HoldemX: New Holdem on Steroids
HoldemX: New Holdem on Steroids

Never-ending “infantilization” of modern poker lead to the birth of the new “disciplines”, like Spin-n-Go and Rush Poker. The owner of GPI and the founder of GPL, unstoppable poker innovator Alex Dreyfus jumped over his own head and crated Hearthstone and poker hybrid.

In the beginning of the year, Full Tilt Poker started to sponsor professional Hearthstone players. In other words, created their own team. Almost simultaneously, FullTiltPoker.net appeared on gaming platform Steam. In other words, got 100 million gamers auditory.

Now everyone us able to load Full Tilt Poker from Steam and start playing. It’s only on play money (otherwise, there would not have been official license). It’s irrelevant though, once you start hanging around strip clubs, it’s just a matter of time you’re going to enter it.

Alex Dreyfus, who is actively promoting his new team poker show (there is no other way to name it) Global Poker League went in other way.

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WSOPC Tbilisi: an Exclusive Service For PokerDiscover Players
WSOPC Tbilisi: an Exclusive Service For PokerDiscover Players

On March, 3-9 in The Sports Palace of capital of Georgia, in the very heart of the city, a grand event will take place: World Series of Poker makes a first stop in Eastern Europe! PokerDiscover team made a special service package for our players and subscribers who decided to visit series.

WSOP took a step on lands of Eastern Europe for the first time in its history. This stage will go down in history. The most famous tournament series in the world took with itself not just many years of experience of such competition but $700,000 in guaranteed prize money, which is spread between twenty something events.

World Series tournaments have a different structure and many peculiarities. One of which is WSOP Circuit branded rings distribution with seven of the tournaments where you can win one at the Georgian stage.  This is some sort of equivalent to WSOP Golden Bracelets but on a smaller scale.

WSOPC Tbilisi Main Event with $1,100 buy-in champion and the best player of the series will go to Las Vegas to participate in the biggest event of the whole season – WSOP Global Casino Championship with $1,000,000 guaranteed.

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WSOPC Tbilisi: a tale of 20% taxes
WSOPC Tbilisi: a tale of 20% taxes

The first stage of WSOP Circuit in Georgia with guaranteed prize pool of $700,000 scheduled to the beginning of March could have become a disaster or a tournament with gigantic overlays at least. Turned out that all the tournament winnings will be paid without 20% of income tax!..

First info about this enormous tax came from Adjarabet representative in the evening of January, 29th:

“The situation with taxes is the following – 20% of income tax will be taken from those prize money owners during the payout”.

“It is required by Georgia law. We don’t take commission on this prize fund, like 3% to the stuff or anything else”

A real tropic storm started momentarily. Players were threatening with their fists and were telling they have given the tickets back or going to do that; they were telling all the reservations were cancelled and this entire situation looks like racketeering and stealing from them in the middle of the day.

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Urbanovich vs. Selbst: $2,000,000 prop bet!
Urbanovich vs. Selbst: $2,000,000 prop bet!

People make lots of prop bets on winning a WSOP bracelet or multiple bracelets annually. Many of those bets remain out of public sight but some blow the general public’s minds. This one is a bet of latter category. Vanessa Selbst made a prop bet on $2 million for Dzmitry Urbanovich not being able to win three bracelets this summer!

The most interesting part of this prop bet is odds: 200 to 1. Urbanovich risks just $10,000! This is 0.5% of the sum the American puts in risk. In other words, had he been able to win three bracelets he’ll receive two million dollars.

That is in theory.

It is not very obvious in practice. Let’s figure can a professional player pull that trick.

In previous March Russian speaking player won four events at EPT Malta, including $25,000 High Roller. Those tournaments weren’t major – mainly with under a hundred participants. And there were less of them in comparison with World Series.

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Tomorrow is inevitable: What’s to come in 2016?
Tomorrow is inevitable: What’s to come in 2016?

Extrapolation is a friend of statistician, economist, marketer and any other person who works with huge amounts of data. They are no numbers relevant to poker. Poker stands alone. And sometimes logic behind its development is very hard to get.

Extrapolation can be used to make a forecast of some events or trends. Everything is very chaotic in poker to make some scientific conclusions, however it is very interesting to speak about it.

We’ve already defined the best poker players of 2015, told of the most important events of 2015, it’s time to look into the future.

Other World

The world has changed. It is in human nature that he can’t see everything with an untired eye. There are always tons of factors separating him from the right conclusions. The oil is becoming cheaper with each and every day despite many countries were trying to make the most of it by selling and selling it over the years.

One just can’t change the way of thinking he got through the years momentarily.

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Why Esfandiari was banned from PCA ME 2016?
Why Esfandiari was banned from PCA ME 2016?

Poker players make prop bets as often as they play poker. Sometimes they go beyond the permitted and play with death. So where from do they take a will to jump into the shark tank, or lose ten kilos putting their life on the line.

Life is so short, why do we need more fear and restrictions? We over valuate our fears – it is in our revolution. Man is not running in the jungles or savannas, he has nothing to fear of. The instinct of self-preservation hasn’t been lost. It very often doesn’t give us an opportunity to jump with a parachute or to run a marathon.

Many afraid of public speaking or going to North Korea. These fears are too big in our heads as well. But life could be simpler and more entertaining. Some pros prove it by making prop bets on all the possible and impossible stuff.

However, Antonio Esfendiari’s ban from PCA Main Event 2016 isn’t about fear…

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The Best Poker Players of 2015
The Best Poker Players of 2015

So again here we are with the hardest of tasks to define who the best players of the year were. We couldn’t do that with the great precision without gigabytes of statistics and army of specialists. So we’ve got some data to build an adequate rating of the best poker players of 2015.

Let’s use our logic. We’ll start with the definition of the term ‘best’. What does it take to be the best player? The biggest earner or the most frequent ITMer? Maybe the one who played the biggest number of tournaments or the biggest number of cash tables? What is the main criteria to define world best poker player?

Yeah, we have to forget about cash games, unfortunately. There are many top poker players playing cash only. But cash games always stay aside. Nobody knows who won the biggest money playing cash. No exact, no approximate figures. And we won’t try to think out all the numbers.

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WSOP 2016: first information and $100,000 WPT Alpha8 results
WSOP 2016: first information and $100,000 WPT Alpha8 results

Official WSOP website gave us first info about the biggest poker event. Among major changes are Colossus II and reschedule of the Main Event. Also among news: the biggest WPT events finished including $100,000 Alpha8 and Five Diamond World Poker Classic.

So let’s start from the World Series, it would be a nice thing to do. Let us provide you with link to the official site. Here is what we see:

  • World Series 2-16 is scheduled from May, 31 to July, 18.
  • Main Event is scheduled July, 9-18.
  • Collossus II guaranteed prize money is $1,000,000 now and total guaranteed prize fund is $7,000,000 (used to be $5 million).
  • 100% in the schedule are the following events: Millionaire Maker, Monster Stack, Little One for ONE DROP, Seniors Event and Ladies Championship.

This is all relevant information. There are talks mostly about Collossus, this year tournament has the fans with mixed feelings: 22,374 buy-ins in the tournament with $565 buy-in and $11,187,000 prize money had only 638k for the winner…

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Las Vegas vs. Los Angeles, or The Last Stand of «Gambling Poker»
Las Vegas vs. Los Angeles, or The Last Stand of «Gambling Poker»

You are about to know one of the greatest secrets of the poker world. Probably we should have tried a less direct approach to telling you this. The secret is the world poker center has not been Las Vegas for quite some time, it’s LA! O yeah, baby! Bring the cash! And a couple of squids in spicy sauce to add, please!

So what is the place for World Series of Poker? Las Vegas/ First city in mind when it comes to gambling? Las Vegas. Most films about poker players shoot at? Las Vegas! Where is the biggest poker room in the world? Las… Los Angeles!

Yeah. Yeah, not Macao, not Vegas are really close to LA when ot comes to the most monumental poker buildings in the world. Commerce Casino alone has over 200 tables! Two hundred tables! Poker only, no some sort of roulette or baccarat.

And there is also The Bicycle, Hollywood Park, Hustler  and other facilities comparable to Commerce!

That is just one feature between two poker Meccas. Let’s see the list of all the differences between poker life in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

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Chinese poker in Prague: Russians were unequaled!!!
Chinese poker in Prague: Russians were unequaled!!!

TonyBet OFC mini-series on Open Faced Chinese Poker finished in Czech Republic on Prague Poker festival. Russian players showed themselves from the best side and proved they owe this discipline. Russian Maxim Panyak won High Roller title and Alexandra Usoltseva triumphed on Main Event!

Opening tournament was the little one. 108 players took part in it. There were lots of recognizable names but the prize money weren’t that big.

Opening tournament of TonyBet OFC Results:

  1. Isabelle Mercier (Canada) – €10,189
  2. Frank Gohletr (Germany) – €6,304
  3. Petteri Heinonen (Finland) – €4,081
  4. Jan Stefek (Czech Republic) – €2,999.

As you can see, there is no Russians among those names.

€10,000 High Roller was much more interesting. There were two Russians in the heads-up: Maxim Panyak and Evgeny Kocherov!

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Bedlam in Prague: Poker Dies?
Bedlam in Prague: Poker Dies?

Right before the start of Poker Festival in Prague where the best poker player in the world should compete, city authorities have made new amendments to the gambling laws and that have already led to the best city poker clubs to be closed, including Card Casino Prague. In the New Year situation might worsen….

European Union with its intolerance towards gambling came to Prague unexpectedly. Prague was different to Paris, Vienna, Oslo and other big cities in Europe. Serious changes are coming to Bratislava as well in the nearest future.

Major dissatisfaction cause not by the number of poker clubs but with everlasting slot machines halls, the number of which is overwhelming in the city. The issue is in these halls full of entertaining mechanisms. Local regional administration complain about gambling problems among locals.

Prague City Hall adopted an amendment on November. 26th and it should come into legal force on January, 1st 2016. But the process of cleaning has started in some places already. More than 200 slot halls are planned to be closed during the next year.

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Heart-to-heart: Phil Laak, the great poker eccentric
Heart-to-heart: Phil Laak, the great poker eccentric

Ask ten people who is the standout in the poker world. Nine of ten will call one name: Phil Laak! Even now when all the noticeable quality poker TV shows are gone, people remember talkative, hyperactive and seemingly always under the influence of something Irish American named Phil.

Laak was born in Ireland in 1972, grew up in the USA. He first played cards when he was 7-8 years old when he and kids of his age together with their parents went to vacation. Future pro has won his first prize and pot there – it was a chocolate bar.

First taste of his poker life was felt back then.

Our hero has an engineer diploma. However, he was never going to work at one place and has always tried something new.

“I always tried to get out of system using my brain and wanted to get out of matrix ending the routine: earn money, pay for the mortgage, pay your bills and start a new month”.

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Poker Notepad: Homework, Part 3
Poker Notepad: Homework, Part 3

In the final part of the epic “Homework” series, which includes material exclusively for those who play live poker in clubs and casinos at lower limits, we’ll speak about the analysis of the recorded hands. With the example of course.

Professional players MpethyBridge and Spikeraw22 from 2+2 forums have started big thread where they talk about all the details of their off table work. Basically, it’s a guide on how to become a professional poker player in lots of ways. There is a lot of info, we’ve read the whole thing, analyzed it and now publish the main info.

In Part 1 we speak about the way of analyzing hands, how to make yourself start doing this, why you need to do this and the best way to record the hands.

In Part 2 we speak about the most important leaks we should look at in the first place and also we describe the process of systematizing the hands.

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WSOP ME final table participants have paid $10 million in taxes!
WSOP ME final table participants have paid $10 million in taxes!

Loyalty of tax system in Russia is appreciated times and times better than those in Europe and the USA. World Series Main Event finalists paid on average 46% of their winnings to the state! The only one that came off clear is Pierre Neuville…

Winnings in Russia are paid according to standard income tax and there is certainly no mentioning of “professional poker players” in the law. As usual, it is very dark forest without trodden paths and foresters huts, speaking metaphorically – and there are just wild beasts and fallen pines on the way.

And this matter has been resolved on the West ages ago. And the result is in favor of state. Poker players in the ISA are forced to pay 50% from what they win. And since World Series finalists do live in America, they are no exception to this rule.

Let us take the winner Joe McKeehen, for example. Without taxes his winnings were $7,683,346, with them -- $4,297,394! We will save you time by making calculations – it is $3,073,240 to the Internal Revenue Service of the United States (basic income tax) and over $300,000 to the local authorities budgets of the state and the city of participant.

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WSOP November Nine: McKeehen is the New Champion ($7,683,346)!
WSOP November Nine: McKeehen is the New Champion ($7,683,346)!

24-year-old professional player has started the play on the Final Table with the biggest chip advantage in the history of the World Series. It was total domination of Joe McKeehen over his opponents from the moment it all begun. The American has earned $7.7 and stood cool as a cucumber all the time.

26th World Series has come to its end in the capital of poker games Las Vegas. It’s culminations was the final table of the Main Event which has started couple of days ago.

 “I still don’t fully realize what just happened, but soon the recognition will come, - McKeehen admitted right after the win. – I still have a lot of discussions to make with my family and friend, this is the most interesting part for me.”

In the first day of play on the final table, McKeehen has eliminated three players by himself. The second playing period when the field was just of three players and it was won by McKeehen. You can look at numbers of chip count to make the same conclusion:

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