We know you probably thought a different Phil was going to be in this spot, but let’s face it – Ivey doesn’t exactly ooze personality. Phil Laak on the other hand, is one of the most affable, fun-loving, good time guys in the game today. While his mouth is constantly running, it’s never out of arrogance. His humility and respect for other players is what makes him so easy to root for and so much fun to have at the table.
Sure, “the Unibomber“is sometimes thought of Esfandiari’s “pain loving” sidekick, but Laak is a superstar all on his own. After all, it’s he who is dating the movie star, right? In the end though, it’s how genuine Laak is that makes him the player we can’t stop watching. For that, and his love of the hoodie, we are indeed thankful.
It’s the man who graced the 1 million* Milwaukee Best Light* cans, Phil Hellmuth Jr. The man who polarizes the poker industry with his flamboyant WSOP entrances and petty rants every time he was found taking a bad beat. He’s cried to his “honey” and fell on the floor of the Bay 101 Casino on camera, he coined the term “to you it’s poker, to me it’s my life.” and crashed a sports car in the Rio parking lot.
He’s iconic for his personality but he’s also the record holder for both number of cashes at the World Series of Poker and he’s top on the leaderboard with his 13 bracelets. Hellmuth may use his Twitter account to name drop celebrities but he also donates his time to raising money for kids and by most accounts, when the cameras are off – the guy is a giant teddybear. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and while Phil Hellmuth may not be the very best player anymore (he’s still damn great) he’s all eyes are on him when he’s in the room. Hellmuth, love him or hate him, is always entertaining and that’s reason enough to be thankful he’s still in the game.
Daniel Negreanu is a little like “the people’s champ” of poker. The outspoken Team PokerStars Pro says what he means and means what he says, no matter what the issue in poker may be. Always taking time out for his fans, the 6-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, and 2013 WSOP Player of the Year, is always looking to promote the growth of the game. He’s also the kind of guy who wears his heart on his sleeve – he went on a reality show (“Millionaire Matchmaker”) to look for love, he champions Choice Center in Las Vegas – a “leadership” organization, and recently appeared on tour with more hair than he’s had in the past 10 years. Meaning that Daniel is always himself, love him or hate him, and through it all he’s fought for the good of the game of poker. When poker had him down, Daniel had the humility to take his game to the ground floor and build it back up again…to championship form. It doesn’t take a genius to see why we’re thankful for Daniel Negreanu.
Liv Boeree is perhaps the most dangerous woman in poker. Just by looking at her, she gives off the vibe that she’ll destroy you, sir, on or off the felt. The EPT Champion smartly switched sponsorship from UltimateBet to PokerStars at the perfect time. Ever since has seen her popularity skyrocket thanks to her dedication to the game, her love of heavy metal and it doesn’t hurt that the camera loves her back. The UK professional is a student of astrophysics in a game where most people have no idea what that even is and used all of her attributes to keep the game of poker both sexy and edgy. Liv is always intriguing and for that, we’re thankful.
Phil Hellmuth called her one of the best poker players on the planet – male or female – and he’s right. The Team PokerStars Pro results speak for themselves but it’s her fearless attitude on the felt that is always something to marvel at. Unafraid to speak her mind and be herself, the Yale University graduate is just as likely to run a sick bluff as chastise you for trying to run a bad one. She’s a two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, back-to-back NAPT Champion and the top earning female of all time. There was a time when she looked to quit poker to become a lawyer…We’re thankful she decided to stick it out in poker. Enjoy some more videos!
Vanessa just won’t quit, even when the stakes are enormous:
He’s the 18 million dollar man that every guy wants to be friends with – and not for his money. Where Antonio Esfandiari goes, good times seem to follow. From ridiculous on-air prop bets to being hosted through the Rio on a sea of shoulders, “the Magician’s” personality and affability makes him an ultimate fan favorite. The fact that he’s #1 on the All-Time Money list speaks for itself in terms of poker acumen, but he’s a fantastic, identifyable broadcaster for ESPN as well. All of his charm and personality at the table makes him someone the poker world can really be thankful for.
That’s right, it’s one half of the European Poker Tour's (EPT) broadcast team, Joe “Stapes” Stapleton. An original member of PokerWire radio and a veteran of PokerRoad the “King of Harry Italian Comedy” rose through the ranks by working hard and taking every job, no matter how thankless, and killing it. After his two season stint on PokerStars’ The Big Game, Joe now enjoys success by living and working with PokerStars on the EPT in Europe but he’s never lost what he does best – be the voice of the player and crack wise, often at inappropriate times. He keeps it real on the mic, including revealing incredibly embarrassing facts about himself, his love life and his family. Stapes is one of poker’s true entertainers and for that, we’re thankful.
Victor Blom represents more than he actually is. Sure, he’s a fearsome foe at the tables and a face of Full Tilt Poker. But he’s also a representation of the dream of many poker players – work hard, play harder and one day glory can be yours. From the shadows, an unknown Blom, known only by his screenname Isildur1, seemingly appeared out of nowhere to take on the best players on the planet. Quite often he did this all at the same time…and he won. It’s a story that most poker players may not be able to relate to, but can aspire to. We’re just thankful that Isildur showed us it can happen.
If you’ve ever played in a Matt Savage run tournament then you know why he made our list. He’s a “pros pro” who handles his business in a straightforward manner but gives it that personal touch. He’s the poker communities virtual floorman, answering poker rules questions via his popular Twitter account and keeps it real on the regular, even when that means destroying the reputation of something he helped create. Not everyone agrees with everything he promotes (first card off the deck, anyone?) but he’s accessible and treats all players with respect and for that, we’re thankful.
Smart, charming and good at what she does, the ESPN sideline reporter for the World Series of Poker also has game. Kara Scott has well over $500k in lifetime earnings and has subsequently earned a sponsorship with partypoker (after being a sponsored player for PokerStars as well). To meet Scott in person is to find her a hard working, humble, personable person who has created her own success in a male dominated industry. In case you were wondering, of course, she’s off the market fellas and even though that may be the case, we’re thankful for Kara Scott.
Here in the US, this Thursday is Thanksgiving. A day when family gets together, eats everything in sight, practices some healthy dysfunction and passes out with oner hand down their pants to a bad football game.
Sometimes though a family might gather around a table and play a little cards. That’s exactly what the editorial staff of F5 did where we bitterly argued about which personalities in poker we were most thankful for. With so many amazing people to pick from, coming up with this list (and agreeing on anything) was hard…but here it is. Throughout the day we’ll be posting “The 2013 Top Ten Personalities in Poker We’re Most Thankful For.”
Officials at the World Poker Tour (WPT) recently announced a new Main Event stop as a part of Season XII, bringing the total to 20. The WPT roadshow will now make a stop at Sacramento’s Thunder Valley Casino for a brand new $3500 re-entry event.
bq.“With the addition of WPT Thunder Valley we’ve created a California swing that makes in-state transportation both easy and affordable for players traveling from LA to Northern California, and which provides great opportunities to enjoy the California sunshine while experiencing all the amazing attractions the state has to offer,” said WPT President, Adam Pliska
Pliska, who obviously has never been to Sacramento if he believes it’s one of California’s “amazing attractions”, will be joined by Mike and Vince as well as Executive Tour Director Matt Savage as the event immediately follows the popular Bay 101 Shooting Stars event held in San Jose, just two hours away from the state’s capitol.
Online poker operators line up bonuses for new players.
With New Jersey online poker now in full swing, those that are first to market are doing whatever they can to get people to sign up. This includes initial deposit bonuses and even NO deposit bonus – meaning you can just sign up and get some free cash to play. Looking to dip your toe into the New Jersey market, then check out some offers after the jump.
888 Poker – $10 bonus with first deposit. Borgata Poker – $20 in “entries and bonuses” just for creating an account. partypoker – $15 for signing up – $5 each for cash, tournaments and casino games. No deposit required. Ultimate Poker – 100% first deposit match up to $500, minimum $50. WSOP.com – 100% bonus up to $400, plus multiple $100 freerolls. Betfair Poker $25 first deposit bonus.
The gang over at PokerStrategy compiled a list of the Top 10 Party People in Poker for your approval. While there are certainly many you’d expect to be on there, like hyper-baller Dan Bilzerian and good-time guy Antonio Esfandiari, there’s a few high up on their list that one might not expect.
Fun game: compile your top 10 people you’d invite to your rager and then go check out the article and see if they match up.
Have you noticed that Phil Ivey seems to have loosened up and embraced his celebrity a little bit? He’s more social, somewhat chatty and he’s even signing autographs…on hats! Team Ivey recently selected the “winners” of their #IveyPokerFace social media contest that had people send in their best poker faces – and it turns out, nobody even knows what a poker face is.
No controversy here, phenom wins Premiere League VII.
Without a livestream to watch, we’re just going to have to take partypoker's word that Canadian poker professional Sorel Mizzi has emerged victorious in the now completed Premiere League VII.
The $125k buy-in, multi-heat tournament featured 12 of the world’s best poker player vying for a $400k first place prize. In addition to money up top, players were awarded $2k per point per heat. Meaning that even last place finisher, Vanessa Selbst, got to take home a little something. Premiere League VII is set to be televised in 2014. All the players and money results are available after the jump.
1. Sorel Mizzi-$466,000 2. Jeff Gross-$274,000 3. Dan Colman-$194,000 4. Scott Seiver-$130,000 [buy-in $125,000] 5. Jason Koon-$118,000 6. Brian Rast-$102,000 7. Jonathan Duhamel-$52,000 8. Daniel “Jungleman” Cates-$48,000 9. Antonio Esfandiari-$40,000 10. Phil Laak-$38,000 11. Dan Shak-$20,000 12. Vanessa Selbst-$18,000
“There is a glut of poker tournaments around the world, and our vision is to each year put on a single global showcase that can’t be missed.”Ty Stewart, WSOP Executive Director
Seems like there CAN be too much of a good thing/ The World Series of Poker announced this week that they would be scaling back on the worldwide action and begin alternating international events – effective immediately! That means no European stop in 2014 as the WSOP plans to return to Australia this year for WSOP APAC. The European stop will be back on the calendar in 2015, if all goes well. Don’t worry bracelet hunters, the number of events are going to double so there’s just as many chances to get a piece of hardware in a small field tournament.
From the underbelly of the Russian crime world comes a new computer virus called i2Ninja which looks to steal all your personal information and financials. Malware isn’t new, but i2Ninja has a unique feature called PokerGrabber which targets players info for “the most popular clients.”
Now, in the translated description it lists the following: “88poker, Absolute Poker, Cake Poker, Full Tilt Poker, Party Poker, PokerStars, Titan Poker“ – now this is translated from a Russian forum, so while there may be some things lost in translation (like Absolute Poker still being around) what wasn’t lost is that it’s for sale and people are buying it. So, fair warning, next time you log on to your favorite poker client, make sure you use protection!
“That poker is a game that rewards skill isn’t questioned among serious scholars.”
True fact: poker is not like other forms of gambling. The skill required to succeed in poker far outweighs just about any other form of gambling, especially standard casino pit games. Yet, whether skill or luck is the dominant force is still it’s up for debate.
Here’s what’s not up for debate – poker can and does teach people real world life lessons. Money management, math skills and how to deal with the emotional swings that accompany variance. In a recent article for online zine The Federalist, Susquehanna University associate professor Matthew Rousu spells it out for those who need convincing. Poker is life!
Online site PKR was awarded the “Poker Operator of the Year” by eGaming Review. Apparently, “security” was not a consideration for the award as someone apparently walked in and stole their trophy! Hilariously, eGR opted to ask the public via Twitter to please return it.
Being a 10-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner can, on occasion, have its perks. Take for instance this weekend when, the master, Johnny Chan found himself on hand watching Manny Pacquiao pummel Brandon Rios in Macau while snapping selfies with socialite and “film star” Paris Hilton.
This past weekend, Team Ivey Pro, Allen Kessler, clinched the Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) Player of the Year. The man known as “Chainsaw” or “Complainsaw” grinded his way to six cashes and three final tables in 2013. Kessler will enjoy the spoils of his title in 2014 where he gets 6 free HPT Main Event buy-ins and 5 nights stay at each stop. No word if there are buffet coupons included.
As a result, Kessler and his sometime nemesis, tournament director Matt Savage, exchanged messages which confirms that Kessler will likely be a Shooting Star at the 2014 Bay 101 World Poker Tour stop.
Ultimate Gaming, the parent company of Ultimate Poker, celebrated the unrestricted launch of online gaming in New Jersey today and Dana White, head honcho of the UFC was on hand to try and sucker punch his bosses and partners out of a few extra bucks. Poker pro and sponsored player*Jason Somerville* was on hand to snap some shots as was iGaming freelancer Marco Valerio. Check them out after the jump.
Hedge fund manager turned poker pro gets wrist slapped.
Before climbing the heights of the high roller tournaments, Dan Shak was better known as a high rolling hedge fund manager. Recently, he was fined and partially banned from trading for something he allegedly did back in 2008. It’s a trading method insiders call “banging the close” where a trader floods the market to manipulate commodity prices in the final minutes of trading.
He’s accused of doing that back in 2008 to the oil markets and now, he’s been order to paying a hefty $400,000 fine and taking a multi-round penalty from trading particular futures, including a full on ban from trading crude oil markets.
You think Antonio is the only magician on the poker scene? In this clip from Poker Night In America, the recently enshrined Poker Hall of Famer, Scotty “Baby” Nguyen shows that he has a trick or two up his sleeve as well.
Poker player turned politician folds his candidacy.
In a little under a month, two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner went from being All-in on becoming Congressman for Nevada’s 3rd District to folding his campaign due to the time that a race like that would require.
WSOP Bracelet winner talks sexism, equality in poker.
Jackie Glazier has had quite a 2013, from earning the title of “Last Woman Standing” by finishing the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event in 31st place to becoming an*888poker* sponsored pro to capturing her first bracelet at the 2013 WSOPE — it’s been a career year.
In this interview with CalvinAyre's Lee Davy, she doesn’t really address any of that, instead focusing on what it’s like to be a strong woman in a male dominated hobby-sport. She offers her views on a wide range of topics including sexism, inequality, the growing contingent of female players and even takes a couple shots at “the forums.” Solid read worth checking, no matter which gender you are or identify with.
It’s many a poker players dream to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event and, let’s face it, that $10k price tag can be quite a deterrent. Imagine if you won a seat – would you play it? Imaging if you won a seat with a chance to become a “sponsored pro”? Would you take it? Over at PokerNews, Chad Holloway tells the tale of Ken Horrell, a man faced with both decisions and a contract to sign after grinding on online poker site Attack Poker. What follows is a bitchfest between two parties about how did what to whom and a WSOP Main Event seat that went unplayed.
It’s a solid story that every poker player, who one day hopes to take their shot, should check out.
Today, the online arm of the #1 brand in poker, the World Series of Poker, announced that it’s putting big bucks up for grab in the Garden State with it’s first ever New Jersey Online Championships Tournament Series. The series will offer two $250k freerolls as well as guarantees adding up to $1m for all New Jersey residents (and visitors within the verification range) as long as you sign up for an account and make a small deposit before December 10th.
New Jersey Online Championships Tournament Series Schedule (they’re not messing around)
January 19—*$250,000 Invitational Freeroll* January 20—$215 NLH R&A $50k Guaranteed January 21—$109 Pot Limit Omaha R&A $25k Guaranteed January 22—$215 NLH $30k Guaranteed January 23—$109 NLH $25k Guaranteed January 24—$215 NLH 6 Max $50k Guaranteed January 25—$109 NLH $70k Guaranteed January 26—$530 NLH $250k Guaranteed February 2—*$250,000 Player’s Freeroll*
Currently sitting at #5 on the Global Poker Index, poker professional Shannon Shorr (@shannonshorr) just returned back to the United States from an 82 day European excursion filled with epic nights and tournament poker.
This isn’t the Shark Tank. There’s no deals to be made here. Just you and a bunch of pros on TV playing for $1 million. PokerStars is launching a new TV show where top names players and Team PokerStars members feed on online qualifiers (and each other) all for audience enjoyment. It’s called “The Shark Cage” not to be confused with the Humberto BrenesMMA reality show of the same name.
Qualifiers, and some who are actually cast by the production, will play in a series of heats on the EPT all in attempt to play for a winner take all prize of $1m. The promotion promises “plenty of trash-talk and exciting action” as well as some new just-for-TV features such as a “shot clock” with each player needing to make decisions in under 30 seconds and if you get bluffed on the river, you take a one orbit penalty. Finally, all players are contractually bound to not make a deal for the first place prize.
Without a live stream of the partypoker Premiere League VII some of the only glimpses of fun the public can get are from social media of the cast and the fun they are having outside the studio.
Here we have the Phil “The Unibomber” Laak being one upped by Daniel “Jungleman” Cates when it comes to standing in the freezing Montreal cold. Then the gang decided to hit the deal to grab a bite:
Of course, the pros are not in Montreal for the sunshine and gourmet grub, they also have to play a little poker…and as of now they are through 5 heats with Dan Coleman sitting with the points lead and Sorel Mizzi right behind him.
Carter Gill, the new school poster boy for “bad beat sad face” now has a reason to turn his World Series of Poker frown upside down. He’s the LAPT Uruguay Grand Final Champion! Gill faded 508 total entries at the PokerStars sponsored event on his way to a $218,692 payday, the trophy and the title.
Tony Dunst, host of the World Poker Tour's Raw Deal segments and star of the poker documentary “Bet Raise Fold” took down the WPT Caribbean event for a cool $145k earlier today.
Dunst started the day as the chip leader and spent the day picking up more pots than he has women. In the end he’ll be bringing six-figures back to his place. For a full work up of what went down, check the full results over at the World Poker Tour live updates page.
Here’s Tony picking up what they are putting down:
Billionaire ramps up his anti-online gambling campaign.
In a new article in Forbes (by Nathan Vardi), the enemy of the pokers, Sheldon Adelson talks about spending whatever it takes to keep you from playing a $5MTT from the comfort of your home. The 80-year old CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp, which owns the Venetian, is hoping to reverse the current course of online gaming and protect economically vulnerable people who are unable to protect themselves.
Adelson who is cited as the nation’s 11th richest individual, is planning on breaking the bank if necessary to get this done. While he insists that his business is not directly influenced, he is worried about what online gaming will do to the brick-and-mortar industry.
A rental home that was regularly used to hold poker cash games and tournaments in Boise, ID is the target of a federal seizure. The feds claim that the owner of the property,a $205k home located on Victory Road which rented for $1200/mo., knew about the illegal operation and turned a blind eye.
The owner of the house isn’t accused of participating in the operation in any fashion nor is he being indicted as of yet. He simply just didn’t care. That seems to be enough for the feds to declare it an illegal gambling operation and add that shack to it’s stack.
In a “local boy done good” article for the Scottish Express, David Vamplew, here called the “Harry Potter Of Poker” talks about his current life as an online and live poker pro. Vamplew, who came runner-up in two different events in the 2013 World Series of Poker, may look like some teenage Hogwarts fan engaged in some serious cosplay, but with $3 million+ in lifetime live earnings, Vamplew obviously hasn’t spent much time on his Quidditch game and instead decided to use his magic in the game of poker.
Tournament Director wonders if he hurt the industry.
Ask anyone who knows (except, perhaps, Allen Kessler) and they’ll tell you that Tournament Director Matt Savage is the best in the business. Great structures, fair rulings and a friendly atmosphere makes him the premiere frontman for any given tournament series.
A few years ago, he introduced re-entry tournaments to the majority of the poker world and now, in an op-ed for PokerNews, the Savage one is wondering if his brainchild has done more harm than good to the poker economy.