February 16, 2021
Tetris® combines with Spin & Go tournaments at PokerStars in a fun promotion that sees $1.5 million paid out between February 15 and March 28.
Head to the Spin & Go lobby in the PokerStars client and you’ll see there are Tetris® Spin & Go games with buy-ins of $0.25, $1, $2, $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, and $500. They all play out the exact same way as a traditional Spin & Go, meaning they’re three-handed hyper-turbo tournaments where the prize pool is randomly determined before the first hand is dealt.
It’s still possible to win up to $1 million in some of these game, but there are a few notable differences.
First, the virtual felt is made up of Tetris® blocks, which actually looks pretty cool. Also, the dealer button is now a Tetris® block too, and other blocks fall down the screen.
The Tetris® part of the promotion comes in the form of leaderboards. There’s a separate leaderboard for each Tetris® Spin & Go buy-in level, so 10 in total. You need to opt-in and then fire up some Tetris® Spin & Go tournaments.
Play your tournaments as you would ordinarily, but do so knowing the aim of the game is to clear lines, just like in Tetris®. The number of lines you clear depends on your Spin & Go multiplier and your finishing position in the tournament.
Your level increases each time you clear five lines. This results in you earning even more points so you can climb up your leaderboard faster.
The 2021 Guide to PokerStars Spin and Go Poker
How Many Lines Do I Clear?
As you can see from the table above, finishing in 1st place in a Tetris® Spin & Go that has a 2x multiplier clears four lines. Just playing a tournament earns you points.
How Do You Earn Points?
The number of leaderboard points you earn is based on your finishing position and your current level. You start off earning 40 points for clearing one line when you’re at Level 0, but this increases to 840 points if you manage to climb to Level 20, which is the highest level you can achieve.
It is possible to earn up to 25,200 points per Tetris® Spin & Go tournament, as you can see in this table.
LevelPoints for 1 LinePoints for 2 LinesPoints for 3 LinesPoints four 4 Lines
Tetris® Spin & Go Payout Table
The leaderboards payout $33,000 every day throughout the promotion making for a combined total of $1,500,000 just for playing Tetris® Spin & Go tournaments.
The $0.25, $1, $2, and $5 leaderboard payout the top 100 points earners, so you have a decent chance of walking away with a cash prize. The prizes don’t have any restrictions on them meaning you’re free to do with them as you wish.
Spin & Go Your Way to a PokerStars Sunday Million Seat
The Tetris® Playing Field – Avoid Hitting Game Over
There’s an extra element to this promotion that you have to be aware of at all times. PokerStars calls it the Playing Field.
Just like in a game of Tetris® where it is Game Over when the blocks reach the top of the screen, it can be game over for you if you go on a streak of out of the money finishes!
Finishing in first place either improves your Playing Field status or makes zero change to it. Finish in second place, however, and your Playing Field status either stays the same or actually worsens, which is also the case when you finish in third place.
Your table, or playing field, is green in color when your Playing Field is in a good state. It turns amber when it is worsening and turns red when you’re in big trouble. Failing to win when your playing field is red could see you reach Game Over which means you cannot earn any more leaderboard points until the next day!
The changes to your playing field status depend on your current level.
1st place 2nd place 3rd place
LevelImproveNo ChangeNo ChanceWorsenNo ChangeWorsen
Get Involved in the Tetris® Spin & Go Promotion
With $33,000 waiting to be won every day until March 28 there’s no time to waste if you want to win some free cash.
Download PokerStars via PokerNews, enter the bonus code “STARS600” when making your first deposit and PokerStars will match your deposit 100% up to $600. In fact, your first three deposits in a 90-day window are matched 100% up to a combined maximum of $600.
All you need to do then is opt-in and fire up some Tetris® Spin & Go tournaments and see if you can pad your bankroll with some of the $1.5 million that’s guaranteed to be won. That and try not to spend the rest of the day humming the famous Tetris® tune!
The Stars Group is a majority shareholder in Oddschecker Global Media, the parent company of PokerNews.
We recap some stories you may have missed including a huge PKO event and how much of himself is Landon Tice playing for?
KidPoker vs the Poker Brat?
We hinted at it last week and now it seems confirmed that Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth will play heads-up.
Given both men are traditionally live players it seems inevitable that it will be face to face and streamed on PokerGO.
The early betting markets have suggested Hellmuth is the favourite, which seems ludicrous given how much Negreanu improved in his heads-up challenge against Doug Polk.
Happy to play anyone on @PokerGo App’s “High Stakes Duel.” Looks like they are bringing me the GREAT Daniel Negreanu @RealKidPoker, the guy that studied heads up for months w coaches I respect, so be it. It will be a great challenge for me! Hoping I don’t look like THIS photo!! pic.twitter.com/EpE1BqRMWP
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) February 13, 2021
Tice has skin in the game
The other big heads-up match in the works is Landon Tice vs Bill Perkins, and it has been the subject of a lot of debate this last week.
Namely, how much does the poker wunderkind Landon Tice have invested in himself? Rumours circulated that he is playing for just 10% of himself in this challenge where he is already paying Bill Perkins $720,000 to play.
Tice confirmed that he has sold a lot of action for this event but while his percentage is low, it still means he has a lot of his net worth on the line:
Let me make something clear that I’m sure everyone cares about regarding my challenge with @bp22 I’m selling a lot of action for it. A lot.I’m not rolled to battle at nosebleeds. However, I am putting a very large amount of my relative net worth on myself winning it.
— Landon (@LandonTice) February 11, 2021
MicroMillions the biggest PKO ever?
The MicroMillions Main Event was a PKO for the first time in its history and it (probably) automatically became the biggest field ever for a progressive knockout tournament.
49,487 entries for the $22 Main Event, which was not quite enough to hit the $1 million guarantee.
It did lead to one player bagging almost $60,000 for their troubles including $18,651.13 in bounties alone:
The final table
Table stakes only
OK, so this week’s meme classic from Reddit beats all those ‘toilet roll poker home game’ jokes from last year:
When Polaks Play Poker from r/poker
Will we see Hellmuth vs Negreanu heads-up? Let us know in the comments:
Barry Carter is the editor of PokerStrategy.com and the co-author of The Mental Game of Poker 1 & 2, Poker Satellite Strategy and PKO Poker Strategy
Verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day.One of the most popular promotions for low stakes players on GGPoker has been further expanded.
During the software update on February 10, the Daily Free Spin promotion changed to Daily Freebie. Furthermore, UK players can now also claim the daily gift for a chance to boost their bankrolls.
All players, both existing and new, just need to have verified accounts and log in each day to claim their gift, which lets plays play real money tournaments—and compete for real money cash prizes.
The update has expanded what is given away. Now, there are Daily Freebie tickets for Flip & Go, the super-successful new format introduced in January 2021. It has also undergone some changes since its launch, with GGPoker increasing the frequency and adjusting the buy-ins as well as the maximum number of stacks for purchase.
“GGPoker is happy to confirm that we’ve relaunched our Daily Free Spin offer as the Daily Freebie; verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day. All they need to do is log in and claim their daily reward!” said Paul Burke, Head of Public Relations at GGPoker.
“We hope to continue to change up the rewards on offer in the future, giving all players the opportunity to try out GGPoker’s most exciting games, no matter their bankroll.”
For existing players, Daily Freebie is available immediately—just log in and claim.
If you haven’t yet signed up, you can do so today and enjoy the promotion as soon as you have verified your account. You can also take advantage of all of GGPoker’s generous welcome bonuses.
How the GGPoker Daily Freebie Promotion Works
The operator has seen unprecedented growth in 2020 to become one of the leading online poker platforms for tournaments and cash games. GGPoker has achieved that with a plethora of promotions, innovations, and high-profile partnerships. Their continued success has led to a record $7.5 million in promotions given away in February 2021.
One of several promotions for players with smaller bankrolls is the Daily Freebie formerly the Daily Free Spin.
This was launched on September 7, 2020. It has given verified players the opportunity to claim one $0.25 Spin & Gold ticket every day ever since. The free ticket courtesy of GGPoker continues to be available under the new name three times per week—*but this rotates with other ticket types.*
Players can see the next six upcoming Daily Freebies listed under the “My Promo” tab. A new daily gift becomes available after each daily reset at midnight Pacific time. Each ticket will continue to feature an expiration date of 24 hours once the Daily Freebie has been awarded.
The current rotation of Daily Freebie is fixed for the time being. However, GGPoker hopes “to change the daily prizes on a semi-regular basis,” according to Burke. He also hinted at a strong possibility that the Daily Freebie will include the alternative currencies C$ or T$ sometime soon.
Newly included as a prize in the Daily Freebie is a $1 Spin & Gold ticket, which can be claimed once per week. Furthermore, five $0.05 Flip & Go tickets are up for grabs three times per week, giving players the chance at trying the new tournament format free of charge.
As a mixture between a Flipout and regular tournament, Flip & Go was launched on January 12, 2021. However, it only took a few days for the first tweaks to be made. Initially slated to take place once every hour, it was soon increased to once every 30 minutes.
The buy-ins were also adjusted and the lowest available stake was increased to $0.05 with a guarantee of $50. Players can now take a shot at their own leisure three times per week and enter this lowest tier with five stacks thanks to the Daily Freebie.
Upon launch, the Flip & Go featured a maximum of 10 entries for each of the four stakes. However, that number has been adjusted recently and the stacks for purchase are now capped at a maximum of eight. This makes the bonus stacks based on the holdings during the Flipout stage more valuable in comparison.
The overall feedback for the new tournament format has been very positive, as outlined by Burke.
“Players love it! We have been very pleasantly surprised by the positivity seen across almost all feedback, of course not all players are interested in a new game type but those who have tried it have mostly good things to say about Flip & Go. We’ve also received some constructive criticism, which is also valuable.”
Further tweaks to the Flip & Go format may very well possible, as GGPoker is constantly reviewing and optimizing its schedule. One such adjustment was made with the expansion of the popular Daily GGMasters earlier in February.
The changes to the Daily Freebie promotion went live on February 10. All verified GGPoker players in eligible countries can claim their daily gift under the “My Promo” tab after each daily reset.
Why are the best poker players actually the best?
Every serious poker player wants to be successful and many of them have the right technical skills. However, the truth is that there are key mental factors that separate the big winners from everyone else.
Patricia Cardner is a psychology professor, licensed professional counselor and dedicated poker player. She interviewed a select group of professional poker players who share two key characteristics: ALL of them have been successful over many years and ALL of them have lifetime winnings of more than $1,000,000.
Patricia analyzed the results to determine exactly what psychological skills, techniques, and strategies they use. This book is the result of her studies.
Positive Poker outlines the mental skills that you need to develop if you want raise your game. Positive Poker will help you to:
* Optimize your brain for efficient learning* Increase motivation and stay positive* Use psychological skills to increase your win rate* Increase self-control and reduce tilt
Patricia is aided in her investigations by the highly successful poker pro Jonathan Little, author of the critically acclaimed series, Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker.
Intelitics, the leading performance marketing and analytics platform provider, has been granted a licence by the Colorado Division of Gaming allowing it to work with licensed sportsbook operators in the state for the first time.Intelitics already holds licences in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with Colorado the third with more to follow in the coming months.Intelitics provides online sportsbook and casino operators with a single platform that allows them to track, analyze and grow all acquisition partnerships and campaigns across web and mobile through access to real-time data which in turn allows them to unlock hidden revenue and boost ROI.Intelitics’ real-time data hub keeps media buyers, analysts and executives on the same page about spend and results. Operators can use one set of metrics to “slice and dice” media performance to discover what activity is delivering the best results.Powerful, streamlined reports provide full visibility into cross-channel interaction and the customer journey. A holistic view of costs v player value means operators can easily determine the most valuable media sources which improves revenue allocation modelling and inform media investment.CasinoAffiliatePrograms, the premier standalone iGaming specific Ad Network, which is powered and run by the Intelitics team, has delivered more than $70m in net game revenue through 150,000+ new depositing customers.Armed with its Colorado licence, Intelitics is now looking to work with licensed online sportsbook operators in the state in order to help them unlock the greatest value from their marketing activity.Allan Stone, CEO at Intelitics, said: “We are delighted to have secured a licence from the Colorado Division of Gaming allowing us to work with licensed sportsbook operators in the state for the very first time.”“As legal online sports betting continues to roll out across the US, there is a tremendous first mover advantage to be had but operators must ensure they are acquiring players at the right cost and through channels that deliver true value.”“Our cutting-edge platform provides the real-time data, insight and reporting that operators need to do just that across all of the channels they use to market to players. We look forward to working with sportsbooks licensed in the state of Colorado.”
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The entire concept of a “bull market in stocks” makes little sense. Sound crazy? These days, certainly, because we’re always hearing about a perpetual bull market in stocks. Valuations increasingly disconnected from economic reality, asset bubbles in one class or another, armies of speculators moving like zombie hoards descending on the next fad and blowing it up to infinity and beyond, Buzz Lightyear-like.Why is the whole concept of a bull market generally, nonsense? Because if the value of everything is going up simultaneously, then nothing is going up. If everyone is a superhero, nobody is. If, in an imaginary economy, absolutely everything costs, say, $5, (labor, land, capital whatever) and then the next day everything costs $10, then what’s changed? The answer is absolutely nothing.The only thing that matters is relative valuations between asset classes. Let’s divide them into three of the most basic ones. Equities (stocks), bonds (debt), and commodities (consumer goods). If all three are going up in tandem, then there is no “bull market” in anything. If commodities are going up faster than stocks and bonds, you have inflation, or even hyperinflation. Ask anyone in Venezuela whether they care that their stock market is doing great, nominally. They don’t. They’re looking for their next glop of gruel or morsel of moldy bread to survive the day.But if stocks and bonds are rising and consumer goods are static to falling, you have a bull market in financial assets. This is where we are now. And boy are we really hard and deep into it now. Below is the ratio of the S&P 500 to the CRB Commodities Index.And I’ve got news for everyone. This bull market in stocks relative to consumer goods in dollar terms is already over. It ended almost a year ago. On April 20, 2020 to be exact. Red circle blowoff top above. That was when oil crashed to negative $35 a barrel and we all lived in an alternative financial freakhouse universe. But I have more news than that. This entire “bull market” in stocks has been one gigantic illusion from the very beginning. Stocks aren’t going up. They haven’t gone up for 21 years. Money is going down. Here is the graph of stocks relative to the prime monetary commodity, gold, over the same timeframe above.We can see here that from 1990 to 2000, we had a real bull market in stocks. Equities rocketed in gold terms and in terms of consumer goods generally. Everyone felt richer. Portfolios up, expenses down. But since that time, money has been dying at an accelerated pace and the standard of living has fallen.The bull market in stocks over the last 21 years has been an illusion, a tiny echo of the bull that ended at the turn of the century. We have spent the last 21 years trying to reinflate it, but gold has exposed the lie. We are now at the point where the illusion is about to collapse completely. In my view, we have only a few months left until it all hits the fan. Until then, the bubbles will keep coming in staccato frenetic fashion, moving from one asset class to another faster and faster, until we all get so dizzy we can’t follow it anymore. Last week I speculated that maybe the next target for the zombie hoard will be in penny gaming stocks. I was close. It’s in Macau stocks. It may already have started two weeks ago. The frenzy has started over news about China opening up again. I mean, just look at this crazy chart of the Macau proxy ETF:That last surge higher is just since February 1. We could be at the beginning of a crazy but brief ride higher in Macau stocks right now. New all time highs again, and Macau isn’t even fully open yet. The latest full month statistics for December show a 78.6% drop in visitors year over year. And yet we’re at new all time highs in these stocks already. It’s just completely crazy. I can understand the Macau opening up again trade, but to argue that this factor is being priced in at these levels, at new all time highs? As if none of this full year shutdown hurt any of the casinos fundamentally at all? That’s just totally bonkers crazy. It’s a reflection of the value of the currency these stocks are priced in, not the stocks themselves.What’s happening is that the zombie hoard of bubble chasers is reading the headlines regarding China starting to open up again, and they’re slamming buy orders and call options like they’ve been doing with tech stocks and Gamestop and BTC and all the other fads. We just got news out of Bloomberg that China’s Imax had a face-ripping rally due to exploding ticket sales. China is, indeed opening up, and the zombie hoard of speculators is now going to spray their money hoses at anything Chinese. Macau might be at the center of it.How high can this Macau bubble go, if that’s what we just saw start two weeks ago? The truth is, it doesn’t matter. If you get into it, you’ll get hooked and keep levering yourself up, counting your paper gains, unable to separate from them until you get caught in a vortex. At some point, my view this year, it’s all going to come crashing down when all the damage from 2020 is finally revealed all over the world. You can’t paper it over forever. The damage to Macau casinos doesn’t just go away. It festers in the form of more and more debt, and a damaged consumer base that can no longer patronize casinos in the way it once could. Festering wounds need the paper bandage removed and they need to be operated on. That is painful. And it’s coming.When we think of the word “bubble”, what are we really talking about? A bubble is something that looks, from the outside, to be really big and stable. The shape of it, a sphere, is the most stable shape in the universe. It’s why planets, stars, moons, and possibly even the spacetime continuum itself, spontaneously shape themselves into spheres. The force of gravity equalizes at every point on the sphere, forming equilibrium. Nature always seeks equilibrium. And so bubbles take on the illusion of stability, but unlike a real sphere, there’s nothing inside them. When they pop, they are gone almost instantly. This one is about to pop. Macau appears to be the next victim sucked up by the bubble. Macau will survive and rebuild. The question is, in what form? I wouldn’t take a bet the depended on me getting the answer to that question right.
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Glorious Guardians is going to be a joint title, from Ash Gaming and Playtech, one of the 2021 slot games that will be coming out from this developer. The base for this one comes from China and from its amazing creatures specifically. We see the concept both in its design and in its utilization of Twin Symbols during its major feature.Glorious Guardians gives 5×3 reels. The slot will settle up to 2,000x the stake through its fixed bonanzas. It’s major features are the Wild, free spins with Twin Symbols and scattersBetting and Prizes A few fixed bonanzas can be delivered by Glorious Guardians. These are the Mega Jackpot of 2,000x the stake, Major Jackpot of 200x the stake and Mini Jackpot of 50x the stake.Glorious Guardians Slot Features In spite of the fact that extremely basic for an uncommon feature, the Wild image is as yet going to have a significant effect over the long haul, and for some it might simply do what’s necessary to transform a losing meeting into a productive one. The manner in which it works is standard, as a substitute that you can utilize while framing new blends, given that you get different images which are required.The huge feature of Glorious Guardians will depend on the free spins however. When you get those set off, you will locate that the first and fifth reels will have coordinating images on them, with the guardians covering both. During the free spins, this can make it simpler to shape 5 image mixes of that kind.Theme and Design Obviously, there is a major spotlight on the creatures mentioned in the story of China and I love how Playtech and Ash Gaming managed it design wise. We’re taking a look at a background picture showing palaces and sculptures of these creatures on the two sides while the reels mark the outer reels with red and the center ones are kept separate.Images will give you pictures of the Royals at first, beautiful but standard choices in any case. You at that point proceed onward to images with the creatures (Dragons in green or gold, White Tigers, Phoenix Bird Turtles) and the feature triggers (Wild).ConclusionGlorious Guardian is generally a good slot machine with nice features, so you can try it out.
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Steve at the WSOP Final Table. Image © PokerNews
This is a “Retro Blog” from 11/8/2010 discussing the time I spent coaching 2009 WSOP Main Event final table member, Steven Begleiter.
Back when I initially made this post, I was a terrible writer. I decided to clean up the grammar and fix the typos. Believe it or not, but I used to be (and still am to some extent) a sloppy writer.
I have endless problems proofreading my own writing. I constantly struggle to not overlook countless minor, but obvious, mistakes in all forms of writing including books, blogs, twitter posts, emails, and text messages. Perhaps my brain is broken. Please know I try my best!
Getting the Job
Ylon Schwartz and I have never revealed that we spent three months coaching Steven Begleiter through his preparation for the final table of the 2009 WSOP Main Event.
I was initially introduced to Steve through a 2+2 forum member, Ben Lambert, who knew me from back in my sit n’ go days, where I had a considerable amount of success. Of course, my live success also got me on the radar. Given all final tables are essentially sit n’ go tournaments with funny payouts and stack sizes, he thought I would be an excellent candidate to transform Steve into a player with a better than average shot at taking home the bracelet.
It is worth noting that Steve won his way into the 2009 Main Event through a fairly high stakes local league. Ben also participates in this league, which is how he knows Steve.
Ylon Schwartz. Image © PokerNews
I should mention now that Steve is an extremely intelligent guy. I now look up to him as a mentor. He possesses an important life ability that many lack. He is aware that there are many things he doesn’t know and he isn’t afraid to seek help when he thinks he can improve.
Steve knew he wanted to hire a coach so he interviewed lots poker professionals to find the best fit. He narrowed his search down to me and Ylon Schwartz, a chess master who final tabled the WSOP Main Event in 2008. I had no experience with Ylon but shortly after meeting him, it became clear he had a solid grasp of poker.
I was fairly sure Steve was going to pick Ylon, mainly because both he and Ylon live in New York. At the time, I lived across the country in Vegas. I did some negotiating and succeeded in getting the job split between the two of us, which worked out quite well.
I ended up flying to New York three times, once for our initial interview and two other times to spend long weekends coaching Steve. During these weekends, we discussed and played poker constantly. Steve is a super busy guy with a hectic job and a full family life. Despite that, he always spent our time together working hard and quickly absorbed everything I taught him.
Most people, especially when it comes to poker, are stuck in their ways. They refuse to believe they might actually be bad at poker. Steve was the opposite, realizing that Ylon and I were on a different level than he was. He learned a lot from us because he had an open mind and wanted to learn.
Our First Trip
After our initial interview, we decided it would be a good idea for Steve to fly to Vegas and drive with me to Los Angeles to play the WPT event at the Bicycle Casino. We discussed poker during the entire car ride. I think we both learned a ton. I ended up cashing in the event but Steve ended up taking 9th place, which was really impressive considering the field was tough and we had just started working on his game.
Steve with fellow WSOP final tablist Kevin Schaffel at the Legends of Poker WPT event. Image © PokerListings
He claimed the advice I gave him allowed him to avoid going broke twice in the tournament whereas before our lessons, he would have busted early on the first day. That is a good thing! A lot of what I taught him was to control the size of the pot with his good, but not amazing hands, such as top pair with a marginal kicker. You will find it is quite difficult for your bets to get called on three streets by hands worse than top pair with a bad kicker. This means you need to check them at some point. You will find that checking often induces your opponent to either over value his worse made hand or try to bluff you off your “obvious” weak holding. By checking, you extract additional value you would normally miss by betting.
I learned from Steve that most amateur players simply do not pay attention to stack sizes. The concept that each stack size requires a vastly different strategy isn’t something they are aware of. Poker requires a very different strategy when you have 20 big blinds than when you have 100 big blinds. We worked hard on these two concepts and I think he became a much better poker player almost overnight. Steve was sad to take 9th place, but at the same time, he realized it was a great accomplishment.
Working Hard at Home
Back in New York, we ran numerous simulations where we would set up stacks according to the final table stack sizes and try to match up each stack with a player whose playing styles were similar to those of the actual final table players. Steve did reasonably well in most of these sessions, so that was encouraging.
After our first full NYC weekend, Steve decided to play the WSOP Europe. He was one of the chip leaders early in the first day but ran into a few unavoidable situations and was eliminated. While going broke is rarely a good thing, the fact that he is clearly capable of gathering chips means he always has a chance to win. You would much rather have large swings than break even in a poker tournament because in order to win, you have to get all of the chips. Hanging out, waiting for premium hands, is usually not a good idea, especially if your opponents play well.
Before meeting Steve, I assumed I would have to work hard on getting him in good physical shape, as most poker players are not in shape at all. Luckily, Steve was already in excellent shape. There is nothing worse than being technically sound at poker but crashing late in a session due to poor fitness. Once he made the final table, he was frequently in the gym and worked out much harder than I expected. I was, and still am, incredibly proud of his preparation, both on and off the felt.
I also made a point to ensure he was on the proper sleep schedule. If you get tired at midnight but you happen to be required to play until 4am, the wheels could easily fall off. I believe getting Steve on the proper sleep schedule also helped set him up for success.
That’s enough talk about the preparation. On to the final table!
Tackling the WSOP Main Event Final Table
Steve had one of the worst seats at the table, having Eric Buchman, the only other “known” world class player with a ton of chips, on his left. Also to Steve’s left was Joe Cada, who we assumed would play his short stack well, given that he had a ton of online experience. We assumed Antonie Saout, Jeff Schulman, Kevin Schaffel, and Darvin Moon would play fairly tight. We thought James Akenhead, Phil Ivey, and Joe Cada would look to mix it up a bit and try to double their short stacks. We assumed Buchman would try to go after Steve, due to his position, with numerous light calls and reraises.
You may be surprised that we did not assess Ivey as much of a threat, at least as the chips currently sat. Steve had position on Ivey, which automatically gave Steve a huge edge. Also, Ivey didn’t have many chips, meaning he would have to double up a few times before he got in contention. It is fairly difficult, even for Phil Ivey, to double up a few times. In all of the simulations we ran, I (playing in Phil Ivey’s seat) never really got too far off the ground. Starting with a small stack is a huge disadvantage.
It turned out we were generally correct in all of our assumptions except that Saout wasn’t too tight and Ivey was super tight. Early in the day, it looked like Schaffel was going to double through Buchman, which would have made the table much better for Steve because chips flow to the left and Steve had position on Schaffel, but his A-A couldn’t beat K-K.
This was the first crushing blow to our day that few people seemed to notice. It is really bad when a loose, aggressive player on your left gets lots of chips because he will use them to constantly apply pressure on you. That would have been fine if Steve could have made a strong trapping hand, but, if you have ever played poker, you will find you cannot rely on making strong hands.
A Few Minor Missteps
As for Steve’s play at the final table, I was completely satisfied with all of his decisions except two that came up near the end of the day.
In the first one, he raised with 8c-7c and Saout, who was certainly playing the best out of anyone else at the table, reraised from the big blind. Saout had been going after Steve a little, although not too much. I don’t recall the exact stack sizes but I think Steve had 44,000,000 and Saout had 23,000,000. The blinds were 250,000/500,000. Steve raised to 1,500,000 and Saout reraised to 4,500,000. Steve elected to call, which is fairly loose and likely bad given Saout’s relatively short effective stack size. Saout checked on the 9h-8h-3c flop and Steve bet 5,250,000. I really dislike this bet because if Saout decided to go all-in, Steve would be getting decent odds to call with a fairly marginal hand. In general, you do not want to bet an amount that makes your decision difficult. You want to set yourself up to have easy decisions. A smaller bet or a check from Steve would have been much better. Anyway, Saout did push all-in and Steve made what was likely a “correct” call. Saout turned over a flush draw and won when a heart came on the turn.
It worked out pretty well for Joe Cada. Image © PokerNews
If you watched the coverage of this event prior to the final table, you likely know that Steve loves calling reraises with suited connectors. We worked hard to cut that out of his game, especially against good players who will not blindly stack off to you or when you are not getting large implied odds, but he still decided to take a flop in this situation. Despite that “error”, he got his money in with about 50% equity, so I suppose it wasn’t too bad. It is rarely a bad thing to be in a flipping spot where if you lose, you will still have a decent stack and if you win, you will have a gigantic chip lead. Losing this hand was the second major thing that went wrong for Steve.
The next hand Steve lost may appear to be fairly minor, but it had huge consequences, as it helped determine the champion. Joe Cada raised to 2.5 big blinds out of his 20 big blind stack from first position and Steve called from the small blind with As-3s. The flop came Ah-Jc-2s. Steve elected to be bet into Joe, a move which I despise. Cada decided to call the lead. They checked down the turn and the river, giving Steve a tiny pot. I would have much preferred to see him check-call with the intention of inducing Cada to bluff off his stack. Instead of having a realistic chance of inducing Cada to bluff by showing weakness, Steve won almost nothing.
The final bad thing that happened to Steve was actually a standard bad beat. Steve raised to 2.5 big blinds out of his 35 big blind stack from middle position with Q-Q and Darvin Moon pushed all-in from one of the blinds with A-Q. Steve, of course, called instantly. The flop came X-X-X-X-A and Steve was out. He busted in 6th place, collecting $1,587,160.
Life Goes On
Steve giving an exit interview. Image © PokerNews
Steve took his loss exceptionally well and gave a few excellent exit interviews. I do not know if I would have maintained my composure after running fairly bad during the entire final table. He is a strong man.
Steve was an absolute joy to work with. I don’t think anyone else at the final table would have been a better student. Even though he made a few mistakes, none of which turned out to be too costly in terms of equity, I firmly believe he made significantly fewer mistakes than he would have without coaching. If Steve had a desire to make it on the professional poker circuit, I am confident he could. That being said, he has an awesome job and life, which he has no desire to leave, so he will remain a world class weekend warrior.
When I first got the job to coach Steve, I was happy simply to get the job but I am now honored to have a friend for life. Hopefully someone decides to take the plunge with me again next year. I loved the experience. Better yet, I will try to make the final table myself.
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Monday Majors: Singh Wins Adda52’s Iron Man To Capture His 4th MTT Tittle Of 2021; Roy Wins Voyager!
After a smashing Sunday, the action slowed down a little on Adda52. Headlining the Monday action on the site was the 8 Lac GTD Iron Man sporting a buy-in of INR 2000. Running as part of the site’s 18 Crore GTD ‘Fast & Furious February’, the marquee tourney pulled in 356 entries by the time late registration closed. After almost six and a half hours of intense play, it was the former GPS Melbourne winner, Deepak “peacelover” Singh, who outlasted the competition to win INR 2 Lac and his fourth MTT title of the year. The mystery player “foldkardunga” finished runner-up for 1.21 Lac.
Total Entries – 356Prizepool – 8 LacPlaces Paid – 38Min Cash – 4800
Abhijeet “2abhisingh” Kumar (3rd for INR 88,000), Parth “punit7690” Aggarwal (4th for INR 64,000), Uttam Kumar “chinunew” Sinha (7th for INR 24,000), and “iamaluksack” (8th for INR 20,000) were the other notable online regs who ended their run at the final table of the flagship tourney on Adda52.
2.75 Lac GTD Voyager
The other major tourney running as part of ‘Fast & Furious February’ was the 2.75 Lac GTD Voyager that logged in 273 entries to meet its specified guarantee. This month’s Maverick winner, Vaibhav “vroy219” Roy shipped it to win INR 71,500 and his second MTT title of the year on Adda52. He eventually outlasted “smr1g10” in the heads-up who banked INR 42,625 for his runner-up finish.
Total Entries – 273Prizepool – 2.75 LacPlaces Paid – 27Min Cash – 2475
Harsh “harsh1327” Bubna (4th for INR 23,375), Siddharth “gabandheer” Pandey (7th place for INR 8,938),Yash “yosher” Jain (8th for INR 6,875) were the other notables who final-tabled the tourney.