10 Tips to instantly make you more profitable

In this blog post, I am going to share 10 tips with you that will instantly make you a more profitable player, especially in tournaments. While most players think that playing a fundamentally sound strategy is the only thing that matters, through diligent study and common sense, you will find that the game extends far beyond the felt. I hope this blog post enlightens you to some of these concepts.
Prepare for uncomfortable temperatures
Most casinos keep the temperature quite cold. For this reason, you either need to dress for cold weather or make yourself somewhat accustomed to the cold. During the WSOP, where parts of the tournament venue are freezing, I constantly hear players complaining about how cold it is. They fail to realize that if they prepared ahead of time and brought a jacket, they would be fine. They could also simply order a hot beverage from the cocktail waitress.
I have recently taken this concept one step further. I have started taking freezing cold showers every morning and also long walks outside whenever it is cold. These practices have allowed me to build up immunity to the cold. Even in the coldest poker room, I feel perfectly fine in a t-shirt. That being said, if poker rooms start making the environment hot, I could be in trouble!
Look at your cards properly
If your opponents can see your hand, you are going to have a tough time winning. You must use two hands when looking at your cards. If you only use one, your hand is likely visible from some angle. Don’t think that a chip stack can block your neighbor’s view. You want to make a deep cave with your hands and lift up only the corners of your cards as far back in the cave as possible.
Here are a few images to help you know if you are looking at your cards correctly.
This is not correct:
This is not correct:
This IS correct.

Believe it or not, but I actually had an impossible time finding a picture online of someone holding their cards in an ideal manner! I decided to take this one myself but even then, it was tough to show a good angle because if your cards are concealed properly, the camera should have a tough time seeing the cards. If you are right handed, simply turn the cards 90 degrees before peeking at the corners. If your cards are clearly visible to you and you don’t have to bend over a bit to look at them, you probably aren’t looking at them correctly.
Arrive on time
While some well-known professionals make a point to show up a few hours late to every tournament, I think that if you are in good physical and mental shape, that you should show up on time. There is a ton of value in being able to play short-handed and deep-stacked versus amateur opponents. If you show up late, you miss out on these opportunities. If you start with 30,000 chips in $10,000 buy-in event and can increase your stack to 33,000 on average within the first two hours, which is not too uncommon for a strong player at a soft short-handed table, you have won 10% of a starting stack, which is $1,000 in equity. I am not rich enough to turn down $500 per hour, so I show up and play these levels. Of course, if you are bad at poker, you should not show up on time and instead register as late as possible so that you are effectively gambling, which is much better than you will do compared to playing deep-stacked against good players.
Let your opponents know that you cannot be messed with
Playing in a blatantly straightforward manner is almost always a mistake. There are many reasons for this that I have discussed in my books, but one of the main ones is that your aggressive opponents will assume that they can apply a lot of pressure on you and make you fold unless you have a strong holding. Assuming you want to slowly grind up your stack, the last thing you want to do is induce your aggressive opponents to play back at you, making it difficult for you to steal pots on a regular basis. If at all possible, you want to make your opponents play straightforward against you. In order to do this, you will occasionally have to get a bit out of line and let your opponents know that you are not someone they can pick on.
In a recent WPT event at the BestBet in Jacksonville, I had a fairly aggressive kid directly on my right who made it clear that he was trying to push everyone around. When he reraised me for the first time, I 4-bet, and he called. I continuation bet the flop, and he folded. A little while later, he 3-bet me again. I again 4-bet and he folded. After that, he didn’t mess with me for the remainder of the day. These aggressive actions also induced the rest of the players at the table to stay out of my way because in their minds, it was clear that I was someone who was not afraid to play a big pot. When my straightforward opponents finally showed aggression, I simply folded. I ended up getting seven walks throughout the day, where everyone simply folds around to me when I am in the big blind, whereas no one else got a single one. If players are afraid of you, they will play in a blatantly straightforward manner, allowing you to have your way with the table.
Realize that the “average stack size” is fairly irrelevant
People love irrelevant stats. Just watch ESPN for a few minutes to see what I mean. You will constantly hear the commentators spew irrelevant stats such as “Their quarterback has won 8 straight games in the first week of November.” In poker, there are also a bunch of irrelevant stats. Perhaps the one that amateurs pay the most attention to is the “average stack size”. You instead need to be concerned with the effective stack size at your table and how that should alter your strategy. If the average stack size is 100 big blinds and you have 50 big blinds, there is no need to panic or feel like you are in bad shape. If the average stack size is 10 big blinds and you have 15 big blinds, you should not feel as if you are in a great situation. My best advice is to simply ignore this stat.
I once played in a $1,500 WSOP event where a guy was clearly concerned with the average stack size. Eventually it became clear to me that whenever he turned around to look at the tournament clock, he was checking to see if he had more or less than average. When he had less than average, he would raise with almost any two cards, hoping to get back above average. Once I figured this out, I started reraising him with an overly wide range. He didn’t last too long.
Don’t be distracted
While live poker gives you the opportunity to take in a huge amount of information about your opponents, it also provides you with lots of down time where little is happening. This results in most players becoming bored. They then turn to various distractions, such as their phone, sports, books, talking to their peers, and many other activates to occupy their attention. While it probably isn’t too big of a deal to occupy your time when you are on a break or there is no hand in progress, if you are constantly engaged with activities besides poker, you will not focus well. If you do not focus well, you will miss loads of vital information that will help you adjust to your opponents’ specific tendencies, allowing you to win significantly more money. When playing poker, turn off the distractions and play poker.
Plan your bathroom breaks
If you are anything like me, playing poker when you have to go to the bathroom is not ideal. This should lead you to plan your consumption of food and drinks to line up with when you will have a break in a tournament. For example, I know that after drinking a liquid, I have to pee around an hour later. This means that if I get a break every two hours, I should not drink anything during the first hour. I should also make a point to order my drink around 45 minutes into the level, ensuring it arrives roughly an hour into the level.
I usually have to go to the bathroom around 30 minutes after dinner. This is a particularly interesting situation because if I finish eating at the end of a dinner break, I will have to use the bathroom 30 minutes into the level, meaning I will have to hold it for 90 minutes, assuming two hours between breaks. Since that is obviously not a good situation, I instead make a point to scarf down my food on dinner break such that I am finished eating with 30 minutes left in the break.
By figuring out your tendencies, you will be able to better prepare. Is this too much information for you?!?
Recognize that you don’t have to win every hand you enter
It is important to realize and accept that you will not win every hand you enter. This concept often gives tight players a problem. They assume that since they only enter a few pots, usually with the best hand, that they should win all of them. This leads to them to stick around with obviously beat hands way too long, such as with Q-Q on J-T-7-K or A-A on 8-7-6-3-4. When you are likely to beat, you should get out of the way. If you think you have to win every hand you play, you will almost certainly end up broke.
Do not pay off tight players
This perhaps goes without saying, but if someone only plays premium hands, you do not want to invest significant money without a hand that is better than their range. This means that if a super tight player raises, you should be folding hands that are easily dominated, such as A-J and K-Q. Assuming your stacks are deep, you can play drawing hands, such as 4-4 and 8s-7s, but if you have around 26 big blinds or less, even these should be folded.
I wrote a blog post about this topic in the past. You can check it out here:

Do Not Pay Off Tight Poker Players


Attack the blinds of the tight players
While you should rarely give a tight player action, when the tight players are in the blinds, you should be prone to stealing with an overly wide range, especially if the players between you and the tight blinds are not overly active. It is not uncommon to find spots where you should raise with almost any two cards from the button or cutoff. If you pay attention and actively look for these situations, you will be able to profit with a much wider range of hands than normal.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Did you find any of these concepts to be interesting? If so, let me know about it in the comment section below. If you found this blog post to be helpful, please share it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook. If you want more content about the aspects of poker that extend beyond the felt, I suggest you check out my book, Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker, Volume 2. Thanks for reading!

.

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GGPoker Adds More Variety to No-Strings-Attached “Daily Freebie” Promotion

Verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day.One of the most popular promotions for low stakes players on GGPoker has been further expanded.

During the software update on February 10, the Daily Free Spin promotion changed to Daily Freebie. Furthermore, UK players can now also claim the daily gift for a chance to boost their bankrolls.

All players, both existing and new, just need to have verified accounts and log in each day to claim their gift, which lets plays play real money tournaments—and compete for real money cash prizes.

The update has expanded what is given away. Now, there are Daily Freebie tickets for Flip & Go, the super-successful new format introduced in January 2021. It has also undergone some changes since its launch, with GGPoker increasing the frequency and adjusting the buy-ins as well as the maximum number of stacks for purchase.

“GGPoker is happy to confirm that we’ve relaunched our Daily Free Spin offer as the Daily Freebie; verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day. All they need to do is log in and claim their daily reward!” said Paul Burke, Head of Public Relations at GGPoker.

“We hope to continue to change up the rewards on offer in the future, giving all players the opportunity to try out GGPoker’s most exciting games, no matter their bankroll.”

For existing players, Daily Freebie is available immediately—just log in and claim.

If you haven’t yet signed up, you can do so today and enjoy the promotion as soon as you have verified your account. You can also take advantage of all of GGPoker’s generous welcome bonuses.

How the GGPoker Daily Freebie Promotion Works

The operator has seen unprecedented growth in 2020 to become one of the leading online poker platforms for tournaments and cash games. GGPoker has achieved that with a plethora of promotions, innovations, and high-profile partnerships. Their continued success has led to a record $7.5 million in promotions given away in February 2021.

One of several promotions for players with smaller bankrolls is the Daily Freebie formerly the Daily Free Spin.

This was launched on September 7, 2020. It has given verified players the opportunity to claim one $0.25 Spin & Gold ticket every day ever since. The free ticket courtesy of GGPoker continues to be available under the new name three times per week—*but this rotates with other ticket types.*

Players can see the next six upcoming Daily Freebies listed under the “My Promo” tab. A new daily gift becomes available after each daily reset at midnight Pacific time. Each ticket will continue to feature an expiration date of 24 hours once the Daily Freebie has been awarded.

The current rotation of Daily Freebie is fixed for the time being. However, GGPoker hopes “to change the daily prizes on a semi-regular basis,” according to Burke. He also hinted at a strong possibility that the Daily Freebie will include the alternative currencies C$ or T$ sometime soon.

Newly included as a prize in the Daily Freebie is a $1 Spin & Gold ticket, which can be claimed once per week. Furthermore, five $0.05 Flip & Go tickets are up for grabs three times per week, giving players the chance at trying the new tournament format free of charge.

As a mixture between a Flipout and regular tournament, Flip & Go was launched on January 12, 2021. However, it only took a few days for the first tweaks to be made. Initially slated to take place once every hour, it was soon increased to once every 30 minutes.

The buy-ins were also adjusted and the lowest available stake was increased to $0.05 with a guarantee of $50. Players can now take a shot at their own leisure three times per week and enter this lowest tier with five stacks thanks to the Daily Freebie.

Upon launch, the Flip & Go featured a maximum of 10 entries for each of the four stakes. However, that number has been adjusted recently and the stacks for purchase are now capped at a maximum of eight. This makes the bonus stacks based on the holdings during the Flipout stage more valuable in comparison.

The overall feedback for the new tournament format has been very positive, as outlined by Burke.

“Players love it! We have been very pleasantly surprised by the positivity seen across almost all feedback, of course not all players are interested in a new game type but those who have tried it have mostly good things to say about Flip & Go. We’ve also received some constructive criticism, which is also valuable.”

Further tweaks to the Flip & Go format may very well possible, as GGPoker is constantly reviewing and optimizing its schedule. One such adjustment was made with the expansion of the popular Daily GGMasters earlier in February.

The changes to the Daily Freebie promotion went live on February 10. All verified GGPoker players in eligible countries can claim their daily gift under the “My Promo” tab after each daily reset.

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Is Hellmuth vs Negreanu happening?


We recap some stories you may have missed including a huge PKO event and how much of himself is Landon Tice playing for?

KidPoker vs the Poker Brat?
We hinted at it last week and now it seems confirmed that Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth will play heads-up. 
Given both men are traditionally live players it seems inevitable that it will be face to face and streamed on PokerGO. 
The early betting markets have suggested Hellmuth is the favourite, which seems ludicrous given how much Negreanu improved in his heads-up challenge against Doug Polk. 

Happy to play anyone on @PokerGo App’s “High Stakes Duel.” Looks like they are bringing me the GREAT Daniel Negreanu @RealKidPoker, the guy that studied heads up for months w coaches I respect, so be it. It will be a great challenge for me! Hoping I don’t look like THIS photo!! pic.twitter.com/EpE1BqRMWP
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) February 13, 2021

Tice has skin in the game
The other big heads-up match in the works is Landon Tice vs Bill Perkins, and it has been the subject of a lot of debate this last week.
Namely, how much does the poker wunderkind Landon Tice have invested in himself? Rumours circulated that he is playing for just 10% of himself in this challenge where he is already paying Bill Perkins $720,000 to play. 
Tice confirmed that he has sold a lot of action for this event but while his percentage is low, it still means he has a lot of his net worth on the line:

Let me make something clear that I’m sure everyone cares about regarding my challenge with @bp22 I’m selling a lot of action for it. A lot.I’m not rolled to battle at nosebleeds. However, I am putting a very large amount of my relative net worth on myself winning it.
— Landon (@LandonTice) February 11, 2021

MicroMillions the biggest PKO ever?
The MicroMillions Main Event was a PKO for the first time in its history and it (probably) automatically became the biggest field ever for a progressive knockout tournament. 
49,487 entries for the $22 Main Event, which was not quite enough to hit the $1 million guarantee. 
It did lead to one player bagging almost $60,000 for their troubles including $18,651.13 in bounties alone:

The final table

Table stakes only
OK, so this week’s meme classic from Reddit beats all those ‘toilet roll poker home game’ jokes from last year:
When Polaks Play Poker from r/poker

Will we see Hellmuth vs Negreanu heads-up? Let us know in the comments:

Barry Carter
Barry Carter is the editor of PokerStrategy.com and the co-author of The Mental Game of Poker 1 & 2, Poker Satellite Strategy and PKO Poker Strategy



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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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I get an amazing hand & this always happens


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Learning from Phil Hellmuth Jr.

I was recently honored to host a live webinar with 13-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth Jr. While Phil is a bit of an enigma in the poker world because no one quite understands how he wins on a consistent basis in high stakes poker tournaments, I knew there were countless skills I could learn from him. When you have the opportunity to discuss poker strategy with one of the most successful poker players in the world, you listen!
Since the webinar, I have implemented numerous concepts we discussed, drastically increasing my profits at the table.
One of the most important concepts he discussed was the idea that if you have played poker for a long time and studied the game diligently, as I have, you should tend to trust your reads. Since our webinar, I have worked hard on my reading abilities and they seem to be paying off.
I recently played in a $13,000 high roller event in Barcelona. There was one player at the table who was obviously splashing around. Everyone was making a point to play pots with him. Even though he was clearly playing junky hands, he always had the nuts when his opponents decided to call his large postflop bets.
Eventually I raised with A-T from middle position, the splashy guy called in the small blind and the Big Blind also called. The flop came 4-4-3. The splashy guy made a bet and I decided to call. The turn was a J. He bet again and I called. The river was an 8 and he bet enough to put me all-in, which was around the size of the pot.
Seeing how he had only shown the nuts when he took overly aggressive lines in the past, this would normally be an easy fold. However, something did not feel right. I can’t quite quantify what it was, but he looked nervous. I thought he would play numerous busted draws in this manner. My main concern was that he could be bluffing with a hand such as 2-2 or A-Q, which would be a disaster for me.
However, I went with my read and called. He showed the 5-2 and I doubled up with my marginal A-high.
While this is certainly an extreme example, if I did not have the amazing learning experience with Phil, I would have folded. Instead, I won $13,000 in equity.
To get instant access to this enlightening learning experience with Phil Hellmuth Jr. where he discusses numerous other strategies he implements to constantly win poker tournaments, check out the webinar here: Learning from Phil Hellmuth Webinar

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Super Bowl Streaker Bet $50,000 on Himself but Bovada Won’t Pay Out


09:1116 FebOnline sportsbook Bovada likely won’t be paying out the largest supposedly winning wager on whether a streaker would disrupt the Super Bowl LV game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the site discovered the streaker was part of a group having placed a large bet on such an event occurring during the game.Yuri Andrade, the 31-year-old Florida man who briefly disrupted the game with his run in a pink leotard and black shorts, announced in an apperance on a Florida radio station Wild 94.1 talk show that he was part of a group that had bet $50,000 that a streaker would appear. Andrade told the show’s audience that his group had locked in the bet at +750, resulting in the high would-be payout.However, Bovada, a grey-market betting site offering services to many US states, quickly learned of Andrade’s admission. The site had already been aware of “suspicious activity” on the prop line, likely the overly large $50,000 wager. As a result, Bovada has already announced it will refund the wagers of all “no” bettors, while also screening for legitimacy all “yes” wagers made before officially grading them.The episode will likely do no publicity favors for Bovada, however, despite the site’s willingness to take a moderate financial hit. Bovada’s lines appear prominently throughout the US’s sports-betting world, on broadcasts and in live and online publications, and as a consequence the site remains under considerable pressure from the US’s growing licensed and regulated markets. At the very least, the event is likely to make Bovada reconsider offering prop bets of this nature, ones that have the potential to disrupt larger sporting events.“Our players have always trusted us to ensure the integrity of all props offered in our sportsbook,”Bovada stated. “We will continue to make sure that any publicity stunts or ill-intended behavior cannot adversely affect the outcome of a player’s wager.”It’s not the first time that streaking has figured into an online gambling story. Nearly 20 years ago, online casino site GoldenPalace.com garnered publicity by investing in all sorts of bizarre activities, including sponsoring serial streaker Mark Roberts’ dashes at events including Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. Roberts sported a temporary GoldenPalace.com tattoo during his runs, which were just a small part of the site’s bizarre guerilla marketing campaigns.Did you like this article?Tweet
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The luck of the Irish has Ireland at the top of global gambling spend


It may not have originated in Ireland, but the phrase “the luck of the Irish” rings loudly in the country. According to The Irish Post, more money is spent, per capita, on gambling in Ireland than in almost all other countries around the world. Only in two countries – Australia and Singapore – is more spent hitting the slots and the tables than in Ireland.The media outlet doesn’t source its data, but indicates that the Irish love online gambling more than any other form. Online gambling spend is 60%, greatly superior to other forms gambling and sports gambling, which only accounts for 15% of the money. The lottery receives a 10% cut, the same amount given to gambling machines and slots. Casinos, of which Ireland has around 20, pick up 5% of the action.While Australia and Singapore may see more gambling spend per capita, Ireland is the hands-down winner in online gaming spend, with The Irish Post asserting, “Ireland takes the lead globally when it comes to online gambling.” It adds, “With almost 3 billion American dollars spent on gambling and betting every year, that means that each man, woman, and child in Ireland are spending roughly 500 [euros] ($607) annually on this type of entertainment.”The media outlet further indicates that online gambling is most popular in Ireland because the segment is more regulated. It cites “outdated laws” that some casinos are exploiting to attract attention, but the transparency and accountability afforded gamblers by online operators give them an edge. The Irish Post explains that, according to reports, many Irish would prefer to gamble in a British casino than in a domestic one, possibly as a result of the outdated laws.Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Irish loved to gamble online and the segment increased about 15% each year. Last year, with the coronavirus in full swing, the numbers jumped substantially and, with the introduction of live online casino games and live sports gambling, the online segment has skyrocketed in popularity. Online gambling is inarguably the future, looking down the road 20 to 30 years, but it’s never too early for casino operators to start preparing.Surprisingly, the U.S. ranks fifth in terms of per-capita gambling spend, even less than Finland. However, with a population of over 330 million, it’s the largest market available. $120 billion was spent on gambling in the country in 2019, while the Irish spent $2.7 billion through its population of less than five million.

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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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