When he three-barrel bluffed against Gordon Vayo on Day 2 of the finale, though, it stirred up a lot of discussion.
Let’s have a look at the hand, put it in context and reflect on the Czech’s decision.
Flop to River
It’s Hand 104 of the November 9 and the blinds are 500k/1M/150k. All remaining players are relatively deep.
Qui Nguyen, who later would go on to win the tournament, is the current chipleader with almost 97 million (equalling 97 bb). Cliff Josephy is next with 82.6 million (82 bb).
Ruzicka and Vayo both have around 54 million (54 bb) while Michael Ruane is the shortest stack with 49 million (49 bb), which is still a sizeable stack.
The remaining five players have $1.935 million in winnings locked up and the next pay jump is to $2.57 million. The winner takes around $8m.
Vayo raises from the button to 2.3 million. Ruzicka in the small blind has and re-raises to 8.15 million. Vayo calls and there’s 18.05 million chips in the pot. Effective stacks are 45.4 million.
The flop is Ruzicka bets another 6.15 million, which Vayo calls. There’s now 30.35 million chips in the pot and effective stacks are 39.25 million.
The turn is the Ruzicka leads out again, now for 11.4 million, and Vayo calls. The pot is now 53.15 million chips big and the effective stacks are down to 27.85 million.
The river is the Ruzicka moves all-in and Vayo calls, showing
The set of eights wins the pot and Vayo takes the chiplead. Ruzicka barely had him covered but busted soon after in fifth place. Vayo, of course, made it all the way to heads-up play. Watch the hand again in the video below.
This was a crucial hand and a major step for Vayo on his way to second place. The big question, however, is whether Ruzicka took too much of a risk or the best possible line.
The pre-flop action is quite normal. Vayo will raise a lot of hands from the button so this move doesn’t say much about his range.
Ruzicka looks at A-K in the small blind, which dominates a lot of hands Vayo could have. As Ruzicka sits out of position he raises big to more than 3x the first raise.
Vayo has no reason to fold just yet. He has a pocket pair that’s probably going to play against overcards on the board, but he has position and he has to pay 5.8 million more which is just the right price to go set-mining.
Remember that you hit your set one in eight times, statistically. At the same time Vayo’s call gives Ruzicka information about his range.
Vayo would have folded all his steals but all the Broadway hands and middle or even lower pairs are still possible.
Am I Willing to Play for My Stack?
On a pretty dry flop, which at least has two clubs, Ruzicka continues with an obvious c-bet.
He didn’t hit anything but Vayo might have missed, too, and a tight player like him will fold a lot of hands. So Ruzicka might win the pot without risking much.
Vayo calls the bet with hands like A-Q, K-Q, J-J, T-T, or 9-9 and with flush draws, not mentioning monsters 8-8 and 3-3. He would fold hands like K-J without clubs or 7-7.
On the turn Ruzicka has to make a decision: Am I willing to play for my entire stack if I have to?
At that point Ruzicka has “only” invested 14 million (out of 54m) so he can still get rid of his cards. But any further bet would basically commit him to the pot.
These are the reasons that favor another bet:
- Vayo is a tight player
- Vayo’s range includes a few hands – J-J, T-T, 9-9, or maybe even Q-T – that Ruzicka could force to fold.
- Ruzicka’s range is very strong (considering he re-raised pre-flop and bet on the flop) and has aces, kings, queens, and A-Q in it.
These points speak against another bet:
1. Ruzicka doesn’t have the A♣ to represent the nut flush if another club hits.
2. If he gives it up now, he doesn’t lose too much.
3. When Vayo calls again his range has become even narrower. It now consists pretty much of monsters and hands like a queen with a high kicker, at least a ten, and flush draws.
All or Nothing on the River
The river card is a brick and Ruzicka doesn’t take long to risk all his chips. By now he’s invested almost half his stack and he sized his bets in a way that he still has fold equity with an all-in.
Basically there are only two hands Vayo can call with: 8-8 and 3-3. Tight as he played, he would have probably given up any hand with a queen, including A-Q, even if it cost him half his stack.
Add the fact that Vayo might have hands like A♣ 8♣ or 9♣ 8♣ that could have made it to the river and would beat Ruzicka’s A-K, the Czech player’s bluff is absolutely the correct move.
He made his decision to attack on the turn and he was playing to win the tournament. Most of the time his play would have worked against that player and his range, but the guy on the other side of the table hit a set.
Vojtech Ruzicka goes full speed to climb to the top of the chip counts but runs his cards into a monster.
Gordon Vayo once again hit the flop perfectly and all he had to do was to wait for his opponent to hand over his chips.
Got a hot tip for a 3-Bet of the future? Drop us a note about it in the comments.
Today in the 3-Bet we find Pascal Lefrancois upholding shirtless tradition, Phil Hellmuth goes full logo and Unibet goes deep on the Mannequin Challenge.
1) No Shirt Shall Pass
The Global Poker League final last night was really fun, hey?
Going down to the wire with the Montreal Nationals pulling out a 6-5 win over the plucky Berlin Bears, it finally flashed a lot of the potential many thought it would show in its inaugural season.
The stream peaked at 6k viewers, which was a nice jump, and with a good mix of playfulness and serious poker it was much closer to the “pokertainment” dream CEO Alex Dreyfus has been pushing all year.
It also, as Mike “Timex” McDonald put so well, really helped push poker back towards to joy of competition rather the lining of the pocketbook. With some big new improvements planned for Season 2 we really look forward to what’s to come.
In the meantime, though, the Nationals will have bragging rights as the first-ever GPL champions and, in fine tradition begun when Pascal Lefrancois won his first bracelet in 2010, the shirtless winner photo lives again. God bless and behold!
Happy ending #gplfinals #sportifypoker pic.twitter.com/UekzLY6MMD
— Marc-Andre Ladouceur (@MarcAndre_FDawg) December 2, 2016
2) Phil Hellmuth Goes Full Logo
Did you know Phil Hellmuth has his own official logo? And that we’ve only been seeing a small portion of it on his hats? God bless and behold – the full logo revealed!
My official “Phil Hellmuth” logo. This is the full version on my books and DVDs. I use just the PH on my hats pic.twitter.com/sNyauk84OH
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) December 1, 2016
3) 300 Unibet Poker Mannequins + Bucharest Live Stream!
You know who’s doing a ton of fun stuff these days? Unibet Poker.
Besides, you know, reshaping its entire platform to support recreational poker players and launching its new 2.0 software they’re also making sure players win cool stuff and have good fun.
The 28-day Trip Around the World you can win on January 7 is a good example as is their Unibet Open live experience currently playing out in Bucharest, Romania.
Along with the super fun Ladies Battle Royale on Wednesday and full live stream of the main event today and all this weekend, it somehow managed to coordinate (and knock out of the park) this 300-person Mannequin Challenge.
More power to you, Unibet. We appreciate the work you’re putting in for poker players to enjoy the game to the fullest. Check the Challenge and live stream below!
He will also be the only player to win three LAPT titles.
Thanks to PokerStars shifting the LAPT into its Championship/Festival schedule, Barbero’s record will likely stand the test of time.
LAPT Brazil will be the final stop on the tour, which ran for nine seasons and awarded millions of dollars across events in Central America and South America.
Long-Time Coming for Barbero
Nacho Barbero picked up his second LAPT title way back in season 2, which means he’s been waiting over five years to complete the hat trick.
The Argentinean had some close calls over the years — he finished third in LAPT Chile in 2013 — but he couldn’t quite wrap it up.
Instead he had to wait for the last LAPT in history to outlast 329 entries in São Paulo and take down the coveted third title.
The final table included plenty of locals with the poker boom currently in full swing in Brazil.
Barbero was actually the short-stacked when play got down to three players. He wasn’t to be denied, however, and battled back to enter heads-up against Thiago Grigoletti with a massive 14.2 million to 1.8 million chip lead.
As you might expect heads-up only lasted one hand with A♠ Q♥ getting the nod as the winning hand in the final LAPT event.
PokerStars will return to Latin America in March for the first-ever PokerStars Championship series in Panama.
888poker has been busy pushing the envelope with promotions and events in 2016 and it’s not going to stop in 2017.
As soon as the New year hits 888poker is back with another edition of the ultra-popular Super XL tournament series.
This time around there’s a guaranteed $5 million on the line and dozens of big perks to look out for.
Daily Freerolls for XL Tickets
The Super XL Series ran 3 times in 2016 – in the Winter, Spring and Fall. The first guaranteed $2m, the second $3m and the third $4m.
All were such big successes 888poker sized up again this time around with $5 million gtd across the full 11 days.
You don’t need to be a high roller to get a piece of it, either, as 888poker will run daily freerolls where you can win tickets for the Super XL tournaments.
If you’re already an 888poker player, check your inbox regularly because 888poker will send you individual challenges daily.
Complete the challenges and you can win more tickets.
Champion of Champions Gets a WSOP Package!
Speaking of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for players on small bankrolls, a new Super XL leaderboard will be in play for all players who make the money in the Super XL tournaments.
At the end of the series the top 18 players on the leaderboard will play a special Invitational tournament on two tables.
Each player will receive a prize but the winner will get the prize of a lifetime – a 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event package.
The tournament will be called the Champion of Champions and if you want a chance to play, get started on the qualifiers now.
If you want to follow the 888poker ambassadors in the Super XL series, tune into Dominik Nitsche’s Twitch channel.
He’ll be streaming most of the tournaments he’ll play and if we know Dominik that will be pretty much every event. And definitely all of the higher buy-in ones.
Check back to our 888 news section soon to see the detailed Super XL schedule. Don’t have an 888poker account yet? Check our 888poker review page to set one up and access our exclusive $888 bonus! Don’t miss the ongoing $800,000 Gift Shower either.
The Bears and Nationals needed all eleven games and nearly seven hours in the Cube to settle the championship.
In the end Mike “Timex” McDonald, Jason Lavallee, Pascal Lefrancois and Team Manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur proved to be a winning combination for the Nationals in the 2016 GPL playoffs.
Close Call for Underdog Bears
The Berlin Bears came within one hand of claiming the championship for themselves.
Brian Rast, who was downright dominant in the GPL playoffs, had Pascal Lefrancois all-in with Q-4 to Lefrancois’ 4-4. Rast didn’t hit anything, however, and the chip lead flipped back to Lefrancois.
The final hand proved to be a blockbuster with Lefrancois flopping a set of queens and then getting some fortune on the turn when Rast hit two-pair with his T-8.
The Bears were a bit of an underdog in this year’s playoffs as they entered the competition as a third seed and a unique mixture of players that included recreational player Bill Perkins.
The Philipp Gruissem-managed team (who didn’t actually play for the squad) upset both the Hong Kong Stars and powerhouse Moscow Wolverines on their way to the finals.
They were an underdog in the final too and went down 5-3, only to reel off two back-to-back wins to force a game 11.
Nationals Rule Inaugural GPL Season
The Nationals got a last-minute boost with the addition of Jason Lavallee for the finals.
You could make a good argument that the Nationals were the best team from the start of the GPL. Their roster also included Xuan Liu and former world champion Martin Jacobson who sat the playoffs out and cheered from home.
The team will split $100,000 but Mike McDonald, who’s won more than $13 million playing live tournaments, said the experience was worth more to him.
“I’m honestly more excited about the trophy than the money,” said McDonald after winning.
“This really made it more about the poker than the money and I think that’s the goal of ‘sportifying’ poker was all about and the GPL has accomplished that.”
There were also some considerable side events rumored to be wagered on the outcome of the final.
Changes Coming for Global Poker League in 2017
The GPL will return for season 2 in 2017 but it might look considerably different.
CPL founder Alex Dreyfus said the team is already working on ways to improve the league.
First and foremost, the GPL will be much shorter the next time around, which was one of the main complaints over the course of the inaugural season.
Another component that Dreyfus wants to add is amateur players getting a chance to put their skills on display in the GPL spotlight.
There’s a good chance the league will also expand geographically with GPL China set to debut.
One thing that won’t be going away? The draft. Dreyfus said it was one of the strongest parts of the GPL and there are plans to expand it with a Players Combine and casting qualifiers.
The concept was born in Japan a decade ago but has exploded in popularly around the globe over the past few years – especially in Eastern Europe.
What exactly is it?
It’s very simple: you (and some friends) are locked in a room. You need to find clues, objects, keys to open safes, activate some mechanisms, solve riddles, etc.
Your only goal: Get out of the room.
3 Poker Pros Walk Into a Room
When the European Poker Tour stopped in Malta a few weeks ago we sent three Team PokerStars poker pros to an Escape Room to see if their combined poker brain power would help them with this challenge.
Those three pros: Fatima Moreira de Melo from the Netherlands, Theo Jorgensen from Denmark and Luca Pagano from Italy.
Before the game began they were all quite excited to try their hand at the challenge. Among the three only Theo had already tried his hand at Escape Rooms before (and failed).
“I played twice in Krakow with my family,” Jorgensen said. “The themes were ‘Secret Room’ and ‘The Planet of the Apes.’ We failed and I thought that both were really tough. I don’t imagine it will be any easier today!”
Luca had never heard of Escape Rooms, but Fatima had:
“I work with a lot of TV projects and one of the cameramen I work with had already done a video about it in the Netherlands and told me a bit about it. He said it was very clever, so I’m curious to see it from the inside. It does look fun.”
Our three challengers weren’t too optimistic about the outcome, though. Said Fatima: “We will do our best, of course. But that doesn’t mean we will succeed. But it’s not all about winning, it’s also about the experience.”
The pros seemed to be counting on Luca’s reasoning. “He has a calmer personality,” said Fatima. “He’s able to solve things.” To which Theo added, “He will be great. He is our captain after all!”
Luca, the “brain” of the team, also had something to say:
“So an Italian, a Dane and a Dutchwoman are locked in a room… It sounds like the start of a joke. (laughs) Let’s see how it goes.”
Sand, Pyramids & Gas Masks
Our three adventurers found themselves in Egypt, which was the easiest (60% success) of the three Escape Rooms available at Scavenger Escape Malta, which opened in March 2016 in Sliema, Malta.
Once they were introduced to the concept they entered the darkness of an Egyptian souk and the timer started with 60 minutes to get out.
Even if the three prisoners found the first riddles quickly, they were harder to solve than it seemed. But 15 minutes later we witnessed the first high-five between Luca and Theo after they solved the Roberval scale riddle.
With a little luck our three heroes quickly reached the second room where they found themselves wondering what to do. Sand, a pyramid, rocks and a gas mask … as soon as Luca put the mask on the game master sent them some smoke for fun.
After half an hour, they asked for their first clue. But time flies and they only had a few minutes left when they finally got into the tomb where mysterious statues surround them.
The clock ticked, they asked for their last clue… but they were stuck.
“Game over, time is up!”
They were close but our pros didn’t manage to escape.
“Hard, but Fun!”
“I’m feeling so dumb,” said an angry Theo when he got out of the room. “I think we failed pretty bad but I was proud of us sometimes.”
Fatima, on the other hand, wasn’t as critical of their performance.
“We did find a lot of things. But it’s really not easy.”
“I thought we were doing well at the start,” said Theo, frustrated by the difficulty of the riddles. “But it was fun. Much more fun than I thought.
“It’s definitely the best Escape Room I’ve been to, by far. It’s really good.”
“I knew I would be the first one to give up and that Fatima would quickly be next, while Luca would just keep going. If it was up to him we would be in there for 4 hours before taking a clue.
“He was so angry when me and Fatima asked for one!” (laughs)
Fatima: “It’s definitely a lot of fun! The hardest part is figuring out what is real, what is useful and what is not.
“Sometimes you ignore something you shouldn’t. We got tricked by the statues at the end, they all look the same. Time doesn’t matter that much, you just need to focus on what you have to do.”
The trio had such a good time that they already wanted to come back the next day.
“Let’s just do the same one again,” joked Fatima. In the end there was no follow-up but Luca told us later that they would try again in Prague for the last stop of the EPT this December.
Neither Better or Worse
So how did our poker pros fare compared to the average Escape Roomer?
“Neither better nor worse than everyone else,” says Michael Pedersen, who came from Denmark to run this Escape Room, owned by one of his friends.
“It’s team work, but it’s still quite personal. The hardest thing for people is to work together.
“You know how it is: in a group there is always someone who has a big influence. This can be a distraction and prevent you from focusing on your instinct.”
“Some people work better with teammates and take advantage of the variety of minds but it can also create some conflict.”
“The best teams are the teams where everyone works as an individual but also as a teammate. So when an idea doesn’t work out someone else can take the lead and find the solution, or someone else can have a go, etc.”
Where Can I Try One?
While our top pros couldn’t solve the challenge it’s easy to understand why Escape Rooms have grown so popular.
Not only is it profitable for whoever owns or runs it (fees range from €20-€30/person depending on how big the team is), but it’s also an original, interactive, immersive and accessible game for people of all ages.
There are already thousands in the world and and several often in the same city. Budapest, for example, has over 20. You can also find a lot of online Escape Rooms from very simple (in Flash and free-to-play) to complex ones with great design.
Try one out yourself, or check the video below to get a sense of it.
Have a tip for a future edition of the 3-Bet? Give us a hint about it in the comments below.
Today in the 3-Bet we find Phil Ivey not going down without a fight, Phil Hellmuth makes a cool friend and Bill Perkins shows some amazing generosity.
1) “We Gamble Regardless”
We knew Phil Ivey wouldn’t go down (or pay $15m) without a fight.
Things were looking a bit grim last week when the Borgata filed a $15.5m repayment claim against Ivey from the now infamous “edge-sorting sessions” of 2012 when he and his partner, Cheng Yin Sun, won $9.6m.
The $15.5m number came from the original winnings plus interest, “expected winnings” for the casino and repayment of comps.
Ivey’s team had 20 days to respond and it now has, saying the legal basis Borgata used, a 2012 case involving 14 players at the Golden Nugget, is inapplicable.
In that case the punters realized a deck of cards wasn’t being shuffled and won 41 straight hands with increased bets; Ivey’s team says that’s a whole different ballgame.
Not only did Ivey not break any rules and regulations, as a previous judge ruled, but edge sorting only ‘provides information for betting purposes’ and ‘doesn’t change the percentage of the winning hands to any extent.’
As his partner Sun put it, “we gamble regardless, because I can’t be accurate all the time, you know.” Read more from NorthJersey.com here.
2) Jim Harbaugh’s Cool Friends
Phil Hellmuth gets mentioned in dozens of mainstream press articles about poker, naturally – typically for his petulant behavior at the tables or his string of WSOP bracelets.
It’s not too often he’s referred to as someone’s “cool friend,” though. Especially if that friend is former Stanford/49ers and current Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh has drawn a lot of ink over the past few years and mostly, like Phil, for his unconventional but successful methodologies.
ESPN’s latest feature on Harbaugh centers around his eclectic and “cool” circle of friends – of which Hellmuth has been since the Stanford days.
Not only has Phil bent Jim’s ear on poker hands and tell reading, the articles says, he’s got Harbaugh using poker analogies in his press conferences. Which is actually pretty awesome.
While you might debate just how ‘cool’ it is to hang with Hellmuth he’s in pretty good company on this list with Michael Jordan, Nascar champ Brad Keselowski, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and Pulitzer-winning photographer David Turnley, among others. Read about it here.
3) Perkins Gives Out 13 Packages to Bahamas Championship
How much fun is Bill Perkins?
If you’ve followed the High Roller scene lately you’ll know Perkins as a regular in the biggest events around the world and pals in particular of Antonio Esfandiari, Brian Rast and Jeff Gross.
His propensity for high-stakes props bets among that crew is well known including the epic Esfandiari DQ for peeing-under-the-table lunge affair at last year’s PCA.
A hedge funder with a seemingly bottomless bankroll Perkins has plunged into the poker world wholeheartedly and, as a surprise pick in the GPL draft, even helped the Berlin Bears roll to the GPL finals in Las Vegas.
He’s a blast to watch play, whatever the format, and has even taken to streaming live on his own Thirst Lounge Twitch channel.
It’s always worth a watch and it was even more so for 13 lucky subscribers the other day when he randomly drew their names and gave them full 2017 PokerStars Bahamas Championship packages.
You read that right; 13 main event buy-ins plus hotel/flights just for following his Twitch stream. That’s just cool. He even already upped the stakes with a prop bet on whether they’ll make a profit or not.
Who knows what he’ll come up with next! Catch Perkins and the Bears go for the GPL championship today here and follow his Twitch Channel here.
Rast dispatched Anatoly Filatov, Guo Dong (twice), Andrey Pateychuk (twice) on his way to perfection in the Cube last night.
Rast wasn’t the only Bear roaring, however, as Sorel Mizzi reeled off a couple wins and Bill Perkins also chipped in with a series-clinching win against the Hong Kong Stars.
Moscow Wolverines Stomp London Royals 4-1
Despite being the fourth seed the London Royals looked stacked with Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov and Justin Bonomo trying to pull off the upset against the Moscow Wolverines.
Instead the Moscow Wolverines proved once again why they’ve arguably been the breakout stars of the GPL this year and put away the Royals 4-1.
Meanwhile the other Eurasia first-round match saw the Berlin Bears (third seed) pull off a minor upset against the Hong Kong Stars (second seed) by a score of 4-2.
That set up a classic between the Bears and the Wolverines, which ended up going the full seven-game distance.
Rast was the deciding factor in the series as he picked up three wins including the series-winning match against Wolverines manager Anatoly Filatov.
Here’s a clip of the final hand:
Berlin Bears are in the finals! @tsarrast wins all his HU cube matches today! Watch out @MTLNationals! GG Wolverines pic.twitter.com/v1PYQGH8iw
— Global Poker League (@gpl) December 1, 2016
The Berlin Bears will compete against the Montreal Nationals for the title of inaugural GPL champion and the $100,000 first-place prize starting at 5 p.m. ET today.
As always you can follow along live via Twitch.tv.
Here’s one last look at how it all broke down last night:
Moscow Wolverines Beat London Royals 4-1
Berlin Bears Defeat Hong Kong Stars 4-2
Berlin Bears Beat Moscow Wolverines 4-3
The beautiful city of Prague has been on the schedule longer than most – for a good reason.
Besides its picturesque, postcard-worthy setting Prague is one of the few locations where the Main Event has regularly attracted more than 1,000 players. Only Barcelona does the same.
Fittingly, then, Prague is about to host the final EPT ever. It’s a worthy background for the city has perpetually proven to be the perfect package for a poker event.
Ensan Stuns the Poker World
The venue will once again be the Hilton Hotel right on the Vltava River, one of the top destinations in the Czech capital close to the Old Town and connected to the Atrium Casino.
Past winners of the EPT Prague Main Event include Arnaud Mattern (2007), Salvatore Bonavena (2008), Roberto Romanello (2010), Martin Finger (2011), Ramzi Jelassi (2012), and, most recently, Hossein Ensan (2015).
Ensan stunned the poker community when he – a hobby player who doesn’t play a lot of tournaments – first won the Seniors Event at EPT Barcelona 2014.
He then final tabled the Main Event (finished 3rd), final-tabled the Eureka main event in Rozvadov in Feb. 2015 and the EPT Malta main event in March where he also won two side events.
He won another tournament in September in Rotterdam before deciding to play in Prague, too. He then won one of the most coveted titles in Europe and the last big title of the year.
Who will take down the last EPT title ever? It’s one for the history books and that’s a special incentive no poker player can ignore. Online satellites are still available but will end on December 4.
Check the PokerStars lobby under the Events > Live tab. Here are a few of the major events on the schedule:
- €10,300 High Roller – Dec 8-10
- €330 PokerStars Cup – Dec 8-12
- €50,000 Super High Roller – Dec 11-13
- €5,300 EPT Main Event – Dec 13-19
- €25,500 Single Day High Roller – Dec 14
- €10,300 High Roller – Dec 17-19
More to Come in Prague?
For now it isn’t known whether Prague will be back on the PokerStars Live schedule next year as they’ve only announced the schedule for the first half of 2017.
Based on its impressive list of assets, though, it certainly can’t be the last we’ll see a major poker festival in the Czech capital.
1) It’s centrally located in Europe and easily accessible.
2) It has the flair and grandeur of one of the historically most interesting and important cities.
3) The venue is in the center of the city and inside a luxury hotel so there’s literally no logistics required for players.
4) Great food and drink, architecture, culture, nightlife, history. No matter what streak of life you come from, you’ll find your favorite pastime in Prague.
5) In short it offers everything other big European cities offer but for a third of the price.
PokerListings will be on hand for all the action so stay tuned right here next week – you’re sure to see some history made.
Have something you want to see in a future 3-Bet? Tell us about it in the comments.
Today in the 3-Bet we find Muskan Sethi changing minds in India, Ladies go to war in the Unibet Battle Royale and the working man wins in Norway.
1) Poker = Dreamer’s Sport
If you watched Season 2 of PokerStars’ Shark Cage you’ll for sure remember Muskan Sethi.
The 27-year-old rising poker star from Delhi, India, was the online qualifier on Episode 6 among sharks Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald, Jason Mercier and her idol, Liv Boeree.
Not only was her story an inspiration, she held her own at that tough table and made it all the way to heads-up before losing to Rugby player Mike Tindall.
Two years on from that moment Sethi is still firing away. As a new profile in India Today explains, not only does she have a day job as a social worker she’s still grinding and changing minds about woman and the game:
“Usually the poker community treats me like a guy because the poker face is a man’s face… But when they find out that I am a girl, they tell me ‘Go back to the kitchen.’
“Times have been changing. I am still experiencing the change. Earlier they would not be too keen to have me play with them. But now they know how good I am at the game and enjoy playing with me.
“Poker can be compared to stock market and chess. It is a dreamer’s sport. I could have chosen anything but Poker chose me.”
Her passion for poker speaks to another important mission for her: ensuring women in India have more and more opportunities open to them.
“I feel no one should be dependent. There is no profession where women can’t dominate,” she said. Well put. Read more about Muskan and the burgeoning Indian poker scene here.
2) Unibet Ladies Battle Royale is a Good Time
Speaking of bad ass women showing how it’s done at the poker table … The Unibet Open Bucharest is happening this week but before things get heated in the Main Event they’re live streaming a special Ladies Battle Royale SNG.
At the table is a pretty eclectic and impressive mix of poker players, gamers and media personalities highlighted by Gaelle Garcia Diaz, Kat Arsnby and Ladies Challenge Tallinn winner Maret Komarova. Needless to say, it’s been fun to watch. The prize pool is just €6,000 but the spirit of poker is alive and well.
Commentary and analysis by David Vanderheyden and Marc Convey with lots of poker tickets and freerolls on offer ahead of the launch of Unibet 2.0 on Dec. 1. Watch it below!
3) A Plumber, A Fisherman and a Social Worker Walk Into a Poker Tourney
In case you weren’t aware, Norwegians love poker. And we mean really, really love poker.
Inspired by legends like Thor Hansen and Johnny Lodden Norwegians have taken to the game like few others over the past decade.
Now, thanks to slowly changing laws, they’re finally enjoying hosting their national championships on home soil.
Over 2,100 players came to Oslo to battle for the crown this year and just 8 players are left who pretty much embody everything to love about the game these days:
Yrker representert på finalebordet: Fisker, elektriker, betongarbeider, rørlegger, maskinimportør, pokerproff og sosialarbeider. #2poker
— Fin Gnatt (@tv2fin) November 30, 2016
In case your Norwegian isn’t up to speed that reads “Professions represented at the final table: fisherman, electrician, concrete works, plumbing, machine importer, poker pro and social worker.”
Which, awesome. Two of those players – Preben Stokkan and Pojan Salim – in fact have been regulars at our humble little €550 Battle of Malta.
It’s poker by, for and profiting the people and a thrill to see it embraced on such a mainstream level. Get a small taste of the buzz for it here.