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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Poker
Posted: November 29, 2020 at 5:34 am
November 26, 2020PokerNews Staff
SimplePoker is one of the leading developers of GTO poker solvers, trainers and tools in the world.
With eight GTO poker apps released and many others in the development, SimplePoker is there for poker players when they need the highest quality software tools to improve their game and learn GTO strategy.
SimplePoker has been developed by a team of mathematicians, analysts and programmers in collaboration with some of the most respected players and coaches in the poker world.
The most common situation in Texas Hold'em, in which the largest sums of money are played out, is playing postflop between two players. Simple Postflop allows players to calculate equilibrium strategies in poker. This solver has become an indispensable tool for working on the game for many professionals. The app allows players to finally answer the question: how to play correctly with any hand for a given situation from a mathematical point of view.
Simple Postflop is designed in such a way that the user has the ability to work with complex mathematical data through a simple and uncluttered interface. For players wanting to achieve the highest success in poker, to become a professional in this game, then learning a basic balanced strategy will be a must and Simple Postflop is there to help along the way.
Situations with three players postflop are not uncommon, and it is extremely difficult for people to know the optimal strategy after the flop when there are three players. Simple 3-Way can help with this.
Simple 3-Way can be considered an advanced solver for calculating GTO strategies post-flop with three players. It is the first and only commercially available solver that allows players to perform these calculations. In addition to the most accurate possible balanced strategy calculations, Simple 3-Way also allows the use advanced technologies to simplify the calculation process, which makes the solver incredibly fast while still maintaining high quality of GTO simulations.
Simple 3-Way is the right tool to learn poker at the deepest possible level.
Adequate preflop strategy is a very important aspect in poker, as depending on preflop decisions, the situation will drastically change postflop. For a long time, calculation of optimal preflop strategies in poker seemed to be impossible due to the fact that this is the first phase of the game and, from the point of view of calculations, it is the most complicated. Simple Preflop Holdem allows players to calculate Nash equilibrium on the preflop, taking into account all kinds of preflop actions, for any number of players at the table and for any stacks.
This Preflop GTO Solver generates optimal strategies with high accuracy and minimal hardware requirements by using cutting-edge algorithms, which makes this product unique in the commercial preflop solvers market.
In this solver, players can solve any poker discipline:
There is no better tool to master preflop strategy perfectly than Simple Preflop Holdem.
If two cards are not enough and a player wants to build postflop expertise to perfection in PLO, then we suggest working in GTO Solver Simple Omaha. This calculator allows players to solve postflop balanced strategies in PLO without abstractions. At the moment, the solver is very demanding on the presence of powerful hardware in order to perform GTO simulations, but the SimplePoker team is actively working on the development and refinement of this tool so that it becomes more and more accessible to ordinary users, and not just High Stakes players.
If work with solvers seems too difficult and exhausting for a player whose passion in poker is the game itself, then we recommend Simple GTO Trainer.
This software tool is designed to teach the optimal strategy in a game format, whilst also closely resembling real game conditions. In addition to the fact that users will play poker against GTO AI and you will not have to pay money for losing, they will also receive real-time information about the mistakes they made, understand how much EV in they will lose when choosing incorrect actions and following the results of training to see the big picture of their training and progress.
The training packs have already been compiled by professional poker players and coaches, and players just have to choose the pack that suits them and start training.
For those for whom the presented training packs are not enough, the Simple GTO Trainer PRO license has the ability to integrate with GTO solvers and create custom trainings based on a players own GTO calculations.
For players often on the road and not always able to be in front of a PC GTO Sensei is a mobile poker coach ready to teach the optimal game anywhere on the planet at any time of the day right from a phone. Once downloaded, GTO Sensei helps players start learning poker like the pros do based on pre-compiled training sets. There are several free trainings in the app which is already available on iOS and Android.
GTOBase is arguably the most revolutionary web application for learning optimal poker strategies and available on any OS. The main functionality of the GTOBase application is to analyze the hand histories the user has played, to identify all mistakes made in the game comparing to equilibrium poker strategies.
HH analysis is performed at fast speed on servers with high performance, using advanced algorithms for calculating GTO strategies, does not require a PC's computing resources and does not require solver licenses. In addition to analyzing hand history, the application also allows players to analyze aggregated game statistics and compare it with those of a balanced strategy.
In addition, the application contains a large database of accurately calculated GTO strategies, both preflop and postflop. At the moment, the application fully supports the Spin&Go game format, other formats will also be gradually added to the application. In the future, GTOBase may become the main tool for any professional player to work on the game. Start working with GTOBase now.
Posted: at 5:34 am
Back in 2006, Daniel Craig starred in his first movie as James Bond, Casino Royale. The film provided a sorely needed new direction to the spy franchise, doing away with CGI and elaborate gadgets, and replacing them with gritty realism, and in-your-face action. In an interview with Polygon, the director of the movie, Martin Campbell, revealed that the most difficult part of making Casino Royale was not filming the high-octane action scenes, but rather figuring out a way to include the card-playing scenes in an entertaining manner.
Their concern was understandable. Despite its reputation for being one of the best action movies of the past two decades, a large chunk of Casino Royale is dedicated to showing James James Bond playing a high-stakes game of poker against the main villain, Le Chiffre.
After weeks of research and preparation, Martin Campbell finally hit upon a method of doing something that had rarely been achieved before: make a long session of card-playing interesting to the audience. The almost 30-minute sequence was constructed as a microcosm of the rest of the movie and its leading character.
Throughout the game, audiences get to watch Daniel Craig display many of the qualities that made his Bond such a fan-favorite. He takes huge risks, bluffs expertly, and is almost always one step ahead of the competition. Even when caught unawares, and literally poisoned in the middle of the match, Bond is able to leave, stave off a heart attack, and return to the game nonchalantly sipping his drink. For Campbell, Bond's ability to operate under immense pressure and even push back is what makes the whole sequence so memorable.
Despite Campbell's determination to make the game as authentic as possible, at the end of the day they were making an action movie, which needed some cool moments. One such cool moment occurs after the poker match has ended, and Bond has won the prize money. In a generous gesture, Bond casually slides a plastic chip worth $500,000 over to the dealer as a courtesy tip... even though the chip is worth nothing now that the game has ended. Campell still finds that little mistake amusing.
Despite that small hiccup, Campbell and his crew were successful in taking a very long poker match and turning it into a breathlessly exciting battle of wits between Bond and Le Chiffre, even if most of the audience did not understand the finer details of the game they were witnessing. This news originated at Polygon.
Topics: James Bond
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November 24, 2020Will Shillibier
This weekend, the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event kicks off on GGPoker, as the first flight of a live-online hybrid that looks set to crown the Main Event champion for 2020.
This unorthodox Main Event will begin across both WSOP.com and GGPoker, culminating in not only two live final tables, but a final heads-up battle in Las Vegas on December 30th.
Much has been made of this "second" Main Event of the year, coming only a few months after the successful series of WSOP Online Bracelet Events.
Here PokerNews takes a look at two competing views and asks what it means for poker.
When the WSOP Main Event was announced, it was WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart who said: "There must be a World Champion in 2020."
In the WSOP's eyes, this new $10,000 freezeout will be the 2020 Main Event, irrespective of the online series that preceded it.
This format has decided No Limit Hold'em World Champion since 1972. In 1970, the participants voted on who they thought was the most accomplished player, and in 1971 the buy-in was $5,000.
The $5,000 WSOP Online Main Event was undoubtedly a huge success story, setting a Guinness World Record for largest online poker tournament prize pool, but Stewart maintains that the traditional Main Event format is still important.
"Pokers history is too important," he said. "[The hybrid format] is a unique format for the Main Event, but this is a unique year."
Related: WSOP Main Event at GGPoker Shatters Guinness World Records Title
However, the winner of the $5,000 WSOP Online Main Event Stoyan Madanzhiev has expressed confusion at the decision to host another Main Event.
Madanzhiev spoke exclusively with PokerNews and expressed his bemusement at the announcement, reiterating that in his eyes he was the 2020 WSOP Main Event champion.
"I won it," he said matter-of-factly. "I received a certificate. It says that I'm the 51st annual World Series of Poker Main Event champion. So this means I'm the Main Event champion. I mean, what else does it mean if it's not that?
"I am the champion of 2020. They said it."
The certificate he is referring to is one that he has widely paraded on social media. Madanzhiev uses this as his main piece of evidence that he is the Main Event champion of 2020.
Signed by former WSOP APAC Main Event champion and GGPoker Ambassador Daniel Negreanu, the certificate states: "Congratulations on winning WSOP Event #77: $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event of the 51st Annual World Series of Poker hosted by GGPoker."
This is something Madanzhiev calls "confusing."
"Everybody started calling me the world champion. It was confusing. [The WSOP] made it look like that with the way they presented the tournament, with the way they gave me the certificate. And I started believing that I am the reigning world champion of 2020. I still think that is correct."
Whether or not you think another WSOP Main Event is a good idea is up for debate.
On the one hand, the WSOP Online Main Event will always hold a special place in WSOP history, whereas others will insist that a $10,000 freezeout will always be needed to crown a Main Event champion.
However, two things are certain as we approach the end of this crazy year. Stoyan Madanzhiev will always be remembered as the first WSOP Online Main Event champion, and that the poker community will have some WSOP action to end the year.
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Posted: at 5:34 am
Poker Club doesnt deliver on its promises, creating a game that plays incredibly slowly and has little personality with a poor quality presentation.
Developed and published by Ripstone, Poker Club is billed as the most immersive poker simulation ever made, which includes support for ray tracing and 4K resolutions. Despite the popularity of poker in movies, there are very few Texas holdem games available on consoles, so this release has been eagerly anticipated by poker fans.
Anyone who is familiar with Texas hold em will be able to get to grips with Poker Club pretty quickly. Players choose from a variety of different modes, such as tournament play or cash tables, and then sit down with other competitors. Once sat at a table, it's possible to viewa hand, see the community cards in the center, and make bets with a stack of chips. It is all very standard for a poker game and works as expected.
Related: Ray Tracing Explained: Does It Really Matter For Video Games?
To help Poker Club stand out, the developer included a wide array of variants to pick from. Although it is only possible to play Texas hold em in this title, players can switch between shootouts, bounties, freezeouts, and cash buy-ins. Poker Club also has a tour that users can progress through, although it's not a career mode and simply involves trying to meet certain objectives in a match to get stars. As users play more matches and unlock more experience, extra custom items become available to choose. These include things like new playing cards and chip designs along with clothing.
Unfortunately, playing Poker Club is a painfully slow experience. Poker is generally not a particularly fast card game, as it requires careful thinking and waiting around for other competitors to decide what they want to do. Poker Clubmakes things even worse, especially when playing with real players. The time limit for each turn is incredibly long, meaning it can take minutes just to go round the table once. This is exacerbated by the leisurely animations for looking at cards or selecting chips.
While most tournaments in Poker Club are played with real life competitors through online multiplayer, the game does support bots. These also come with some issues, such as what seems like very poor AI. The bots make some frankly baffling decisions and will go all in far too often. Of course, this also makes it difficult to practice properly offline, especially when the training mode is just a wall of text to read through without any interactive elements.
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Posted: at 5:34 am
Source: ZinetroN - Shutterstock
A Canadian publicly listed company has gone all in on Bitcoin, liquidating its Monero and Ethereum holdings. Cypherpunk Holdings has now become the ninth-largest publicly traded holder of Bitcoin, just behind Hive Blockchain.
The Canadian company announced in a press release on November 26 that it had increased its Bitcoin stash. Cypherpunk bought 72.979 BTC, worth $1.26 million, raising its total BTC holdings to 276.479 BTC, worth $4.76 million at press time.
The increase in Cypherpunks BTC holdings is a result of the full liquidations of positions in Monero and Ethereum, the company revealed. It had also used some funds it raised in a private placement of $505,000 CAD ($388,300). The private placement ended on August 27, with the firm issuing 10,100,000 units at a price of CAD $0.10.
Cypherpunk Holdings becomes the latest public company to increase its BTC holdings. The Toronto-based company is best known in the cryptocurrency community as the owner of Wasabi wallet. The privacy-focused non-custodial wallet gives users full control of their BTC. It also comes with built-in CoinJoin, integrates Tor browser and gives the users coin-control features.
Cypherpunk has also invested in Samourai wallet, yet another privacy-focused Bitcoin wallet. The wallet prioritizes robust encryption and privacy features. Through a partnership with decentralized communication startup goTenna, Samourai also allows users to trade Bitcoin while offline.
At the helm of Cypherpunk Holdings is Antanas Guoga, a world-famous Lithuanian poker player. Better known as Tony G, he was the founding inductee into the Australian Poker Hall of Fame. He now serves in the Lithuanian national assembly, having previously represented the country at the European Parliament.
Cypherpunk is now the ninth-largest publicly traded Bitcoin holder. In what is becoming a fast-rising trend, public firms are buying Bitcoin as a hedge against deflationary fiat currencies. The shift comes at a time when many Wall Street firms have touted Bitcoin to be one of the best assets in the long term. One of the most recent is JP Morgan which claimed that Bitcoin is now competing with gold as the alternative currency of choice for many.
The public company with the biggest Bitcoin stash is Microstrategy. The business intelligence firm invested $425 million in Bitcoin in August and September, leading the way for Wall Street firms. CEO Michael Saylor has been a vocal BTC supporter, hailing Bitcoin as digital gold. The company now owns 38,250 BTC, 0.182% of the total BTC supply. Microstrategys shares have benefited from the Bitcoin bet, with analysts expecting the price to triple in the near future.
Other public companies with sizeable BTC holdings include Mike Novogratz Galaxy Digital with 16,402 BTC, Jack Dorseys Square with 4,709 BTC, Voyager Digital with 1,638 BTC and the controversial Riot Blockchain with 1,175 BTC.
The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust remains the largest Bitcoin owner with a stash of 527,966 BTC, accounting for 2.51% of the total Bitcoin supply. Owned by the Digital Currency Group, the fund gives investors exposure to Bitcoin in an SEC-regulated setup.
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All poker players have heard about the Moneymaker effect. Famously, Chris Moneymaker won a satellite tournament on PokerStars to take part in the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event, before going on to win it for $2.5 million.
By: Mark Patrickson
Countless amateur players and interested observers, became believers overnight. If an accountant from Tennassee could go from rags to riches in their first poker tournament, then so could they. The rest is history.
What many have forgotten over the years is that Phil Ivey was supposed to win that event. Already a four-time WSOP gold bracelet winner, the then 26-year-old Ivey was down to the last 10 players and looking good for glory.
Then the unthinkable happened.
Ivey had peeled one with pocket nines on a Qh 6s Qs board and hit gin on the turn when the 9c came. Moneymaker with his AQ wasnt going anywhere. In all the money went and Ivey was a huge favourite with 83% equity and looking at an almost certain place on the final table.
When the river came down an ace, counterfeiting Iveys full house he said it felt like all of the wind was knocked out of him.
Poker history was changed forever. For the better many might say because of what poker has grown into over the years. But nothing will ever make Ivey forget what happened that day. He was already the chosen one. Already thought of as the best all-rounder in poker at such a young age, this was supposed to be his destiny.
I remember saying to myself do not show how disappointed you are. Do not let the world see this.
Brutal. There is no other word for it.
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What Losing 40 Tournaments In A Row Should Tell You About Your Poker Game – Poker News – CardPlayer.com
Posted: at 5:34 am
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Someone recently asked me how many tournaments I have to lose in a row before I start to get annoyed. They also asked when I start looking for holes in my strategy. While the answers to these questions are probably obvious to most professional players, many amateurs come up with severely incorrect answers.
First off, you should try your best to remove your emotional attachment to your poker results, both good and bad. If you have watched me win a World Poker Tour event on television, you probably noticed that I did not jump up and down and yell about how I am the best poker player in the world immediately afterwards, which is what you might see from players who run hot enough to win a major event.
The reason why I do not celebrate is because I realize that when I buy into any event, I am going to place in each position some percentage of the time. If I happen to bust on the first hand, bubble, final table, or even win, I dont care too much because I understand I am going to have a fairly random distribution of results over time, hopefully trending in a positive direction because I have an edge in the games.
Sometimes you are going to go 40 tournaments in a row without cashing, which has happened to me twice in my career. While the experience is certainly not fun, you must accept it will happen if you play enough tournaments.
Going on a substantial downswing does not necessarily mean you are playing poorly, although it could be an indicator. Assuming you have a large enough sample to know you are a winning player, a routine downswing should not cause concern. The reason most players get depressed over long downswings is that they are either playing way too large for their bankroll, or they have not played enough games (or done the math) to realize how much variance there is in poker.
As a quick example, I once won three tournaments in a row and then lost 30 tournaments in a row after that. Does this mean I suddenly forgot how to play after winning three tournaments in a row? I dont think so.
Whether you are winning or losing, you should constantly look for leaks in your game. An extended losing streak should not alter your study time too much, assuming you spend a decent amount of time studying poker on a daily basis even when winning.
When I used to play sit-n-gos online, I would play roughly eight hours per day and study four hours per day. I am confident this is why I was one of the biggest winners at that game. When I play poker today, I write down almost every hand I play and review them both at the end of every day and occasionally when I have free time at home. I suggest you do the same. If you are not looking for leaks and constantly improving your skills, you are certain to fall behind.
Everyone who takes poker seriously should get a poker coach. I have paid well over $25,000 for private coaching throughout my career and I firmly believe that was the best $25,000 I have ever spent. If I could go back in time, I would have actually spent substantially more.
When I used to play a lot of sit-n-gos, I noticed my return on investment was slowly dwindling. I hired a coach, paid him $5,000 for 10 hours of his time, and watched my return on investment immediately rise by two percent. While this may not sound like a lot, I was playing around 2,000 $200 games per month, meaning this coaching made me an additional $8,000 per month. Obviously, that is money well spent.
At some point, you will find you no longer need a private coach. Instead, find a group of peers who play similar games as you. I have a close group of friends I regularly talk to about hands and other poker-related concepts. We bounce ideas off each other and constantly try to find holes in each others strategies. If you try to master this game alone, you will find it impossible.
I understand that paying hundreds of dollars per hour for private coaching is not realistic for most poker players, so I made my training site, PokerCoaching.com, which features over 1,000 interactive hand quizzes, monthly in-depth homework assignments, gigantic courses, live webinars, and private streams.
In addition to having lots of content for novice players, I have also hired many of the best players in the world (including James Romero, Faraz Jaka, Matt Affleck, Jonathan Jaffee, Girafganger7, and many more) to make high-level, cutting-edge content that I personally learn a lot from. If you are looking to take your game to the next level, check out PokerCoaching.com. Good luck in your games!
Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and best-selling poker author with more than $7 million in live tournament earnings. If you want to learn how to play fundamentally sound poker and increase your win rate, check out PokerCoaching.com. Click here to try PokerCoaching.com for free.
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November 25, 2020Chad Holloway
From November 12-22, Pearl River Resort in Philadelphia, Mississippi played host to the 2020 Pearl River Poker Open. The nine-event series catered to 3,492 entrants including players from as far away as Michigan, New Hampshire, Arizona, and Missouri and awarded $865,851 in prize money.
The series kicked off with Event #1: $250 NLH $100K GTD, which crushed its guarantee by drawing 1,735 entries to create a $333,120 prize pool. Of that, $46,600 was paid out in double bag bonuses.
The top 169th finishers got paid including Sean Small (6th - $11,248), Dan Lowery (11th - $3,488), Amy Pullens (25th - $1,774), Ruth Hall (34th - $1,367), Judge Leo Boothe (48th - $873), Randy Hollis (64th - $669), Preston McEwen (70th - $669), Tim Burden (115th - $494), Joe Saleh (142nd - $436), and Captain Tom Franklin (164th - $377).
In the end, Anthony Reynolds of Atlanta, Georgia defeated Thierry Quintin in heads-up play to win the title for $45,894.
The series culminated with the $600 buy-in, $100K GTD Main Event, a tournament that started players with 20,000 in chips and played 40-minute levels. It proved a winning formula as each of three starting flights attracted enough runners to surpassed the guarantee by itself. All told, 671 entrants participated and created a $335,500 prize pool that was paid out amongst the top 63 finishers.
Among those to cash were Dan Lowery (6th - $15,936), Andrew Barfield (13th - $4,026), Tiffany Keathley (20th - $2,684), Donnie Phan (25th - $2,684), Joe Saleh (28th - $2,013), Logan Hoover (42nd - $1,510), Trace Henderson (49th - $1,308), Kelly Hebert (56th - $1,174), and Robert Hankins (61st - $1,174).
In the end, Christopher Nunnally and Matt Higgins struck a deal that saw the latter secure $50,000 in prize money and the former the title and $57,835.
Below is a look at all those to capture titles during the series. One of the more interesting tournaments was Event #8: $125 Rookies NLH, which required players to have less than $10,000 in career lifetime earnings according to HendonMob.
Posted: at 5:34 am
For every fantastic poker movie of the past 25 years (Rounders, Mississippi Grind), theres been another which missed the mark. But the poker world (for better and for worse) isnt lacking in incredible storylines, interesting characters, and dramatic tension. From epic biopics and romantic melodramas to buddy comedies and political thrillers, the poker world should be a screenwriters goldmine.
Imagine cast sheets packed with pokers biggest names (Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, Stu Ungar) and the A-list Hollywood stars who would portray them.
Here are five of the best real-life poker plot lines that could be and should be made into movies.
Lights, camera, ACTION!
Director: Martin Scorcese
Russell Crowe (Doyle Brunson)Christopher Plummer (older Doyle)Armie Hammer (younger Doyle)Tom Hanks (Johnny Moss)Owen Wilson (Amarillo Slim)David Koechner (Puggy Pearson)Timothee Chalamet (Stu Ungar)Matt Damon (Chip Reese)Danny McBride (Todd Brunson)
In the early 1950s, a devastating leg injury crushes the NBA dreams of prodigious college athlete Doyle Brunson. He turns to illegal poker games to fuel his competitiveness and soon finds himself on the road with a motley crew of Texan card sharks. Over the next 60 years, Brunson writes the book on poker, wins 10 World Series bracelets, and navigates the online poker boom while becoming the greatest player of all time. At 87, Brunson decides to step away from the tables, but one final high stakes game brings the Godfather of poker out of retirement.
This is a no brainer. A three-hour biopic of the legendary Doyle Brunson directed by the equally legendary Martin Scorcese? Yes, please. In fact, why hasnt this film been made already?
Texas Dolly would make such an awesome movie. Brunson has sixty-plus years worth of stories to cherry-pick from a lifetime of playing the highest stakes poker games in the world. Imagine the backroom poker scenes, gunpoint robberies, tender family moments, and busto-to-robusto drama that Scorcese could reimagine on the big screen. Hes made plenty of big, bold biopics before (Goodfellas, Raging Bull, The Aviator, The Wolf of Wall Street, to name just a few) so Brunsons story will be in the safest of hands.
Instead of going down the digital de-aging route like Scorcese did in 2019s The Irishman, cast different actors to play Brunson at the different stages of his life. Have Armie Hammer as the young NBA-ready Doyle for the first 45 minutes of the film, followed by Oscar winner Russell Crowe as Brunson for the next 90 minutes. Finally, Oscar winner Christopher Plummer bringing things home as Brunson today.
Then just look at that merry band of Texan road gamblers in the supporting cast. A bald Tom Hanks with thick-rimmed glasses and a cardigan would make for an amazing Johnny Moss (Brunsons mentor) and seeing the late Amarillo Slim reimagined by his fellow-Texan Owen Wilson would be superb. Anchormans David Koechner taking on Puggy Pearson, young superstar Timothee Chalamet bringing Stu the Kid Ungar to life, and poker-movie royalty Matt Damon becoming one of the games all-time greats in Chip Reese (Brunsons best friend before Reeses death at the young age of 56).
Oh, and lets not forget Danny McBride bringing some light comedy to proceedings as Brunsons son Todd, also a successful high-stakes poker player in his own right.
Its actually ludicrous that the Godfather of Pokers story hasnt already been told on the silver screen, because the rounder lifestyle of pokers pioneers is just so damn romantic. It feels like this film would resonate with a large audience, whether the majority are poker players or not. But then maybe the lack of biopic is Brunsons doing. Perhaps he wants to keep his life story close to his chest, just as he has with cards throughout most of it.
But with his blessing, then please, someone please write the script (*cough* Brian Koppelman and David Levien *cough*) and make this movie happen.
Director: Adam McKay
Jeff Daniels (Howard Lederer)David Krumholtz (Ray Bitar)Billy Bob Thornton (Chris Ferguson)Mandy Patinkin (Isai Scheinberg)Michael B. Jordan (Phil Ivey)Michael Fassbender (Gus Hansen)Sam Rockwell (George W. Bush)
Its 2011 and the poker boom comes to a crashing end when the United States Department of Justice issues an indictment against the three largest online poker websites in the country: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker. Popular PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg is among those indicted, but things are about to get even worse for the poker community when its revealed that Full Tilt Pokerrun by Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, and shady businessman Ray Bitarhas been defrauding poker players out of more than $300 million and doesnt have the funds to reimburse them.
A brutally honest telling of online pokers darkest day could make for the most important poker movie ever made.
The pros of a Black Friday film? Its a story that has everything. Rags-to-riches tales from online poker greats; government dealings and courtroom drama; the shock of the day itself; and both likable and downright unsavory characters for us to root for and against.
The cons? It wouldnt exactly paint online poker in the finest light.
If theres one filmmaker who could get across the importance of Black Friday and explain the difficult concepts involved in an entertaining, educational way, its Adam McKay. While he cut his teeth making some of the best comedies of the past two decades alongside Will Ferrell (Anchorman, Step Brothers, The Other Guys) its McKays 2015 film The Big Shortabout the investors who made a fortune by taking full advantage of the impending economic collapse in America in 2008where he knocked it out of the park and booked the Black Friday writer/director gig.
As for the cast, Jeff Daniels would make an excellent Howard Lederer. Daniels has carved a niche for himself lately playing powerful, unlikeable characters, and when it comes to Ledererwell, you can make of that what you will. Joining him at Full Tilt Poker would be the great Billy Bob Thornton as Chris Jesus Fergusonan ambiguous character whose involvement in the disgracefulness remains unclearand David Krumholtz as Ray Bitar.
The film would also feature top actors portraying some of pokers biggest names for the first time on screen. Michael B. Jordan would provide the coolness Phil Ivey deserves, while Michael Fassbender as Gus Hansen would just be a joy to see. As for PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, give Mandy Patinkin from Homelandthe role, while Sam Rockwell who played President George W. Bush in McKays 2018 film Vice,could revive the role here for a few government scenes.
Director: Greta Gerwig
Anna Kendrick (Kristen Bicknell)Channing Tatum (Alex Foxen)Cameron Diaz (Jennifer Harman)Will Poulter (Kahle Burns)
Inspired by her poker-playing hero Jennifer Harman, Kristen Bicknell works her way to the top of a male-dominated game and becomes one of the best poker players around. When she falls in love with another top player, Alex Foxen, it feels like a match made in heaven. But complications arise when the two fierce competitors both wind up at the same final table of a major poker tournament and then get three-handed with Kahle Burns.
In just about every poker movie, female characters are simply used as props to either annoy or inspire the leading man.
Its about time there was a poker film with a woman crushing the game instead of just organizing it (Mollys Game), and while there still arent enough women playing poker, there are plenty of world-class players who are as feared at the tables as any dude. As the No.1 ranked GPI female player in the world for the past three years running, Kristen Bicknell is undisputedly one of them.
Like many other poker couples, Bicknell and Alex Foxens relationship was once just a lovely inconsequence to the poker community. But in 2018 it was suggested that they had gone easy on each other during the final table of the $5,000 MSPT Venetian, particularly when they got three-handed against Kahle Burns. The question is: can two competitive players really put their loving feelings aside and play coldblooded versus one another when deep down they both want to see each other succeed? Its just a tricky situation and one ripe for some melodrama.
Unlike other road to the final table poker films (looking at you, Lucky You), the conflict in this romantic dramedy doesnt come from characters hating each other but rather characters loving each other, to the point where their game integrity is called into question. Its also about what happens after the game is over.
Greta Gerwig would be an incredible choice to direct Suited Connectors, a story largely based on a successful woman striving for greatness, who falls in love with someone completely different and yet perfectly similar to her. Gerwigs two films so far (2017s Ladybird and 2019s Little Women) are both female-led stories, and she writes and directs with honesty and style.
Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick has been brilliant in films like Up in the Air and The Voices and could pull off Bicknells dauntless determination, while Channing Tatum (aside from the fact hes big and athletic like Foxen) has proven himself a fine (and funny) actor in films like Magic Mike, 21 Jump Street, and The Hateful Eight. As for Jennifer Harmanthe player who inspired the real-life Bicknellcoaxingh the great Cameron Diaz out of retirement for the role seems like a win.
Director: Paul Feig
Kevin Hart (Bill Perkins)Jaime Staples (himself)Matt Staples (himself)Mike Vacanti (Zac Efron)
Two professional poker playing brothers find themselves in a high stakes game on the yacht of an eccentric billionaire, with who they make a large bet: Brothers Jaime (304lbs) and Matt (134lbs) have to weigh within 1lb of each other in exactly a years time. If they can do it, theyll win big. With the help of a strict personal trainer, theyre going all in. But life on the road makes losing and gaining both weight and money harder than they thought.
Lets lighten the mood a little with a road-trip buddy movie. The Staples brothers (Jaime and Matt) had the entire poker community rooting for them in 2017/2018 when they bet Bill Perkins that they couldnt weigh within one pound of each other in 12 months time, all the while streaming poker online and traveling to live events. They did it, of course, in a great story of perseverance and hard work paying off.
For the sake of the film, however, instead of the brothers streaming online poker, have them playing poker on the road. And make the Perkins character wilder and more erratic than Perkins is in real life, just to spice things up.
Theres no better pick to play the brothers themselves, so theyll both have to get some acting lessons prior to filming. But for Perkins, lets throw his real-life friend and poker enthusiast Kevin Hart in the mix. Hart is one of the biggest movie stars in the world and anyone who has observed his spontaneous antics at the poker tables knows he would make this thing hilarious, as would Zac Efron as a fictional draconian version of the Staples personal trainer Mike Vacanti.
In the directors chair would be Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat), one of the reigning kings of comedy movies. The whole thing could be like the section of Rounders where Mike and Worm go on the road to run up a stake, only instead of trying not to get caught base dealing, the brothers are trying not to eat the wrong things.
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Emma Stone (Veronica Brill)Ben Foster (Mike Postle)Jonah Hill (Justin Kuraitis)Pete Davidson (Joe Ingram)
Poker player and commentator Veronica Brill grows suspicious that a successful player in her game, Mike Postle, has been cheating for months on a live-streamed Sacramento cash game with the help of cardroom manager Justin Kuraitis. They deny the allegations and will do anything to discredit Brill, so she turns to someone she hopes can help expose the suspected charlatans: popular YouTuber Joe Ingram.
There have been some incredible films with ambiguous endings over the years. You dont get to know whether the robbers gold-laden bus teeters over the cliff edge in The Italian Job; you dont get to know who the Zodiac killer is in Zodiac; and by the end of The Blind Stealthis telling of the Mike Postle cheating scandal which took place at Stones Casino, Sacramento from July 2018 through September 2019you wont know with absolute certainty whether Mike Postle was cheating or not.
The viewers will have enough information to make an informed decision though, and thats all thanks to writer and director Aaron Sorkin. In his screenplays for The Social Network, Moneyball, and his 2017 directorial debut Mollys Game, Sorkin has been able to enlighten audiences on some dense subject matter (from computer algorithms and data analysis to how a game poker works) in just a few pages of the script.
And thanks to Mollys Game, its clear he understands poker and the severity of the Postle allegations against many players, not just Veronica Brill (who brought the allegations to light).
So, with Sorkin at the helm, who would he cast? For Brill, possibly Emma Stone. In films such as Zombieland, The Favourite, and Battle of the Sexes, shes shown herself to be tough and determined with no sign of intimidation.
As for Joey Ingram, Pete Davidson could sling on a tank top and blazer and showcase Ingrams dogged resolve.
Ben Foster would be perfect for Postle. Anyone who saw Foster as Lance Armstrong knows hes a master of playing manipulative, conniving schemers looking to get ahead at any means necessary, even at the expense of others. He could handle Postle too.
Justin Kuraitis is harder to cast as, frankly, there isnt all that much to go on aside from some post-settlement tweets. But based on those tweets, the character in the film is going to be stubborn, goofy, and a bit corrupt. Jonah Hill is a great actor who has been nominated for an Oscar twice (The Wolf of Wall Street and Moneyball). Hes got that down.
The ambiguous ending of The Blind Steal mentioned earlier? It will be a bit like the ending of The Social Network, Sorkins Facebook origin story. Just like Facebook is an ongoing thing, so too is the Postle lawsuits and investigation. But maybe a film like this will inspire more people to seek the truth of what went on during those live streams.
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Posted: at 5:34 am
The big stories of the week in industry news involve poker and eSports partnerships, big jackpot freerolls in Vegas, Macau finally showing signs of recovery and online poker yet again posting positive results!
By: Andrew Burnett
It has been a week of generally good news, but lets kick off with a mixed review, some $120k being handed out on the Vegas Strip, with the MGM Grand at the center of it all.
Up for grabs is the unused jackpot money from three MGM casinos, the Mandalay Bay, Excalibur and Mirage, but the bad news is that the trio of poker rooms have been permanently closed.
Because the jackpot money has to be given back to the players since it was paid in extra rake for jackpot purposes the MGM Grand has decided to host three freeroll tournaments.
Brazilian poker and eSports superstar Andre Akkariadded to his PokerStars team pro and ambassador status with the news that his eSports team Furia has entered into a partnership with the red spade site.
The plan, utilising Akkaris experience and skill across both formats, is to produce unique entertainment content, with the partnership due to unveil a new team of poker streamers. Alongside Akkari himself, the team will include Lali Tournier and Rafa Moraes.
Furia was formed in 2017 by Akkaris Brazilian colleague Jaime raizen Pdua, the team based in the US and the team specialising in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).
Akkari said of the new venture: Poker plays a natural part in Furias DNA. Its all about making optimal decisions in the moment for long-term results. The partnership is a natural step for expansion as we look to move beyond eSports.
For PokerStars, Rebecca McAdam Willetts, Associate Director of Public Relations said: The team at Furia work very hard, lead by example, and are always looking to improve and evolve. This approach, as well as their general ethos, sits extremely well with what we aim for at PokerStars. It will be exciting for us to see what we can bring our community and how we can engage new audiences by working together with such a passionate team.
Its been a tough year so far for many places, and Macau has been among the worst hit financially by the global coronavirus pandemic, 90 percent drops in revenue almost every month so faruntil now that is.
Figures for October show that $910million was pulled in, which is only a 72.5% year-on-year drop and hints that things may be looking up for the former Portuguese colony.
Bloomberg have reported that a relaxation in Chinas travel and visa restrictions may be behind the unexpected boost in numbers, which has seen high-spending customers among the first to return.
Joe Liu, director of the citys largest e-payment company Macau Pass S.A., quoted as saying: They shop and eat crazily.
That matches Las Vegas Sands Corp COO Grant Chum, who told Bloomberg last month: The patrons returning first to Macau are the high-quality, high-frequency customers.
The Macau industry still faces a long road to full recovery, however, with revenue in the 10 months through October falling 81.4% compared to last years figures.
The online game in Europe has seen a dramatic rise during lockdown, some operators growth numbers up by double or even triple figures according to recent reports.
GGPoker top the list with a staggering 208% growth in the past year, followed by the iPoker network at 62% and then partypoker at 30%, according to PokerFuse reports, based on GamingIntel data.
Their list of Year-over-Year Growth reveals:
GGPoker Up 208%
iPoker Up 62%
partypoker Up 30%
Unibet Up 11%
PokerStars Up 7%
888poker Up 2%
They also report that the most recent cash game traffic in segregated markets within Europe show huge rises, Italy up by 18% and the France/Spain/Portugal trio at almost 30%.
With new lockdowns in place across Europe and the winter season almost upon us, a new or extended boom for online poker may well be on the cards.