DJ Steve Aoki Signs With WPT, Continuing Trend of Poker Ambassadors from Outside Game

The World Poker Tour announced the signing of international DJ superstar Steve Aoki as a brand ambassador on Thursday.

The days of poker companies simply signing the latest poker young gun or big winner are gone. For most operators, the goal is to find a representative that can reach potential new players beyond the traditional poker community.

Those players sought out come with a unique brand or large media presence and following. The World Poker Tour certainly found someone with a large following onThursday in announcing that international DJ superstar Steve Aoki had joined the company as a brand ambassador.

“It’s such an honor to be joining the WPT family,” Aoki said in a news release. “I have watched and admired the WPT for many, many years and to now be part of the WPT family. It feels so surreal and I am incredibly grateful.”

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Turntables to poker table

The two-time Grammy-nominated musician and producer is no stranger to poker and has been playing for several years. In announcing the signing, the WPT noted that Aoki would play a “pivotal role in guiding a full revamp of the WPT for what promises to be a historic 20th anniversary season.”

“Having developed several brands of his own, Aoki’s new role will include helping the WPT raise brand awareness,” the company added, “while collaborating with the WPT as they develop a new look and feel. Aoki will also be engaging with poker fans at a number of WPT Tour special events throughout 2022.”

Plans so far call for Aoki and the WPT to host an invitation-only charity tournament in Las Vegas to benefit the Aoki Foundation in mid-2022. The foundation supports organizations working in brain science and research with a specific focus on regenerative medicine and brain preservation.

“The passion and energy in which Steve Aoki approaches every aspect of his life is both inspiring and very much in line with the new vision of the WPT,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said.

“Steve’s love of poker and his dedication to inspiring others to live life to the fullest makes him the ideal WPT brand ambassador. We are honored to have him play an active role in our transformation and in the celebration of the World Poker Tour’s 20th anniversary.”

Growing the WPT brand

Aoki first made a name for himself in the world of electronic music. Since then, he’s also become a fashion designer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and NFT futurist. 

The signing comes after the WPT announced additional US-based stops on the Main Tour this week. The company also announced three WPTDeepStacks events including two outside the US. Season XX kicks off this month with the Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open in Hollywood, Florida.

Pliska has promised some new surprises and events for the tour’s 20th anniversary season. Adding Aoki seems to be the first of those efforts.

The musician seems like a nice fit for the tour. He is based in Las Vegas and has a long history with the game of poker. He counts several big-name players among his friends and also recently played in the WPT’s online Heads-Up Poker Championship.

Beyond his poker credentials, Aoki attracts plenty of eyeballs. That includes 8.2 million Twitter followers and 9.4 million on Instagram. In total, his social media accounts reach more than 35.2 million users.

The WPT notes that “Aoki has a devoted fan base with wide-ranging interests.”

The signing offers a chance for the WPT to bring some of those into the game. As part of the 20th anniversary year, it’s easy to see Aoki playing tournaments and participating in special events promoting the WPT.

A growing trend

Adding players outside the traditional world of poker has grown over the last few years. Operators seek players with an established platform that reaches a wide range of people.

PokerStars has added rap freestyler, poker player, and Twitch streamer Papo MC as an ambassador to the site's free-to-play platform.
Papo MC

That can range from Twitch to sports to the arts. Online poker operators have led these efforts. In August, PokerStars added Argentina’s popular rap freestyler and poker player Papo MC (aka Alejandro Andres Lococo).

That signing brought some extra headlines for Stars in November when Lococo made the final table in the World Series of Poker Main Event. He ultimately finished seventh for $1.2 million.

Brazilian soccer sensation Neymar Jr. also returned for his second ambassadorship with Stars beginning in December 2020.

Partypoker has its own share of representatives outside the poker world. That includes popular comedian and actor Kevin Hart and British four-time super-middleweight world champion boxer Carl Froch. Both have large social media presences.

GGPoker has signed some of the biggest names in poker to promote its brand, including Daniel Negreanu, Fedor Holz, and Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier. However, the site also made some news in December 2020 with the signing of “King of Instagram” Dan Bilzerian.

Aoki becomes the latest brand rep in a growing and eclectic group of ambassadors from outside poker. How much impact do they have on these companies?

That remains to be seen but the WPT has generally seen growing fields as live poker makes its return. With the 20th season getting underway, tour officials are hoping for even more growth.

* Lead image courtesy WPT

High Roller Repeat: Pascal Lefrancois Completes Dynamic Double in partypoker MILLIONS

Canada's Pascal Lefrancois recently won his second $25,500 Super High Roller of the year in partypoker’s MILLIONS Online series.

Many players dream of winning a major online poker tournament at some point in their lives. Pascal Lefrancois recently continued a dream run at the online poker tables. 

 In December, the Canadian won the $25,500 Super High Roller in partypoker’s MILLIONS Online series. Lefrancois topped a field of 43 players for a $323,823 prize.

That win came after winning the same event in March’s MILLIONS Online for $525,089. That’s quite a double for the 35-year-old online poker star.

“It’s always a fun challenge to compete in these high buy-in tournaments, against basically the same guys time after time,” Lefrancois says. “Being fortunate enough to be able to come out on top is obviously a great feeling and a nice achievement.”

Lefrancois spoke this week with PokerScout about his life at the poker table.

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No stranger to poker success

Lefrancois grew up on the north shore of Montreal and still lives in the area today. He began playing poker at age 17 while playing junior hockey.

Several of his teammates were regular No Limit Hold’em players and Lefrancois decided to give it a shot too.

“I just got hooked very quickly and started playing online shortly after while I was studying finance at University of Montreal,” he says.

A new career was born and Lefrancois now has $5.3 million in live tournament winnings. That includes some massive online scores. His biggest tournament win came in 2018 when Lefrancois took down the €10,300 partypoker MILLIONS Grand Final in Barcelona for $2.1 million.

The poker phenom has numerous other five- and six-figure scores as well. Another career highlight came in 2010, when he won a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event at the World Series of Poker for $568,974

Lefrancois doesn’t have a particular poker routine. He looks for major tournament series and high buy-in events.

“Sometimes I don’t play for weeks,” he says. “Sometimes I play 60 hours a week if there are games I don’t want to miss.”

What does Lefrancois enjoy most about the game?

“I’m a gambler at heart, so I really like the gambling aspect of the game,” he says. “I come from a sport background and I always enjoyed competition, so that’s definitely something you find in poker as well.”

Pascal Lefrancois batting at the ives tables at the WPT Montreal at Playground Poker Club. (photo courtesy WPT)

Poker and beyond

When not winning big at the poker tables, other interests occupy much of Lefrancois’ schedule. He has several business interests including some real estate holdings including being a partner in a restaurant called Oregon on the north shore of Montreal.

The eatery features high-end cuisine and wine selections, earning nice reviews among diners. Even more business investments could be in the works, with some of his winnings funneled into other interests away from the poker table.

Beyond business and poker, Lefrancois also enjoys traveling and some nice meals with friends and family. He even still hits the rink for some hockey and also plays tennis and golf. Watching sports is also a nice way to relax away from his poker life.

The recent high roller win was certainly a nice way to close out 2021. He battled it out at the tables while at home with his wife. Despite completing a massive accomplishment, there was no big celebration. When he finally secured the win, however, Lefrancois did work in a small reward.

While I play poker, I like a calm environment, especially in high-pressure situations,” he says. “I enjoyed a good egg nog and Macallan (Scotch whisky) after the win.”

Certainly more poker lies ahead for Lefrancois. He doesn’t have any major plans at the moment and just takes on big online poker events as they come along. The super high roller win adds to a growing poker resumé.

“Poker wise, I’ve never really had tangible goals,” he says. “I take it one day at a time, and I’m going to spend time playing as long as I enjoy it.”

* Lead image courtesy partypoker

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WSOP Europe Update: Josef Gulas Jr. Crowned Main Event Champion; Series Wraps Up 

The World Series of Poker Europe came to a close in the Czech Republic this week and crowned a new Main Event champion.

The World Series of Poker Europe came to a close this week at King’s Casino Resort in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. Despite the pandemic, the property reported attendance records for the Main Event.

Three more bracelets were awarded this week with Josef Gulas Jr. (pictured above)winning the €10,350 Main Event on Dec. 8. Here’s a look at some of the big winners in the final few events.

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Event 13: €10,000 NLHE Six-Max (Dec. 2)

It came down to an epic battle between Germany and France in this event. Players from these two countries made up all six seats at the final table.

France proved victorious as fellow countrymen went heads-up to fight for the bracelet.

Romain Le Dantec topped Sonny Franco heads up to grab €207,267 and his first bracelet.

The event drew in 73 runners and created a prize pool of €672,295. Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier was among those final table, but ended up finishing fourth. 

Event 14: €10,350 Main Event (Dec. 3)

Josef Gulas Jr., of the Czech Republic, rose to the top in this event that came with a €5 million guarantee. He won his first bracelet and snagged over €1.2 million for his efforts.

The win adds his name among other WSOPE Main Event winners like Annette Obrestad, John Juanda, Barry Shulman, Elio Fox, Phil Hellmuth, and Adrian Mateos.

Gulas topped France’s Johan’s Guilbert in heads-up play to take the title.

Guilbert scored  €789,031 for his runner-up finish. The event attracted 688 players and created a prize pool of more than €6.5 million.

“It’s an incredible feeling. I am truly thankful and happy,” Gulas said afterward. “It was a perfect tournament with a very nice structure in the best casino in Europe. Just incredible!”

Event 15: €3,000 Closer (Dec. 6)

Italian poker player Alessandro Pichierri closed out the series by grabbing the gold. In total, Pichierri overcame 228 entries to defeat Germany’s Timo Kamphues heads up.

Pichierri won a first place prize of €148,008 and also made a final table earlier in the series in event 3.

Looking ahead

The end of the WSOPE closes out a busy few months for the WSOP. There have been WSOP Online series at both WSOP.com and GGPoker. That was then followed by live series in Las Vegas and in Europe.

Players now have to wait just a bit over five months before the bracelet-hunting action heads back to Las Vegas. Players will find some changes as the series heads to the Vegas Strip for the first time.

Bally’s and Paris casinos will co-host events in 2022. In the meantime, players can also check out Online Circuit events with championship rings up for grabs at both sites.

* Lead image courtesy WSOP/PokerNews

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More High Stakes Action Returns as Triton Poker Announces New 2022 Bali Stop, Streaming Plans

Live poker continues to return and Triton Poker has now become the latest to add to that movement with a stop in Bali coming up.

Live poker continues to return around the world and Triton Poker has now become the latest to add to that movement. The tour announced the launch of its 2022 schedule last week with one major event unveiled.

From the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour to the European Poker Tour and 888poker Live, the tournament scene is returning to action. The Triton high roller events now become a part of that with a high stakes series on the horizon.

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High roller action back to the felt

The Triton Poker Super High Roller Series Bali is the first stop on the series and is headlined “A Helping Hand for Charity.” Players will find 12 tournaments running Feb. 17 to March 1.

The series features several poker variants with buy-ins ranging from $30,000 to $200,000. The high roller series has produced some massive moments at the tables and added some charity angles in recent years.

In 2019, that meant more than $3million raised and distributed to various charities around the world. Some of those groups’ efforts include improved health and sanitation, community development, and disaster relief. 

“We are thrilled to finally be back and continue our efforts in creating awareness and to give back to the less fortunate communities,” Triton CEO Andy Wong said in a news release.

“This is still very much a part of our business initiatives, and we will be taking it a notch further with on-ground involvement. We will continue delivering expansive coverage of our highly anticipated season kick-off to our growing audiences across multiple platforms and look forward to presenting the thrills and excitement our tournaments have to offer.”

The series has regularly attracted some of the biggest names in poker including Tom Dwan, Bryn Kenney, Jason Koon, and others. The new series plays out on one of the world’s most inviting tropical locations.

The island offers visitors natural beauty, looming volcanoes, and iconic terraced rice fields. Bali’s scenery and rich heritage will be showcased during coverage of the event.

New sponsor added, more streaming coverage in the works

Along with the announcement of the series’ return, Triton also introduced Jacob & Co as the official timekeeper for the event. The company is developing a limited-edition timepiece with a design that suits the poker world.

“This milestone is a major move for Triton Poker Series in its vision to continuously innovate live poker tournaments, bring exclusive and exhilarating live poker entertainment anytime, anywhere all the while channeling meaningful charitable initiatives to the less fortunate,” Triton noted in a news release.

Company officials hope to continue growing the brand, and streaming and broadcast are a major part of that. Triton plans more than 10 hours of daily live coverage across 13 days as part of Triton’s direct-to-consumer platform, Triton Poker Plus.

The tour’s official YouTube channel will also stream the action from Bali.

“Significant live coverage is a key cornerstone in our business,” Wong said. “We are grateful to our partners for the continued support and expanding the reach of Triton Poker Series to today’s platforms and fueling the significance of tomorrow’s champions.”

This announcement of the tour’s return comes as Triton is also planning a new multi-city tournament tour.

“We have been working hard to elevate the way we host our live events post-COVID,” Triton head of business development Chng Zhen Wei said. “The pandemic has allowed us to re-evaluate innovative ways to raise the bar during our live broadcasts. Our partnership with Jacob & Co will bring more value to each and every televised event of our broadcasted tournaments.”

* Photo courtesy Triton Poker

Poker Sensei: ‘Level Up With Lex’ Offers PokerStars Players Some Personal Coaching From a Pro

PokerStars is now offering players a chance to sharpen their skills with site ambassador Lex Veldhuis. The new “Level Up With Lex” feature allows players to ramp up their poker strategy and hone their poker skills.

The new offering allows online poker players to receive personalized videos from one of the most well-known faces in poker. The high-tech approach bases advice on a player’s own habits at the table.

“Personalization of our players’ experience and making their time with us more beneficial is at the heart of this innovation,” PokerStars managing director and commercial officer of poker, product, and innovation Severin Rasset said in a news release.

“We wanted to give our players a seamless and interesting way to improve and learn. When people are improving and progressing their skills, they generally enjoy the experience more and this is great for the game. This is the first large-scale, consumer-facing use of artificial intelligence for online poker and we are truly excited to bring this to our players who get the benefit of learning from Lex and one of the most sophisticated tools in online gaming.”  

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PokerStars offers players their own virtual mentor

The new feature allows players to have their own virtual poker coach with Veldhuis offering some guidance.

“Lex Veldhuis provides clear, simple and personalized poker advice videos based on a player’s real money Spin & Go game, helping to improve their skills in a safe environment and create more winning moments,” PokerStars notes of Level Up with Lex.

Veldhuis’s tips focus on improvement and education and the entire concept comes after quite a bit of work for PokerStars. Each piece of advice is based on data generated by the site’s proprietary machine learning platform.

The technology reads and analyzes hand histories to detect mistakes. For example if a player struggles with playing on the button, that player might have advice on being more aggressive in that spot.

Each piece of advice is therefore correct and true to that individual player’s actions at the table.

PokerStars officials say the company recognized and invested in the potential of machine learning early on. The site’s proprietary technologies have been active for some time and play a key role in site security.

This technology allows Stars to police poker tables to protect the integrity of the game and ensure a level playing field. The goal is to enhance the customer experience and the Level Up feature now expands the use of this technology.

The personalized videos can be created by opting in on “The Rail” in the PokerStars client. The videos can then be viewed there or received via email or push notification. Players can select their own communication preferences in the settings area.

A quick look at Lex

Those taking advantage of “Level Up with Lex” will receive advice from someone with some real skins on the wall. Veldhuis is one of the most well-known and successful players in poker and has the most popular poker stream on Twitch.

Online, the Dutch poker pro has scored big in major tournaments like the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) and the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP).

In 2020, Veldhuis’s Twitch stream reached a personal record of 58,543 concurrent viewers watching his SCOOP Main Event High run. He also has $687,955 in the live poker arena as well.

The new skill-building service now adds yet another interesting aspect to his poker resumé.

“Level Up With Lex aims to help the PokerStars community develop their skills in a unique way and I’m proud to be part of this innovation,” Veldhuis said.

“Learning poker strategy as a beginner can be challenging as there’s so many resources out there. But Level Up With Lex gives clear and simple advice that’s easy to take on board, meaning players get the most out of their time at the tables. It’s taken a lot of hard work and effort and I’m looking forward to seeing players benefitting from this technology.”

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888Poker Announces Live Festival in London; WPTDeepStacks Continues With Several Big Winners

The 888poker Live London Festival returns Jan. 6-17 with some major prize pools and numerous chances to qualify online.

Live poker continues to return in Europe and 888poker is helping lead the charge. The site is once again teaming with Grosvenor Victoria Casino in January.

The 888poker Live London Festival returns Jan. 6-17 with 12 days of action offering some major prize pools in a variety of poker formats.

The Grosvenor Victoria (aka The Vic) is one of the most prestigious casinos in Europe. The property is one of London’s oldest and most renowned venues and located right in the heart of the city.

The Vic has regularly hosts some of 888’s biggest series and players can now get back in the game. 888 is also offering players numerous opportunities to qualify online.

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Inside 888poker Live

The new series also brings a big addition for the tournament series. 888 is trying to reduce slow play and introducing a “shot clock” as well as a big blind ante format in all tournaments.

Qualifiers for the series are already underway with players able to possibly grab a seat for just a penny. Players can also register directly for a $55 qualifier to win a $600 (£444) seat in the live festival.

Players can also jump in $109 satellites for the £888 ($1,200) Main Event. Satellites are planned for the Opening Event and Main Event as well as numerous other tournaments.

WPT DeepStacks continues at 888

Beyond the live festival, plenty of online action continues at 888poker with the WPTDeepStacks still underway. The series runs through Dec. 21 with $3 million in total guarantees and 28 tournaments.

The series is nearing the halfway point with several big events already in the books. The $525 Opening Event produced 325 players and featured a $200,000 guarantee. In the end, Finland’s “Korpisoturi2” won the series’ first title for $40,540.

The $525 PKO (Event 3) featured a $75,000 guaranteed and saw Germany’spactamah23” rise to the top for $13,1612. The event produced 263 players with 56 rebuys.

The $440 Marathon (Event 5) also brought a $75,000 guarantee and  attracted 134 players and 31 rebuys. The final two players agreed to a deal with “tsikimellon” declared the winner for $16,077. “LDenisL888” finished as runner-up for $13,848. 

The $525 PKO (Event 9) came with a $200,000 and saw 320 players with 60 rebuys. The final table was live-streamed with hole cards on the 888pokerTV Twitch channel.

A third of the players at the final table were Brazilian players with “GritinhO_Dzi” eventually taking the title. The Brazilian scored $40,500.49 for the effort and continued the 2021 trend of Brazilians finding the winner’s circle in major tournaments.

Plenty of action remains in the series with events for all player levels and bankrolls. Here’s a look at the remaining events on the schedule.

2021 888poker WPTDeepStacks

DateEventBuy-inGuarantee
Dec. 7#11 - $100,000 High Roller$2,100$100,000
Dec. 7#12 - $50,000 Mini High Roller$215$50,000
Dec. 7#28 - $1,000,000 Main Event - Day 1$1,050$1,000,000
Dec. 9#13 - $80,000 PKO 8-Max$440$80,000
Dec. 9#14 - $30,000 Mini PKO 8-Max$88$30,000
Dec. 9#28 - $1,000,000 Main Event - Day 1$1,050$1,000,000
Dec. 11#15 - $80,000 PKO$215$80,000
Dec. 11#16 - $30,000 PKO$55$30,000
Dec. 11#28 - $1,000,000 Main Event - Day 1$1,050$1,000,000
Dec. 12#17 - $200,000 Crazy 8$888$200,000
Dec. 12#18 - $50,000 Mini Crazy 8$55$50,000
Dec. 12#28 - $1,000,000 Main Event - Day 1$1,050$1,000,000
Dec. 14#19 - $100,000 9-Max$320$100,000
Dec. 14#20 - $30,000 Mini 9-Max$55$30,000
Dec. 14#28 - $1,000,000 Main Event - Day 1$1,050$1,000,000
Dec. 16#21 - $100,000 PKO 8-Max$525$100,000
Dec. 16#22 - $50,000 Mini PKO 8-Max$160$50,000
Dec. 16#28 - $1,000,000 Main Event - Day 1$1,050$1,000,000
Dec. 18#23 - $100,000 PKO 6-Max$440$100,000
Dec. 18#24 - $20,000 Mini PKO 6-Max$33$20,000
Dec. 18#28 - $1,000,000 Main Event - Day 1$1,050$1,000,000
Dec. 19#25 - $200,000 Big Shot 109 Main Event$109$200,000
Dec. 19#26 - $75,000 Mini Main Event$55$75,000
Dec. 19#28 - $1,000,000 Main Event - Day 1$1,050$1,000,000
Dec. 19#27 - $200,000 Super High Roller$5,200$200,000
Dec. 20#28 - $1,000,000 Main Event - Day 1$1,050$1,000,000
Dec. 20#28 - $1,000,000 Main Event - Day 2NA$1,000,000

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Partypoker Roundup: Software Upgrade, McLaren Racing Video, & Irish Masters Main Event Winner

Partypoker announced the launch of a new software upgrade on Monday to improve several aspects of the gaming experience.

Plenty of news has come out of partypoker lately. On Monday, the company announced the launch of a new software upgrade to improve several aspects of the gaming experience.

The company outlined several major improvements to the desktop version. Party hopes the additions make the platform “even more fun and exciting to play” for online poker players.

Along with that news, partypoker has also released another mini-documentary as part of its Formula 1 partnership with McLaren Racing. The Irish Poker Masters also recently wrapped up with a Main Event champion. Here’s a look at some of the news from the online poker operator.

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Partypoker ramps up software experience

The latest partypoker software updates come after listening to player feedback. Players will find a series of changes and some of those include:

  • new graphics and improved visuals
  • new features and gameplay
  • better functionality
  • a bigger table with
  • new player avatars
  • improved table graphics and animations
  • an expansive in-the-money indicator with detailed mouse overview

https://youtu.be/AOcEVMydD8s

“Our latest table update delivers a number of enhancements that collectively will result in a cleaner, more engaging online poker experience for our players,” partypoker head of product Ross McQuater said in a news release.

“We will continue to listen to the feedback from our players to improve our software as we work to deliver the best experience possible.”

Party officials say these updates will improve the playing experience and create better engagement with players. 

“Partypoker’s new software brings more excitement to every hand,” Team partypoker’s Jaime Staples said. “You can engage with your competition, learn as you go, and have a thrilling, fast-paced experience playing the game we love.”

Video series takes fans behind F1 with McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo

Partypoker has released another episode in its mini-documentary series “See the Unseen” with McLaren F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo. The latest edition touched on cars from different eras as well as one of his most interesting fan interactions.

Ricciardo, 32, spoke from the McLaren Technology Centre about how his association with McLaren predates his time with the F1 team.

“Coming here to the team, that was one of the coolest things, as I actually bought a McLaren,” he said. “It was the first sports car I bought.

“I don’t own a McLaren F1 car. They’re a little expensive these days, but that would be a nice one to have in the garage one day.”

The cars used in Formula 1 in 2021 bear little resemblance to those that raced a few decades ago. Ricciardo took a look at three-time world champion Niki Lauda’s McLaren F1 car from the early 1980s, making comparisons with what he’s faced with in today’s cars.

“Knowing what I know, I don’t wish I drove the old ones from a safety point of view, because everything is so exposed,” he said. “But there’s a rawness of these cars, where the steering wheel is just the steering wheel, and there’s an H-pattern gearbox, clutch, three pedals. These days, we’ve only got two.

“The guys that drove these cars are heroes. I met Niki a couple of times at the track, and that was something pretty cool for me. It blows my mind how we’re able to do it these days.”

Fan interaction with a pooch

Conversation then turned to a particularly memorable moment Ricciardo encountered with one of his fans. On this occasion, the driver was asked to sign a dog.

“I think we were at an autograph session in the pit lane in Belgium quite a few years ago, and this lady just put her dog in front of me,” he said. “I didn’t grow up a massive animal person, so I’m not the kind of guy to pick up a dog and be like, ‘oh that’s cute.’

“I was a bit taken aback. I thought she just wanted me to have a photo with her dog, and there was a bit of a language barrier, but she was pointing to her dog’s collar and she wanted me to sign it. So, I basically signed a dog, which was weird!”

Ricciardo also talked through how the car is prepared for the driver and how it can be altered for driver comfort. The episode can be seen in full at the partypoker McLaren Access Hub.

At the site, partypoker players gain access to the inside track and discover the hidden world of Formula 1. The new episode follows earlier interviews with Ricciardo and McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.  

McLaren-themed prizes can also be won by partypoker players. Special freerolls are still being held on certain Sundays alongside F1 races. The event offers $1,000 in guaranteed prize money.

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Maltese player score Irish Poker Masters Main Event title

The Irish Poker Masters KO Online wrapped up last week at partypoker. The €1,100 Main Event featured a €1 million guarantee with Malta’s Georgios Zisimopoulos taking the title for €128,899.

That amount was the result of €65,700 in first-place prize money and an additional €63,199 worth of bounties.

Zisimopoulos topped a field of 994 players for the win. He entered heads-up play against Finland’s Joel Holmberg with almost a 5-to-1 chip advantage.

Holmberg took home a total of $85,724 for runner-up. The final hand actually saw Zisimopoulos win with the famous Doyle Brunson hand, 10-2. Here’s a look at that last hand.

* photos courtesy partypoker

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PokerGO Ramps Up WSOP Europe Coverage; Another Bracelet Awarded as Europeans Shine

The World Series of Poker continues this week at King’s Casino in the Czech Republic and PokerGO begins streaming the action on Wednesday.

The World Series of Poker continues this week at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, and PokerGO begins streaming the action on Wednesday.

The platform streamed live events throughout the WSOP in Las Vegas and the coverage now shifts to Europe. Viewers have an opportunity to check out the action beginning with the €25,000 Platinum High Roller.

The free streams are presented by ClubGG, the sweepstakes poker site of GGPoker. So far, plenty of Europe’s own players have found the winner’s circle so far with several tournaments still on tap.

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Four WSOP events to watch on PokerGO

In total, the WSOPE features 15 gold bracelets running Nov. 19 – Dec. 8 with €11.5 million guaranteed. PokerGO viewers will find live final table streams of four marquee events from the series. Here’s a look at the complete live stream schedule:

  •  €25,000 Platinum High Roller (Dec. 1, 12:30 pm ET) – €1 million guaranteed
  • €1,650 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max (Dec. 2, 12:30 pm ET) – $200,000 guaranteed
  • €10,000 NLHE Six-Max (Dec. 4 at 12:30 pm ET)
  • €10,350 Main Event (Dec. 8 at 12:30 pm ET) – €5 million guaranteed

Past WSOP Europe broadcasts are also archived on PokerGO.com. That includes more than 100 hours of content including the 2019 WSOPE and episodes from 2008-13.

Series highlights European players

With the WSOPE piggybacking on the Vegas series so closely, fewer players from the western hemisphere seem to be among those in Rozvadov. That excludes poker hotbeds like the United States, Canada, Brazil, and more.

With the Vegas series running in the fall instead of summer, organizers couldn’t put a break in between the two series With the first five events complete, winners have all been from Europe.

That list of countries includes Kosovo, Slovakia, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Italy. Most players in the top spots so far have been from European countries.

Travel difficulties due to COVID-19 appear to play a part. But North American players also have some other options with the World Poker Tour offering two major events in November and December.

The Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open is underway at the Seminole Hard Rock in Florida. The Five Diamond World Poker Classic is also set for Dec. 15-19 at Bellagio in Las Vegas at Bellagio. Some players may just need a WSOP break with the Vegas series now complete.

WSOPE awards another bracelet

Edmond Jahjaga shows off his WSOPE bracelet. (photo courtesy WSOP)

Kosovo’s Edmond Jahjaga became the latest WSOPE winner on Tuesday, winning Event 5: €550 Colossus. He topped 2,478 entries for a score of €147,775 and his first bracelet.

France’s Riadh Farhat finished runner-up for €91,318. Jahjaga is a businessman back in Kosovo and only began playing poker about five years ago.

“It means a lot to me,” he told WSOP.com afterward. “I don’t know how to describe it because it comes so unexpectedly. The whole experience feels like a movie and it just happened.”

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WSOP Update: Schemion, Mateos Win in Festival’s Closing Days; Complete Recap of Events

The World Series of Poker wrapped up on Tuesday after more than a month and a half of action with some big names winning in the closing days.

The World Series of Poker came to a close on Tuesday after more than a month and a half of action. Some international players made some big moves to close out the series including Adrian Mateos winning his fourth bracelet.

Ole Schemion also found the winner’s circle as well.  Brazilian and Israeli players also continued to score big in the final two weeks.

Spain’s Leo Margets also became the only woman to win a bracelet in the 2021 series as well. Here’s a look at some of the highlights to close out the series.

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Event 76: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty

This fast freezeout event saw France’s Romain Lewis find the winner’s circle for his first bracelet and $463,885. Aditya Agarwal, of India, took the second-place finish for $286,705.

The big finish comes after numerous big runs at the series for Lewis. 

“All the different deep runs I made a couple of years ago, I was so happy with those results, but when I looked back a few years later, I was like, ‘Wow bracelets are not that easy,’” he told WSOP.com afterward.

“These spots don’t come that often. It’s been a 10-year dream and I put a five- or six-year objective to win one and for it to happen now … it makes me ecstatic, it really does.”

Poker superstar Stephen Chidwick came close to bracelet No. 2, finishing third for $200,598. Israel’s Uri Reichenstein took fourth for $142,840 and Italy’s Dario Sammartino finished sixth for $76,442. The tournament brought in 307 players for a $2.9 million prize pool. 

Paulo Joanello scored the second bracelet of his career. (photo courtesy WSOP)

Event 77: $1,500 Fifty Stack NLHE

The Brazilian poker craze continued in this event with Paulo Joanello taking the top spot for $321,917. He scored his first bracelet in just his fourth WSOP cash.

The Czech Republic’s Martin Bicanik took third for $146,061 with Israel’s Ron Moisescu scoring fourth for $108,349. Axel Hallay, of France, finished sixth for $61,550. The event attracted 1,501 players for a $2 million prize pool.

Joanello has been playing in the WSOP since 2013 and was pleased to finally notch a huge win. He takes pride in winning the event for his home country.

“When I came back in heads-up, I thought I was going to lose,” he said. “But I looked at the bracelet and my rail and I said, ‘No, this is going to Brazil and these people,’ and I’m very happy.”

Event 78: $10,000 Razz Championship

This lowball championship attracted plenty of big names to the field with the UK’s Benny Glaser finding his fourth bracelet. He earned $274,693 for the effort after facing a tough field that included: Brazil’s Yuri Dzivielevski (third, $123,254); John Monnette (fifth, $68,025); Erik Seidel (seventh, $39,987); and Phil Hellmuth (eighth, $31,411).

The field included 109 entries for a $1 million prize pool. Glaser was thrilled to reach the top of the hill in this tournament.

“I’m genuinely so happy,” he noted on Twitter. “It’s amazing. And it’s been an incredible series! Thanks for all the love everyone, it seriously means a lot!”

Event 79: $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty

This event was added this year to celebrate the Poker Hall of Fame and complemented the induction of poker legend Eli Elezra. All members of the hall received a freeroll in the event with each including a bounty equal to the year they were inducted.

Poker superstar Ole Schemion (pictured in lead image), of Germany, found the win for his first bracelet and $172,499. Despite a deep tournament record that includes $16.6 million in live winnings, this is only his second WSOP cash.

Canada’s Benjamin Underwood finished runner-up for $106,618. Portugal’s Giovani Torre finished third for $74,175 and the Philippines’ Marc Rivera grabbed fourth for $52,569. The tournament brought in 468 entries for a $826,050 prize pool.

Event 80: $3,000 Six-Handed Pot Limit Omaha

The short-handed Omaha action saw a battle involving two players from the United Kingdom. Robert Cowen scored his first bracelet for $280,916 with Robert Emmerson finishing runner-up for $173,613.

Uri Reichenstein, or Israel, took third for $116,106 with Dylan Weisman, of Canada, finishing fourth for $79,368. The tournament attracted 496 entries for a $1.3 million prize pool.

Adrian Mateos celebrates after winning his fourth bracelet. (photo courtesy WSOP)

Event 82: $250,000 Super High Roller

The nosebleed stakes brought out plenty of high rollers seeking a bracelet. Spanish poker superstar Adrian Mateos found his fourth bracelet in this event for $3.3 million.

The UK’s Ben Heath finished runner-up for $2 million. The tournament brought in 33 players for an $8.2 million prize pool. For Mateos, who is sponsored by Winamax, the win was special for being the first major high roller he’s won.

Event 83: $1,500 The Closer

Leo Margets

Spain saw another player rise to the top in this event with Leo Margets grabbing her first bracelet. She became the first woman of the series to win an open event, scoring $376,850 in the process.

The event brought in 1,903 players for a $2.5 million prize pool. Margets’ win also brought another win to the Team Winamax camp.

Bosnia’s Alex Kulev finished runner-up for $232,920 with Germany’s Marc Lange taking fourth for $129,460. 

Event #85: $50,000 High Roller

This event attracted plenty of interest with some big names making the final table. In the end, Belarus’s Mikita Badziakouski scored his first bracelet and $1.5 million.

Daniel Negreanu took third for $661,041 with his fellow GGPoker ambassador Jason Koon finishing fourth for $489,585

The UK’s Stephen Chidwick finished fifth for $367,153. The event produced 113 players for a $5.4 million prize pool.

Event 87: $100,000 High Roller NLHE

Australia’s Michael Addamo scored his second title of the series in this event that attracted 64 entries for a $6.2 million prize pool.

That brought him another $2 million and his fourth bracelet. Earlier in the series, Addamo won a $50,000 high roller as well for$1.1 million.

​​Event 88: $5,000 Eight-Handed NLHE

This event brought a close to the 2021 WSOP with Bulgaria’s Boris Kolev scoring the win for $511,184. The tournament saw a field of 531 entries for a $2.4 million prize pool.

Israel’s Uri Reichenstein finished runner-up for $315,936 with Ramon Colillas, of Spain, taking runner-up for $158,972.

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A look at other winners

In Event 70: $888 Crazy Eights NLHE, South Korea’s Sejin Park came close to a title, finishing runner-up for $400,888. The event saw 5,252 entries for a prize pool of $4.2 million. 

In Event 73: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Championship, Israel’s Yuval Bronshtein continued with his nice series. He took third for $151,460 and also had a win and a fourth-place finish earlier.

Several international players saw big runs in Event 75: $1,500 NLHE Freezeout. Germany’s Stefan Reiser took runner-up for $167,418 with Canada’s Renmei Liu finishing third for $121,580.

Brazilian Kaue De Souza took fourth for $89,344 and Israel’s Ori Hasson finished fifth for $66,447.

In Event 81: $800 NLHE Deepstack, Columbia’s Julian Velasquez finished runner-up for $126,252. Diogo Veiga, of Portugal, finished third for$93,627 with France’s Antoine Goutard taking fifth for $52,943.

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Germany’s Koray Aldemir Scores WSOP Main Event Title; Series Shifts to Vegas Strip in 2022

The World Series of Poker Main Event came to a close on Wednesday night with German poker pro Koray Aldemir coming out on top.

The World Series of Poker Main Event came to a close on Wednesday night with German poker pro Koray Aldemir coming out on top. He takes home $8 million and the gold bracelet after topping a field of 6,650 players.

“It felt great. It’s the biggest final table in the world, so it’s a dream come true,” he said after winning the title. “Probably every poker player thinks about this moment when they watch this, believing ‘maybe I could be there one day.’”

Aldemir made his dream a reality after securing the championship after nine days of long hours at the tables. After the WSOP was held mostly online in 2020 at WSOP.com and GGPoker, this year’s series continued bringing back live poker in a big way.

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Jack Oliver hits rail in 3rd

Getting to the title wasn’t easy. Despite bringing in a chip stack twice of his two opponents, Aldemir faced two tough players in the United Kingdom’s Jack Oliver and New Jersey’s George Holmes.

When play began, here’s how the chip stacks looked:

  • Aldemir – 264,600,000
  • Oliver – 77,300,000
  • Holmes – 57,400,000
Jack Oliver finished third in the WSOP Main Event. (photos courtesy PokerGO)

Oliver was the first player eliminated. After losing a few early pots and falling behind Holmes, he pushed the last of his 36 million chips in with A♣8♦ from the small blind. After some thought, George Holmes called from the bg blind with Q♠J♠.

A Jack landed on the turn, giving Holmes a pair and the pot when Oliver didn’t improve. The Englishman scored $3 million for third place and a great run through the Main Event.

Heads-up battle for the title

That elimination left Aldemir and Holmes battling for the title. The Oliver elimination pushed Holmes’ stack to 137.4 million. He still faced an uphill climb however, with Aldemir holding 262 million.

The matchup featured two completely different types of poker players. Aldemir is a poker pro and high roller regular with more than $13 million in live tournament winnings.

A recreational player, Holmes plays in a weekly home game with friends and has a regular job. Coming into the event, he had only one career tournament cash from the 2019 Main Event for $50,855.

Both had friends and family cheering them on throughout the matchup. Holmes’ wife was also on the rail. Seeing him on PokerGO was her first time seeing him play poker.

George Holmes battling heads-up with Koray Aldemir for the title.

The matchup featured plenty of back and forth play. Holmes went on a nice run early to cut deeply into Aldemir’s lead. He wasn’t afraid of making some big moves and an occasional bluff.

Closing out the battle

Later in the match, Holmes even took the chip lead. Aldemir never seemed to lose control or get shaken however. A seasoned pro, he waited for his own run of cards and was eventually rewarded.

In the final hand, Aldemir held a slight chip lead. Holmes put in a raise to 6 million with K♣Q♠ with Aldemir calling 10♦7♦.

He was in good shape when the flop came 10♥7♠2♥. Aldemir checked and Holmes again bet 6 million. Aldemir then showed some strength with a raise to 19 million.

Holmes called and both players saw a K♠ on the turn. Aldemir then put in a hefty bet of 36.5 million. Holmes thought just a bit and called with his pair of Kings. This brought the pot to more than 100 million.

The 9​​​♠ came on the river and Aldemir checked. Holmes’ all-in shove may have been unexpected and his 133 million went into the pot.

Despite holding two pairs, Aldemir faced a tough decision. Losing the hand meant he’d only have about 10 million chips left.  After some deep thought, he called and it was all over.

Holmes took home $4.3 million for second place and played well throughout the final table.

“Unbelievable, I still can’t put it into words,” Holmes said afterward. “It’s been a grueling week and a half. This guy was amazing, tough all night. Good game, well played.”

2021 WSOP Main Event results

  1. Koray Aldemir – $8,000,000
  2. George Holmes – $4,300,000
  3. Jack Oliver – $3,000,000
  4. Joshua Remitio – $2,300,000
  5. Ozgur Secilmis – $1,800,000
  6. Hye Park – $1,400,000
  7. Alejandro Lococo – $1,225,000
  8. Jareth East – $1,100,000

WSOP heading to Vegas Strip next year

The WSOP also made some other news this week. During Tuesday’s coverage on PokerGO, the WSOP announced that the festival would once again be played in the summer next year.

The WSOP will once again return to the summer, but is shifting to the Vegas Strip for the first time in its 53-year history. The series moves to the Bally’s and Paris properties on Las Vegas’s famed gaming and entertainment mecca.

Plans call for the series to run from May 31 to July 19 following a 17-year run at the Rio. Players won’t have to wait too long with only about six months until cards are back in the air.

Vince Vaughan takes the stage at the WSOp Main Event.

Vince Vaughan announced as new WSOP ambassador, master of ceremonies

Along with the new location announcement, WSOP officials also welcomed actor, comedian and card player Vince Vaughn on board this week. He’ll serve as a series ambassador and master of ceremonies for the 2022 series..

“As we approach the final table, we look back on yet another successful Main Event that exceeded expectations,” WSOP Vice President Ty Stewart said in a news release. “We are absolutely thrilled with this year’s turnout, both domestically and internationally. As we close out this chapter at the Rio, we are excited to have the iconic Vince Vaughn usher in a new era of WSOP at Bally’s and Paris next summer.”

On Tuesday, the star of “Wedding Crashers” and “Swingers” hit the stage to voice the official “shuffle up and deal.” He also joined the PokerGO broadcast team during the final table action.

Vaughn has been a regular card player for much of his life and plans on playing in the WSOP next summer.

“I have such a strong connection to Las Vegas and am honored to be selected as the master of ceremonies for what is set to be the most anticipated WSOP tournament ever,” Vaughn said. “Poker has long been one of my favorite sports, so to be a part of something as historic as the WSOP finally moving to the Strip is an absolute dream. Vegas Baby, Vegas!”

The full 2022 WSOP schedule is expected to be released in January.

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More WSOP tournaments continue

The Main Event may be over, but even more WSOP events are in the works. Players will find 10 events left on the schedule, including two online bracelet tournaments.

That includes one online tournament for players only on the WSOP.com Pennsylvania platform.

Thursday’s action sees an $800 NLHE Deepstack and the $250,000 Super High Roller kicking off. Check back to PokerScout next week for a look at some recent winners in other events.

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