PTR News

Isildur1 and Sauce123 Clash at the PLO Tables

Isildur1Premier matches have been few and far between since Black Friday. It seems that all of the scandals and uncertainty of online poker have shifted most of the attention from the players to the poker sites themselves. Alas, a great match took place at PokerStars yesterday, with two heavyweights battling at the high-stakes tables once again. Monday's contest featured Viktor Blom ('Isildur1') and Ben Sulsky ('Sauce123') butting heads at the $25/50 PLO tables, but, as is the case with many of Isildur1's encounters, the match was played with a mandatory three-bet. This effectively raises the blinds to $150/$450 and results in some major gambling, especially when the players begin raising after the mandatory three-bet.

Since the blinds were so monstrous, it only took 926 hands for the damage to be done. Sauce123 walked away with losses totaling over $181,000 in just a little over three and a half hours. Here are the biggest hands from the match:

Sauce123 spikes a straight on the turn and fades a flush on the river.

Ever seen a 6-bet flop?

Sauce123 check-raises all-in on the flop with a monster draw.

Two flushes, one winner…

Isildur1 wins his biggest pot ...

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WSOP Week 4 Summary, Jason Mercier Profile

WSOP ResultsWeek number four at the World Series of Poker has come to a close with another nine bracelets being awarded to first time champions. Through 42 bracelet events in the 2011 WSOP, there have been 42 different winners, leaving only 17 more opportunities for someone to be the first two-time bracelet winner of the year. Since 2001, there has been at least one multiple bracelet winner in every World Series of Poker each year, but time is now running short for someone to match the feat.

The WSOP Player of the Year race is powered by Bluff Magazine this year and uses their scoring system on tournaments to define who the player of the year will be. Through the first 41 events of the WSOP, Phil Hellmuth continues to lead the standings with his two runner-up finishes in $10,000 buy-in events.

Here's the top 10 players in the standings through 41 events:

Current 2011 WSOP Player-of-the-Year Leaderboard

PlayerPointsCashesFinal TablesBraceletsWinnings
Phil Hellmuth420.75320$517,410
Sam Stein402.63421$716,342
Mikhail Lakhitov401.80521$851,058
Mitch Schock364.81531 ...

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WSOP Week 3 - Hellmuth on Top, Grospellier Historic

WSOP ResultsIt was the busiest week of the World Series of Poker by far as Week 3 delivered 16 Bracelets to different events. The week was chalk full of broken records, (like the record entries for the Seniors event, which also set the largest single day entry event in WSOP history with 3,752 players), as well as plenty of changes atop the WSOP Player of the Year Leaderboard.

Following his win in the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold'em Championship, and subsequent min-cash in the $1,500 NLHE Shootout, Amir "AmirSF" Lehavot began the week as the Player of the Year leader. But John Juanda would assume the top spot on the leaderboard following up his $10k 2-7 Lowball Championship win with another final table in the $2,500 Eight-Game Mix event. That lead would last only a few days as Sam "KingKobeMVP" Stein would follow up on his 3rd place finish in the $10k Pot Limit Hold'em Championship with a win in the $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha event, and claim the leaderboard's top position. But Stein's reign as the leader lasted mere hours, as Phil Hellmuth sought bracelet number 12 for the second time in ...

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PTR Server Status Update

PTR AnnouncementWe are currently experiencing hardware issues at our data center. We blame the full moon... just kidding (but it really is full tomorrow). No data was lost, however several features on will be temporarily affected.

While the server is down, you may notice recent sessions / hands from the past few months not appearing, as well as certain player profiles not loading. Also, delivery of hand history purchases will be delayed as this issue affects the freshness of the hands we send you. (We don't want to send you old hands!)

Apologies are never fun, so let's get right into it. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience you're experiencing. We are working with our data center right now to get everything running 100% again and will communicate progress updates as they come.

Update June 15 5:21pm CST:
We are still working day and night to get everything up and running again. Several users have asked whether their sessions are being tracked during this time period. The answer is yes, hand tracking is unaffected and your stats will be updated when full service is restored.

Update June 16 12:17pm CST:
Stats from hands played today ...

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WSOP Week 2, Juanda vs Hellmuth Battle

WSOP ResultsAnother nine bracelets were awarded this week as the World Series of Poker wrapped its second week. The numbers across the board have been strong as the WSOP is experiencing year over year increases in player participation and tournament prize pools, which is incredible news considering both the events of Black Friday and last year's impressive turnout.  Poker is still on the rise, and with inflated statistics, we're seeing a number of new names that have received WSOP Gold.  But it is a member of the "Old Guard" that gets the nod for this week's story of the week for accomplishing a feat that had countless eyeballs around the globe watching two men playing a card game.

Player Profile: John Juanda

John Juanda is anything but an amateur when it comes to 2-7 Lowball, or any game for that matter. A regular at the recent ludicrous games in Macau as well as the high stakes action at the Aussie Millions, you can almost always find Juanda wherever the action is the biggest.  The last two years, Juanda has back-to-back 4th place finishes in the $10,000 2-7 Lowball Championship event, and according to friends and experts, it ...

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WSOP Week 1 Summary, Notable Players

WSOP ResultsIt's that time of year again. Every poker player with a large enough bankroll and a dream of being crowned a champion has converged on the city of Las Vegas, NV and into the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino for a chance to win their share of Millions in prizes and a coveted title known as, the bracelet. The 2011 World Series of Poker has begun and eight champions have already been crowned. The numbers show increases in field sizes and prize pools, and the storylines are abundant.

Perhaps the biggest story thus far at the 2011 WSOP comes from a player that isn't here. While the news of Phil Ivey boycotting the WSOP and filing suit against Full Tilt Poker hit earlier this week, we'll keep that story separate from the events at the tables. Each week, we'll headline the events, show you the big winners of the series with links to their PTR stats, and profile a player that is having themselves a summer to remember. And this week, we begin with a story that's features an achievement that has only been accomplished a total of 3 times in poker history.

Featured ...

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SportingBet's Paradise Poker Joins Ongame Network

Ongame NetworkSportingbet, at one time the world's largest publicly traded online gaming company, announced today that it will be adding a new poker room in the second half of this year. SportingBet currently runs one of online poker's original rooms, Paradise Poker, on GTECH G2's International Poker Network (IPN).

Sportingbet already had an agreement in place to migrate players not accepted by IPN to Entraction, as was done with their Canadian user base. The new room will keep Paradise Poker's brand, but will use Ongame's platform.

"Ongame has a great track record as a poker partner for major sportsbook brands." states Ben Freeman, Sporting Bet's Poker Manager. "We are impressed by their approach to network ecology and we're excited to widen our offering with increased liquidity and better promotions to our players."

In the past, OnGame has focused their marketing efforts on recreational players to bring money into the system. This was apparent during the launch of the GSOP Live Poker Tour last year, where 80% of players attempting to qualify were net depositing players. And just this past January, Ongame revised its oddly named "Essence" rake distribution system to encourage partner rooms to ...

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Merge Halts US Signups Temporarily

Merge USAMerge Gaming Network announced yesterday that they temporarily will not be accepting any new players from the US beginning tomorrow. This follows the announcement May 24 by BlackChip Poker, a Merge skin, that they are no longer accepting new players from the US states of New York, Washington DC, Maryland, Missouri and Louisiana.

Unlike the recent moves by network skins SportsBook and PlayersOnly, Merge Gaming pointed out that this move is due to growing pains, with no mention of legal issues. Poker Affiliate Solutions quotes sources commenting on Merge that they "intend to keep the policy in place for a 4-6 weeks until they can adequately handle all the new players flocking to the network".

This latest statement does little to settle the nerves of US players looking for a US friendly room. One could take a positive spin on the news by taking the customer service angle, whereby Merge is making this move because they can not handle the influx of new players, and is thus throttling back until they can sort things out and they are confident they can provide users with a full level of service.

Either way, if you're a US player you only have ...

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Phil Ivey Not Playing in WSOP, Sues Full Tilt

Ivey Sues FTDay 1 of the 2011 World Series of Poker was turned completely upside down as the world's top poker player, Phil Ivey, released an announcement that he will not be participating in this summer's events and has filed a lawsuit against his longtime sponsor Full Tilt Poker. In a somewhat bizarre series of events, Ivey was noticeably absent from the first open event of the WSOP, the $25,000 buy Heads-Up Event #2, and instead took to social media to release his statement on why he chose to avoid one of the most prestigious events of the 2011 WSOP calendar. On Ivey's Facebook page, the following announcement was made:

"For many years, I have been proud to call myself a poker player. This great sport has taken me to places I only imagined going and I have been blessed with much success. It is therefore with deep regret that I believe I am compelled to release the following statement.

I am deeply disappointed and embarrassed that Full Tilt players have not been paid money they are owed. I am equally embarrassed that as a result many players cannot compete in tournaments and have suffered economic harm.

I ...

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Full Tilt's Bank Unfrozen, Cash Outs Closer

NewsAccording to reports released today, Full Tilt Poker may be drawing nearer to refunding the balances of US poker players with the announcement of the unfreezing of their Bank of Ireland account. While most of the recent updates given to the public have offered precious little information on the status of US player withdrawals since the indictments by the Southern District of New York against 11 Defendants and the subsequent shutdown of real money transactions on April 15th, today's news aims to end some of the skepticism as to whether or not US player would get paid. It has been more than a month since the US Department of Justice seized 76 bank accounts from PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker/UB, and while PokerStars worked out an arrangement that made it possible for US players to cashout balances from their site, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker have thus far not been able to.

Today eGamingReview reported that the Bank of Ireland account, one of the nine accounts that were frozen by the DOJ on April 15th, has been unfrozen by the authorities according to information obtained by eGR. However, although a reported $100 million to $150 million ...

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