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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!