Why Portugal is the New Powerhouse of Omaha Poker

November 19th, 2019 by Roberta Genovese Leave a Comment

Portuguese poker player, Tomas Ribeiro, made a name for himself and his country back in October by winning the €2,200 Pot-Limit Omaha event at the 2019 World Series of Poker Europe at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. He walked away with a total pot of €128,314 and his first-ever tour gold bracelet. Ribeiro beat Swedish player Omar Eljach to claim the prize following six hours of play. It was his second final-table finish of 2019.

Putting Portugal on the poker map

Ribeiro follows in the footsteps of fellows Portuguese professionals Jonathan Aguiar, Francisco Antonio da Costa Santos, Diogo Veiga, and top-ranked countryman and poker rising star Joao Vieira who have all been gold bracelet winners.

It was not the first tournament that Ribeiro has won – he has three previous victories to his name – but it was the first at a WSOP event and the first to offer a trophy as well as a significant prize fund.

After five years as a professional, the player from the Iberian Peninsula has become something of a Pot-Limit and all-round Omaha specialist, although he still takes part in other events such as No-Limit Hold’em. His victory follows a recent trend of Portuguese players making their mark on the world poker stage.

Portuguese pioneers

In 2012, Francisco Da Costa Santos became the first Portuguese player to don a gold bracelet in the 43-year history of the World Series when he won the Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha Title event at the WSOPE in Cannes, bagging €83,275 in the process. That sparked a wave of interest and a spike in performance from Portuguese players. Just a year before at the same event, fellow countryman Michel Dattani had finished as runner-up.

Later in the same year, Jonathan Aguiar landed $336,661 and his one and only gold bracelet for winning the €10,000 Mixed Max event on the WSOPE. He quit the full-time circuit just a year later aged just 29 having earned more than $1.6 m in lifetime earnings.

In 2018, Diogo Veiga came from nowhere to become the first Portuguese player to win gold in Las Vegas when he triumphed in the Big Blind Antes $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em event to scoop the $522,715 prize. Veiga currently stands third on the Portuguese all-time money list with earnings of $2,151,332.

Topping the money list in Portugal is Joao Vieira who fought off 814 entrants to land the $758,011 grand prize in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed, at the 2019 World Series of Poker. Vieira had to fend off four-time bracelet winner and former main event champion Joe Cada to land Portugal’s fourth bracelet overall. The Funchal-born player has earned $3,535,652 in his career so far.

Poker powerhouse

From having no bracelet winners in 43 years to having five in seven years including three in the last year-and-a-half, Portugal is emerging as a poker powerhouse. The country is blessed with some specialist players such as Omaha expert Tomas Ribeiro who, at 24 years of age, still has a big future ahead of him.

Dudley Caps Fine Year with Second Omaha WSOP Bracelet in Europe

November 18th, 2019 by Roberta Genovese Leave a Comment

It’s been a stellar year for Dash Dudley on the poker circuit, and just when he thought it couldn’t get any better he went out and won another WSOP Bracelet. The American pro took his seat at the Pot-Limit Omaha table in the $550 World Series of Poker Europe event, taking on a 476-strong field for a share of the $100,000 prize fund.

It was the first time that the 34-year-old had played outside of the US, but as the man himself said after adding a second career Bracelet less than four months after his first, ‘the heater is real’. Dudley took down the field to earn a new piece of gold as well as a cool top prize of $57,000, taking his year-to-date earnings to in excess of $1.1 million. He is on the brink of entering the top 1000 of the all-time money list, despite only going pro in 2010.

His latest success in the city of Rozvadov comes just weeks after the biggest payday of his career, when the Michigan man took down a $10,000 8-Handed Championship game at the 50th WSOP championship in Las Vegas.

 

But Dudley had to do things the hard way in the Czech Republic, as he headed into the final day trailing chip leader Denis Drobina by a considerable margin.

The American soon edged out another WSOP bracelet winner, Ivo Donev, who went all-in with a pair of jacks against Dudley’s A-A-Q-7 hand. Donev actually picked up a flush on the river, but a full house of aces and tens kept Dudley in the game. Others fell by the wayside to leave Dudley heads-up against Christopher Back, a recent winner at the Wynn Fall Classic. He landed a straight on the final deal, with Back all-in and waiting for an eight to hit a straight of his own. But the river served up a king, and that was enough for Dudley to take the spoils for yet another lucrative payday.

Dashing to the Top

It has been an astonishing rise up the poker rankings from Dudley, who only played in his first WSOP event in the summer of 2010. A couple of decent early cashes took him to Las Vegas, where an eighth-place finish in a $1,000 No Limit Hold’em game saw him earn $67,221.

Further successes followed for the Lansing native, but it was actually a switch to Pot-Limit Omaha that has brought Dudley his finest hours in the game. A handsome cash at the 47th WSOP in 2016 provided a platform that would ultimately lead to Event #52 at WSOP 2019, where he outlasted a final table that included James Park and Joel Feldman at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to land more than $1 million in prize money and that first Bracelet.

Dudley’s career earnings are now a shade shy of the $2 million mark and he sits at 546th on the United States all-time money list. He still has some way to go before he can lay claim to being Michigan’s most famous poker son, however. Both Ryan Riess and Joe Cada have earned in excess of $14 million and counting!

Angle Shooting Controversy Casts Shadow Over EPT Barcelona Main Event

September 25th, 2019 by Roberta Genovese Leave a Comment

It’s rare to see many – if any – nefarious acts at the final table of a major poker tournament.

But the recent European Poker Tour event in Barcelona was overshadowed by controversy as one of the final table players was accused of ‘angle shooting’ by his competitors.

The Main Event was well into its business end, and on day three, Quan Zhou and Nikolay Ponomarev found themselves seated next to one another.

The Russian was dealt a tasty A-K combo and took full advantage, leaving Zhou – armed with a pair of sixes – with the choice whether to call at 12,500 chips.

Then, something curious seemed to happen. Zhou appeared to move his cards towards the dealer before pausing, taking a moment to think and then dragging them back towards himself and making the call.

Did Zhou catch a glimpse of Ponomarev’s cards? Video evidence is inconclusive, although some pundits on social media have taken a screen grab in which it looks as if Zhou is just casting a furtive glance in the direction of his neighbor, who at the time just happens to be taking a look at his own cards.

The flop is made and A-K-4 comes out, at which time Zhou folds.

But that’s a flop which almost certainly would have seen Ponomarev go big given his two pair, and the information that Zhou might just have received possibly saved him from a heavy losing round.

It raised a couple of important questions: did Zhou try to gain an edge by pretending to fold his cards? And when, if at all, is angle-shooting acceptable?

How Can Angle-Shooting Be Punished?

Angle-shooting is the act of using deceptive tactics to get an edge on your opposition, usually by pretending to perform an action – in Zhou’s case, folding – in order to elicit some kind of reaction from your fellow player(s). It could be a tell-tale sign, a trigger movement, a facial expression and so on.

That information can then be used to your own gain, either by folding, calling or raising.

Cheating is cheating, but angle-shooting exists in that grey area between cheating and gamesmanship – but how can it be policed?

When the conduct of a player is brought into question, there has to be some kind of action from tournament officials. But what can they do? In the example provided, it ultimately would have been Zhou’s word against Ponomarev’s.

If found ‘guilty’, would Zhou have faced a chip deduction or been disqualified altogether?

If we accept that angle-shooting isn’t cheating, merely immoral, then really there is nothing that can be done about it.

Swede Makes Light of Controversy

In the end, whether Zhou did or didn’t engage in an act of angle-shooting was largely irrelevant.

Neither he nor Ponomarev made the final table, as the Swedish star Simon Brandstrom took the spoils and pocketed a handsome $1.5 million for his troubles.

The 37-year-old went head-to-head with Marton Czuczor of Romania, and with little to choose between them, they opted to settle for a deal in which Czuczor also pocketed a healthy $1.4 million.

Brandstrom Rises to Prominence with EPT Barcelona Main Event Win

September 19th, 2019 by SEO ManageWP Leave a Comment

The eyes of the poker world were on the beautiful Spanish city of Barcelona at the end of August and the start of September, with a host of exciting competitions being held as part of the European Poker Tour (EPT) event in the area.

Of course, if one tournament attracted more attention than any other it was the €5,300 No-Limit Hold’em EPT Main Event, with its field of 1,988 competitors making it the biggest-ever EPT Main Event which has ever been held. However, while hundreds of players did battle and competed for the top prize, there can only ultimately be one winner – and this year it was a Swedish player who grasped the opportunity to push himself into the spotlight.

A significant moment

Simon Brandstrom defeated Hungarian competitor Marton Czuczor to win the event outright, with his first-place finish meaning he was awarded an impressive €1,290,166 for his efforts. The final moments of the tournament proved to be hugely eventful, with the lead changing hands before Brandstrom was ultimately able to take the initiative and gain victory.

The win looks set to be a significant moment in the career of the player as, according to the Hendon Mob Database, it marks his best-ever finish in a poker event since he started competing in the World Series of Poker back in June 2008. It is thought that the victory has also taken his total live earnings to around $2.2 million, while it is further evidence that Barcelona has undoubtedly been a happy hunting ground for him across this year.

Back in June, he secured prize money of €187,880 after he came second in the €1,350 + 150 No-Limit Hold-em WPTDeepstacks event held in the city.

Source: Pexels

Major money for Czuczor

While Brandstrom’s Hungarian rival Czuczor did not ultimately get the glory of finishing first, it is fair to say he still would have been happy with his work. He secured €1,253,234 for his second-place finish, while the remaining top-five places at the event were filled by Rui Sousa (€607,400), Diego Falcone (€436,760) and Giovani Tore (€364,660).

A couple of Brandstrom’s fellow countrymen also enjoyed a bit of success with their tournament strategies in Barcelona, with Johan Storakers and Alexander Ivarsson finishing in seventh and tenth and securing €226,490 and €101,820 respectively.

Other competitors who finished in the top ten included Yunye Lu, whose sixth-place finish led to winnings of €295,520, as well as the Italian Pasquale Braco (€159,580) and England’s Kully Sidhu (€121,760).

Going from strength to strength

The EPT in Barcelona has undoubtedly proven to be a major success and this is typified by the fact that the Main Event ended up being the biggest ever held. It is clearly a sign that the EPT and major poker tournaments, in general, are going from strength to strength.

Brandstrom’s win was an intriguing development at the event and it will be fascinating to see how and if he can build on his biggest success in the months and years ahead.

European Poker Fans Poised for the Return of The Big Wrap

September 6th, 2019 by SEO ManageWP Leave a Comment

In its inaugural edition back in April, The Big Wrap confirmed itself as the largest European Omaha poker tournament.

So, the news that the event would be returning to the Czech Republic was met with plenty of excitement from those intending to enter.

And why not: organizers have confirmed that there will be more than €1.5 million in guaranteed prize money – roughly $1.65 million!

That’s an increase from the $1.3 million offered back in April, so there are plenty of reasons to get excited about this second edition at the King’s Resort in Rozvadov, from September 9 to 16.

What’s to come this time around

That eight-day schedule ensures a wide variety of tournaments and cash games will be played. Proceedings will be getting underway with The Big Wrap Warm-Up PLO, a $600 buy-in tournament with 30,000 chip stacks and 31-minute blind increases. There are also satellite qualifiers where the buy-in is $82.

During the early days of the festival, the emphasis will be on bankroll building, with a number of different games in which unlimited re-entries are allowed across the first ten levels of each.

As that Warm-Up PLO enters its business-end, blind levels will go up to 45 minutes as the remaining players in the field do battle for their slice of the $220,000 guaranteed payout.

The maiden Warm-Up PLO was won by Alessio Pillon, who trousered a payout of a cool $48,000. The Italian has enjoyed plenty of success in his home continent, winning a pair of events in the Italian Series of Poker as well as cashing more than $25,000 at a WSOP satellite in Venice.

For those players who don’t enter the Warm-Up, there’s plenty of other events to get involved in. The $600 buy-in Big Wrap Hi/Lo takes place on September 12, while two days later there’s the 5-Card PLO which, for a $1,200 buy-in, serves up a guaranteed prize pot of $55,000.

The main event

While there will be plenty of intrigue in the early going, of course, all eyes will be on the main event, which is set for September 13th to 16th.

The Big Wrap PLO will draw some of the finest Omaha players from across the continent, with a guaranteed prize fund in excess of $1 million on offer to those who stump up the $2,500 buy-in – satellite qualifiers are available at a more affordable $400.

The two opening rounds see each player handed 100,000 chips, with blinds raised at 40-minute intervals. Those who go all-in and hit the dirt can enjoy unlimited re-entries until the end of Level 14, with blind increases extended to one hour each until the late registration period closes.

The tournament will culminate on September 16, with the action live-streamed around the globe.

Eventually, the identity of the winner will be known, and they will be looking to emulate the achievements of Lautaro Guerra, who took the spoils in April.

The Spaniard, who has twice cashed at the tables of WSOP 2018 and ’19, outmaneuvered a 516-strong field – which included the likes of Lauri Sakari, Tomasz Kozub, and Peter Muelbeck – to take home roughly $225,000 in prize money and confirm himself as a major player in Omaha poker.

Will FairPlay Help to Make Online Poker Playing Safer?

August 21st, 2019 by SEO ManageWP Leave a Comment

Moves are being made to make online poker fairer and safer for everyone, by identifying and blacklisting anyone who gains an advantage through unfair means. This attempt to rid online gambling of different forms of cheating could prove to help recreational players to stand a better chance of winning regularly.

The idea of the non-profit FairPlay initiative comes from Rob Yong and it looks set to start soon. Will this make a difference, or will awkward legal matters such as data privacy mean that the idea can’t be turned into reality?

The Basics

FairPlay was previously known as Online Poker Against Cheating (OPAC). The man behind this project is Rob Yong, the owner of Dusk Till Dawn. European Poker Tour founder and Partypoker Live president John Duthie is the first board member to sign up.

The idea is that online casinos and poker operators work together to stop dishonest players benefiting from cheating, colluding, setting up multiple accounts, ghosting, or using bots to get an unfair advantage. This will give casual, recreational players more of a chance of winning by keeping a level playing field for everyone to enjoy.

It has yet to be officially launched, but the FairPlay website states “coming soon” on it. The site’s first blog post was posted recently but seems to have taken down now. It originally stated that the first sites to join up to the scheme were Dusk Till Dawn and Partypoker.

Yong said that he set up FairPlay so that poker websites and other card game operators can “collaborate by sharing information” on any players that they have found to be cheating. This would lead to a shared blacklist that each operator could consult and add to.

What Challenges Does It Face?

While the idea of poker operators working together to ensure a fairer environment for everyone is certainly worthwhile, there are some challenges that FairPlay will need to overcome in order to be a success.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle to this industry-wide collaboration comes from the data privacy laws that need to be complied with. For example, in the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ensures that citizens’ data and privacy are protected.

Any organization that processes personal data has to disclose this fact. They also need to show why the information is being collected and how long they are going to hold onto it for. EU citizens can also see the data held about them and can ask for it to be removed.

It isn’t clear yet whether someone who has been found to be cheating at poker and who broken a site’s terms and conditions would be fully protected under GDPR or not. However, any company that breaches the GDPR conditions can expect a tough penalty, as fines can be up to ten million Euros, or two percent of the firm’s annual turnover if this is greater.

Time will tell whether Yong and the other gaming operators involved can find a way to make FairPlay work. If they can, it could signal very good news for poker sites and for those players who use them honestly.

Zang Wins Record-Breaking Triton Million, Kenney Goes Top in All-Time Live Winnings

August 14th, 2019 by SEO ManageWP Leave a Comment

In the game of poker, the World Series of Poker is globally recognized as the most prestigious event in the sport’s calendar. But after breaking multiple records to become the richest tournament in the history of poker, the Triton Million – A Helping Hand for Charity now stands above the richest poker tournaments outside of the World Series of Poker.

On August 4, the Triton Million tournament in London concluded after three days of poker between seasoned professionals and those listed as ‘recreational’ players. From the 54 people who bought into the richest tournament in the history of poker, it was Aaron Zang who emerged victorious, with Bryn Kenney taking a large portion of the pot.

Zang comes out on top, as does Kenney


Part of the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series, 54 players paid £1,050,000 to play in the Triton Million, with £50,000 from each buy-in going to charity. The £54 million prize pool, which converts to roughly $65.6 million, would see 11 players take a prize, with the other 43 losing their buy-in along the way.

While only one champion of the Triton Million could be crowned, the final heads-up play saw two winners leave the table. Aaron Zang of China left the tournament as the winner, hoisting the Triton Million trophy to rousing applause, finishing with £13,779,491 ($16.7 million) in chips at the table but £19 million ($23.1 million) in prize money.

Zang may have left with the title, but his heads-up opponent, Bryn Kenney, will also go away feeling like a winner. At the start of heads-up play, the two came together to strike a deal, leading to Zang becoming champion but Kenney leaving with the lion’s share of the pot at £16,890,509 ($20.5 million). With the take, Kenney shot up to go to the top of the all-time live tournament money list in poker, leapfrogging the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, and Justin Bonomo.

The richest tournament in poker

Prior to the Triton Million in London, as you would expect, a World Series of Poker collaboration event, the $1 million Big One for One Drop, held the title as the richest tournament in poker. In 2012, the 48 entrants to the inaugural Big One for One Drop created a $42.67 million prize pool, with the winner netting $18.3 million.

Had this Triton Million taken place in 2012, with the average exchange rate from GBP to USD over the year being 1.58 according to OFX, the £54 million pool would have been worth $85.32 million. In today’s money’s, the $65.6 million pool ranks it below five World Series of Poker Main Events, with the leader being 2006’s $82.5 million prize pool. In 2006 money, however, £54 million would equate to roughly $99.4 million.

Even with £2.7 million ($3.3 million) being set aside for charity, the event attracted the most entrants to a seven-figure buy-in poker tournament and clocked in as the largest prize pool outside of the World Series of Poker Main Event. Kenney’s second-place take of $20.5 million also put him ahead of 2012 Big One for One Drop winner Antonio Esfandiari, who netted $18.35 million, to stand with the highest single poker tournament payout ever.

Zang walks away from the largest buy-in tournament in poker history as the champion, but Kenney leaves as the all-time money list leader and with the record for a single payout.

British Poker Legend ‘Mad’ Marty Wilson, Obituary

August 10th, 2019 by SEO ManageWP Leave a Comment

Born in Wolverhampton, England in 1957, Marty Wilson rose to fame as a professional poker player, continuing as a personality of the sport long after his playing career slowed down. Known by fans and poker insiders as ‘Mad’ Marty, Wilson is credited with over $450,000 in live earnings but was best known for his enigmatic personality as a raconteur and, above all else, an entertainer. His commentary and reporting skills touched the lives of many poker aficionados, with his love of the game and Las Vegas relayed through his storytelling.

On July 26, the legendary British player passed away following a hard-fought six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Many took to social media with tributes, including long-time friend and fellow former poker star Padraig Parkinson and Eddie Hearn, whom Wilson had worked with for Matchroom:

The origins of ‘Mad’ Marty Wilson

Marty Wilson became known around the poker and sporting world as a great character, kind person, and world-class storyteller. He’d recount his many tales in poker to anyone and everyone, becoming better known as an entertainer. While many of these stories were relayed by those who heard them as being crazy or mad, Wilson’s nickname originates long before he started recounting tales.

Born in Wolverhampton, Wilson was a big Wanderers fan but, through the 1960s and 1970s, English football hooliganism was at its height. A young Marty Wilson found himself on the run from fans of his team’s bitter rivals, West Bromwich Albion. To escape his pursuers, he jumped into the polar bear pit at Dudley Zoo, found his way out and into the llama exhibit, and then off into the night, as reported by the Telegraph. Labeled ‘Mad’ Marty in the local press following his escape, Wilson took on the nickname and was known as ‘Mad’ Marty through his career.

Marty Wilson transcending poker

In 1985, Marty Wilson visited the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, falling in love with the game and Sin City. Honing his skills, he went on to star on the television series Late Night Poker. Wilson never won the televised tournament but was a mainstay on the roster due to being a fan-favorite.

Along with Late Night Poker, Wilson took part in many major poker tournaments around the world. In 1998, the Midlands man brought in $171,000 by winning the Carnival of Poker Tournament and in 2001, he sealed a £7,500 first-place split of the £300 Pot-Limit Hold’em tournament in Glasgow, Scotland. At the peak of his play, Wilson achieved an all-time money list best rank of 487th, still standing at 260th in the all-time money list for his country, England.

Wilson played numerous tournaments, earning at least $450,000 in live winnings, played online poker, became a consultant for Matchroom Sports, and taught many celebrities how to play the game. Under ‘Mad’ Marty’s tutelage was Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise, actor Michael Greco, professional snooker player Matthew Stevens, the greatest darts player of all time, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, and presenter Helen Chamberlain, who placed second in the 2005 Poker Millions tournament following Wilson’s teachings.

A masterful storyteller and a tremendous personality in the sport of poker: ‘Mad’ Marty Wilson will be remembered as a great of British sport.

Larson Creates History in Choctaw Durant Golden Run

August 6th, 2019 by SEO ManageWP Leave a Comment

The 2019/20 World Series of Poker circuit kicked off in highly anticipated fashion at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma, and not one but two players in the field secured their slice of poker immortality.

Being able to win one gold ring in these high-quality events is one thing, but to claim two in a single day? That was the stuff of dreams for David Larson.

He made history by winning two rings in the space of just 24 hours, and ironically he wasn’t even entered into the tournament at first – he simply stopped by the Choctaw on his way to the Global Casino Championship at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina.

Making a quick detour, the 48-year-old entered into Event #7, which was a $400 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em game, and subsequently walked away with all the chips, beating the 123-strong field to the $11,000 top prize.

That was the third ring of the Wisconsin pro’s career, but he achieved something that nobody else has in winning again barely a day later.

That victory came in Event #9, which was a $250 No-Limit Hold’em game, and this time Larson bested 179 opponents to win just over $9k and his second gold ring of the meeting.

Just over $20,000 big ones and two WSOP gold rings… stopping off in Durant is one of the smartest decisions David Larson has ever made!

Holcomb Shows Big Game Pedigree

After Larson’s heroics, all attention turned to the $1,700 Main Event.

And when the dust settled, it was Hollis Holcomb who announced himself as the first WSOP Circuit champion of 2019 by outlasting a near-1000 player field.

The initial prize pool was set at $1 million, but a swell of late entries saw that increase to nearly $1.5m – much to Holcomb’s pleasure.

The 47-year-old, an amateur poker player who works in cybersecurity, earned his first WSOP gold ring and a paycheque of $255,535 in claiming his first-ever big event win.

Mind you, the champion won’t be getting his hands on all the cash. Holcomb plays in a 15-man home poker league in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and the rule of the club is that the overall winner gets their World Series of Poker entry played for by the other members of the league – on the proviso that they give half of their prize money to the members.

So there will have been plenty of people on the edge of their seat when he landed a J-J pair in heads-up play with his final table opponent, Vincent Moscati. Going all-in with A-K unsuited, Moscati could only watch on as a flop of 9-7-4 of clubs gave him the flush draw.

However, the turn and the river were both queens, handing Holcomb two-pair and the chance to celebrate his first major poker success.

The 2019/20 World Series of Poker now moves on to Harrah’s Cherokee from August 1 through 12, before heading on to Connecticut and the Foxwoods Resort Casino for the third leg of the new schedule.

Do US Poker Players Have an Advantage on Foreign Websites?

August 1st, 2019 by SEO ManageWP Leave a Comment

Poker is a game of skill, and while there is an element of luck involved, the very best players have amassed hours of experience to familiarise themselves with all situations to enhance their skill level. The internet has given players all over the world quick access to competitive poker games, making gaining experience quick, easy, and convenient. However, as it stands in the United States of America, people can only engage in online gambling in Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania.

To gain access to the world of online poker, some Americans deploy programs known as VPNs (virtual private networks), which allow them to access websites in other regions which are otherwise blocked or unavailable to them in their state. It’s a method that professional poker player Daniel Negreanu approves of and has publically backed, but given the level of exposure that poker enjoys in the US, do American players using a VPN have an advantage?

Negreanu’s argument

Born in Toronto, Canada, Daniel Negreanu is the proud owner of six World Series of Poker bracelets and a total winnings pot in excess of $40.7 million. The 45-year-old has been on the poker scene for a long time and is a popular figure, but his latest Twitter poll proved to be somewhat divisive.

Through social media and his blog, the Canadian poker pro noted that he doesn’t think that others at the table are being cheated by a VPN user being in play. He continues, saying that once the cards are dealt, the VPN user doesn’t have an inherent advantage and that the only person who stands to lose anything is the VPN user if they get caught.

However, just being a poker player from the US in a pool of overseas players could be seen as an advantage in itself.

The edge of being an American poker player

Despite the lack of opportunities to binge poker games online, Americans still dominate the top end of the sport. In poker, the annual Las Vegas-based competition World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the epitome of the sport. However, despite starting in 1970, the WSOP didn’t have a non-American winner until 1990 with Mansour Matloubi from Iran. From then onwards, only 18 of the 60 winners and runners-up haven’t been from the US.

Poker remains an American game. While people all over the world play poker, it is in America that poker receives the most exposure and is much more widely played casually and professionally. US citizens experience huge doses of exposure from sports news, television shows following professional competitions, video games, DVDs, have access to the WSOP Poker Academy, and they benefit from many American-focused poker tips websites which foreign players will struggle to benefit from if they’re not fluent in English. As detailed in the New York Times, the sport is enjoyed by Americans of all backgrounds.

The sheer level of exposure that US citizens get to poker clearly has an impact on the nation’s chances of producing top players. In other countries, it takes a lot of dedication, often found via online poker, to get to a level of understanding that many US poker players can pick up with ease.

Along with the cultural aspects, American players who undergo the procedure of setting up a VPN and creating viable account details will tend to be the better, more experienced players. Only truly good players would take the risks and pay the costs of avoiding the US ban to win money at online poker in other jurisdictions, meaning that a very skilled player will be entering the lower-grade pool of players.

Using a VPN to access what are most likely foreign-based poker websites does give American players an edge, and while playing with tougher competition could result in those around the VPN user becoming better, in the short term, it may only result in the American raking in the chips.