Poker News

Daniel Negreanu Opens His Own Virtual Poker Room at PokerStars

Daniel Negreanu didn’t spend too much time worrying about Phil Ivey getting his own poker room at the Aria, as PokerStars gave him his own online poker room. Accessible from the PokerStars software client under the name Daniel’s Room, you can play high stakes cash games, ranging from $20/$40 and working their way up to $100/$200.

Daniel's Room

Daniel’s Room is not for the amateurs, with tens of thousands dollars required to challenge the pros. Of course, Daniel himself will be visiting the room on a regular basis, and for those who do beat him, not only do they get to take his money, they also get the opportunity to raise attention on their gameplay as they humiliate ’KidPoker’ in his own room. Who knows, with the attention that Negreanu attracts these days, players who go up against him and are successful could end up being featured on TV or getting a gig for themselves.

Is Phil Hellmuth Still the World’s Best Poker Player?

Phil Hellmuth, one of the most famous poker players in the world, hasn’t been able to win any live tournament since 2007, which is a rather uncomfortable experience for someone who already owns 11 WSOP bracelets. Phil’s self-esteem is still in the skies, though, as a recent interview proves this. Michael Kaplan visited Phil Hellmuth in his Palo Alto home, and this is where the poker pro paraphrased his rather self-conscious statement. He said he is still the best Hold'em player in the world, and, despite his series of failures, he is catching up with the ever-improving modern poker. (Experts say that the reason for Phil's lack of success might be that he cannot keep pace with the 'new generation' of hyperaggressive players that are willing to take all the risks needed to win.)

Phil Hellmuth

The Ivey Room Has Opened Its Doors in the Aria

The new high stakes poker room of the Aria Resort & Casino has finally opened, and celebrated its launch with an invitational tournament offering a prize pool of one million dollars.

Poker pros, celebrities and rich entrepreneurs attended the grand opening ceremony of the Ivey Room this Saturday. Phil Ivey (after whom the room was named) gave an opening speech, and after that, all the people invited sat down to take part in the one million dollar guaranteed tournament. The players that made it to the final table took a share of the prize pool, and there was a special $100,000 prize offered for the player eliminating Phil himself. WPT winner David 'Chino' Rheem took the knockout bounty.

The final table decided to go for a deal and refrained from taking the game all the way to heads-up. The tournament winner was supposed to play heads-up with Phil Ivey for another $100,000. Larry Litton, the one with the biggest stack took the challenge, but didn't manage to take down the 7-time WSOP champion.

Phil Ivey and Larry Litton

Mission Accomplished - Boku87 Turns $5 into $100,000

The German PokerStars pro, Thomas ’Boku87’ Boekhoff managed to fulfil his challenge one month ahead of schedule by building a bankroll of $100,000 out of $5. The crazy multitable grinder who often plays up to 50 tables at once, started his challenge back in 2009, on the 15th June. Just this March, he managed to play an astonishing 4139 SNG-s, which calculated to 133 games per day, with his monthly earnings reaching $8,674.

Boku Challenge Completed

Boku87 first announced on the 2+2 forum on the 19th May the following statement:
"challenge successfully completed Smile
Will post screenshot of bankroll and graphs tomorrow"

Profit chart:

Boku87 Profit Chart

Phil Laak Aims for World Record - More Than 74 Hours of Non-Stop Poker

The American poker pro Phil ’Unabomber’ Laak has in his sights to break world record for the longest poker session, set by Paul Zimbler in 2009. The 2009 record set by Paul Zimbler took place at the WSOPE, where the British poker player played heads-up matches for 74 hours 20 minutes and 21 seconds. Paul had a convincing winrate (he won 102 matches out of 183), considering that he was playing straight for 74 hours and up against other poker pros like Mike Matusow and Phil Hellmuth.

WPT winner Phil Laak is planning to break Zimbler’s record, starting his never-ending session on the 2nd June, at the WSOP in the Bellagio Las Vegas.

Ben Grundy Says Poker is Not the Same Anymore, But He Would be Happy to Take the 'Durrrr Challenge'

The Omaha wizard Ben 'Milkybarkid' Grundy shared with his fans in his latest blog entry that he is contemplating on accepting the 'durrrr challenge'. Ben Grundy stated in a 2009 interview and his blog that he had won more than eight million dollars in Pot Limit Omaha during his career. His bankroll would suit even the highest stakes, but he is rarely playing the nosebleed games. This might change, though, as he mentions on his blog that he might go up against durrrr and his challenge.

Ben Grundy chart
Screenshot of Ben Grundy's 11 worst sessions... with his profit still at $7,695,980.
WP Ben.

"Durrrr challenge. I've actually considered giving this a go.... the offer of $1.5 million if i beat him, compared to paying out $500,000 is really appealing. I'd definitely do it if i could sell a big enough percentage. I'd guess the worse case scenario would be losing $2 million ish, then having to pay up $500k. I'm way to much of a bankroll nit to take the chance of that kind of loss. It would be interesting, i'm not ruling it out under the right circumstances." - says Ben Grundy in his blog.

Police Raids in Russia - More and More Illegal Casinos Appear on Scene

The Russian gambling law, introduced in 2009, has not been overly successful, as more and more illegal gambling places keep sprouting all over the bigger cities in Russia.

The Russian judiciary has accepted Vadimir Putin's 2006 proposal and exiled casino games into four special zones: the territory of the Kaliningrad Enclave, the shore of the Sea of Azov, the Southern Region and the Eastern Primorve Region. These territories have not become the Russian Las Vegas. Instead of this, we can see a mass of illegal casinos open all over Russia. Authorities are on a vicious hunt, trying to stop this progression. According to the Moscow Times, the police has already caught two of the big fish in the past days.

More Illegal Casinos in Moscow

In a luxury apartment in Mosfilmovskaya street they have found 2 poker tables, 2 roulette tables and 10 slot machines. The casino had been operating on an invitational basis and the police confiscated around $500,000 on the spot. The owner of the casino was a British entrepreneur. He managed to escape, and if he gets caught, he will face five years in prison.

There was an even bigger casino operating in Malaya Ordynka street with 4 blackjack and 4 poker tables, roulette, and 21 slot machines. The players were obliged to purchase at least $3000 in chips upon entrance and the room was guarded by security guards and cameras. The police managed to sneak an agent in, and had the commando crew assault the casino, where they have found more than one million dollars.

The New WSOP Bracelet Raising Controversy

Harrah’s Entertainment hired the jewelry designer Steve Soffa to create the new WSOP bracelet, but the design didn’t turn out to be overly popular with the public.

The first WSOP bracelet was made in 1976 and had an estimated value of $500. As the WSOP’s prestige grew, so did the emphasis on the design of the bracelet. By the time 2008 came around, the bracelet was made out of 18-carat white gold and also had 291 2.81 carat diamonds encrusted into it.

The Australian designer Steve Soffa has shown a love for the game for a long time now and he often utilises poker as a theme for his creations. He was also the designer of the wristwatch called ’Suicide King’, which was worn by the 2009 WSOP champion Joe Cada.

Suicide King

Cereus Network Finally Got Rid of the Security Flaw

Although the Cereus Network has announced on the 14th of May that they have taken care of the security gap that made it possible for hackers to view their opponents' hole cards and access others' poker accounts, employees of PokerTableRatings (PTR) were once again easily able to get around the system.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, PTR found a security gap in the software of the well-known Cereus Network. The main concern was that the network wasn't using the industry standard SSL encryption, but their own XOR coding system, which proved to be inefficient against outside threats. Programmers of the Cereus Network started to fix the problem immediately, and according to announcements made by Cereus, they managed to rewrite their software with the SSL encryption technique.

Cereus - PTR

As Cereus had requested PTR to test their system after the repair process, they tried once again to hack the software. To everyone's surprise, they have succeeded once again. Although they weren't able to view hole cards this time, the did manage to access poker accounts.

Cereus has once again kindly thanked them for their help, and the programmers are once again sterted to work on the issue.

On the 16th of May Cereus patched again and have informed PTR that they believe the issue is solved. After some testing PTR confirmed that SSL is now being used everywhere for Cereus. The login vulnerability no longer exists. They are not ensuring a proper implementation, but it seems like the biggest problems have been addressed.

Perlego - A Revolution in Broadcast Poker

PokerStars will introduce Perlego, its latest innovation in poker broadcasting on the 16th May, at one of the side events of the United Kingdom & Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT).

Perlego is an automated card reading and graphics generation system, which is changing the way poker and other card games are produced and broadcast. It utilises a brand new camera technology to ensure recognition of all cards dealt to the players. All cards are supplied with a barcode, which is only visible when infrared light is shed on it. The algorithm of the program decodes this and recognizes the value and color of the given card. Of course, the system is also capable of recognizing community cards.

Roy Winston Challenges Negreanu’s Arguments - The Sunglass-Scandal Continues

Daniel Negreanu’s blog post concerning wearing sunglasses at the poker tables is raising more and more controversy. The Canadian player would be happy to have shades banned from the tables, while other players find this ridiculous.

The topic that shades have a bad effect on poker was first raised in the GSN show High Stakes Poker. Later on, Daniel Negreanu has paraphrased several times why he thinks sunglasses should be banned.


The blog post ended up generating a huge debate, with Negreanu’s opinion being discussed on several online forums. It seems that the idea of banning shades divides the poker society. The latest to comment on the issue was the winner of the 2007 WPT Borgata Winter Open and Full Tilt Pro Roy Winston, who finds Negreanu’s idea completely outrageous.

PokerStars Has Purchased Cecure Gaming and is Developing Mobile Phone Software

PokerStars has set out yet another goal for the near future: they are about to create the mobile phone version of their software and have purchased Cecure Gaming, a company whose profile is the developement of casino and poker software for mobile phones.

Cecure Gaming, established in 2000, has been developing poker and casino software for cell phones and can be brought in connection with brands like Orange, T-Mobile, 3 Mobile and Vodafone. Apart from operating the games World Poker Tour mobile and Ladbrokes Poker Million mobile, they also had their own gambling brand called Aces Royal.

Aces Royal
Aces Royal

Layne Flack’s Poker Reality Show is Coming!

The six-time WSOP winner Layne Flack will let us have a sneak peek in his not-so-everyday life in the new reality show titled ‘Life in the fast Layne’.

Layne Flack used to be mentioned among the most promising poker players of all time. He has won five WSOP bracelets between 1999 and 2003. After winning two consecutive WSOP events in 2002, Layne earned himself the ‘Back to Back Flack’ nickname. His drug-related problems nearly broke his career in two, and although he continued to participate in poker tournaments (and even finished second in the $6,000 NLHE Final Day behind Eric Brenes at the 2004 WPT), he was unable to deliver the performance that was expected from him by his fans and the poker society.

The PokerStars Big Game is Set to Arrive in June

Shooting of the long awaited PokerStars high stakes poker show, The Big Game, has ended last week and the first episode will be aired on the 14th June by the American Fox Sports TV channel.

Although the PokerStars Big Game has no official player listing yet, we already know for sure that Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Rousso, Barry Greenstein, Phil Hellmuth, Freddy Deeb, Tony G, Phil Laak, Doyle Brunson and Todd Brunson will be featured at the six-player table.

The PokerStars Big Game

Besides them, one seat will be reserved for the so-called ’Loose Cannon’, whose $100,000 buy-in will be paid for by the poker room. If the Loose Cannon wins, he can keep the amount won above the $100K, if he loses, he won’t have to pay. In order to become the Loose Cannon, players need to win one of the four daily PokerStars satellites and then prepare a self-intorductional video. PokerStars will choose the lucky one based on these videos.

Michael Mizrachi is Threatened by Going Bankrupt

The two-time WSOP champion Michael ’The Grinder’ Mizrachi has gotten himself in serious financial trouble. Despite his $7,000,000 career winnings, even his house is getting sold by auction.

Michael Mizrachi
Michael 'The Grinder' Mizrachi

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