PokerListings Blog


One of the less-appreciated but key things you need to succeed in a long poker tournament is a state of relaxation in both body and mind.

Getting some exercise definitely helps but there's nothing quite like a massage, sauna or bath to ease yourself off the adrenaline high of a big pot or prepare you for a long day.

In short: the spa is the best option to unwind from stress and maintain your relaxed state either before or after the cards hit the air.

Thankfully the Portomaso Casino and Hilton Hotel, where the 2014 Battle of Malta festival will be held, is very close to five of the best spas on the island.

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The Battle of Malta is much more than just a poker tournament.

On top of this year’s BOM Main Event players will get a shot at new side events like the new €4,180 Grandmaster High Roller Event, the €165 Pot-Limit Omaha or the €300 Deepstack No-Limit Turbo.

Even though the main purpose of your stay is to play poker you’ll soon find out that there are many more things to do on the island.

That’s why we actually dare to say that the Battle of Malta is the perfect poker holiday. So before you board your flight make sure to bring your positive attitude, your poker skills, a pair of sunglasses and swimwear.

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With the 2014 Battle of Malta fast approaching it's time to start planning some of the potential side activites you can try on your trip.

PokerListings is here to guide you through the multitude of excursions and activities available outside of the casino and the more traditional tourist activities.

While Malta is a relatively small island there are an amazing number of things to do on this little rock in the middle of the Mediterranean.

Last year we gave you an overview of the main attractions on the island: monuments, beaches, boat trips, restaurants, bars & clubs, shops, etc.

This year we'll take you off the beaten track a bit and show you what other activities and events you can find.

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The anchor event of the EPT - EPT London - has appeared on every season of the famed poker tour and is back again for Season 11.

Already underway with the UKIPT Main Event completed and the first two Day 1s done, attendance numbers are strong and a susbstantial sum is up for grabs for the winner.

Live streaming begins today (Tuesday) with Day 2 of the Main Event and continues right through until Saturday when a winner is crowned

Big-name players through to Day 2 with big stacks include Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Vicky Coren-Mitchell, Liv Boeree, Sofia Lovgren, Stephen Chidwick, Anatoly Filatov, Johnny Lodden and Fedor Holz.

Commentary, as always, provided by James Hartigan, Joe Stapleton and special guests.

Click through/read on for the full webcast schedule!

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Phil Hellmuth

He didn’t get his 14th WSOP bracelet but every time Phil Hellmuth makes a final table it turns into an event.

There was a steady trickle of casual poker fans into Crown Casino today who wanted to see Hellmuth make a run at 14 or at least heckle him a bit along the way.

Hellmuth was his usual expressive self at the table and laughed, berated, complained and finally shook everyone’s hand at the final table.

Unlike stone-cold Phil Ivey or emotion-less Mike McDonald, Hellmuth puts on a show at a final table. It’s unique experience and the Poker Brat didn’t disappoint during his fourth-place finish in Event 7: $2,200 6-Max at the 2014 WSOP APAC.

“I just care so much!” he said during the final table. “I want to win so badly!”

You can tell.

Here’s a photo journal of his entire final table including a minor blow up and his elimination:

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Boku Challenge2

In 2009, there was no one in Europe who played as many poker tables simultaneously as Germany's Thomas “boku87” Boekhoff.

He played up to 50 tables and devised an entirely new system for playing online poker.

To prove that his system worked – and to promote a book he had planned – Boekhoff decided to play two bankroll challenges in low-stakes Sit-and-Gos (SNGs).

Challenge 1: Turn $100 into $10k within 15 days playing SNGs w/ $16 max buy-in

Challenge 2: Turn $5 into $100,000 within 12 months

Record Holder: Thomas Boekhoff (GER)

Dates: Challenge 1 March 3-17 2009; Challenge 2 July 15 2009 - May 19 2010

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Barry Greenstein, Chris Ferguson and Andy Black

In 2006, when Chris Ferguson was still Jesus, he set out to make a fortune without using any of his own money.

Ok, that came out wrong.

The goal of Ferguson's famous online poker challenge was to make $10,000 by starting with $0 and playing according to strict bankroll management.

The Mission: Turn $0 into $10,000

Record Holder: Chris "Jesus" Ferguson

Dates: March 2006-September 2007

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Watch the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event Right Here!

Created By:
07 October 2014
Posted in: WSOP Blog
2014 WSOP Main Event Bracelet

Forty-five editions in and there's still no more spectacular event in poker than the World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event.

While one of the newer, International versions plays out all the way in Australia the march to the final table has begun again on ESPN.

Four episodes in and we've already seen virtually the full gamut of poker elation and heartbreak with heros and villains (we're looking at you, Curtis Rystadt) at every turn.

It just doesn't get any better than this. We, of course, encourage you to tune in to the ESPN broadcast every Sunday all the way until the live final in November but as a service to the absent-minded we'll embed episodes below.

Note of course that we (nor the posters) own the copyright so it could (rightfully) come down at any point. But if it's there, you can find it here.

Scroll down/click through to see the episodes:

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Screen shot 2014 10 02 at 3.24.00 PM

In just two years the Battle of Malta has established itself as the premier low buy-in destination poker tournament in Europe.

With 888 entries in the Main Event last year - and a €430,000 prize pool - it's already set the record for the biggest poker tournament ever held in Malta.

With a €500,000 guarantee this year and the same affordable buy-in, numbers are expected to swell again and shatter last year's record.

How do the numbers stack up in other areas? We've compiled some of the key stats from our first two events in the infographic below.

A generous thank you goes out to all of our sponsors, players, staff and volunteers from the community for helping to make the Battle of Malta such a success. We look forward to hosting everyone again in 2014 for another record-setting series!

Note: Statistics at the top refer to the Main Event only and don't include side events. Nationality breakdown for 2014 is based on pre-sales of Battle of Malta packages.

Scroll down/click through for the full infographic.

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Bertrand Grospellier

In 2009, France's Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier went after a world sit-and-go record during the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo.

The goal: To play as many SnGs as possible within 60 minutes while remaining profitable.

In the first part of a new series on the Greatest Online Poker Challenges attempted we'll break down ElkY's World Record and see how it made it into the record books.

The Mission: Play maximum number of SnGs, make a profit

Record Holder: Bertrand Grospellier (FRA)

Date: April 28th, 2009

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Watch the 2014 WCOOP Main Event Final Table Webcast Right Here!

Created By:
29 September 2014
Posted in: The Poker Reporter Blog

Isildur1! Fedor Holz! Dylan Hortin! Faraz Jaka!

The 2014 World Championship of Online Poker Main Event final table is prepared to annoint one more very happy - and very rich - WCOOP champion.

With a massive $10.7m prize pool compiled $1.8m is guaranteed to this year's winner and you can watch it all shake down on the live webcast right here.

Estimated start time is about midnight ET Tuesday, September 30.

Big-name players prepared to battle it out include the one and only Viktor "Isildur1" BlomDylan Hortin, who final tabled the WCOOP Main Event last year, Faraz Jaka, Elior Sion and rising star/secret poker backer Fedor Holz.

Your hosts and commentators for all of the action will be the famed PokerStars live duo of James Hartigan & Joe Stapleton.

They'll be joined by a revolving group of esteemed commentators including Team PokerStars pros Ike Haxton, Mickey Petersen, Jason Mercier and Jake Cody.

Buckle up - it's gonna be a good one!

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5 Spectacular Poker Hero Calls Worth Watching Again (Video)

Created By:
24 September 2014
Posted in: The Poker Reporter Blog, PokerListed
Luke Schwartz2

The Hero Call is a spectacular showpiece move in the arsenal of a poker player.

Just like a goalkeeper deflecting an unsaveable ball in football, poker players can save a hand from a hopeless-looking situation by simply calling.

You don't always need a monster to invest your entire stack. A second or third pair - or sometimes even just ace-high  - is enough to expose an expensive bluff from your opponent.

When you get it right in a big hand, there's no bigger or better feeling in poker.

Here are five pretty spectacular - and instructive - Hero Calls in video form, picked out by PokerOlymp's Arved Klöhn.

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In just eight weeks or so, one out of the nine players at the final table of the WSOP main event will win $10m.

Getting that kind of money - basically for playing cards for a week, wrapped around a four-month break -  is a pretty unique thing.

The famed winner shots of the happy player standing behind a wall of cash also contributes to the general image of poker players as guys who live the good life without doing much for it.

It's true to some extent. Top poker players make millions of dollars. And the $21m Dan Colman has earned so far in 2014, which has spurred much debate about both the glory and realities of tournament poker, is an impressive number to say the least.

But, truth be told, top poker tournament players are miles away from what top earners in other businesses cash out every year. PokerListings Germany's Dirk Oetzmann breaks it down.

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iphone 6 pokerstars

With much fanfare and hype Apple announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ in a high-profile keynote earlier today.

While more and more poker players seem to be hopping on the Android train these days the iPhone remains one of the most popular handheld devices amongst poker players.

There’s a good reason that most online poker sites have developed special apps just for iOS devices.

Today’s announcement actually heralded a number of new features (including an entirely new design) that could potentially benefit poker players who use iPhones to play poker.

Here’s a look at six ways the iPhone 6 will be a vastly superior way to play online poker than previous iterations:

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Chess 2: Sequel

Game designer David Sirlin has done the unthinkable and created a sequel to the classic game of chess that introduces poker elements to the board game.

It’s not like people have been clamouring for sequel to the 1,500-year-old game but Sirlin believes he’s created a game that’s simply more fun to play.

Sirlin thinks the problem with traditional chess is that it’s basically a perfect information game. There are no random elements to the game and there isn’t any hidden information. It’s hard to attract new players if they can’t even get lucky.

Poker is the complete opposite. It’s an imperfect information game with an element of luck.

Sirlin actually got the idea for Chess 2 when he was working in the video game industry. In particular he was working on balancing issues in Street Fighter HD Remix.

He told Kotaku:

I was working on [the balance of] Street Fighter HD Remix many years ago and also going to lots of Street Fighter tournaments. I was just kinda thinking a lot about the different types of games, how chess is kind of on one end of the spectrum and poker's on the far opposite end in terms of how much leeway you have to out-guess your opponent. In chess it's super rigid and very much about memorization and patterns. In poker there's a lot of reading of what you think is going on in people's minds.

Sirlin saw elements of chess and poker in the way people played Street Fighter. He wanted to create a game that offered players the chance to use the rigid, mathematical patterns found in chess with the adaptive nature of poker.

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laptops 2

Here’s a little secret for you: most online poker software is incredibly easy to run on almost any computer.

Online poker sites have a serious incentive to make their software compatible with even the most antiquated laptops so they can increase their market share.

In fact, we built a premium grinding station in 2009 and honestly it would still play every piece of poker software you could throw at it.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the experience is the same on every computer.

There are a couple features that are particularly important for online grinders. One is screen size (likewise resolution) because you’re going to want to multi-table and another is mobility because most poker players want to travel.

Over the last five years there has been one significant upgrade that will help speed up your poker sessions. That’s the transition from old disk-based hard drives to flash-based solid state drives or SSDs.

SSDs will help you load anything on your hard drive much faster and that includes your poker client. Is it necessary? Nope. Is it awesome? Yes.

Some people will argue about the benefits of a beastly desktop computer brimming with scorchingly-fast silicon. It’s a good choice if you want to play 3D games at max settings but these days it’s hard to see them as anything more than overkill for online poker.

Instead of buying a desktop just attach a couple high quality monitors to your laptop and you are good to go.

Here’s a look at three great choices in 2014 (feel free to add your own in the comments!):

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Sherlock confused face

There’s a good chance if you’re reading this article you barely remember the exact first time you played poker.

For many of us it took place when we were still children playing five-card draw for pennies or candy. For others it was when one of our friends dragged us to the casino and we furiously tried to remember hand rankings.

The thing is that while it’s difficult to remember our very first session, most of us remember exactly what we were feeling while trying to learn the game.

Poker challenges us and the whole “easy to learn, impossible to master” nature of the game has a way of making fools out of even the most hardened online grinders.

Here’s a collection of GIFs that help illustrate everything about learning to play poker: The joy, the stupidity, the unbridled enthusiasm, the naiveté and the sudden shock when you learn a flush beats a straight for the first time.

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It’s good to be lucky in poker.

That’s what pro Oliver Busquet was likely thinking earlier today at the final table of EPT Barcelona’s €50k Super High Roller.

Busquet managed to hit an unthinkable combination of cards when he came from behind with ace-king against Sven Reichardt’s pocket kings.

In the hand Reichardt opened for 160,000 with eight players remaining. Busquet 3-bet shoved for the last of his 1.5 million stack.

Reichardt called and flipped over kings while Busquet was in a world of hurt with #As#2s.

The flop came #Kc#8c#8h and appeared to put the nail in Busquet’s coffin as he had a less than 1% chance to survive.

As it turned out, the turn came #Ah and then the river #Ad, which sent the final table into hysterics.

Busquet not only survived but went on to defeat Dan Colman heads-up for the title and €896,434. Watch the hand starting at around 1h25m below:

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Watch EPT100 Barcelona (S11) Live Stream Right Here!

Created By:
18 August 2014
Posted in: The Poker Reporter Blog, Tournament Trail

One of the most anticipated stops ever on the European Poker Tour - the 100th EPT event in history - is firing on all cylinders this week from Barcelona, Spain.

Kicking off with a record-breaking Estrellas Poker Tour Main Event, attendance numbers are through the roof as players flock to the sunny shores of BCN.

Live streaming began an Tuesday, August 19, with Day 2 of the 50k Super High Roller event and will continue right through until next Wednesday when an EPT100 Barcelona Main Event champ is crowned.

Commentary, as always, will be provided by James Hartigan, Joe Stapleton and special guests.

Click through/read on for the full webcast schedule!

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Watch the 2014 $1m Big One for One Drop Right Here!

Created By:
13 August 2014
Posted in: WSOP Blog
Dan Colman

It was one of the most exciting tournaments ever played with a conclusion that people are still talking about and you can now watch all of it right here.

The 2014 WSOP $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop saw Dan Colman cut his way through a field of 42 players to earn a first-place prize of $15.3 million but the interesting part is watching how he got there.

The 2014 Big One for One Drop featured arguably the sickest beat ever when Connor Drinan lost with pocket aces to Cary Katz’ pocket aces and in last night’s episode Tobias Reinkemeier made the mistake of folding pocket aces to Scott Seiver’s paltry K-T.

Finally Dan Colman narrowly defeated poker icon Daniel Negreanu to claim the $15m first-place prize. Kid Poker picked up just over $8 million as a consolidation prize and become poker's biggest all-time winner.

It’s easily one of the greatest TV tournaments ever played but don’t take our word for it. Check out the complete tournament starting with Episode 1 below:

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