Israel’s Shachar Zvang Wins First Match Poker Online World Cup, Matt Matros Takes Runner-up

The inaugural Match Poker Online World Cup recently concluded with top-tier players from around the world competing.

The inaugural Match Poker Online World Cup recently concluded with top-tier players from around the world competing for bragging rights and cash prizes.

The tournament was held over the course of two weeks in December with hundreds of online poker players taking part. Israeli player Shachar “OctopuSZ” Zvang emerged as the winner and tournament organizers were pleased with the results.

“We were thrilled with the turnout and good sportsmanship of all involved in the competition – many sending congratulations and expressing how fun and close the final results were,” said Jake Colman, Match Poker Online head of customer relations.

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World Cup action and a look at winners

Shachar “OctopuSZ” Zvang

Players qualified for the World Cup by participating on the app throughout the year. Competitors were placed into one of two categories. The “Ruby” division featured the game’s best players and the “Ivory” division included the game’s second tier.

After two weekends of playoffs, the field was narrowed down to 36 finalists in each category for the finals, held on Dec. 17-18. At the end of the event, Zvang emerged as the winner, taking home $625, a digital certificate, and a trophy.

After his big win, Zvang took to Twitter to thank the organizers for the “amazing experience.” American poker player and writer Matt Matros finished runner-up. He shared his own World Cup story on Twitter. He’d hoped to “come full circle” and win the tournament, but settled for the silver medal.

German player Daniel “Zealot” Eylenfeldt finished third, winning $125. Eylenfeldt is a regular in live match poker events. His team, Piranhas Hamburg, previously won the German National Live Match Poker competition.

In the Ivory division, German player “MacHarry” came out on top for $450. “AndyLai” from Hong Kong took second place for $175. “NutsHK,” also from Hong Kong, came in third for $75.

A total of 632 players qualified for the Ruby and Ivory divisions. Match Poker Online officials are looking forward to an even bigger and better tournament in 2023.

What is Match Poker and how does it work?

Released in February, the free Match Poker app highlights a “battle royale” game mode. In this structure, 36 players are dealt the same hand across tables and compete to see who can score the best in each round.

The goal is to eliminate luck as the app focuses on player results and offers tips on how to play the hand for the best possible outcomes. 

Additionally, the app collects statistics on player behavior, allowing users to see if they are playing too aggressively, passively, loose, or tight. The app also includes various statistics, graphs, and other enjoyable gameplay features.

“This makes it a pure test of skill – a sport – an official mind sport,” Colman says. “And, for the first time in the history of poker, you can obtain an official world ranking. No other poker experience gives you this.”

Colman recently appeared on the Nerdthusiast Poker Podcast and discussed the game and its future. 

Match Poker introduces a new twist on traditional poker by allowing players to compete not only against those at their own table, but also against players seated at other tables in the same seat as them.

In this format, all players in the same seat are dealt the same two hole cards and see the same flop, turn, and river. This adds an extra layer of strategy to the game and allows for more detailed statistical analysis.]

Developers have announced that more game features and statistical options will be added in 2023.

After years of development, players can now test their skills by using real-time updated data. Match Poker Online is now available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Online Poker Strategy Session: Zach Elwood Offers Advice on Quick Actions at the Tables

Zach Elwood , author of Exploiting Poker Tells, analyzes quick actions at the tables, some of the most critical online poker tells.

Editor’s note: Zach Elwood is the author of Reading Poker Tells and Exploiting Poker Tells. He also hosts the the Reading Poker Tells Video Series and People Who Read People podcast. He offers PokerScout readers some strategy advice below.

While there may be less information available on competitors at the online poker tables, there are some tells that can give players some information on the strength of an opponent’s hand.

Quick action is one of the most critical online poker tells. Online, actions that take a long time aren’t going to be reliable: this is because we don’t know the reasons a player might be taking a long time.

They could be multi-tabling, or distracted, or whatever. For this reason, only quick actions are worth paying attention to.

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As with most poker tells, it’s important to have some sense of a player’sbaseline. For example, if a player is always betting immediately just due to being a very experienced player, their immediate actions won’t be meaningful.

And this means that, as is the case for poker tells in general, the most of the value you’ll get from these patterns is when playing more recreational players who are more likely to have timing imbalances. 

These are some excerpts from Exploiting Poker Tells that are relevant to online poker and have to do with quick calls and quick bets.

Quick call of four-bet defines range ($5-10 NLHE cash game)

I raise in middle position with K♣Kto $35. A fairly tight player behind me makes it $115. Stacks are $1,200. I make it $325 and my opponent calls within about four seconds.

This situation comes up fairly frequently: an opponent calling a three-bet or four-bet quickly. This might be a literal “snap call,” or it might just be an unusually fast call considering a player’s usual speed of action. In most of these cases, these quick calls will point to medium-strength hands: hands that, from that player’s perspective, are obviously too strong to fold, while also obviously too weak to raise.

For most recreational players, quick calls of pre-flop three-bets and four-bets will make JJ and QQ likely. JJ is significantly more likely than QQ, but QQ becomes more likely the tighter the player is. 

Some inexperienced players may also call quickly with AK, whereas better players will usually spend a little time thinking about the situation before reaching a decision. How well you’re able to pinpoint a player’s range will depend on your knowledge of their playing style.

In this case, because I had a few dozen hours playing with this player, I was very confident he had QQ. I knew he was tight enough that he would probably at least consider folding JJ and AK. I knew if he had AA or KK he would consider raising. So there wasn’t much left except QQ.

Knowing that AA, KK, and AK are unlikely is obviously great information to have post-flop. It can influence you to bluff on Ace-high boards, and it can encourage you to slow play if you think that you’re ahead but your opponent will fold to a bet.

Snap-call of a three-bet ($5-10 NLHE cash game)

A very tight player makes it $35 in the hijack. And “very tight” is an understatement: this guy is probably one of the tightest players in the world. It’s basically impossible to get value out of him, so my only approach when in hands with him is to try to get him off hands whenever I see a promising spot to do so. He has about $700 to start this hand and I cover.

When this player raises pre-flop, it’s a very tight range. He often doesn’t raise first in with AK, but he will in late position. I’ve noticed that when he raises late with hands like AK or AQ or low pairs, he makes his raises larger than he would if he had big pairs. If he had KK or AA, he’d probably make it $30 here, so his $35 raise makes KK and AA less likely.

A player behind him calls; this player is fairly tight and mostly straightforward. I’m in the big blind with K8. I make it $135.

Deducing Queens

I know that if the first raiser has AA or KK, he will be waiting a while and then either shoving or near-shoving. If he has AK or pairs JJ or lower, he’ll most likely be folding. The only hands he’ll just call with, I think, are QQ, and maybe JJ and AK suited.

He calls my raise after only about three seconds. This quick call – quick when taking into account his usual behavior – restricts this player almost exclusively to QQ. If he had paused a bit before putting in the call, it becomes more possible he might have JJ or AK suited, but the immediate call is very range defining for a player this tight.

The other player calls also.

The flop is K♣Q7. I check and the tight player bets $300 into $420. The other player folds and I fold.

The bettor shows QQ♣, for a set.

Even if I had a strong hand here on this flop, including AA or a set of 7s, I would have folded to any bet from him. That’s how confident I was that his behavior combined with his playing style narrowed his range to only QQ.

Quick bet polarizes & weakens range (2013 PokerStars EPT €10,000 NLHE tournament)

Jason Lavallee min-raises to 60,000 from middle position and Carla Sabini calls on the button. The big blind also calls.

The flop is 983♠ and Lavallee continuation bets for 78,000. Sabini calls. The turn is the 3. Lavallee checks and Sabini quickly bets 100,000. Lavallee calls.

The river is the K♠. Lavallee checks and Sabini again quickly bets 160,000 , around a third of the pot. He makes the call with Q♣J♣, beating Sabini’s QT.

Lavallee talked afterward in a PokerNews interview with Kristy Arnett about how his opponent’s bet-timing was a factor in his call:

Player comments on big call

“I ended up checking [the turn] and she made a pretty small bet but really fast. Which against non-experienced players, usually, one of their biggest leaks is not value-betting light enough and just in general playing too polarized, where they’ll bet their really big hands or their absolute air, but they won’t really know what to do with the middle part of their range. Like if she shows up on the turn with like 87 suited, which is middle pair, I wouldn’t expect her to bet really quickly; she would consider what to do with that hand.

“And usually in tournaments, they’ll opt even more for pot-control lines, which means not betting and being put to a tough decision, and instead try to steer the hand toward showdown. So when she bet really quickly it was an interesting decision because, I didn’t think she had total air, but I wasn’t sure what she would end up doing with like a 9, an 8, or like pocket 6s type of hand, and I didn’t think that she would bet it that quickly.

“I thought about raising, but I didn’t see what raising would accomplish, because the stuff that I actually end up beating, stuff like 6-7 suited, J10, and Q10, I already beat with my specific hand. So I decided to call instead, which is very non-conventional; it’s one of those things that you, in the moment, you feel or you don’t. There’s something to be said about instinctual play; it’s definitely not a standard line that I take all the time.

“And the river brought an off-suit King. And I checked and she bet really fast again.”

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Analyzing the hand

Lavallee explains in a clear way how quick bets can polarize a player’s hand range. This is probably the most important and reliable aspect of quick bets: they make medium-strength hands unlikely because most players need to consider what to do with medium-strength hands.

Whereas with clearly strong and clearly bluff-worthy hands there is less thought required.

Besides this basic reason, we also have the fact that bluffers often wish to appear confident, which leads to them betting quickly. Conversely, players with very strong hands can have a motivation to appear uncertain, which can lead to them physically or verbally “hemming and hawing” (to quote Phil Hellmuth) before betting.

For these reasons, quick bets will make it a bit more likely than usual that a bet is a bluff. But this is not a big factor; you should always remember that overall, most significant bets are value-bets and not bluffs.

I wanted to include Lavallee’s exact words because it’s not often that experienced high-stakes players talk about how opponent behavior can influence their decisions. Many serious players don’t like to talk about such things because they feel it reduces their edge – and they’re probably right

For more information on Zach Elwood, click here.

Expanding Footprint: WPT Partners With New FanJolt Social Media Video Service; More Action Ahead

The World Poker Tour continues branching out in new forms of media distribution and fan engagement. From entering the world of NFTs to expanded streaming platforms, tour management hasn’t shied away from expanding its footprint in recent years.

The tour announced yet another partnership on Friday, teaming up with FanJolt. The company offers “a new interactive fan experience that directly connects users with their favorite faces from the worlds of poker, sports, and entertainment to support their charities and foundations.”

That now includes some of the WPT’s biggest names and most well-known poker players.

“FanJolt is a unique enhancement to our overall fan engagement,” WPT CEO Adam Pliska said in a news release. “We look forward to sharing the opportunity for an exclusive WPT experience with poker players and fans around the world.”

Along with that deal, the tour also recently announced a new agreement for an NFT Poker Club involving online poker. Here’s a look at some of the latest news from the tour.

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How does FanJolt work?

FanJolt allows users to join live broadcasts with their favorite celebrities. Each live broadcast includes an opportunity for a participant to be “JOLTED” into personal, one-on-one conversations with the individual celeb host.

The company is a startup and the launch will now include WPT cast members Vince Van Patten, Lynn Gilmartin, and Tony Dunst.

Poker pros Daniel Negreanu, Maria Ho, and Antonio Esfandiari have also joined the FanJolt lineup. Ho and Negreanu make their FanJolt debut with a dual broadcast on Feb. 17.

Broadcast fees start at $1.99. A look at the launch showed upcoming streams with golfing legend Annika Sorenstam, tennis superstar Rafa Nadal, and actor/comedian Chevy Chase.

Other participants include Aaron Judge, Kareem Hunt, Kevin O’Leary, Jewel, Ashanti, and others. As part of the initial launch, all live broadcast fees in February will go to designated charities.

“Through FanJolt, World Poker Tour fans can instantly and easily gain access to their favorite players through a variety of upcoming events,” FanJolt founder and CEO Trevor Short said.

“In addition to bringing fans and their icons together on one platform, FanJolt and The World Poker Tour look forward to not only engaging with the community, but being able to use the platform to benefit a variety of charities and foundations with each interaction.”

Media presence expansion continues

Poker continues to see some mainstream interest in recent weeks. 16-time World Series of Poker champion Phil Hellmuth headlined a celebrity event last week for the American Cornhole League.

The event had Hellmuth, who also hosts the WPT’s Raw Deal segment, paired with a pro and playing at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on ESPN.

Actor Laurence Fishburne also recently hit the screen in a television commercial for the free-to-play WSOP mobile game. The WPT now adds some of its own talent and players to a bit of the Hollywood ranks with FanJolt.

The tour also recently announced a deal with GAMAVRS. The company is launching the Poker Heroes Club, the world’s first NFT poker club.

“Club members will be able to use their Poker Heroes as in-client avatars with special abilities such as access to freeroll tournaments, exclusive celebrity tables, and access to WPT live VIP events,” the WPT notes in announcing the partnership.

Poker Heroes owners can upload their NFTs to use as avatars and unlock “poker superpowers.” These can be used as part of a new online poker offering known as WPTGlobal.

The companies are promising plenty of special events from $100,000 freerolls to live VIP events.

Alexander Yen at the Lucky Hearts Poker Open final table. (photo courtesy WPT)

More WPT events on the horizon

In January, the Lucky Hearts Poker Open kicked off the tour’s 20th anniversary season at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida.

Alexander Yen came out on top for $975,240 after topping a field of 1,982 entries, which created a $6.4 million prize pool.

The 36-year-old University of Indiana graduate learned how to play in college. He’s now been playing professionally for 15 years.

“(My friends and I) started playing for beer money, and they would all beat me and take my money,” Yen told after scoring the biggest win of his career. “By sophomore year, I started playing online poker, and that’s when things really started to click and take off.”

The tour again heads to Florida for the second stop of the season. The $3,500 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown runs from April 8-12 and features a $2 million guarantee. After that is the WPT Choctaw in Durant, Oklahoma, from May 13-16 and also with a $3,500 buy-in.

Tour officials announced earlier this year that WPTDeepStacks events would also qualify for the Player of the Year race this season.

A few of those events are also ahead, including two stops outside the US. The €1,100 WPTDS Amsterdam is set for March 29 – April 1. The WPTDS Sydney heads to The Star Casino in Australia from April 7-11 with a AUD$1,500 buy-in.

The WPTDS then returns to Thunder Valley Casino in California from April 28 – May 1 and comes with a $1,500 buy-in. More WPT events are expected to be announced soon.

Poker Players Team Up For QLASH Esports Team Ownership

Some of the biggest names in poker have teamed up to invest in the QLASH esports team. They're betting on big things to come.

As a whole, video gaming is a $180 billion industry and competitive events have attracted huge crowds and sponsorship deals. Experts now expect the global esports market to top $1 billion this year.

The idea of a video game player “going pro” is no longer a foreign concept. And team owners are lining up to become the next Jerry Jones or Robert Craft.

That includes a group of five poker players looking to see the QLASH esports team and organization become a household name in the space. Some of these are among the biggest names in poker and hope to see the team follow a familiar path.

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“To describe in a simple way, we’re trying to do for gaming and esports what PokerStars did for poker during its heyday,” says Eugene Katchalov, one of the key owners of the team and winner of a World Series of Poker bracelet and World Poker Tour title.

The industry is growing at over 14% year over year and even professional sports teams have begun launching their own e-counterparts.

“We see a lot of these trends continuing, mainly because of some of the statistics that I’ve seen about sports where fanbases continue to get older,” Katchalov says.

“This means that kids are watching less and less sports and are instead interested in games and esports. This is who we are focused on and hence our mission to build ‘the go-to place for gamers’ with our platform.”

Launching the platform

Katchalov founded the organization in 2017 along former PokerStars ambassador Luca Pagano, who has $2.2 million in live poker tournament winnings. Both invested $4 million between them in the project.

“Luca and I became close in 2016 and realized that we were both very interested in esports,” Katchalov says.

“We were longtime gamers, even before poker. Considering our experience in PokerStars and Luca’s experience with Pagano events, which ran all live events for PokerStars in Italy and Malta for 12-plus years, we thought we had the right tools to transfer some of that knowledge into the exploding esport industry and see which aspects could be applicable.”

The pair’s first endeavor involved a simple competitive Hearthstone esports organization. The game exploded in popularity over the last few years, attracting players around the world.

Katchalov and Pagano travelled with the team to events to network and learn about the industry. The more they learned, the more they believed there was an opportunity.

“We realized no one was properly focused on the community and decided this is where we should focus,” Katchalov says.

Within the poker industry, many have already seen a possible crossover between the two games. The WPT began an esports arm a few years ago and others within the industry have also focused on esports.

Many players also see the potential and other players investing in the team include Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, and Jeff Gross. Former PokerStars CEO and CFO Michael Hazel also serves as one of the company’s top advisors.

“I love the esports space and Eugene’s reputation, and my experience with him as a professional made it an easy choice,” Gross says. “Also, with Daniel and Phil being involved, I knew they also did their due diligence and had believed the same.”

Building a gaming brand, following the PokerStars online poker path

That idea of building a community comes from years of serving as PokerStars ambassadors. For Katchalov and Pagano, their duties included:

  • attending live events
  • interacting with the poker community
  • representing the brand throughout the world
  • inviting others to play on the PokerStars platform

They now hope to bring some of those aspects to the esports space with QLASH.

“Essentially we were a marketing tool for PokerStars rather than an end goal on its own,” Katchalov says. “This is approximately the approach we’re taking with QLASH, albeit through quite a different starting route and with a very different business model.” 

That includes focusing on building communities in different games. QLASH then connects with those by organizing differing live and online events.

Katchalov says QLASH has signed deals with professional esport players, influencers, and streamers. These help promote the brand and engage with player communities.

Since its founding, QLASH has focused on building the brand through social media channels and a large Discord community.

The company has now moved on to developing its own event platforms. The “QLASH Community” platform launched in November 2020 and is available on iOS and Android

“It’s still in early beta,” Katchalov says, “but we’ve already accomplished quite a lot of traction by using it for event organization for our existing community.”

Unique funding approach

Part of the QLASH concept is a daily schedule of events that run for different games, much as PokerStars or other online poker sites might offer.

“Our monetization will, however, be quite different and will consist of things like sponsorships with global brands, providing marketing and event creation for game publishers, subscription models, skin and badge sales, et cetera,” Katchalov says. “We cover 15 different games with varying levels of focus.”

The most popular communities so far are for the games Clash Royale, Brawl Stars, Fifa, Fortnite, and League of Legends

The company is also now undergoing its funding round with the goal of continuing to invest in platform development. Owners believe it’s important to allow community members to become owners as well.

Players and fans can invest for as little as €10. QLASH recently launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on the British platform Seedrs to help make the funding effort a success.

US-based players can’t use the funding platform, but QLASH offers other investment options.

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Success in a growing market

Finding a foothold in a crowded market isn’t easy. There are now numerous teams, organizations, and players. Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban even owns a piece of a team.

QLASH has had some success stories so far. As a brand, the team has become the top esports organization in Italy and among the top five in Spain.

The team has also done well in the actual competitive video game environment as well. Its FIFA soccer player was the No. 1 player in the world on PS4 in 2020.

The current Brawl Stars team is also considered by many to be the best. QLASH’s Starcraft 2 pro, Reynor, is also considered No. 1 in the world.

In Italy, the company has even created a separate brand in partnership with the AC Milan football club. Milan QLASH serves as an esports arm for the club, splitting revenues between the two organizations. 

“All this success has allowed us to create important relationships with game publishers and big brands that we work with,” Katchalov says. “Likewise, it has brought many new people to our communities.”

Owners are hoping the market continues to grow, but even Cuban offers some words of warning. He recently noted that there’s not much revenue for US-based teams but believes there’s plenty of opportunity in the future.

That potential is what these poker-playing esports team owners are betting on. As Gross notes: “I really think esports is just scratching the service and I am a big believer in the future.”

Online Poker Gives Canadian Twitch Streamer Deborah ‘QueenBee’ Vanneste A Buzz

Deborah "QueenBee" Vanneste discovered online poker while recovering from an injury in the Canadian Naval Reserves. Twitch streaming has now become a passion. 

Injuries can come with major setbacks. But for Deborah Vanneste, an injury ended up changing her life. Vanneste was on leave from the Canadian Naval Reserves recovering from an injury and decided to give online poker a shot to pass the time. 

“I deposited onto PokerStars to Celebrate New Year’s that year,” says Vanneste, who lives on Prince Edward Island, Canada. “In my first week playing online poker I won a seat to the Vanessa Rousso boot camp and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tournament.” 

On that trip, Vanneste was introduced to poker legends like Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Selbst, and Bertrand “ Elky” Grospellier. She was hooked by the poker experience.


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Meet the QueenBee

If her name doesn’t sound familiar, then “QueenBeePoker” might ring a bell. She’s a Twitch poker streamer on and has almost 7,000 followers.

Vanneste plays poker online weekly and started streaming poker after seeing Jaime Staples on Twitch. 

“I thought there would be a good opportunity for streaming some low stakes at the same time representing women in poker,” she says.

Streaming brought some luck to her early on in the game. On just her second live stream, Vanneste won a PokerStars MicroMillions title live on Twitch. 

The QueenBee currently has over $150,000 in online tournament cashes, including two titles in the recent MicroMillions

Some of her notable online cashes include:

  • $3.30 PokerStars MicroMillions (2014) – 1st, $12,685
  • $8.80 PokerStars MicroMillions Pot Limit Omaha 6-Max (2015) – 1st, $3,517
  • $210 GGPoker Bounty Hunter Special (2021) – 2nd, $2,138
  • $82 partypoker Powerfest PKO (2020) – 5th, $2,323


Staying a busy bee

Vanneste currently considers poker a hobby, not a profession. Besides being a mom and a poker player, she has a day job and is pursuing some educational goals

“I currently work full time with Veterans Affairs,” she says. “I am back at university at the moment, pursuing my bachelor’s of business and public administration degrees.”

The QueenBee feels like her stream stands out because she isn’t the typical Twitch streamer. 

“I think representing women in poker sets me a bit apart, especially being mature,” she says. “Also the diversity of games I play, I love adding some mixed games and PLO into the lineup.”

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Live poker goals

Twitch streamer Deborah Vanneste showing off her Run It Up Reno trophy,

While she plays mostly online, Vanneste would like to play more in a live setting. She has achieved some success at brick and mortar casinos however. 

In 2017, she was able to attend the Run It Up Reno IV, hosted by Jason Somerville. The QueenBee won a PokerStars satellite for only $27 and punched her ticket to the event. 

At the series she secured some nice cashes and a win as well. She took the top spot in a $125 Triple Stud Six-Max event for $2,625. She also notched two more cashes.

“Getting to play with Jason Somerville was a dream,” she says. “Also bluffing him, showing the bluff, and going on to win felt pretty good too!”

Travel in Canada has been restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vanneste feels the positive side of this situation is that it’s created a mini online poker boom in the country. She still wants to play live and plans on traveling when it’s safe to do so.

“I want to incorporate a trip to Vegas once per year for the World Series of Poker as I have never been yet,” she says.

Vanneste wants that schedule to start soon. The Queen hopes to add some gold.

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New Twitch Show ‘Seat Wide Open’ Ramps Up Poker Talk – And Fun

The team behind the new Twitch poker show "Seat Wide Open" are hoping to find a niche and offer something new in the poker media landscape.

In a packed poker media landscape, there’s no shortage of websites, publications, and video options for poker fans. The team behind the new Twitch poker show Seat Wide Open are hoping to find a niche and offer something new.

Riffld, the production company behind the industry series The Orbit, debuted the new show last week. The pilot featured hosts Des Duffy and Leigh Wiltshire interviewing Unibet ambassador Dara O’Kearney.

A unique aspect of the game is seeing each guest play online poker while chit chatting with the hosts. O’Kearney, who co-hosts The Chip Race podcast and is also an author, played a Unibet cash game session while discussing topics ranging from his play on the virtual felt to cryptocurrency to writing and blogging.

Duffy recently spoke with PokerScout about the show and how Riffld hopes to offer some twists to the typical poker production.

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What to expect from the show

Seat Wide Open works in some additional features to add to the entertainment value. Viewers ride along as each week’s guest battles it out online.

That effort includes some multitasking for a wide ranging interview with Duffy and Wiltshire. The hosts also use some fun game show segments to add to turn up the fun.

Those features include: Stake a Shark, Sing a Long, Hot or Not, and Review a Flick. Each of these segments is meant to bring a television variety show feel. It’s a late night talk show mixed with a bit of The Gong Show and some Twitch poker thrown in.

On the poker side, viewers get a detailed insight into each player’s approach to the game. Each guest plays for 100 minutes with hole cards visible for viewers.

The show also keeps a leaderboard for show guests throughout the season. Producers hope this accomplishes two things:

  • Allowing viewers to see some varied thought processes and strategies across a full season.
  • Players are really working hard to post a great session to challenge at the top of the leaderboard.

“This absolutely lends itself to the competitive nature of poker players and it’ll be interesting to see what impact the leaderboard has on decision making live on the show,” Duffy says of the leaderboard.

“While all of this is going on, we are also conducting a deep interview with the guest through direct questions and some unique game show style segments, which will occasionally take the guest out of their comfort zone.

“There’s quite a mix of things going on, but they segued together well in our pilot episode with Dara O’Kearney and we’ve come out feeling confident that the format can find an audience. Plus, we had fun making it and that’s important to us too.”


A passion for poker

The show becomes the latest program for The Riffld team, which also includes Cardplayer Lifestyle blog founder Robbie Strazynski, hope to inform and entertain at the same time.

The team’s previous effort, The Orbit, received some nice buzz among players and fans. Seat Wide Open is meant to build on that momentum.

While entertainment is a big part of the show, the hosts bring plenty of industry knowledge

Duffy formerly worked as head of product at SkyBet and in other roles with online gaming operators. He also co-founded the Amateur Poker Association and Tour with Wiltshire.

Robbie, Leigh and I are recreational players with a great passion for poker,” Duffy says. “We come from a mix of backgrounds. I’ve worked for industry operators, for example. We do have a lot in common, particularly a wish to promote poker as the great social game that it is.”

The Orbit was our first format and it had a great response from the industry. We evolved the format by adding a complimentary Orbit Extra, which was a live reaction show to what was discussed on the show. We’ve had some outstanding guests on both of those shows.”

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Growing a poker channel

Seat Wide Open streams live each Thursday and fans can tune in to ask each guest questions. Hosts and viewers can inquire why certain hands were played in certain ways as well as other strategy questions. With the casual format, some of those questions may evolve outside the poker realm as well.

With so many operators and streamers on Twitch, Duffy, Wiltshire, and Strazynski hope the channel reaches all types of players.

“We see an opportunity for a more highly-produced show, with less emphasis on single operators or platforms,” Duffy says.”We want to showcase the best streamers, the best players and operators at any given time – whether through a news, game show, or live reporting format.

“Ultimately we’d like to build up a weekly schedule of shows and become a destination for viewers who want to add greater variation into what they watch. Everyone’s time is valuable these days and we just want to add a little more choice into the mix.”

O’Kearney believes the team is moving in the right direction and says he had a great time on the show.

“The show was tremendous fun,” he says. “Leigh and Des are great at keeping the chat flowing. I really enjoyed it and it reminded me how much fun live poker is.”

The next episode of Seat Wide Open streams live July 29 and features Jesse Sylvia, 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up. Riffld is seeking players or streamers interested in taking part in future episodes. Contact producers at [email protected] or @riffld via Twitter.

GGPoker Receives ISO 27001 Certification As Company Continues Expansion

NSUSLAB Korea, parent company of GGPoker, announced this week that it has received ISO 27001 certification for its online gaming platform.

NSUSLAB Korea, parent company of GGPoker, announced a new certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) this week. The company received ISO 27001 certification for its online gaming platform.

The distinction outlines a framework of “policies and procedures that includes all legal, physical, and technical controls involved in an organization’s information risk management processes,” according to

Company officials said the certification signals GG’s dedication to safety and security on the platform.

“NSUSLAB is proud to have secured this ISO 27001 certification, as we have always placed information security at the forefront of our efforts,” NSUSLAB CEO Daniel Lim said in a news release.

“We hope that the news further assures GGPoker, its players, partners, and regulators of our commitment to maintaining the security of their information.” 

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Details on the GGPoker certification

ISO 27001 is an international standard recognized globally for managing risks to the security of organization’s information. The process provides a set of standardized requirements for securely managing information.

With poker sites hosting thousands of players and maintaining their information funds, security is of top importance in the industry.

NSUSLAB Korea’s software powers GGPoker, which hosts hundreds of thousands of players and games each week. The company operates in a number of regulated markets.

Beyond poker, NSUSLAB also produces omni-channel online casino table games, proprietary gaming platforms, and business intelligence systems. The company boasts more than 200 developers.

The site is licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission and Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.

More major events coming to GGPoker

GGPoker has made some major poker news in recent weeks. Once again the site will host World Series of Poker online bracelet events for international players this summer.

The international half of the series runs on GG from Aug. 1 to Sept. 12 and awards 33 bracelets.

The site is also hosting the WSOP Super Circuit Online Series May 1-30. That series features a $100 million guarantee and awards 18 championship rings.

The site is also running satellites for the $10,000 WSOP Main Event from Aug. 1 to Oct. 1. World Series officials announced recently that the annual series in Las Vegas was being moved to the fall this year. The annual festival runs Sept. 30 to Nov. 23 at the Rio.

Much of the 2020 Main Event played out online with international players competing on GGPoker. The site also announced another major series in the works. The WSOP Winter Online Super Circuit will run at the site with a schedule released later.

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Partypoker MILLIONS Online Returns with Huge Payouts; KO Series Main Events Wrap Up

Partypoker’s MILLIONS Online returns Feb. 13 to March 9 with 28 events and features an overall guarantee of $17.55 million.

After record-breaking prize pools in two previous editions, partypoker’s MILLIONS Online returns in February. The festival runs Feb. 13 to March 9 with 28 events and features $17.55 million guaranteed.

In recent years, the MILLIONS series has become one of partypoker LIVE’s most successful tours. The online version is designed to replicate the live poker experience as much as possible. Just like in a live tournament, real names are used at the tables.

Partypoker is also again making it easy for players of every bankroll to get in the action with numerous satellites. There should be plenty of action for all kinds of players.

“We’re extremely proud to be hosting yet another online leg of the world-renowned MILLIONS tour,” partypoker’s head of poker room management Chris Donnachie said in a news release.

“The satellite framework this year has been designed with a view to make both the Main Event and Mini Main Event even more accessible to players of all buy-in levels.”

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Highlights from partypoker MILLIONS

The $5,300 Main Event highlights the MILLIONS Online series with a $5 million guaranteed prize pool. Day 1A kicks off Feb. 21 with Day 1B on Feb. 28. There will then be three more days of play with the final table set for March 3.

On top of the first-place cash, the winner also receives a trophy to mark his or her achievement. Benjamin “frenchsniperr” Chalot walked away with the top prize of $2.3 million in the last MILLIONS Online Main Event. All four top finishers claimed seven-figure prizes.

Players with smaller bankrolls also can look forward to several smaller buy-in events. The series begins with Day 1A of the $1,100 Mini Main Event on Feb. 13 with a $1 million guarantee.

Two flights will be held on consecutive days before three more days of action. That culminates in the final table playing out on Feb. 17.

Mini Main Event qualifiers start at just one cent, with 20 seats currently offered in satellite finals on Sundays. The centrolls feed into $1.10 and $11 phases with no direct buy-in to the phase tournament finals.

Players can look forward to several other big events. A few of those on the schedule include:

  • $1,050 Opener – A two-day Progressive Knockout (PKO) event running Feb. 19-21, with a $500,000 guarantee.
  • $1,600 NLHE Six-Max Knockout – A two-day event on Feb. 17 with a $250,000 guarantee.
  • $1,050 NLHE Warmup – This two-day PKO event with $500,000 guaranteed features three starting flights beginning on Feb. 26.
  • $1,050 NLHE Closer – One of the final events with three starting flights beginning March 5. The PKO event features $500,000 guaranteed.
  • High Rollers – The series features several big buy-in events including a $102,000 Mega High Roller with a $3 million guarantee.

Here’s a look at the complete schedule.

partypoker MILLIONS Online 2021

DateEventBuy-InTournamentGuaranteeDayFormatNumber of days
Feb. 13#01$1,100Mini Main Event$1,000,000Day 1A8-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
Feb. 14#01$1,100Mini Main Event-Day 1B8-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
Feb. 15#01-Mini Main Event-Day 28-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
Feb. 15#02$530Mini Second Chance$50,000-8-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 16#01-Mini Main Event-Day 38-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
Feb. 16#03$10,3006-Max High Roller$500,000-6-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 16#04$5,2006-Max High Roller Turbo$200,000-6-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 17#01-Mini Main Event-Final Table8-Max-
Feb. 17#05$1,6006-Max Knockout$250,000Day 16-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 18#06$3,200Omaha High Roller$150,000-7-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 19#07$1,050Opener$500,000Day 1A6-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 20#07$1,050Opener-Day 1B6-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 21#07$1,050Opener-Day 1C6-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 21#07-Opener-Day 26-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 21#08$5,300Main Event$5,000,000Day 1A8-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
Feb. 21#09$2,100High Roller Turbo$100,000-7-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 22#10$2,100Omaha$200,000Day 17-Max[2-Day Event]
Feb. 23#11$25,5006-Max Super High Roller$1,000,000Day 16-Max[2-Day Event]
Feb. 23#12$5,2006-Max High Roller Turbo$200,000-6-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 24#13$1,600Knockout$250,000Day 18-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 25#14$3,2006-Max$300,000Day 16-Max[2-Day Event]
Feb. 25#15$5,200Omaha High Roller$200,000-7-Max[1-Day Event]
Feb. 26#16$1,050Warm Up$500,000Day 1A8-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 27#16$1,050Warm Up-Day 1B8-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 28#16$1,050Warm Up-Day 1C7-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 28#16-Warm Up-Day 28-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
Feb. 28#08$5,300Main Event-Day 1B8-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
Feb. 28#17$2,100High Roller Turbo$100,000-7-Max[1-Day Event]
March 1#08-Main Event-Day 28-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
March 1#18$2,600Second Chance$250,000Day 18-Max[2-Day Event]
March 2#08-Main Event-Day 38-Max[3-Day Event + FT Wednesday]
March 2#19$2,100Omaha Knockout$200,000Day 16-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
March 2#20$25,500Super High Roller$1,000,000Day 17-Max[2-Day Event]
March 2#21$5,200High Roller Turbo$200,000-7-Max[1-Day Event]
March 3#08-Main Event-Final Table8-Max-
March 3#22$1,600Turbo Knockout$200,000-7-Max PKO[1-Day Event]
March 4#23$3,200Mix-Max$300,000Day 1Mix-Max[2-Day Event]
March 4#24$5,2006-Max Omaha High Roller$200,000-6-Max[1-Day Event]
March 5#25$1,050Closer$500,000Day 1A7-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
March 6#25$1,050Closer-Day 1B7-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
March 7#25$1,050Closer-Day 1C7-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
March 7#25-Closer-Day 27-Max PKO[2-Day Event]
March 7#26$10,300High Roller$1,000,000Day 17-Max[2-Day Event]
March 7#27$5,200High Roller Turbo$200,000-7-Max[1-Day Event]
March 8#28$102,000Mega High Roller$3,000,000Day 17-Max[2-Day Event]
March 9#28$102,000Mega High Roller-Final Table7-Max-

Partypoker ramping up MILLIONS qualifying opportunities again

Once again, partypoker is hoping to provide MILLIONS opportunities to players of all levels. In 2018, “Scarmak3r” showed exactly how lower buy-ins can turn into large prizes.

Scarmak3r banked $1.4 million after qualifying for just $5.50 and then finishing third in the Main Event.

Satellites feeding into the series are ongoing with 10 Main Event seats guaranteed this Sunday. More satellites will also be added before the start of the tournament.

Players can qualify for the Main Event for as little as $0.01 with centrolls running multiple times daily. These events feed into $5.50 satellites and then a $55 phase, which leads to the Sunday final. There isn’t a direct buy-in into the final, so no player qualifying in this route will spend more than $55.

UK-based Christian Galvan has already scored big via qualifiers. After placing first in the centroll, $5.50, and $55 stages, he finished fifth in last Sunday’s final for a Main Event seat.

“One of my favorite things about poker is the zero-to-hero stories we hear on a regular basis,” Team partypoker’s Patrick Leonard said. “When I started playing, somebody would qualify for a $5,000 event from a $1,000 satellite and it was a great story when they went on to the final table.

“Recently, at partypoker, we’ve seen numerous people qualify for huge events for as little as a penny and win life-changing amounts. MILLIONS Online is always an amazing tournament and any player with a bankroll of $0.01 or more should get ready.”

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KO Series wraps up with big scores for Main Event winners

It’s been a busy time for partypoker. The KO Series concluded on Jan. 19 with three main events crowning a champion and taking home a combined $185,003.

In the $1,050 Main Event, “Kabuzzz” came out on top for $76,013. With bounties of $68,049, Kabuzzzz’s payout reached $144,062.

In the $109 Mini Main Event, “Scelevco” took the title for a total of $35,800. “Somuchfun” took down the $11 Micro Main Event for $5,141.

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888poker Sunday Sale Offers 50% Off Major Tournament Entries; Turbo Gift Drops Underway

The 888poker Sunday sale if back Jan. 24.

The popular Sunday Sale returns to 888poker’s major tournaments this Sunday, Jan. 24. The site is leaving its guarantees the same but dropping buy-ins by up to 50%.

This all adds up to plenty of value for online poker players. There’s plenty of the bang for the tournament buck with guarantees ranging from $20,000 to $100,000.

The popular buy-in discounts are just part of several 888 promotions running in January and February.

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Big payouts for smaller buy-ins at 888poker

Those looking to get in the action have three Sunday majors with major guarantees to choose from. Here’s a look at the tournaments seeing discounts:

  • $27.50 Monsoon (normally $55) – $20,000 guaranteed
  • $55 Mega Deep (normally $109) – $100,000 guaranteed
  • $215 Whale (normally $530) – $30,000 guaranteed

888 is also adding some nice opportunities to play these events at an even bigger bargain. The site’s “Pennybuy” satellites offer a chance to qualify for the Sunday Mega Deep for just one cent.

There are also low-priced sub-satellites and other qualifiers offering a guaranteed number of seats. To find these events simply look for the “Tournaments” category in the software client.

Players will then find a “Sunday Sale” section to find an event that fits their bankroll.

Turbo Drops bring free money for 888 players

888 is giving players another reason to check out the new 888poker Made To Play software. The site’s “Turbo Gift Drops” promotion offers players some free money and other prizes to get in the action.

Through Feb. 9, the site will be depositing a Gift Drop on one lucky table every 10 seconds. Some of the prizes up for grabs include:

  • $1,000 in BLAST Tickets
  • Cash awards
  • Daily freeroll tickets

How do players qualify for Turbo Gift Drops? Players simply have to play cash games, BLAST and SNAP tournaments, and multi-table tournaments.

Any players at a table that gets hit with a Turbo Gift Drop has a chance to win a prize.

Players also shouldn’t forget their two daily free spins in the “Winner Spinner” promotion. Every spin wins a prize, which also includes tickets to Turbo Gift Drop freerolls.

These freerolls range in prize pools from $200 to $1,090. Plenty of rewards await players getting in the action at 888poker this winter.

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AMATEUR HOUR: Partypoker Hosts World Championship of Amateur Poker With $750,000 Guaranteed

The partypoker World Championship of Amateur Poker (WCOAP) is set for Jan. 23 to Feb. 7 with $750,000 guaranteed.

The major tournament action continues this month at partypoker. The World Championship of Amateur Poker (WCOAP) is set for Jan. 23 to Feb. 7 with $750,000 guaranteed.

The series features 30 events with 16 championship events and buy-ins ranging from $55 to $530. There are also mini versions of each championship starting at just $5.50.

The Amateur Poker Association and Tour (APAT) is hosting the series. Partypoker promises affordable buy-ins, no re-entries, and earlier finish times than most other tournament series.

These features make it a nice series for amateur players to jump in the action at partypoker.

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APAT, partypoker appealing to non-professionals

Founded in 2006, APAT began as the United Kingdom’s first national poker tour. The group now runs live events in Europe and North America well.

The organization is dedicated to the development of amateur players. APAT provides affordable events for members to enhance their poker skills in a fun, competitive environment.

The series comes at a time when partypoker is working to bring more amateurs and recreational players into the game.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be working alongside APAT to bring our players the first fully online version of the World Championship of Amateur Poker,” partypoker poker room manager Chris Donnachie said.

“APAT is dedicated to the development of amateur poker players and this partnership perfectly complements our strategy of leveling the playing field and providing all players with a safe, exciting and fun environment in which to play poker.”

Shifting the action online to partypoker

The series is in its 12th year, but will be held in full online for the first time due to COVID-19 concerns. Events are open to all partypoker players and some hardware will be on the line in the championship events.

Winners take home a WCOAP bracelet or gold, silver, or bronze medal. Players can sign up for free for APAT to receive their winning hardware.

The two-day Main Event closes our the series  on Feb. 7 and highlights the championship event. That tournament features a $109 buy-in and $150,000 guarantee.

The Main Event winner becomes the World Amateur Poker Champion. This player also earns an APAT amateur national ranking on top of a big cash payout.

There will also be a mini-series of 15 events for the first time. The Mini Main Event comes with s $11 buy-in and guarantee of $20,000.

Partypoker WCOAP series highlights

Players will find No Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, and Seven Card Stud events. Some of the highlights include:

  • $55 Six-Max Knockout Championship (Event 2, Jan. 24) – $75,000 guaranteed
  • $265 High Roller Championship (Event 5, Jan. 27) – $75,000 guaranteed
  • $27.50 Mini High Roller (Event 5, Jan. 27) – $15,000 guaranteed
  • $55 Knockout Championship (Event 9, Jan. 31) – $75,000 guaranteed
  • $5.50 Mini Heads Up (Event 11, Feb. 2) – $1,000 guaranteed
  • $530 Super High Roller (Event 12, Feb. 3) – $100,000 guaranteed
  • $55 PLO Championship (Event 13, Feb. 3) – $10,000 guaranteed

The series kicks off with another unique event. The International Team Championship begins on opening day with numerous countries invited to compete. Non-playing team captains will select players to represent their country.

Satellites for the series are already underway. Partypoker will also be awarding the most consistent player across the series. The highest-ranked WCOAP player snags a $5,300 MILLIONS Online Main Event seat, which is set for Feb. 21.

Partypoker plans more APAT events throughout 2021. Here’s a look at the complete schedule.

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2020 World Championship of Amateur Poker

Saturday, January 23, 2021#1 International Team Championship [Invitational] - Online 1 Day Eventnonenone
Sunday, January 24, 2021#2 6-Max Knockout Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $75K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$75,000
Sunday, January 24, 2021Mini - 6-Max Knockout - Online 1 Day Event : $10K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$10,000
Monday, January 25, 2021Mini - Mix-Max - Online 1 Day Event : $5K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$5,000
Monday, January 25, 2021#3 Mix-Max Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $25K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$25,000
Tuesday, January 26, 2021#4 PLO8 Knockout Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $15K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$15,000
Tuesday, January 26, 2021Mini - PLO8 Knockout - Online 1 Day Event : $3K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$3,000
Wednesday, January 27, 2021Mini - High Roller - Online 1 Day Event : $15K GTD [2-Day Event]$27.50$15,000
Wednesday, January 27, 2021#5 High Roller Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $75K GTD [2-Day Event]$265$75,000
Thursday, January 28, 2021Mini - FL 7 Card Stud - Online 1 Day Event [2-Day Event]$5.50none
Thursday, January 28, 2021#6 FL 7 Card Stud Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $2.5K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$2,500
Friday, January 29, 2021#7 PLO Knockout Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $15K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$15,000
Friday, January 29, 2021Mini - PLO Knockout - Online 1 Day Event : $3K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$3,000
Saturday, January 30, 2021#8 6-Max Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $25K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$25,000
Saturday, January 30, 2021Mini - 6-Max - Online 1 Day Event : $5K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$5,000
Sunday, January 31, 2021#9 Knockout Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $75K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$75,000
Sunday, January 31, 2021Mini - Knockout - Online 1 Day Event : $10K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$10,000
Monday, February 1, 2021#10 PLO8 Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $10K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$10,000
Monday, February 1, 2021Mini - PLO8 - Online 1 Day Event : $2.5K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$2,500
Tuesday, February 2, 2021#11 Heads Up Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $10K GTD [No Late Reg, 2-Day Event]$55$10,000
Tuesday, February 2, 2021Mini - Heads Up - Online 1 Day Event : $1K GTD [No Late Reg, 2-Day Event]$5.50$1,000
Wednesday, February 3, 2021#12 Super High Roller - Online 1 Day Event : $20K GTD$55$20,000
Wednesday, February 3, 2021#12 Super High Roller - Online 1 Day Event : $100K GTD [2-Day Event]$530$100,000
Thursday, February 4, 2021#13 PLO Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $10K GTD [2-Day Event]$55$10,000
Thursday, February 4, 2021Mini - PLO - Online 1 Day Event : $2.5K GTD [2-Day Event]$5.50$2,500
Friday, February 5, 2021#14 Turbo Knockout Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $40K GTD$55$40,000
Friday, February 5, 2021Mini - Turbo Knockout - Online 1 Day Event : $7.5K GTD$5.50$7,500
Saturday, February 6, 2021#15 Turbo Championship - Online 1 Day Event : $20K GTD$55$20,000
Saturday, February 6, 2021Mini - Turbo - Online 1 Day Event : $4K GTD$5+0.50$4,000
Sunday, February 7, 2021#16 Main Event - Online 1 Day Event : $150K GTD [2-Day Event]$109$150,000
Sunday, February 7, 2021Mini - Main Event - Online 1 Day Event : $20K GTD [2-Day Event]$11$20,000

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