The WSOP 2015 complete schedule revealed

It is never too early to prepare for a tournament of the same magnitude as the World Series of poker, with poker professionals and amateurs anxiously waiting for the official dates. Everyone knows that the tournament starts somewhere at the end of May and concludes in early July, but some events are more important than the other. The highroller competitions, the charitable tournaments and the main event were the ones that players were particularly interested in.The WSOP 2015 complete schedule revealed

Now that the complete schedule has been revealed for WSOP 2015, prospective players should only boost their bankrolls and make sure they don’t have a conflicting schedule. Obviously, the competition will be once again organized by the famous Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino which has been the host for the tournament in the last decade. The main event will set players back $10,000 but last year the winner took home $10 million, so it was obviously a smart investment.

It all begins on May 27 and the last hand will be dealt on July 14, but the winner of the main event will be decided in November. Jamie gold remains the biggest winner so far, with $12 million to his name, but over the last couple of years there were some who came pretty close in terms of money won. There will be a few new tournaments introduced in 2015 and the Colossus is the one that will appeal mostly to beginners and those who hope to get rich without breaking the bank.

It has a guaranteed prize pool of $5 million, which is a lot of money by any standards and players will only have to buy in for $565. More key dates will be announced as the competition draws near, but meanwhile the most important six tournaments have been set in stone:

Event Date Buy-in
Millionaire Maker June 5/6 $1,500 ($1 million guaranteed to winner)
Monster Stack June 12/13 $1,500
Seniors Championship June 19 $1,000
Ladies Championship June 25 $10,000 (90% discount for ladies)
ONE DROP High Roller June 28 $111,111
Little One for ONE DROP June 30 $1,111

2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific Main Event trophy goes to Scott Davies

The last major tournament at the 2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific was the main event and this year it brought together a total of 329 players. The number is impressive given the fact that each of them had to pay $10,000 to sit down at the tables, but the first prize of $850,000 was a strong incentive. Organizers saw their expectations exceeded when the prize pool surged above AU$3 million and it took three days for the field to be reduced to a final table of six players.

thepokergrindScott Davies was one of those who traveled the distance to participate in the Australian tournament, as there are no prominent events this time of the year in the United States. The 2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific Main Event was once again dominated by Australian players, who were anxiously waiting for this event and the Aussie Millions scheduled for early February. Every year, hundreds of them buy-in and it comes as no surprise that the final table is populated by local players.

2014 was slightly different, because even though there were many Australians at the tables in the first two days, only one of them made it to the final table. His adventure here was rather brief, with Ang Italiano being sent to the rail in the sixth place, but for his performance he won a prize of AU$118,000. There were three Americans left and at this point it was very likely that one of them would win the competition, but the calculations changed radically after two of them were eliminated in a quick succession.

On the bright side, Scott Davies was the main beneficiary of the two Americans being sent to the rail as he consolidated his stack with their chips and had a competitive advantage over Henry Wang and Jack Salter. The Taiwanese player couldn’t hold on to his stack and was eliminated during three handed play, leaving Salter to fight an uphill battle. He couldn’t beat the crushing odds and was sent to the rail shortly after, but he received a nice paycheck of AU$516,000.

If you want to hear more about what happened in the stages preceding the final table check out the article at Meanwhile, this is how the top six players finished the tournament and the prizes they collected at the 2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific Main Event:

1 Scott Davies USA $850,136
2 Jack Salter England $516,960
3 Henry Wang Taiwan $343,805
4 Kyle Montgomery USA $231,287
5 Frank Kassela USA $164,089
6 Ang Italiano Australia $118,769

Palm Beach Kennel Club won by Tristan Wade

US residents are still waiting on the legislators to pass favorable poker laws but for the time being playing over the Internet is still illegal. Three states make the exception to the rule, with Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey allowing local residents to compete online. Elsewhere, players have no choice but to settle for live tournaments hosted by brick-and-mortar casinos, such as the Palm Beach Kennel Club in Florida.pokergrind

This was the place where a total of 303 players bought in for $1675 each, hoping to win the first prize in the main event. The winner was expected to take home a six digit amount but also the coveted WSOP rings, which explains why so many poker professionals decided to attend this event. Among those who paid the buy-in out-of-pocket were several of those who anticipated in the World Series of Poker earlier this year and all of them are loyal fans of the circle.

Unfortunately for them, the competition proved to be extremely difficult and all of them were eliminated before making the final table. Among those who made it this far, Tristan Wade was by far the most successful, with a significant advantage over the pack. One by one, his competitors were eliminated, starting with Chance Kornuth who had won the main event in the past and participated in all previous editions. The fact that he was sent to the rail relatively early was not exactly a surprise, since he was struggling with a short stack that and had to commit all his chips with a mediocre hand.

Only 10% of the total field of players made the money and the reward for reaching the final table consisted of $9800, more than a consolation prize. Mike Dentale and Nathan Bjerno were two of those who brought loads of experience at the tables but none of them made a deep run and finished just outside the paid places. Among the favorites to win the tournament were Zo Karim and David Diaz, but only the latter survived long enough in the final table as to make the heads-up phase.

It was obvious that he was going to fight an uphill battle as Tristan had significantly more chips, but they did put up quite a fight. He had no choice but to take a leap of faith with a coin flip that didn’t go as planned, leaving him in second with $66,000 to his name. The winner worn 40,000 more, a significant difference and he also receive the WSOP circuit ring. Check out the final standings below:

Place Player Hometown Prize
1 Tristan Wade Boynton Beach, FL $106,806
2 David Diaz Memphis, TN $66,039
3 Thomas Midena Brooklyn, MI $47,963
4 Kristopher Bradshaw Scottville, MI $35,428
5 Zo Karim Orlando, FL $26,597
6 Will Souther Biloxi, MS $20,284
7 Chance Kornuth Las Vegas, NV $15,712
8 Benjamin Zetina West Palm Beach, FL $12,353
9 Philip Consolo Miami Shores, FL $9,858

Full Tilt Poker split massive $100,000 jackpot

In early July, when Full Tilt Poker announced the introduction of the Jackpot Sit-and-Gos, tournament players jumped at the opportunity of striking it rich overnight. They were only supposed to pay $10 to participate in these events, while the winner was guaranteed an amount of $10,000, with the runner-up getting $3000 and the one in third place having to settle for $2000.grind

A young female poker player from Russia was the first winner of the jackpot and her story inspired others to play in these tournaments. The rules are identical to the ones players are so comfortable with in regular sit ‘n goes, with the only difference being that if the table turns purple, you know that the stakes have risen considerably. The Russian players outshined her competitors and declined the terms of any deal, which meant that she got the lion’s share for being the last one standing.

More recently, Full Tilt Poker added the $50 Jackpot Sit-and-Gos which are basically following the same format, only award much more money. The top prize stands at $100,000 and instead of the regular payout structure, the winner will collect $75,000 of the money, with the second place receiving $15,000. Finishing in the third place will get you $10,000 which is not exactly a consolation prize, even though it is hard not to be a bit sad for missing out on a rare opportunity to win $75k.

There is of course a third way as to Australian players recently proof, by striking a deal when they were the last men standing. It took them a while to eliminate a player from Austria who eventually bowed out of the competition in the third place and received $10,000. Since the two Aussies were evenly matched and the game could’ve gone either way, they chose to use the software provided by the poker room to split the pot evenly.

The two players use the nicknames of “FdotFloss” and “SirSion”, but even though these names don’t say a great deal about the players behind them, they will be remembered for a while by Full Tilt members. It goes without saying that they are not going to be the last two players to win a five digit amount competing for the $100,000 jackpot. For every 100k hands played, the poker room will award three jackpots and at the rate the sit ‘n goes are playing here, it won’t take long before we have a new winner.

The Poker Hall of Fame awaits new nominations

There are plenty of ways to rank poker pros and the Global Poker Index has its very own leaderboard, featuring the most successful tournament players. They have a great algorithm for distinguishing between players and their rankings are widely accepted as some of the most relevant ones. It is far more difficult to keep track of what players do at cash game tables, which makes it even more complicated to come up with a relevant list.pokergrind

The Poker Hall of Fame is clearly the most reliable way of ranking players as it features the all-time greatest, with the number currently standing at 46. Two more players are expected to join them at the end of August and there are plenty of strong competitors for 2014. The nominations have already begun and those who wonder which are the top candidates, should head on to the official website where the names have already been posted

Contrary to popular belief, it is not exclusively poker professionals that decide who gets into the Poker Hall of Fame and regular fans have their say. Obviously, it will be the former who will reach the definitive conclusion, but this doesn’t mean that it is not worth casting a vote. Keep in mind the fact that for players to be eligible for a place in the Hall of Fame, they need to be at least 40 years old and have a decently long career behind them.

At least in theory it is possible for those who play almost exclusively over the Internet to be admitted, even though personal success is harder to track online. Furthermore, people who are not actually poker players can aspire for such a position, but only if they make a significant contribution to poker. There are only a handful of such examples, with the vast majority of Hall of Famers being well-known poker pros.

Daniel Negreanu and Gus Hansen have recently turned 40, which means that they are perfect candidates for the honor. It makes little difference that the Canadian is equally successful online and at live poker tables, while the Danish player lost a lot of money over the Internet. Both of them spent a lot of time promoting the game by personal example or by getting involved in various campaigns.

The last two players to enter the Hall of Fame were Tom McEvoy and Scotty Nguyen, with the latter being nominated before. Among those who are already celebrated are Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, which also happen to be the most successful three players at the World Series of Poker. Phil leads the list with 13 bracelets, followed by Brunson and Chan with ten, although Doyle is unlikely to win another one, as he announced his intention to retire from the WSOP.

Highroller goes on to sue UK based casino

Every day, ambitious poker players step into brick-and-mortar casinos hoping to score a big win and the vast majority of them leave empty-handed. A couple win and return the next day to repeat the cycle, but even those who find themselves on the opposite end of success, don’t make a big deal of it. The reason for why they accept defeat so easily is that they act in a reasonable manner and realize the fact that the odds are stacked against them, therefore it is not surprising to lose.

Highroller goes on to sue UK based casino

On the other hand, there are highrollers who venture huge amounts and who take any form of gambling very seriously. Regardless of how much money they’ve got, they find it difficult to leave the establishment with a smile on their face, especially when they have some suspicions about the fairness of the game. Whenever something like this happens, they turn to offensive and on rare occasions they even sue the casino, in an attempt of reversing the outcome.

Iraj Parvizi is one of the highrollers who considers himself cheated by a land-based casino in the United Kingdom, one that goes by the name of Les Ambassadeurs. The player has very clear demands, as he claims €10 million to be reimbursed, because the casino allegedly failed to ensure the fairness of the game. He took his case to court and now hopes that the judge will conclude that the gambling venue is responsible for a scheme ran by Craig Stevens.

If we are to believe the Dubai highroller, this guy was in cahoots with some masseuses who went behind the players back to signal some of their opponents. They caught a glimpse at their cards and then revealed this information to opponents, which resulted in significant losses for the ones who got tricked. The last time Iraj Parvizi stepped into the aforesaid casino, he lost just €200,000, but he suspects that this scheme has been going on for weeks if not months and he lost a lot of money due to this fraud.

Only time will tell whether the judge will find his claim to be correct or will dismiss it on spot, the fact remains that the conflict is ongoing. Until the matter is resolved, other highrollers might think twice before stepping inside that casino, even if they don’t fully trust the Dubai player. The house has the certain edge over players and there is no reason to increase it by exposing yourself to unnecessary risks.

Obviously, this is a two-way street, because land-based casinos have no hesitations in suing poker players or gamblers when they suspect foul play. Phil Ivey has spent a lot of time in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons recently, after he was exposed by Borgata casino as a baccarat cheat. The poker player claims that he didn’t do anything illegal and simply took advantage of a loophole, created by the card manufacturer Gemaco.

Tens of thousands won in the PokerStars SCOOP series

Online poker tournaments are not only glamorous but also surprisingly affordable and even the main event is within reach for most grinders. The best part of these events is that those who are truly interested in participating, have plenty of time on their hands to secure a seat. Qualifiers run live many weeks and sometimes months ahead, with prominent poker companies such as PokerStars keeping players up to date via newsletters and e-mail campaigns.

The PokerStars SCOOP series is the equivalent of the World Series of Poker when it comes to online games and tens of thousands of players attend this event every year. It lasts only one week, but there are plenty of side events that don’t set players back more than a double-digit amount. The main event is the one that attracts poker professionals and Mike Watson, Scott Seiver and Phil Galfond were among those who participate in this year.pokergrind

The beauty of running online tournaments is that you are not limited to a handful of tables and the organizers can accommodate as many players as they like. Furthermore, Texas hold’em is not the only version of poker on the menu, with Omaha, single draw 2-7 and even HORSE events a working serious prizes. The best proof that these side events are immensely popular with poker professionals is that Scott Seiver participated in the $2,100 Single Draw 2-7.

He is an all-around poker player with plenty of hours spent at this type of poker, so it came as no surprise that he outshined all his competitors. He won $37,000 while the runner-up received a paycheck of $25,000, a nice return on investment for a tournament that was attended by several professionals. Alex Luneau was one of those who barely recuperated his investment, but since he played at cash game tables while being involved in the main event, he ended up raking a profit of more than $100,000.

The $2,100 Omaha Hi/Lo tournament was the best paying event for this type of poker and the winner is a relatively unknown player. The only information that transpired in the media is that he uses “aless_84” for screen name and that he had no problem in eliminating more experienced opponents. George Danzer lasted long enough to make the final table and the heads-up stage, but he was no match for this ambitious opponent and had to accept a paycheck to $45,000.

The same amount was paid by those who participated in Event 18 which is also known as the NLHE Turbo Knockout. What made this tournament special is that a record number of players participated, so the winner ended up winning $143,000. On this particular occasion, the most successful player was not an amateur or someone using an unknown screen name, but poker professional Niki Jedlicka. He made a formidable comeback in 2014 and it looks like his hot streak is far from ending.

Germans dominate PokerStars Sunday events

Europeans are not surprisingly some of the best online poker players, for the simple reason that Americans are still battling unfavorable legislation. Scandinavians have emerged as some of the most prolific players and PokerStars but Eastern European such as Romanians and Russians are coming strongly from behind. This doesn’t mean that Germans are pushovers, in fact the most recent Sunday events remind everyone that these guys are well-versed in the art of playing poker.Germans dominate PokerStars Sunday events

The PokerStars Sunday Million attracted more than 8000 players and just a bit over 1000 were expected to finish in the money, so the competition was intense. Add to this the fact that there were plenty of poker professionals at the start of the event, including Marcel Luske, Joe Cada, Mickey Petersen, Martin Hruby and Liv Boeree to name but a few. The bottom line is that competition was intense and this makes it even more impressive that a relatively unknown player from Germany won the big prize.

One by one the aforementioned professionals were eliminated from the competition and with the final table drawing close, players shifted to a more cautious style of poker. The final table began with four players standing at the top of the list and three of them made a deep run, but only with two players remaining a deal was made. “icebearrr” from Germany got most of the money and in a matter of hands he also won the tournament, while this was how the final structure of the tournament:

  1. icebearrr – $226,316
  2. bluet0m89 – $190,203
  3. ultimateturn – $120,150
  4. vindog03 – $80,740
  5. db10ISgod – $64,080
  6. pendo71 – $48,060
  7. BC_Pres – $32,040
  8. 133850526 – $18,423
  9. VinceVegaMFR – $12,415

On the same day, the poker company hosted another major tournament, which despite starting as the Cinderella of Sunday events is now immensely popular. It goes by the name of PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up and once again it attracted over 3500 participants, with more Germans making the final nine. Once again, the players who made the final table were anxious to cause the untimely elimination of their opponents and there were many collateral victims.

Slowly but surely, the remaining players contemplated the possibility of a deal, but no agreement was reached. This left Konstantinos “arxigos” Nanos with no choice but to play even more aggressively and in the end the strategy paid off because he crushed the competition. He was the only one to collect a six digit amount, while the rest had to settle for the amounts listed below:

  1. Konstantinos “arxigos” Nanos – $112,098
  2. 7Be/\eC7 – $83,538
  3. XXDH1983 – $58,905
  4. HeroCall123 – $41,055
  5. vicwellsuk – $30,345
  6. LeBroHbKA -$23,205
  7. pasty71 – $16,065
  8. nickym998 – $8,925
  9. Mix0 Mi – $5,712

Play speculative hands with value bets

Suited connectors don’t have any sort of showdown value unless you have A-K and you are quite certain that your opponent is bluffing. The very idea of reaching the showdown with ace high is demoralizing, but on some rare occasions it is possible to win even with such cards. Suited connectors are not supposed to be played for their intrinsic value, but for their potential of evolving into something unbeatable.


There is no point in hoping to make a straight flush because the odds of something like that to happen are remote. The good news is that all you need is a straight or flush to prevail on most occasions and suited connectors keep you entitled to hope for such an outcome. These starting hands can be played from all positions but it is always preferable to be dealt suited connectors from the cutoff or button.

From these two positions, you can play them aggressively pre-flop which has a two-pronged effect. On one hand you might steal the blinds right there or at least eliminate some of the limpers who chose to call just to see the board. On the other, by disguising your suited connectors with a pre-flop raise, you make it much more difficult for opponents to put you on a straight or flush draw on the flop.

Flopping the flush or straight is the best case scenario and the right thing to do is to act in the same manner you did pre-flop. You don’t want to scare other players away, but at the same time you need to make it hard for them to put you on this monster hand. A continuation bet will have a good chance of receiving a call and not even a raise should be ruled out, as players will try to test the strength of your hand. With a smartly sized the value bet on the turn you can get the opponent pot committed on the river.

As stated above, this is the best case scenario and it is called so for a reason, as most suited connectors completely miss the flop. If this happens, you should back off and hope for the next opportunity instead of investing more in a pot that is obviously going nowhere. Another situation worth analyzing is that when these speculative hands have the potential of improving to a flush or straight, on a favorable board.

Drawing for gutshot straights is not profitable on the long run but if you have an open ended one it is worth firing another bullet. Assuming you raised pre-flop, a bet or a raise are in order, but if you chose to simply call the blinds, you could stick to this passive approach. A block bet is also a good idea if you fear your opponent might raise and if you’re confident in your ability to bluff, don’t hesitate to throw a float bet. The bottom line is that suited connectors don’t reach their full potential often and when they do you need to extract maximum value, which is done through value bets.

Marcin Horecki finds the connection between poker and charity

Marcin HoreckiMany poker players can talk the talk, but only a handful walk the walk when it comes to giving back to community. The idea itself is enticing and when asked about what they plan to do on the long run, virtually all mention the fact that they plan on getting involved in charitable events. Time appears to be always of the essence and sometimes players prefer to use the money to buy in for an additional tournament, sit down at a nosebleed table or simply pay for a better hotel room than to donate.

Marcin Horecki is not one of them and he leads by personal example, and emphasizes the importance of poker players going a step further than simply donating money. He starts from the assumption that poker professionals actually have more money than they need for living expenses and by getting too involved in the game, they lose track of what really matters. His solution is equally simple as he suggests to become more involved in a charity and discover the satisfaction of helping those less fortunate.

He does his part by supporting a local organization called Szlachetna Paczka which is located in Poland and whose name means “Noble Package”. Their campaigns are not overly ambitious and the poker professional knows that his contribution will not change the world, but at least will make life better for those helped directly. This hands-on approach is immensely rewarding, as the aforementioned foundation works with volunteers and delivers invaluable supplies to those who can’t afford them.

It revolves around a popular concept, of adopting a struggling family and then looking after it, by providing the necessary stuff throughout the year. Marcin Horecki did a fine job on his own, but he decided to get PokerStars involved as well and was pleasantly surprised by the company’s willingness to join the cause. As a result, enough money was raised for aiding 40 families and the campaigns will not stop here, but will grow in size and expand worldwide.

There is no shortage of poker professionals who can lend a helping hand, because what they lack is not the money or time, but the motivation to jump on the bandwagon. Marcin Horecki is constantly looking for people to join him and he spread the word among poker players, apparently with great success. Through the “Noble Package” he delivers help where it is needed most, but there is always room for better and now that the wheels are set in motion things are expected to advance in the right direction.