Heartland Poker Tour completed 2013 with their 20th stop of Season IX, making it a record year for the televised poker tour. The recent stop in Gary, Indiana also pushed HPT past the $50 million mark in prize money awarded to date. Over $152k of it went to the latest champ, Edward Ochana of Elgin, Illinois.
The heads-up battle between accomplished pro Aaron Massey and Ochana lasted ten hands. Ochana started with the lead and maintained his control, only allowing Massey to win four hands during their match. Massey moved allin when the board showed a pair of twos, a nine, an eight, and an ace. Ochana called after asking for a count and thinking for a couple of minutes. Massey paired his eight, but Ochana paired a nine. Massey collected $94,082 while Ochana scored $152,447.
Larry Pileggi dominated the first televised tournament ever held in Pittsburgh. The local poker player obliterated a talented final table lineup, making a mockery out of what was expected to be a tough and much longer competition. He wrapped up his victory in slightly more than three hours, a lightning-fast pace that was indicative of Pileggi’s complete domination of the final day.
For his victory, the latest poker champion collected $71,782, plus a crystal trophy presented by the host property, the Rivers Casino. Pileggi was accompanied at the final table by his wife Leah, which meant the couple was able to share their special moment of triumph together.
Tod Liang amassed quite the chip stack heading to the final table of Event 2, a $365 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry tournament. What’s more impressive though, is he steadily added to the stack throughout the late stages of play.
“I was pretty confident with my game the whole day,” Liang admitted. “I recognized a few faces at that final table. It wasn’t easy--it was tough.”
In the end, Liang bested the 483-entry field to win $31,159 and his first Circuit gold ring.
If he felt it was tough, he had a funny way of showing it. Liang turned his final table chip lead into a headsup chip advantage of about seven-to-one before eliminating Virgil Page second for $19,262.
By Wendeen H. Eolis
Last week the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement finally announced that PokerStars' application for a gaming license has been suspended for two years—with one pointed equivocation. If the Company seeks relief from this suspension, based on appropriately “changed conditions” within the Company, the DGE says its license application may be reassessed sooner.
The DGE cites the unresolved indictment of PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg as the "primary" cause for the decision. Insiders close to the regulator say there are various other management concerns in the mix, notably including questions as to Isai Scheinberg’s current involvement in Poker Stars. A settlement agreement between the Company and the U.S. Department of Justice, (arising from the Government’s prosecution, U.S. v Scheinberg et al April 15, 2011) presently prohibits Isai Scheinberg from assuming any leadership role in the Company.
Truths and Consequences
It is hard to imagine separating the Scheinberg name from PokerStars; it stands for immense technical know-how in the world of online poker security, an uncanny understanding of the poker business, exceptional responsiveness to customers' wants and needs, and impeccable financial integrity with its patrons. These are the hallmarks of Isai Scheinberg’s PokerStars and they continue to be at the heart of the Company’s operating philosophy with its customers, under his son Mark Scheinberg, say their legions of fans. The younger Scheinberg now holds the reins as CEO,
The Company’s detractors, however, debate PokerStars' business principles beyond the glow of customer satisfaction. Reports of uneven relationships and questions of fairness on the part of the Company in their arrangements with various corporate business partners and a large force of independent contractors surface periodically. So do complaints of a corporate strategy that promotes and endorses "uninformed accusations" of character deficiencies of successful competitors and others not in favor with the Scheinbergs. The chief gripe noted by several competitors and former service providers is "bad-mouthing that emanates from the top of the pyramid,”
By Barbara Rogers
You need it, you know you do. If you’re sharp enough to recognize this, well, that’s a great start. Plenty of arrogant players may think they are better then they really are. But smart players know they need an edge. Being a good player is not enough anymore. Realizing this, Joe Palumbo began to seek the answer. I personally suspect players are constantly going through an internal struggle that plays out something like this in their brain...Damn, I need an edge, I gotta get chips, my cards are bad, I NEED AN EDGE! Source: my brain. Joe Palumbo and I will share. Matter of fact, Joe dedicated his book, Texas Hold’Em—Unique New Method to all the poker players who have the love of the game in their hearts and believe anyone can win. Until recently, Joe was your average Joe. Written by the average Joe for the average Joe, and even for you too, if you’re not average, you will soar way above average after reading it. This book, with it’s unique sequences utilizes both logic and proven mathematics, giving you the edge you’ve been looking for. Actually Joe deletes some math so he’s not overdoing the mathematics and directs you right to the source of his method.
David “The Maven” Chicotsky
• Leading out with only one other player in the hand, for more than half the pot. How often do you see players lead out for the entire pot with top pair, only to garner a fold? Even check-raising with strong hands induces too many folds (in my opinion) to be an every-time type action. Sometimes taking a weaker line like check-calling, with more inherent risk and patience will garner you more chips throughout the entire hand. When you have a strong hand, don’t let your opponent fold on the flop. Be sure to gain chips through the turn and river as well.
• Re-raising too big pre-flop or on the flop. If you have a strong hand, don’t thin the field so fast by re-raising too big. Don’t be so scared of letting another card peel off that you forgo long-run value. How often do you see a player essentially over-bet the flop (or ship all in) only to show aces and proclaim, “I’m glad to take down the pot. Don’t want to get sucked out on.” This is the closest thing to ripping up money that poker offers. When you have a strong holding or are in a favorable position, make the most out of it. Value, value, value. That’s our main focus when sitting at the poker table. Don’t be a “risk based” player, be a “value oriented” player - it might be scarier at times, but it pays better.
by Ashley Adams
I often fantasize about having superpowers at the poker table. I like to think about whether it would be better to know with certainty what cards were going to come on the flop, turn, and river; or whether it would be better to know my opponents’ down cards. I’ve concluded that it’s better to know my opponents’ down cards, and that either special power would render me unbeatable.
It’s an absurd mind game because, of course, it can never happen. But still, it’s a nice fantasy.
There’s another fantasy, however, that can and does happen— though not very often. Imagine, if you well, that there’s an area that has long had lots of interest in poker, but has never had a poker room. Then, one day, a large, well managed poker room opens. All of the home game players from the area, and everyone nearby who ever thought he might want to play poker in a casino comes to the new room. Since it’s new, everyone comes with a lot of money, not having lost it yet in the casino’s poker games. Since it’s new, everyone thinks he might be a winner if he gets lucky. Since it’s new, the games are great, as the bad players haven’t yet been picked clean by the good players; and the mediocre players haven’t yet learned the skills at the table that they might eventually learn through trial and error. This is a fantasy that does happen—though only rarely. And it’s happening now just south of Baltimore, Maryland at the great, new, huge, busy, rocking and rolling Maryland Live Casino poker room! I had the opportunity of experiencing this rare poker fantasy. I flew down from Boston to Baltimore on a trip to see my daughter who lives in Washington, DC. As it happens, the best deal I could get on a motel was $39 a night at the lovely Red Roof Inn about one mile from Maryland Live in the Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, Maryland. During the day and evening I got to visit with my daughter, her boyfriend, and my cousins in the DC area. But by night, I was left to play poker at Maryland Live. This I did with alacrity.
By Barbara Rogers
From a bantam weight 131-pound high school wrestler to a burly poker powerhouse; this is the stuff Hollywood likes to make into movies. But this Hollywood is better than the one in California. This is the Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood. Hollywood Casinos—lots of them, all across America, bringing the opportunity to win seats and big money in the Hollywood Poker Open II. Round two promises to top last years wildly successful inaugural that culminated at the M Resort Casino & Spa in Vegas, paying out over 1.4 million, easily surpassing their $500,000 guarantee. And this Hollywood stars the man that poker folklore is made of. Chris Moneymaker as the ambassador for the Penn National Gaming brand’s Hollywood Casinos brings his friendly approachable self to the ambitious HPO 2014.
The guy who beat the odds, winning the final table in the 2003 WSOP with a game changing bluff against Sammy Farha, has now partnered with Penn National Gaming. This means that you will most likely have the chance to meet Chris, play poker with him, and ask questions at one of the many Hollywood Casino poker rooms across this great country of ours.
I asked Chris some questions about this association:
Barbara Rogers: “Obviously this is great for you Chris, how did this opportunity come about?”
Chris Moneymaker: “I’ve always liked endorsing rooms and making appearances, and I’ve been looking for a partner for a long time that I can stand behind and trust, and I met a partner back in the day who was in Columbus (Matt W) with Penn National. We started a discussion and thought it would be a fun idea to do a 6 month stint as a trial program to come up every month and entertain the room. I saw good results, made a lot of friends and found it to be an enjoyable experience. From there, we started talking about a company- wide promotion. Last year was the first year of the HPO series. It was a really good year, so on the second year we discussed what I was doing for them and decided to take it companywide.”
by Barbara Rogers
Turning Stone that is. The award winning Turning Stone Resort Casino in upstate New York. Ring it in, among all the things you love. Poker, fine restaurants, plenty of entertainment, clubs, a spa, and if you can, book into The Lodge. The Lodge suites have fireplaces, big flat screen televisions in both the living room and bedroom, and decks complete with hot tubs. The Lodge has available a Skana Couples Massage. The AHSI Day Spa & Salon is something worth checking out too. You will not want to leave the casino, everything you need is right there. With 32 tables in the classy poker room, you can always find action at the cash tables, anytime day or night.
The New Years Eve Texas Hold’em Tournament at 7 pm has added an additional $1,000 to the pay-out. The entry is $125. On New Years Day, the high hand every 20 minutes from 12am to 4am will give you a $250 cash prize, real good odds for you. And the staff in the poker room are a fine group to share and celebrate your New Years with.
by Barbara Connors
Why do you play poker?
The most obvious answer would be money. Most of us consider ourselves to be winning players, or we aspire to be. But if money is the only thing that keeps you coming back to the tables, that can be problematic, because until the day you finally quit poker for good, your poker winnings are always going to be at risk.
This is related to something called the “Sisyphic condition”—a term coined by psychologist Dan Ariely. The term comes from ancient Greek myths, specifically the character Sisyphus, a proud king who was punished by the gods by being forced to push the same giant boulder up the same hill over and over again. Each time Sisyphus got near the top of the hill, the boulder would roll back down to the bottom and he would have to start all over, again and again for all eternity.