Posts Tagged ‘Being’

Kenney, Holz Join Former Champion Kempe in Being Chosen for 2018 Super High Roller Bowl

 Kenney, Holz Join Former Champion Kempe in Being Chosen for 2018 Super High Roller Bowl

After missing out on being selected in the “blind draw” for the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl, former champion Rainer Kempe and high roller stalwarts Bryn Kenney and Fedor Holz have been selected to play in this year’s event.

The “second round” selections by the host casino, ARIA Resort & Casino, and the broadcaster of the tournament, Poker Central (through its PokerGO streaming outlet), were announced on Thursday. Although it lacked the fanfare that came with the lottery draw of the “first 30,” it is arguable that these 15 players chosen are players that deserve to be in the field. The 15 players who have been added to the capped 48-player are (and in alphabetical order):

Brandon Adams
Dennis Blieden
Antonio Esfandiari
Seth Davies
Antanas ‘Tony G’ Guoga
Fedor Holz
Matt Hyman
Rainer Kempe
Bryn Kenney
Jason Koon
Tom Marchese
Bill Perkins
Doug Polk
Jake Schindler
Dan Smith

Perhaps because of the “blind draw” of the first round, one of the former champions of this tournament, Kempe, wasn’t chosen for the tournament (something that the “powers that be” should rectify through some sort of automatic entry for former winners). That has been rectified with his selection by ARIA and Poker Central in this round, however. Holz and Schindler were both previous runners-up in this tournament (Schindler in last year’s tournament), thus their inclusion were good for the quality of the field of the tournament. Kenney’s selection also isn’t out of line as he is one of the strongest “high roller” players in the world.

“We welcome the 15 VIPs to the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl field, who are comprised of some of the most notable names in high stakes tournament poker,” Vice President of Content at Poker Central Sam Simmons stated during the announcement of the 15 men who will take part in the tournament. “These names, alongside the 30 selected at the annual Super High Roller Bowl lottery, are sure to make for the most star-studded tournament field of the year.”

There are three more slots remaining to be chosen for the tournament. Two of those seats will be other VIP additions from Poker Central and ARIA and will be chosen before the tournament starts on May 27. The final seat will be contested in what is promising to be an exciting finale.

On May 24, a $ 550 super-satellite will be held at ARIA, with a seat in the $ 10,000 Super High Roller Bowl Qualifier for every 20 players who enter the tournament. On May 25, that Qualifier will be played IF 30 players step up for the tournament. That tournament will be rake-free to those who register before noon (Pacific time) on May 25, with people who register after that time tossing another $ 500 in as juice. If more than 30 players show, then the additional money will be dispersed among those who do not win the seat to the Super High Roller Bowl tournament, which will kick off on May 27.

The $ 300,000 buy in tournament has quickly become one of the preeminent stand-alone (not associated with any tour, such as the World Poker Tour or the World Series of Poker) poker tournaments in the game today. Originally conceived as broadcast material for the then-fledgling cable television outlet Poker Central, the original event was a $ 500,000 buy in tournament in 2015, won by Brian Rast, but it quickly settled into its $ 300,000 buy in format the following year. In 2016, Kempe was able to outlast Holz to capture the $ 5 million first place prize, but Kempe was unable to defend his title. Last year, it was Christoph Vogelsang etching his name into the history books in defeating Schindler for the championship and the $ 6 million first place check. After the decision by ARIA and Poker Central to include Kempe, all three former champions will be back in 2018 to attempt to become a two-time champion.

The post Kenney, Holz Join Former Champion Kempe in Being Chosen for 2018 Super High Roller Bowl appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Humans Being Drubbed By “Libratus” At Halfway Mark

 Humans Being Drubbed By “Libratus” At Halfway Mark

At the halfway mark of the rematch between professional poker players and a poker-playing computer program, the program – known as “Libratus” – is drubbing the professionals in a Pennsylvania casino.

As the two sides prepare to enter the ninth day of competition, “Libratus” (programmed by the computer scientists at the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science) has marched out to a respectable $ 471,600 lead over the four professional players battling against it. To this point in the match (40,340 of the 120,000 hands have been played, or slightly more than one-third of the action), only Dong Kim has losses that could realistically be reversed and he is $ 29,506 in the hole to “Libratus.” The other three competitors – Jimmy Chou ($ 113,728), Daniel McAulay ($ 141,877) and Jason Les ($ 186,489, and for the second time losing against the computer, but more on that in a minute) – are all in six-figure holes against the AI and, with 10 days to reverse the situation, could be facing losing the overall match to the computer program.

The monetary differential has been larger, also. In Day 6 of the competition, the live players were able to cut into the lead of “Libratus,” but they have been unable to draw much closer since that point. From the start, “Libratus” has been ahead, leading its creator Tuomas Sandholm to say to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gary Rotstein following the opening of the contest, “There’s a good reason to smile…last time the first day was our worst day of all.”

This isn’t to say that the players aren’t trying to figure the AI’s approach to No Limit Texas Hold’em out. Les admitted to the Post-Gazette that he “expected (the AI) to play better” and it has. “It’s playing a more reasonable game,” Les stated after Day One, albeit he wouldn’t state that the AI would defeat humanity on the virtual baize. Additionally, the players have recognized that “Libratus” is being more deliberate with his moves. Rotstein asked Sandholm about this apparent discrepancy and was told, “It’s thinking…it is thinking faster (than the old programs), but it is also thinking more.”

The “Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence:  Upping the Ante” contest set out on January 11 with the goal of playing 120,000 hands of No Limit Texas Hold’em. While one professional plays in the casino from 11AM-7PM, a second pro will also be playing against “Libratus” in a controlled setting on the casino grounds. At the end of the session on January 30, it is believed that there will be a definitive answer as to whether computers and AI can defeat humans on the poker table, unlike the first competition in this series.

In 2015, the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science rolled out “Claudico” for battle against four professional players. Kim and Les were joined by World Series of Poker bracelet winner Doug ‘WCGRider’ Polk and Bjorn Li in an 80,000-hand match under similar circumstances. Although three of the men were able to come away with a positive result in the cash column (Les was the only one who “lost” money to “Claudico”), the results were viewed as “inconclusive” because there weren’t enough hands played and the wins by the pros weren’t statistically significant. With the 40K hands added to this year’s version of the competition, it is expected that there will be a solid decision one way or the other.

At stake for the players is a $ 200,000 payday, which will be divvied up between them based on their performances (no word on whether “Libratus” and his creators are eligible for this payday). Thus, it would behoove them to get going in the match, not only for the good of their bank accounts but also to protect the prestige of mankind! For those interested in watching the battle unfold, visit the dedicated website for the “Brains vs. AI” challenge and learn more.

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Seats Being Taken for Global Poker League’s Inaugural Championship Playoff

 Seats Being Taken for Global Poker League’s Inaugural Championship Playoff

With one week left in the season, the seats are being grabbed by teams for the Global Poker League’s inaugural Championship Playoff. In one conference, there is only one slot left to be filled while, in the other conference, literally everyone is still alive.

In the GPL Americas, two of the playoff seats had been grabbed earlier this month. The Montreal Nationals, who have been at or near the top of the standings throughout the season, grabbed one of the playoff spots. With a good showing in the final week the Nationals can seize the #1 seed in the playoffs, but it will take some work to hold off a team that truly has been their nemesis.

The L. A. Sunset clinched their playoff slot at the same time as the Nationals and have been hanging around looking for a chance to catch up with them. Only 11 points back, the squad led by manager Maria Ho needs to have a huge showing in the final week’s action and hope that they see the Nationals fade a bit. The Sunset also have the added impetus of trying to hold onto their #2 seed in the playoffs as a stunner clinched their playoff spot just last week.

With a blistering performance from Joao Peres Simao, winning two of three heads up matches against the Nationals’ Jason Lavallee, the Sao Paulo Metropolitans captured a seat in the GPL Championship Playoffs, currently as the #3 seed. Only the Las Vegas Moneymakers have been eliminated from the GPL Americas race (they are the only team OVERALL to be eliminated from playoff contention), leaving the San Francisco Rush (155 points) and the New York Rounders (152 points) to fight over the final berth in the playoffs. New York, who dominated early season play in the GPL, would have to earn more points than the Rush because, if there were a tie, the Rush would hold the tiebreaker with four more total wins than the Rounders.

Over in the GPL Eurasia, it is a much more complicated picture. From the top team in the conference, the Moscow Wolverines, to the bottom squad, the London Royals, only 15 points separate the contenders. With four playoff spots at stake, no one has locked up one or even come close to determining the overall seeding. It is possible that the Wolverines, despite leading the conference coming into the final week of the season, could be left on the “outside looking in” if they don’t perform in the array of matches in the coming week.

The Wolverines will know what they have to do to be able to claim the GPL Eurasia crown by the time they step to the virtual felt on Wednesday afternoon. The second-place team, the Hong Kong Stars, will be playing at 1PM (Eastern time United States) against the Berlin Bears. Both teams aspire about catching the Wolverines and, if one or the other were to sweep the three-match series, they would go in front of the Wolverines. As it is currently, the Moscow team only needs to win two matches to lock up the #1 seed.

While the Wolverines have a seven-point lead over the Hong Kong Stars, the rest of the playoff picture remains murky. Eight points separate the Stars (currently the #2 seed) from the London Royals (currently in sixth place and out of the playoffs) and the Rome Emperors are only seven points back of the Stars. The action in the final week will be critical to determining the three remaining playoff slots with no team staking a strong claim to their position in the postseason.

After next week’s action, the playoffs will be set and the teams will have some prep time. The GPL playoffs are scheduled for November 29-30 at the GPL Arena in Las Vegas and the Championship Matches are scheduled for December 1, also in Las Vegas. Who will be there? That will be determined in the final week of the regular season for the Global Poker League’s inaugural offering.

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Peter Eastgate Reflects on WSOP Championship Event Win – Is Being World Champion a Curse?

 Peter Eastgate Reflects on WSOP Championship Event Win – Is Being World Champion a Curse?

For many of us in the poker world, being the next victor in the World Series of Poker Championship Event would be a lifelong dream, the epitome of playing the game. Becoming poker’s next World Champion is the goal of anyone who seemingly has ever picked up a hand of cards and a few poker chips. But is being poker’s World Champion a curse rather than a benefit?

2008 World Champion Peter Eastgate was recently the feature of an interview with Dirk Oetzmann of in which Eastgate made several controversial remarks. Playing at the WSOP Circuit event in Tbilisi, Georgia, as a guest of the online sports betting/casino/poker site Adjarabet, Eastgate honestly answered Oetzmann’s queries as to where he has been over the past seven years in regards to poker. For some it may come as a surprise that Eastgate isn’t very interested in pursuing the lifestyle of the jet setting poker player.

“I haven’t been playing poker seriously for about six years,” Eastgate mentioned to Oetzmann in the interview. “I moved from London back to Denmark in 2013 and tried to study bio-medicine, (but) I failed four out of four exams so I couldn’t continue. Since 2014, I’ve just been drifting around…I’m not bored, but I need to set some goals, find a passion one way or another. I don’t have any financial worries, so I can’t complain.”

When asked if he missed the game, Eastgate didn’t sound like he really desires to be a part of it anymore. “When I started out 10 years ago, I thought I’d do this every day for the rest of my life,” Eastgate says to Oetzmann. “Around 2010, I realized that I had accomplished everything I wanted (but) I grew tired of how my mood depended so much on how I fared at the tables…I was an addict, a degenerate gambler (and) at some point I just got fed up. I’ll play here in Georgia but I’m not going to play (when I return).”

While it seems that Eastgate is aiming to find some balance to his life, it does lead one to ask the question – is being the World Champion a blessing or a curse?

We’ll have to look at this fairly logically. Let’s start by taking away the last three men who have been crowned poker’s mythical “World Champion” – 2015 winner and reigning World Champion Joe McKeehen, 2014 victor Martin Jacobson and 2013 winner Ryan Riess – because they are all still in that proverbial “honeymoon” phase, the afterglow if you will, of having captured poker’s greatest prize. Looking back ten years from the men who have won the WSOP Championship Event previously – which just happens to coincide with the “Internet Age” of the WSOP – and we have a mixed bag of success and…well, you be the judge.

Success Stories

By any metric used, we’d have to put both 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem and 2010 World Champion Jonathan Duhamel in this category.

Since his victory, Duhamel has gone on to capture two more WSOP bracelets, oddly enough in High Roller tournaments. He won the 2015 “High Roller for One Drop” (the $ 111,111 buy-in version) and, at the WSOP Europe, earned his third bracelet in winning the €25,000 High Roller in Berlin. Along with his World Championship in 2010, Duhamel has been able to lock down 83 professional cashes around the world from tournament poker, earning almost $ 15.5 million. That’s not too shabby.

Hachem may not have had the success at the WSOP that Duhamel has, but he’s done pretty well elsewhere. Hachem is one of only five players to have won a WSOP Championship Event bracelet and a World Poker Tour title (joining Doyle Brunson, Carlos Mortensen, Scotty Nguyen and Dan Harrington in that exclusive club) after winning the 2007 WPT Doyle Brunson North American Poker Classic. In his 80 cashes around the world, Hachem has racked up $ 12.1 million in earnings.

Jury Still Deliberating

While it may seem as though they’ve been successful, there are several former World Champions – Chris Moneymaker (2003), Greg Raymer (2004), Joe Cada (2009), Pius Heinz (2011) and Greg Merson (2012) – that just haven’t seemed to have rung up the success that you might expect from a former world titleholder. Cada has the best argument as to being bumped up to the level of Duhamel and Hachem, with a second bracelet win in 2014, but those two years constitute more than 90% of his career earnings.

Moneymaker and Raymer have been able to parlay their Championship Event victories into long-term sponsorship deals with PokerStars (Moneymaker continues to enjoy the fruits of that relationship; Raymer ended his deal in 2011) and both still continue to play the game and be great ambassadors. Moneymaker even was able to become one of the managers of a Global Poker League franchise (named after him, even), so it might be disingenuous to say that it’s been a dud of a career for him. Raymer has also played well in many events but hasn’t been able to grasp that brass right again.

Heinz and Merson have ambled along also and, since they’ve just come off their “honeymoons,” they might just be figuring out that it’s time to get going and that they can’t continue to live off the glow of “World Champion.” Still, with this group of men, it is best to say that the jury is still out on them.

Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?

There are two men that fall into this category – Jamie Gold (2006) and Jerry Yang (2007) – and it isn’t like they dropped off the face of the earth…it just might seem that way.

Winning the World Championship arguably did little to help Gold. First there was the nasty little tete a tete with a former associate over a verbal agreement that was settled out of court, then there was the factor that Gold just really wasn’t that good at poker. Before we hear Gold, a former television producer/talent agent, scream so loud that the “HOLLYWOOD” sign shatters, consider this:  that 2006 World Championship victory scored Gold a $ 12,033,015 payday, the largest in Championship Event history. Gold’s career earnings since 2005? $ 12,446,538…that’s right, in every year other than 2006 and 2015 (where he had his best year since 2006 in earning $ 132,221), Gold earned five figures each year from tournament poker…you’d think a “legendary player” could do a bit better than that.

Yang’s issues are similar to Gold’s. After his win in 2007, he started a restaurant, Pocket 8’s Sushi and Grill, that took up a tremendous amount of his time. Not really a “professional” poker player to begin with, Yang doesn’t spend a great deal of time chasing the circuit and, as a result, his record shows it:  of his $ 8,441,789 in career earnings, his 2007 World Championship winnings ($ 8,251,324) constitute virtually all of it.


So is winning poker’s mythical “World Championship” a curse? There are many people who would like to be cursed with the demons of having millions of dollars fall on them, the adulation of an entire community and basically a free pass into any casino around the world (OK, maybe just Caesars properties) for the rest of eternity. At the end of the day, however, these men are probably all quite happy with the courses their lives have taken them – and what being the victor of the World Series of Poker Championship Event has been able to do for them.

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