Did the next Macau bubble just start two weeks ago?


The entire concept of a “bull market in stocks” makes little sense. Sound crazy? These days, certainly, because we’re always hearing about a perpetual bull market in stocks. Valuations increasingly disconnected from economic reality, asset bubbles in one class or another, armies of speculators moving like zombie hoards descending on the next fad and blowing it up to infinity and beyond, Buzz Lightyear-like.Why is the whole concept of a bull market generally, nonsense? Because if the value of everything is going up simultaneously, then nothing is going up. If everyone is a superhero, nobody is. If, in an imaginary economy, absolutely everything costs, say, $5, (labor, land, capital whatever) and then the next day everything costs $10, then what’s changed? The answer is absolutely nothing.The only thing that matters is relative valuations between asset classes. Let’s divide them into three of the most basic ones. Equities (stocks), bonds (debt), and commodities (consumer goods). If all three are going up in tandem, then there is no “bull market” in anything. If commodities are going up faster than stocks and bonds, you have inflation, or even hyperinflation. Ask anyone in Venezuela whether they care that their stock market is doing great, nominally. They don’t. They’re looking for their next glop of gruel or morsel of moldy bread to survive the day.But if stocks and bonds are rising and consumer goods are static to falling, you have a bull market in financial assets. This is where we are now. And boy are we really hard and deep into it now. Below is the ratio of the S&P 500 to the CRB Commodities Index.And I’ve got news for everyone. This bull market in stocks relative to consumer goods in dollar terms is already over. It ended almost a year ago. On April 20, 2020 to be exact. Red circle blowoff top above. That was when oil crashed to negative $35 a barrel and we all lived in an alternative financial freakhouse universe. But I have more news than that. This entire “bull market” in stocks has been one gigantic illusion from the very beginning. Stocks aren’t going up. They haven’t gone up for 21 years. Money is going down. Here is the graph of stocks relative to the prime monetary commodity, gold, over the same timeframe above.We can see here that from 1990 to 2000, we had a real bull market in stocks. Equities rocketed in gold terms and in terms of consumer goods generally. Everyone felt richer. Portfolios up, expenses down. But since that time, money has been dying at an accelerated pace and the standard of living has fallen.The bull market in stocks over the last 21 years has been an illusion, a tiny echo of the bull that ended at the turn of the century. We have spent the last 21 years trying to reinflate it, but gold has exposed the lie. We are now at the point where the illusion is about to collapse completely. In my view, we have only a few months left until it all hits the fan. Until then, the bubbles will keep coming in staccato frenetic fashion, moving from one asset class to another faster and faster, until we all get so dizzy we can’t follow it anymore. Last week I speculated that maybe the next target for the zombie hoard will be in penny gaming stocks. I was close. It’s in Macau stocks. It may already have started two weeks ago. The frenzy has started over news about China opening up again. I mean, just look at this crazy chart of the Macau proxy ETF:That last surge higher is just since February 1. We could be at the beginning of a crazy but brief ride higher in Macau stocks right now. New all time highs again, and Macau isn’t even fully open yet. The latest full month statistics for December show a 78.6% drop in visitors year over year. And yet we’re at new all time highs in these stocks already. It’s just completely crazy. I can understand the Macau opening up again trade, but to argue that this factor is being priced in at these levels, at new all time highs? As if none of this full year shutdown hurt any of the casinos fundamentally at all? That’s just totally bonkers crazy. It’s a reflection of the value of the currency these stocks are priced in, not the stocks themselves.What’s happening is that the zombie hoard of bubble chasers is reading the headlines regarding China starting to open up again, and they’re slamming buy orders and call options like they’ve been doing with tech stocks and Gamestop and BTC and all the other fads. We just got news out of Bloomberg that China’s Imax had a face-ripping rally due to exploding ticket sales. China is, indeed opening up, and the zombie hoard of speculators is now going to spray their money hoses at anything Chinese. Macau might be at the center of it.How high can this Macau bubble go, if that’s what we just saw start two weeks ago? The truth is, it doesn’t matter. If you get into it, you’ll get hooked and keep levering yourself up, counting your paper gains, unable to separate from them until you get caught in a vortex. At some point, my view this year, it’s all going to come crashing down when all the damage from 2020 is finally revealed all over the world. You can’t paper it over forever. The damage to Macau casinos doesn’t just go away. It festers in the form of more and more debt, and a damaged consumer base that can no longer patronize casinos in the way it once could. Festering wounds need the paper bandage removed and they need to be operated on. That is painful. And it’s coming.When we think of the word “bubble”, what are we really talking about? A bubble is something that looks, from the outside, to be really big and stable. The shape of it, a sphere, is the most stable shape in the universe. It’s why planets, stars, moons, and possibly even the spacetime continuum itself, spontaneously shape themselves into spheres. The force of gravity equalizes at every point on the sphere, forming equilibrium. Nature always seeks equilibrium. And so bubbles take on the illusion of stability, but unlike a real sphere, there’s nothing inside them. When they pop, they are gone almost instantly. This one is about to pop. Macau appears to be the next victim sucked up by the bubble. Macau will survive and rebuild. The question is, in what form? I wouldn’t take a bet the depended on me getting the answer to that question right.

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Addamo, Adams, and Bonomo Among Big Sunday Winners

February 16 2021
Matthew Pitt

Online poker tournaments are massive on Sundays and this fact along brings out the game’s best players. Michael Addamo, Timothy Adams, and Justin Bonomo are just three of those stellar names who managed to take down a Sunday major this weekend.
Addamo Takes Down GGPoker Sunday 500 High Rollers $5,250
Michael Addamo enjoyed a super Sunday courtesy of triumphing in the Sunday 500 High Rollers $5,250, a tournament that attracted 113 of the world’s best players to the GGPoker virtual felt.
Addamo’s first bullet didn’t go to plan and he crashed out in 76th place. He re-entered and put used his new stack to full effect.
The likes of Kristen Bicknell, Matthias Eibinger, Elio Fox, Benjamin Rolle, and Anatoly Filatov busted inside the money places but before the star-studded final table.
Austria’s “Filip1” was the final table’s first casualty. Their ninth-place exit awarding a $14,833 prize.
Alex Foxen and David Yan then busted. Yan would go on to take down Sunday High Rollers Bounty King $3,150 for $49,300 later in the evening.
The exits of Michael Zhang, Aleksei Barkov, Pascal Hartmann, and David Peters left Addamo heads-up against Wiktor Malinowski. Addamo rarely loses when he’s heads-up and that was the case again here. Addamo collected $131,187 for his victory while Malinowski banked $99,898 for his runner-up finish.
Defeating Malinowski will go some way to making up for losing a massive $842,000 cash game pot last year.
Sunday 500 High Rollers $5,250 Final Table Results
PlacePlayerCountryPrize

1Michael AddamoCanada$131,187

2Wiktor MalinowskiMacau$99,898

3David PetersCanada$76,072

4Pascal HartmannAustria$57,928

5Aleksei BarkovRussia$44,112

6Michael ZhangBrazil$33,591

7David YanNew Zealand$25,579

8Alex FoxenCanada$19,478

9Flilip1Austria$14,833

¥80 Million Gtd Asian Poker League (APL) Hits GGPoker
Adams Takes Down High Rollers Blade Prime $2,625
Timothy Adams’ latest victory came in the High Rollers Blade Prime $2,625, an event that saw 80 players buy in.
All but two of the players who navigated their way to the final table walked away with five-figures hauls. Fedor Holz and Andrii Novak being that duo.
“LeoJose” fell in seventh and was joined on the rail first by Artur Martirosian, then by Urmo Velvelt, Rainer Kempe, and China’s Kevin Pu.
This left Adams, on his one and only bullet, heads-up against Arsneii Malinov. Malinov fell at the final hurdle and scooped $36,565, which left Adams to add the $46,885 top prize to his GGPoker account.
High Rollers Blade Prime $2,625 Final Table Results
PlacePlayerCountryPrize

1Timothy AdamsCanada$46,885

2Arsenii MalinovRussia$36,565

3Kevin PuChina$28,516

4Rainer KempeGermany$22,239

5Urmo VelveltEstonia$17,344

6Artur MartirosianRussia$13,526

7LeoJoseBrazil$10,549

8Andrii NovakUkraine$8,227

9Fedor HolzAustria$6,416

Other GGPoker Highlights
Shankar Pillai – first-place in the High Roller MILLION$ for $207,692Gabriel Schroeder – first-place in the GGMasters High Rollers $1,050 for $140,355MonkeyD93 – first-place in the Global MILLION$ for $112,712swedishdream – first-place in the Bounty Hunters HR Main Event $525 for $95,817*Sami Kelopuro – first-place in the High Rollers Sunday Blade Opener $5,250 for $57,374L1mpFold – first-place in the GGMasters $150 for $54,631David Yan – first-place in the Sunday High Rollers Bounty King $3,150 for $49,300*Joseph Cheong – first-place in the Sunday Bounty King $315 for $44,349*Ami Barer – first-place in the High Rollers Blade Mulligan $2,625 for $43,288Michael Zhang – first-place in the High Rollers Blade Opener $2,625 for $39,752Andras Nemeth – first-place in the High Rollers Blade Bounty King PLO $3,150 for $35,513*spera91 – first-place in the High Rollers Marathon $840 for $33,695Joao Caetano – first-place in the Sunday High Rollers Fifty Stack $500 for $31,657Boris Kolev – first-place in the Sunday Forty Stack $400 for $30,214Bruno Botteon – first-place in the Sunday high Rollers Bounty Special $840 for $29,113*Dante Fernandes – first-place in the Bounty Hunters Sunday Special $210 for $25,808*Babyccino – first-place in the Sunday Main Event $200 for $24,254Anton Wigg – first-place in the Sunday High Rollers Fast $525 for $13,780
*includes bounty payments
Justin Bonomo Binks the partypoker High Roller Big Game
Justin Bonomo
Justin Bonomo, fresh from his recent Super MILLION$ victory, continued his impressive run of form by taking down the High Roller Big Game at partypoker. Bonomo came out on top of a 127-strong field in the $2,600 buy-in event to get his hands on $79,128.
The final table was brimming with the world’s top poker talent, as you’d expect from such a prestigious tournament.
Tomi Brouk busted in ninth and won $8,739, the tournament’s last four-figure prize. Ognyan Dimov, Roberto Romanello, and Pedro Garagnani were the next players to fall by the wayside. Niklas Astedt and Team partypoker’s Kristen Bicknell followed suit.
Ukraine’s Pavlo Kolinkovskiy’s elimination in third-place, worth $34,935, left Bonomo and Ali Imsirovic heads-up for the title. Bonomo got the job done and secured the $79,128 top prize, leaving Imsirovic to bank $79,128.
High Roller Big Game Final Table Results
PlacePlayerCountryPrize

1Justin BonomoCanada$79,128

2Ali ImsirovicMexico$50,916

3Pavlo KolinkovskiyUkraine$34,935

4Kristen BicknellCanada$24,702

5Niklas AstedtSweden$18,330

6Pedro GaragnaniBrazil$14,667

7Roberto RomanelloUnited Kingdom$12,398

8Ognyan DimovBulgaria$10,539

9Tomi BroukFinland$8,739

Jamie O’Connor Takes Down Big Game
Jamie O’Connor turned $530 into $41,417 by winning The Big Game. O’Connor was a guest on Leigh Wiltshire and Des Duffy’s APAT Show while he was grinding this event but chatting didn’t put him off the grind.
O’Connor defeated Rui Da Silva heads-up to lock up the top prize and resign Da Silva to a $28,678 consolation prize.
Two other players saw their bankrolls swell by five-figures. Fourth-place finisher Joel Nystedt scooped $13,158 with Joao Gaspar reeling in a $19,868 prize for his demise in third-place.
The Big Game Final Table Results
PlacePlayerCountryPrize

1Jamie O’ConnorUnited Kingdom$79,128

2Rui Da SilvaCroatia$28,678

3Joao GasparMalta$19,868

4Joel NystedtAustria$13,158

5Dwayne SluisNetherlands$9,177

6Fahredin MustafovBulgaria$7,273

7Justin OuimetteCanada$5,843

8Joakim AnderssonSweden$4,737

9Jamie NixonUnited Kingdom$3,844

Other Highlights From partypoker
LivviG – first-place in the $320 The 300 for $19,962*BeastFromDaEast – first-place in the $109 Weekender for $17,563*Andreas Puntigam – first-place in the $55 Mini Big Game for $17,155freestylee – first-place in the $111 One Shot for $13,848*youngblood – first-place in the $215 Warrior for $13,450*EZfold55 – first-place in the $55 Gladiator for $12,138*
*includes bounty payments
partypoker MILLIONS Online Schedule Features MEGA High Roller and $5m GTD Main Event
Peter Traply Nets Sunday Super Sonic Top Prize
Peter Traply
Peter “Belabasci” Traply triumphed in the PokerStars $215 Sunday Supersonic and banked a cool $20,378. That only tells part of the story, however, because the Sunday Supersonic is a hyper-turbo structured tournament meaning Traply’s victory only took one-hour 13-minutes for an hourly rate of $16,750, which is nice work if you can get it!
Runner-up “mindreader007” and third-place finisher “acesdesigner” were the two other finalists whose $215 swelled to a five-figure score. Second-place weighed in at $14,591 with the third-place finisher collecting $10,448.
$215 Sunday Supersonic Final Table Results
PlacePlayerCountryPrize

1Peter “Belabasci” TraplyHungary$20,378

2mindreader007United Kingdom$14,591

3acesdesignerBrazil$10,448

4LilharmisFinland$7,481

5Michiel “utreg” BrummelhuisNetherlands$5,356

6Felipe “ultraviol3nt” OlivieriArgentina$3,835

Dutch Star Wins High Roller Sunday Supersonic
“Daenarys T” from the Netherlands took down the $1,050 edition of the Sunday Supersonic and did so in a mere one hour and five-minutes. This meant their $24,032 prize was worth $22,251 per hour!
There were some awesome players at the six-handed final table, including runner-up Bruno “botteonpoker” Botteon and third-place finisher Benjamin “bencb789” Rolle. The day, however, belonged to former Sunday Million champion Daenarys T.
PlacePlayerCountryPrize

1Daenarys TNetherlands$24,032

2Bruno “botteonpoker” BotteonBrazil$18,451

3Benjamin “bencb789” RolleAustria$14,166

4Viktor “papan9_p$” UstimovRussia$10,876

5blackaces93Poland$8,350

6Andy “wiisssppppaa” TaylorUnited Kingdom$6,410

Other Highlights From PokerStars
13shaun – first-place in the $1,050 Sunday High Roller for $60,576Aleksei “AS Leshiy” Smirnov – first-place in the $215 Bounty Builder for $31,476*RaiseUpBlind – first-place in he $1,050 Sunday Cooldown for $29,468*yuhei33 – first-place in the $109 Bounty Builder for $29,419*Felipe “lipe piv” Boianovsky – first-place in the $215 Bounty Builder for $29,289*babecallme – first-place in the $109 Sunday Cooldown for $27,227*Black88 – first-place in the $215 Sunday Warm-Up for $17,941Artur “marathur1” Martirosian – first-place in the $1,050 Sunday Warm-Up for $17,814planty07/08 – first-place in the $109 Sunday Kickoff for $15,407Chris “ImDaNuts” Oliver – first-place in the Hotter $215 for $13,872*Dominik “Bounatirou” Nitsche – first-place in the $215 Fat Sunday for $11,782Christian “WATnlos” Rudolph – first-place in the $530 Sunday Marathon for $11,116
*includes bounty payments
Get Ready for 107 MicroMillions Events Across Only Four Days!
maestro1908 Grabs the $100,000 Sunday Mega Deep Title at 888poker
The $100,000 Sunday Mega Deep had been hitting its guarantee lately but it reverted to type on February 14 when 892 players bought in to leave 888poker nursing a $10,800 overlay.
“maestro1908” netted the $16,350 top prize after defeating the United Kingdom’s “needabridge” heads-up, leaving the Brit to bank $11,900.
The $30,000 Sunday Challenge PKO performed much better with the 335 entrants ensuring the $30,000 guarantee was beaten by $3,500. “troms18” was the last player standing, a result that saw $6,327 head to their account. Swedish star “VnilaVader” was the tournament’s runner-up; they scooped $3,464 with bounties included.
888poker Giving Away $100,000 in 24/7 Freeroll Festival All This Month

The Stars Group is a majority shareholder in Oddschecker Global Media, the parent company of PokerNews.

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Pros Of Being A Professional Poker Player


pros of becoming a professional poker player
Being a professional poker player is a daring as well as exciting decision. If you’re successful at the game and want to quit your day job to become a poker pro, it’s an enticing opportunity. However, be warned: Poker rules are difficult to work, that isn’t for everyone. If you consider taking a risk to become a professional poker player, you should please ensure that it is an educated choice. 
Here are some pros of becoming a professional poker player that might encourage you to take the next step! 
Professionally Pursuing What You Love
One of the most prevalent desires in the world is to do something that you love professionally. For anyone in the poker community saying that there’s profit in this, they’re certainly not doing it only for the money. They love the game and have passion for it. For those who don’t have that, must understand that it is a skill game and requires practice to get better. This is what encourages them to put in the research time required to excel and achieve success through the downtrends.
Self Determination And Versatility
Poker players set their own schedules which is a great thing for any professional in any field of work or sport. To stave off poker exhaustion and keep you going, getting this independence will go a long time away. Also, you’ll only be accessible to yourself. Versatility is something that is quite limited in a number of professions nowadays and there’s nothing quite like poker tournaments when it comes to versatility. That’s not to suggest, of course, that it’ll be straightforward. The assumption is that when you do so, no-one will be blowing down your neck.
Earning Big Money
There is still a lot of profit to be gained by playing online poker if you can achieve a high level of experience. In terms of rake and playing rewards, there have been a few improvements in the market in recent years that have limited online poker’s profitability, but it is still possible to obtain a decent income playing the game. Getting in and getting out of micro stakes is one of the greatest obstacles facing emerging online pros these days. In present-day games, the high rake and low rakeback eat away at the winnings of a micro stakes player, making it difficult for them to achieve a good score overall.
On the other hand, live poker has been and is likely still a highly lucrative enterprise for professional players. The live player average is much lower than the online player estimate. This may be because, in casinos, live poker is practiced and thus encourages individuals who play poker to bargain instead of because they are successful at it. Or it could be because of live poker’s social aspect. It’s a mix of both, perhaps. 
For more interesting articles about poker or poker news, keep reading PokerShots! 

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In First Hint of WSOP 2021 Revival, WSOP Launches “Ultimate Poker Champion” Sweepstakes Promo

In what is thought to be the first sign that Caesars is planning for a live World Series of Poker festival in 2021, the operator has put on a new free-to-enter sweepstakes promotion, the Ultimate Poker Champion Experience.

Running from February 15 through April 30, 2021, the contest offers anyone in the United States a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of the WSOP Main Event. One lucky person will not only get their entry into the Main Event paid in full, but they will also be treated to an elite experience during their stay. To enter, all you have to do is fill out the form.

With the coronavirus pandemic still causing mass disruption to live events and travel in the United States and around the world, the WSOP has yet to announce any schedule or plan for this year’s series. There is no information around the main event, for which the promotion is centered around.

The Normal Ramp Up to the WSOP

The WSOP is poker’s biggest event of the year. Tens of thousands of players descend on the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for more than six weeks of poker. Action culminates in the $10,000 Main Event, the most prestigious tournament in the game. The winner is crowned the year’s champion, poker’s highest accolade.

However, last year, due to the coronavirus, the regular World Series of Poker 2020 was canceled for the first time in its 51-year history.

In its place was an online series held half in the United States—on the official WSOP Nevada and WSOP NJ online poker rooms—and half outside the US on global online poker room GGPoker.

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In the winter, WSOP and GGPoker joined forces again for a hybrid online-live Main Event where players competed in tournaments online, then met for a live final table. The two winners of these met in a special heads-up match in Las Vegas.

Normally by now, organization and marketing are in full flow. Online satellites are underway on official WSOP sites as well as partners internationally. Schedules are revealed, packages are offered and promotions are spread.

However, nothing has yet been revealed for this year—understandable, given how no one knows how the next few months will unfold. That makes this promotion even more intriguing.

Sweepstakes Package Details

The winner of the sweepstakes promotion will win entry into the $10,000 buy-in 2021 WSOP Main Event.

As noted, normally this is a multi-day tournament held live in the Rio; last year, it was mostly online. What it will be this year is unknown. The implication, however, is that Caesars wants to run this live in Las Vegas, given the other parts of the prize package.

The winner and their guest will be flown to Las Vegas from anywhere in the continental United States. Once in the city, they will be treated to a dinner for two at a Celebrity Chef restaurant, a three night stay in a suite at Caesars Palace, a whisky and cigar night at the hotel’s Montecristo Cigar Bar, and $1,000 in spending money.

The total prize package, including all the extra goodies, is worth $14,000.

Prize
Approximate Value (USD)

$10,000 Seat to 2021 WSOP Main Event
$10,000

3-night stay in a Suite at Caesars Palace
$1,000

Round-trip airfare for two (from continental US)
$1,100

$1,000 VISA Gift Card
$1,000

Whisky and cigars at Montecristo Cigar Bar
$400

Dinner for two at Celebrity Chef’s restaurant
$500

Hotel Stay at the Rio, a Hint of the WSOP Finally Moving?

Curiously, the stay is only for a three nights—which would normally not be long enough for a deep run of the WSOP Main Event. Last year, the tournament was spread over two weeks, with three Day 1s and two Day 2s then a Day 3, Day 4, and final table, with breaks gaps in-between.

Also of note, the hotel stay is in Caesars Palace, not the Rio. Whether this suggests an anticipated location move or not remains to be seen. The Rio was sold back in 2019 though Caesars agreed to manage the property for two years.

The 2020 event was scheduled to take place in the Rio, and the live Main event did go ahead in its convention center. However, no announcement has been made for the 2021 series—and with Caesars potentially coming to the end of its management contract, this could well be the first indication that WSOP plans to move it to another Caesars location in Las Vegas.

How to Enter the WSOP Ultimate Poker Champion Sweepstakes Promo

If you are a United States resident, just fill out this form. That’s it! You can read below for more details.

The contest is open to anyone over 21 years of age, with the exception of employees and family of Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Inc or Caesars Entertainment Services, LLC. The offer is only valid in the continental United States and void where prohibited.

Entries are open until midnight on April 30, 2021 and the winner will be randomly chosen on May 6, 2021 from all the entries received prior to the closing date.

In the event that the winner does not meet eligibility requirements, up to 5 alternate draws will be made to choose a winner. If no eligible winner is selected after the maximum 5 alternate draws, the prize will remain unawarded.

Prizes are non-transferable, and not subject to change except at the discretion of the contest Administrator. The Administrator reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value if the above prizes are not available for any reason, and winners are responsible for all taxes and fees which may be associated with receiving or using the prize. There is no cash equivalent for this prize.

The dates for the prize will be set once the Main Event is scheduled, but the trip must be taken before December 31, 2021. This gives the organizers a wide window to schedule the WSOP 2021 Main Event—whatever form it takes.

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Adjusting to world-class players

This is my table from a recent $25,000 buy-in event.
Poker tournaments are interesting, especially compared to cash games, because the skill level of your opponents can vary wildly. While there will be winners and losers in a $1/$2 cash game, most of the players simply do not play too well because if they did, they would be playing for higher stakes. In tournaments, especially in major events where many players satellite in, you could be playing with a total amateur who got lucky to win his seat for a small amount of money or a high stakes professional who travels the world and buys in directly to all of the premier events. In fact, when you are playing the “smaller” main events, such as typical $3,500 WPT or $1,500 WSOP events, those could be considered “small stakes” to some of the pros who play $10,000 buy-in and larger events on a regular basis.
This creates an interesting dynamic because you should employ a drastically different strategy when playing against the total amateur compared to the pro. Since most of what I discuss is based on blatantly exploiting my opponent, I thought it would be helpful to use this blog post to share my thoughts about how to play against someone you cannot blatantly exploit. I do not mean for this blog post to be a comprehensive guide for beating world-class players. I simply want to let you know a few of the adjustments I make while playing against world-class competition that you can quickly and easily integrate into your strategy, allowing you to be competitive.
Where does the profit come from?
I have recently been playing primarily $5,000 and larger buy-in events because I have been making a point to travel to the European Poker Tour stops. It simply does not make sense to spend a bunch of time and money for me to travel to a $3,500 buy-in event in America. Because of this, I have been playing in more high stakes tournaments where very few players satellite in, such as the typical high roller events in the EPTs. This has given me the opportunity to hone my skills against some of the best players in the world when there are not many weak players at the table.
I want to make it perfectly clear that when you are at the table with one or two world-class pros and a bunch of amateurs, you should generally make a point to play very few pots with the pros and lots of pots with the amateurs. You make money in poker by taking advantage of your opponents’ mistakes. If your opponents do not make many mistakes, you will not make much money. Since amateurs make many more mistakes than professionals, you want to play most of your pots with the amateurs. That being said, you should not play like a super nit versus the pros. Simply play a fundamentally sound strategy that makes it difficult for you to get exploited.
I made this 1,000,000 chip stack in a $5,000 buy-in event!
When you are playing at a table full of pros and only one or two amateurs, you simply must get involved with the other pros because if you don’t, you will eventually blind off. In general, there is nothing wrong with playing a relatively tight, aggressive style where you pick your bluff spots intelligently. I think one of the major mistakes amateurs make when playing against pros is that they rarely bluff. When they do, it is often so obvious that the pros can make somewhat easy calls with a wide range. If you only apply pressure when you have a premium hand, you will blind off because the pros will not give you action.
Changing gears
If you happen to be implementing a tight strategy and you have not played many hands in the recent past, do not be afraid to get a bit out of line, especially by reraising before the flop and then continuation betting the flop for about the same amount as your preflop reraise. While this play is quite simple, it is super-effective if you have a tight image. Always be aware of your image and use it to your advantage.
If you happen to be at a table where everyone is playing a tight, aggressive strategy, if you realize they are playing too tightly, especially when the stacks are around 30 – 50 big blinds deep, an effective play is to raise when the action folds to you, even from early position, with an overly wide range. If your opponents will only call or reraise with premium hands, you will find that you will often steal the blinds or win the pot after the flop frequently enough to justify a steal attempt. Of course, once your opponents realize you are raising with a wide range, assuming they become willing to play back at you, you should revert to a tight, aggressive strategy. Old school players refer to this as “changing gears”. I call it “playing intelligently”.
Stealing the blinds
Speaking of preflop stealing, you will notice that in high stakes tournaments the “standard” raise size is venturing higher. In the past, people folded from the big blind way too often so strong players started min-raising preflop in order to be able to steal the blinds with a wider range with less risk. This play was quite effective for a few years, but eventually the best players figured out that they should be defending their big blind with a wide range. If you can put in one more big blind before the flop and perhaps two more big blinds on the flop and see a showdown, which is often against the case against someone who raises with a wide range, continuation bets with a wide range, then plays straightforwardly on the turn and river, you should call the preflop min-raise with almost any two cards.
To counteract this adjustment by the best players, you have two options. You can either fire more turn and river bluffs, which gets quite risky, or you can raise larger before the flop. The problem with firing more turn and river bluffs is that your strong opponents will figure this out and start calling down with a wider range. It should be clear that very few good players check-raise the flop when they defend the blind because they want to keep their check-calling range strong so that you cannot happily fire three bluffs. While amateurs make the mistake of effectively turning their hand face-up by check-raising, pros will keep you guessing. Of course, if your opponent will call the flop with his marginal hands that he will fold by the river when faced with intense aggression, you should happily fire lots of bluffs. However, if your opponent may or may not call you down because they do not turn their hand face-up when they have premium hands, bluffing becomes much less palatable.
Instead, you can simply raise a bit larger before the flop. With deep stacks of 50 big blinds or more, it is quite common to see the best players raising to 3 big blinds before the flop. As the stacks start to shrink, their bet sizes start to decrease, but not too much. With 35 big blind stacks, they will still raise to around 2.7 big blinds or so.
I have been experimenting with raising to 2 big blinds when a weak player is in the big blind and 2.7 – 3 big blinds when a strong player is in the big blind. I have been making this play with my entire range so I am not easily exploitable. It has been quite effective so far because it allows me to play more pots with amateurs and fewer pots with the pros.
River betting
One other adjustment I want to discuss is how to bet on the river versus an amateur compared to a pro. Against an amateur, I will often bet an amount that I think will induce the result I want. For example, if I think my opponent is a mediocre player who will assume a small bet is for value, I will bet small as a bluff. If I think my opponent will always call a small bet with a wide range because of his pot odds, I will bet small with my value hands and large with my bluffs. This strategy does not work too well against pros because you will often not be able to out-think them.
Instead, you should choose bet sizes based on the percentage of the time that you will be bluffing versus value betting with your entire range. For example, if you know that in a specific river spot you will have 20% bluffs and 80% value bets (this assumes that your value hands win every time when you get called), you should make a bet that gives your opponent 4:1 pot odds, which would be 33% of the size of the pot, because that way, he cannot make a profit by either calling or folding. You will often see pros overbetting the pot, perhaps betting two times the size of the pot, giving their opponent 3:2, when they have around 40% bluffs in their range.
Of course, this assumes you know how to think about your actual range in a spot. Most amateurs are much too concerned with their own hand. Against pros, you must realize that you are playing your range against their range, not your hand against their hand.  Unfortunately, poker is not quite this simple because you rarely know if you are purely value betting or bluffing.  As long as you are at least thinking about ranges, you will be able to tailor your bet sizes to specific situations when playing against strong pros instead of simply betting some fixed percent of the pot every time.
That being said, if you do want to bet the same percent of the pot every time, the proper adjustment is to set up your range such that you have the correct proportion of bluffs compared to value bets. For example, if you always want to bet 64% of the size of the pot on the river, you should have 28% bluffs in your range. If you can figure out how to construct your range such that you have exactly 28% bluffs every time, this will work, but you will find that it is often easier to figure out what percentage of your range is bluffs and then adjust your bet size accordingly.
As a quick example, let’s suppose you find yourself on the river after you raised preflop from middle position and the Big Blind, a world-class pro, called. You then bet on both the flop and turn on an Ah-7h-5s-3s board and your opponent called. The river is the (Ah-7h-5s-3s)-Kd.
You certainly want to value bet with your best hands, so you must also figure out which hands to bluff with in order to remain balanced. Perhaps you know that your value betting range is all hands A-Q and better. Let’s also assume that you can’t have K-K because you probably would not have bet the turn with that. You also cannot have A-7o, A-5o, and A-3o because you would not have raised with those from middle position. This leaves you with a value range of this:

Notice that this is 68 combinations of hands. Let’s assume that you want to bluff with all of your busted flush draws. There are 14 combinations of busted flush draws that you could conceivably have. I am going to assume that you will bet with the busted K high flush draws that improved to middle pair as a bluff, which may or may not be a good play.

Since you have a total of 82 total combinations of hands (68 value hands and 14 bluffs) you should bet an amount that gives your opponent 68:14 pot odds, which would be 26% of the size of the pot. Of course, if you want to bet larger, you have to find more hands to bluff with. If you want to bet smaller, you should bluff with fewer of your missed flush draws (the ones with a pair of K’s in this example) or add in a wider range of value hands, assuming your opponent will call with worse made hands.
It is worth reiterating that real-world play is not this simple because you will occasionally value bet and get called by a better hand. You will also rarely know every aspect of your opponent’s strategy. The main takeaway should be that it is important to get out of the habit of blindly betting some percentage of the size of the pot on any betting round simply because that is what you think you are supposed to do. Always make a point to figure out why you make each of your actions.
While this strategy works well against the best pros, it is not a good idea against players who will simply never get to the river with a made hand worse than an A. While the best pros are thinking in terms of range versus range, the vast majority of players, most pros included, simply look at their hand and see if it is near the top of their range and then act accordingly. In the hand above, suppose you know that your opponent would almost always check-raise the flop with a flush draw, meaning that once he gets to the river, he has only top pair. If you know he will never fold his top pair to any reasonable bet, you should bet an amount that your opponent will call when you have a hand that is better than his calling range, which will most likely be around A-T or better. If instead you know that he will call up to a 60% pot bet but fold to larger bet sizes, bet 61% with your bluffs and 60% with your value hands. Of course, this again assumes we know a decent amount about our opponent, which enables us to play in an exploitative manner.
I hope this blog post has enlightened you a bit about how world-class pros play against each other. The deeper you think about poker, the better decisions you will make. To get started with this process, always make a point to think about your opponent’s range, your actual range, and what your opponent thinks about your range.
If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it with your friends! Also be sure to follow me at twitch.tv/jonathanlittle to watch me play live in real time for free. You can sign up for my PokerStars Home Game using #1976954 and Password: playpoker. My PokerStars Home Game will be on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 5pm EST. The Home Game is not for real money, but I will give away prizes. That way, everyone can play (even Americans!) I will stream the tournament on Twitch so everyone can watch. I hope you will join me on the live stream at twitch.tv/jonathanlittle. Thank you for reading.
 

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Fine tuning for Winter Poker Open!


So like all poker player, I’ve been stuck re-living all the hands from the last time I played, both good and bad…ok mostly the bad.It’s a mental beating we all give ourselves, especially those of us that are extremely passionate about the game. It’s a blessing and curse! It’s a huge help in realizing the faults in our own games, and moving us towards getting better, but there in lies the problem, Admitting our faults! Who likes to do that, certainly not me lol It’s a tricky thing, using past mistake to improve, particularly in poker. There’s a clear advantage in using these previous blunders to keep improving your game, but if we aren’t careful, it can quickly become a huge disadvantage. The downside is that we poker players have a tendency to obsess over hands waayy too much, usually causing much more harm than good. I know I’m ridiculous about this myself, always my own harshest critic, completely destroying myself mentally after losing session or big bust outs in tourneys. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s just part of the game and it happens to the best of us. Whether its variance or just poor decisions, it’s all par for the course. Regardless of what anyone tells you, no one plays perfect all the time and nobody dodges the math forever lol. So we do our best to keep our sanity(and our bankrolls), by reviewing our mishaps, learning from them and moving “on to the next one”. That being said here’s a few quick recaps of some hands played in the last few months. I hope I they provide you with some entertainment and insight,but mostly I hope that they force me to make sure I listen to everything I just told you guys! lolThis is a nice punt I made in a smaller WSOPc event at The Bike in LA his past December. LOL I have a 32k stack and we are at 300/600 blinds with 100 ante. The under the gun, very active player opens to 1300. He gets 2 pretty loose active callers. I have Q9d in cutoff and decide to call as well.(meh lol) Small blind then raises to 6k! Oops. He’s pretty predicatable though and think I have a good read on his game. It folds back to me, I see $12600 in the pot and need to call 4700 for a shot at winning what’s already a $17300 pot!! I call. Q,10,7 rainbow flop. He instantly leads 10k. Just grabs and spIashes it in!? I just thought he looked weak and had about 26k left. So I ship, and he snaps me off with AQ. Oops again lol Not my proudest moment lolThis ones from the kickoff event, 200k GTD, of the WSOPc Choctaw. Ran pretty bad this whole weekend lol These hands happened back to back. In limped pot, 3 of us see a K,10,3 rainbow flop. I have k9 off in BB. I bet 500 into a 900 pot, wild older guy calls, other folds. I bet 1000 on 9h turn. He snap calls. I check a 10h river, and he snaps 3000 into the middle. I puke lol then Fold…next hand, the Blinds are 150/300 and I now have only 5400. I open from UTG to 800. The fun donkey, older guy on my left calls. Pretty nitty younger guy on his left calls too. Flop comes Qd,8d,5s. I try to hide my excitement cause I know the old guy can’t wait to bet! So I check, he doesn’t dissappoint and snaps a 1k chip out. Then to my surprise the younger guy thinks for a minute then makes it 3500?! Shit! Lol I think I’m probably toast but I think he’s capable of having the same read on this guy as I do. So I think he either can be making a move or doing this with a draw?! Plus I have a huge hand and not enough chips to fold anyway lol so I go all in, old guy folds, and of course the kid calls. Shows me KK and board runs out good for him. Cool story lol Ouch, REBUY! LolHere’s one from the WSOPc Choctaw 1 million GTD main event! We are at 300/600 with 100 ante and I have about 50k. The player in the LoJak bet 700 for the last 3 or 4 hands and was super active all day. He does it again and gets 1 caller. I call in SB with K10 off.(boooooo). The BB folds. The Flop is 7h,Qc,Jc. I had planned on check raising him if he bet, but it checks through. Turns comes Kc! Yikes! I check, and original raiser bets the pot!? About 3600. Other caller folds. I was pretty confused by his large bet size on such a scary card, but overall I thought it looked weak, so I call. Turn is Js! More yikes! Another scary card. I decide to check. He tanks for about a minute, then bets pot again! Just under 11k! This was the last hand before a break and I tanked a good 2-3 minutes into the break before I made a hero call. I was confused by his large bets on both streets and thought it looked so polarized on that crazy board. He shows QQ for a full house on the river. I still don’t understand his flop check or his hide turn bet when such a bad card peels off, but what can you do. LolHopefully I can learn from these tough lesson so soon! Intertops, along with TheTrooper79 and I, are heading back to Austria! It’s business as usual for Intertops, sending players to exotic locations for exciting tourney action! With player Douglas Klein coming for a poker trip of a life-time, after winning a satellite with us online worth $4000! Check out his whole story here at Live-Dream-Poker! For me it’s a chance to redeem myself from last years performance and take it to those Uber aggressive Europeans! lol As for The Trooper, he’ll be there to kept tabs on is and take you on all his crazy adventures, poker and travel wise. We leave in a few days, but be sure not to miss the Sunday action on Intertops still! Play in tomorrow’s all new schedule of action packed six max tourneys, as well as our 1k and 5k guarantees! Hope to see you there!RUN good!Tim

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My Weekly PokerStars Home Game

My Home game is currently on hold and games are not running. If there is enough demand, I will re-start the home game in the future.
*****Sign up info is no longer active*****
PokerStars Home Game:
Club ID: 1976954
Invitation Code: playpoker
Weekly Prizes:
These prizes are awarded each week to the top three finishers of my home game tournament.
This is important!!! If you win one of the prizes, you must email support@jonathanlittlepoker.com your full name, twitch name, pokerstars name, and email address to claim your prize.
1sT:
5 Reward Stars for my video training products
2nd:
3 Reward Stars for my video training products
3rd:
1 Reward Star for my video training products
Poker Coaching Account
In order to redeem your rewards, a PokerCoaching.com account is required.  If you do not have an account, sign up for a FREE Poker Coaching account using the link below.
Free Account
https://members.pokercoaching.com/start_trial.php
How to Redeem Your Rewards
Click the video below for instructions on how to redeem your rewards.

How to sign up:
You can NOT sign up through PokerStars New Jersey, only the global clients PokerStars.net and PokerStars.com.
To sign up for the PokerStars home game, simply download PokerStars and then navigate to the Home Game tab.

Click “Join a Poker Club”.

Then enter:
Club ID: 1976954
Invitation Code: playpoker

I then have to manually accept you, which may take me up to 24 hours. Once I have accepted you, be sure to log back into PokerStars and register for the tournament. You will see JonathanLittlePoker under your list of poker clubs.

Then click on JonathanLittlePoker, click on Schedule, then you will see the upcoming tournaments.

Simply register for the tournaments you want to play and you will be all set.

Log into PokerStars prior to the tournament and the table should automatically pop up once the tournament begins. I am looking forward to playing with you. Please please please share this post with your friends. I want this league to be a huge success so I can continue running it. Thank you and good luck!
This game was initially run as a league, with Kuno2001 claiming the title as well as the $1,500 grand prize. I will start the league back up again sometime after the WSOP, assuming there is enough interest.

HUGE congrats to Biszibosz for winning $1,000 plus lots of additional prizes in Season 2. Congrats to Qtunneler for taking 2nd for $500 plus lots of prizes.
I was honored to have a coaching session with the first and second place players from Season 1 of the league. Here I am giving them their coaching sessions live in Las Vegas!

***For those interested, here is how the PokerStars point structure works:
The exact formula for how Home Game statistics are calculated is based upon these factors:
n = number of players in tournamentk = place of finish (k = 1 for 1st place, k = 2 for 2nd place, etc.)p = integer (n * 0.34)
‘p’ determines who receives points. ‘p’ is the number of places that finish in the top third of the tournament. If there are 6 entrants, then n=6, therefore p=n*0.34, making p=2 (integer of 2.04).
If n = 4, 2 points are awarded for 1stIf n = 5, 3 points are awarded for 1st
For n 5, points awarded are:
n * (sqrt(n)/sqrt(k)) / [sum (sqrt(n)/sqrt(k)) for k = 1 to k = p]
Each tournament with 6 or more players pays out the total number of points equal to the number of entrants (n). The numbers generated by the above equation tend not to equal ‘n’, in these cases the points are normalised accordingly, by keeping the same ratio but applying it to n, rather than n.
So if there are 6 entrants n=6, p=2. As p=2.04, only the top 2 finishers will receive points, meaning the equation will work like this:
For 1st, n=6, k=1, p=2.04:
6 * (sqrt(6)/sqrt(1)) / [(sqrt(6)/sqrt(1)) + (sqrt(6)/sqrt(2)) + (sqrt(6)/sqrt(6*0.34))]6 * (2.449/1) / [(2.449/1) + (2.449/1.414) + (2.449/2.04)]6 * 2.449 / (2.449 + 1.732 + 1.71)= 2.49
For 2nd, n=6, k=2, p=2.04:
6 * (sqrt(6)/sqrt(2)) / [(sqrt(6)/sqrt(1)) + (sqrt(6)/sqrt(2))]6 * (2.449/1.414) / [(2.449/1) + (2.449/1.414)]6 * 1.732 / (2.449 + 1.732 + 1.71)= 1.76
These results are then normalised so that 6 points are awarded in total (as each tournament awards ‘n’ points):
For 1st place:
6* (2.49 / (2.49 + 1.76)) = 3.51points
For 2nd place:
6* (1.76 / (2.49 + 1.76)) = 2.49 points

.

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Universal Entertainment in the market for a SPAC for Okada Manila


Almost three years ago, Universal Entertainment Group had a dream. It wanted to see Okada Manila, owned by subsidiary Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, listed on a stock exchange somewhere. Things didn’t go as planned initially, but it’s time for the pieces to be put in place, and Universal is going to make another run. This time, it wants help from a special acquisition company (SPAC) in the U.S. so it can fulfill its dream. Given the rise in popularity of SPACs in the gaming industry lately, Universal probably won’t have too much difficulty finding a partner, as long as its sordid past can be kept behind it.Universal wants a SPAC, also often called a blank-check company, willing to take a chance on helping Okada Manila become a publicly-traded company in the U.S. It hopes to land a spot on either the NASDAQ or the NYSE, and will take whatever it can get. The resort’s continued cost-saving efforts to combat COVID-19 have reportedly paid off, and Universal is convinced that the timing is perfect for a public launch. In a letter sent to investors last week about the search for a SPAC, Universal asserted, “In view of this situation, [and] having positioned its IR Business as the core business of the Company Group, the Company recently arrived at the decision to pursue a detailed examination of the listing of that business on either the U.S. NASDAQ Stock Exchange or the New York Stock Exchange with the aim of realizing the further expansion of that business and greater corporate group value.”2020 saw a lot of interest being given to SPAC deals, and that was just the beginning. 244 blank check companies connected with entities looking for a way to go public, ultimately attracting $78.2 billion through initial public offerings (IPO). However, 2021 is on par to see even greater activity, with 134 SPACs having attracted $39 billion from the start of the year until last Friday.Universal is reportedly already working on deals to finalize the value of Okada Manila and attract more interest. It added, “The Company has already executed advisory agreements with multiple financial advisory firms in Japan and the U.S. in order to prepare for the listing of its IR Business … and is currently engaged in the selection of a SPAC, the investigation of aspects involving the law and tax systems, the revision of the capital structure of the Company Group as a whole, with the aim of listing the business sometime in fiscal 2021.”

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