Archive for October, 2014

Full Tilt Says Goodbye to Gus Hansen and Viktor Blom

Friday, October 24th, 2014

There are few poker fanatics that don’t appreciate the absolutely insane hands that Gus Hansen and Viktor Blom have been involved in over the years due to their unique and ‘crazy’ playing style.

However, it seems that Full Tilt is headed in a different direction with their sponsored pros lately, which started by letting go Tom Dwan earlier in 2014.

After Hansen’s and Blom’s contracts expired in mid-October, Full Tilt opted not to renew them.

Before you get worried about never seeing Hansen or Blom play online poker again, don’t worry, they’re still around. In fact, Blom won a massive $261K pot just a few days after being let go from the pro team.

A Look at Hansen’s Online Career

Gus leaves the Full Tilt team after losing approximately $20 million during his time. This has earned him the title of one of the most losing online poker professionals of all time.

Hansen is known for his wild playing style and playing a wide variety of games. Despite his outrageous online losings, Hansen is still respected overall in the poker world, largely due to his endurance as a player at the highest level and his 3 WPT titles, along with 1 WSOP bracelet.

A Look at Viktor Blom: AKA ‘Isildur1′

Blom took the poker world by storm in 2009, eventually being signed by PokerStars in the following year. The amazing thing was, that for almost everyone in the poker world, no one knew that it was Blom playing as Isildur1 on PokerStars and Full Tilt.

While professionals lined up to get their shot at the crazy-playing ‘fish’ at first, they soon learned that he might have been better than initial stats indicated.

Blom moved over to Full Tilt and joined their team of pros late in 2012. He finishes his sponsorship deal with net losings of approximately $3M on Full Tilt.

The Future of Online Professionals

It seems that both major sites owned by the Rational Group, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, are moving away from the professional branding that they have used so extensively in the past.

Both sites are trimming down their list of sponsored professionals, perhaps in an attempt to shift their player recruiting strategy.

Remember that until recently, the two poker giants competed against each other. There was always a heated competition to sign the best and most popular professionals in the game. Once combined however, there aren’t many other sites that have the funds to sponsor professionals at this level.

It’s possible that it’s just not worth it on both sides of the deal to continue these types of sponsorship deals.

Wherever online poker and its high stakes professionals is heading, don’t worry, there will always be action at the top of the game to give you the thrill of watching hundreds of thousands of dollars being won and lost in single hands.

4 Reasons You Should Start Playing Poker (or Taking it More Seriously)

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Poker is an intimidating game when you are first introduced to it. Remembering the hand rankings and rules of the game takes longer than might be expected, and if you had any idea of the thought process behind strategies of the professionals, you might be discouraged. Luckily, you don’t have to play against professionals right away, and if you have the right personality and ability, poker might be a game that you could excel at if you take it seriously. Time and time again, beginner players with the right aptitude have risen through the levels quickly and competed with some of the best in the game. 

Think about if the following reasons resonate with you. If one or more do, you might be suited to take a real shot at being a (significantly) winning player.

1. You Naturally Think Logically

People that see the world in an organized manner are fairly rare. If you are the kind of person that makes rational decisions on a regular basis in your life, regarding purchases, relationships or career moves, you will likely excell at poker.

2. You Enjoy Problem Solving

Poker is the ultimate puzzle to be solved. Every hand starts with limited information, but a chance to learn more about other players and put the pieces together to make the optimal decision. Decomposing a hand and figuring out what an opponent’s hand range is based on their actions in the hand and overall session takes immense concentration and an enjoyment of problem solving.

3. You Can Control Your Emotions

Somewhat related to #1, controlling your emotions is one of the most important abilities a winning player can have. Just a single bad session on occasion can take from a winning player to a losing player. Take an honest look at yourself while playing poker and determine how well you can not only notice negative emotions, but also control them. While this can be learned, it takes a lot of time and is difficult.

4. You Enjoy Simple Math

Were you one of those kids that enjoyed math? I know I was. It’s not a surprise that many top poker players have strong math backgrounds. While you don’t need a PhD to be a great player, ideally you should have at least a basic aptitude for statistics and basic algebra. It’ll help you at the table as well as off the table when you are analyzing the game.