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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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hearthstone main

Wildly popular free-to-play online card game Hearthstone continues to top mobile gaming charts and the recent Curse of Naxxramas expansion has gamers buzzing.

Of course the skill + luck format of the game makes it a natural fit for poker players and many are joining in on the action including former world champ Pius Heinz.

We decided to fuse poker and Hearthstone by creating 32 cards that represent some of the most famous characters and incidents from the world of poker.

Looking for a "Jesus on Tilt" card? Or maybe a 3-Bet card? We’ve got you covered.

While these cards will never, ever, be used in an actual Hearthstone game they have some interesting (if a little overpowered effects).

Feel like you could do better? Give us your own suggestions for Hearthstone poker cards in the comments section below.

(Also, check out Five Things Online Poker Could Learn from Hearthstone).

Special thanks to Fr.PokerListings.com’s Fred Guillemot.

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online poker

Online poker can be overwhelming for someone just getting into it, but over the last five years the biggest poker sites have made some huge improvements aimed at helping newcomers to the game.

Most recently, Party Poker introduced Casual Cash Game Tables for example. Players are only allowed to play one table at a time, which the site hopes will encourage new players to splash around chips without fear of running into serious grinders.

The hardest part for online poker sites is to protect new players without hurting the hard-core grinders.

It remains a tight-rope walk but here are five of the best features online poker sites have introduced over the last five years to help new players (feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments).

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card table

There are two distinct forms of poker: 1. Online poker, which you play on a computer usually against faceless opponents and 2. Live poker where you are face-to-face with other players.

The Card Table on iOS attempts to link together those two forms of poker by utilizing a community iPad and individual iPhones.

While The Card Table isn’t strictly a poker game (you can play most card games) it’s one of the first apps that lets you play a local online poker game without the need for internet.

Here’s how it works:

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Lobby

The much-hyped PokerStars 7 client is finally in an open Alpha test and players are getting a first-hand look at the potential future of online poker.

It’s been a long time coming.

Screenshots of PokerStars 7 initially hit the Internet in 2012, which means the software has been development for over three years now.

It’s not exactly clear why it’s taken so long (there were some initial complaints about the look of the new software in 2012) but the latest version looks very solid.

We got a hold of the new software and thought we’d post a few thoughts from playing it for a few hours below.

It’s worth nothing that PokerStars 7 is not only a good thing for PokerStars players. When it comes to software PokerStars has always been a leader but they got so far ahead that other sites were playing catch up for the last few years.

PokerStars hasn’t changed much over that time because it hasn’t needed to. The new software will likely provide a new benchmark for other sites.

Don’t be surprised if you start to see similar features trickle down to 888poker, Party Poker and iPoker over the next couple years.

In other words: everyone wins.

You can test PokerStars 7 for yourself. Details can be found when you head over to this page. It's currently only available for for real-money players with Windows.

Check below for some notes about the Alpha-version of PokerStars 7:

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ShareMyPair

One of the worst things about poker is the countless bad-beat stories you run into in nearly every level of the game.

No one really wants to hear bad beat stories but even when players are retelling hands it’s an excruciatingly-long process that tends to be riddled with errors.

Put it simply: people are terrible at talking about poker hands.

Anyone who’s experienced “…and then the turn came trey of spades… Or was it a deuce? …Actually I think it was the king of clubs…” knows what we are talking about it.

New app ShareMyPair attempts to streamline the process by letting a poker players cram all their hand details into the program and ending up with a slick animated video of the hand, similar to online poker hand replayers.

Best of all you’ll usually be able to watch the complete hand in a matter of seconds instead of minutes.

The service has already been utilized by noted pros such as Phil Hellmuth and Jonathan Little who shared a few key hands.

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oculus poker

Could the new Oculus Rift virtual reality headset change the way we experience online poker?

It’s not out of the question as the Rift represents perhaps the biggest leap in gaming since 3D characters were rendered for the first time in the 90s.

Poker technology has remained relatively stagnant over the last five years with many clients that, at least visually, haven’t changed very much since the late 2000s.

We’re going to take an in-depth look at the Oculus Rift and propose two unique ways the VR could be utilized in an online poker setting.

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Screen Shot 2014 03 20 at 11.59.46 AM

It’s astounding how many poker players still fail to put their staking agreements in writing but a new service hopes to help streamline the process.

Officialize.it is a new website that lets two people enter into an agreement with each other by digitally connecting Facebook profiles.

The service can be utilized online and in real-time, which is perfect for online grinders who may hail from drastically different area codes.

Part of the agreement-based system is based on reputation. If anyone reneges on the agreement the other party can easily publish the complete document.

Because Officialize.it is web-based it’s available on Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android-based devices.

Staking Disputes Can Happen to Any Poker Player

Those who don’t believe a staking disagreement could happen to them would be wise to remember perhaps the biggest staking dispute ever at the 2006 WSOP Main Event.

Jamie Gold won $12 million, the biggest prize ever awarded at the WSOP, but partner Crispin Leyser nearly lost his portion of the prize (worth $6 million) in part because they failed to put everything in writing.

The bottom line is: don’t take unnecessary risks. You can also just write up documents manually, scan them, and send to your staking partner.

You can also use e-signature, which is hypothetically even more secure, but more complicated than Officialize.it.

However you do it, get something beyond a verbal agreement or text message.

Check out a video of the service below:

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Fizzbin

Outside of the odd game of Open-Face Chinese or Courcheval, poker has remained relatively unchanged for decades.

There’s something timeless about the game and there’s a good chance some form of Hold’em or Draw poker will be played 100 years from now.

That said, what other poker-like games do you think will be played in the future?

Poker has actually played a huge role in Sci Fi pop culture and nearly every series has some form of the game.

It’s easy to see why as poker is a great plot device to develop characters that’s been used on everything from Friends to Training Day.

But what are these poker-like games in the future?

Well for one they seem to have a lot of suits. If there’s one thing to be learned from the various games featured on Sci Fi shows it’s that more suits = more futuristic.

Here’s a look at the poker games played in the background of some of the most famous Sci Fi shows.

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Poker Night 2 Logo

We’ll get this out of the way first: poker video games suck.

They are slow, teach very little actual poker strategy and ultimately become mind-numbingly boring after an orbit or two.

That said, Telltale’s Poker Night 2, which came out last year, is one of the best video games that’s been released in the last few years and actually worth playing.

Forget Full House Poker on Xbox or some terrible Facebook game, Poker Night 2 is the one you want.

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IMG0089

Poker Friends is yet another entry in the crowded free-to-play poker app market but it does have one killer feature.

Players on Poker Friends can create their own private games for friends and family without any random strangers in the game.

It’s similar to the way PokerStars offers home games on their desktop client but have yet to add the feature to their mobile offering.

It’s a significant feature that, for instance, allows a group of friends waiting at the airport to instantly cue up a private cash game. Theoretically users can wager money with each other in real life without having to pay any rake.

Interestingly Poker Friends also has an asynchronous format, similar to the old school play-by-mail, which lets users take their turn at the time they choose. Games could potentially last weeks, which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it.

We spent some time fooling around with Poker Friends and while it’s not a serious poker offering, with plenty of advertisements for buying play money chips, it would be worth it for the bigger online poker operators to take a closer look at the product.

Poker Friends is available for iOS and Android. To learn more check out the Poker Friends website.

An advertisement for the app is embedded after the jump:

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Hearthstone

Over the last six months an online card game has taken the gaming world by storm and almost instantaneously created a massive online community with countless blogs dedicated to the game’s strategy and development.

No we’re not talking about online poker.

Hearthstone, which was developed by gaming giant Blizzard, is shaking up the gaming status quo with its free-to-play model that’s already attracted tens of thousands of players.

Incredibly Hearthstone is still in open beta and hasn’t even been officially launched.

The designers of Magic: The Gathering are likely worried and they should be with Forbes publishing articles like “How Hearthstone Could Change the PC Gaming Landscape” and “Five Reasons Hearthstone is Better Than a Real Card Game.”

Why does this matter to poker players?

Hearthstone and online poker have nearly identical demographics. If a game like Hearthstone can generate huge player fields in a matter of months, there’s no reason online poker can’t do the same.

Blizzard has stated their goal with Hearthstone is to simply make collectible card games accessible, describing the game as, “deceptively simple, yet insanely fun.”

Online poker could learn a thing or two from that logic. Here are five elements that online poker should adapt from Hearthstone:

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Cash

Good bankroll management is one of the single most important skills that rookie poker players can develop and a new web app, that’s free, offers some great fundamentals in a matter of minutes.

BankRoll Management by Poker.co.uk is a web-based app that requires no sign-up or download and is completely free.

Users can simply slot in their bankroll and level of experience and they’ll instantly be given a number of metrics including suggested stake level, stack per table, when to move up and profit they should be hoping to make per table.

You can also select from the three major poker variants including cash games, Sit & Goes and tournaments, which obviously all have very different buy-in levels.

The app suggests recreational players take some shots in bigger games for the fun of it while serious players should tighten up.

For example if you enter a bankroll of $500 at a recreational level of skill then it will suggest the following (and more):

  • Stake level: $.10/$.25
  • Stack per table: $25
  • Jump to next level: $125

Or for Sit & Goes

  • Buy-in level: $15
  • Profit per tournament: Min Cash-$24.66
  • Jump to next level: $250

It’s all basic information but undoubtedly useful for a new player. It’s also incredibly fast and easy to use.

In fact we’ve embedded the tool below if you want to give it a try:

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porker chips

Bacon fans may be asking themselves just how far they are willing to go to show their love for cured meat with a new bacon-themed poker chip set.

Po(r)ker Chips are currently on Kickstarter and have already eclipsed their modest goal of getting $500 in pledges and recently passed the $2,000 mark with 64 backers.

The chips are designed by David Goldklang, who we featured last year for his innovative Polaris deck.

While not made of actual bacon, each casino-quality chip features one of the 10 bacon commandments on it including:

1. There must always be bacon in the fridge.

2. All food is better with bacon on it.

3. Even pigs like bacon – that’s a fact.

4. A meal without bacon is not a meal.

5. Bacon is a great aphrodisiac.

…And so forth.

Pledges start at $6, which gets you one chip, and go all the way up to $1,395 for 2,500 chips.

Every chip weighs 10 grams and is made of ceramic so you’re certainly getting a high-quality chip, regardless of meat affiliation.

If you really, really, really like bacon, well, you’ve probably found your new chip set. Personally we’re waiting for Oreo-themed chips so we can get our TeddyKGB on.

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DAILY CHALLENGES

Years ago video game developers figured out a way to make players invest more time in their games and online poker giants like PokerStars are finally taking note.

An achievement-based system in video games is a tried-and-true formula that gives players special titles or trophies based on various extra accomplishments in a game such as never dying once.

In December PokerStars launched their Daily Challenge promo that rewards players for accomplishing a unique feat such as playing one Sit & Go or earning 1 VPP in ring games. It has a lot of similarities to achievement systems like Xbox Live’s Gamerscore program.

“I think in most games – whether they are videogames or social games – there tends to be the game itself but there is also a larger component,” said PokerStars Head of Poker Communications Lee Jones.

“People are really attracted to it. They’re like OK, I’ve played the game but I want to get a level up.”

There have actually been numerous achievement-based systems in online poker but PokerStars introduced one truly compelling feature to the mix: cash.

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Bertrand Grospellier

Brain training software has never been more popular.

Every day you see people using the programs on smart phones, tablets, laptops and video game consoles.

In some ways they aren’t that far removed from multi-tabling online poker as both require critical thinking and dexterity with a mouse.

Whether brain-training software actually increases your intelligence is an entirely different matter as numerous studies have shown the programs actually do very little.

On the bright side the programs do allow users to brush up on their math fundamentals and quick reflexes.

The inherent problem for poker players when it comes to mainstream brain-training software is that it teaches you to memorize certain numbers but they aren’t poker specific enough.

Instead you’d probably be better served by something like PokerCruncher or DonkeyTest, which would at least build better muscle memory.

All that said, brain training software likely won’t hurt your game so here’s a look at three of the most popular options:

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iPad AirPlay Poker

Does it ever seem ridiculous that you’re grinding away on a 13-inch laptop when you’ve got a 50-inch LED/LCD/Plasma monstrosity five feet away?

Well if you have a newish MacBook or an iPad or iPhone and an Apple TV you can make that happen today.

Apple’s AirPlay protocol makes it ridiculously easy to sling your entire desktop to your TV and we’re going to show you how.

Note: You’ll need an Apple TV to make any of the following guides work.

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bitcoin stock

Cypto-currency Bitcoin remains an intriguing option for online poker players.

We investigated the subject earlier this year in a Bitcoin feature we did on SealsWithClubs founder Brian Micon.

We’re going one step farther today with a special Q&A by Nadia Hanna with Bitcoin experts John Light and Adam Sah.

John Light is an entrepreneur with a professional background in business operations and online marketing. He discovered Bitcoin when researching alternative currencies and eventually decided to move to Silicon Valley to start a Bitcoin consulting business where individuals and companies can learn about the digital currency.

Adam Sah opened an artisan food store, Buyers Best Friend, in 2012 and experienced the pain of handling cash, processing credit cards, costs and fees. They company designed their own Point of Sale (POS) system for processing bitcoins.

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