Reigning Main Event Champion Espen Jorstad Eyes “Crazy Summer”; Plans to Play Full 2023 WSOP Schedule

Reigning Main Event Champion Espen Jorstad Eyes "Crazy Summer"; Plans to Play Full 2023 WSOP Schedule

The banner commemorating his WSOP Main Event triumph might not be hanging in the rafters. The ink in the poker history books is not yet dry. But Espen Jorstad is quietly coming to terms with his position within the industry.

Does he consider himself immortalized among the Greats? Among Doyle and Hellmuth and Ungar? Perhaps not. But he knows his place in the industry. And he knows that right now, he shares a small portion of responsibility — a sliver, a morsel, a modicum of responsibility — for the place the WSOP has in poker, and perhaps for poker in general.

PokerNews caught up with the Norwegian to reminisce about his 2022 victory, talk about his place in the newly created WSOP Thrill Team commemorating the 10th anniversary of the WSOP App, and to talk about his plans for 2023.

Adjusting to Life as the Champ

Espen Jorstad
Did That Just Happen?!

Twelve months ago, Jorstad sat with less than $200,000 in live earnings. A sixth-place finish in the 2021 WSOP Online Main Event had already seen him accrue three times that much, but even in his wildest dreams Jorstad could not have predicted the double-bracelet winning summer he’d enjoy in 2022, nor the Main Event victory that netted him $10,000,000.

Espen Jorstad’s Road to Winning the 2022 WSOP Main Event

Eight-figure scores rarely come in the poker world, and the weight of all that money pales into insignificance next to the importance the Main Event bracelet holds in the eyes of many. Poker players worldwide will have added Jorstad’s name to a list of the great and the good to have won poker’s biggest prize — a list featuring 17 members of the Poker Hall of Fame.

“”I just still see myself as the same guy. Nothing about me has changed”

“The whole concept of Main Event champions being ‘immortalized‘ isn’t something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about,” admits Jorstad. “But it’s still weird to me when I go to poker stops, or when I’m at the airport or in a restaurant, and someone comes up to me asking for a selfie. And I’m like, ‘Why would you want to take a selfie with me?’

“I just still see myself as the same guy. Nothing about me has changed! I’m not saying that as a bad thing, I don’t want to be someone else — I think I’m perfectly fine the way I am!”

Joining the Thrill Team

WSOP App Thrill Team

No other former Main Event champions were named in the seven-strong WSOP App Thrill Team, and Jorstad says that he was honored to have been chosen.

“After last summer, I guess you feel kind of connected to the WSOP brand immediately — I’m sure other players can relate to this. So when someone got in touch when they were arranging the lineup, it immediately sounded like a pretty good fit.

“The lineup is really sick, and there are a lot of legends in this team. There’s a good mix between old-school legends and new up-and-comers.”

The first legend’s name out of his lips? Fellow Scandinavian Patrik Antonius.

Patrik Antonius Wins $1,978,000 Pot, the Largest Ever Broadcast on a US Live Stream

“He’s been a big idol of mine ever since I first got into poker,” admitted Jorstad. “By the time I had started playing, he was already crushing it, and he’s been at the top pretty much forever.

Patrik Antonius

Vanessa [Selbst] as well — another old-school legend. Back when I was getting into poker, I watched so much poker content — from WSOP to WPT or High Stakes Poker — basically all the big TV shows, and Vanessa was there, and so was Patrik! Now I’m on the same team as both of them, which is reallycool.”

Legends rub shoulders with champions in the Thrill Team, who in turn rub shoulders with modern-day crushers and up-and-comers in one of the most varied poker ambassador teams assembled.

“You have Sam Abernathy, who is super sweet, and Adam Hendrix is obviously a very skilled poker player who was competing for the Global Poker Index [GPI] number one spot.

Landon [Tice] and Ethan [Yau] I know quite well now having spent a lot of time with them during the summer. Landon is very hungry and seems like one to watch for the future, especially if he keeps going like he is now. I can see him being a regular on the high stakes scene in no time.

Samantha Abernathy

“And Ethan — everyone knows him as Rampage — he’s just one of the biggest poker creators that we have on the scene. Huge vlog, huge social media presence, and away from that he’s also on a bit of a heater.”

Add in the reigning WSOP Main Event champion, and it’s a team packed with talent.

Five Reasons You Need the WSOP App In Your Life

Preparing for WSOP 2023

Blink and it’ll be time for another World Series of Poker, with less than three months to go until the Horseshoe and Paris open their doors again. Between now and then, Jorstad says that his priority is on “refocusing”, and admits that a lot of stuff has been going on in his life, to the perhaps detriment of his poker.

“My headspace has been very low, and I feel like my poker game hasn’t improved as much over the last six months as I would have liked it to. I feel like I’ve improved a lot over the last two or three years, but in the last six months, I just simply haven’t had the headspace to keep on that steady grind as hard as I was doing before.

2023 World Series of Poker Hub

Bookmark this page! All you need to know about the 2023 WSOP is here.

“So I’m kind of looking forward to getting back into that now. I had a lot of things that needed settling in terms of organizing everything after the WSOP, and now I can really get back to focusing on the game and start looking ahead to this summer.”

“I think it’s gonna be an interesting ride this summer at the WSOP”

The schedule’s been announced and preparations are already being made to ensure that the 2023 WSOP improves in as many ways as possible year-on-year, with Jorstad adding his name to a long list of those curious as to the success of this year’s WSOP.

Interview: Vice President Jack Effel Looks Ahead to 2023 WSOP

“I think it’s gonna be an interesting ride this summer at the WSOP. I’m curious how it is going to be. Last year there were a few issues with long waiting lines and stuff like that, but that’s very hard to get around when you have big fields. I spoke to some of the WSOP guys about a month ago, and they already had plans in mind for how they’re going to improve that, so I think it’s going to be an improved experience and probably a bigger number than last year.

Paris Ballroom Colossus

“I’m planning to go for the whole World Series this summer. I’m going at the very beginning and leaving at the very end. I was recently looking over the WSOP schedule trying to map out how much money I’m going to need in Vegas this summer. You know, deciding if I want to play the $250,000 or the $100,000.

“I figured if I want to play all the big stuff I’m going to need like $700,000-$800,000 just for my buy-ins. So it will be a crazy summer if I want to play that full schedule — which would be cool! I just need to put in a lot of work to regain confidence until then.”

Why Espen Jorstad Wants to Be a Health Ambassador and Grow Poker in Norway

The Future of Poker

A crazy summer will certainly be in store, in part due to a resurgence of interest in poker across the United States.

“The WSOP App is a really good gaming experience and has a significant place in the industry”

“It just seems like kind of a new boom again. A lot of new players are coming to the game, and it seems like numbers are going up. So that’s good.

“Gamified experiences — whether it’s for fitness or finance or poker — whatever you want to improve on and get better at, if it’s gamified in a good way, then I think it’s very easy for people to get into it.

“And I think the WSOP App is a really good gaming experience and has a significant place in the industry. The gamification of poker, with achievements and different things like that, is just really good for people to get into poker.

“The fact that companies are willing to invest in poker again with advertising and poker — having a Thrill Team of ambassadors to help promote poker. That’s good for the game and for continuing to grow the game.

Name Surname
Will Shillibier

European Executive Editor

Will Shillibier is based in the United Kingdom. He started working for PokerNews as a freelance live reporter in 2015 and joined the full-time staff in 2019.

He graduated from the University of Kent in 2017 with a B.A. in German, and then studied for a NCTJ Diploma in Sports Journalism at Sportsbeat in Manchester.

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Multiple $1M GTD Events Scheduled for Returning PokerStars Bounty Builder Series

Multiple $1M GTD Events Scheduled for Returning PokerStars Bounty Builder Series

March is gearing up to be one epic month on PokerStars. Not only is the 17th Anniversary Sunday Million scheduled for March 26, but the ever-popular Bounty Builder Series returns to the platform from March 5-20.

Players will not want to miss out on the upcoming online series, as plenty of events come with at least a $1 million guarantee.

There are over 150 events on the schedule, with buy-ins that cater to all player types. So be sure to read on to learn everything you need about this action-packed online festival.

Huge Guarantees Across the Schedule

As mentioned, the 17th Anniversary Sunday Million kicks off proceedings later this month and the Bounty Builder Series is the perfect opportunity to prepare for it. There are TWO special-edition Sunday Millions scheduled during the Bounty Builder Series that both have a $1 million guaranteed prize pool.

The first is the $109 edition which plays out on Sunday, March 5, while the second has a $215 buy-in and begins the following Sunday.

Then, Sunday, March 19, sees the beginning of the Bounty Builder Series Main Events. Like the tournaments above, seven-figure prize pools are already secured for these events.

The $109 Main Event will pay out no less than $1 million in prizes, whereas the $1,050 Main Event guarantees at least $1.25 million – you do not want to miss out on these!

And as always with PokerStars Main Events, there are plenty of avenues to secure your seat at the table for a fraction of the price, as satellites for the events will run around the clock.

Start the Road to the PokerStars Sunday Million From $0.55

Start Your PokerStars Journey With a $600 Welcome Bonus

Those of you who do not already have a PokerStars account can download the excellent software via PokerNews. Make your first deposit using the bonus code “STARS600”, and PokerStars matches your deposit 100% up to a maximum of $600. In fact, your first three deposits in the first 90 days after creating your account are matched 100% up to a combined maximum of $600.


  • If you love big prize pools and online poker bounty tournaments, you must head to PokerStars to play in their Bounty Builder Series, which starts on March 5.

Name Surname
Calum Grant

Editor & Live Reporter

Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum’s proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.

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EPT Paris Hands of the Week: A Rare Quadruple Knockout, Grafton Gives a Free Dinner

EPT Paris Hands of the Week: A Rare Quadruple Knockout, Grafton Gives a Free Dinner

The PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Paris recently wrapped with PokerStars qualifier Razvan Belea cruising to victory in the €5,300 Main Event for €1,170,000. We also recently talked about the EPT Paris in latest episode of the PokerNews Podcast, which you can listen to here.

The PokerNews Live Reporting Team was on-site to captured live updates from a slew of EPT Paris tournaments, and there were some very memorable ones. Below is a look at five more exciting hands captured in our live updates from the EPT Paris.

Johan Guilbert’s Antics Upset Poker World After Three Clocks Called in Same Hand

O’Dwyer Flops Nuts in Five-Bet Pot

Steve O'Dwyer
Steve O’Dwyer

In the €10,300 EPT Paris High Roller, it was Level 8 (500/1,000/1,000) when Tauan De Oliveira Naves opened the action with a raise to 2,300 from the cutoff. Imad Derwiche responded with a three-bet to 5,400 from the button, after which big blind Steve O’Dwyer put in the four-bet to 14,000. De Oliveira Naves quickly folded to so many raises, and Derwiche engaged in some speech play.

”You want to win your money back?” asked Derwiche to an ever-silent O’Dwyer. After waiting for an answer that never came, Derwiche put in the five-bet to 35,000, which O’Dwyer quickly called.

The flop fell {k-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{9-Hearts} and Derwiche protected his eyes so he could not see it until it was his turn. When O’Dwyer checked, Derwiche rapidly moved all in for roughly 65,000 chips. O’Dwyer snap-called, covering his opponent, declaring: ”I have the nuts.”

Imad Derwiche: {a-Clubs}{a-Diamonds}
Steve O’Dwyer: {a-Hearts}{q-Hearts}

O’Dwyer was not lying, as he indeed flopped the nut flush. The turn {2-Clubs} spelled the end for Derwiche, and as the {q-Clubs} river fell, he left the tournament area frustratedly but had enough sportsmanship to give his opponent a fist bump beforehand.

Check out the EPT Hub on PokerNews here!

Mary Triples Up With Quads; Cracks Aces in Three-Way All In

Herve Mary
Herve Mary

In the €1,100 FPS Paris Main Event, it was Level 9 (600/1,200/1,200) when Francky Magliocco opened to 2,400 from under the gun before Maciej Gut three-bet to 6,000 on his immediate left. Kevin Fluegel then reraised to 15,000 from the cutoff and then Herve Mary five-bet jammed for 41,200 from the button.

Magliocco then called off his stack of 40,500. Gut folded but Fluegel called to have both Magliocco and Mary at risk of elimination.

Francky Magliocco: {a-Clubs}{a-Spades}
Herve Mary: {q-Hearts}{q-Clubs}
Kevin Fluegel: {a-}{k-}

All three players had premium hands but Magliocco had the best of it. However, Mary hopped into the lead after making a set on the {q-Diamonds}{j-Spades}{4-Spades} flop.

The {5-Diamonds} turn kept things as they were. The {q-Spades} river gave Mary the checkmark as well as quads and he took down the massive pot to get a triple up and some change while securing an elimination.

Find out who won the €1,100 France Poker Series (FPS) Paris Main Event here.

Runner-Runner Cracks Aces of Ferreira Pais

Mauricio Ferreira Pais
Mauricio Ferreira Pais

On Day 2 of the €10,200 Mystery Bounty, Mauricio Ferreira Pais had a rare quadruple Knockout that we highlighted last week. That hand helped propel him to the final table, but that is where his good luck wore off.

With seven players remaining in Level 24 (50,000/100,000/100,000), Pablo Navarro raised to 200,000 from under the gun and it folded all the way back to Ferreira Pais in the big blind. He three-bet to 500,000 as one of the chip leaders with a stack of around 20 blinds. Navarro pushed all-in and Ferreira Pais beat him into the pot.

Mauricio Ferreira Pais: {a-Hearts}{a-Clubs}
Pablo Navarro: {a-Diamonds}{j-Clubs}

The {q-Spades}{8-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds} flop brought some equity to Navarro, who asked for running diamonds. With the {k-Clubs} turn, his outs were reduced to four but he spiked one of them with the {10-Diamonds} river. Both stacks were counted and Navarro was ahead by three blinds.

Ferreira Pais earned a cash prize of €21,550 and €72,500 in bounties that he had collected along the way.

Andre Marques Wins Maiden EPT Title in the €10,200 Mystery Bounty

Petrangelo Loses Chips But Wins Free Dinner for Doubling Grafton

Nick Petrangelo
Nick Petrangelo

In the EPT Paris €25,000 High Roller, it was Level 13 (4,000/8,000/8,000) when Chris Brewer raised to 16,000 and was called by Ren Lin as well as Tom Orpaz on the button. PokerStars Ambassador Sam Grafton then moved all-in for 59,000 in the small blind and Nick Petrangelo reraised to 110,000.

Brewer quickly let go while Lin mulled it over for almost the entire 30-second shot clock to then fold. Orpaz also gave it some consideration but let go, too.

“How do you wake up with aces there, Nicky?” Grafton said, having been silent until then. When the cards were revealed, Grafton was suddenly all smiles, though.

Sam Grafton: {k-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}
Nick Petrangelo: {q-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds}

“If I win this hand with king-high, you can pick dinner anywhere,” the jovial Brit instantly offered and then meshed the cards of both players before the dealer separated them again.

Somehow, king-high indeed won the pot on the {a-Spades}{6-Clubs}{2-Clubs}{6-Spades}{3-Clubs} runout and Grafton then praised Petrangelo for more than three minutes despite having lost the hand. “That’s how he wins all the money … he just slapped you all,” Grafton declared.

Petrangelo didn’t say a single word and maintained a dry smile on his face throughout.

Chris Brewer Wins €25,000 No-Limit Hold’em for €357,180

Name Surname
Chad Holloway

Executive Editor U.S.

Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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The Best Slots to Play Right Now at 888casino

The Best Slots to Play Right Now at 888casino

888 Casino Homepage

888 is one of the biggest names around for online gambling, including a huge poker platform and online casino sites. Alongside their fantastic array of table and live dealer games, we decided it was time to shine the spotlight on their range of online slot games.

In this article, we’ll take you along with us as we journey through the online slots you can play at 888casino, including our top 5 slot games. We’ll also include the best casino bonuses and offers that we found at 888, so you can maximise your playing and get spinning straight away.

What We Love About the Online Slots at 888casino

A quick look at the 888casino website quickly shows you the breadth and diversity of its slots range. As well as an impressive volume of games, we also like the fact that 888 divides their range into easy to navigate sections so it’s much easy to zero in on your preferred title.

These sections range from ‘Game of the Week’, and ‘Exclusive Slots’, to other categories like those devoted to a specific game maker (Megaways and Lucky Tap are notable mentions). You can also see what other slot players are spinning by clicking on the ‘Top UK Slots’ or ‘Trending Slots’.

We were viewing the 888 UK website when writing this article, so the navigation and layout may look different if you are browsing 888casino in another location.

Here’s our quick list of the best features of 888casino slots:

  • Impressive themes and slot niches
    As well as looking at popular slot sections, or what most players are playing at any specific time, we really like the dedication that 888 puts into creating categories of games with similar themes. When we looked, there were dedicated sections for music-themed slots featuring a number of artists like Motorhead, KISS, and Ozzy Osbourne, as well as ‘Arabian Nights’, and even ‘The Fish Market’ – dedicated to the best fishing-themed slots!
  • Top titles from the biggest game producers
    As mentioned above, 888casino dedicate a decent amount of online slots real estate to games produced by some of the biggest names in the industry. You’ll find over 30 titles from Megaways alone, as well as names like Lucky Tap and slots from Red Tiger Gaming.
  • Frequently updated with the latest slots
    Lingering for a second more on the slots navigation at 888casino, you’ll also notice the ‘New slots’ section. As you’d imagine, this provides the latest slots to be added to the 888 casino catalogue all in one place, and it shows that they certainly don’t rest on their laurels when it comes to adding more and more slot games for you to get involved in.
  • Great casino bonuses for slots players
    We’ve got a section below dedicated to the specific offers we found at 888casino, but suffice it to say there’s a great range of bonuses and promotions for new and existing players alike.

The Best Slots to Play at 888casino – Our Personal Favourites

With such a great selection to choose from (not to mention regular updates of new games), it can be hard to choose specific slot titles to focus on. However, we wanted to pause for a moment and list out some personal favourites that we found when browsing the online slots section at 888casino:

Gold Blitz

This money-themed video slot from Fortune Factory Studios seems like a straightforward slot, but it comes with an innovative twist. Gameplay is across a 5×4 grid, and various symbols that drop allow you to win jackpot prizes of up to 2,500 your stake. There’s also a bonus round with Multiplier Wilds and the appearance of the Gold Blitz feature, which guarantees a cash win on each spin.

Gold Blitz Slot

Mad Max Fury Road Megaways

Taking inspiration from the 2015 Tom Hardy film smash, this dystopia-filled slot is all about building up the adrenaline and excitement for the player. As well as the Mad Max-themed look & feel, this slot offers a Progressive Jackpot round, Bonus Roads, as well as Free Spins and the Wild Sandstorm, which is a randomly-triggered feature offering the chance for more free spins if the sandstorm turns any three symbols Wild.

Mad Max Fury Road Megaways Slot

Book of Scrolls

This slot has a definite Indiana Jones/Egyptian explorer feel to it, and this just adds the already exciting gameplay. The Book of Scrolls slot is all about grabbing as much Egyptian treasure as you can and includes a Bonus Spin feature that causes the game grid to fill up with symbols that trigger big payouts. There’s also a Daily Jackpot feature to try and hit every day.

Bigger Bass Bonanza

We’ve seen this fishing slot in a few places online, and it’s easy to see why it’s a favourite at 888. Featuring 12 different paylines and an RTP of 96.6%, this slot gives you the chance to bait your catch of the day to match 3 symbols and trigger a win. Match 5, and you could win a cool £192 (based on a £1 bet). During the Free Spins mode, you’ll also see special Money and Wild symbols, which can mean instant cash wins.

Hyper Strike

Finally, from Microgaming, we have Hyper Strike, which features a massive 20 paylines as well as 9-of-a-kind scatter wins (special symbols that have a specific function or bonus feature), free spins and multipliers. This bright and breezy video slot is certainly eye-catching and there is potential to win big if you manage to trigger the 9-of-a-kind win which offers 2,000 times your original stake.

Hyper Strike Slot

The Best Slot Bonuses you can find at 888casino

By their very nature, online casino sites will switch around their regular offers, promotions and bonus codes from time to time. Therefore the information we’ve included here is just what we found when writing this article, and you might not find the same offers when you’re browsing the 888 website for yourself – or if you’re in a different location altogether.

888 Casino Promotions

The main standout offer we found was 88 Free Spins for all new customers, and even better, this is a no-deposit bonus. You just need to sign-up and claim this offer within 48 hours, which is a pretty good way to intro yourself to 888casino games as a new player.

We also found a 100% Deposit Match offer for new players (up to a total of £100). Again this needs to be claimed within 48 hours of signing up at 888 but means that they will match 100% of any deposit you make, from a minimum deposit of £20 up to £100.

If these aren’t enough, 888casino also had a Monday Motivation offer onsite, giving Free Spins away for anyone depositing £20 or more. You can receive between 10-100 Free Spins on selected games every Monday – a pretty good start to anyone’s week!

Have we got you bursting at the seams to start spinning the slots at 888casino? You can click through and sign-up right now via PokerNews or, if you like, read our full 888casino review to find out more.

The promotion presented on this page was available at the time of writing. With some Casino promotions changing on daily basis, we suggest you to check on the site if it still available. Also, please do not forget to read the terms and conditions in full before you accept a bonus.

Name Surname
Sam Coyle

Senior Casino & Gaming Manager

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Top 5 Tips and Hacks to Win at PokerStars Play

Top 5 Tips and Hacks to Win at PokerStars Play

PokerStars Play Hints & Tips

Free, legal and full of a variety of exciting games, PokerStars Play is the place to play online poker and casino games. Join a worldwide gaming community and compete to win, BUT with PokerStars Play available in over 80 countries and played by thousands of players, building your virtual chip stack won’t be easy. So, we’ve come up with our exclusive list of hacks. Here are our top 5 tips to win at PokerStars Play.

#1 – Earn Free Bonuses at PokerStars Play

Everyone loves a free bonus, and PokerStars Play is absolutely littered with them… you just have to know where to look. You can play free online poker at PokerStars Play, but you should take advantage of all their bonuses to maintain your chip bankroll and ensure you can keep winning.

How to Get Free Bonus Chips at PokerStars Play?

PokerStars Play offers several different bonuses, all coming with the opportunity to win a bucket load of free chip rewards. But how exactly do you get free bonuses at PokerStars Play and how do you earn free poker chips?

Spin the Ad Wheel

Directly from the PokerStars Play game lobby, you can access the Ad Wheel. Here, every four hours you can spin the wheel for a chance to win free poker chips to play with, as well as other prizes. All you need to do is just watch an ad in the PokerStars Play app. But that’s not all, the bonuses don’t stop there! If you complete five spins, you’ll get an extra free spin on the jackpot bonus wheel for a chance to win BIG.


Each day, you’ll be rewarded a free scratchcard where you can win free chips. You can also earn a free scratchcard by watching an ad, or even purchase a premium scratchcard that gives you the chance to win even better rewards.


Think you know your stuff about poker…why not put it to the test? PokerStars Play rewards you for your knowledge. Play quizzes straight from the mini-games tab from the menu bar at the bottom. Three lives… 10 seconds to answer… if you can successfully navigate all the questions given to you, you’ll be rewarded with (yep, you’ve guessed it)… even more free chips!

PokerStars Play Quiz

#2 – Advance Through the Poker Leagues

Poker at PokerStars Play isn’t just about a few online tournaments, or a handful of cash game tables you might play. It’s about your overall performance over the course of the league season and cumulatively, how many chips you can win. Finishing in the ‘promotion bracket’ and advancing to the next league will result in more free poker chips being awarded. You’ll also collect badges based on your final league finishing position.

What is PokerStars Play Poker Leagues?

The PokerStars Play poker leagues are a weekly system where players can earn badges and rewards. Every Monday, a new league season will start. Here, based on players’ skill levels, each player will be allocated to a specific league with 99 other competitors. If you finish the season in the promotion bracket, you’ll advance to the league above. Finish in the ‘safe bracket’ and you’ll remain in your current league, but finish in the ‘demotion bracket’ and you’ll be relegated to the league below.

The league ranking is based on the number of chips you win accumulatively across the week. You’ll be initially put in a league based on your skill level. The relegation and promotion aspect of the leagues also ensures that you find the right league based on your skill level.

PokerStars Play Leaderboard

Why play PokerStars Play Poker Leagues?

Playing the poker leagues is a surefire way to help you win at PokerStars Play. Even if you get relegated from your league, the next season (week) you’ll be in a lower league where you’ll have a much better chance of finishing in the higher positions. When you do, you’ll be rewarded with more free poker chips that you can use to crush at the tables and become a winning player at PokerStars Play.

#3 – Complete PokerStars Play Challenges

PokerStars Play offers daily and weekly challenges to complete that will once again reward you with more chips to play with. Each player will receive three daily challenges and one weekly challenge to tackle. IF you complete all three daily challenges, you’ll receive an instant mystery bonus.

What are PokerStars Play Challenges?

PokerStars Play challenges are either poker or casino challenges that you can complete to win free chips. An example of the poker challenges might be to play in five tournaments or win 25 hands. Alternatively, the casino challenges might be spin 10 times (on any slot game).

PokerStars Play Challenges

How to Complete PokerStars Play Challenges

Accessing and completing PokerStars Play challenges is easy. Simply go to the menu bar at the bottom of the screen, click on the ‘Challenges’ icon to the right of the menu and access all the challenges available to you. What’s more, you’ll have a progress bar for each so you can see updates on your progress and know exactly what more you need to do to complete your challenges.

#4 – Don’t Give Up

Whether you’re playing free online poker at PokerStars Play, or playing the highest-stakes cash games at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, results don’t dictate your ability as a poker player. It’s counterintuitive, as with most sports and games, if you lose consistently, it usually indicates you’re not as good as your competition.

Of course, this is probably also the case if you’re consistently losing in the long-term at poker, but short-term results are highly volatile down to the luck element involved in poker. If you have a few losing days, don’t be deterred or down-hearted, thinking you’re not a good player. Variance is a huge part of poker and is something every pro, from Daniel Negreanu to Phil Ivey, has had to deal with at some point in their careers.

Play Free Online Poker Games at PokerStars Play

So, if you’re going through a downswing, the best thing you can do is take some time to compose yourself (don’t go on tilt!), understand that variance is normal and get back to tables. PokerStars Play is completely free, so your money is not at risk if you continue to lose. However, you could turn it around and get back to winning ways.

#5 – Study and Learn Poker

While casino games can have some strategy involved, poker is a game where in the long run, the most skilled players will be the ones who win the most. Nobody is born a skillful poker player – every successful pro to date has worked tirelessly at perfecting their knowledge. If you do the same, you’ll quickly see your skill level rise… and this will have a positive effect on your win rate in the long term.

How to Get Better at PokerStars Play Poker

To get better at PokerStars Play poker, you just have to utilise the array of different learning resources available to you on poker. At PokerNews, we have complete beginners’ guides to every different poker game type, including No-limit Hold’em, Pot-limit Omaha and Stud Poker. Getting to grips with the basics is essential in starting to improve your game.

Once you’ve nailed the basics, you have a springboard to then push on and enhance your poker knowledge and skills. Again, we have articles to help you take your game from ‘meh’ to amazing, essential poker charts you need to read and advanced strategy to help with your game.

Are you ready to put these tips to the test? If the answer is YES, sign-up for PokerStars Play now via PokerNews.

For more information or details of what to play on the PokerStars Play app, check out our full review.


  • Free, legal and full of a variety of exciting games, PokerStars Play is the place to play online poker and casino games – read our top tips on how to get ahead with PokerStars Play!

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Sam Coyle

Senior Casino & Gaming Manager

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Bobby Baldwin Has Aces But Jennifer Tilly Isn’t a Believer on High Stakes Poker

Bobby Baldwin Has Aces But Jennifer Tilly Isn't a Believer on High Stakes Poker

The action picked up for Episode 6 of High Stakes Poker Season 10 on PokerGO when Bobby Baldwin aggressively played pocket aces and Antonio Esfandiari got adventurous with everyone’s favorite hand — seven-deuce.

Joining those two poker players at the table were Jennifer Tilly, Bill Perkins, Roger Sippl, and Robert Sanchez, the same cast of characters during last week’s Episode 5.

Actress Makes a Move Against Pocket Rockets

jennifer tilly high stakes poker
Jennifer Tilly

Through the first six episodes of Season 10, Tilly has been one of the most active players at the table. But she picked the wrong time in the most recent episode to build a big pot against Baldwin.

Baldwin began the hand raising to $2,000 with {a-Hearts}{a-Diamonds} before the Hollywood actress bumped it up to $6,000 with {k-Clubs}{10-Clubs}. The 1978 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event champion then went for a four-bet to $16,000, and his opponent made the call.

When the flop came out {10-Hearts}{8-Spades}{2-Clubs}, Baldwin continued his aggression with a $15,000 bet, leaving $60,000 behind. Tilly, who held top pair, decided to just put him all in and he quickly called. They agreed to run it once and the turn was the {4-Spades}, changing nothing, followed by the useless {3-Hearts} on the river, shipping the former poker world champion a $154,600 pot.

Esfandiari’s Playing the Seven-Deuce Game

antonio esfandiari poker
Antonio Esfandiari

With a $1,000 seven-deuce bounty on, Esfandiari picked up the magic hand and decided to make a play. In a limp-straddled four-way pot that already had $8,400 in the middle, the flop came {6-Hearts}{3-Hearts}{7-Spades}, Esfandiari announced that he hadn’t even looked at his hand and was never given an opportunity to act from the straddle preflop.

Aria tournament director Paul Campbell was called over to the table to make a ruling, and he permitted the straddler to act as if there was no flop and then the deck would be reshuffled. Esfandiari, who then looked down at {7-Clubs}{2-Spades}, opted to raise to $9,000. Three players called and saw a flop of {a-Clubs}{9-Spades}{3-Spades}.

After action checked over to Esfandiari, he bluff-bet $18,300 against three players who were all holding fairly weak hands against that flop. Sanchez had the best hand of them all with {8-Hearts}{8-Clubs} but couldn’t call, and neither could Perkins or Tilly.

“It can’t be seven-deuce,” Perkins said to Esfandiari.

“You wanna buy two-hundred?” Esfandiari offered a potential discount to Perkins, who declined the offer.

Esfandiari then offered a $100 buyout, to which Perkins again declined. The “Magician” flipped over his cards to show the seven-deuce, and all the players at the table were required to pay him the $1,000 bounty.

Another interesting pot took place right off the bat during Episode 6 when Tilly flopped a set against the open-ended straight draw of Perkins. Tilly bet out, then was check-raised before just calling. She again bet the turn and received a call before betting the river and getting a fold when her opponent’s straight draw failed to come through.

High Stakes Poker Season 10 returns next week on PokerGO at 5 p.m. PT with Episode 7.

Crazy High Stakes Poker Chop Pot

Past High Stakes Poker Recaps

Check out our past recaps from Season 10 of High Stakes Poker on PokerGO:

*Images courtesy of PokerGO.

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PokerStars MI-NJ Merger Creates Largest US Online Poker Network

PokerStars MI-NJ Merger Creates Largest US Online Poker Network

PokerStars’ merger with its New Jersey and Michigan online poker sites is already creating a huge growth in revenue, and it’s just the beginning of things to come.

As of January 1, PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, became the first to begin shared liquidity between the two states. Merging player pools between two states with a combined population of nearly 20 million is significant for the online poker industry in the United States.

“Michigan and New Jersey joining forces is great news for our players in these two states, and poker, more generally,” said PokerStars US Managing Director, Severin Rasset at the time. “As it promises a better experience and even more value, all with the confidence provided by a trusted, licensed operator.”

Early Impacts of Shared Liquidity

Rasset’s comments have already been proven accurate as the player pool merger is bringing about increased revenue for PokerStars US and online poker in the US in general. Last month, PokerStars generated $1.1 million in Michigan, tops in the state and a clear early sign the merger has been beneficial.

New Jersey
New Jersey

  • Live Poker is allowed
  • Live Poker is legal since 1977
  • New Jersey Casino Control Act

Here are the Best New Jersey Poker Apps!

New Jersey is where the biggest gains have come from the shared liquidity. As we reported recently, the state’s seven online poker sites generated a combined $2.1 million in revenue during the month of December. In January, however, that spiked up to $2.7 million, according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, a positive sign for those who support shared liquidity between multiple states.

PokerStars has already taken over the top spot in Michigan, overtaking BetMGM, in terms of revenue generated in January. BetMGM had another strong month with over $817,000 in revenue, but still quite a bit behind the $1.1 million of PokerStars.

There are currently five states with legal poker sites in operation — Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. PokerStars is available in Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and has a shared liquidity deal now between MI and NJ. Pennsylvania’s PokerStars site, partnered through Mount Airy Casino Resort, as the Keystone State doesn’t yet have a multi-state agreement in place for online poker.

Best Online Poker Sites in New Jersey

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PN Podcast: Three Clocks, One Hand + Hear from Rising Content Star Caitlin Comeskey



Caitlin Comeskey Razvan Belea Rafi Azam

On the latest PokerNews Podcast episode of 2023, Chad Holloway and Jesse Fullen talk about the former’s recent appearance on the Talk is Jericho podcast as well as the latter’s trip to Texas. They then wrap up PokerNews‘ coverage of the EPT Paris by discussing Johan “Yoh Viral” Guilbert‘s controversial hand where he got the clock called on him three different times! Also, hear a winner’s interview from PokerStars qualifier Razvan Belea, who took down the Main Event for €1,170,000.

Other stories covered include 1999 WSOP champ Noel Furlong leaving behind a literal fortune, Connor Richards’ Top 5 Casino Movies you must watch, and Rafi Azam winning the RGPS Jamul Main Event for $52,820.

Finally, Jesse has a conversation for his fellow Global Poker Award nominee Caitlin Comeskey to talk about her come-up in poker, content production, and much more!

Listen to those stories and more on the latest episode of the PokerNews Podcast!

PokerNews is hiring for the 2023 WSOP! Click here for details.

Time Stamps

Tell us who you want to hear from. Let us know what you think of the show — tweet about the podcast using #PNPod, and be sure to follow Chad Holloway, Jesse Fullen, and Connor Richards on Twitter.

Subscribe to the PokerNews Podcast on Apple Podcasts here!

Check Out Past Episodes of the PN Podcast Here!

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Chad Holloway

Executive Editor U.S.

Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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PN Podcast: A $1.9M Pot, Polk Gets Skinny & Guest Chris Brewer from EPT Paris
PN Podcast: A $1.9M Pot, Polk Gets Skinny & Guest Chris Brewer from EPT Paris

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Bad Beat Jackpot 2.0 Hits the Felt on TigerGaming

Bad Beat Jackpot 2.0 Hits the Felt on TigerGaming

Back in January, PokerNews told you why you should be praying for bad beats at TigerGaming. Well, we’re now excited to let you know that there have been some player-friendly changes to the Bad Beat Jackpot that make it even bigger and better than before.

From March 1, all of the No Limit Hold’em cash tables on TigerGaming will have their own jackpot by stake level, which looks to increase the frequency of payouts across the site. Whether you’re a novice to the online felt or have long paid your dues, anyone can reap the rewards.

There are even more opportunities for jackpots to be hit as the requirement has been lowered to Aces Full of Twos.

And one of the best things about the new Bad Beat Jackpot is that you don’t even need to be involved in the hand to get a slice of the prize. Every single player at that stake level will be rewarded with some cash as long as they’re sitting at the tables when the jackpot triggers:

  • 20% player with Bad Beat
  • 10% winner of the hand
  • 10% players at the table
  • 20% players at other BBJ tables
  • 35% reseed
  • 5% fee

And what’s even better, as the jackpot size continues to increase, TigerGaming will periodically make the bad beat jackpot qualifying hand easier. This gives you a better chance of triggering the epic payout!

The poker software banners will display the most current qualifying hand. Check these banners to confirm the most current requirements.

2022 TigerGaming Bad Beat Jackpot Hall of Fame

January 20, 2022 TYGALAXY $37,027
January 22, 2022 ninjabro $14,784
January 29, 2022 lURll_I $17,083
May 26, 2022 AlaskaWilly $30,563
July 2, 2022 thisisnotchess $56,876
July 18, 2022 wadrube67 $41,761
July 25, 2022 Shlyapik $22,950
August 23, 2022 jb1981$$ $43,439
August 23, 2022 howtofold? $15,916
September 2, 2022 ded_perdun $17,879
September 18, 2022 Capt Clap $28,783
October 2, 2022 bigrun5 $28,194
October 19, 2022 Novichok $32,776
November 30, 2022 SIadkiSlivki $30,999
December 2, 2022 Calcetines $12,980
December 2, 2022 NICKW87 $4,676
December 12, 2022 GoshaR $16,979
December 25, 2022 DonYagon $24,039
December 27, 2022 pr0d1gy $11,988
December 30, 2022 Lilium $8,413

Pad Your Bankroll With $1,000 in Bonus Money

TigerGaming is waiting for you with open arms and is offering all PokerNews readers the chance to bag themselves a 100% up to $1,000 welcome bonus to kickstart their careers at this long-running online poker site. Download TigerGaming via PokerNews, create your free account, and make a deposit of at least $50, and TigerGaming will match your initial deposit 100% up to a maximum of $1,000.

You need to email TigerGaming’s excellent support team, who will activate your welcome bonus. Send an email to [email protected], stating your account number, deposit amount, plus the date and time of your deposit, along with a mention of the bonus code “NEWTG” within 24 hours of depositing, and your bonus will be activated within 24 hours.

Once activated, you have 30 days to release as much of the bonus into your playable balance as possible. The bonus releases in $5 increments each time you contribute $50 to the cash game rake or pay in tournament fees.

List of Restricted Countries

Please be aware that residents of the following countries cannot play at TigerGaming. The list is updated regularly, so it pays to frequent the terms and conditions page on the TigerGaming website.

Afghanistan Angola Australia Belgium Bulgaria
Central African Republic Cote Divoire Cuba Democratic Republic of Congo Eritrea
France French Guiana French Polynesia French Souther Territories Guinea
Guinea-Bissau Hungary Iran Iraq Lebanon
Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Mali Malta Myanmar
Netherlands Netherlands Antille Panama Republic of Korea Sierra Leone
Slovenia Somalia South Africa Sudan Syrian Arab Republic
United Kingdom United States US Minor Outlying Islands Virgin Islands Yemen

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Shaun Deeb Cares About Poker a Lot More Than You Think

Shaun Deeb Cares About Poker a Lot More Than You Think

In the poker industry, there is no secret signal when a scandal strikes. There is no bat symbol illuminating the Las Vegas skyline when a cheater surfaces. No siren sounds when a particular ruling is botched.

If there was, it’s easy to imagine it being patched through to the desk of Shaun Deeb. If anyone has a weather eye on the horizon for controversy — it’s him.

Deeb’s Poker Career

First and foremost, Deeb has amassed a formidable poker resume. In addition to five WSOP bracelet victories — including two seven-figure scores in Pot-Limit Omaha High Rollers — Deeb has a staggering thirty top-10 finishes in WSOP bracelet events in both Las Vegas and at King’s Resort, Rozvadov for the WSOP Europe.

Shaun Deeb: I’m Going to Break Hellmuth’s Record

His over $11,000,000 in career earnings was boosted most recently by yet another mixed-game win, coming in the PokerGo Tour Mixed Games $10,300 H.O.R.S.E.

“I think that, because of my history and my expertise, people should blindly listen to me”

Deeb does not immediately strike you as a caped crusader; a vigilante against poker injustice. However, he believes the longevity of his career — and perhaps the success he has achieved during it — should earn him a modicum of respect from others in the industry.

“I’ve been in the poker scene for almost 20 years now,” Deeb told PokerNews. “I’ve seen most situations, so usually I’m a pretty good judge when it comes to the rules and what should be done.

“I interject my opinion because I think that, because of my history and my expertise, people should blindly listen to me — almost always.”

A Controversy Magnet?

Despite a reputation as a family man — he once missed the birth of his son to play in the World Championship of Online Poker — Deeb has publically feuded with numerous poker stars such as Daniel Negreanu and Bryn Kenney. A cognoscente of sorts, Deeb is not afraid of taking opinionated stances on tournament rules, and what he perceives to be the correct application of them.

The Muck: Daniel Negreanu and Shaun Deeb Twitter Feud Gets Personal

But how do these situations come about in the first place? Is the person involved inexperienced, interpreting the rules incorrectly of just plain negligent?

“Some of the most difficult arguments that I’ve had with staff members are with those who think they’re more experienced.”

“Thinking back, there have been so many controversies that fit into every one of those categories. What I will say is that some of the most difficult arguments that I’ve had with staff members — at different properties — are with those who think they’re more experienced.

“They’re quick to say they’ve been doing something for twenty years. And I’m like: consistency doesn’t make it correct.”

While Deeb may be quick to fire up Twitter to voice his opinion, he says that others come directly to him. According to him, they recognize his vast understanding of the poker industry and actively seek out his thoughts and input.

Shaun Deeb

“Someone once came to me saying they liked my ideas and basically asked me to tell them everything that was wrong with what they were doing, and how I thought I would change it. I don’t expect to be the only person listening to people like that in the industry, but I do want to be one of the voices.

“A lot of times I end up arguing with players in a certain situation saying ‘Why isn’t XYZ happening?’, and I’m like ‘Don’t you understand how difficult that would be to implement?’ I think the decision-makers in the industry know who the passionate players are, ones who are also knowledgeable and understand where operators are coming from.”

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Deeb and Robbi Lew

The most recent scandal Deeb inserted himself into was arguably the biggest of 2022. The scandal surrounding the “Call Heard Round the Poker World” would go on to spawn several spin-off scandals — most of which Deeb was heavily involved in.

From appearing on podcasts to accusing Robbi Jade Lew directly, Deeb’s presence was felt and opinions heard not just on the original hand, but the ensuing fallout, accusations, and alleged malfeasance by anyone and everyone evolved in the debacle.

Robbi Lew

Even now, months on from the scandal and after a subsequent investigation found “no evidence of wrongdoing” Deeb says that his instincts immediately told him something was up.

“When I saw that hand, my instinct said something’s weird. And I just got involved right away and things kept getting bigger and bigger.

Cheating? Brain Fart? Poker Community At Odds Over Insane HCL Hand

“I’ve played on live streams before, and was always afraid of people assuming I was cheating, because a lot of my plays seem bad on the surface. And the GTO guys are like ‘Oh, this is terrible.’ But there are usually some dynamics going on, and my image plays into some of those hands. But I’ve always been afraid that at some point I’ll be watching something, and my instinct will go ‘This ain’t right’.

“I’ve lived on my instincts; that’s how I made money in poker and succeeded in life is by trusting my instincts.”

Preparing for the 2023 WSOP

Having missed out on a sixth bracelet in 2022 — he managed five top-five finishes in bracelet events last year — Deeb will no doubt be back in action at the 2023 WSOP. The former WSOP Player of the Year said that he is often in contact with WSOP Vice President Jack Effel, and is involved with amendments to the WSOP schedule alongside the likes of Negreanu, Brian Rast and David “ODB” Baker.

2023 World Series of Poker Hub

Bookmark this page! All you need to know about the 2023 WSOP is here.

“Jack [Effel] is always creative with some of his ideas, and he’s wanting to try stuff. Every year getting to work alongside Negreanu, Rast, and ODB as advisors […] sometimes Jack takes our opinion and mostly he doesn’t — but that’s fine.”

Interview: Vice President Jack Effel Looks Ahead to 2023 WSOP

Deeb’s first bracelet came in 2015 when just 68 bracelets were awarded in Las Vegas. Now the 2023 WSOP schedule features 90 bracelet events, what does the five-time winner have to say to accusations that the achievement of winning a WSOP bracelet has become diluted in the intervening years?

Shaun Deeb

“You have 90 events playing 25 different forms of poker, with buy-ins are from $300 to $250,000. Every year you get this chat about the dilution of bracelet events, but there is no dilution! There’s inclusion.

“To win a $1,000 No-Limit [Hold’em] bracelet, yeah, it’s a little different to winning a $10,000 mixed event — but it’s such different player pools. The WSOP is there to appeal to all players in poker.”

The 2023 schedule features the smallest Las Vegas WSOP bracelet event buy-in in history — just $300 to enter the Gladiators of Poker. Deeb says he remembers asking Effel about the introduction of the $365 buy-in Giant in 2017.

Jack Effel Shuffle Up and Deal

“I remember asking Jack ‘What’s with this small event?’ and he said ‘I’m going to appeal to everyone; if we have the staff, there’s no reason not to.’

“Obviously operationally if they took out a few smaller buy-ins they could work with a smaller staff and maybe improve the player experience in other areas when those massive fields are going on. Lines can be long, tables aren’t available or there’s a wait for the bathroom — it kinda sucks — but the high roller guys have accepted that.

“We know that 1 out of 20,000 players in that event might end up in our event eventually, so long term it’s better for us.”

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Working to Make Poker Better

So what does Deeb think needs to happen to improve the poker experience? His first priority is the introduction of going round for round on the bubble, something that he says he’s been trying to implement for a number of years.

“It’s absurd — and people think they can get away with it!”

“It solves so many things, while also allowing people to take their time while they’re making decisions for a lot of equity.So I wouldn’t be shocked if in the next five years of poker that’s one of the big changes that I’ve pushed for that actually ends up happening.”

Deeb isn’t shy about things he’s passionate about. Another bugbear of his? Players dodging the big blind.

“It’s absurd — and people think they can get away with it! I think I got four people in the World Series this year, I get someone once a year at the World Series [of Poker] Europe. And it’s so obvious — they go over to their table and come back.

Top Stories of 2022, #3: Poker Cheating Scandals Everywhere

“It’s just unfortunate that these people want to push those small edges and they’re just stealing equity from the other players at that table for no good reason. It’s like they’re seeing like an old guy drop $20 out of his pocket, and they’re seeing an opportunity to pick it up — knowing full well whose money it is.”

Whether it’s his thoughts on scandals, his calling out of cheaters or his passionate ideas for how to improve the tournament experience, Deeb says that he doesn’t really care what people think. He says he’s as authentic as he can be.

“I don’t think anyone ever thinks I’m fake. I try to be consistent. And I think by doing that, people can see that I really care a lot about this industry.”

Name Surname
Will Shillibier

European Executive Editor

Will Shillibier is based in the United Kingdom. He started working for PokerNews as a freelance live reporter in 2015 and joined the full-time staff in 2019.

He graduated from the University of Kent in 2017 with a B.A. in German, and then studied for a NCTJ Diploma in Sports Journalism at Sportsbeat in Manchester.

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