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The World Series of Poker hasn't even begun but the summer is already off to a blockbuster start for Daniel Negreanu.
Negreanu married his girlfriend Amanda Leatherman in front of a rapt audience of family, friends and poker pros alike on May 19.
It was "the social event of the season," in poker circles, and by all accounts an epic and heartwarming evening.
But don't just take our word for it - check out the wedding cut released from Negreanu below:
Negreanu Wants WSOP Gold, POY
While Negreanu is likely still soaring on his wedding vibes he's also now buckling down to prepare himself for the 2019 World Series of Poker.
The WSOP is always a priority for Negreanu. The planning of his WSOP schedule is meticulous to maximize his chances at adding another gold bracelet to his current stash of six.
Even though he lives in Las Vegas, Negreanu famously parks a private RV behind the Rio so he can relax and stay fresh in his downtime and manage the full grind of the WSOP.
He cares about winning bracelets, first and foremost. But he also cares about the WSOP Player of the Year award.
Already one of the game’s all-time greats and a two-time WSOP Player of the Year (2004, 2013), the man they call Kid Poker has another WSOP POY award in mind for 2019.
He's also letting his fans and subscribers in on the chase - both for POY and profit - for as little as $5:
Plan is to play “next tourney up” all summer with a couple exceptions related to the $50k PPC
No days off. Daily VLOGS.
May see me go from a $500 buy in at 11am to a $50k buy in at 3pm.
Balls... to... the wall.
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) March 30, 2019
Buy a Piece of Daniel's WSOP Action May 24!
Here's how you can buy a piece of his action (by credit card no less!) starting Friday, May 24:
With a massive 89-event WSOP schedule in Las Vegas and 10 more bracelet events at the WSOPE in Rozvadov -- and points handed out in higher increments in low buy-in, big field events -- to win the POY Negreanu will have to play more events than ever before.
It will be a grind and a thrill ride from beginning to end - especially if Negreanu builds some momentum with an early deep run.
Daniel Splits With PokerStars
If you watched the video up to at least the 10-minute mark you'll have seen that Daniel announced he has officially split from PokerStars after 12 years of being an Ambassador for the brand.
According to Daniel the split was amicable and considers the move "freeing" in a lot of ways. Watch the video above starting at 9m47s for more detail and check his Twitter announcement below:
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) May 23, 2019
2019 WSOP Daniel Negreanu Vlogs
Another thing Negreanu has become known for over the years are his WSOP Vlogs from behind the scenes at the Rio.
From the vegan meals stacked in his RV fridge to his quiet moments after tourney bustouts to shooting the breeze with his VIP poker pals, Negreanu has put a lot of effort into sharing his WSOP experience with his fans.
Despite his best intentions last summer was a rough for one Negreanu as he fell short of a bracelet, came out of the WSOP down about $1.3m (although he did win $3m at the Super High Roller Bowl) and went through a break-up. He still managed to shoot and post 45 daily video blogs, though.
This year, he says, we can expect daily Vlogs again from the Rio and we’ll embed all of them here for you to watch. Check out his first pre-WSOP teaser Vlog below:
2019 WSOP POY Formula
The WSOP Player of the Year formula for 2019 will be the same as it was in 2018. The points model is based on what was used on the WSOP Circuit for years and has modifiers for both the size of the event buy-in and number of entries in the tournament.
At the end of the 89 events of the WSOP in Las Vegas there will still be 10 more opportunities for players to earn points at the WSOP Europe in Rozvadov in the Fall.
When all WSOP events for 2019 have finished the player who has earned the most total points through their poker performances will win the POY crown. Check our official World Series of Poker page to see who has won the WSOP Player of the Year since its inception in 2004.
Note: Players can actually calculate exactly how many points you can earn for your finish with the WSOP POY Points calculator right on the WSOP website. Just select the event played, the number of entrants, hit “calculate” and you’ll see exactly how many points are awarded for each finish.
The following events DON’T count toward POY:
Event #1: $500 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em
Event #32: $1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em
Event #39: $1,000 Super Seniors No-Limit Hold’em
Event #47: $1,000/$10,000 Ladies Event
Event #57: $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold’em
Event #81: $1,500 Bracelet Winners Only No-Limit Hold’em
With a $918,000 cash he's the current frontrunner for the Purple Jacket - at least until the second $50k final table plays out today. Final-table results below; watch the full replay over on PokerGO.
1. Nick Schulman, $918,000 2. Matt Hyman, $561,000 3. Stefan Schillhabel, $306,000 4. Steffen Sontheimer, $204,000 5. Dominik Nitsche, $178,500 6. Koray Aldemir, $153,000 7. Adrian Mateos, $127,500
2) DNegs Starts with German Sandwich
Speaking of the Poker Masters ... as mentioned many times live streaming of the feature tables/final tables is available on PokerGO and, at just $10/month, a steal of a deal.
We're also lucky in this age of Twitch streams and poker Vlogs that a few players involved are producing their own supplementary content with real behind-the-ropes access like never before.
Daniel Negreanu is, of course, one of those content providers and he delivered a 13-minute snapshot of his experience of the first $50k in a new Vlog posted last night. It covers the usual kind of ground but also includes our new favorite expression - "The German Sandwich" - aka having a German player on your left and right.
With at least 7 German high-stakes kingpins expected in every PokerMasters event it's likely something we'll hear a few more times. Watch the Vlog below:
Update: Here's Day 2 now, too:
3) Fedor has Jet Lag, Watches Overwatch at 4 am
The kingpin of all those German kingpins is Fedor Holz and he's also one of those generous players providing his own supplementary coverage of the Poker Masters.
Can't sleep, watch Overwatch
As part of his Primed Mind project Fedor is filming an "In the Life of a Champion" mini-doc over his week in Vegas and the first instalment arrived last night.
It covers much of the same ground as DNegs usually does - his diet, buying in, etc - but also follows him as he looks at a potential investment, does an interview and, as jet lag hits him, finds himself up at 4 am watching some Overwatch.
Fedor busted two bullets in Event #1 but as he got adjusted to the North American time zone his game picked up and he's one of the final 7 in Event #2 starting today.
And guess who has the German Sandwich? Check the chip counts and watch the video below.
Event #2 Poker Masters $50,000 Buy-in
1. Fedor Holz 1,138,000 Germany 2. Adrian Mateos 745,000 Spain 3. Bryn Kenney 391,000 USA 4. Tom Marchese 1,011,000 USA 5. Steffen Sontheimer 848,000 Germany 6. Phil Hellmuth 702,000 USA 7. Christian Christner 1,416,000 Germany
With its smash hit poker festival in Sao Paulo now in the books, 888Live is going back to its roots.
At the beginning of October 888poker returns to its home poker room at the Aspers Casino in London, England.
This time around the festival will be bigger than ever before and offer 10 varied events over 12 days – but only 30 seconds to make a move.
£30 Sats, £400,000 Main Event
The next 888live London festival starts on October 2 with £30 satellites to the Opening Event.
Get ready for action.
There’ll be seven of these before the Opening Event kicks off the festival on Thursday, October 5.
It’ll be a £220 buy-in event with a guaranteed prize pool of £120,000. This will be followed up by the £2,200 High Roller with £50,000 guaranteed.
The Main Event has an £1,100 buy-in and a proper £400,000 in guaranteed prize money. There’ll be three Day 1s and simultaneous ME satellites running until the last possible minute.
The days in between will be filled by a number of other tournaments that should be familiar to the online player -- a Hurricane, a Swordfish, a Lightning and a Whale. But you’ll also find a PLO and a Ladies event.
The final day of the festival will be October 16 when the Main Event restarts with just nine players left. The event will be live streamed so you can watch the action from home.
Bring in the Action Clock, Qualify Live or Online
The 888poker Action Clock will also be back on the tables for the Main Event and the High Roller events.
This means you just have 30 seconds to make your next move. This speeds up the game and stops unnecessary stalling.
The Aspers is running satellites for the Opening and the Main Event but there are also online satellites running.
The satellites cost $109 for the Main and just $12 for the Opening Event. As always, you can play sub-satellites to get into the direct qualifiers for even less money.
Join the 888 gang in London!
The 888poker steps system lets you try your luck for as little as 1 cent so make as much use of it as you can.
Apart from the scheduled qualifiers, the steps tournaments run all the time and you can use the tournament tickets you win for all sorts of live and online events.
Get Into the Game
Everybody is welcome to play at the 888poker festival in London but if you want to win yourself a ticket online, you need an account.
To get started all you need to do is go to our 888poker review, click on the download button and take it from there. The whole procedure takes but a few minutes and will give you access to an $888 sign-up bonus.
While Phil didn't cash in the first of 5 Poker Masters events he did finish 14th and perhaps built some momentum for the hard week's grind ahead. That pin would look pretty good on a Purple Jacket, too.
H/t to 2+2er Rmbxr9 for noticing and grabbing the screenshot:
If we narrowed our list down after the Summer, though, perhaps it would be David Laka who would be the man on everyone's ballots.
After a couple of nice final-table showings in Marbella (2nd in €2,200 HR) and Barcelona (7th in €10k HR) Laka's taken things to the next level this week at partypoker Live in Sochi.
Over the weekend he nabbed the title in the $10k HR for $285,000 and, just moments ago, he finished second overall in the Main Event for another $600,000 payday.
Do the math and that's just under $900,000 in six days. Rising Star potential? Yep. That definitely qualifies. Check the full rundown of the final-table action here on the partypoker Live blog or watch the full replay on the partypoker Live Twitch channel.
3) Nipun Java Joins Global Poker League India
The Global Poker League has abandoned thoughts of a Season 2 in the Americas/Europe this year and, despite some high points in Season 1, we're not likely to see the full return of the Berlin Bears, San Francisco Rush and New York Rounders et al. when a Season 2 is played.
The GPL as a brand, though, is still an ongoing entity and in the process of making a big push in China and India with full Season 1s planned for 2017/2018. Season 1 in China, in fact, began September 9th with 12 teams that made it through a qualifying process that will play down to a champion over the next six months.
GPL India, meanwhile, has yet to begin (it should start in Q1 2018) but six teams will participate including the Bengaluru Hackers, the Delhi Diehards and the Mumbai Jetsetters.
As the World Series of Poker turns 50 this year the WSOP organizing committee has gone the extra mile - and then some - to make the 2019 WSOP schedule a memorable one.
A dazzling array of 89 (!) events is on the official WSOP schedule with the entire festival kicking off on May 29.
From the moment the "Shuffle Up and Deal" is announced in the traditional opener, the $500 Casino Employees Event, until a new World Series of Poker Main Event champion is crowned on July 16, it'll be a flurry of action all day, every day at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Jump directly to the full 2019 WSOP schedule here:
Among the new and exciting events on the docket to celebrate 50 years of WSOP history:
Historic $500 buy-in “The Big 50” No-Limit Hold'em event with $5 million Guaranteed
$50,000 buy-in Anniversary Special Tournament
$1,000 Mini Main Event
$1,500 Bracelet Winners-Only Event
$500 Salute to Warriors Charity Event (to benefit members of Police, Fire and Armed Forces)
$600 Deepstack Championship Event
$400 WSOP Colossus (lowest buy-in ever)
$10,000 Short Deck Holdem Event
Additionally there will be a full 20 Championship events with $10,000 buy-ins and nine official online bracelet events - an all-time record.
Popular returning events for the 2019 WSOP alongside the iconic $10,000 Main Event include:
$1,500 Millionaire Maker
$1,000 Seniors Championship
$1,000 Super Seniors Championship
$1,000 Ladies Championship
$1,500 Monster Stack
$1,000 Tag Team Championship
The $2,620 Marathon
The Colossus (buy-in now $400 from $565)
$888 888poker Crazy Eights
$1,111 Little One for One Drop
$1,500 The Closer ($1m Guaranteed)
$50,000 Poker Players Championship
To further enhance the experience for WSOP players old and new the WSOP has also added:
One-Day Super Turbo Events
Bigger starting stacks in most events
Big Blind Ante for Main Event
It will almost assuredly be the biggest World Series of Poker in history in terms of attendance, countries represented and bracelets awarded - and that's not even adding in the 2019 WSOP Europe scheduled for the fall in Rozvadov, Czech Republic.
More on a few of the 2019 WSOP highlight events:
$500 “The Big 50” No-Limit Hold’em with $5m Guaranteed
Getting the 2019 WSOP off to a rollicking start on the opening weekend is the new “Big 50.” It’ll run over 4 days (May 30-June 2) with:
50,000 chips to start
$5 million guaranteed prize pool
$1m guaranteed for the winner
One flight will run each day starting early (11 am, 10 am) and go 12 levels.
Important to note: The first entry for each player is entirely rake-free (!) and all $500 goes into the prize pool. Re-entries will pay the usual fees.
“We’re excited to commence our golden event,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “We expect our opening weekend Big 50 event to be one of the largest in our history, and certainly one of the best value tournaments ever offered. This is part of our concerted plans to make the 2019 WSOP a better value all-around.”
$50,000 Anniversary High Roller
How better to celebrate the WSOP’s 50th than with a tournament that celebrates just how far tournament poker has evolved since 1970?
The $50,000 buy-in Anniversary event is open to all players and is scheduled to run over four days. Starting stacks will be 300,000 and levels will be one hour. Registration will be open until the end of Day 2.
$1,000 Mini Main Event
Low-stakes poker players have been clamouring for this for years and the 50th WSOP is finally delivering.
The $1,000 Mini Main Event runs July 1 and July 2 and mimics the set-up and structure of the iconic Main Event to give those of us with smaller budgets a chance to experience the thrill of the ME.
The Mini Main Event has the same blind structure as its parent event but will have 30-minute levels (instead of the usual 120 mins). Starting stacks are a dazzling 60,000 so players will really have room to play.
9 Online Bracelet Events
This is by far a record for most online events and a real sign of the present and future WSOP.
The exact number of online events (and whether you will be able to play them via the shared player pool liquidity agreement between Nevada and New Jersey) may still be altered but for now they are listed on the schedule.
Online bracelet events start June 2 with the $400 1-day Online No-Limit Hold’em event. More events will follow every week with buy-ins from $500-$1,000.
The Online High Roller will cap things off on July 3 with a $3,200 buy-in. Check the full WSOP schedule below for details (and be prepared for changes).
$1,500 Bracelet Winners-Only Event
Won a WSOP gold bracelet before? This one is for you.
Only previous WSOP bracelet winners are eligible to enter this 4-day, $1,500 buy-in event scheduled to start July 10 (Day 5 of Main Event). Starting stacks are $50k and play will wind down to a “Champion of Champions” with no re-entries allowed.
Just how many potential runners are there, you might wonder? Well, between the 1,078 past bracelet winners to the 60+ who will have new bracelets on their wrists this summer you’re looking at about 1,140 or so.
Just how many will take a shot at it? We’ll find out July 10.
$500 Salute to Warriors Charity Event
Want to pay tribute to the men and women who serve in the US Armed Forces? You can via this new charity event introduced for the 2019 WSOP.
The event is open to ALL participants (not just military members) and will run three days, ending on July 4. All proceeds from this event, according to the WSOP, will be donated to the USO and other veteran organizations.
$600 Deepstack Championship Event
The $600 Deepstack may be the showpiece event but the WSOP has actually added six new low buy-in Deepstack events that will run throughout the series. Each has a buy-in between $600 and $800 and will be either No-Limit Hold’em or Pot-Limit Omaha.
The Deepstack Championship on June 25 will have a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool and guarantee the winner a 2019 WSOP Main Event seat. Starting stacks are 30,000 and play will run for 3 days.
$400 The Colossus
The Colossus has proven to be one of the most successful innovations the WSOP has ever put forward with up to 22,000+ players in the event from year-to-year.
This is the 5th edition of the Colossus and this year the buy-in has dropped even further to just $400 from the usual $565. That makes it the lowest buy-in WSOP bracelet event.
Starting flights will take over the Rio on June 26/27. Starting stacks are 40,000 and levels will be 40 minutes. The winner of the 2019 WSOP Colossus will again take home $1m.
$10,000 Short Deck Holdem Event
Short Deck (or 6+) Hold’em has grabbed the attention of a lot of poker players lately thanks to its inflated hand values and intense action.
It started as a fixation of just a few high-rollers in the Asian poker scene but has since spread widely and can be played online at PokerStars and William Hill Poker, among others.
The WSOP has jumped on the trend now too and catered to the high rollers with a new $10,000 Short Deck Hold’em event The $10k Short Deck Championship will play out over 4 days starting June 2. One re-entry will be permitted.
For a full rundown on the Rules of Short Deck Holdem and the official Short Deck Hold’em Hand Rankings, check our page here:
Event #12 - Tue 06/04 11:00 AM
$1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Super Turbo Bounty
Players will receive $300 from the prize pool for every player they eliminate.
Event #13 - Tue 06/04 03:00 PM
$1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw
Event #14 - Wed 06/05 11:00 AM
Variants: Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, 5 Card PLO Hi-Lo 8 or Better
Event #64 - Fri 06/28 10:00 AM
$888 Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold'em
$888,888 guaranteed to winner.
28.06. 10:00 - Flight a 28.06. 17:00 - Flight b 29.06. 10:00 - Flight c 30.06. 10:00 - Flight d
Event #65 - Fri 06/28 03:00 PM
$10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better
Event #66 - Sat 06/29 03:00 PM
$1,500 Limit Hold'em
Event #67 - Sun 06/30 03:00 PM
$10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better
Event #68 - Sun 06/30 03:30 PM
$1,000 WSOP.com ONLINE No-Limit Hold'em Championship
Event #69 - Mon 07/01 11:00 AM
$1,000 Mini Main Event
Freeze-Out. Same structure as the Main Event, but with 30 minute levels.
Event #70 - Mon 07/01 03:00 PM
$5,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed
Event #71 - Tue 07/02 11:00 AM
$500 SALUTE TO WARRIORS - No-Limit Hold'em
Proceeds to be donated to the USO and other Veteran Organizations. Final table to be held July 5th to avoid July 4th holiday. $40 of each entry will be donated to the United Service Organizations and other veteran organizations.
Event #72 - Tue 07/02 03:00 PM
$10,000 Limit Hold'em Championship
Event #73 - Wed 07/03 12:00 PM
$10,000 No-Limit Hold'em MAIN EVENT - World Championship
50th No-Limit Hold’em Championship (Televised on ESPN and PokerGo).
03.07. 12:00 - Flight a 04.07. 12:00 - Flight b 05.07. 12:00 - Flight c
If you choose to play winning poker, you'll have to rededicate yourself to that goal throughout your life.
You can't ever let your game become stale.
The minute you think you know it all is the minute you will switch to a losing player's mindset. Poker is a game that takes a lifetime to master; there is always more information out there that can make you a better player.
Books are a great resource to help you strengthen your skills. There are thousands of books written on the subject of poker and almost all of them will be able to teach you something.
Here are my picks for the best poker books - and not just books dedicated to strategy.
Top 13 Poker Books
1) Theory of Poker
Author: David Sklansky
This is the book that started it all, in a way. Two Plus Two Publishing is the biggest and best publishing company when it comes to poker- and gambling-related literature.
This book showcases many strategies and theories that had never been put to paper before. A must-read for any novice to intermediate poker player.
2) Harrington on Hold 'em: Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments volumes I-II
Author: Dan Harrington
The two best books ever written on tournament poker, by "Action Dan" himself. Learn how to play all the different stages of the tournament and how to adjust your play for each blind level.
Dan goes into incredible detail with strategies that made him the successful tournament player that he is.
3) Small Stakes Hold'em
Authors: Edward Miller, Mason Malmuth and David Sklansky
This is a book about Limit Hold'em that even a No-Limit player can benefit from. One of the most complete texts ever written for crushing low-stakes Hold'em this book will teach you the fundamentals to play any game and give you the tools to win.
4) Getting Started in Hold'em
Author: Edward Miller
This beginner book will teach you the fundamental building blocks that any solid game is built on. It is not advanced but should be the starting point for any new player wanting to learn Texas Hold'em.
5) Sit-and-Go Strategy: Expert Advice for Beating One-Table Poker Tournaments
Author: Collin Moshman
This is the best book on sit-and-go play ever written. If you play single-table tournaments, run (or navigate) to the bookstore now and pick this book up. It's guaranteed to increase your ROI and make you a better player not only in sit-and-gos but in multi-table tournaments as well.
6) Every Hand Revealed
Author: Gus Hansen
In 2007 Gus Hansen outlasted 747 players for a $1.2 million win at the Aussie Millions to add to his four WPT titles and countless massive tournament scores.
In Every Hand Revealed Gus goes into amazing detail about over 300 hands that he played en route to victory. During the tournament Hansen could be seen whispering into his voice recorder after every hand. Here's your chance to hear what he was saying.
7) Check-Raising the Devil
Author: Mike Matusow
Mike Matusow's road to the top of the poker world was not a smooth one. From humble beginnings as a video poker degenerate to low limit poker player/ dealer to the Main Event final table to jail and back again.
In Check-Raising the Devil Matusow waives the fifth and tells all, whether it’s flattering or not.
This is a poker strategy book with no real poker strategy. Tommy Angelo doesn't want to teach you to play poker, he knows you know how to play poker. He wants to teach you how to play your best poker. You can be the best player in the world when you're on your A-game, but if you only play you’re A-game 20 per cent of the time you're not going to be very profitable.
Conversely, a player that's nowhere near the best in the world but consistently plays his A-game is always going to be profitable. Elements of Poker teaches you how to stay at the top of your game and ultimately become a better poker player.
9) Positively Fifth Street
Author: James McManus
In 2000 James McManus was sent to Vegas by Harper's Magazine to write stories on women in the WSOP and Ted Binion's murder. When he got there, however, he took his front money and entered a satellite to the Main Event.
He improbably went on to final table it and wrote a book detailing all three story lines. Positively Fifth Street is an improbable “only in Vegas” story that can't be missed.
10) Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People
Author: Amarillo Slim
In a World Full of Fat People tells the tale of one of the greatest gamblers of all time. He beats a Chinese Ping Pong champion using Coke bottles for paddles. He beats Minnesota fats at pool with a broomstick.
He gets robbed at gun point more often than I can count. He wins the WSOP Main Event and he does it all and for higher stakes than you or I could even imagine. A book could be written about just one of these stories but Slim’s got a hundred.
11) Small Stakes Hold'em
Author: Ed Miller
Unless you’re playing Limit Hold’em you probably missed this book. However, Limit player or not, that would be a huge mistake. Small Stakes Hold'em is probably the best book for novice poker players.
It goes through everything you need to be a winning poker player: expected value, pre-flop hand ranking guides, adjusting for tight and loose games, odds, implied odds, everything. Even for players wanting to play No-Limit Hold'em this should be the foundation you build your game on.
12) One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall Of Stu Ungar
Authors: Nolan Dalla and Peter Alson
Stu Ungar was a lot of things. He was a father, a drug addict, a poker player, the best gin rummy player to have ever lived, a degenerate, and one of only two players to win the WSOP Main Event 3 times.
That alone would make for an interesting enough book but One of A Kind goes above and beyond and brings you the stories behind the stories. It’s gripping and heart-wrenching and you won't be able to put it down.
Watch our short documentary on Stu Ungar right here:
In 2001 a billionaire banker by the name Andy Beal strolled into the Bellagio Poker Room. It didn't take long before he was playing for the highest stakes in history. The games took place over a number of years, and each year Beal came back better and better.
But that didn't stop a “corporation” of poker players from pooling their money and taking turns playing the Dallas billionaire heads-up with at mind boggling high-stakes ranging from $500/$1,000 to $50,000/$100,000 limit hold'em.
Michael Craig tells the story of an amateur who takes on the best in the world for the highest stakes ever. If that doesn’t make you read it nothing will.
Some of history's greatest players and strategists have put their thoughts and poker secrets inside a dust cover. Any kid with a library card can grab these books and absorb the little intricacies and high-level thinking that go on in a pro's head.
They can benefit from years of experience in just a few hours of reading. But it's one thing to read a strategy book; it's another to understand it. And it's another thing altogether to truly accept and integrate the knowledge into your own game.
Concepts not directly transferable.
What's Your Poker Skill Level?
Your skill level and general poker comprehension have to be taken into account when reading poker books. You have to remember that the players writing these books are typically very advanced ones and play with some of the world's best players.
The strategies used to beat players like Daniel Negreanu aren't directly transferable to the players in your weekly 25¢/50¢ game.
It's not possible to make a read-based play on reverse implied odds if you don't understand the concept of implied odds to start with.
Solving even the most simple calculus problems is impossible until you first understand algebra. Poker is no different: until you understand and truly master the very basic building blocks of the game, the advanced stuff is useless to you.
You can look at a calculus question and its answer, memorize it and never get that question wrong. But without knowing how to get from the question to the answer, if a single variable is changed you have no idea where to start.
You want to understand the reason for making a play rather than memorizing a specific situation to make it. Players who progress too quickly, skipping the basics, often know when to raise or just call. But they can't tell you why they should raise; they just know they should.
If you don't understand that that one specific raise you're making is exclusively for value, you'll never understand how to size that raise properly, depending on the player you're extracting the value from. Or, even worse, you may not know when the raise would lose you money.
One of the best cash-game books available these days is Harrington on Cash Games, Volumes I and II. These books explain every aspect of cash-game play in a well-laid-out format with plenty of example hands to help drive home the concepts.
But unless you're playing at the same tables as Dan the information isn't directly transferable.
His books talk about raise sizing, explaining how you should be raising pre-flop typically from 3-5x the big blind. There are many games in the world where this simply doesn't work.
Plenty of $2/$5 games out there have a standard opening raise of around $35 or 7x the big blind.
This is a standard raise, meaning it can vary. If you make a larger-than-average raise you'll have to raise to $50 in this game as anything less is almost irrelevant. An opening raise of 10x the big blind completely changes the dynamic of the game.
If you're playing $2/$5 with a $35 standard bring you're actually playing a $5/$10 game with a short buy-in. The concepts that apply to a $2/$5 game don't qualify since it's playing one full limit higher, but the concepts for a $5/$10 game also don't apply, because the whole table has bought in short.
Poker is never constant - the texture of the game will change from city to city, even from room to room. The ideas in books are absolutely worthwhile and greatly beneficial but they have to be taken as theory.
Use them to understand the reasoning and the route to the solution; don't just follow the example plays mindlessly. Only once you understand why the author is telling you to do something, try to break it down and reapply it to the game you're at.
Poker Theory Versus Poker Practice
You could sit down, read and reread every poker book ever written and understand the concepts of how poker works and the theories behind playing it. But this doesn't mean that you will be successful your first time at the table.
Poker is a skill game based as much on practice as on knowledge.
If you take two similar players with the same amount of poker experience and have one of them read a stack of poker books, that player will come back to the table stronger than the other.
When the first great poker books hit the masses many pros were worried that the average skill level of players in the game would immediately catch up to theirs.
It didn't happen exactly as they feared it might. Even though many players read the books almost no players had nearly as much experience as the pros.
In the end those with experience got the better of the new poker students. When the Internet came along you had kids seeing more hands in one month than the old pros had seen in their first few years at the tables.
With the Internet expediting the experience the new students of the game were able to put their book-learnin' to use. As a result the combined influence of online play and access to poker books has substantially raised the average skill level of the common poker player. The more poker you play, the more books you should read, but without one the other is of little use.
Imagine if your child came home one day and said 'I'm quitting school to play poker."
What would you say?
The "self-help book" parents would hug them, wish them all the best and swallow the vomit. The rest would kick them out and tell them not to come back until they've learned that the only successful people in the world are surgeons, concert pianists, and coke dealers.
It’s a card game, man. It’s not real life. You can't make a living playing poker. But what is happening to that brain of yours when you play this game so many times you see aces, kings and queens in your sleep?
Are you getting smarter? Is your brain chemistry being permanently altered? I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. But Stephen Simpson is.
Out of Africa & Into Poker
The last thing on Dr. Stephen Simpson's mind when elbow deep in blood, providing medical care in war-torn Angola and Nigeria, was the game of poker. But that's where he ended up after a neck injury forced a change of career.
In a bid to escape the office Simpson started working with the renowned British hypnotist, Paul McKenna, and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) Godfather, Richard Bandler.
Story checks out for Moorman.
Then by complete accident he began working in the poker industry after Liv Boeree reached out for some help with her mental game. Boeree then recommended Simpson to Chris Moorman.
"Stephen gave me the tools to do this and was able to get me in the 'zone' so much more often than I could previously. He gave me the tools to get out of my head so that I could 100% focus on playing my A game thus maximizing my chances of doing well in the tournament."
Since those heady days Simpson has worked with several top pros, including PokerStars Team Pro Igor Kurganov, and his experiences have been crunched down into his first book on the subject: Poker Genius: The Mind Secret of Champions.
So let us have it, Dr. Simpson. Are poker players getting smarter each time they sit down to play a game of poker? Can the parents of poker-crazed teenagers take a chill pill?
"When we perform any activity consistently new neural pathways are created," says Dr. Simpson.
"The nerve fibres are surrounded by a myelin sheath. This protects and nourishes the nerve cell.
"The more often impulses are transmitted through this network, the thicker the myelin sheath becomes.
"This is called myelination. A good analogy is a copper wire.
"The thicker it is the faster it will conduct electricity, and so it is with a myelin sheath."
So the more we play poker, the more myelin we create. But what good does that do?
“When we spend a lot of time using a small number of neural pathways," Simpson says, "brain cells have the ability to transform from performing one function to another.
Dr. Stephen Simpson.
"Extra brain cells are recruited to these pathways from other functional areas.”
Ok, so the brain is not fixed from birth. It can change dependent on our knowledge and understanding of information and experiences. And we call this process neuroplasticity.
So how do poker players benefit from this? I asked Dr Simpson to describe some of the skills and expertise he sees in his clients on a regular basis.
"The poker players who come to see me work very hard at their game," said Dr Simpson. "They are very highly committed and I worry sometimes they may devote so much time to poker that they risk not having much time left over for the other areas of their life.
"The ideal mindset would be emotion-neutral which is probably impossible. However, the closer you can reach this state of mind the more able you will be to access your mental and physical resources when required.
So how do these skills then translate into everyday life? I reached out to two exceptional talents to gauge opinion.
No better way than poker, says Phil.
“Poker has helped improve my overall decision making substantially," says RunItOnce founder, Phil Galfond, "which impacts nearly every aspect of my life.
"Learning to look at average outcomes (EV) and to avoid results-oriented thinking should be prerequisites for adulthood. While you can learn these concepts without playing a hand of poker, I believe that no other method is as effective.”
A bold statement. Can anyone back that up?
"I try to use EV and GTO in everything I do," says former PocketFives World #1 and partypoker Ambassador, Patrick Leonard.
"For example, if I've been to London for the day and I can take a train or taxi home, and the taxi is 3x more expensive, the normal muggle would think the train was +EV.
"But in reality the taxi, where I can write an article/catch up on emails/watch a training video, to me is clearly the GTO option. People in the world completely undervalue their time."
But is there a downside to all of this poker? Dr. Simpson noted that "I worry sometimes they may devote so much time to poker."
World Poker Tour (WPT) Champions Club member, Chanracy Khun, illustrates Dr Simpson's point.
"There is a downside to playing so much poker," says Khun. "I think most of the online guys who multi-table a lot develop some kind of ADD that we didn't have before playing, making it hard to focus on a single task without getting bored.
"Most of my peers and I have a hard time focusing on a single/redundant task, like staying focused in a live tournament, without checking our phone; getting organized with our time, being able not to lose stuff, etc."
I asked Dr Simpson what he thought of Khun's comments:
"If we are deeply committed to a single activity which we enjoy it can become obsessive or even compulsive," he says. "When this activity carries a reward this reinforces the behaviour, so creating a vicious circle.
"So playing on multiple tables increases the number of pleasurable reinforcing hits, therefore strengthening the compulsion. Playing on one table at a time will consequently never be as stimulating as multi-tabling for the obsessive player.
“The boundary between compulsion and addiction is a narrow one and all players should be aware of the risks. Once poker becomes an addictive behaviour it makes little difference whether it is rewarding or not.
"The behaviour will still continue in the face of mounting losses and the serious personal consequences that can result.”
“The best way to accelerate the rate of growth in any area of life is to reach out to others."
So, what I am learning here is there are some tremendous benefits from playing poker as the more we play, the more myelin is produced around our nerve cells.
This is a good thing because it allows our learning to accelerate until we eventually master it.
The myelination process created by poker also quickens our responsiveness and skills sets in all the ways that Dr Simpson finds in his clients, and in ‘everyday life' as Phil Galfond and Patrick Leonard demonstrates.
But we need to be careful because there is a fine line between the necessity of mastery and the fall into addiction and compulsive behaviour as recognized by Khun and his peers.
So, if you are a recreational poker player reading this, what should you take away from it? I give the final word to Dr Simpson.
“The best way to accelerate the rate of growth in any area of life is to reach out to others. This is why elite performers have coaches, and why coaches themselves also have coaches. It takes so much longer to learn from your own mistakes.”
If you want to increase your myelin, find a wing and climb under it. If you are going to pack it all in to travel the world playing poker, make sure you have a cracking coach.
Like Phil Galfond, Patrick Leonard or Dr. Stephen Simpson.
A €2 million Main Event prize pool? 4,000+ entries? More record-setting side events with their own guarantees?
The Battle of Malta poker festival, now owned by the Eden Group and Casino Malta, reached stratospheric heights in 2018 but, according to the team already planning next year's festivities, that was just a taste of what's to come next.
“The Eden Arena at the InterContinental Conference Centre is a spectacular venue for a poker tournament," said Event Coordinator Telly Bartolo, "and we’re just delighted that it was so full of players throughout the festival.
"Plans are already underway to ensure that registration at next year’s Battle of Malta will be a lot easier. We also plan to have more tables, more rooms – and more side events.”
Biggest BoM Ever ... By Far
The Battle of Malta had set plenty of records over the years but nothing quite like in 2018.
Amis 4 life.
Moving into the expanded Eden Arena space at the InterContinental Hotel and tapping into Casino Malta's extensive casino partner network, poker players and satellite winners poured into the BoM like never before.
By the time the final numbers were tallied on Day 1D 3,816 entrants were registered in the BoM Main Event - almost twice the previous record of 2,074.
That shattered the €1m guarantee and set the prize pool at €1,850,760. It was ultimately shared by 570 players and saw 5 players take home over €100,000 after a deal was made.
For a €550 buy-in, that's an extraordinary return on investment. France's Julien Stropoli (who lives in Malta) was the winner and took home €168,500 but runner-up Maxime Canevet topped him with €192,000.
2018 Battle of Malta Main Event Final Table Results
1. Julien Stropoli €168,500* (€300,000) 2. Maxime Canevet €192,000* 3. Erik Ostergaard €139,500* 4. Mantas Urbonas €121,500* 5. Abdallah Fakhreddine €108,500* 6. Andy Hills €53,000 7. Gustav Vadenbring €41,000 8. Mateusz Moolhuizen €30,000 9. Jerry Mangum €23,000
* denotes 5-handed deal
Including the Main Event and the side events the 2018 Battle of Malta festival saw 13,000 tournament entries overall - a dazzling turnout and easily a record for biggest poker festival held on Malta.
The first-ever BoM Ladies Event, the 888 Crazy Eights and the PLO Double Chance were a few of the new favorites alongside the Siege of Malta Second Chance event and the BoM High Roller.
Needless to say, the tournament venue was packed day-after-day throughout the six-day festival and made this year’s Battle of Malta a spectacular success.
Nobody bigger than PA.
Big Names, Big Plans for 2019 Battle of Malta
Over 55 nationalities were represented in the BoM Main Event and among them were some of the game's biggest names and faces.
Some were here for their first time; some were repeat visitors who were drawn back to the amazing value and great spirit of Battles of Malta past. A short list of some of our most famous attendees in 2018:
Espen Uhlen Jorstad
John Arne Riise
Past BoM champions back for more included Nicolas Proust and Nadav Lipszyc, alongside the entirety of the 2017 Battle of Malta Main Event final table.
With it's enchanting history and spectacular setting Malta is a place that can win your heart and if you make a few thousand (or a hundred thousand) euro along the way, you tend to come back.
Who will be back for 2019? Well, that list is still tbd but the dedicated staff of Casino Malta are already deep in the planning stages of a bigger and better BoM for 2019.
Registration will be smoother, amenities and side events will be expanded and the prize pool, you can expect, will balloon again.
Is a €2 million prize pool and 4,000 entries out of the question? Far from it. In fact, it may even be the new floor for what has become one of Europe's must-play poker events.
“We’d like to thank absolutely everyone who contributed to making Battle of Malta 2018 such an outstanding success," said Event Director Diane Fenech. "All the players, their friends and families, the tournament, casino and hotel staff, our many sponsors and all the media.
"The numbers were simply staggering this year."
Catch up on last year's excitement over on our Battle of Malta coverage page and keep your eyes peeled for live and online satellites coming soon to Casino Malta partners in the New Year
See you at Battle of Malta 2019 - you won't want to miss it!
We expected big things for the start of the 2018 Battle of Malta, and we were not disappointed.
Moving to the spacious InterContinental Hotel and Casino Malta for the first-time this year, the Eden Arena was decked out in its Sunday best to greet the players on Day 1a today.
Not only was there plenty of elbow room (and registration points) for everyone to breathe easy, the room was awash in red and blue balloons.
They weren't there just to help set the festive mood - they were actually used to highlight the table numbers!
And that was only the beginning.
Laura Cornelius, Live Stream Ease BoM Into Action
New host Laura Cornelius was on hand to kick off the shuffle up and deal and when the chips settled into play we found some familiar faces around the tables.
Ana Marquez is here!
Sofia Lovgren, Ana Marquez, Espen Uhlen Jorstad, Poker Mama Jackie Cachia and two-time final-tablist Jonas Hähnert were all here.
So were former Premier League footballer Anthony Gardner, WSOP November Niner Fernando Pons and Austrian chess wiz Ivo Donev.
Did we mention former Battle of Malta Main Event champion Nicolas Proust?
By the end of the day 451 entries had made it into the prize pool to make it the biggest Day 1A since the BoM moved to more than two Day 1 flights in 2015. For reference, last year's Day 1a had 320 entries.
Play ran through 16 levels and ended the night in the money with 68 players left. Those players have all been paid out €500 but they can also choose to forfeit their stack and come back again tomorrow.
Any difference in prize money will be paid out when we starting busting people on Day 2.
Koops There It Is!
The chip leader for Day 1A is Alexander Koops with 497,000. Here are the top 10 counts:
1. Alexander Koops 497,000
2. Luigi D'alterio 461,000
3. Fabrizio Privitera 454,000
4. Stanislav Zegal 434,000
5. Nir Amar 362,000
6. Per Steinar Sele 339,000
7. Stefano Terziani 330,000
8. Shlomo Yaakov Ben 313,000
9. Fredrik Karl Ellingsson 310,000
10. Pierre-Yves Joubert 306,000
Registration for the 2018 Battle of Malta main event and all side events will be at multiple registration points in the Eden Arena.
Where Can I Collect My Pre-Registration Ticket?
If you already have a pre-registration ticket you can jump in any “fast lane” registration point at the Eden Arena.
Can I Still Buy Into the BoM Online?
Yes, you can buy in online via www.BattleofMalta.com or through MainEventTravel.com which offers special room+buy-in packages and several great discounts. You can buy just a seat in the Main Event or packages for 1 or 2 players including hotel.
How Do I Book a Hotel Room?
You can book Club Room and Junior suites via www.BattleofMalta.com or standard rooms through MainEventTravel.com. At MainEventTravel.com you'll find all of the full room+buy-in packages which come at discounted prices when bought together.
Can I Still Qualify Online or Live for the Battle of Malta?
Online qualifiers for the BoM Main Event are still ongoing at a few online partners including the MPN network and 888poker. Check in the tournament lobbies for the latest satellites or on our online qualifier page here.
55+5 (and cheaper) live satellites will be running at Casino Malta all next week. Check the lineup here and stay tuned to the Battle of Malta Facebook page for more updates.
Who Will Host the 2018 Battle of Malta?
This year's host for the 2018 Battle of Malta is Laura Cornelius, a well known poker TV presenter who has worked for PokerStars.tv, the Global Poker League, Sky Poker and more.
Cornelius will be kicking off the BoM festivities every day and joining the BoM parties. Cornelius is the fourth host in the history of the Battle of Malta following Kara Scott, Maria Ho and Gaëlle Garcia Diaz.
Will Patrik Antonius Really Be There?
Really! He will be. And he's just as handsome in person as he is on TV!
Will Boris Becker Really Be There?
He will be! Specifically you can find him at the Pink October Malta high roller charity tournament to raise funds on October 26 but you'll likely see him in the Main Event and around the cash tables (maybe) too.
How About Ana Marquez and Sofia Lövgren?
They'll be there too!
Is There a Battle of Malta Live Stream?
Yes! The 2018 Battle of Malta will have six full days of live stream coverage starting from Day 1a. For the first 5 days the live stream will be a single-camera feature table on a 30-minute delay with cards-up display.
The 2018 Battle of Malta Main Event final table will have 5 cameras, full commentary and rotating guests! You can watch the 2018 Battle of Malta Live Stream at:
The live stream will also be embedded on several external poker sites.
Text and photo live updates will be posted every day on PokerListings.com, PokerListings.it (in Italian) and BattleofMalta.com. Join the live Twitter conversation with the hashtag #battleofmalta in your own social media posts.
Can I Wear Sponsor Patches or Logos if I'm on the Live Stream Feature Table?
Yes, you can wear any logos, any size.
Where Can I Collect My Payout?
From any registration point at the Eden Arena. Please ensure you bring photo ID.
Does the Battle of Malta Have a Dress Code?
No, you may wear anything you like including trainers, jeans, shorts, sandals, vests etc
What is the Battle of Malta Main Event Structure?
See the Main Event and Side Event structures and payouts right here.
What is the Battle of Malta Re-Entry Policy?
This year’s Main Event will offer unlimited re-entries for the first time ever.
How Many Day 1 Flights Are There?
For the first-time ever the Battle of Malta main event will have 4 Day 1 flights. Days 1A, 1B and 1C will be normal flights while Day 1D will be a Turbo flight starting at 9pm on Saturday evening.
Will the Battle of Malta Main Event Have Big Blind Ante?
Yes! The 2018 Battle of Malta main event will have a Big Blind Ante for the first time. The ante comes into play in Level 2. The player in the big blind will post antes for the whole table to speed up the game and avoid any confusion over who has put in their ante or not.
Prepare for serious dough
How Many Dealers will the 2018 BoM Have?
Led by Tournament Director Rodolfo Zirio there will be more than 100 dealers working at the 2018 BoM along with 10 floor staff.
Will There Be Cash Games Running During the Tournament?
Yes, a wide variety of cash games will be available 24/7 at Casino Malta where there are over 30 poker tables available. Limits start at €1/€3.
Will There Be Parties?
Of course there will be parties! The 2018 Battle of Malta will host 3 parties over the tournament weekend:
Thursday, October 25: Aperol Spritz Battle of Malta Welcome Party (Free Aperol Spritz drinks from 8pm onwards in the Casino Malta bar)
Saturday, October 27: Battle of Malta Bowling Competition at Eden SuperBowl (Bowling Competition for 4 seats in 2019 BoM Main Event)
Sunday, October 28: Battle of Malta Players Party at private Paranga Beach on St. Julian's Bay
Will There Be Trophies?
Yes! Our signature BoM trophies will again be awarded with a new design and style for 2018.
Where Can I Charge My Phone?
Mobile phone charging hotspots will be placed around the tournament area for players to use as they like.
What About Table Service?
Every tournament table at the Battle of Malta will have its own wireless call button for players to request food, drinks & massages.