Posts Tagged ‘Three’

2017 World Series of Poker Europe: Three Bracelets Awarded as Event #4 Prepares to Start

 2017 World Series of Poker Europe: Three Bracelets Awarded as Event #4 Prepares to Start

The 2017 World Series of Poker Europe is in full swing as we speak, with Event #4, the €1500 Six Handed No Limit Hold’em tournament, taking the stage at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. Prior to the start of Event #4 today, there’s been a flurry of activity that has seen three bracelets handed out.

Event #3 – €1000 No Limit Hold’em Turbo “Bounty Hunter”

A double oddity at a WSOP tournament schedule, Event #3 started and finished in the same day, with the players coming out for a rare bounty tournament on a schedule. Players were putting up a minimum of €1000 (there were unlimited reentries) and a bounty of €300 on each player’s head. With the potential to make enough money in bounties to cover the entry fee, players flocked to the tournament on Wednesday and did decide a champion early Thursday morning.

85 players were in their seats when the “shuffle up and deal” call went out and the numbers kept climbing through the early registration period. By the time the first break was called, 259 entries had been logged (remember, this was an unlimited reentry event). A few hours later registration closed in the tournament with the count officially landing on 325 entries, building a prize pool of €214,337. 49 players would be recipients of a piece of that pool, but the biggest prize would go to the champion in the form of €53,557 and a shiny new WSOP bracelet (along with any bounties claimed along the way).

Once Viacheslav Goryachev bubbled the money, the players were guaranteed a payday but kept the drive on to the championship. Players like Mike Leah, Kristen Bicknell and current POY contender Chris Ferguson were able to work their way through the field for a cash. Indicative of the locale, when the final table was reached at 1AM, there was only one player from the Western hemisphere that was still alive.

John Racener, also in the fight for the WSOP POY, was one of only two representatives at the final table (Israel’s Liran Twito was the other) that didn’t call Europe home. Racener would go down in a double elimination that saw him leave with Yves Kupfermunz at the hands of Martin Kabrhel. In fact, Kabrhel would be responsible for the final five eliminations of the tournament as he pocketed €1500 for those alone on the way to the championship.

1. Martin Kabrhel, €53,557
2. Philipp Caranica, €33,094
3. Salvatore Camarda, €22,159
4. Liran Twito, €15,168
5. Yves Kupfermunz, €10,620
6. John Racener, €7609
7. Bernd Gleissner, €5582
8. Georgios Koliofotis, €4195
9. Viktor Kovachev, €3232

Event #2 – Originally slated to be a three-day tournament, the €500 Pot Limit Omaha event was cut by a day on Tuesday when they reached Day 2 with only 31 players remaining. The volatile nature of Omaha Hold’em promised that the eliminations would come quickly and they did, with Brazil’s Vivian Saliba, Brandon Cantu, and James Akenhead all departing the tournament arena before the first break of the day. As the final table approached Kristen Bicknell (having an excellent WSOP-E) and Sander van Wesemael were eliminated, with van Wesemael’s departure coming on the final table bubble.

Familiar faces at the final table were those of Sergio Fernandez and Andreas Klatt, with Fernandez holding the lead at the start of play. Klatt, starting in the middle of the pack, suffered a bit of a setback when his nut flush walked into Georgios Zisimopoulos’s boat, but Klatt would fight back immediately. After doubling up through Krzysztof Magott on the very next hand, he would work his stack up to a point where he was able to get some revenge on Zisimopoulos with a well-timed bluff for a big stack of chips (835K).

After Klatt eliminated Zisimopoulos in third place, he held a slim 800K chip lead over Nico Ehlers. While some settled in for an extended fight, the players had other ideas. It took only thirty minutes of play for Klatt to vanquish Ehlers, his A-J-10-2 standing tall against Ehlers’ K-Q-7-5 on a Q-9-6-8-Q board, and take down the WSOP bracelet.

1. Andreas Klatt, €56,400
2. Nico Ehlers, €34,860
3. Georgios Zisimopoulos, €23,979
4. Theodoros Aidonopoulos, €16,809
5. Sergio Fernandez, €11,985
6. Krysztof Magott, €8700
7. Michal Maryska, €6433
8. Vasile Stancu, €4847

Event #1 – €1000 No Limit Hold’em Monster Stack

Wrapping up the first event of the WSOP-E, Oleksandr Shcherbak captured the first bracelet of the 2017 schedule, outdueling Viliyan Petleshkov in a dominant display of heads up poker. While both were far removed from chip leader Carlo Savinelli at the start of the day (Petleshkov in fourth, Shcherbak in seventh), they quickly emerged as the dominant players at the table. After Shcherbak eliminated Sergio Fernandez in third place, he took an almost 800K chip lead to the heads-up battle.

Shcherbak got Petleshkov down early, but the Bulgarian would refuse to give up. Petleshkov took the lead over after 15 hands of paly, but Shcherbak would battle back to reclaim his top slot position. He also would never again let Petleshkov back into the game, grinding him down over the span of 20 hands until he got his chips in with a dominant position.

After a Petleshkov raise with Big Chick, Shcherbak three bet the proceedings to 800K while holding pocket sevens. Petleshkov decided the time was right to make a move and he did so, pushing his remaining chips to the center. Shcherbak called and, after the flop came down J-8-2, he stayed in the lead. Shcherbak’s claim to the title was sealed when another seven came on the turn, leaving Petleshkov drawing dead and ending the first event of the 2017 WSOP-E.

1. Oleksandr Shcherbak, €117,708
2. Viliyan Petleshkov, €72,747
3. Sergio Fernandez, €49,929
4. Carlo Savinelli, €34,869
5. Walter Treccarichi, €24,787
6. Peter Bstieler, €17,940
7. Serge Danis, €13,225
8. Ismael Bojang, €9934
9. Ali Sameeian, €7605

The post 2017 World Series of Poker Europe: Three Bracelets Awarded as Event #4 Prepares to Start appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Three Hands You Need to Fold Pre-Flop and Why

 Three Hands You Need to Fold Pre Flop and Why

Even if you are a neophyte to the game of poker, there are some basic tenets that you have before you even pick up a stack of chips to bet. One, when you get pocket Aces, you pound your opposition with a pre-flop raise otherwise everyone and their brother gets to play the hand and potentially crack your bullets. Two, you don’t need to play “special” hands like a 7-2, universally recognized as the worst hand in poker. Finally, there isn’t a such thing as “funsies,” 99% of the time you’re playing poker for a reason – normally to make some money.

Beyond that, the education of a poker player gets a bit grey. Here’s a basic thought on some hands that new players will play simply because “someone told them it was worthwhile” or “but (insert professional player here) always plays this hand” or even “I had a feeling.” If you can put these into your repertoire of hands you need to fold pre-flop, you’ll potentially find that your sessions are more profitable.

Jack-10 (Suited or unsuited)

At first glance, J-10 is a pretty sweet looking hand. It holds the potential to make four nut straights, the only two card combination to be able to do that, and it can let you float a bet on the flop if they are suited and two of that suit hit the felt. The problem with J-10 is that it doesn’t play well after the flop.

If you get a flop that contains a Jack, then you have issues with the kicker that, in most cases, is going to be dominated by an opponent playing Q-J, K-J, or A-J. If you pair the ten, then the same situation is in play with a similar number of options that beat you – A-10, K-10 and Q-10. If they are suited and the two matching suit cards that come on the flop are under the ten, then there is a chance (a slim one, about 1-in-592) that an A-K, A-Q, or K-Q is out there to clip you. And let’s not even get into the potential for straights (K-Q, Q-9, 9-8) should you flop two pair.

There are two options here:  hit perfectly and hope someone ignores the straight potential of the board, calling your bets all the way, or missing and having to let the hand go. If you get a flop like K-Q-x, about the only people who might come with you are pocket pairs (King, Queen or “x”) or those that have you beaten (A-K, A-Q, K-Q, any King or Queen combination and the pairer for the “x”). If the flop comes empty – say A-7-4, for example – then you’re left with air to bluff with; most wouldn’t consider chasing it any further with this dismal holding.

Baby pairs

Everyone loves to potentially crack a big pair by playing a small one – between deuces and fives – and set mining their way into the lead. But what happens when you’ve completely missed with your little ones? It gets pretty ugly in this case.

In pre-flop action, the baby pairs don’t hold up well if there is a great deal of action in front of you. Say you’re sitting on deuces on the button when someone fires a bet out of middle position, the hijack calls and the cutoff three-bets the situation. Your pocket deuces don’t look so good now, do they? There’s nothing wrong with sending the hand to the muck here and, in fact, it is the proper play with the flurry of activity ahead of you.

The baby pairs don’t hold up well if the cards on the flop are all higher cards, at best giving you the fourth-best hand after the flop. They also don’t work well as a straight filler. For example, if you have pocket treys and fill out a 2-4-5 flop to make it an open ended straight draw, there are other potential players that crush your baby pair or could best you in a straight situation.

Extremely Gapped Suited Cards

If you were to get dealt two extremely gapped cards – say a K-2 or a Q-3, for example – there would, for most players, be little hesitation in putting those in the muck. Why then, if there is the same symbol in the corner for each card, does it make a difference? While their suited nature does open the potential for a flush, it isn’t going to do much in any other circumstance.

If that flush draw comes, then you’re committing with weak holdings – sneaky for the flush potential, yes, but weak otherwise. If you flop a King, then you have kicker issues that come up and the same works if you hit the kicker – your top card might not be enough to win at showdown unless you make trips with the kicker.


We sometimes have to play hands we’d rather not play on certain occasions. But if you can control when you voluntarily put chips in play to hands, making sure they have strong potential (not always, mind you, but more often than not) instead of weaker holdings, you should find more success on the tables. And isn’t winning hands – and the chips that go along with those hands – why we sit down at the table?

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2017 WPT L.A. Poker Classic Day Three: Strong Final Level Gives Daniel Strelitz Chip Lead

 2017 WPT L.A. Poker Classic Day Three: Strong Final Level Gives Daniel Strelitz Chip Lead

111 players returned to the famed Commerce Casino for Day 3 of the 2017 World Poker Tour (WPT) L.A. Poker Classic Main Event on Monday; just 45 made it through to Tuesday as the tournament now gets down to the nitty-gritty. Daniel Strelitz is the chip leader with 1.051 million, the only player with over a million chips.

Strelitz has over $ 1.6 million in lifetime live tournament earnings, but is still trying to pick up his first major tournament title. He came oh so close this past summer when he finished second in the World Series of Poker $ 5,000 No-Limit event, earning $ 338,774.

Strelitz didn’t expect to amass the chip stack that he did going into the final level, as he only had 560,000. Not that that is a paltry sum, as it would still put him in the top ten, but just about doubling that in one level was a bit of a surprise.

In the hand that got him over the million chip plateau, Strelitz raised to 14,000 pre-flop with pocket Sevens, Ted Gillis re-raised to 27,000, and Strelitz called. Strelitz flopped a set on a Nine-high board and checked to Gillis, who saw that as an opening and bet 60,000. That was just what Strelitz wanted (unless Gillis had Nines, but that obviously was quite unlikely), so he check-raised to 130,000. Gillis then moved all-in for 280,000 and Strelitz made the easy call.

Gillis had pocket Queens for an overpair to the board. The turn and river were no help and he was eliminated while Strelitz nabbed the chip lead.

Speaking with after the day was over, Strelitz looked back on his crazy final level.

“It was crazy,” he said. “I started with 560k, and I instantly played two three-bet pots and won them both to get up to seven something. Then I flopped a set against a guy who clearly had an over pair, and so I played it aggressively and that pushed me over a million, it was pretty sweet.”

He is not taking anything for granted, though, as he knows good feelings can be fleeting in poker.

“There is still a long way to go, I’ve been in this spot before and gotten 30th. There is still a long, long way. There are still two or three more days to go until the final table. It’s a long tournament,” he said.

Day 4 is underway out in California. All 45 players who entered the day are already in the money, so Tuesday is about getting paid more and possibly putting oneself in position to make the final table. There will be eight hours of poker play, not counting breaks, so while the final table isn’t likely to be determined, it should be within sight by the end of the night.

2017 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

Daniel Strelitz – 1,051,000
Mike Sexton – 739,000
Gavin Griffin – 714,000
Mike Eskandari – 688,000
Allan Le – 606,000
Omar Zaza – 594,000
Simeon Naydenov – 579,000
Sameer Aljanedi – 565,000
Visnja Luetic – 551,000
Danny Fuhs – 485,000

Poker News Daily WPT Playground Main Event Day 2: Top Three Separated by a Thread WPT Playground Main Event Day 2: Top Three Separated by a Thread

The World Poker Tour (WPT) got back in action this weekend north of the border at Montreal’s Playground Poker Club with the aptly named WPT Playground Main Event. This is not to be confused with WPT Montreal, which the legendary Mike Sexton won at the same venue in November. After just two days (technically three, since there were two starting days), there are only 28 players remaining of the original 380. It is a very tight race at the top with Hendrik Latz going into Monday as the chip leader with 838,000 chips, but both Jean-Pascal Savard and Eric Afriat are close behind with 834,000 and 825,000, respectively.

A World Poker Tour title would be significant for anybody, but it would be tremendous for Latz, who has just $ 156,426 in lifetime live tournament earnings (my usual disclaimer applies: I say “just” like I wouldn’t KILL to have won that much money playing poker). Latz’s biggest live cash was for just over $ 50,000 when he finished 27th in the 2014 European Poker Tour (RIP EPT) Grand Final in 2014. Latz has one WPT cash to his credit: $ 31,611 for a 31st place finish in the 2015 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic.

As mentioned, the race for the top spot is extremely close, so it obviously didn’t take much for Latz to eek out the lead over his competitors. His big boost came at the end of the night. Nicolas Le Floch, who qualified via the tournament’s partial namesake, partypoker, moved all-in pre-flop for 150,000 chips with pocket Fives. Latz called with A-Q. The board left little suspense, producing an Ace on the flop. Le Floch got no help the rest of the way and was eliminated in 29th place while Hendrik Latz grew his stack to 830,000 chips. Clearly, he nabbed a few more chips to reach his end of Day 2 level.

The buy-in for the WPT Playground Main Event is CAD $ 3,200 + $ 300. After three percent is taken out for staff gratuities, the total prize pool came out to CAD $ 1,179,520 (US $ 907,323). Just 48 players will finish in the money with CAD $ 261,000 (US $ 200,769) going to the eventual winner.

Obviously, the money bubble burst on Day 2; it did so in dramatic fashion. Thundup Ringpa and Savard raised and re-raised each other until Ringpa was all-in for 215,000 and Savard called. Ringpa had A-K suited and Savard had Aces; Savard had a huge advantage. The flop was K-J-9, pairing Ringpa’s King and then another King on the turn gave Ringpa trips and improbable lead. The river, though, was an Ace, giving Savard a full house and knocking Ringpa out of the tournament. World Poker Tour Playground Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1.    Hendrik Latz – 838,000
2.    Jean-Pascal Savard – 834,000
3.    Eric Afriat – 825,000
4.    Kelly Kellner – 809,000
5.    Henry Tran – 693,000
6.    Kalpesh Raichura – 645,000
7.    Pascal Lefrancois – 635,000
8.    Patrick Blye – 508,000
9.    Anthony Zinno – 499,000
10.    Ryan Yu – 491,000

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Editorial: Three Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Be Worried about “Libratus”

 Editorial: Three Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Be Worried about “Libratus”

A couple of weeks ago in the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, a rather stunning occurrence took place. Over the span of 120,000 hands and roughly 20 days of play, a computer artificial intelligence (AI) called “Libratus,” developed by the Carnegie Mellon College of Computer Science, defeated a squad of tough poker professionals – Dong Kim, Jason Les, Jimmy Chou and Daniel McAulay – in heads up No Limit Texas Hold’em. “Defeated” is a bit too mild a word. “Devastated” would be a better one as, once the final numbers were tallied, “Libratus” was able to score a $ 1,766,250 win over the humans, a crushing defeat so thorough there was no room for any discussion.

Fear not, humanity. This isn’t the end of the world as we know it. The truth is that there won’t be a tableful of “Libratus” knockoffs sitting around the online baize at any point soon. Here’s three reasons why the human race is still the “top dog” when it comes to the game of poker…at least for the immediate future.

Did They REALLY Play Texas Hold’em?

As my friend and colleague Dan Katz pointed out in his rundown of the rules for the staged event, there’s some question as to whether what happened at the Rivers Casino could be held as a true facsimile of an actual Texas Hold’em game. With each hand played, the players and “Libratus” started with identical stacks (20,000 chips, with blinds of 50/100). No matter what had occurred on the previous hand, the stacks were reset each and every time. The logic of this is that it didn’t allow for either side to build up a stack to “bully” their opponent.

That in its very nature is a part of the game of Texas Hold’em, however. You use your stack as a weapon just as much as the cards and, as such, can make players with stronger holdings let their cards go to the muck rather than stay around. It would have made more sense to reset the scores if someone busted to allow for that “bully” factor to be involved rather than start each hand equal, which in no way is how poker is played.

Then there was the odd “all in” rule. If either the live player or “Libratus” were to go all in at any time during the dealing of the board, action on the hand was immediately stopped and the winning percentages were determined AT THAT POINT, with the chips in the pot then being divvied up by those percentages. This removed “luck” from the game in the form of “sucking out” on a better hand, but that is a part of the game of Texas Hold’em; sometimes your pocket Aces are going to get run down by that paltry 9-3 (and usually at the worst moment ever).

These rule changes were enough to allow mankind to question the outcome of the “Brains vs. AI” battle in Steel City. If they weren’t playing by the rules that humans normally play by, were they actually playing poker?

So You Think You’d Like to Own “Libratus?”

There is no question that “Libratus” is a feat of engineering and computer programming (done by humans, it must be added). The ability of the AI to not only build its own database (it played, per the Reading Eagle, literally trillions of hands against itself – the human analog of sitting on the bed and turning cards – before even entering the competition to build information) was stupendous, but it also would continue to learn about its opponents as the game was going on. This allowed for “Libratus” to do exactly what humans do on the felt – make gear changes that throw the opposition off their game, so to speak.

It isn’t going to be next week that a card sharp will have “Libratus” in their pockets, however. The AI was run by a supercomputer that, per the Eagle, costs millions of dollars to operate per year. You’re not going to see someone wheel a bank of computers up to the chair behind them to play anytime soon – and you’re not going to run into someone online who has a similar capacity sitting in their home (just as an aside – and one of the reasons the development of “Libratus’” AI is important – it gives artificial intelligence improvements to be able to better make decisions in an “imperfect” situation).

It’s Just Heads Up Texas Hold’em

Let’s not completely disavow the victory by “Libratus.” Over that many hands of play – and even with the weird rules in place – the monumental victory is obvious. But let’s also keep in mind that this is just ONE discipline of the game, ONE part of what makes poker a fascinating game.

First, it was heads up. You’re not going to see special tables set up in a casino for a mano y mano battle. Hell, they barely can keep such tables active in an online setting. It is a special game, heads up No Limit Texas Hold’em, and there are nuances that are utilized that would be devastating in other settings. This was pointed out by Kim, who noted to the Eagle, “Those guys (his fellow human players) don’t play our game type. They might play other kinds of poker, but even small-stakes heads-up players on the Internet would crush them.”

Second, the AI only had to deal with one opponent. The calculations utilized to make the choices numbered in the billions in that singular circumstance. There has never been the attempt to take any poker-playing AI against even a four-player setting, let alone a six-max table or a full nine handed cash game. With that, the number of calculations would be astronomical and could overwhelm the AI.

Finally, did the AI even try to take on the complexities of another game…Omaha Hold’em, for example? With more potential hands, would that hurt the AI’s computational powers? Let’s not even get into the potential of “wild” games or other variations (Hi/Lo?) that could muck up the AI’s strategy.

It isn’t the end of the world that “Libratus” and Carnegie Mellon’s brainiacs could defeat the human race. There’s still a great deal of space between a person having the AI’s power in their pocket to utilize and, furthermore, there’s more to the game of poker – long respected because of its “incomplete information” setup – than just Texas Hold’em. When the AI is ready to take on a full table of nine players – or, better yet, step into a 1000 player tournament – and win, then get back to me. For now, humanity is still the “king” over artificial intelligence when it comes to the game of poker.

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