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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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Uncategorized

GGPoker Adds More Variety to No-Strings-Attached “Daily Freebie” Promotion

Verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day.One of the most popular promotions for low stakes players on GGPoker has been further expanded.

During the software update on February 10, the Daily Free Spin promotion changed to Daily Freebie. Furthermore, UK players can now also claim the daily gift for a chance to boost their bankrolls.

All players, both existing and new, just need to have verified accounts and log in each day to claim their gift, which lets plays play real money tournaments—and compete for real money cash prizes.

The update has expanded what is given away. Now, there are Daily Freebie tickets for Flip & Go, the super-successful new format introduced in January 2021. It has also undergone some changes since its launch, with GGPoker increasing the frequency and adjusting the buy-ins as well as the maximum number of stacks for purchase.

“GGPoker is happy to confirm that we’ve relaunched our Daily Free Spin offer as the Daily Freebie; verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day. All they need to do is log in and claim their daily reward!” said Paul Burke, Head of Public Relations at GGPoker.

“We hope to continue to change up the rewards on offer in the future, giving all players the opportunity to try out GGPoker’s most exciting games, no matter their bankroll.”

For existing players, Daily Freebie is available immediately—just log in and claim.

If you haven’t yet signed up, you can do so today and enjoy the promotion as soon as you have verified your account. You can also take advantage of all of GGPoker’s generous welcome bonuses.

How the GGPoker Daily Freebie Promotion Works

The operator has seen unprecedented growth in 2020 to become one of the leading online poker platforms for tournaments and cash games. GGPoker has achieved that with a plethora of promotions, innovations, and high-profile partnerships. Their continued success has led to a record $7.5 million in promotions given away in February 2021.

One of several promotions for players with smaller bankrolls is the Daily Freebie formerly the Daily Free Spin.

This was launched on September 7, 2020. It has given verified players the opportunity to claim one $0.25 Spin & Gold ticket every day ever since. The free ticket courtesy of GGPoker continues to be available under the new name three times per week—*but this rotates with other ticket types.*

Players can see the next six upcoming Daily Freebies listed under the “My Promo” tab. A new daily gift becomes available after each daily reset at midnight Pacific time. Each ticket will continue to feature an expiration date of 24 hours once the Daily Freebie has been awarded.

The current rotation of Daily Freebie is fixed for the time being. However, GGPoker hopes “to change the daily prizes on a semi-regular basis,” according to Burke. He also hinted at a strong possibility that the Daily Freebie will include the alternative currencies C$ or T$ sometime soon.

Newly included as a prize in the Daily Freebie is a $1 Spin & Gold ticket, which can be claimed once per week. Furthermore, five $0.05 Flip & Go tickets are up for grabs three times per week, giving players the chance at trying the new tournament format free of charge.

As a mixture between a Flipout and regular tournament, Flip & Go was launched on January 12, 2021. However, it only took a few days for the first tweaks to be made. Initially slated to take place once every hour, it was soon increased to once every 30 minutes.

The buy-ins were also adjusted and the lowest available stake was increased to $0.05 with a guarantee of $50. Players can now take a shot at their own leisure three times per week and enter this lowest tier with five stacks thanks to the Daily Freebie.

Upon launch, the Flip & Go featured a maximum of 10 entries for each of the four stakes. However, that number has been adjusted recently and the stacks for purchase are now capped at a maximum of eight. This makes the bonus stacks based on the holdings during the Flipout stage more valuable in comparison.

The overall feedback for the new tournament format has been very positive, as outlined by Burke.

“Players love it! We have been very pleasantly surprised by the positivity seen across almost all feedback, of course not all players are interested in a new game type but those who have tried it have mostly good things to say about Flip & Go. We’ve also received some constructive criticism, which is also valuable.”

Further tweaks to the Flip & Go format may very well possible, as GGPoker is constantly reviewing and optimizing its schedule. One such adjustment was made with the expansion of the popular Daily GGMasters earlier in February.

The changes to the Daily Freebie promotion went live on February 10. All verified GGPoker players in eligible countries can claim their daily gift under the “My Promo” tab after each daily reset.

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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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problemgambling

My Confession: Male, Age 21 (AUSTRALIA)


Let me give you some valuable background info first: I live at home with my Dad & my girlfriend (she’s between houses). They’re both my best friends. I am currently going through a chronic pain type disorder that appeared in both wrists & forearms since July 2020. In & out of appointments/checks every fortnight. I am unable to do much in my day, it hurts to do normal things in my day – so I am unable to work or study anymore. Painkillers are not helping. Thursday was the day, the day I basically lost my entire life savings. Since then, I’ve been using every single dollar I can get my hands on to recover this loss & I’m sure you know where I’m at now. $8 in debt & unemployed with no income. But how did I get here? I got caught gambling when I was 17/18, lost all my money then too but it was less than $1000 (my Dad was the only one who knew). Since then, I vowed to never gamble again & I didn’t until 2 weeks ago. My Dad & I were watching the cricket & he placed a $100 multi (he rarely gambles) & won $450. We both thought this was great so I put in $50 myself for the next game. I ended up losing $25 & won it back in the darts later on. I then decided to move on & not do any more as my girlfriend of 2 years (the one I’ll marry) did not approve of me gambling again. So I stopped – until my Dad persuaded me to lie & just gamble anyway behind her back. It was innocent losses, $5-$10 here & there for the next 2 weeks. It wasn’t until last week, the day after my girlfriend’s birthday, that everything went downhill. She had to work Wed & Thu which left me to be alone for 2 days. I was very down in the dumps & just felt like I had all this money & didn’t use it (which is the stupidest thing ever, I know). So I started gambling on the races. With high $1000 bets & spent hours & hours, got up $10k then back down to $5k before I bet my whole bank to get back where I started at $15k. I stopped, went in my room & realised what I did, I almost lost my ENTIRE bank. Did I stop there? Nope, you guessed it. Eventually, one thing led to another & now I’m $15k down & $9 in debt. I confessed everything to my girlfriend & Dad on Thursday. Which they were both very supportive. I had $2000 in my bank then & said I’d stop. But I didn’t, Iost $1500 yesterday & $500 today. So yes in $9 debt. Although I do not have an addiction (oddly enough I studied psychology for 2 years before this chronic pain stopped me), I have definitely fallen into the trap of gambling once again & I only risked losing my last $2000 to not win the money back, but rather I looked at it as an outlet to make money so I can provide my girlfriend & I with a future. But this was such a bad mindset to approach everything. $9 in debt. I am stopping here. I vow to, right here, right now. I have not told my girlfriend or Dad about the last $2000, but I think I will hang onto this one for now as I can make that back in selling some of my collectables that have been collecting profit over the years. So thank god for that at least. Additionally, I may receive a pension for my condition so if that’s approved, must lock my money away. I had to get all this out & it has put me in an awful lot of PHYSICAL pain to even write this due to my chronic pain condition. I don’t expect anyone to read this all as this is rather for me. Thank you. C. submitted by /u/codesfrost [comments]

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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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News

Updates, Recaps and New Challenges


Wow, it’s really easy to slack on updating this blog!Haha Usually it’s the writers block or fear of making myself look even dumber than I am, but at least this time it’s because too much exciting stuff has been happening to know where to start! (ok, maybe still a little bit slackin’ lol) Between live tourney events, Intertops St Maarten satelites, Youtube additions and training changes, it’s been a hectic few weeks! So I figured a few quick updates are in order to catch everyone up to speed before we get any further along!WPT ChoctawWell first off I have to congratulate my good buddy Kamran Munaf for his insane run in the WPT main at Choctaw! Kam crushed souls the entire event, being in the top five chip counts for nearly the entire tournament! He had some good swings but overall just consistently added to his massive stack every level. His epic run came to a brutal ending though, when he bubbled the unofficial final table, finishing 10th. There were a couple HUGE hands that really wiped him out when they were down to the last two tables and there wasn’t much he could do after that. While I’m sure he’s dissappointed in not winning it all, it was a GREAT run and I expect him to be back in that spot soon to redeem himself! Hopefully we can get him in on the blog and Youtube channel to go over some of that experience!Intertops Poker now on YouTubeSpeaking of YouTube, Intertops and I are going to be doing a lot more with our channel to promote and grow the site. I will be doing some videos of the current tournament series running right now at my local casino, Winstar. The Winstar River series is a good size yearly event that brings in a lot of players from all over Texas and Oklahoma. With a 2 million dollar guaranteed prize pool for the Main Event, it’s been know to also have it’s share of big name pros swing through as well! They also have poker pro Maria Ho being the events sponsored player for added media attention. They run satellites all month leading up to a handful of events right around Memorial day. Hopefully I can scoop up a few of the cheaper satellites and free-roll the whole series! I would happy just giving the Main Event a real shot, but either way I’m gonna try and get some good highlights to share!Still 2Skinny…As far as the Fitness challenge goes, overall I’m still happy with what I’ve done so far, but still have some stuff to improve on for sure. I’ve managed to get from 144lbs to about 155lbs in about 3 months, so I’m happy with that for sure, but Ideally I would like to get back to about 170lbs before I’m really satisfied. I’ve been on point with my training around my Sciatic nerve/Piriformis issue, enough so that I’ve actually gone right back into a “normal” training routine. While I’m still dealing some some pain and needing to modify certain exercises, it still feels really good to be able to get back into that zone with training. There’s just something about being on a planned out exercise routine that seems to center me, and carry over positively to all other aspects of my life. There’s been a few “hiccups”, especially with traveling for the WPT Choctaw, but I suppose that’s to be expected. The consistency is really the biggest thing, with nutrition on Tournament days in particular, but sometimes you just gotta make due with what you have and focus on Poker lol. (Plus fried chicken N waffles are an AMAzing comfort food after busting out late in a tournament! lol)Intertops St MaartenLast and not least of course is the Intertops St Maarten WSOP circuit satellites going on right now! Last Sunday we gave away the first seat and some lucky winner is on their way to play the WSOPc main event! If they can pull themselves away from the beach that is! We are giving away a few more seats, and the next round has already started! Win your way to this dream package from as little as 3 Bucks!! The next event is going to be Sunday the 27th, so be sure to hit the tables now to get ready! Intertops and TKPT run one of the most entertaining series down there and you don’t want to miss this one! I hope to see you there!Run Good!TimPS that Intertops player XXGlorynbaes in the feature Photo! He was my dealer a few times for WPT Choctaw! Small World! lol

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Guest Posts

Live Open Face Chinese Poker

Lessons I’ve Learned at the World Championship
by Jennifer Shahade
The two-time US women’s chess champion, and PokerStars Mind Sports Ambassador Jennifer Shahade admits that her biggest highlight of this poker season was winning the TonyBet Open Face Chinese World Championship High Roller event. Not only was it the biggest live buy-in she ever played, it was also the biggest cash prize of her career.
Since the event was streamed live, the recorded video footage allowed Jennifer to analyze her own game and use it to teach others about OFC poker. In this piece Jennifer shares her thoughts on two hands she played during the tournament and looks at them in more detail.

At this point of the tournament I had Jason Mercier and Marek Kolk as my opponents. Jason is a really good player under pressure, he has a lot of experience. In Open Face Chinese I think he plays a bit more conservatively than average. Jason is also extremely dangerous under new formats and new situations, as he can adjust very quickly, being used to that from high stakes mixed games.
So considering many of the players were not as used to tournament format that could give Jason an edge. I didn’t know as much about Marek Kolk though from the few hands I played with him, he seemed more on the aggressive side and willing to take risks when it’s close, so he and Jason were presenting two very different aspects of the game here.
Just like in other forms of poker, sometimes a more conservative line and a more aggressive line can have similar equity, so in Open Face it’s about trying to figure out when your style is interfering with the correct mathematical choice. I’m not sure where I lie on the spectrum – I think I’m pretty good, of course. Though if I had to identify a leak in this respect, I’d say I am probably a bit too conservative/straightforward when my hand is bad.
When talking about this particular hand, I definitely would have played Queen on top, 2, 3 in the middle and 7, 4 in the back first to act, as Marek did. I can’t see another way to set my hand: 2, 4 in the middle and J, 5, 5 at the bottom seems totally standard, the jack is the perfect kicker for the back.
As for Jason’s hand, anyone who watches my Run It Once videos knows how partial I am to pairs over three-flushes. With all of the kings, tens and sixes live, I’d consider K, K, 6 in the back, ten in the middle and ace up top. Believe it or not we are over 50% to make a boat or quads in this spot, which sounds outrageous, but makes sense when you consider how it’s rather unusual that all of our kings and kickers are live.
It’s also very nice that our other kicker is so live too so we’ll make two pair in the middle quite comfortably. Of course his set is very well designed for fantasyland, though I think my way gets there quite often as well.
I think Marek’s hand was shaping up poorly compared to our hands. Presumably, he did not get a diamond, and Jason was very likely to complete his flush. Meanwhile, all my jacks and fives were live too, and there were still three aces live at the time, so he decided it was time to gamble.
I think I’d play it the same way though I don’t know his discard on the crucial pull where he decided to gamble for Fantasy Land.
I think the value of Fantasy Land is slightly less in three-handed play. As I discuss in my Run It Once videos, however, I think that in three-handed it’s also a little easier to get to it because we will have more information about which kickers will be live and which will be dead.
Whether or not to go for Fantasy late in the game is often a pure math problem! It became a bit more complex in the tournament format with short stacks though I normally believed that if I had a relatively short stack, it was even more profitable to gamble for Fantasy.
It’s also very relevant as to which position we’ll be in when we come out of Fantasy Land. It’s not that important to see our opponent’s first five cards when we set a Fantasy hand, it will only occasionally change our set. However, it’s quite important if we can find ourselves on the button after getting out of Fantasy, rather than “wasting” our button while we are in Fantasy.
A very important factor to consider before playing a live Open Face Chinese poker event is one’s physical and mental preparation. Because you have to play each and every hand, it is very different from Hold’em tournaments.
I had an event in London the day before the OFC High Roller, and I wasn’t confident that I’d be rested enough to play the 10K High Roller. I ended up changing my seat from an aisle to a window the night before, and slept the entire flight. If not for that, maybe I wouldn’t have ended up playing and taking home the biggest cash of my career and the belt!
I was so energized to be in beautiful Prague, and just before sundown, I texted my friend Warren Lush to see what he was up to and how the High Roller was going. He encouraged me to come out and play and I rushed to the tournament. All in all, a great example of the butterfly effect for me.
I also had a wonderful time at the tournament – I’d never played a so-called “High Roller” before, though I’d played 10Ks in Main Events, this was quite different. I noticed that ironically, the atmosphere was more informal and relaxed. I also thought the staff did an exceptional job, especially considering how late the tournament ran. And the food was amazing at Kings Casino, I’ll always remember the steak and champagne I had after winning. I’m missing Prague already!

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