Women's Ultimate Poker Challenge

Speaking of Ladies events, Woman Poker Player magazine and The Ultimate Poker Challenge have teamed up to create the Ultimate Women's Poker Challenge.

The event will be held on February 9th at Binions in Las Vegas, Nevada. The final table is scheduled for February 10th and will be televised for a future episode of UPC. Buy-in for the event is $200, though according to their website, Binions will be holding single table satellites beginning on February 8th.

For more details on this event, you can visit the UPC website via the 'read' link below.

Lips Tour Grand Championship Scheduled

The Lips Tour (Ladies International Poker Series) has announced the details for the upcoming Grand Championship. The event will take place at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas between July 20-22nd, 2007. In addition to the regularly scheduled games, they will be adding a H.O.S. event this year. If you are interested in participating, the Orleans is offering special room rates for the event.

Also, the Lips Tour will be making their next stop at the Commerce Casino for the World Poker Tour Ladies Event on February 3rd. The buy-in for this event will be $1060, and the first place winner will also receive a $25,000 seat into the WPT Championship at the Bellagio.

Winter Poker Open Final Table

Bluff has announced the final six players who will be moving on to the televised World Poker Tour final table tomorrow at the Borgata Winter Poker Open. Players and their chip counts are as follows:

Joe Simmons 5,500,000
John Gale 4,830,000
John Hennigan 3,255,000
Chuck Kelley 1,610,000
Michael Sukonik 1,305,000
John James 535,000

The four players who rounded off the top ten but didn't make the final table were:

7. Joseph Cappello $221,548
8. John Racener $166,161
9. David Redlin $110,774
10. Davidson Matthew $72,003

For a detailed recap of today's play, as well as a look at the final six players, check out Bluff Magazine's coverage.

LA Poker Classic begins tomorrow

It's getting almost hard to keep track of them all, as January seems to have more poker tournaments than any other month. The 2007 LA Poker Classic begins tomorrow, January 25th at the Commerce Casino in California. This is a huge series, spanning almost a full month before culminating with the WPT $10,000 buy-in Championship Event. The final table last year was as follows:

1. Alan Goehring $2,391,550
2. Daniel Quach $1,162,560
3. Michael Woo $571,315
4. Steve Simmons $338,803
5. J.C. Tran $265,728
6. Per Ummer $199,296
7. Anahit Galajian $166,080
8. Kevan Casey $132,864
9. Michael McClain $99,648

This year's events are scheduled as follows:

Jan. 25 $300 NLHE
Jan. 26 $300 Limit Hold'em
Jan. 27 $300 O8
Jan. 28 $300 NLHE w/ rebuys
Jan. 29 $300 Seven Card Stud
Jan. 30 $500 NLHE
Jan. 31 $500 NLHE Shootout
Feb. 01 $500 NLHE
Feb. 02 $1000 Limit Hold'em
Feb. 03 $1000 Ladies NLHE
Feb. 04 $300 Seven Card Stud
Feb. 05 $1000 NLHE
Feb. 06 $500 O8
Feb. 07 $500 Turbo NLHE 6-handed
Feb. 08 $1500 NLHE
Feb. 09 $1000 Limit Hold'em
Feb. 10 $1000 NLHE Shootout w/rebuys
Feb. 11 $300 NLHE
Feb. 12 $2500 NLHE
Feb. 13 $1000 NLHE PPT Event
Feb. 15 $2500 Limit Hold'em
Feb. 16 $2500 NLHE
Feb. 17 $1500 Limit Hold'em
Feb. 18 $500 NLHE Shootout
Feb. 19 $1000 NLHE
Feb. 20 $500 NLHE
Feb. 21 $1500 NLHE
Feb. 21 $1500 NLHE
Feb. 22 $1000 NLHE
Feb. 24 $10,000 NLHE World Poker Tour Championship Event
Mar. 03 Celebrity Invitational Event

World Poker Open, down to 18

The 2007 Gold Strike World Poker Open is down to the final 18 players heading into today's action. According to Bluff Magazine who is covering the event live, Gavin Smith took 19th place and the remaining competitors vying for the title will be:

Jim Bullard - 966,000
Young Cho - 674,000
JC Tran - 561,000
Robert Thompson - 466,000
Daniel Negreanu - 446,000
Brian Gabrielle - 323,000
Gary Kainer - 300,000
Jeremy Tinsley - 295,000
Bryan Sumner - 290,000
Eddy Putrus - 255,000
Amir Vahedi - 236,000
Matt Russell - 201,000
Adeep Harb - 194,000
John Racener - 178,000
Don Mullis - 168,000
Thang (Kido) Pham - 166,000
Justin Marsh - 109,000
Jolyne Thompson - 72,000

Chip counts via BluffMagazine.com. Check them out for live updates throughout the remainder of the tournament.

EPT Changes 2007 Schedule

The 2007 EPT French Poker Open has been cancelled. According to the CEO of the European Poker Tour, John Duthie:

The European Poker Tour (EPT) regrets to announce that the 2007 French Open poker tournament due to be held at Casino Barrière de Deauville from 20-24th February, 2007, has been cancelled. This is as a direct result of last-minute intervention by the French authorities making it impossible for the Lucien Barrière group to run a poker tournament on their premises in Deauville. We sincerely apologise to all players due to attend the event, but unfortunately these circumstances were beyond our control. We are considering the feasibility of appealing against this decision to the highest authority and will advise of any developments.

All of the other events are running as previously scheduled though. The next event, The EPT German Open, will be held in Dortmund, Germany between March 8-11, followed shortly thereafter by the EPT Polish Open in Warsaw between March 14-17, 2007.

The season will culminate with the Monte Carlo Grand Final at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort in Monaco, beginning on March 28, 2007.

2007 Gold Strike World Poker Open

The $10,000 buy-in WPT Main Event at the Gold Strike World Poker Open (not to be confused with the Winter Poker Open which is also currently running) is well underway, and according to the live coverage provided by Bluff Magazine, they will be playing down to 18 players today. It's unbelievable how many big names are still in the race - top nine chip leaders are as follows:

Thang (Kido) Pham 580,000
Victor Ramdin 570,000
Hoyt Corkins 450,000
Gavin Smith 320,000
JC Tran 305,000
John Racener 240,000
Matt Russell 140,000
Amir Vahedi 88,000
Mark Seif 88,000

Last year, Scotty Nguyen won the championship event in this tournament, claiming $969,421. The second place finisher was none other than Michael Mizrachi, helping solidify his Player of the Year standings early on in the year.

For more on the live action in this tournament, go check out BluffMagazine.com.

EPT Copenhagen - Scandinavian Open Begins

In what seems like a never-ending stream of live poker tournaments running simultaneously, The European Poker Tour kicks off their EPT Copenhagen Scandinavian Open today in Denmark at Casino Copenhagen. This event will be covered live by the official PokerStars Blog, so we will be checking their site for updates.

Apparently Team PokerStars members Isabel Mercier, Katja Thater, Bertrand Grospellier, Tom McEvoy and Luca Pagano will be in attendance.

Random fact of the day: according to the EPT website a jacket is required at the Casino Copenhagen - no sports wear is allowed. Can you honestly picture the average poker player in anything BUT sportswear? I'm wondering if they are making an exception for the event, especially since a huge number of the entrants have qualified via PokerStars. If not, it would be refreshing seeing a room full of players not covered in poker logos.

Either way, the event will run between January 17-20th, and has completely sold out.

World Poker Tour 2007 Winter Poker Open

Just in case there currently aren't enough live tournaments for you to keep track of, I'll toss one more in your direction. The 2007 Winter Poker Open begins today, January 17th, at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. There are 13 events total, with a $10,000 buy-in Championship Event that will be broadcast by the World Poker Tour.

If you recall, last year the Main Event at this tournament was won by none other than Michael Mizrachi, with John D'Agostino placing second and Erick Lindgren finishing in third. This was just one short week after Mizrachi placed second at the 2006 Gold Strike World Poker Open, losing out to Scotty Nguyen. That was one helluva week in poker.

Full event schedule for the 2007 Winter Poker Open is as follows:

January 17 - $500 NLHE
January 18 - $750 NLHE
January 19 - $1000 NLHE
January 20 - $1500 NLHE
January 21 - $260 Ladies NLHE
January 21 - $500 Limit Hold'em
January 22 - $2500 NLHE
January 23 - $500 NLHE
January 24 - $5000 NLHE
January 26 through 30 - $10,000 WPT NLHE Championship Event
January 27 - $1000 NLHE
January 28 - $750 NLHE
January 29 - $500 NLHE

Aussie Million Main Event

Since online satellites have been running for what seems like, well, forever, it is almost hard to believe that the Main Event of the 2007 Aussie Millions is finally underway in Melbourne. Dr. Pauly is in the Land Down Under covering the event for PokerNews.com, and according to him they are now down to the top 80 players who are all in the money. You can see the full list of players via the "read" link below, but a few notable names still in the running are:

Gus Hansen, Keith Sexton, Andrew Black, Patrik Antonius, Kristy Gazes, Ross Boatman, Kirill Gerasimov, and Joe Hachem.

Go check out Pauly's blog and PokerNews.com for videos, news, and info on all the live happenings at this event.

Doyle's Room: Bay 101 Shooting Stars Qualifier

For those of you wishing for nothing more than to play in the World Poker Tour (and I know you are out there), Doyle's Room will be hosting a tournament on Sunday, January 21, 2007, awarding $11,500 prize packages for the Main Event of the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars Tournament - to be held in San Jose beginning March 12.

You can either buy-in directly to the qualifier for $105 (with $100 Re-buys up to level four, with $100 add-on at end of level four) or play in the daily $10.50 feeder satellites at 8pm & 10pm ET.

Also, according to Doyle's Room, at the WPT tournament:

This prize-filled WPT tournament has a truly unique feature in which one Bounty with a $5,000 bonus prize is placed at each and every table. Sound familiar? Knock out a celebrity bounty sitting at your table and win $5,000 right there on the spot. Win the whole thing in front of television cameras and win the million dollar first place prize! Doyle Brunson, Todd Brunson, James Woods, Mimi Rogers, and Jennifer Tilly are some of the notable celebrity bounties scheduled to appear this year.

For more info on the Bay 101 tournament, you can visit their website via the 'read' link below.

(image: Bay101.com)

Aussie Millions Updates

Quick reminder to all that the illustrious Dr. Pauly is in the Land Down Under doing his one-of-a-kind coverage of the 2007 Aussie Millions for PokerNews. In case you have missed his reports to date, you can find them via these links:

Aussie Arrival
Day 2: Two Champions Crowned
Day 3: Marathon Omaha

If there is any possible chance that you aren't aware, half of the poker-playing world has flown down to the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. (The other half is at Atlantis in the Bahamas for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.)

The Aussie Millions Championship Event begins on Sunday, January 14th.

2007 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure

The 2007 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure begins this weekend at the gorgeous Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, and Brad "Otis" Willis of the official PokerStars Blog is there covering the event live. He already has some amazing pictures up of the resort and surrounding area, which is a nice change of pace (yes, I get sick of looking at pictures of poker players all the time) so go check them out when you get a chance.

The event itself is an $8000 buy-in No Limit Hold'em World Poker Tour championship. Last year's winner, Steve Paul-Ambrose, took down the title when he beat Brook Lyter in heads up play, collecting $1,363,100 and a $25,000 entry into the $25,000 WPT Championship. Lyter won $681,500 for finishing in second place.

PokerStars has also brought along the 27 finalists of the The Moneymaker Millionaire challenge to the Bahamas, so we will be watching for results of that as well. Should be a very exciting weekend of poker.

(image: PokerStars.com)

Doyle's Room Last Chance for Australia

For those of you still hoping to win a prize package to the Aussie Millions in January there are still a few sites out there running promotions offering ways to qualify, all of which we will be looking at over the next few days.

Doyle's Room will be hosting their $198 freezout tournament this Friday, December 29th at 6pm EST, offering a 1st place guaranteed prize package worth $11,000. The package includes entry into the tournament (approx. $7850 USD, give or take a bit of exchange rate) with the remaining cash going towards your travel expenses. To enter you can either buy in directly, or win a $24.20 single-table tourney satellite or a $3 daily multi-table tournament qualifier.

The Aussie Millions will be held in Melbourne, Australia between January 6-19th at the Crown Casino. The Championship Event begins on the 14th.

Kickin It Live

I'm just coming up for air after several days of being utterly swamped at my day job, and I finally have the opportunity to report about something pretty rare that I did last week. I played some live poker in one of the clubs in New York City. The game was a $100 buyin freezeout tournament, no-limit holdem, and 37 players sat down at 8pm ET for a run at the top 5 payout spots, with $1300+ going to first place, and around $150 awarded to 5th. In my few other attempts in the city's poker clubs, I have not had much luck, failing to cash in maybe 7 or 8 attempts in these live tournaments, despite having had quite a bit of success in online tournaments of the same games. Nonetheless, I headed to the club last week with a decent dose of optimism, as I've been running well online lately and was really looking to translate this into my club performance for the first time.

I've written about this several times before on my own blog, but I will just say it again here because I think it bears repeating: for someone who has had a lot of success playing poker online, where you only have the timing and pattern of your opponent's bets to guide you in laying a read on someone, live poker can be really easy. I mean, shockingly, amazingly easy. Getting to see someone's facial expression when the flop hits the board, watching their eyes when they first view their hole cards, and seeing other non-facial things like the way a player handles their chips during the hand, can almost make it seem unfair to someone who usually never even gets to see their opponents during play.

With all this in mind, on hand #3 of the live tournament, I found Aces in the pocket, and a put in a standard preflop raise of 3 times the big blind. The young, aggro internet-looking player a few seats to my right reraises me from the blinds, and from just a moment's glance at him -- his face, his posture, really his entire demeanor -- it was balls obvious that he had a nice pocket pair himself there. So, I decided to really lay the trap and just smooth call his reraise. Well, when the flop brought three rags, knowing what I knew about my opponent's hand, I went for the big raise when he bet the size of the pot, and unfortunately he laid down what turned out to be two Queens.

Before I could even pile up all the new chips coming my way, two hands later I peel up the corners of my hole cards and see two beautiful red Aces staring up at me again. This time it's the older guy across the table from me who raises 3x preflop. I took a quick look at the guy's face (through my shades of course -- I'm a big sunglasses guy when I play live in the clubs or in casinos), and he just looks really eager to get it on. Again this is the kind of thing that you just don't get to see when you play online, and yet it was so obvious to me when I'm looking this guy right in the face, that I just had to put this guy on a big hand as well. So, I reraise him just twice his bet, trying to give him the rope to hang himself, which he grabs a full hold of by re-reraising me right back. Again, from his physical mannerisms, it was absolutely obvious I was looking at someone holding either pocket Aces or pocket Kings. Since I had pocket Aces myself, I figured it is far more likely that he has two Kings, and for that reason I just went ahead and moved in the rest of my chips on an allin re-re-reraise. Now, if this guy was a real man -- which surely I am not, if this is the criteria -- he should have known that my fourth raise meant I had Aces. But obviously pocket Kings are darn near impossible to lay down before the flop. He couldn't, and within just the first orbit I had a nice chip lead in the event.

Long story short, fast forward 4 hours later, and I was eliminated from the tournament in 2nd place when the eventual winner managed to nab pocket Aces not once but twice in the span of 3 hands when down to just three players left. Still, this goes down as easily my best ever performance in a live game, at least as far as playing against the tougher kind of competition that you only really run into in the casinos, the clubs or similar venues like that. I mean, sure I've won live tournaments among 50 or 60 of my friends, but -- no offense if any of my New York City poker friends are reading this -- those guys are not exactly what I'd call really high caliber poker players as a general statement. Taking 2nd place and winning nearly a grand in cash money for about 4 hours of work in an NYC poker club is really a testament to what I've been saying about online vs. live play. If you play enough hands online, and keep working on laying the right reads on people using only the very limited information you will have about your opponents -- again, just the timing and the amount of their bets -- this can translate quickly into some very profitable habits and skills when you go back to playing live, in-the-flesh poker. As I've said, after a few months of only online play, showing up in a casino, or even just a low-key poker homegame with friends -- I really find that the skills I've honed in reading people from limited cues online leaves me almost feeling sensory overload at the live poker table, where I am just seeing so many cues and hints and tells from various players. It's almost like taking candy from a baby.

Between full tilt's wide range of regularly available tournaments, and pokerstars' new and exciting multi-table tournament schedule, there are countless options to continue to practice on all of our online tournament games, whether in preparation and practice for live play, or just for the fun or profitability in their own right. Whatever your motivation, here's to poker success for you all during the new year -- both the live and the online variety (drink your shot now).

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