May 2009 - Poker Root

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Durrrr and Ziigmund Play $3,000-$9,000 PLO

May 19, 2009 1
Last week, Tom "Durrrr" Dwan and Ilari "Ziigmund" Sahamies were playing deep-stacked heads-up $500/1,000 PLO when Ziigmund proposed $3,000/9,000 "blinds" to Dwan. Dwan accepted to play for 10 hands but they played much longer.


Here is the conversation they had:

Ziigmund: lets make deal
Ziigmund: always have to raise and reraise
durrrr: what type?
durrrr: lol
Ziigmund: ok?
durrrr: ill do for 10hands ok?
Ziigmund: before flop
durrrr: next 10hands
Ziigmund: ok next 10 hands
durrrr: god
durrrr: lol
durrrr: so sick
Ziigmund: then u can do what u want
Ziigmund: rereraise
durrrr: ya obv
Ziigmund: or whatever
durrrr: ya
durrrr: 10 hands
Ziigmund: but raise and reraise before flop
durrrr: ya



They played some huge pots, 3 pots over $400k including one for over $577k! In the $577k pot, Durrrr flopped the nut straight where Ziigmund flopped the nut flush draw. Ziigmund hit his flush on the turn and collected the massive pot!

Another big pot was a $433k pots won by Durrrr. He flopped top set of queens against Ziigmund's massive straight draws. Ziigmund doesn't hit and Durrrr drags the pot. Here's a picture of the hand, Ziigmund isn't that far behind with his open ended plus double gut shot straight draws.

Durrrr flopped top set of queens against Ziigmund's massive straight draws
At the end of the session, Durrrr finished ahead of Ziigmund by only $160k. 2 days later, Sahamies wanted to play some more $3,000-$9,000 PLO! Dwan said it was too much at the moment but later accepted after winner a big pot.

The biggest hand they played was a $477,912 pot that Ziigmund won. Durrrr flopped a set but Ziigmund turned a straight. Durrrr did not hit his full house and Ziigmund collects the pot.

After the second session, Ziigmund won back his 160k from the first session and now they are tied for the $3,000-$9,000 stakes.

Session 3 coming up?

Bonuses:
- Free $100 Bankroll at Full Tilt Poker
- 27% Rakeback at Full Tilt Poker
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Free Poker Bankroll at Players Only - $50 No Deposit Bonus

May 19, 2009 1
Free Poker Bankroll at Players Only - $50 No Deposit Bonus-$50 free in Tournament tickets at Players Only.
-Eligible to: USA and Canada only.
-Network: CakePoker Network (Average traffic, 1700 Players playing on Average)


To get $50 free no deposit from Players Only, follow these instructions;
1) Sign up at the BankrollMob
2) Request the bonus and follow the instructions
3) Wait 1-2 days to receive the bonus
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$2-$4 Limit Hold'em Video - "Sharkfisherman"

Playing with John D'Agostino - Jay Greenspan

May 19, 2009 1
What I learned at the WSOP - Jay GreenspanAs a writer covering the poker circuit, I wasn't surprised to see that John D'Agostino took second in the Borgata Winter Open, netting more than half a million dollars. John is widely considered one of the great, young, all-around players in the game. He's equally comfortable playing limit and no-limit, cash games, and tournaments.

I got a particularly close look at John's play a week prior to Borgata, when we shared a table in Tunica at the $10,000 buy-in World Poker Tour event. John didn't cash in that event, but during the hours we played together, I witnessed many qualities that make him a great player - here are three of them.

Overcoming a Tough Stretch

In Tunica, the players started with 20,000 chips. Within the first blind level, almost half of John's stack was gone. In a key hand, John made a tough lay down when he deduced that his high pocket pair hand had not survived to the river. A couple of difficult hands followed soon after.

It was the kind of tournament start that dispirits others. After such a difficult opening, it's not uncommon to see even very good players overwhelmed with resignation. I've heard players utter "It's not my day." At that point, they're sealing their fate.

John, however, settled in. He didn't make unneeded moves that would decimate his stack. On his way to his second-place finish at Borgata, John was able to deal with a far greater level of adversity. With 25 players remaining, John was the chip leader, holding nearly one million in chips. A few tough hands and four hours later, John held only 280,000 chips and was in twelfth place with 16 players remaining.

Despite these setbacks, he didn't tilt - he focused and made good decisions. He waited for his spots and was able to build his stack back.

During Tunica, John was keenly aware of his own stack and the stacks of others. After the tough early hands, he was quiet while waiting for a spot to double up. He didn't rush it. He knew that he held more than 20 big blinds in his stack and could wait for the right opportunity. He wasn't forced to push in on Ace-Nine or a pair of 3s.

Once he managed to build himself back, he was on the hunt, looking for stacks to attack. Sadly for me, he noticed that I had become the table short stack. John was in late position when I had the big blind, and he let no opportunity go by to attack my blind. With only 20 big blinds, I couldn't afford to fight back without a premium hand, as any decision I'd make would be for my tournament life. John was the only one at the table (other than me) who seemed fully aware of the situation. Others were far more focused on their own cards, rather than on the other factors that would give them opportunities to pick up pots.

Inscrutable Behaviors

In Tunica, most of the players at my table offered a treasure trove of information. They varied their bet sizes pre-flop - a little higher when they didn't want action, a little lower when they welcomed it. Their arm and hand movements varied wildly from hand to hand. With time, one could draw fairly accurate conclusions based on such tells.

John, however, offered nothing. When he open-raised, he did so for three times the big blind every time. His motions seemed nearly identical to me time after time. If I tried to read his facial expression, I got only a view of his downcast eyes as he stared vacantly at the felt. As far as I could tell, there was nothing to learn.

The Tunica event didn't go well for me, but I leaned a lot from watching John. Without question, observing the pros is one the easiest ways to improve one's game.

Bonuses:
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- 27% Rakeback at Full Tilt Poker
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

On Cavemen and Poker Players - Ben Roberts

May 12, 2009 1
On Cavemen and Poker Players - Ben RobertsThere are four possible outcomes for any session of poker. You might win a little, lose a little, win a lot, or lose a lot. Most of us react differently to the different outcomes. When we win big, we're elated; when we lose big we're upset. Think back to some recent bad beats. Do you recall feeling a rush of adrenaline and an overwhelming sense of rage? If you haven't encountered this, you're lucky; most players have.

I believe that reactions at the poker table are so strong because the game taps into a very primal portion of our brains. In poker, we're fighting for something we view as critical - money. In these days of relative safety and comfort, our battles at the poker table are as close as we get to the life-and-death struggles that our ancient ancestors encountered. Eons ago, the adrenaline served a purpose - it triggered a response critical to survival. Without thought or reason, ancient man knew two things: Fight or flee. The quick surge of panic and anger kept the species alive.

At the poker table, however, the same response serves no useful purpose. You can't beat the dealer over the head with a rock. Screaming in panic and running from the room isn't a great idea either. So most of us just steam - we tilt. With no outlet for the excess chemicals, we sit at the table, angry, while our judgment becomes clouded. Maybe we blast off some money or run a ridiculous bluff as a way to relieve the pressure.

The thing is, you need to overcome these instinctual reactions if you're going to become a consistent winner at poker. It's not easy to control the instinctual part of your brain, but it's something that you can work on every time you play poker. Endeavor to leave each session in the same emotional state. If you win big, keep yourself from getting too excited. Remind yourself that this is just one session that has gone well, and that another is bound to go poorly. Reverse the argument after a big loss.

I believe that if you commit to engaging the thinking, reasoning portion of your brain at every opportunity you can, in time, overcome the primal reactions. It isn't easy. Some players with incredible mastery of the game are long-term losers because they can't get a handle on their emotions.

Embrace the challenge of evening your emotional responses. It may be the most important thing you can do to improve your poker results.

Bonuses:
- Free $100 Bankroll at Full Tilt Poker
- 27% Rakeback at Full Tilt Poker
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Jamie Gold Signs With Poker Icons

May 12, 2009 1
Jamie Gold, 2006 WSOP Main Event winner, joins the poker agency Poker Icons. Poker Icons are known as the premier poker agency for international world class poker players. Other members of Poker Icon include Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad, Juha Helppi and JJ "Joanne" Liu.


Jamie Gold:
"I am very glad to be a part of the Poker Icons team. Their international presence and poker expertise will make this a perfect fit for me. I am very much looking forward to working with them".


Jamie Gold was recently signed to Poker Aced just this past February but the partnership did not last long. A spokesperson for Jamie Gold said that Poker Aced broke the contact and did not follow through on their promises. Poker Aced has not said anything yet. It was rumored that Jamie Gold would be paid over $10 million for the contract but it doesn't look like Aced Poker was up for the task.

Back in 2006 when jamie Gold won the 2006 WSOP, Bodog signed Gold and shortly after cuts him from the team. Bodog said they no longer wanted to promote in the US and wanted to focus on the European market.

Now that Jamie is signed with Poker Icon, he plans to play in a few charity tournaments including a tournament at the Cannes Film Festival in France and a celebrity poker night on the 17th of May.

Bonuses:
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- 27% Rakeback at Full Tilt Poker
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Monday, May 11, 2009

My Tournament Weekend - Pokerstars, Action Poker & AWH Poker Tournaments

May 11, 2009 1
Pokerstars 30k VIP 100FPP Tournament
I played in the Pokerstars 30k VIP 100FPP Tournament on Saturday. About 4400 players played in it. I played pretty tight but I made 2 big bluffs where I raised preflop and then continuation bet the flop and fired a second barrel on the turn. Both times my opponents folded.

Then, I get moved to another table with a lot of large stacks. Blinds get raised to 125/250 with an ante, I don't remember what the ante was but it made the pot huge. Everyone starts pushing all in and stealing every pot. I take a stand with ace queen suited and win a coin flip against 33. I double up to 4500. I pick up some decent hands but there's a raise and reraise before me so I am forced to fold. So I blind down to 3000 and made it into the money (Top 800 get paid). I double up with kings vs. 66. Then double up to 12000 with AJ vs. KJ.

The following hand comes up and the player I'm facing stats are 66% voluntarily put in pot and 66% preflop raise with about 20 hands tracked. So he could really have anything with he min raised my bb. I think he raises 100% if it is not raised to him. I really wanted to raise all in preflop since I had more chips then him and I figured I probably had 45% chance to win and a chance to make him fold. I just checked PokerStove (free poker odds calculator), and 10,7s has a 50.7% chance to win at showdown against a random hand, (46% against top 80% of hands). And plus the pot was like 3000 so there was a lot of money to steal.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em Tournament, 400/800 Blinds 75 Ante (9 handed)

saw flop | saw showdown

MP1 (t8727)
MP2 (t18134)
MP3 (t15115)
CO (t16933)
Button (t8088)
SB (t8385)
Hero (BB) (t11835)
UTG (t9735)
UTG+1 (t8285)

Hero's M: 6.31

Preflop: Hero is BB with 10Heart, 7Heart
7 folds, SB bets t1600, Hero calls t800

Flop: (t3875) 8club, 7Diamond, JDiamond (2 players)
SB bets t6710 (All-In), Hero calls t6710

Turn: (t17295) QHeart (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: (t17295) 10club (2 players, 1 all-in)

Total pot: t17295
Main pot: t17295 between SB and Hero, won by SB

Results:
SB had 9Diamond, 6Heart (straight, Queen high).
Hero had 10Heart, 7Heart (two pair, tens and sevens).
Outcome: SB won t17295

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anyway, I just call because I'm afraid he will call with any 2 and I have position. I flop bottom pair and a straight draw. He takes a few seconds to move and I'm thinking if he pushes all in then I'll call because he'll most likely have a drawing hand or ace high or something. He pushes and I insta call him and I'm happy to see he only has 7 outs. Unfortunately he hits river and I'm crippled to 3000 chips. A couple hands later I pick up 5,6 suited on the button and the same guy raises again. I was thinking damn, I wanted to steal those blinds! I almost called but folded. Next hand I pick up ace queen and the same guy raises again. I thought for sure I have the best hand and was happy I folded the 4,5s. I push my last remaining chips into the pot and he shows ace king and I get knocked out of the tournament. I watch a few more hands as the same guy raises 4 pots in a row to 3000 and folds all 4 times to a reraise. His stack went from 21k to 9k without seeing a flop. Someone then says "Maybe its time you change gears" and he replies he's just playing the cards. lol.

AWH Poker - €1,000 Freeroll Tournament
I signed up for the €5 Free at AWH Poker and there was a €1000 tournament for new players. So I played in that because it started the same time as the Pokstars VIP Tournament. 2200 Players played, 130 paid. The players were the worst ever and sometimes half the table was sitting out so I should have crushed this tournament. But I ran into queens when I pushed all in with ace 10 suited. Only guy who had more chips then me had to pick up a hand and I was knocked out in 160th place.

Action Poker $2000 Freeroll
On Sunday, I wanted to play in the Action Poker $2000 Freeroll . I couldn't believe it when I slept through it. I set my alarm clock but forgot to switch it on. It was the best payout tournament I would have played. Averaged $32 per person..$450 for first, only 63 players..I felt so bad. Missed opportunity..Oh well. There will be more but I doubt I will play in another freeroll with that high payout..

Bonuses:
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- 100% Deposit Bonus at Pokerstars
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Tony G - Changing Gears (Short Handed No Limit Video)

Small Pot Poker - Gavin Smith

May 11, 2009 1
In Defense of the Call - Gavin SmithYou'll be seeing a lot of me on next year's World Poker Tour broadcasts. So far, I've made three final tables. I won the Mirage event, finished third at the Bellagio and fourth in Tunica. When you see a broadcast that features my play, you may be left scratching your head, asking, "Why the heck is that guy playing those cards?"

There's no question that I do play an unconventional game. But, there is a method to my madness.

I play a style that's usually referred to as "small-pot poker." Using this approach, I'm looking to pick up a lot of small pots by applying a constant level of pressure to my opponents. Pre-flop, I raise frequently, especially in position. My raises are small, usually around two-and-a-half times the big blind, as opposed to the customary three or four times the big blind. I'll raise with a huge variety of hands - everything from big pocket pairs to "junk" hands, like 6d-4d, or 5c-8c.

Usually, I'll miss the flop when I raise with junk. In fact, two-thirds of the time, I won't make as much as a pair. But here's the thing: If someone called my pre-flop raise, he's also going to miss the flop most of the time. When we both miss, I have a distinct advantage. As the pre-flop aggressor, I have control of the hand. Most of the time (as much as 90 percent of the time), I'll follow up my pre-flop aggression by betting roughly half to two-thirds of the pot on the flop. A good percentage of the time, this bet will be enough to take down the small pot.

Let me give you an example. Imagine that you're playing in the big blind and you hold Ks-Qs. I raise in late position to two-and-a-half. K-Q suited is a pretty decent hand against someone like me, who has been raising constantly. Still, it's not necessarily a hand you want to risk your whole tournament on. So you call.

When you opt to just call, I put you in a position where you really need to hit the flop. If the flop is all rags, you need to be worried that I made two-pair with 4-7. Or, if there's an Ace on the flop, you need to be concerned, since I could be holding a real hand. Most of the time, you'll end up surrendering the hand to my bet on the flop.

If you do hit a hand - say the flop comes K-Q-4 - that's fine. With my playing style, I'm accustomed to getting check-raised a lot. But that's okay, too. I didn't risk a whole lot with my bets, so I can just surrender the hand and look for better spots down the line.

There are a couple of other advantages that come with playing this style. One is that no one ever puts me on a big hand pre-flop. So, when I do pick up pocket Aces or Kings, my hand is well disguised. My opponents are willing to call with marginal hands (like the aforementioned K-Q) and maybe get themselves in a lot of trouble. If someone does flop top pair when I hold an overpair, it's likely I'm going to get a big portion of his stack.

The other great benefit comes when I hold junk and hit the flop hard. When I raise with 5-7 and flop a straight, an opponent holding pocket Jacks is going to be in a lot of trouble.

Some of the best tournament players around - Daniel Negreanu, Gus Hansen and Phil Hellmuth among them - employ some version of the small pot approach. Is it the right method for you? That's something you'll have to find out for yourself.

I do, however, caution beginners from trying this style as it requires a lot of difficult decisions (what do you do with top-pair bad-kicker on an 8-high flop, for example). These are answers that sometimes come easier to more experienced players who have developed a feel for the game.

Still, you can give small-pot poker a shot. Register for a low buy-in tournament online and mix up your game. If the tournament doesn't go so well, you'll only be out a small buy-in.

Bonuses:
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- 27% Rakeback at Full Tilt Poker
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Friday, May 8, 2009

$5 Free At A Winning Hand (AWH Poker) - Plus 30% Rakeback, 200% Deposit Bonus and Freerolls

May 08, 2009 2
A Winning Hand Poker is offering €5 free (No deposit and no conditions) for the first 50 players who sign up via Poker006. All you have to do is click this banner, create an account and within 24 hours the €5 bonus will be awarded into your account. A Winning Hand is a site on the Boss Media Poker network.

$5 Free At A Winning Hand (AWH Poker) - Plus 30% Rakeback, 200% Deposit Bonus and Freerolls
1) Click the above banner or click here to sign up
2) Download pokerroom and create account
3) Within 24 hours the €5 bonus will be awarded into your account

RakeBack
On top the €5 free, AWH Poker offers all of their players 30% Rake-Back. All you have to do is start playing and on the 1st of every month your account will be credited. Minimum payout is €30 so you have to rake at least €100 in the month.

Deposit Bonus
The sign-up bonus will be twice your 1st deposit, up to a maximum of €555 of bonus (e.g €200 of bonus for every €100 deposited). The bonus will be automatically credited to your pending bonus account and it will be released in stages as you play on our tables.

Freerolls
There are a lot of freerolls on AWH Poker including €1,000 Weekly Freeroll Tournament for new players, €30 - €50 daily Freeroll Tournaments, €150 Daily freeroll if you raked 10 hands, a monster €25,000 freeroll if you raked 1500 hands in the last 30 days and a daily Headsup Shootout Freeroll.

Sign Up Now
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 9 - Watch The Full Episode

May 07, 2009 1
Here is the full episode of High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 9

Click here to watch the full episode on youtube (GSN disabled embeding on episode 9, I don't know why)

Returning players are some of the world’s best, including Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari. They will be challenged by well known, but new to HIGH STAKES POKER players: Tom Dwan, Joe Hachem, Howard Lederer, Alan Meltzer, Peter Eastgate, Dario Minieri, David Peat, Ilari Sahamies and Sam Simon. Former New York gossip columnist turned author and television personality A.J. Benza will host with popular poker analyst Gabe Kaplan. Henry Orenstein of HSPR, L.L.C. and Mori Eskandani of Poker Productions serve as executive producers. The fifth season of HIGH STAKES POKER is filmed at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

Past Episodes Below:


High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 8 - Watch The Full Episode

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 7 - Watch The Full Episode

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 6 - Watch The Full Episode

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 5 - Watch The Full Episode

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 4 - Watch The Full Episode

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 3 - Watch The Full Episode

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 2 - Watch The Full Episode

High Stakes Poker Season 5, Episode 1 - Watch The Full Episode

27% Rakeback at Full Tilt Poker

Free $100 Bankroll at Full Tilt Poker
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$2000 Freeroll At Action Poker/PayNoRake

May 07, 2009 1
Bankrollmob is hosting a $2000 freeroll at Action Poker/PayNoRake. The freeroll is on Sunday, May 10, 2009, 15:00 GMT / 17:00 CET / 10:00 EST. You can also get a free $140 bankroll Action Poker.

$2000 Freeroll At Action Poker/PayNoRake

You do have to deposit though, between $25-$2500 but that's with 83% rakeback + pop points + freeroll so it's a great deal. If you miss this freeroll, don't worry there's a freeroll every 1-2 months.

There are only 37 players registered so far..First place is $450, 30th place is $10 so you can't really lose. I will be playing, look for me at the final table, my screenname is GeneYuss1.
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PokerStars Sunday Million - May 3, 2009

May 07, 2009 1
PokerStars was the first online poker room to offer a weekly $1,500,000 guaranteed No Limit Hold'em tournament, and it gets better every week. First place prize money is more than $150,000 most weeks, and often even more!



With a buy-in of $215, someone walks away with a huge payday every Sunday. PokerStars runs satellites to the Sunday Million all week, giving you the chance to take home the big money for just a few bucks.











Getting into the Sunday Million is easy:




    Free Poker Download


  • Download PokerStars free poker software

  • Click ‘Tourney’ and ‘Special’ in the PokerStars game lobby

  • Register for the next $1,500,000 Guaranteed prize pool event






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Antonius Takes $500k Lead Over Dwan On The Durrrr Challenge - Session 23

May 07, 2009 1
Patrik Takes Lead in Durrrr Challenge
Durrrr's Challenge between Dwan and Antonius is just over 1/4th complete with 13,246 hands played of 50K. Antonius has taken a commanding lead, winning +$328,406 in the last session they played.

Antonius Takes $500k Lead Over Dwan On The Durrrr Challenge

Dwan actually won the the biggest hand of the session where his aces held up over Antonius' kings for a pot of $174,196. But Dwan lost many other pots, 3 around $160k and one at $125k. Dwan missed his draws and lost with 2 pair to Antonius' higher 2 pair.

Dwan seemed to miss every draw on every pot over 100k. Dwan's internet also cut out a few times during the session; "cant play on this intnet apparently" he said, and that's how the session ended.

Current standings:
-durrrr's results: -$491,028.50
-Patrik Antonius's results: +$488,133.00

-Hands Played - 13,246 of 50K
-Total Bet - $81,244,200.00
-Total Sessions - 23
-Time Played - 1days 18hours 14mins

Bonuses:
- Free $100 Bankroll at Full Tilt Poker
- 27% Rakeback at Full Tilt Poker
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Video Article: Andrew Brokos - Flexible Thinking (PREVIEW)

May 07, 2009 1
Here's a clip from Pokersavvy Plus.


Andrew "Foucault" Brokos is well known on 2+2 for his knowledge of the game. Andrew's experiences in the $5/$10 to $25/$50 NLHE cash games provide plenty of fodder for his highly regarded poker writing and coaching. His innovative teaching style, informed by his work in urban public education, blends big picture strategy with detailed hand analysis and color commentary. Andrew has also cashed in the last 3 WSOP Main Events, including a 35th place finish in 2008 earning him $193,000.

The Card Player Pro/PokerSavvy Plus team of pros includes Michael “SirWatts” Watson, Justin “WPTHero” Rollo, Dani “ansky” Stern, Tony “Bond18” Dunst, Andrew “Foucault” Brokos, Christian “Charder30” Harder, Tom “LearnedfromTV” Chambers, and Evan “_Fisherman” Roberts.

Free $100 Bankroll at Full Tilt Poker
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Barney Frank Introduces Internet Gambling Regulation Act

May 07, 2009 1
Barney Frank, Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, has issued a bill entitled "Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2009". The bill calls for a federal system to license, regulate, and tax internet gambling operators. The bill also mentions safeguards such as enforcing age limits, protecting against money laundering attempts and guarding against compulsive gambling.


The bill has not been signed but the poker community, as well as the Poker Players Alliance are happy to see the bill finally issued. "Online poker is a legal, thriving industry and poker players deserve the consumer protections and the freedom to play that are provided for in this legislation," said Alfonse D’Amato, Chairman of The Poker Players Alliance.

The bill would also reverse the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 which made it illegal for banks or other institutions to process transactions for online betting.

"No financial transaction provider shall be held liable for engaging in financial activities and transactions for or on behalf of a licensee or involving a licensee, including payments processing activities, if such activities are performed in compliance."

Bonuses:
- Free $100 Bankroll at Full Tilt Poker
- 27% Rakeback at Full Tilt Poker
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Tips From Tunica - Andy Bloch

May 07, 2009 1
I'm writing from Tunica, MS, where I've played in several World Series of Poker* Circuit events at the Grand Hotel and Casino. A couple of days ago, I played in a $2,000 No-Limit Hold 'em tournament, and I saw some of my opponents make some pretty odd plays. For this tip, I decided to highlight a couple of these strange decisions and describe why you should avoid making similar plays.

A Curious River Raise

Midway through the tournament, I saw King-9 in the cutoff (the seat to the immediate right of the button). I raised to put some pressure on the blinds, and I was called by the big blind. The flop came T-5-2 rainbow, so it was no help to me. My opponent checked, and I checked behind him.

The turn was a 9, giving me a pair. He checked, and I made a small bet that he then called. The river was a King and I now had two pair. After my opponent checked and, thinking that I had the best hand, I made a substantial bet. At this point, he surprised me and made a large raise. I was reasonably sure I was up against a set or Q-J for the straight, but still, I made the crying call.

He showed pocket Aces and I took a nice pot.

What should my opponent have done?

For starters, he could have re-raised pre-flop, though calling pre-flop was certainly reasonable. He also could have taken the lead in the betting on the flop or the turn, not allowing free cards to hit the board. However, his real trouble came on the river.

When he check-raised, he failed to ask himself a critical question: What hand can I call with that he could beat? His river check-raise showed a lot of strength - so much, in fact, that I probably wouldn't have called with any one pair. By the river, he really had no idea what I was holding. For all he knew, I could have had Queen-Jack or any sort of two pair. If I held the straight, he'd be facing a very large raise, one that would certainly be a mistake to call.

In this sort of situation, his best play was to check-call on the river. By the time the river card hit, he should have been looking to showdown the hand with the hope that his pair survived.

While here, I've seen many players make similar mistakes on the river. They bet or raised with any hand that they suspected was best, including marginal cards like second pair. But their big mistake was that they failed to consider their opponent's hand. When you hold marginal cards, you should ask yourself two important questions: Do I have the best hand? And, if I do, does my opponent hold a hand that he's willing to call with? If you can't answer "yes" to both questions, just check the river and showdown the hand.

Trouble on the Turn

Later in the tournament, I raised pre-flop in late position with King-6 and the big blind called me. The flop came Ac-As-7s. I didn't have an Ace, but I bet anyway when my opponent checked. After he smooth-called and a 6h came up on the turn, my opponent bet big.

This play makes no sense because it doesn't tell a coherent story. A check-raise on the flop would be reasonable - my opponent would be representing a big hand, maybe trip Aces. A check-call on the turn would make sense, too. In that case, he probably holds a monster like a full house or he could just have a seven.

As it turned out, my opponent had A-7 (that's what he said, anyway), and by betting he forced me to fold. That wasn't very smart. If he checked, I might have continued with my bluff (though that-s unlikely).

In any case, it's almost never a good idea to check-call a flop bet, and then bet the turn if a blank hits. A play like that might confuse your opponent momentarily, but you're unlikely to gain much value. Your flop and turn bets should be related – they should tell a consistent story.

If you think carefully about your turn and river bets and what you're trying to gain, you're sure to improve your results. You'll get better value on the turn and avoid drowning on the river.

See you at the next tournament stop.

* World Series of Poker and WSOP are trademarks of Harrah's License Company, LLC ("Harrahs"). Harrah's does not sponsor or endorse, and is not associated or affiliated with FullTiltPoker.com or its products, services, promotions or tournaments.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Pokerstar's Challenge - 600 FPP Points In 2 Days!

May 01, 2009 1
It's been a while since I posted about my Pokerstar's Challenge. I am know finished 2400 of the 3000 VPP points to unlock the $150 bonus. I'm up $628 total for the challenge so so far. I would like to finished the challenge +$1000.


For some reason I left the challenge to the last minute for this month. I wanted to collect 1200 points this month to reach Silverstar again and I only reached 600 in the first 28 days. So that left me with 2 days to collect 600 VPP points. I calculated I make about 100 VPP points in 3 hours playing 4 tables of NL25 (6 max). So I need to play for 18 hours in 2 days, so 9 hours per day. The only problem is I had 8 hour work shifts on both days!

I ended up playing 16 hours and I reached 600 VPP points with 2 minutes remaining before midnight. For the last hour, I actually had to play 6 fast tables to complete it in time. I also wanted to deposit for another reload bonus but I had to deposit before May and I missed the chance.

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Anyway, here are some hands:

I think this is the best bluff I've ever made. Note, BB only has like $5-$6 left on the river and it is a $25-$30 pot. The way BB played this; call flop, weak lead on turn and river steal looking bet made me believe he had a flush draw.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $0.25 BB (5 handed)

saw flop | saw showdown

BB ($16.30)
UTG ($10.05)
MP ($33.60)
Hero (Button) ($28.25)
SB ($7.70)

Preflop: Hero is Button with 8Spade, Jclub
UTG calls $0.25, 1 fold, Hero calls $0.25, 1 fold, BB checks

Flop: ($0.85) 9club, 2Diamond, 7club (3 players)
BB checks, UTG checks, Hero bets $0.75, BB calls $0.75, 1 fold

Turn: ($2.35) 6Diamond (2 players)
BB bets $1, Hero raises to $4, BB calls $3

River: ($10.35) KDiamond (2 players)
BB bets $5.25, Hero raises to $23.25 (All-In), 1 fold

Total pot: $20.85 | Rake: $1
Main pot: $20.85 returned to Hero

Results:
Hero didn't show 8Spade, Jclub (nothing).
Outcome: Hero won $19.85

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I think I played this hand pretty good. My opponent invested a lot of money on a weak draw out of position. Unfortunately he hits one of his 7 outs.


PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $0.25 BB (6 handed)

saw flop | saw showdown

Hero (BB) ($25.85)
UTG ($8.20)
MP ($14.75)
CO ($27.55)
Button ($15.70)
SB ($22.55)

Preflop: Hero is BB with JHeart, 9Heart
4 folds, SB bets $0.50, Hero calls $0.25

Flop: ($1) 7Heart, 9club, 8club (2 players)
SB bets $0.50, Hero raises to $2, SB calls $1.50

Turn: ($5) 2Diamond (2 players)
SB bets $2, Hero raises to $7, SB calls $5

River: ($19) KSpade (2 players)
SB bets $3, Hero calls $3

Total pot: $25 | Rake: $1.20
Main pot: $25 between Hero and SB, won by SB

Results:
SB had Kclub, 6Diamond (one pair, Kings).
Hero mucked JHeart, 9Heart (one pair, nines).
Outcome: SB won $23.80

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This hand makes me sick. The ace on the turn is a terrible card because I know my opponent has an over pair(I was guessing jacks, queens or kings) and that the ace would kill my action. He ended up having aces and I lose a $50 pot. A few hands later I hit bottom set, only to run into middle set and lose another $25.


PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $0.25 BB (6 handed)

saw flop | saw showdown

Button ($24.65)
SB ($8.90)
BB ($8.65)
Hero (UTG) ($26.35)
MP ($16.60)
CO ($25)

Preflop: Hero is UTG with 5Heart, 5club
Hero calls $0.25, MP calls $0.25, CO bets $1.50, 2 folds, BB calls $1.25, Hero calls $1.25, MP calls $1.25

Flop: ($6.10) 5Diamond, 7club, 2Heart (4 players)
BB checks, Hero checks, MP checks, CO bets $5.70, 1 fold, Hero calls $5.70, 1 fold

Turn: ($17.50) ASpade (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $8.30, Hero raises to $19.15 (All-In), CO calls $9.50 (All-In)

River: ($53.10) Jclub (2 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: $53.10 | Rake: $2.60
Main pot: $53.10 between Hero and CO, won by CO

Results:
Hero had 5Heart, 5club (three of a kind, fives).
CO had ADiamond, Aclub (three of a kind, Aces).
Outcome: CO won $50.50

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