failing to win when your playing field is red could see you reach Game Over which means you cannot earn any more leaderboard points until the next day!
The changes to your playing field status depend on your current level.
 1st place 2nd place 3rd place  

LevelImproveNo ChangeNo ChanceWorsenNo ChangeWorsen 

0-1100%0%100%0%100%0% 

2-580%20%80%20%50%50% 

6-960%40%60%40%40%60% 

10-1340%60%40%60%30%70% 

14-1720%80%20%80%200%80% 

18-2020%80%20%80%10%90% 

Get Involved in the Tetris® Spin & Go Promotion
With $33,000 waiting to be won every day until March 28 there’s no time to waste if you want to win some free cash.
Download PokerStars via PokerNews, enter the bonus code “STARS600” when making your first deposit and PokerStars will match your deposit 100% up to $600. In fact, your first three deposits in a 90-day window are matched 100% up to a combined maximum of $600.
All you need to do then is opt-in and fire up some Tetris® Spin & Go tournaments and see if you can pad your bankroll with some of the $1.5 million that’s guaranteed to be won. That and try not to spend the rest of the day humming the famous Tetris® tune!
The Stars Group is a majority shareholder in Oddschecker Global Media, the parent company of PokerNews.

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Business China Macau Macau Bubble stocks

Did the next Macau bubble just start two weeks ago?


The entire concept of a “bull market in stocks” makes little sense. Sound crazy? These days, certainly, because we’re always hearing about a perpetual bull market in stocks. Valuations increasingly disconnected from economic reality, asset bubbles in one class or another, armies of speculators moving like zombie hoards descending on the next fad and blowing it up to infinity and beyond, Buzz Lightyear-like.Why is the whole concept of a bull market generally, nonsense? Because if the value of everything is going up simultaneously, then nothing is going up. If everyone is a superhero, nobody is. If, in an imaginary economy, absolutely everything costs, say, $5, (labor, land, capital whatever) and then the next day everything costs $10, then what’s changed? The answer is absolutely nothing.The only thing that matters is relative valuations between asset classes. Let’s divide them into three of the most basic ones. Equities (stocks), bonds (debt), and commodities (consumer goods). If all three are going up in tandem, then there is no “bull market” in anything. If commodities are going up faster than stocks and bonds, you have inflation, or even hyperinflation. Ask anyone in Venezuela whether they care that their stock market is doing great, nominally. They don’t. They’re looking for their next glop of gruel or morsel of moldy bread to survive the day.But if stocks and bonds are rising and consumer goods are static to falling, you have a bull market in financial assets. This is where we are now. And boy are we really hard and deep into it now. Below is the ratio of the S&P 500 to the CRB Commodities Index.And I’ve got news for everyone. This bull market in stocks relative to consumer goods in dollar terms is already over. It ended almost a year ago. On April 20, 2020 to be exact. Red circle blowoff top above. That was when oil crashed to negative $35 a barrel and we all lived in an alternative financial freakhouse universe. But I have more news than that. This entire “bull market” in stocks has been one gigantic illusion from the very beginning. Stocks aren’t going up. They haven’t gone up for 21 years. Money is going down. Here is the graph of stocks relative to the prime monetary commodity, gold, over the same timeframe above.We can see here that from 1990 to 2000, we had a real bull market in stocks. Equities rocketed in gold terms and in terms of consumer goods generally. Everyone felt richer. Portfolios up, expenses down. But since that time, money has been dying at an accelerated pace and the standard of living has fallen.The bull market in stocks over the last 21 years has been an illusion, a tiny echo of the bull that ended at the turn of the century. We have spent the last 21 years trying to reinflate it, but gold has exposed the lie. We are now at the point where the illusion is about to collapse completely. In my view, we have only a few months left until it all hits the fan. Until then, the bubbles will keep coming in staccato frenetic fashion, moving from one asset class to another faster and faster, until we all get so dizzy we can’t follow it anymore. Last week I speculated that maybe the next target for the zombie hoard will be in penny gaming stocks. I was close. It’s in Macau stocks. It may already have started two weeks ago. The frenzy has started over news about China opening up again. I mean, just look at this crazy chart of the Macau proxy ETF:That last surge higher is just since February 1. We could be at the beginning of a crazy but brief ride higher in Macau stocks right now. New all time highs again, and Macau isn’t even fully open yet. The latest full month statistics for December show a 78.6% drop in visitors year over year. And yet we’re at new all time highs in these stocks already. It’s just completely crazy. I can understand the Macau opening up again trade, but to argue that this factor is being priced in at these levels, at new all time highs? As if none of this full year shutdown hurt any of the casinos fundamentally at all? That’s just totally bonkers crazy. It’s a reflection of the value of the currency these stocks are priced in, not the stocks themselves.What’s happening is that the zombie hoard of bubble chasers is reading the headlines regarding China starting to open up again, and they’re slamming buy orders and call options like they’ve been doing with tech stocks and Gamestop and BTC and all the other fads. We just got news out of Bloomberg that China’s Imax had a face-ripping rally due to exploding ticket sales. China is, indeed opening up, and the zombie hoard of speculators is now going to spray their money hoses at anything Chinese. Macau might be at the center of it.How high can this Macau bubble go, if that’s what we just saw start two weeks ago? The truth is, it doesn’t matter. If you get into it, you’ll get hooked and keep levering yourself up, counting your paper gains, unable to separate from them until you get caught in a vortex. At some point, my view this year, it’s all going to come crashing down when all the damage from 2020 is finally revealed all over the world. You can’t paper it over forever. The damage to Macau casinos doesn’t just go away. It festers in the form of more and more debt, and a damaged consumer base that can no longer patronize casinos in the way it once could. Festering wounds need the paper bandage removed and they need to be operated on. That is painful. And it’s coming.When we think of the word “bubble”, what are we really talking about? A bubble is something that looks, from the outside, to be really big and stable. The shape of it, a sphere, is the most stable shape in the universe. It’s why planets, stars, moons, and possibly even the spacetime continuum itself, spontaneously shape themselves into spheres. The force of gravity equalizes at every point on the sphere, forming equilibrium. Nature always seeks equilibrium. And so bubbles take on the illusion of stability, but unlike a real sphere, there’s nothing inside them. When they pop, they are gone almost instantly. This one is about to pop. Macau appears to be the next victim sucked up by the bubble. Macau will survive and rebuild. The question is, in what form? I wouldn’t take a bet the depended on me getting the answer to that question right.

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Tips for success at the WSOP

Every summer, poker players from all over the world flock to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. Luckily for the professional players, most of these visitors have little to no chance to actually come away with a big score because they set themselves up to fail from the start. To last the seven weeks at the WSOP you must remain focused and ready to play your “A” game the entire time.
Here are a few tips that will greatly increase your expectation at any tournament series without even mentioning how to technically play poker.  It should be noted these are tips for players who want to have the highest expectation possible during a long series and only care about poker. If you’re going to Vegas to party and to play a few tournaments on the side, these tips probably aren’t for you. Then again, neither is the life of a poker tournament professional.
Get a lot of sleep
To be ready to play your best at noon every day, you simply have to get a lot of sleep. I make a point to get home as soon as the tournament is over each day or around midnight, whichever comes last. For example, if I play a $1,500 tournament and bust in the first hour, I will play satellites or cash games until midnight and then go home. If I play the same $1,500 tournament and survive the entire day, I will go home when play ends, usually around 1 a.m. When I get home, I go straight to sleep. I don’t sit around and have dinner and watch a movie. I get sleep so I’m ready to go the next day.
Play side games
In the past, I never really played the side games during the WSOP. I now realize just how much money I was missing out on. I’ve played mostly $500 and $1,000 single-table satellites in my spare time and have been happy with my results. I also hear the cash games are excellent. I used to simply go home whenever I lost a tournament, which would often waste an entire day. Now, I’m earning around $200 per hour.
Assuming you play four hours of side games per day, you will find that you profit $40,000 by the end of the series. That’s a nice way to supplement the daily tournaments. It can turn a losing series into a break-even one and a break-even series into a decent winner. Obviously this will take time away from goofing off or enjoying the outdoor world, but seeing how the profitability of poker has been shot in the foot because of the problems with online poker, you simply have to make the most of every tournament series.
Eat right
A few years ago, I lost around 40 pounds simply through eating right and exercising regularly. Throughout the WSOP, I make a point to eat a few eggs, some veggies and some lean meat as soon as I roll out of bed every morning. During the WSOP, there are a few food delivery services that will bring healthy food to the poker table. I have my healthy breakfast plus two meals delivered to my table each day. This allows me to not take dinner breaks, which will make me slightly more profitable, and it allows me to stay in decent shape, especially since I have to cut out a little bit of my routine workout time.
That being said, I still try to get in the gym at least three times per week, even during the hectic WSOP. Also, for those looking to quickly lose fat and keep it off, simply stop eating sugar, fatty foods and starches. This means no smoothies, potatoes, rice, yogurt, fatty meats and bread. If you cut these foods out of your diet, the weight will drop off quickly. Realize though, this isn’t a diet, it’s a way of life.
Avoid your vices
My past vices have been drinking and degenerate gambling. I never had a legitimate problem with either, but I realized they cut into the profitability of poker. If you have a few drinks at night you’ll find you won’t sleep as well and will wake up with a mild hangover, which will make you play worse during the day.
If you gamble on random things, such as blackjack or sports, you will find when you lose, you’re on tilt from losing and when you win, you would rather be doing those things than playing poker, both of which are terrible for your concentration. My advice is to cut these activities out of your life, and not just for duration the tournament series. If you do, you will find yourself a much happier person in the long run.
If you are going to the WSOP, I strongly suggest you spend some time preparing. If you simply show up and expect to succeed, you are almost certain to fail. I recorded a six-hour long training series for you that explains all of the preparations I make in order to ensure I have the best chance to do well. I also discuss how to play with the wildly varying stacks you will be forced to play with at the WSOP. Check it out here: Jonathan Little’s WSOP Coaching Series
If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it with your friends. Good luck in your games!

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Featured Indian Poker News

Daily Cash Smash 2.0 Live Now At The Cash Tables On PokerBaazi


Starting from 16th February to 28th February, PokerBaazi will be hosting the Daily Cash Smash! 13 Days, daily leaderboards and prize pool of INR 21.45 Lakhs! The players can grind any of the three (NLHE/PLO-4/PLO-5) cash tables and all the chips won from the leaderboards will be withdrawable (separate for all three variants)! 
All players will have a chance to win from a daily prize pool of INR 1.65 Lakhs! All you have to do is play the cash tables between 10:00 AM – 4:00 AM! 
The Daily Leaderboard prize pool 

5/10 & 10/25 (Texas Hold’Em): Daily 8k Leaderboard
1/2 & 2/5 (Texas Hold’Em): Daily 4k Leaderboard
25/50 & 50/100 (Texas Hold’Em): Daily 12k Leaderboard
5/10 & 10/25 (PLO-5): Daily 6k Leaderboard
25/50 & 50/100 (PLO-5): Daily 15k Leaderboard
1/2 & 2/5 (PLO-4): Daily 2k Leaderboard
10/25 & 25/50 (PLO-4): Daily 8k Leaderboard

It’s time to grind again on PokerBaazi, but this time, it’s going to have to be on the cash felts! Head over to the link below for more information about the Daily Cash Smash 2.0 and Leaderboards
For more information about the latest poker promotions and poker news, keep reading PokerShots! 

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Business Gambling Ireland

The luck of the Irish has Ireland at the top of global gambling spend


It may not have originated in Ireland, but the phrase “the luck of the Irish” rings loudly in the country. According to The Irish Post, more money is spent, per capita, on gambling in Ireland than in almost all other countries around the world. Only in two countries – Australia and Singapore – is more spent hitting the slots and the tables than in Ireland.The media outlet doesn’t source its data, but indicates that the Irish love online gambling more than any other form. Online gambling spend is 60%, greatly superior to other forms gambling and sports gambling, which only accounts for 15% of the money. The lottery receives a 10% cut, the same amount given to gambling machines and slots. Casinos, of which Ireland has around 20, pick up 5% of the action.While Australia and Singapore may see more gambling spend per capita, Ireland is the hands-down winner in online gaming spend, with The Irish Post asserting, “Ireland takes the lead globally when it comes to online gambling.” It adds, “With almost 3 billion American dollars spent on gambling and betting every year, that means that each man, woman, and child in Ireland are spending roughly 500 [euros] ($607) annually on this type of entertainment.”The media outlet further indicates that online gambling is most popular in Ireland because the segment is more regulated. It cites “outdated laws” that some casinos are exploiting to attract attention, but the transparency and accountability afforded gamblers by online operators give them an edge. The Irish Post explains that, according to reports, many Irish would prefer to gamble in a British casino than in a domestic one, possibly as a result of the outdated laws.Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Irish loved to gamble online and the segment increased about 15% each year. Last year, with the coronavirus in full swing, the numbers jumped substantially and, with the introduction of live online casino games and live sports gambling, the online segment has skyrocketed in popularity. Online gambling is inarguably the future, looking down the road 20 to 30 years, but it’s never too early for casino operators to start preparing.Surprisingly, the U.S. ranks fifth in terms of per-capita gambling spend, even less than Finland. However, with a population of over 330 million, it’s the largest market available. $120 billion was spent on gambling in the country in 2019, while the Irish spent $2.7 billion through its population of less than five million.

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Guest Posts

Blueberries: Feed your brain

By Ken Adams:
How do you prepare for playing in the WSOP Main Event?  Everyone has their own ideas about what you can do to increase your chances of making a deep run.  If you think you can’t learn anything useful by studying Jamie Gold’s successful championship run in 2006, you are mistaken.   Whatever your opinion of Jamie’s poker skills, you would do well to copy his habit of snacking on blueberries throughout the long tournament days.
Your brain requires an enormous amount of energy.  And the fuel it consumes is glucose.  When it gets low on glucose, mental fatigue sets in.  When that happens, the speed and accuracy of your decision-making decreases.  So does your patience and self-control.
If you want to see some amazing proof of how mental fatigue reduces self discipline and decision-making ability, check out “Will Power; Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength” by Roy Baumeister, a research psychologist.  The book describes dozens of research projects like the classic marshmallow test, first done 50 years ago at Stanford University.  A child was seated at a table.  A marshmallow was placed on the table.  The child was told (s)he could eat the marshmallow any time (s)he wanted.  But if (s)he waited three minutes until the timer went off, (s)he could have two marshmallows.  Some children ate the marshmallow almost immediately.  Others struggled for a while but ended up eating it before the alarm went off.  Some succeeded in waiting the entire three minutes and were rewarded.  The latter group were then given a series of increasingly difficult puzzles to do, designed to create mental fatigue and frustration. Then they were given the marshmallow test again.  Almost none had the patience and self control to wait three minutes again before eating the marshmallow.
As time progressed, brain scanning technology gave neuroscientists the ability to observe changes within the brain during experiments like these.  They found that both physical and mental exertion reduce blood sugar, causing physical and mental fatigue including reduced patience, self discipline and decision-making ability.
Lest you think that playing in the WSOP Main Event does not cause mental fatigue, read the chapter in Baumeister’s book on “decision fatigue”.  He describes research experiments involving common consumer purchases like buying a car (which color do you want? Which engine? Which interior package? Etc. etc. etc.) or ordering a custom-made suit (which fabric? Solid, striped or plaid? Cuffs or plain?  Pleated or not?  Break or no break?  Single vent, double or none?  Three button or two?  Etc.)  Consistently, as the number of decisions and choices multiplies, the consumer’s patience declines and in the end, (s)he ends up deferring to whatever the salesman recommends.  That is why skilled car salesmen leave the most expensive options to last.  Experiments have shown that having to make a large number of decisions under time pressure consumes energy (glucose) and increases brain fatigue.
During the Main Event you will play five two-hour levels per day.  Assuming an average of four orbits per hour, you will be dealt about 400 hands.  Assuming you fold 300 of them before the flop, another 40 after the flop, and 40 after the turn, (with multiple betting decisions on some rounds), each day you will have to make at least 750 decisions whether to fold, call or raise (and if raise, how much), each in less than 60 seconds.  What can you do to reduce the extent to which fatigue (a) impairs the quality of your decision-making toward the end of the tournament day, and (b) reduces your self-discipline (making you more vulnerable to tilt)?
As documented in the research summarized in Baumeister’s book, the two most effective ways to counteract those effects are with sleep and glucose.  Since there is not much opportunity to sleep during the tournament day, the only option is to pay attention to your glucose (blood sugar) level.  You might think that the thing to do is eat candy, or swallow glucose tablets.  But quick hits of glucose to the brain produce short-lasting spikes of energy, followed by crashes, which is NOT what you need.  Instead, you want to maintain a steady intake of slower metabolizing sources of glucose, of which fruit and nuts are among the best examples.  Blueberries happen to be one of the best, according to Baumeister.  Which brings us back to Jamie Gold.
So if you want to emulate Jamie Gold’s 2006 results, get plenty of sleep each night and snack on blueberries during the day.  If you don’t win the tournament, at least it won’t be because your brain didn’t have enough energy to make good decisions.

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Baylor gonzaga Oddsshark Sports

March Madness odds: Gonzaga, Baylor lead pack


Odds courtesy of OddsShark.comThere are just two teams left in college basketball that are unbeaten, and they are the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs of the West Coast Conference and No. 2 Baylor Bears of the Big 12. Neither program has won a national championship in the sport, but they are the two clear favorites to cut down the nets on April 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Selection Sunday is March 14, with the First Four taking place on March 18.Gonzaga (+275) probably will reach the NCAA Tournament – which this season due to COVID is being played entirely in the greater Indianapolis area – unbeaten simply because the level of competition it faces in the WCC is rather weak overall. The Zags have two regular-season games left and both are at home: Thursday against Saint Mary’s and Saturday against San Diego. Gonzaga has won 47 straight games at home and 24 in a row overall dating to last season.The Bulldogs lead the nation in scoring (93.1 ppg) and shooting (55.1 percent). They are essentially a lock to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga reached the national title game in 2017 and lost to North Carolina. The Zags were the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA men’s basketball selection committee’s mock bracket reveal Saturday.Baylor (+300) has played a tougher schedule than Gonzaga simply because the Big 12 is so much better than the West Coast Conference – the Bears and Zags were supposed to play on December 5 at a neutral site but it was postponed for COVID reasons. Baylor hasn’t taken the court since February 2 due to COVID issues in the program. It reached the national title game way back in 1948 but lost to a powerhouse Kentucky team coached by the legendary Adolph Rupp.The Big Ten hasn’t had a national champion since Michigan State in 2000 but has four legitimate contenders this season in Michigan (+800), Illinois (+1300), Ohio State (+1400) and Iowa (+1600).The Wolverines returned Sunday from a nearly month-long COVID break and won at then-No. 21 Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes have arguably the country’s most dominant player in senior Luka Garza, who ranks first nationally in scoring at 24.5 ppg. Last season, Garza was recognized as the National Player of the Year by six national media outlets and certainly will get similar recognition this year.

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Articles Short Posts

Finding folds at the WSOP

Those who know my game well know I don’t particularly like to fold reasonably strong hands. While being a bit of a calling station works well against most good, aggressive players who almost always have at least some bluffs in their ranges, against weaker opponents who play blatantly straightforward and rarely bluff, calling down with good, but not amazing, hands can get you in a ton of trouble. This WSOP has provided me with numerous examples where I should simply lay down a hand to a weak, passive player that would be criminal to fold against someone with a balanced range.
The first example took place in a $1,500 WSOP event. The blinds were 25/25 and everyone had around 4,500 chips. I raised with Kc-Qd to 75 from middle position and both the small blind and big blind called. Both of my opponents were around 55 years old and had yet to take any sort of an aggressive betting line. The flop came Ks-Ts-6d. My opponents checked to me and I bet 150. Only the big blind called. The turn was the (Ks-Ts-6d)-2c. The small blind checked and I decided to bet 300 for value. To my surprise, he made it 1,000 with little thought. I reluctantly folded and he proudly showed me his Kh-Th.
While most good players could, and likely should, have flush draws and marginal made hands they decided to turn into bluffs in their range, a tight passive player is almost never bluffing. Knowing this, which hands would he realistically check raise large for value and, in his mind, protection? I imagine the worst hand he may think is a “premium” hand on this board would be K-J. If that is the worst possible hand he can have, K-Q is in awful shape. It is worth noting that you will occasionally fold the best hand but against his tight value range, K-Q is crushed. Even if he had a few premium draws in his range, K-Q still simply must be folded.  When your opponent’s range is almost entirely premium made hands, if you have a good, but not premium, made hand, you should usually fold.
Another hand came up a little while later in the same tournament. This time, the blinds were 150/300-25 with 15,000 effective stacks. A tight, passive player raised to 750 from the small blind and I elected to call in the big blind with Js-Tc. The flop came Jh-Jd-9h. My opponent bet 900 and I called. The turn was the (Jh-Jd-9h)-6c. He checked and I quickly tossed in 1,500, hoping to look as if I was trying to blatantly steal the pot. When he check raised to 4,000 with confidence, I assumed the way I put my chips in the pot induced him to run an optimistic bluff. I elected to call, hoping he would shove the river. The river was the (Jh-Jd-9h-6c)-8s. My opponent instantly went all-in for 9,000 and I called with little though, losing to his 6d-6s.
So, where did I go wrong? Some people may think I should have raised the flop for “protection” but if the opponent only has a few outs, you should not be concerned with getting outdrawn, especially if you suspect you will be able to extract an additional street of value later on the turn or river. I was also concerned that he would fold almost all hands worse than a 9 if I raised, which would be a disaster as I certainly want to keep him in the pot with various A and K high hands. Finally, I wasn’t entirely sure I could profitably get in 50 big blinds against this specific player if he elected to reraise on the flop.
I messed up badly on the turn. I thought he would view my splashy bet as a bluff whereas in reality, he probably wasn’t paying attention to how I put my chips in the pot in the least bit. If he had nothing, he would fold and if he had a good hand, he would call. It is as simple as that. I then compounded my error by assuming my opponent would lose his mind and attack my splashy bet, which he probably wasn’t even aware of. This made me think my opponent’s range consisted of almost entirely hands I crush. In reality, he simply has a J or better every time. When he instantly pushed on the nasty 8s river, which improved Q-T and J-8 to better hands, I should have found a fold because I lose to all value hands besides perhaps a vastly overplayed overpair. I leveled myself about as hard as possible.
I know that most players know to not pay off tight, passive players, but I seem to forget it from time to time. When someone who hasn’t put a chip in the pot in an aggressive manner all of a sudden wants to stick his whole stack in, you need an overly premium hand to continue. Don’t forget it.
If you are going to the WSOP, I strongly suggest you spend some time preparing. If you simply show up and expect to succeed, you are almost certain to fail. I recorded a six-hour long training series for you that explains all of the preparations I make in order to ensure I have the best chance to do well. I also discuss how to play with the wildly varying stacks you will be forced to play with at the WSOP. Check it out here: Jonathan Little’s WSOP Coaching Series
Thanks for reading and good luck in your games!
This article initially appeared in CardPlayer magazine.

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daniel negreanu Dara ‘Kearney David Lappin Doug Polk Poker Poker on Screen The Lock-In

Poker on Screen special: Polk guests on The Lock-In to break down Heads-Up victory


If you’ve never seen Dara O’Kearney and David Lappin hosting The Lock-In before, then you’ve already missed out on some of the best poker content that has been out there during your country’s version of lockdown.  If that’s the case, then head here for a more general look at The Lock-In and enjoy the whole canon. If you’re already a confirmed fan, however (guilty as charged), then this week’s detailed look at the action between Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu by the challenge’s winner – Polk if you’ve been living under a soundproofed rock at least a continent away from Las Vegas – is just for you.  In it, Doug Polk answers a range of questions from the Irish poker legends as he goes deep in terms of analysing his win and talking the boys and viewers through how he did it. Crib notes – it was a lot of hard work. In this episode of the Lock-In, it would be easy for Lappin and O’Kearney to simply gloat at Negreanu, especially as the Canadian six-time WSOP bracelet winner was both ignorant and disparaging in equal measure to their award-winning podcast when The Chip Race (presented by the Irish duo) was given due credit by their peers at The Global Poker Awards of 2019.   That they don’t is to their credit and the very reason why both The Chip Race and The Lock-In have become essential viewing over the last few years, with the questions both detailed and knowledgeable and the pace of the interview perfect for their subject, the eponymous Polk – to eulogise on exactly what went right and wrong.  There’s not a sausage in sight and Polk is refreshingly honest and open about how he structured his attack on Negreanu and in breaking down the closing half of the challenge, we learn a lot about how even the best heads-up online players stay at the level they’re at – hours and hours (and more hours) of work.  Polk’s success, of course, came to the tune of $1.2 million eventually, but that took a huge winning session in the last yards to mean a seven-figure win was confirmed and was done so with a modicum of humility by Polk. He was the player many saw as the aggressor early on, but opinions have rightly changed on that. Negreanu frequently believed that he played ‘perfect poker’, but Polk laughs at the very idea, admitting to making hundreds of errors as anyone would do in a massive heads-up challenge, even the best in the world.  Polk is honest enough to admit that should the heads-up game have been live, then he may have been a marginal dog in the fight, but between the three men, they go into some great detail around exactly why this kind of game would not have been totally to Negreanu’s advantage had it gone ahead. Of course, had the pair arranged to play 25,000 live hands of heads-up poker, it’s likely we would be covering it by the time Donald Trump runs for U.S. President again in 2024. Don’t shake your head; it could happen.  Polk is called ‘hyper aware of his weaknesses’ by David Lappin and in a complimentary fashion, which Polk responds to very well, taking the time to talk about ‘knowing what he doesn’t know’, and as he describes, he has always been perfectly prepared to look at solvers, analyse his play and be open enough to look at where he has been wrong. The more you watch of the episode, you more that you realise Polk’s strength in the challenge was actually to appreciate that every session is full of mistakes by both players and being ‘hyper-aware’ of that was the edge.  If you haven’t seen the hour-long special, then it’s essential viewing and can be viewed right here:  Doug Polk is pure gold throughout, but he’s helped more than adequately by two of the best presenters in poker. If only they weren’t so successful at the felt, we might be treated to O’Kearney and Lappin presenting the game on a more regular basis whenever live poker returns, because apart from high-beef content sausage proprietors, who wouldn’t watch them?  

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“It’s Not about the Money”


“You have to have ZERO respect for a dollar when you play tournament poker!”This was the advice I received after busting a recent tourney. I was venting/reviewing with a friend, who is a much better player with A LOT more experience, and he was quick to hit me with this line. We were going over a particular series of hands from the 300k GTD at the Winstar river series in which I went from nursing a short stack for hours, to a sudden heater that propelled me up to almost chip leader at the table. It was a 4-5 hands blitz that had me feeling pretty amazing, but then on the 6th hand a found myself in a gross spot that could have( and probably should have) resulted in getting those new found chips all in! As I discussed the hand history, I mentioned to him that I felt the urge to “save” the chips I had just finally acquired after so patiently waiting all day! He immediately was no longer concerned with the hand history and went right into questioning my mindset and bankroll. “If you want to be a great poker player, you have to have ZERO respect for a dollar when you play poker…as bad as it sounds, it’s true and unfortunately, that’s why so many people become degenerates!” Yikes, straight to the point and brutally honest, but exactly I needed to hear! Suddenly, this seemingly basic hand history review had turned into an explosion of questions about the inner workings of my game! Why was I fearful to lose those chips? Had I been playing scared?“Different kind of playing scared!”The hand history itself was past around and I received several different viewpoints on it, but to this day, I’m still unsure what the correct play was lol So I think I’ll save that for another post, as the more important point was made, maybe THE most important point of my whole poker career!?Have I been letting the “money” effect my decisions?I think we’ve all heard that phrase about being numb to the money in poker. Win or lose, you can’t let the thought of what that money means to you in the real world influence your decisions at the table. All that should matter in the moment is making the correct play. If you bust, you bust. If it’s a tourney you just re-buy or play the next flight. In a cash game you simply reload at the table and move on the the next hand. It’s just standard practice for almost every player I know, myself included. Hell a few times I’ve witnessed friends fire over 10 bullets at a single tournament, with buy-ins ranging from $150 to $1650! I’ve also watched as they reach into their backpacks for another brick of hundreds after getting stacked for the 5th or 6th time. While I’m sure it seems absurd to most normal people,(and it should be) unfortunately for us poker players, that’s kinda just the way it goes sometimes. We chalked it up to variance, running bad, or being unlucky. We just call it a “standard” part of the game and move on. We aren’t being degens, the run bad is REAL, right?! lol“Nah, it’s definitely about the money…”Seriously who burns all that money!? lol Don’t listen to the Joker up there, its always about the money! Well of course, being the best poker player you can be should be the ultimate goal for any seriously player (Sending a message? lol). Hmmm, so I guess for poker players, this quote should say something like “Send them the message; It IS about the money! ” So by showing your skills as a player, you plan on beating them and taking their money!? lol;) All joking aside, at the end of the day, it’s about making money. It’s what makes the poker economy go round! If you play professionally, you need to be earning and saving money to support yourself and possibly your family. You can’t be blowing through 10 buy-ins every weekend, when that money could have been your mortgage payment! It may not be as serious for you if you’re a recreational player, but not making money still means you’re not WINNING and what’s the point of competing if you can’t WIN? So no matter Pro or Rec player, the question becomes; What separates a typical “poker player” and from being a true Gambler. Where do we draw the line? Are we being financially irresponsible or making sound poker decisions?!“Every beginning has an end…”After continuing to hear my friends advice repeat in my head every time I’ve sat down to play since that day lol I realized I had to take a l hard look in the mirror and ask myself; Am I a poker player or am I a DEGEN? I mean I like to think I’m still pretty tame compared to a lot of players out there. Never being THAT out of control, but I’ve clearly made my share of mistakes. I’ve re-bought when I knew I shouldn’t, I’ve played above my means, played in bad games, played too many games at once, etc. You name it, I’m sure I’ve done it at some point, but at least I’m finally here asking, why did I do it? Have I been making the correct plays every time and just getting unlucky or have I been blind to my errors and just convinced myself what i was doing was “standard” !? Why it has taken me this long to really stop and think about it!? To realize something needs to change?So many questions and only one answer comes to my mind…Bankroll Management. The problem and the solution are the same. For me, sound decision making in poker starts with sound Bank Roll Management. Also it’s the only real thing I can control to prove to myself that I’m a winning player. So in the next post I’ll discuss general bankroll management strategies, outline my plan, and officially kick off my Intertops Bankroll Challenge.Run GoodTimPS: use promo code TOK2017 with the link to help build you’re Roll!

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