Everest Poker announces poker event for amateurs

July 11th, 2011
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The first ever amateur poker cup, the Everest Poker International Cup (EPIC), will be organized by the well-known poker site Everest Poker. Recently announced by the organizer, we already know the details of this event. The EPIC will consist of online qualifiers leading up to 50 finalists who will fly to Alicante, Spain in order to take part in the Epic Live Finale on 9-11 September this year. The final winner will return home $75,000 richer.

The final tournament of the EPIC, the Epic Live Finale, will have a $1,500 buy-in, will accommodate players in double rooms costing $575 at the Hotel Spa Porta Maris, will offer them dinners and a welcome party plus $425 cash to cover the travel expenses.
In order to win the EPIC package and have the chance to go to Alicante, you have to go through some stages first.
Stage 1- You will have to play in the Free EPIC Feeders, which run 5 times daily, and finish in the last 10 players to advance to stage 2. Another way to get to stage 2 is to play and earn 5 Summit Points every day for 5 days in a week, earning you a free token.

Stage 2- Weekly Satellites are held every Sunday at 19:15 GMT. Only the top 25 finalists will go to the next level. You can skip stage 1 and buy your entry to stage 2 for 250 Summit Points.

Stage 3- The EPIC Direct Entry Tournament is the final stage before the EPIC final. It will be held on August 1 and 29 at 20:00 GMT at the end of which we will know the 20 winners of the EPIC packages. They will be awarded $25,000 cash plus 20 live finale packages. Of course, you can buy directly in for 25,000 Summit Points.

Players who are new to the site or intend to sign up should be prepared for a surprise. Everest Poker offers them the Fast track to Alicante Epic Rookie Satellites! These events run every day at 19:15 GMT and are free for new players. Each day, the 10 finalists of that day will be sent straight to Stage 3, the Epic Direct Entry tournament, where they can compete for $25,000 plus the entry to the final EPIC event!

Category: Online casino poker, Poker, Poker tournaments

The art of quitting a poker game

March 7th, 2011
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In one of his songs, Kenny Rogers makes the following statement about gambling and in particular poker: You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run…”. It is in the last two phrases that he stresses out the importance of quitting a poker game at the right time.

Knowing when to withdraw from a poker table is extremely important for keeping your losses at a minimum. If you play poker with the clear intention of making money out of it, you will surely put all your energy and concentration in the game but this effort will drain you after a while. When you feel like you no longer play at your best and start slipping down what do you do?

Getting out from a poker game is a decision based on the assessment of your physical and psychological state or of the way your luck is running. One of the differences between good players and amateurs consists in leaving the game at the right time but normally this skill is acquired in time along with all the other poker experience you gather from your poker games.

As your playing experience increases you will assess more easily your situation at any point, and know when it’s the right time for you to exit the game. The right moment to exit a game is certainly not when you have run out of money or when you are the last one at the table. Therefore, finding the right moment to get out of a poker game is a fine skill but essential for your bankroll.

If you’re on a roll, don’t quit! You should never quit if you are on the wave because at those times you will win even more. In order to maximize your winnings take advantage of the power and confidence you feel then and, although you may lose some hands, your overall performance at those times will be great.

Instead, you should leave the game when you make lots of uncalled mistakes or when you are fatigued. If there is a series of mistakes that affect you on an emotional level making you tense and pessimistic, then that might be a right time to quit. Fatigue is another signal that it may be time to withdraw if it interferes with your ability to stay focused and patient.

The quality of your poker performance will greatly improve if your are physically and psychologically fit. A temporary alternative to exiting the table is the break, which, if taken regularly, can provide you with new boosts of energy that can help you play longer.

In time, you can develop your own strategy for quitting involving breaks and other factors that can relax you along the course of the game with quitting as the final, but essential resort.

Category: online gambling, Poker, Poker strategy

Maniac poker players. The ‘setup play’

February 8th, 2011
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This poker style is usually met at low-stake tables and at the new players. Therefore, it is very important to know how to take advatage of their playing style in order to build your bankroll.

Maniac players make a lot of raises and re-raises in spite of their position in the hand, the cards they hold or the number of players that called before them. They are very active so you may want to sit at their left at the poker table in order to take advantage of the position and the information their actions provide.

Maniac players are long-term losers but on instances they can ruin you. Against this type of players you should forget about creativity and fancy play and instead start playing by the book. Basic poker theory gives the best results against them. When your position is in your favour, you’d better lead with strong hands because they will most surely call if they hit the flop, and if you don’t have position you should better check/raise because maniacs usually bluff and bet on almost every flop. You should try to trap them with strong hands on dangerous flops. Never engage with them out of position when you have medium hands. Moreover, never chase flushes and straight draws when you are out of position because maniacs tend to bet and overbet so you will never have the right price to call. If you are in the big blind, you shouldn’t re-raise preflop because you can’t throw him out of the pot (unless you have top pairs). Again, when you are in BB, you should lead when you hit ( i.e. bet on the flop, a strategy which fails against smart aggressive players) because they call if they have small or medium pair on flop.

Maniacs have a pot addiction so try to put them all in if you know for sure that you have the best hand (but only if they appear to have something big too, otherwise you should just bet). It’s better to not go all in with top pair on flop because they fold when they have medium pair but when they have 2 pairs or better they usually call and so you will end up losing big pots and winning small pots. This is how they can ruin you.

Now let’s talk a little about “setup play”. This is a play you make at the beginning of the game in order to leave a false impression of your playing style and make your opponents believe that you are a maniac player. For example, someone raises from first position and you make a re-raise from last position with any two cards looking for a show down. Let’s say that a player raises from first position with A-Q and you re-raise in cut off position with 7-5, and he calls. Let’s assume the flop comes 9,7,3. He puts a continuation bet and you call. The turn brings a 2; he checks, you check. The river brings a 6; again he checks, you check, or he bets in an attempt to bluff and once more you call. At the end, when you both show your cards and he will see the cards with which you put up this type of play, he will think you are a maniac and play accordingly. Later you can adjust your game and hope this false impression will pay off later in the game.

Another type of setup play is when you start the game hyper-aggressively. Phil Ivey and Gus Hansen have a playing style involving a lot of aggression at the start and when their opponents start to react they gradually adjust their game. The opponents’ problem is that the image of aggression remains stuck in their heads for a long time and so they find it difficult to trap the abusive player.

Category: Poker, Poker strategy

How to deal with smart aggressive players

January 7th, 2011
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Everybody has had a hard time at the table figuring what is the right tactics to use against the smart aggressive players. Before going too deep into the matter it would be helpful to emphasize the characteristics of this type of players.

The Smart aggressive opponent makes raises from last positions (cut off, button) in order to steal the blinds when everybody folds before him or when a tight player called. He is very active so you want to sit at the table at his left to take advantage of the position and the information provided by his actions. When you are out of position try not getting in too many pots with him.

However, when you sit in one of the first two places at the left of the smart aggressive player, you will lose position when you are in small blind or big blind. He will make a lot of raises from button and cut off in order to steel the blinds so you have to put a fight from time to time to keep him honest. You can’t let him abuse you every time because the blinds are the soul of the poker table ( the blinds bring the action, without them everybody will just stay and wait the best hand preflop, i.e. pocket aces). When the smart aggressive player raises from the button and there are already one or more people in hand, you should better fold because you will be out of position. When nobody enters and he raises you have to analyze if he has a real hand or he just wants to steel, basing your analysis on the frequency of his raises from last position. If he does this quite often you have to protect your blind with hands that beat his range (range are the types of hands you think he raises on the button). It’s a big mistake to call with any two cards. If you don’t hit the flop you have two actions to chose from: to check and fold after his continuation bet on flop, or the check/raise bluff making him think that you hit big. The last one, though, can’t be used too often.

When you hit the flop don’t lead (bet the flop). If you lead, the aggressive player will probably fold and you lose money on the long term. Why? Because you hit the flop 1 out of 3 times. Let’s take an example: first two times button raises 3 times the big blind(BB), you call and don’t hit so you check/fold, and you have – 6BB. Third time you hit, if you lead you probably win the pot of 6BB, 3 yours and 3 your opponent’s. So you are still -3BB. To be profitable you have to check/raise. In this case he will probably bet 4BB in a pot of 6BB, you raise to 10 BB and win the pot. Now you win 3BB: his initial raise preflop and 4BB his bet on flop. 7BB-6BB(when you didn’t hit the flop)= 1BB on profit.

Another option is to re-raise before the flop and hope the button will fold. To minimum raise in this spot is a mistake, you should 3-bet in order to throw him out of pot.

Category: Online casino poker, online gambling, Poker, Poker tournaments

What it takes to become a professional poker player nowadays?

January 6th, 2011
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Robert Williamson III, a great Hold’em and Omaha player says about poker: “Poker’s a day to learn and a lifetime to master“. Many people may think that this is a little bit exaggerate considering the fact that it’s a game with 52 cards and 9 strictly hierarchical hands. It is true that one can fill up easily a few library shelves with all the poker books out there, but why a lifetime commitment?

The answer lies in today’s competition which has become so huge that simply knowing the theory of poker is no longer enough. Nowadays, you need something more if you want to succeed and make a living from poker. At the beginning of poker development back in the 70s, players like Doyle Brunson, David Sklansky, Chip Reese made their money more easily than they are able to do it nowadays. That’s because they were smart people (Sklansky was already a well-known backgammon player, and Reese studied economics at Dartmouth) and understood the mathematics of the poker game. Playing according to mathematical probabilities gave them a huge advantage against other players that were either uneducated or playing just for entertainment.

Nowadays, however, almost every player knows the mathematics of the poker game so this tends to be less important. So what is they key to becoming a big winner? It can be the smart aggression and no money respect impression of Tom Dwan’s playing style. It may be, but in my opinion the most important aspect is riding the opponent that allows you to manipulate him and neutralize his aggression. In addition, to become a great reader like Daniel Negreanu is not an easy thing, you need hundreds of thousands hands and many years of opponents’ game observation that allows you to identify the opponent’s logical or illogical behaviour in each situation from the multitude that occur in the poker game.

Category: Online casino poker, online gambling, Poker, Poker tournaments

Rounders sequel planned for 2012

December 20th, 2010
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Just a few days ago, Miramax made an announcement concerning some future sequels of some very successful movies. Such a movie is Rounders, first shown in cinemas 12 years ago, but whose poker-based action and characters have made history and poker fans are looking forward to its sequel.

At this stage, the plot and the title of the sequel are not determined yet but Miramax seems committed to the project as it can be deduced from their statement:

“Miramax and The Weinstein Company (TWC) today announced an agreement to create sequels to some of Miramax’s best-known properties and to partner on potential new television shows and special edition home entertainment products. The first films to be produced under the agreement will be sequels to Bad Santa, Rounders and Shakespeare in Love.”

Harvey and Bob Weinstein, the founders of Miramax who named the company after their parents declared:

“We are very close to these films and the new management of Miramax also feels that we are in the best position to create sequels that are at once worthy and compelling in their own right.”

Some voices (IMDB) claim that Rounders 2 is supposed to be released in 2012. Though the casting is not yet determined, the original main actors, Matt Damon and Edward Norton, have since long wished to participate again in this project along with the original producer John Dahl. However, it is such an early stage of the film making process, that there is no certainty that the film would actually be made.

Thanks to Rounders, poker received quite a boost in popularity and it has become a household name in the last decade. The main characters of the original movie were Mike Dermott (Matt Damon), a law student who returned to poker after quitting the game and Worm Murphy (Edward Norton), helped by the former to settle his debts. It is interesting to see how Texas Hold’em was played in 1998 as the movie renders quite realistically the style of the game and the atmosphere back then.

Category: news, Poker

PokerStars pre-empts Chinese collusion

November 22nd, 2010
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After a major collusion scandal involving Chinese players at its sit-and-go tournaments, PokerStars has recently introduced a rule meant to prevent this form of cheating from happening at the any ring game table. This measure consists in forbidding any Chinese player to join a table where another Chinese is already seated.

This is PokerStars’ second restriction on Chinese players. The first one was imposed this past summer in response to a massive collusion ring based in China that rocked the site at its “Double or Nothing” SNGs. As a result of this large-scale cheating manoeuvre, PokerStars had to offer $2.1 million by means of compensation to the victims of those tables.

Even though no further collusion incidents or associated refunding offers were reported lately, it is possible that some smaller-scale collusion instances have occurred and thus determined PokerStars to impose this second restriction.

The following statement was made public by PokerStars regarding the new measure taken:

“PokerStars.com has introduced a new security feature that prevents players from certain countries playing at the same ring game table.”

“This restriction means that only one player from each of these countries is able to play at the same ring game table. You are able to play at any ring game table you wish but once you are seated no other player from your country will be able to join the table. Similarly, if another player from your country is seated, you will be unable to join that table until they leave.”

“We regret the inconvenience that this has caused you but this policy has been implemented to enhance the integrity of the games.”

Category: news, Online casino poker, online gambling, Poker

Daniel Negreanu has an issue with Martin Hruby

November 3rd, 2010
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The EPT Vienna is over but this event will linger in our memories due to the issue between Daniel Negreanu and Martin Hruby. Negreanu finished 4th but he stirred up a controversy that attracted everyone’s attention.

All was going well and smoothly for Daniel at EPT Vienna until the final table, when a single hand was enough to transform him from the chip leader to a short-stacked player. Negreanu entered that hand with Luca Cainelli and Martin Hruby and the pot was over 10 million chips.

Negreanu and Cainelli moved all-in on the turn while Hruby took a few seconds to think before calling. At that moment the board showed Ks 8h 5h 9s while the players had the following hands:
Negreanu: Kd 9d (two pair)
Hruby: 7c 6d (straight)
Cainelli: As Ad (pair)

The thing that annoyed Daniel so much was the relatively bigger lap of time that Hruby took to think before calling even though he had nuts. Negreanu quickly expressed his dissatisfaction by accusing Hruby of slowrolling his hand.

“Why did you slowroll that hand?” Negreanu asked Hruby. “You knew that you had the nuts.”

When 5c appeared on the river Cainelli was eliminated on 5th place, Negreanu’s chip stack was badly crippled and Hruby became the new chip leader.

Not long after that hand, Negreanu exited the table on 4th position. As he was leaving the table and saying his goodbyes to the remaining players, he addressed again a few words of discontent to Hruby: “I shouldn’t shake your hand. That’s the filthiest thing I’ve ever seen, but I’ll do it anyway.”

Negreanu was so marked by that hand and Hruby’s inadequate behaviour that it was all he talked about in a post-tournament interview.

Category: news, Poker, Poker tournaments

Security issues at Bellagio

October 13th, 2010
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Scott Montgomery was recently the victim of a robbery. He happened to be at Bellagio to play in the Festa al Lago preliminary event. At some point he took a break to go to the bathroom where a man assaulted him with a knife asking for money. Montgomery described the scene on his Twitter account:

“Got mugged today at Bellagio. Black guy pulled a knife on me in the restroom. I gave him the $2k in my wallet and he left.”

“I called security, but they took like 15 mins so they didn’t catch him. They are useless twits. Didn’t even ask me to look at camera footage,” Montgomery continued. “Security pretty much just said oh well, life sucks, have a nice day. I’m pretty annoyed.”

Events of this sort have happened before at Bellagio. In 2004, Greg Raymer, winner of the WSOP main event that same year, was attacked by a group of individuals who tried to force him into his room to rob him. Luckily, Greg got rid of the attackers and they were caught six months later.

As for Scott Montgomery, I believe he is more frustrated over the security’s lack of professionalism rather than over the sum lost in the robbery. How much can $2000 count when you have winnings of $4.1 million in live poker tournaments since 2008?

Category: Casino, news, Poker

Blackjack history

September 24th, 2010
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Blackjack has its origins in different games played in Europe in the 17th century and all of them had in common the purpose of reaching a total of 21.

Some of the first references to this game can be traced back in 1601 when the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes wrote a story in which two of the characters are specialised in cheating at a game called “Ventiuna”, the Spanish equivalent for 21. The French version was Vingt et Un, which is the French for 21.

It was only after the French revolution that Blackjack was introduced in the Unitated States. The game was not so popular in the gambling houses at the beginning. As a result the owners offered large bonuses to attract players. One of the most popular was a payout of 10 to 1 for a hand made of a blackjack and an ace of spades. This hand was called “blackjack” and this is where the game got its name from. Event though this payout was withdrawn later, the game and the hand continued to be called blackjack. Then, it came a period when blackjack was considered illegal and therefore it had to be played in secret until 1931 when gambling became legally permitted in Las Vegas.

Though at first sight blackjack may seem a game of luck, it is in fact a game of skill and not all players are able to figure out the best moves. In 1953, the first manual describing blackjack strategies appeared and resulted in a considerable reduction of the house edge. It was in the early 1960’s that blackjack theory was greatly improved by the contribution of Edward Thorp. He found out that counting the discarded cards would bring an average return of over 100%. His book, Beat the Dealer, was an instant bestseller. At first, the casinos were not so content about this discovery but they soon realized that only a tiny fraction of players were actually able to count cards so they didn’t have to worry about diminished profits.

Blackjack had a beautiful evolution since its origins. In the mid 1990s, blackjack entered the Internet era and became one of the many online games that players enjoy from the privacy of their homes. The story of blackjack goes on as new blackjack variants continually appear in the online environment keeping the players’ interest alive.

Category: Blackjack, Casino