Phil Galfond suffers massive loss against Samrostan

onlinepokersViktor Blom learned the hard way how costly it can be to leave your comfort zone when you are a professional poker player, competing at nosebleed limits. A couple of years ago, he took the world of poker by surprise and crushed Texas hold ’em no limit tables, but he is no longer one of the best players at this game. The same goes for Phil Galfond who won $2 million in 2013 alone, but only a fraction of these profits were secured at 8-Game tables.

Instead of sticking to the 2-7 Triple Draw poker that he is so familiar with, Phil took a leap of faith with the other type of game and the results were catastrophic. Samrostan was the one to teach him the painful lesson, as he managed to win $833,000 in two sessions, separated by a 13 hours break. Most of the damage was done in the first session that lasted an entire night and saw Galfond slipping ever further with each big pot that went Samrostan’s way.

No matter what he did and what he tried to reverse the trend, Phil found it impossible to stop his opponent in his tracks and only amplified his own losses. explains how it was possible for the poker professional to lose so much money in such a short time. Fatigue can be factored in as well, but both these players have played marathon sessions before and without losing so much money.

Samrostan is well-versed in the art of playing 8-Game poker and is not afraid of competing at nosebleed limits, given the fact that he resides in Macau. This doesn’t mean that his opponent is shy to invest a lot of money in his lucrative career, but on this particular occasion he let a huge amount going down the drain. The second session was also lost by him, yet this time he didn’t lose more than $140,000.

Galfond’s complete meltdown explains why the performance of other poker pros who won significant amounts on the same day went unnoticed. Viktor Blom for example won more than $100,000, at the expense of Rui Cao and Harry Cassagrande while Tim0thee also increased his bankroll by $120k. The player who goes by the name of “Lottenice” had to settle for $75,000, significantly less than what the other poker pros scooped, still not an amount to frown upon.

Daniel Negreanu proudly displays his 6 WSOP bracelets

onlinepokergamesThere is nothing wrong in being proud of your achievements, as long as you work hard to accomplish big things and Daniel Negreanu knows that all too well. It was not easy for poker professionals to overcome adversity several times and make it to the top of the food chain, in this competitive niche. He started from rock bottom and suffered major setbacks in his early stages of the career, but eventually he made it all the way to the top and is now a multiple World Series of Poker winner.

Speaking of which, Daniel decided to showcase all these bracelets not necessary to brag about his achievement, but to inspire other players to persevere. It took him many years to amass these trophies but with each of them he hit another milestone, now being widely regarded as one of the best poker players in the world. The gap separating him from all-time leader Phil Hellmuth is significant, but even though he trails him by five bracelets, he is every bit as good and much more popular.

A picture is always worth 1000 words and this is perhaps the argument that convinced Negreanu to display all his WSOP bracelets and post a picture on twitter. Check it out below:

<blockquote lang=”en”><p>This is what hard work, belief, and a little bit of luck can create. DREAM. DECLARE. DELIVER. <a href=”″></a></p>&mdash; Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) <a href=”″>November 15, 2013</a></blockquote> <script async src=”//” charset=”utf-8″></script>

Past performance is a reliable indicator for future results, but while Daniel has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about what the future will bring, he is just as thrilled about the present. He is leading the GPI Player of the Year, with WPT Montréal being the last important tournament in the circuit that could change the standings, so Daniel is trying hard to meet expectations on home soil. The Canadian is a force to be reckoned with and it is most unlikely for the runner-up to overtake him in the final weeks.

Obviously, the multiple WSOP bracelets also add to his prominence worldwide, but the GPI standings is all about numbers and the result in Montréal will weigh heavily in the balance. His poker career is on the rise and each time he participates in the live event, Daniel is at the center of attention for both reporters and regular players. In social media, he is one of the people who draws large crowds and whenever he posts an article, video or picture online, there are many who take notice.

His private life shouldn’t be anyone’s business, but Negreanu is more than willing to allow fans and followers to catch a glimpse at what he is doing behind the scenes. For example, he announced that he is on the verge of purchasing a brand-new car, with the 2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid being at the top of the list. It stands out from the crowd due to the fact that it is both practical and elegant, a true hybrid suited for a versatile poker player.

101 Tournament Hands Limit and No Limit book released

101 Tournament Hands Limit and No Limit bookPoker players can be safely divided into two major categories, some that prefer cash games and others that would never shifts from tournaments to any other type of poker. The latter has the upside of competing for lower amounts and having the chance of winning huge prizes, on the other hand they are constantly exposed to variance. The odds of winning the tournament are tiny and the more people buy in for the event, the more difficult it gets to make the money.

As a result, the vast majority of those who pay to buy in will leave empty-handed and build have to try all over again, which only amplifies variance. Obviously, this is no get rich scheme and in order to succeed as a tournament player, you need to have a sizable bankroll and a lot of patience because it might take a while before you catch a lucky break. Knowing what can go wrong and how to maximize your chances in a tournament by playing hands properly definitely helps and this is where poker books kick in.

101 Tournament Hands Limit and No Limit book has recently been released and the sixth installment in the popular series promises to be every bit as good as the original. Written by D.R Sheers, this new book is brought up to date and the author has changed some of the original series, so that they are in line with the way, modern poker is played. A lot has changed since the first book hit the shelves and that’s why players shouldn’t rely on obsolete material but stay up-to-date with the latest releases.

The name of the book is self-explaining, with buyers expecting to find 101 hands explained in detail, and that’s exactly what happens. The book has the merit of pushing the learning process into overdrive, because if readers pay attention to the material, they will know what exactly needs to be done when they are dealt different starting hands. The explanations go beyond teaching them how to act pre-flop and warns them about the specific risks, so that they don’t sit down at the tables on prepared.

Written in a language that is easy to comprehend without relying to big words whose significance might evade beginners, “101 Tournament Hands Limit and No Limit” is a must have for aspiring poker players. It is 129 pages thick and reading it is just as pleasant as it is instructive. Bear in mind that upon completion you are not automatically a tournament expert, but a more educated player with a better chance of winning.

Joe Hachem releases instructive video tutorial

oplinepokergamesPoker players find it self-evident that playing weak hands is a surefire recipe of going bankrupt, so some might be tempted to dismiss the advice given by Joe Hachem in a recent video tutorial. They are more inclined to watch him perform at high-stakes, such as and hope that they will learn by simply following his example. While there is nothing wrong in watching a poker champion in action, it can be much more educative to listen to what he has to say in a tutorial.

Luckily, those who have the willingness to keep their minds open and pay attention to insightful advice given by Joe will find his recent Facebook post interesting. What the poker professional is emphasizing is the fact that many players get involved in pots with weak hands without their intension. This actually happens because they are suckered into the hand by checking the big blind or limping, and then get further and further dragged into the pot by the board.

Joe gives several examples in his short video, with all these players committing the same mistake of overplaying cards that they were supposed to fold. Whether they plan on bluffing their opponents only to suddenly change their mind and incorrectly assume that they are favorites to win, or they turn into calling stations, the outcome is the same. They end up losing a significant part of their stack and even get themselves pot committed with no chance of going out.

Beginners and less experienced players are more likely to commit such mistakes, because they don’t like the idea of forsaking blinds. Others who are more advanced assume that it is up to them to defend their blinds properly and sometimes go to extremes, which defeats the purpose. Regardless of the reasons for why players end up investing more money than reasonable in a pot that they have no business being in, they are likely to lose a lot of money.

It is important to settle for a standard range of cards that you play based on position and table image, and only make exceptions to the rule. If you expand the range of cards artificially, simply because you are trying to maximize your profits during an upswing or even worse are chasing losses, the result is very likely to be opposite to expectations. Joe Hachem knows what he’s talking and those who happen to stumble upon his video would be silly not to draw some valuable conclusions.

The benefits of social poker explained by Bryan Huang

The benefits of social poker explained by Bryan HuangBack in the day, poker used to be a social game pretty much like bingo and that was the main reason for why players loved it in the first place. Obviously, the prospect of winning huge amounts got the best of people in the end and nowadays we have tens of thousands of online poker players who couldn’t care less about socializing. The truth is that when you play poker over the Internet, it is virtually impossible to interact with the other players and to some extent it can be counterproductive.

There is no upside in writing messages while at the poker tables, because you will only disclose information about yourself, your intentions or your poker skills. On the other hand those who compete at live poker tables should try to be more social, at least if we are to believe Bryan Huang. The poker player is frequently emphasizing the importance of being sociable while playing poker and his blog is full of such articles, inviting people to interact more.

Nowadays when several poker players are criticizing the main tournament organizers for enacting the first cards dealt rule, this debate is particularly interesting. To be more precise, what this poker pros are unhappy with is the fact that they are supposed to be at their seats when the first card in the hand is dealt. Otherwise, there will be considered sat out even if they are just a couple of steps away from the table, discussing with fellow poker players or outsiders.

This frequently happens at prominent tournaments where these professionals meet and they claim that by limiting their interaction, the organizers are hurting the game itself. Bryan Huang seems to agree with this theory and in support of his statement he gives the example of people who found lucrative business opportunities, make friends and even got married as a result of socializing at poker tables. His personal example is probably the best one, as Bryan married the girl he met at a PokerStars tournament.

Modern poker is great for many reasons, but one of them is the fact that those who sit down at the tables have various backgrounds and this makes them an excellent company. You can never know too much about anything and by simply talking to fellow poker players from all the walks of life, one can learn a great deal about stuff in general. Having said this, when at the poker tables, the game should be the main priority and any forms of socializing shouldn’t override the desire and focused to win money.

Learn when and how to over-limp

onlineCompromises are bad in life but even worse in poker and that’s why there are not many fans of limping, in either cash games or tournaments. The logical assumption would say that over limping has to be even worse and this is generally true, although there are some notable exceptions. First of all, we need to know what this action is in the first place, to understand the reasons that drive some players down the slope.

A player who simply calls the blind is a limper and someone from late position who has one or two limpers ahead of him, will be over limping if he also decides to call. The reason for why this play is not smart is that the button or one of the blinds will be tempted to make a play against such a bunch of passive players. If he bets the pot or a sizable amount, most of the limpers would have no choice but to lay down their cards, unless they were slow playing a monster hand.

In a nutshell, it is worse to over limp then to be the first limper, because the latter doesn’t have a clue about what the next players might do, so he has a valid excuse. It can be still profitable to over limp if you have a clear plan and one example is to re-raise someone who has a fairly predictable betting sequence. For instance, if you know that the player from the cutoff is overplaying position, you could attempt every now and then to steal a pot from him with mediocre hands.

The advantage of over limping is that you create the illusion that you were slow playing a monster hand, waiting for someone to commit a mistake of raising. Obviously, this is not a foolproof plan and there are many occasions when this action backfires, but the odds are better to succeed if you don’t abuse this play. To some extent, players should regard over limping as a semi-bluff and adjust its frequency accordingly.

Small pairs and suited connectors are worth a shot, but only the former justify over limping, because you will be compelled to make a decisive move on the flop. If you hit the trips that your decision is as good as made as you can raise aggressively, whereas an unfavorable flop should make it easy for you to muck.

Poker documentary “Bet Raise Fold: The Story Of Online Poker” released

Bet Raise Fold The Story Of Online PokerThe producers of “Bet Raise Fold: The Story Of Online Poker” realized the fact that although an image is worth 1000 words, animated ones have the biggest impact. It took a while for them to bring this concept to fruition, but now that this poker documentary was finally released it is expected to be a hit. Those who know nothing about the project, but also poker fans who waited anxiously for its release date, should check out the trailer at

From the very beginning, this project had many supporters and some of them were even willing to make a financial contribution through the Kickstarter campaign. Thanks to their efforts the poker documentary was finally produced and in order to show gratitude to them, the producers will allow them to download the movie for free. On the other hand, those who won’t enjoy this slight advantage need not to worry because the price is a symbolic one and in exchange of three dollars, they can watch the full movie in HD.

The movie itself is not particularly long but what’s most important is the quality of the information and the unbiased manner in which both the advantages and shortcomings of online poker are presented. The documentary presents the poker world chronologically, highlighting its remarkable surge while talking about the devastating effects of Black Friday. The 2 minutes trailer is concise enough to give those interested the general idea about what is waiting for them without being tedious for non-poker players.

Not surprising, producers worked closely with online poker professionals, and many of their comments are caught on tape and all are insightful. The purpose of this short movie is to inform the poker community about what lies ahead by interpreting past performance while also promoting poker to absolute beginners. In the second half of September, Blu-ray and DVD editions are expected to hit the shelves and they will also include commentaries from the director and executive producer.

Despite being a documentary about online poker, “Bet Raise Fold: The Story Of Online Poker” promises to be equally exciting to those who know virtually nothing about this game. It also has an educational value by explaining exactly what this game stands for and talking about the obstacles encountered by poker professionals as well as amateurs. To top it off, producers made sure that the documentary has no less than 12 language subtitles besides English, for the benefit of viewers.

Esfandiari takes a break but stays hooked on Twitter

onlinepokersThose who want to make a lucrative career by playing Texas hold ’em or any other type of poker need to accept the fact that this is closer to a job then a game. Granted you are not subject to the same restrictions specific to a day job, the game of poker will demand your undivided attention and long hours spent in front of the computer or at live tables. Antonio Esfandiari knows all too well what it means to make this your main and only source of income and he didn’t complain about the hectic schedule of July.

Now that the World Series of Poker is behind him and summer is still raging, the poker pros decided to take a short break and visit some friends in Europe. Jeff Cross and Bill Perkins were the first two on his list and this took him to Stockholm where the three of them threw a party and indulged in a bit more alcohol than they should. The result was a somewhat strange bet involving Esfandiari who is supposed to refrain from any sexual activity for a year in order to win the wager.

The stakes are high and were set at $500,000 but it is yet uncertain whether the poker player will follow through with this bet. His friends made sure that Antonio will be under a lot of pressure by posting the terms of the agreement online via Twitter. The three of them left Stockholm for Ibiza and this should give him plenty of time to think about whether it is a wise idea to put his will to the test or accept defeat. Either way, Esfandiari will stay in the spotlight for both his poker related activity and juicy prop bets.

Daniel Alaei secures forth WSOP bracelet

The final tournament before the main event was the Event #61: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha and Daniel Alaei is the last player to be crowned winner at the World Series of poker before November. The very next day the main event began and by now we know the names of the nine players who will return in four months to play the final table. Meanwhile, Daniel has $852,000 to spare and the fourth golden bracelet, following his impressive run at the pot limit Omaha tournament.

At the beginning of Day three, 32 players were still standing and unlike other poker tournaments dominated by Americans this one favors diversity. Several Russian players were among the chip leaders and Alex Kravchenko was the best placed one, but by the time the final table began he was the only one standing. Irishman Rory Brennan struggled with a short stack but eventually made the final table as well and took home a nice payout, although he had no chance of capturing the elusive bracelet.

daniel alaei

In the first hours of the day, the field of 32 players was reduced to 20 and among the players who suffered an early elimination were Sean Dempsey and Gjergj Sinishtaj. It is not customary for poker players to praise their peers immediately after the tournament concludes, but young Gjergj was in the center of attention at the end of event 61. He played boldly and although the cards didn’t help him too much at the final table, he dominated his opponents in many hands and got away with sizable pots.

Among the last player standings was Jared Bleznick whose aggressive style of poker gave him the chip lead more than once, but he couldn’t hold on to it until the very end. Much to his credit he caused several eliminations including Numit Agrawal, Tom Marchese and James Wiese. The latter fell in the first place and the last two players were separated by a bit over 1.5 million chips which is hardly a big gap given the size of the blinds. Those who expected a tedious confrontation between the two poker players were surprised to see that the match lasted just one hand, with Daniel Alaei going all-in to win the event.

Ben Volpe bests almost 700 players at Event 45

It is not necessarily the number of players that buy-in for an event that makes it significant, but the quality of those players. Ben Volpe had to compete again 700 opponents and there is no doubt that the vast majority of those who paid $1500 to play in Event 45 at the World Series of Poker were professionals. It was not easy to make it to the final day and after an excruciatingly long final table, Ben finally emerged victorious and received $200,000 for his performance.


At the beginning of Day 3, several players were struggling with short stacks and the one who succumbed to pressure first was Sam Panzica. He went all in with the second best hand and was sent home by Paul Lieu, but the victor lost several pots in the next hour. Nevertheless, he found the strength to claw his way back into the game, after winning important hands against Chris Moorman and Adam Stone. He caused the untimely elimination of the latter while crippling the former and made a deep run at Event 45.

Daniel Johnson was not that lucky and he finished in the eighth place after going all in with a flush draw only to make it and lose to a full house. Paul Lieu sent another player to the rail when his pocket kings held against Horacio Chaves’ A-K and then eliminated the most prolific player at the final table, Blair Hinkle. Once again he was dealt a top pair against an opponent hoping to hit an ace and he had the deep stack when three handed play began.

Ben Volpe kept a relatively low profile throughout the final table and only scooped small pots every now and then, but eventually doubled up through Louis Bonnecaze. The two players locked horns with pocket pairs but that was favorite and confirm his status to set up an empty heads up with Paul Lieu. The games lasted for more than 100 hands and at one point Volpe had an excellent chance of winning with pocket queens against a pair of fours, only to see Paul hitting his set on the river.

Ben proved to be extremely resilient and recovered after the disheartening defeat, although it took him more than 40 hands to win the tournament. This is the first WSOP bracelet he wins, while his opponent earns another honorable cash finish with his impressive record.