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Friday, 8 August 2014


The European Poker Tour (EPT) announced recently that Skrill will once again act as the official payment provider for EPT Season 11.

Paul Barclay, VP of Gambling & FX at Skrill said: “Skrill is delighted to be working with the European Poker Tour as its official payment provider sponsor for a third year. The EPT is a well-respected and established brand, and this partnership will help to further strengthen our position as the leading digital wallet among poker players, and indeed for the broader spectrum of gamers. We will continue to play an active role as sponsors during season 11 of the EPT and as such, are looking forward to attending the tournaments and interacting directly with players throughout the season.”

EPT President, Edgar Stuchly, said: “We are pleased to have Skrill back on board as official payment provider for the EPT for a third year. Skrill is one of the most popular online deposit and withdrawal methods, providing easy, safe and secure payment options for poker players and EPT players alike.”  
Barclay added: “We are also excited to be able to offer online freeroll promotions throughout the year that give players the chance to win a VIP EPT package.” Skrill will be running 10 online freeroll tournaments throughout the Season, awarding a VIP experience at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final. For further information got to:
EPT Season 11 gets under way in Barcelona from August 16-27 and it will mark the tour’s 100th Main Event. For a third successive year the EPT and Estrellas Poker Tours will combine to feature 44 events, providing a fantastic live poker experience for players of all levels and abilities.

About the European Poker Tour
The European Poker Tour (EPT) is the world’s richest and most popular poker tour. Since 2004, the EPT has paid out over EUR617 million in tournament prize pools, and hosted successful festivals across Europe. The EPT also visits the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), which takes place every January in the Bahamas and is the largest poker festival outside of Las Vegas.
Season 11 of the EPT builds on the success of a decade of world-class live poker events, and major poker festivals are being held in Barcelona (which will celebrate the 100th EPT event) London, Prague, and Deauville, with the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final to be held in Monaco.  Further stops for Season 11 will be announced in due course.
Further information on the EPT is available online at
About Skrill
Skrill is one of Europe's leading online payments companies and among the world's largest independent digital wallet providers with 36 million account holders. Skrill enables any customer to make online payments conveniently and securely without revealing personal financial data, as well as send and receive money online cost-effectively. Skrill’s mission is to become the preferred choice for online payments.
Skrill’s worldwide payment network offers businesses access to direct payment processing via 100 payment options in 200 countries and territories and 40 currencies, through just one integration, allowing everyone to pay and get paid globally.
For more information, visit

Friday, 1 August 2014


Grammy award-winning DJ Roger Sanchez, one of the biggest names in electronic music, will be playing a three-hour set at the spectacular EPT100 celebration party in Barcelona.
The party, which is being sponsored by PokerTracker, will kick-off at 10.30pm on August 20 at Teatre Principal, located in the heart of the city’s famous Las Ramblas boulevard. Teatre Principal is a stunning converted 19th century theatre that plays host to the best club nights in Barcelona. Estrellas and EPT players are invited to attend the party to enjoy an open bar for the first two hours as well as a special VIP area once the club is open to the public.
EPT President Edgar Stuchly said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Roger Sanchez will be helping us celebrate the 100th EPT and also thank PokerTracker, the Official EPT Poker Tracking Partner, for sponsoring the event. EPT100 is one of the most important milestones in our history and we are getting ready to host a record number of online qualifiers. I suspect that Sanchez’s performance will prove an even bigger incentive for players trying to win their seat in the tournament.”

Sanchez is a pioneer of house music and has worked with a string of stars including Diana Ross, Kylie Minogue, Daft Punk and Madonna. Producer and promoter Sanchez, who founded successful house music label Stealth Records, is the biggest star ever to perform at a PokerStars party in Europe. His weekly Release Yourself radio show has a worldwide audience of more than 15 million listeners. For more info about Roger Sanchez, check out his official website
EPT100 is set to be one of the most spectacular poker events ever held, marking a milestone in the history of the European Poker Tour. Joining forces with the national Estrellas Poker Tour once again, the EPT Barcelona Poker Festival will run August 16-27, 2014 and is expected to top last year’s staggering 9,000 tournament entries. For more information, please visit

About the European Poker Tour
The European Poker Tour (EPT) is the world’s richest and most popular poker tour. Since 2004, the EPT has paid out over EUR617 million in tournament prize pools, and hosted successful festivals across Europe. The EPT also visits the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), which takes place every January in the Bahamas and is the largest poker festival outside of Las Vegas.   Further information on the EPT is available online at

About Roger Sanchez
Grammy Award winning producer, remixer and DJ Roger Sanchez is one of the world’s foremost names in House music. Known as a "DJ’s DJ" and a "Producer’s producer," Sanchez’ unwavering status as a top-global master of the genre is a testament to his robust belief in the power of music to liberate people, physically and mentally. Follow the links below for more information and music:

Story via PokerStars Press

Friday, 13 June 2014


The PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) recently announced that Skullcandy will be the Official Audio Partner of EPT Season 11.

As part of the sponsorship, players will receive a pair of complimentary “Crusher” headphones at the first EPT Season 11 main event they qualify for. In addition, the headphones will be used as prizes for viewers of the EPT Live webcast. 

This marks the first time that the EPT has had an audio partner, and continues the expansion of mainstream brands sponsoring the tour.

In a review of the Crusher headphones, technology news website TechCrunch: "Rather than trying to fake a bunch of bass with digital signal processing, the Crushers use an individually powered second driver to trigger a proprietary (and rather hush-hush) vibration system. Even in the sub-optimal audio testing environment that is the parking lot outside of the Consumer Electronics Show, we all walked away pretty impressed."  

Here's a YouTube video capturing the reaction of celebrities to their first experience of Skullcandy Crusher headphones.

Thierry Peuchot, Skullcandy EMEA Marketing Director, said: “With this PokerStars Live partnership, Skullcandy provides players stylish and comfortable isolation at the table and an immersive way to relax before and during events. Skullcandy has sports in its DNA, and we’re excited to see a different breed of athletes wearing our newest products.”

EPT President Edgar Stuchly said: “These new headphones will be a great benefit to players on the EPT circuit.  The Skullcandy Crusher headphones are highly regarded headphones, and we are very pleased to welcome Skullcandy as the latest mainstream sponsor for the upcoming season.”

For more information about Skullcandy, visit

Thursday, 5 June 2014

$10 Million Guaranteed for 2014 WCOOP Main Event

PokerStars announced today that satellites to the 2014 World Championship of Online Poker Main Event – which will feature a $10 million guaranteed prize pool – are now running, with buy-ins starting from just $1.65. The $5,200 Main Event is scheduled to take place September 28, 2014.

The $10 million guaranteed prize pool will ensure that the World Championship of Online Poker Main Event is the biggest online poker tournament of the year and will continue to build on its reputation as one of the most sought-after titles in the poker world.

Past winners of the World Championship include J.C. ‘area23JC’ Tran, Carter ‘ckingusc’ King, Yevgeniy ‘Jovial Gent’ Timoshenko, and Tyson ‘POTTERPOKER’ Marks. The 2012 World Champion, Marat ‘maratik’ Sharafutdinov, even sparked an internet meme with his famous demand of “I WONT MILLION” during the final-table deal discussions. His story was illustrated in a cartoon and blog story.

Players wishing to emulate ‘maratik’s success and qualify for the World Championship of Online Poker Main Event using Frequent Player Points (FPP), can do so via the Mega-Path with Round 1 satellites starting from just 1 FPP. Log on to the PokerStars client and click ‘Events’ > ‘WCOOP’ > ‘FPP Satellites’ for more details.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

PokerStars Voted Best Place to Work

The Rational Group, operators of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, have been selected as one of the best workplaces in the United Kingdom, including their headquarters office in the Isle of Man, for the third consecutive year.

Recently, the Great Place to Work® Institute’s announced its annual ‘Best Workplace’ rankings for large companies in the UK, ranking Rational Group at 14th place, based upon an employee survey conducted by the Institute.  The Great Place to Work Institute is the world’s largest consultancy specialising in workplace assessment and enhancement.

This is the third consecutive year that the UK and Isle of Man offices have been named to the list. Earlier this year, Rational Group offices in Ireland and Costa Rica were also named as some of the Best Workplaces in those countries.

“Once again, we are the only company in our industry to receive this accolade, which speaks volumes for our desire to lead from the front,” said Michael Hazel, Chief Finance Officer of the Rational Group.  “We are working hard to embrace the principles of what makes a great workplace and will never stop listening to our people and acting on their feedback.”

Globally, 6,000 organisations around the world are surveyed, representing approximately 10 million employees. On this occasion, PokerStars offices in both London and the Isle of Man were part of the analysis by The Great Place to Work® Institute. This process included surveying both employees and management to get a holistic view of the organisation’s HR policies and practices and how these are perceived by employees.

“We are delighted to recognise a record 100 organisations which have achieved the coveted status of Best Workplace, one that has high trust and highly engaged employees,” said Tom O’Byrne, the Chief Executive of the Great Place to Work® Institute.  “All Best Workplaces recognise the strategic importance of creating and maintaining high trust, highly engaged workplaces as this can improve business performance and, for many, the bottom line.”

Story Courtesy of PokerStars Press

Saturday, 26 April 2014


The European Poker Tour (EPT) has recently announced some dates for the forthcoming Season 11 – kicking off with Europe’s largest-ever poker festival in Barcelona in August to celebrate the 100th EPT.

Five European destinations have been confirmed at this stage and all will run in conjunction with PokerStars’ national and regional tours in Europe. The EPT Barcelona Poker Festival will join the Estrellas Poker Tour for a festival running August 16-27. The EPT London Poker Festival will again include the UKIPT and take place from October 8-18. The EPT Prague Poker Festival – which attracted a record-breaking 1,007-strong field for the Main Event this season – will again team up with the Eureka Poker Tour and run from December 7-17 while in Deauville, the EPT and France Poker Series (FPS) will join forces for a 11-day festival from January 28 to February 7, 2015. The Season 11 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final will incorporate the FPS and take place April 29 – May 8, 2015.  Further stops will be confirmed at a later date.

  • EPT Barcelona August 16 - 27, 2014; EPT Main Event August 21-27
  • EPT London October 8-18, 2014; EPT Main Event October 12-18
  • EPT Prague December 7-17, 2014; EPT Main Event December 11-17
  • EPT Deauville January 27 – February 7, 2015, EPT Main Event February 1-7
  • EPT Grand Final April 29 - May 8, 2015 EPT Main Event May 2-5
With more than 9,000 entries, last season’s Barcelona Poker Festival was a staggering success, the debut event of a season that has broken numerous records and attracted more players than ever before. Season 10’s festivals around Europe have already pulled in more than 40,000 entries and the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final is set to add at least 4,000 or more. The EPT Barcelona festival in August is expected to set new European prize pool and attendance records when it returns to Casino Barcelona.

Several enhancements to tournament schedules are already in the pipeline for Season 11 designed to give as many players as possible the chance to participate. They include dedicated €200 Seniors Events (for ages 50+) at most stops, a reduction in buy-in (from €300 to €200) for all our Women’s Events plus the opportunity to qualify online for a wide range of events including new “Championship Events” being held at most stops featuring variants such as HORSE, Stud and Omaha events. The tour will also continue offering “fun” events  - which have proved a big hit in Season 10 - such as Deuces Wild and Crazy Pineapple. There will be more satellites than ever before online on the various PokerStars platforms giving as many players as possible the chance to complete.

The only change to Main Event buy-ins will be EPT London (October 12-18) which is being reduced to £4,000 + £250 (approximately €5,100) to bring it in line with Main Event buy-ins at the other EPT tour stops.

Vicky Coren - The 1st ever two-time EPT main event champion!

EPT President Edgar Stuchly said: “Season 10 has been a tremendous success and we’ve had some great feedback from players who welcome the even greater variety of events at the festivals and the wide range of buy-ins. Partnering the local tours means our events are more accessible than ever before and we pride ourselves on providing the most professional playing environment available anywhere in the world. We will be building on this formula in Season 11 and, as always, constantly striving to enhance the player experience.”

About the European Poker Tour

The European Poker Tour (EPT) is Europe’s richest and most popular poker tour. Since 2004, the EPT has paid out over €535 million in tournament prize pools, and hosted successful festivals across Europe. The EPT also operates the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), which takes place every January in the Bahamas and is the largest poker festival outside of Las Vegas.   Further information on the EPT is available online at

Story via PokerStars Press

Sunday, 13 April 2014


PokerStars is in a carnival atmosphere this month, as the world’s largest online poker site announced it will celebrate the latest milestone of Tournament Number 900 Million with a ‘Carnival of Tournaments’ from April 14-27. The two-week festival will feature more than $2 million in boosted guarantees, special tournaments, and $700,000 in giveaway prizes.

The first Carnival of Tournaments, held last October to celebrate Tournament Number 800 Million, was a week-long affair. This time, though, there will be a fortnight of promotions, featuring a week of increased guarantees in The Big daily tournaments and a Golden Sit & Go’s period. There’s also Tournament Number 900 Million itself, which will have a $109 buy-in, a $1 million guaranteed prize pool, and $100,000 in added prizes given out to random tables during the first 2 hours and 20 minutes of the tournament.

April 14 – Milestone Golden Sit & Go’s: more than $500,000 to be given away at random across a wide variety of Sit & Go games. See for more details. 

April 21-27 – Big, Bigger, Biggest Tournaments: more than $2 million in increased guarantees in the Daily Bigs. Go to for more info.

April 27, 13.00 ET – Tournament Number 900 Million: $1 million guaranteed, $100,000 added prizes, $109 buy-in. Qualifiers are now running for as little as $1. Check out for more.

The milestone tournament takes place on Sunday, April 27 at 13.00 ET, features a $109 buy-in and $1 million guaranteed prize pool. As a special reward to players, $100,000 in additional prizes (including cash, tournament tickets and a live event package) will be handed out to hundreds of players at random tables during the late registration period.

PokerSchoolOnline Ticket Giveaway
As usual the very generous staff over at PokerSchoolOnline have put together another great poker promotion to celebrate this historic milestone in online tournaments. Check out All The Details of how you can satellite into these events for FREE!


The world’s number one tennis player and PokerStars ambassador, Rafa Nadal has lost out to the world’s best female poker player, Vanessa Selbst in a heads-up poker game. Nadal finished with slightly fewer chips than Selbst in a special charity poker game held at Casino de Monte Carlo.

Nadal was hoping to build on his poker tournament victory in Prague last December, when he beat the likes of Brazilian football legend Ronaldo and the world’s number one poker player Daniel Negreanu. Speaking about his first ever live heads-up poker experience, Nadal said: “It was a great honour to play against a strong competitor and although I lost, I had a lot of fun.”

Selbst added: “Rafa played a great game, but the format and the cards were in my favour. I was able to win by using aggression in good spots and I also made a number of strong hands.  I had an excellent time with Rafa and I’m looking forward to the re-match!”

Alfonso Cardalda, Nadal’s poker coach said: “Playing against Vanessa was a very important part of Rafa’s poker journey. After winning in Prague, this was his next big step and he played very well against one of the best poker players in the world.”

Both Nadal and Selbst are well known for being extremely focused and determined competitors, who possess the strategic and technical abilities to succeed. Their coming together was a great battle of minds.

Nadal faces a different type of opponent next week when he’ll be competing in the first round of the ATP Monte Carlo Masters, in search of a record ninth title. Yale law graduate Selbst will next participate in the PokerStars European Poker Tour event in Sanremo, where she hopes to add to her impressive $9.6 million in poker tournament winnings.

Five thousand Euros will be donated to Care International as part of this charity event.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Record Numbers Set For PokerStars Monaco EPT Event

Courtesy of PokerStars Press

The PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final is set to attract record numbers later this month as well as offer players the most varied tournament schedule ever. With three weeks still go before the festival kicks off at the glamorous Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort, more than 210 PokerStars players are already registered, including more than 140 who have won their seats online.

This Sunday’s €700 EPT Grand Final Mega Qualifier is set to swell the numbers still further, with 20 €14,000 EPT Grand Final packages guaranteed – double the number of the first Mega Qualifier that awarded 22 packages in February. PokerStars is also laying on numerous extra satellites in the lead-up to the prestigious €10,600 Main Event, as well as hosting regular €700 qualifiers on April 13 and 20. In all, more than 200 players are expected to win their seats for the Main Event by the time the festival starts on April 23, compared to 167 last year.

A host of big names are among those who have already qualified, including Team PokerStars Pro Jose ‘Nacho’ Barbero, Team PokerStars Online’s Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Aussie Millions champ Ami Barer, EPT champions Kevin MacPhee and Mike McDonald, plus PCA champs Dimitar Danchev and newly-sponsored Dominik Panka. The first-ever EPT Grand Final “Early Bird Exclusives” were also snapped up super fast, giving 50 players a 50% discount on their hotel package.

The EPT is joining forces with the France Poker Series (FPS) for the first time in Monaco to provide an unparalleled variety of events at a wide range of buy-ins. The debut event is the €1,100 FPS Monaco Main Event, which will enjoy its first ever appearance on EPTLive with a cards-up, ‘as live’ broadcast of the final on April 27.

Another exciting activity taking place during the festival is filming of Heats 3 and 4 of Shark Cage, the new PokerStars TV show where PokerStars qualifiers, celebrities and poker legends from around the world compete for a shot at a $1 million winner-takes-all prize. The last heats – at the PCA in January – featured stars such as Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander and actress Jennifer Tilly, and big names are also lined up for the next round in Monaco.

A significant number of tournaments (21 in total) are priced at €500 and below at this season’s festival, giving a wide spectrum of players a chance to get in on the action. Some of the fun formats making their Grand Final debut include a €200 Deuces Wild tourney and €300 Run It Twice event. High rollers certainly have enough to keep them happy as well: in addition to the €2,000 FPS High Roller and €25,000 EPT High Roller, the €100,000 Super High Roller starts April 24. This will be filmed for television as well as broadcast live, with the final shown cards-up on April 26. Cash game players will yet again benefit from up to 40 tables running 18 hours a day and offering a wide range of games including No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, Stud, Draw, Open Face Chinese and Open Face Chinese Pineapple.

To view the full schedule, please visit

About the European Poker Tour

The European Poker Tour is the world’s richest and most popular poker tour. Since 2004, the EPT has paid out over €574million in tournament prize pools, and hosted successful festivals across Europe. The EPT also incorporates the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), which takes place every January in the Bahamas and is the largest poker festival outside of Las Vegas.   

Season 10 of the EPT builds on the success of a decade of world-class live poker events, with major poker festivals in Barcelona, London, Prague, Deauville, Vienna and Sanremo as well as the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final in Monaco. Please see

Story Courtesy of PokerStars Press

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Full Tilt Poker Appoints New Managing Director

Press Release

The Rational Group has appointed Dominic Mansour as Managing Director of Full Tilt Poker, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Full Tilt brand and business.

Mansour is an experienced gaming industry executive who most recently served as CEO of the UK based Health Lottery. He previously held senior positions at GTECH G2, NetPlay TV and Globalcom/WMC UK.

Since launching PokerStars in 2001, the Rational Group has become the industry leader with a focus on operational excellence and customer satisfaction.  Rational Group acquired Full Tilt Poker in 2012 and has since expanded the site’s offerings to include Blackjack and Roulette, with additional casino games launching in the coming months. The Group has also said it is planning to launch sports betting in the future.

“Dominic’s experience aligns very well with our plans for Full Tilt,” said Rational Group Chief Operating Officer Rafi Ashkenazi. “He has strong commercial experience, a great marketing background, and first-class product knowledge across poker, casino and sportsbook. We’re very happy to have him on-board.”

“Rational Group has big plans for Full Tilt and I’m excited to lead the charge,” said Mansour.  “In addition to continuing to innovate on the popular poker platform, we’ll be introducing exciting new games to our players, all supported by the exceptional customer support, security and integrity of the Rational Group.”

Mansour will report to Ashkenazi and assumes his role on April 22.

Story couresty of Full Tilt Press

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Battle of the Minds

Competitive chess and world-ranked players will return to the Isle of Man in October when the PokerStars Isle of Man International Chess Tournament takes place in the Villa Marina in Douglas.

The top Grandmaster in the UK – Michael Adams – is scheduled to play, guaranteeing that the chess world’s attention will be fixed on the event. Adams, once a World Championship runner-up, is currently among the world’s top 20 players.
“It’s good to see the Isle of Man returning to the international chess circuit and I’m looking forward to playing there for the first time,” Adams said. 
The PokerStars Isle of Man International Chess Tournament will take place from 4 – 12 October, 2014.   PokerStars has supported Isle of Man chess for many years and has a history of sponsoring chess globally, noting similarities in the strategic thinking and skills demonstrated by poker players and chess players.

“It’s great to see PokerStars sponsoring this tournament, helping to bring international chess back to the Isle of Man,” said Alan Ormsby, Chairman of the IOM International Chess Committee. “We expect to attract a number of grandmasters from around the world, putting the Isle of Man back in the chess spot-light after an absence of 7 years. With the backing of PokerStars, we aim to make the tournament an annual event on the international chess calendar.”

In addition to the Masters event, there will be two subsidiary chess tournaments (the Major and the Minor) encouraging participation from amateur players.
PokerStars has a long history of sponsoring chess, reflecting the shared mindset of poker and chess champions. Both games are considered mind sports, which reward thoughtful strategy and highly skilled players. 

The synergies between chess and poker will be on display in October as the PokerStars Isle of Man International Chess Tournament will overlap with the return of the PokerStars UK & Ireland Poker Tour to Isle of Man, which is scheduled to run from 2 – 6 October, 2014 at the Villa Marina. 
“We’re very excited to be sponsoring chess and poker simultaneously and demonstrating the skills and strategies that make these games so competitive and exciting,” said Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications at PokerStars. “And we’re thrilled to bring hundreds of players of both games to the Isle of Man in October.”
PokerStars Isle of Man Chess Tournament organizers Alan Ormsby and Brian Woodard anticipate the IOM International to be one of the biggest open chess tournaments to be held in the British Isles this year.

Find more details on the chess tournament at and the poker festival at

Story courtesy for PokerStars Press

Friday, 21 February 2014

Quality Time

Quality Time at the Tables
The month of February has been one of the quietest at the poker tables that I’ve spent in a while but it’s also been one of the most productive. Note that I didn't say profitable and I’m down some dollars playing 10NL 6-max albeit $140 which is a drop in the ocean when I read that Viktor "Isildur1" Blom is down $362,608 this week alone playing nosebleeds, how crazy is that! Victor is a beast however and still leads 2014 with $1.8 million in profit, a truly amazing and inspirational guy.

This month I’ve tried to focus on Quality over Quantity and have tried diligently to apply the advice of my poker coach to the decisions I’m making at the tables. It’s even the little things that are making a big difference, like taking more time to make decisions and think a little longer about why my opponent made that play, simple and basic stuff that we tend to easily forget while happily clicking buttons. 

Donk Betting With Dale
A few days ago my good friend Cannon Lee (no relation to Bruce) and I recorded the latest episode of the PokerSchoolOnline Podcast Show. The topic was ‘Donk Betting in Poker’ and we were joined by special guest Dale Philip of PokerStars Team Online. Dale was a great guest and we chatted about his recent travelling exploits, his hopes for the next MicroMillions Series and also his plans to travel to Ireland for the UK & Ireland Poker Tour event happening next week in Dublin. I won’t be playing this event myself but I hope to travel up on Saturday with a friend to sample the atmosphere and bump into a few mates for a pint of the black stuff, only one? We'll see!

What’s Coming Up?
The promotions keep flowing at PokerStars like pints at an Irish boozer, it’s just never-ending. This Sunday (Feb 23rd) the World Record Tournament takes place. It’s a mere $1 dollar buy-in so you’ve no excuse not to be part of Poker history. If I tell you a secret promise not to tell anyone? You can get a free ticket HERE but hurry, offer ends soon!

This Sunday also sees the introduction of the Sunday Billion, yes with a ‘B’. Ok so it may be a play money event but don’t knock that. Those of you that are regular PokerSchoolOnline members will be familiar with our weekly PowerPlay tournament which is also a play money event. The PowerPlay was introduced so that our friends in the USA could participate in a weekly tournament with fellow poker school members. The standard from the get-go was very high and this quickly became one of the toughest play money games around. The introduction of this new Sunday Billion makes perfect PokerStars sense and the game will be available on both .Com and .Net clients so American players can participate. I’m not sure if the game is available on the PokerStars Facebook App but that would be likely, anyone know?

Finally, the biggest weekly online poker tournament of them all, the Sunday Million, is celebrating its birthday soon. On March 2nd the 8th Anniversary of this mega-event will take place and PokerStars are guaranteeing an incredible $8,000,000 in cash prizes. The direct buy-in of $215 might be outside of many players bankroll management rules, me included, but that won’t stop me trying my luck at the many satellite tournaments scheduled for this event.


Friday, 7 February 2014

Get Your Skates On!

While the sporting eye of the world is firmly fixed on the Winter Olympic Games opening in Sochi, Russia today PokerStars are also calling on players from all over the globe to gather for a world record-breaking event.

PokerStars today announced that it will attempt to break its own world record for the Largest Online Poker Tournament on February 23 at 13.00 ET. The tournament will be a $1 No Limit Hold’em contest with a guaranteed prize pool of $300,000, and a maximum field of 230,000 players. If the cap is reached it will break the record set last June when 225,000 registered for a $1 tournament on PokerStars.

Last year’s winner was ‘M.SlavaPro', coincidently also from Russia, who won $25,000, and the same prize will be on offer to the winner this time around, with another $275,000 to be shared out among the top 60,000 players.   

Players will be able to buy-in direct for $1 or win their seat for even less with a range of satellites available. Players who make a deposit of $10 (£7, €8) or more using bonus code ‘RECORD2014’ will get a free ticket to the tournament. New players can also get a free ticket for the tournament. Get your skates on and register today!

– for more information, go to

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Smooth Operations at PokerStars

Everything seems to be running quite smoothly at the PokerStars offices lately, so much so that they can’t just help winning awards all-round for their excellent software, service and customer support. This fact was highlighted even further when PokerStars received the ‘Online Poker Operator of the Year’ award at the International Gaming Awards held in London recently.

Without doubt PokerStars are the leading poker brand on the market today and are constantly striving to improve their products and introduce clever and innovative new features for their Customers to experience and enjoy. It also has to be said that their Support service is second to none. Let’s take a look back at some of the more recent PokerStars achievements:

  • Hosted a Guinness World Record tournament attracting 225,000 players, the largest ever online poker tournament.
  • Reached a milestone of 100 billion hands played on its software in June 2013
  • Leading sports personality’s such as Rafa Nadal and Ronaldo signed as brand ambassadors.
  • Awarded players with a total of more than $137 million in prize-money between their WCOOP and SCOOP tournament series.
  • Launched a fun and free Facebook APP for the recreational player to enjoy.

So is this award important to PokerStars and their staff?

“We're proud to take down this award for the second straight time" said Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications for the Rational Group. "And we'll be doing everything we can in the next 12 months to make a strong run at a three-peat."

In addition to winning the ‘Online Poker Operator of the Year’ award, PokerStars was also a finalist for the ‘Mobile Gaming Operator of the Year’ and ‘Gaming Industry Fair Play’ awards.

About PokerStars
PokerStars operates the world’s most popular online poker sites, serving a global poker community of more than 62 million registered members. Since it launched in 2001, PokerStars has become the first choice of the world’s top players, with more daily tournaments than anywhere else and with the best security online. More than110 billion hands have been dealt on, which is more than any other site.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Genes In Space - Play To Cure

PokerStars Press Release
Cancer Research UK recently launched a new mobile app called Play to Cure: Genes in Space, a ground-breaking mobile game that analyses genetic data while you play, enabling anyone to help accelerate cancer research. The Rational Group, through its corporate giving programme ‘Helping Hands’ is proud to be supporting the game, which will help scientists discover cancer-causing genes and develop new life-saving treatments.

Today is World Cancer Day, and as part of the Play to Cure: Genes in Space launch, Rational Group staff in London and the Isle of Man were joined by TV presenter Jeff Brazier, BBC Radio One’s Dave Vitty, and a host of Team PokerStars Pros to raise awareness for Cancer Research UK and try out the game.

Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov said: “I really enjoyed playing the game and think it’s amazing that by playing a video game people can contribute towards cancer research. I’m proud to be associated with PokerStars and involved in the launch of this fantastic project with Cancer Research UK.”

The concept started back in March 2013: two PokerStars employees were invited to join Cancer Research UK scientists and teams from Amazon, Facebook and Google to help design and develop a mobile game that would aid cancer research. It’s difficult to spot gene patterns using computer programmes, but the human eye is very good at doing, so the idea for a mobile game that analyses genetic data in a fun and engaging way was born.

Rational Group Head of Corporate Giving Sue Hammett said: “As a technology company, we are very proud to see that our highly skilled workforce can have a real positive social impact through this exciting project. We are all so excited about the game – it’s a unique way to help Cancer Research UK with their amazing work and great fun at the same time.”

In the game, players have to navigate a spaceship along an intergalactic assault course to collect a fictional substance called Element Alpha. This Element Alpha represents genetic cancer data that Cancer Research UK scientists need to analyse on a daily basis. By navigating the spaceship throughout the game, data is collected that helps scientists to discover cancer-causing genes and develop new life-saving treatments. Further information and a short video that previews the gameplay can be viewed here:

Play to Cure: Genes in Space is available from the Apple App Store and Google Play for Android. For further information, please visit:

Story courtesy of PokerStars

Sunday, 2 February 2014

And The Winner Is ...

The beautiful French city of Deauville was the location for the 13th annual Global Poker Index (GPI) European Poker Awards at the end of January and there was occasion for some Irish cheer as the awards were announced. Full Tilt Poker's Galway festival event scooped the European Poker Event of the Year award while Dermot Blain was deservedly crowned Irish Poker Player of the Year. 

Dermot is a great ambassador for both Irish Poker and the UK and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) and he earned the award on merit topping his fellow countrymen in GPI ranking. Fortunately for Dermot he couldn't accept the award at the time as he was busy winning a PLO side-event for a cool €20,200 while the ceremony was in progress but he did tweet the following:

If you are wondering why the Galway event topped the list of best poker events for 2013 watch this PokerNews video that will give you an insight. Hearty congratulations to Kirsty Thompson, Fintan Gavin and everybody else that had a hand in making this event happen and winning this award. It's disappointing not to see Galway on the UKIPT Tour List for this year but let's hope it gets back there very soon.

Video courtesy of PokerNews

Here's a list of all the winners from the GPI European Poker Awards 2014

European Live Poker Player of the Year
Ole Schemion (Germany)
Rookie Poker Player of the Year
Adrian Mateos Diaz (Spain)
Best Tournament Performance
Philipp Gruissem (Germany)
Internet Player of the Year
Toby Lewis (United Kingdom)
Female Player of the Year
Ana Marquez (Spain)
Poker Industry Person of the Year
Neil Johnson (United Kingdom)
Poker Event of the Year
FTP Galway Festival (Ireland)
Belgian Player of the Year
David Kitai
Finnish Player of the Year
Joni Jouhkimainen
French Player of the Year
Benjamin Pollak
Italian Player of the Year
Dario Sammartino
UK Player of the Year
Stephen Chidwick
Irish Player of the Year
Dermot Blain
Dutch Player of the Year
Govert Metaal
Spanish Player of the Year
Adrian Mateos Diaz
Ukrainian Player of the Year
Yevgeniy Timoshenko
Jury Prize
The Poker Dealers of Europe
Poker Personality of the Year
Roger Hairabedian (France)
Lifetime Achievement Award
Barney Boatman (United Kingdom)


Saturday, 1 February 2014

Rational Thinking for UKIPT Dublin

It was more than great to see a recent announcement by Lee Jones on PokerStars Blog that employees of the world’s number one poker site would be allowed to contest the soon to be upon us UKIPT Dublin event and that common sense is prevailing.

The idea that PokerStars employees would sit at the same tables as their customers was trialled at the Isle of Man event last year and was tremendously well received by all. I beg to ask the question as to why did it take so long? I'm sure PokerStars had their reasons and the integrity of their games are extremely important to them but what better way to get to know your customers than to actually sit down and play some live poker with them? Customers would have a unique opportunity to share their ideas with an employee on a one to one basis at the poker table and that employee would then bring those ideas back to the office and share them at the boardroom table. It's a win win right? Personally I applaud this decision and I hope it becomes the norm.

PokerStars Staff Member Chris Jonas at the Tables

Read the full story of the announcement at PokerStarsBlog and also try to get along to the UKIPT Dublin event, it should be great fun!

Friday, 31 January 2014

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

Sadly I'm old enough to remember watching TV when the original 'A-Team' first aired and the magic of hearing John 'Hannibal' Smith say those legendary lines after a successful mission. 

At the beginning of January I sat down to put a plan together for improving my poker game with some interesting results including realising that I'm currently at the stage of 'Conscious Incompetence'. Now before you say 'What you talking about fool' let me explain.

Halfheartedness was not an option and I wanted to do the best job I could at setting these goals but I wasn't sure where to begin. Taking to the poker forums at PokerSchoolOnline I asked the question of what makes solid and objective goals for improving your poker game. Plenty of great suggestions were offered and I took all the advice on board before laying out my goals and objectives for the year ahead. You can see my poker goals thread at PokerSchoolOnline here:

In the end it turned out to be a 5 Year plan instead of just for the year ahead and I'm looking forward to seeing my progress as each month and year goes by. I really hope you follow my story and would really welcome and tips and suggestions you may have. Please don't hesitate to leave a comment below or Tweet me @TheRoyalRaiser on Twitter.

January at the Tables

I played a little over 16,000 hands at limits between 10nl and 25nl but mostly at 25nl. It was pretty dismal and finished down $329 which on the face of it is only 13 buy-ins at 25nl so not the end of the world. Having reached my stop-go for the month I used any FPPs earned to play satellites for the $5,000 Gtd Big Bang tournament, secured my ticket, and I'm looking forward to that tournament on February 8th.

The highlight for the month came in a Sunday Storm tournament with a finish of 1448th out of 48,235 runners making it a top 3% finish and taking home $72.35 in the process. 

Coaching Session

Just how much these personal coaching sessions mean to me is hard to describe, they just help me look at the game in a whole new light. After reviewing some hands and looking at some HM2 stats my coach suggested sticking to the 10nl tables for the month ahead, not because he was afraid I'd lose too much money, but instead because he wanted to set me a challenge of improving my 3-bet and 4-betting ranges. At the 6-max tables it's not profitable to be a really tight and nitty player which I am guilty of and while it can be profitable at microstakes it won't cut-it as we move up in stakes. You'll find that there are many players at 25nl and above that can easily spot nitty players and they know how to exploit them.

Podcast Show

Early January we recorded the latest edition of the PokerSchoolOnline Podcast Show. If you haven't heard it already you can check it out here:

Til' next time!