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The Inside Straight

by CP The Inside Straight Authors |  Published: May 01, 2007


World Series of Poker Europe Launches This Fall

Poker Events Will Take Place at Harrah's London Club International Casinos

By Bob Pajich

The World Series of Poker is about to cross the Atlantic.

Starting this fall, WSOP Europe events will be held at London Club International (LCI) casinos throughout the UK. So far, three events during one poker series have been scheduled, but more are on the way.

WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said that as soon as he heard Harrah's was able to buy LCI, the gears started rolling on how to bring the WSOP brand to Europe. LCI owns 11 casinos; eight of them are located in the UK.

"We're very excited about this. We think it's going to be good to grow the WSOP business. We're going to do this with a style and a flair that will be unique," Pollack said.

With the European Poker Tour, the Irish Open, and many other major events taking place nearly weekly in Europe, Pollack stated, "We recognize that we're very late to the game in Europe," but he believes that his WSOP Europe team - and the fact that the WSOP bracelet is the most recognizable piece of poker hardware out there - will enable them to quickly catch up.

"We're the only poker brand in the world that has the WSOP bracelet," Pollack said.

Since the events are taking place in Europe, players located there will possibly be able to qualify for the events by playing online poker satellites. Pollack would only say, "Stay tuned," when asked if Harrah's has any plans to either partner with an online site or build its own around the LCI brand to provide satellites.

The UK now has laws on its books that allow online sites to be owned and operated there, which gives Harrah's the green light to welcome online players with recognition and open arms - something it never was able to do in the U.S.

It's the goal of the WSOP to make these tournaments uniquely European, and they will have certain European quirks that Americans may find either charming or annoying. For example, the WSOP is debating a dress code that would have all male players in blazers, a standard practice in many European casinos.

Pollack believes that WSOP Europe events will turn into a global kind of party, with players coming from all over the world to participate. This global view is much different than how the WSOP sees its WSOP Tournament Circuit series, which takes place in casinos owned by Harrah's all around America.

"I think the Circuits, as they evolve, will become more local and regional events," Pollack stated. "I see the Circuits as grass-roots events."

By launching WSOP Europe, Harrah's is setting itself up to expand into budding poker markets with continent-specific tournaments. With billions of people, Asia is considered the next unconquered poker landscape. Pollack wouldn't or couldn't say if those plans are already in motion, but indicated it would happen.

"Don't be surprised if there are other announcements in the next 12 to 16 months," he said.

WSOP Europe starts on Sept. 6 with a £2,500 (approximately $4,900) H.O.R.S.E. event. A two-day £5,000 (approximately $9,800 U.S.) pot-limit Omaha tournament starts on Sept. 8. Both events will be held at LCI's Leicester Square Casino, which opens in April.

The six-day main event starts on Sept. 10. It's a £10,000 (approximately $19,600) no-limit hold'em event that will start at Leicester Square and then move to the Fifty and the Sportman casinos, all of which are located in London. Satellite events for all of the tournaments will be held at LCI's cardrooms all across the UK.

TV rights for the show have not been sold, and more tournaments will be listed shortly.

As Pollack put it, stay tuned for more news on the WSOP's attempted conquest of Europe, and possibly the rest of the world. spade

World Series of Poker Preregistration Begins

Player Apparel Rules More Liberal

By Kristy Arnett

It is nearly that time of the year again when the best poker professionals and hopeful amateurs come together to play in the biggest and most prestigious tournament in the world.

Preregistration for the 2007 World Series of Poker, June 1-July 17 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, has begun. Payment for any of the 55 events can be made in the following forms: cash, cashier's check, and wire transfer.

Rio casino chips also will be accepted, including a special-edition WSOP-branded $10,000 chip. The 38th-annual WSOP main-event buy-in will remain at $10,000. Other events will range from $1,000 to $50,000.

Changes have been made in the participant rules, including a less conservative player-apparel policy. Players will now be allowed to wear apparel with multiple logos and patches.

Event information, player registration instructions, and player sponsorship rules can be found at the official WSOP website. spade

Notes From World Series of Poker Teleconference

With Series Right Around the Bend, Harrah's is Gearing Up

By Bob Pajich

The bigwigs of the World Series of Poker held a conference call recently to check in with the world about the quickly approaching big daddy of all poker tournaments.

The 55-bracelet 2007 WSOP will run from June 1 to July 17.

"We're thrilled that we're going to be in the tournament business with you shortly," said WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack.

The 45-minute call outlined several changes to this year's WSOP. The changes ranged from amount of starting chips in many of the events to how the dealers will be trained so as not to have a repeat of last year, when several thousand extra chips were discovered to be in play during the main event (Harrah's said the chips mistakenly entered play while changing out the smaller-denomination chips).

This year, about 300 Las Vegas-based dealers will be trained and certified in all of the games that are scheduled to be played this year. The Las Vegans will handle most of the dealing duties at the WSOP, while the Harrah's dealers who will come in from properties outside of Vegas will be used to fill their shifts at Harrah's other Las Vegas properties.

Another change that players will notice is that Harrah's decided to double the amount of starting chips this year. That means that instead of $1,000 in starting chips in the $1,000 events, players will start with $2,000 in chips in order to give them more play. This will affect only the events with buy-ins of $10,000 or lower.

Also, a wing will be built next to the Amazon room to accommodate more tables and players. The total number of tables used for tournament play will be 258.

Officials also announced that they're making plans to host 10,000 players for the main event (8,773 people played in it last year). Pollack wanted to be clear that the event won't be capped at 10,000, but that's pretty much the maximum number of players that Harrah's is expecting.

On the business side of the WSOP, officials warned anyone who is using the WSOP trademark without permission that they will be aggressively pursued and forced to stop. All sports leagues aggressively protect their copyrights and trademarks, and now the WSOP will do the same.

Although Harrah's is loosening its rules on wearing logos, like last year, it will prohibit clothing and logos that have the "dot-com" suffixes. Logos from sites that are still serving the U.S. will be permitted as long as they are "dot-net" sites. Also, the "net" in the logo must be as large as the name of the site.

"One thing for certain, it will be enforced this year," Pollack said.

Officials also said that they will not accept entries from poker sites, which is the same policy as last year. To get around this, sites simply gave their online qualifiers cash to register for the events. spade

Norwegian Wins European Poker Tour Event in Germany

Andreas Hoivold Outlasts 492 Players to Win the EPT Dortmund

By Thor Henrykson

Once again, a Scandinavian player has come out on top at a European Poker Tour event; 35-year-old Norwegian Andreas Hoivold took first place at the inaugural German EPT event at Casino Hohensyburg in Dortmund, Germany. He won €672,000 ($894,634).

Andreas is the second Norwegian to win an EPT event this year (Erik-Bjorn Glenne won in Barcelona earlier this season).

Andreas is no stranger to final tables, as he had an impressive third-place finish in the Ladbrokes Poker Million in London in December.

By all accounts, the EPT event in Dortmund was a tremendous success, with a record-breaking field of 493 players (126 German players). The top-10 finishers were: Andreas Hoivold (Norway), €672,000; Christiano Blanco (Italy), €380,000 ($506,015); Sebastian Ruthenberg (Germany), €220,000 ($292,900); Gunnar Rabe (Sweden), €169,000 ($225,000); Jacob Rasmussen (Sweden), €139,000 ($185,000); Erik Lindberg (Sweden), €109,000 ($145,113); Nicolas Levi (France), €85,700 ($114,093); Thomas Fougeron (France), €60,300 ($80,267); Christoph Stiehler (Germany), €37,100 ($49,385); and Philip Yeh (Sweden), €37,000 ($49,252). spade

Full Tilt Offers Extra $10 Million for World Series of Poker Win

Satellites for Main-Event Seats Start at $4.40

By Kristy Arnett

The World Series of Poker is just around the corner and players are beginning to look for the best ways to get into the main event. Full Tilt is giving players who qualify through its site a little incentive: $10 million.

For the third consecutive year, Full Tilt is willing to pay this amount on top of the first-place prize money if the WSOP main-event winner has won his or her seat through one of its many qualifying tournaments.

Players can qualify for the 2007 WSOP main-event package, which includes the $10,000 buy-in and $2,000 in spending money, in a number of ways that are accommodating to anyone's bankroll, since all qualifier satellites begin at $4.40 or 50 Full Tilt points.

The WSOP Sunday qualifier is a $216 buy-in event that guarantees at least two seats. It is being held every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET through June 24. A satellite for this tournament can be played for $75, $26, or $14.

On Thursdays, a $1,000 WSOP satellite takes place at 9 p.m. ET. Five seats are guaranteed, and for every additional 12 players, a seat is awarded. Satellites for this tournament have buy-ins of $109, $75, $26, or 5,000 Full Tilt points.

The most popular weekly WSOP guaranteed event is the Tuesday qualifier. The buy-in is $322 and at least two $12,000 packages are awarded. Satellite buy-ins for this event are $75, $26, and $8.80.

Players who are not confident about winning first place in a tournament to get their seat can play in the 100-seat event. The top 100 places are awarded the $12,000 WSOP package. The buy-in for this tournament is $535, with a satellite for $75.

All of the qualifiers feature $75 and $26 satellites. These buy-ins can be won through even smaller satellites. For example, $75 satellites can be won through $26 single- or two-table tournaments, an $11 single-table event, or a $15 multitable tournament. The $26 buy-in tournament satellites include the following: $13.75 heads up, $8.70 two-table, $6.60 six-person, $4.40 single-table, and $6.50 multitable.

Full Tilt also awards free seats every week. If a player earns 3,000 Full Tilt points in any qualifying week, he is eligible to play in a weekly freeroll for at least two $10,000 main-event seats. Qualifying weeks run through June 24, and begin every Thursday and end every Wednesday. The weekly tournament is held at 4:30 p.m. ET every Sunday of each qualifying week. spade

Don't Limit Yourself

By David Apostolico

Let's say that you are playing a no-limit Texas hold'em tournament and are about 90 minutes into it when a seat opens up two to your left. A new player joins the table with a mountain of chips. In fact, she has more than five times the starting chip stack and more than double anyone else at the table. What is your immediate reaction?

Be honest. Do you instantly assume that she's a better player than you? Are you intimidated? Do you believe that she must have just gotten lucky? Or, are you salivating at how you are going to get your hands on those chips? My guess is that you may be experiencing a little bit of each of the above, depending on your other impressions of this new player. However, each of our immediate first impressions probably says more about us than the other player.

In this column, I'm primarily concerned with those individuals who feel any sense of intimidation in the above situation and, more specifically, jump to the conclusion that this new player must be very good to have accumulated so many chips so fast. As anyone who has been around the felt for a while can attest, there are a number of ways to build up a chip stack quickly. Good, smart play is one. Getting great cards is another. Supreme luck is a third. Make it a point to reserve judgment until you can personally observe the new player.

More importantly, never sell yourself short. If you think others at the table are more talented, you've lost no matter what the cards bring. I recently came across a very poignant essay called "Overcoming Self-Limiting Beliefs," by best-selling author Brian Tracy, that challenges individuals to become the best that they can. While the essay is not geared to the poker arena, I found one passage that is spot on.

Discussing self-limiting beliefs, Tracy states that "[t]hey generate the two greatest enemies of personal success - doubt and fear. They paralyze you and cause you to hesitate to take the intelligent risks that are necessary for you to fulfill your true potential."

Doubt and fear are the kiss of death at the poker table. Opponents will smell it a mile away and attack you relentlessly. Doubt and fear may enable you to hang on to those chips a little longer, but sooner or later, you will lose them. In fact, if you are paralyzed with doubt and fear, those chips don't even belong to you. You are just keeping them safe until their rightful owner comes to claim them.

Success at the poker table cannot be achieved without risk. Taking the "intelligent risks" that Tracy advocates is the key to winning. That new player who just joined your table may have been taking those intelligent risks. Or, she may have taken some unintelligent risks and gotten very lucky. Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: There is no reason to believe that this new player is better than you. Even if she is taking the intelligent risks necessary to win, you will get your chance. Everyone will have the opportunity at some point in a tournament to make some calculated bets and take an intelligent risk. They will come at different times for everybody. Be patient but engrossed in the game at all times, so that you can take advantage when an opportunity presents itself.

By definition, no-limit poker has endless possibilities. You cannot accept any limitations on your potential play. As Tracy so eloquently states: "You must reject any thought or suggestion that you are limited in any way. You must accept as a basic principle that you are a 'no-limit' person, and that what others have done, you can do as well." So, the next time that a new person joins your table with a mountain of chips, let it empower you. Know that you can do it, too. spade

David Apostolico is the author of numerous poker books, including Lessons from the Felt, Machiavellian Poker Strategy, and Tournament Poker and the Art of War. You can contact him by e-mail at

Tao of Poker

By Larry Phillips

Poker is a life-lesson on how to make mistakes.

Poker teaches many lessons. One lesson that it teaches is how to make mistakes.

Make them with composure. Make them without putting a lot of emotion into them (both during and after). Make them without denial, blame, self-blame, or second-guessing. Don't make them in a way that extends them and exaggerates them, so that they lead to even more problems. Confine their area of influence. Correct them, learn from them, move on.

Use chips to put players into different situations to see how they react.

Very few players will trade chips for information. Yet, information is oftentimes more valuable than chips, because it can lead to getting more chips, down the road. Information gained on these hands can pay off on later hands.

Suppose, for example, that you reraised with a terrible hand into a player who you were pretty sure had a good hand, just to see what the look on his face was like when he really had something. Then, you freeze-framed that look and filed it away in the back of your mind for later use. From then on, every time that look was missing, you raised, and every time you saw that look again, you dropped out. It cost you two bets to learn this. This is an exaggerated example, but you understand what I mean. spade

No More Stars in Lee Jones' Eyes

By Shawn Patrick Green

While there was quite a bit of big news on March 25 in the online poker world - including a huge prize pool at PokerStars and prominent Internet pros at many of the final tables - the biggest news was to be the almost lonely, last-second announcement by PokerStars Poker Room Manager Lee Jones.

"And all four people still reading this," he said, just moments before the Sunday Million final table closed down at the end of the tournament, "will be the first to learn that this is my last Sunday Million final table as poker room manager at PokerStars. I'm moving to a role at the EPT (European Poker Tour). Details on a forum near you, shortly."

Jones sent Card Player a statement that went into further detail on his departure from PokerStars. Here is an excerpt from the text:

"The good news is that I am still going to be part of the PokerStars family. I will be working for John Duthie in the EPT (European Poker Tour), doing organization, hosting, and TV commentary. Furthermore, I will still be working as a consultant for PokerStars, helping with some PokerStars events, such as the PCA (PokerStars Caribbean Adventure) at the Atlantis Resort and the World Cup of Poker. And I will show up sometimes at Sunday Million and WCOOP (World Championship of Online Poker) final tables.

"Why the change? Well, it's a wonderful opportunity for me to expand my horizons and stretch some new muscles. I will be at all the EPT events, doing final-table announcing, and commentary on the TV shows and webcasts. I love meeting and hanging out with the players, so this will be great fun for me. And it will give me time to do some other projects, including actually playing a little poker!"

Jones, who is also a Card Player columnist, was known for the quirky witticisms he used to send players off after their eliminations and his high degree of professionalism. Whenever Jones had a Sunday off (or simply couldn't make it in time), it was guaranteed that at least one player at the Sunday Million final table would bemoan his absence. He surely will be missed on PokerStars.

The Biggest Poker Tournament of All Time
"Hey, people - welcome to the final table of the largest (by number of players) real-money tournament in history!" So said PokerStars Poker Room Manager Lee Jones upon the forming of the Sunday Million anniversary tournament's final table.

To be clear, he wasn't referring to the largest online poker tournament; he was referring to the largest poker tournament of all time, online or otherwise. PokerStars held the anniversary tournament on March 11, and 10,508 poker players worldwide flocked to their computers to partake in the historic event.

There were two differences between the anniversary event and the normally scheduled Sunday Million tournament: a guarantee of $1.5 million rather than $1 million, and an extra complement of satellites for players to gain entry. Those two features were enough to draw the record crowd and generate a total prize pool of more than $2.1 million.

The Sunday Million tournament has been easily surpassing its $1 million guarantee for quite some time now; could this anniversary "special" be the first taste of a new guarantee on the horizon?

T Soprano Making a Killing
Brock "t soprano" Parker has officially made the transition from cash games to tournament poker. Until relatively recently, Parker had been known as an insanely good poker player who focused almost exclusively on cash games. That all changed once he got a taste of the huge paydays that can be found only in tournaments.

Also known as Maria Nuccia on UltimateBet, Parker made his biggest score under that name when he took first place in the UltimateBet Online Championship (UBOC) main event in December 2006, earning $168,000.

Since that time, he's taken second place in UltimateBet's $200,000-guaranteed tournament twice, for $26,500 each time. His most recent second-place finish in that event was on March 18, and he made a deep cash in the PokerStars $100 (with rebuys) tournament on the same day.

A PR0 Lives Up to His Name
Well-known Internet pro James "P0KERPR0" Campbell (jcamby33 on PokerStars) has been making some consistently huge cashes lately. On Sunday, March 11, alone, he made two deep cashes, including a first-place finish in the PokerStars $100 (with rebuys) event, for total winnings of more than $34,000.

So far in 2007, Campbell has made at least three other five-digit cashes. He kicked the year off with a win in the Full Tilt Monday $1,000 event for $33,000 on Jan. 1, and then took second place in the PokerStars $100 (with rebuys) tournament a week later, earning almost $20,000. On Feb. 25, Campbell finished in second place in the PokerStars $200 (with rebuys) tournament for a $33,000 payday.
Campbell's total winnings for 2007 come to more than $120,000 as of press time.

Brsavage and X2then Stake Claims at UltimateBet
Both Chris "brsavage" Savage and Xuan "x2then" Nguyen made the final table of the March 11 UltimateBet $200,000-guaranteed tournament. X2then both entered and left the final table in ninth place, earning $3,500. Brsavage eventually busted out in seventh place, for $7,000.

Who is Goleafsgoeh?
Anyone who trolls the PokerStars tournament lobbies has grown accustomed to seeing the screen name goleafsgoeh within the top 20 of major tournaments lately. And yet, no one really knows who he is.

Prominent Internet pro Kevin "BeL0WaB0Ve" Saul even made a forum posting on the player in which he said that goleafsgoeh has been "playing really sick poker and going deep in all of the big tourneys on PokerStars."

Saul's comments were based on a number of deep cashes within a period of about a month and a half. Goleafsgoeh's finishes include a final table in the Sunday Warmup, three final tables in the Nightly Hundred Grand events (including one win there, for $28,000), and a 12th-place finish in the Sunday Million - all between the last week of January and early March.

"Dunno who he is," Saul continued, "but he's pretty good at poker; especially satellite, donk-filled, big-field tourneys …"

Since Saul's posting, goleafsgoeh went on to make yet another final table in a Nightly Hundred Grand event. He's made more than $50,000 so far this year from his finishes in that event alone, as of press time.

Get a Piece of the Action
Those wishing to take advantage of the promotions, overlays, and guaranteed prize pools at these sites can do so by going to the following links:

PokerStars -
Full Tilt Poker -
UltimateBet -
AbsolutePoker -
Bodog -

Tournament Results, March 11-March 18
PokerStars Sunday Million
March 11
Winnings: $131,972*
Prize pool: $2,101,600
Entrants: 10,508

March 18
Winnings: $180,000*
Prize pool: $1,392,800
Entrants: 6,964
* Payout reflects a deal made at the final table.

Full Tilt Poker Monthly $750,000 Guarantee
March 18
Winnings: $147,862
Prize pool: $786,500
Entrants: 1,573

Full Tilt Poker $400,000 Guarantee
March 11
Winnings: $77,942
Prize pool: $423,600
Entrants: 2,118

UltimateBet $200,000 Guarantee
March 11
Winnings: $45,000
Prize pool: $200,000
Entrants: 879

March 18
Winnings: $45,000
Prize pool: $200,000
Entrants: 952

Bodog $100,000 Guarantee
March 11
Winnings: $25,000
Prize pool: $100,000
Entrants: 756

March 18
Winnings: $25,000
Prize pool: $100,000
Entrants: 756 spade

Dag Martin Mikkelsen

Sit-and-Go Wizard Accepts a Challenge

By Craig Tapscott

Dag Martin Mikkelsen slowly built up a bankroll online playing sit-and-gos. Perseverance and persistence were his mantras, applying math, logic, and fear, and at times playing 12 tables simultaneously. Within 10 months, he had climbed into the $1,000 sit-and-gos, competing with the very best online. A personal challenge had been fulfilled.

"I have always had a fear of the next level," said Mikkelsen. "When I played $20 sit-and-gos, I thought the players at the $50 level had to be the best players ever. When I was playing and beating $50 sit-and-gos, I thought the same about the $100 level. I don't think it was until I was actually winning in the highest sit-and-gos that I realized I was able to beat them."

Last fall, Mikkelsen decided to apply his skills to multitable tournaments. The results speak for themselves: final-table appearances at the PokerStars and PartyPoker Sunday million-dollar guaranteed events for a total of $35,000. Still uninspired, he preferred to focus on sit-and-gos for his bread and butter; that is, until a challenge rang out from a fellow pro.

Norway's Annette Obrestad, the No. 1-ranked online tournament player and a friend, proposed a challenge; personal honor the only currency, no hard cash. Could Mikkelsen become ranked in the top 20 within the next 90 days of play? It was possible, but improbable. Yet, once that competitive fire was lit, Mikkelsen went on a rampage, tearing up tournaments, cashing deep, and at times entering as many as 27 multitable tournaments per day. After six weeks, he has climbed from 463rd to 80th place. The goal must be reached by April's end.

"This challenge was a great way of motivating myself to play a lot," commented Mikkelsen. And he won't step away from his dual monitors until the rankings goal is achieved. Next up - toppling Annette_15 from her first-place perch.

Craig Tapscott: What kind of bankroll did you start with online?

Dag Martin Mikkelsen: I made some very small deposits in the beginning, and then put in $100. Six months after that last deposit, I'd made a pretty decent amount of money, in cash games and sit-and-gos. I decided to cash it all out, except for $1,000. After that, I ran bad for two months. Then, I started winning again and have never looked back; I learned that I need to keep a big bankroll so that I'll never go broke and also be able to handle the swings. Now I'm a lot tighter on bankroll management than most pros.

CT: Can you share the top three mistakes that new sit-and-go players make?

DMM: One: They play too many hands early when there is little to gain from playing pots. You only risk going out early. It's better to wait for the blinds to go up. Two: Calling too much late in the game. You want to use your stack to steal from others. By calling, the only way you can win is by having the best hand. Three: Not pushing enough. You have to push all in a lot more than most people think. A lot of times, 3-2 offsuit and 7-2 offsuit are pushing hands.

CT: When is it the right strategy to push with those weak hands?

DMM: Whenever the risk/reward ratio makes it a positive expected value move. The most classic example is when you're on the money bubble; let's say the stacks are $8,000 (you), $4,000, $4,000, and $1,000, and the blinds are $200-$400. If the $1,000 stack isn't in the big blind, you have to push any two, because he can't call often enough.

CT: What's the best way to read another player's hand?

DMM: The best way of reading players is by understanding how they think. Every action has a reason and thought process behind it. If you know how they think, you will also understand what they are trying to accomplish by their actions.

CT: Share a key reason for your success.

DMM: I'm very critical of my own play and am always trying to improve. I also believe that I have very good bankroll management. I've never gone broke, like a lot of other players, and almost never have I had to move down in stakes due to a bad run.

CT: What's your advice for the flock of railbirds begging for help?

DMM: A lot of new players come to me and want to learn how to make money in poker. They want to know "the secret" to winning. My best advice is to play poker because it's fun and because you love it. Learning to become a good player is hard work, and can't be done if you don't love the game.

CT: Thanks, Dag. We wish you the best of luck in your challenge. Players can watch Mikkelsen compete online under the name dmmikkel. spade