Derrick Plumage Becomes First Back-to-Back RGPS Main Event Champ

Derrick Plumage Becomes First Back-to-Back RGPS Main Event Champ

Derrick Plumage

The RunGood Poker Series (RGPS) Council Bluffs $600 Main Event at Horseshoe Hotel and Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa attracted 576 entries and offered up a $299,520 prize pool. On Sunday, the returning 73 players were whittled down to a final winner.

It was only three months ago that Derrick Plumage won his first RunGood Main Event ring in the $420 Contender Weekend Main Event In Council Bluffs for $51,888. Now, after a relatively quick final table, Plumage dominated to go back-to-back winning $56,931 in the process.

He now stands alone as the first RGPS Main Event champion ever to win two titles back to back, earning himself over $100,000 over the course of the year.

“It still doesn’t feel real,” the 40-year-old father and family man said after winning the event. “Last time I was second in chips going into Day 2, made it to the final table, did not knock out many people until the last two. This time around I came in second in chips, made it to the final table, and knocked out seven of eight players.”

The chip leader of the first flight of the tournament possessed a dominating presence at the final table.

“Leaves me some room for improvement,” he joked about only knocking out seven players of the final eight he could have.

Throughout the day, he was surrounded by a close group of friends on his rail that were with him the first time he won the main, and they stayed with him for a while.

“If I had to pick one person to highlight, it would be my buddy Dave,” Plumage remarked. The long hours he spent at the casino during the week, his friends were with him every step of the way. “My buddy Dave, I couldn’t do it without him.”

RGPS Council Bluffs Final Table Results

Place Name Prize
1 Derrick Plumage $56,931
2 Mark Homan $39,896
3 Keith Jeffrey $25,669
4 Loren Hackman $18,271
5 Mo Nuwwarah $14,018
6 Doug Hawley $11,532
7 Matthew Palmer(US) $9,525
8 Yoel Gonzalez $7,588
9 Daniel Hamm $5,691

Day 2 Action

Day 2 kicked off to a quick start, with many players’ dreams of rings being dashed quickly out the gate. Players who fell short of the final table included Blair Hinkle (46th-$1,198), Nathan Steuer (34th-$1,557), Bernard Lee (20th-$2,666), and Grant Hinkle (18th-$3,145). The final table was reached when Mark Kastory’s king-six offsuit could not improve against Mark Homan’s ace-king. He ended his run in tenth place for $4,762.

Derrick Plumage Wins Weekend RGPS Contenders Horseshoe Council Bluffs

Final Table Action

RGPS Iowa Final Table
The RGPS Iowa Final Table.

First to go at the final table was Daniel Hamm, who took home $5,691 for his efforts. He moved in his short stack of 825,000 from first position with jack-ten against the pocket queens of Mo Nuwwarah. Although Hamm flopped a gutshot straight draw, he was unable to improve and his quest for a ring ended in ninth place.

Shortly after, Yoel Gonzalez got into a preflop raising war with Plumage. He eventually got in his 1,400,000 with king-queen of hearts, up against Plumage’s ace-ten offsuit. The board ran out as no favor to Gonzalez and he collected $7,588 for his eighth-place finish.

Matthew Palmer came to the final table with one of the shorter stacks and was unable to win a single pot at the final table. In his final hand, he found his king-jack failing to hold up against Plumage’s queen-ten and he ended in seventh place, collecting $9,525 for his efforts.

Doug Hawley came to the final table with the shortest chip stack, but a timely double and some patience rewarded him with a few ladders. When the time came, he called with ace-six against Plumage’s shove who had king-ten. All seemed peachy until the river where Plumage made a straight and Hawley shook everyone’s hands, wishing them luck, and ended his run in sixth place for $11,532.

Former PokerNews reporter Mo Nuwwarah seemed poised to take control of the tournament when he got involved in a 7,000,000 pot with ace-king offsuit against Plumage’s ace-queen suited. The flop gave Nuwwarah top pair top kicker, but the river completed Plumage’s flush, and Nuwwarah left the tournament area quickly, collecting $14,018 for his fifth-place finish.

Mo Nuwwarah
Mo Nuwwarah

Shortly after, Loren Hackman tried his luck at racing against Plumage when he got his short stack in with king-five offsuit and Plumage called him with ace-two offsuit. The board gave Hackman no favors and he left in fourth place, collecting $18,271, and leaving the other three to battle for their spot on the podium.

It was the start-of-final-table leader Keith Jeffrey who fell first when he moved all in with an ace-high flush draw, only to get called by Plumage’s two pair. The flush draw did not come home and Jeffrey collected $25,669 for his impressive third-place finish.

Heads up only last two hands, the second of which saw Plumage move all in from the button with ace-seven, only to get called in the big blind by Mark Homan with ace-queen. The flop and river each had a seven on it and Plumage’s three sevens won him the tournament.

Homan finished in second place for $39,896. Since Plumage already owned a seat for the Pro-Am, Homan won his seat for the Pro-Am coming this winter on top of his second-place finish.

The next RGPS will actually be on the high seas as the RGPS CardPlayer Cruise Royal Caribbean will take place October 29-November 6. From there, the tour will head to San Diego’s Jamul Casino November 15-20 followed by a season-ending visit at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Northern California from November 25-December 5. Click here for more information on all future stops.

Check out the RGPS Hub on PokerNews here!

Name Surname
Liam Gannon

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Gambler’s Diary XXV: Vegas (1/3)



“There’s hurricane season in Cancun and it seems that it’s going to rain every day, I vote that we don’t go there” AkuJ said on the line.

“Me too” someone mumbled on the other line.

“Me too,” someone else agreed.

“Sorry guys, I have to go now” I said and hung up the call.

I got out from my work desk, tilted beyond words, and theatrically collapsed onto my living room floor.

“What’s up?” my girlfriend asked with a grin.

“I don’t think I’m doing Vegas.”

It had become obvious that getting into the US during a pandemic was harder than for the rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. For a rich man to enter Heaven he only had to give away all his money and repent to be let in (there might have been some metaphor about a camel and an eye of the needle but let us skip that). For a poker player from EU, you also had to give away all your money (in form of flights & hotels), but you also had to quarantine for two weeks in a non-Schengen area, be vaccinated twice and pray at the border control that you haven’t somehow contracted COVID between your last test (maximum 72 hours before) and your final destination. With these restrictions I had tried to organize a trip for me and five other fellow poker professionals for nearly a month, a task that was extremely hard even during normal conditions but was now plain impossible. 

I will just fly to Vegas when they open the borders properly, if that ever happens” I thought as I officially gave up in my mind.

A couple of days of “normal life” (grind &exercise and repeat) went by and I had nearly forgotten all about the Vegas trip. My game was better than ever, and I was loving my routines. On our previously planned departure day I got a message: 

“I’m going to Turkey in three days with my friend and flying to States from there, join me if you like” – Elkku

I was not sure how I felt about the message, grinds online had been good and having already spent 60-hours+ planning on a trip that seemed impossible gave me cold shivers. I was not sure if I wanted to do it anymore but was 100% sure that I did not want to think about it. However, right as I was reading the text, a solution came to me. A solution that might just get me off the hook: 

“I’ll join if you can get Eelis in too” I snapped a response. 

I felt good about myself. There was simply no way a father of two would agree to a trip that would last at least a month. I closed my phone, satisfied. Life was good; I did not need any extra hassle right now. I was not sure why I even wanted to go to Vegas in the first place. 

Next day rolled and my peace was disrupted by a call from Eelis:

“So, what do you think about this Turkey trip?” 

There was a clear excitement in his voice. I knew where this phone call was about to go. But how? How in the hell could he be ready for this trip? 

“Well, um. I said I would go if you were going too” I replied.

“The golf there is supposed to be amazing, and I can take my family along”

Fucking golf – of course 

“Oh yeah?” 

I tried to restrain the energy coming from his voice, but it seemed impossible. The first dominoes had fallen, and I could already see the inevitable collapse of actions ahead of me. Part of me wanted to stop it, but the other part cherishes these little moments where all you need to do is not say no and life will throw you somewhere. 

“So, I have our plane tickets here ready to be booked”

“Oh okay.”

“So, I can just book them, and you are in?”

“Well, I said I would come”

 I did not know what else to say. I was divided between the maniac that yells “HELL YES” to everything and the good quiet grinder who had been crushing everything for a couple of months back home. I knew that the maniac was about to win, like he always does, but I was not ready to celebrate it just yet. 

“Great, the tickets are booked now. See you at the airport in 36 hours”

And that is how my trip started. 

The two weeks in Turkey we are supposed to chill and pleasant, but they were anything but. On the second day of our trip, I got some news back home that made me consider the whole trip and whether I should return immediately back to home or not. After a long thought and counsel from my close friends and family I decided to continue, a decision that I was not hundred percent sure of but since it was done there was no going back. Was this ideal preparation for my forthcoming WSOP-grind? Absolutely not. Was there something I could do about it? Not really. I did talk a lot about the subject with my new mental coach, which helped a bit. Ready or not, like life often goes: the two weeks flew by, and it soon came time to travel to the States. 

Flights from Antalya were brutal. First hour and a half hop to Istanbul, from Istanbul excruciating 11,5h to Chicago, and from Chicago four hours to Vegas. In Chicago we had a small layover and decided to flip for the master bedrooms in our suite (we had booked 1,5k$/night suite from Trump towers for one night, after that we would all have our own rooms at the Encore), there were two good beds and one cot for the loser. Me and Elkku can sleep anywhere for one night, but this was a huge flip for our bad-back-having- horrible- sleeper friend Eelis. We flip and Eelis ends up with the shitty cot.

Maybe there is a god

Eelis, not happy about losing “the biggest flip ever” throws the whole deck as it is randomly to the middle of a busy airport aisle. The cards go everywhere.

“I’M NOT PICKING THAT UP” he yells and storms off to a line to our airplane, leaving behind him a stupefied crowd of pensioners who are clearly not sure where the pile of unorganized playing cards next to them had appeared. I am laughing and following him. 

“You got to pick that up man, we’re reppin Beasts too on our travels.” I yell at him and point to my brand-new Beasts of Poker hoodie; Elkku is wearing one too. 

“No, no no no” Eelis replies in his denial-tilt, he is puffing and shaking his head.

I shoot him a look that lets him know what I think, which he adamantly ignores. We wait in silence for a couple of minutes as the line slowly moves forward. Just before the check in Eelis turns around:

“Oh, fuck it, BUT NOW WE ARE GOING TO PLAY SOME CHINESE” and runs for the cards. I laugh and wonder:

Why is everyone around me so degen?

Before our wheels touch ground in Chicago, I have lost 20 000€ to Eelis in Chinese poker. There is no god, not certainly a fair one. Maybe a one that gives little kids cancer and straight flushes to Eelis might exist but I for one will never pray to that creature’s name. I am exhausted, tilted and already down nearly a 25k PLO bullet and we have not even officially arrived.

Welcome to Vegas son

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Poker funs most beloved destination: Paradise Island

Poker funs most beloved destination: Paradise Island

Below you can find out some helpful info on playing poker on Paradise Island.

If you really would like to play poker and spend some time in a fascinating atmosphere you should definitely try and go to Paradise Island, in the Bahamas. If it happens that you should stay at home don’t worry you can choose from the best rakeback options.

1. How to get there

There are direct flights from London to Nassau from a reasonable price which is the easiest way to get there. However if you are not much of that person, instead of flying, you can also get to the Bahamas by boat as well. British Airways offers direct flights from London, however its prcing is rather high around $2,000. It is a cost-friendly way if you go from Frankfurt Germany, while you can go there around $650 – $700.

2. Accommodation

There are many opportunities to stay in Paradise Island. There are plenty of great hotels in Paradise Island the quality of the service and the pleasure of which surely meet the expectations. The most well-known hotels in Paradise Island are Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and Atlantis. The average price per night in such hotels starts around $300 – $350, however the more expensive suites can go up to around $2,500 per night.

3. Other activities worth to try

Everybody needs to get to the Bahamas and the Carribbean once in their life. It is the destination of fun. A boat ride on the Carribbean sea is an absolutely great pleasure having a wonderful view of the sea and the island. Moreover, the Carribbean also offers you a lot of options to pleasure. There are beautiful beaches and coasts in the island.

Furthermore you can go bone fishing, visit the Forts of Nassau or the Pirates Museum as well. It is a really good choice of having a great pleasure with your friends. In the case you would like to have some nice cigars you can jump out to Cuba which is 90 min far from the Bahamas by plane.

4. Cost of poker

Probably the most famous poker event in the Bahamas is the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA). The venue of the PCA series used to be the The Atlantis Paradise Island Resort & Casino except the year of 2004. It was continuously held in 15 consecutive year until 2019.

At PCA the buy-ins ranged from $330 up to the $25,000. The event with the most buzz was always the $10,300 Main Event that would draw hundreds of players. Therefore, the ultimate winner would usually take home 7-figures. Poker legend such as Gus Hansen has also claimed the PCA Main Event title.

Fortunately, PokerStars has officially confirmed that the PCA will go ahead from January 22–February 3, 2023. Moreover, PokerStars also confirmed the return of PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) which will go simultaneously with PCA from January 30–February 3 2023. The buy-in for the PSPC will be $25,000, mirroring that of the first instalment.

The Bahamas are pretty expensive not just in terms of poker but in terms of vacation as well. In terms of food and drinks, you should expect that there will be 20-25% higher prices compared to the prices in the US.

On average out of $600 per day you can make a quite good time playing poker in Bahamas. Needless to say that there are much more expensive places. To sum up the expenses of travel, accommodation and poker it will cost around $4,500 – 5,000 to stay and enjoy playing poker in Paradise Island for a weekend.

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Chris Burke Wins 2022 MSPT Deadwood Shootout ($89,725); Reichard 3rd to Take POY Lead

Chris Burke Wins 2022 MSPT Deadwood Shootout ($89,725); Reichard 3rd to Take POY Lead

Chris Burke

The Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) returned to historic Deadwood, South Dakota for the 2022 MSPT Deadwood Shootout at Silverado-Franklin Casino.

The $1,100 buy-in, $100K GTD Main Event was one to remember as a total of 422 entries (210 from Day 1a; 212 from 1b) were tallied, generating a total prize pool of $407,840.

On Sunday, 56 players returned for Day 2 action, and after the dust settled, it was Chris Burke who came out on top to win the $89,725 top prize and his first MSPT title. Burke has made a few MSPT final tables over the years, but the win was his biggest score to date.

“Man you know, I just had a feeling,” said the Waubay, South Dakota native after his win. This was especially true in regards to a pivotal pot he played against Josh Reichard when he made a huge call.

Howard’s first MSPT cash came back in 2015 when he finished fifth at Grand Falls Casino for $12,513, and since then he has accumulated around $50,000 in MSPT earnings.

2022 MSPT Deadwood Shootout Final Table Results

Place Player Nationality Prize
1 Chris Burke United States $89,725
2 Justin Barnum United States $55,467
3 Josh Reichard United States $40,376
4 Josh Evans United States $29,772
5 Nick Marchiando United States $22,431
6 Dave Ouellette United States $17,129
7 Aaron Raap United States $13,459
8 Terence Reid United States $10,604
9 Wesley Cannon United States $7,749

With 45 slated to get paid, only 11 players had to be eliminated before the money was reached. Among those to leave empty-handed was Ryan Remington, Josh Kieval, and Ashly Hafdew, just to name a few.

Once Adam Wilbur bubbled in 46th place, the race to the final table began. Among those to fall along the way, albeit with a payday, were Louis Anderson (10th – $6,525), bracelet winner Chad Himmelspach(22nd – $3,304), Dylan Meier (23rd – $3,304), Deadwood Champ Gerald Cunniff (24th- $3,303), Richard Dixon (25th- $2,855), and 2018 MSPT player of the year Aaron Johnson (39th – $2,243).

Final Table Action

MSPT Deadwood Shootout Final Table
MSPT Deadwood Shootout Final Table

Reichard entered the final table with a stack of 3.1 million, well ahead of the rest of the field as second place was only at 1.2 million. It didn’t take long before Wesley Cannon dropped out in ninth place after running his ace-queen into Nick Marchiando’s ace-king.

Soon afterward, Burke won a massive pot off of Reichard when Burke called an all-in raise on the flop with just second pair and held, this was a pivotal moment as Burke then began to stack chips quickly.

After the dinner break, Terence Reid hit the rail after getting it all in with king-jack against Evans’ pocket fives and failed to improve. The next player to be sent home was Day 1a chip leader Aaron Raap, whose ace-jack came up just short of Burkes’s ace-queen.

Dave Ouellette was next on the chopping block after his king-jack was beaten by Burke’s pocket nines. Shortly after, Marchiando departed in fifth place after his king-queen couldn’t hold up to Reichard’s pocket aces.

Four-handed play didn’t last long before Josh Evans got it in with ace-eight but was dominated against Burke’s ace-ten with both a ten and an eight on the board.

Wisconsin’s Josh Reichard Becomes Tenth Player Inducted Into MSPT Hall of Fame

Reichard Takes POY Lead

Three-handed action saw the two big stacks Reichard and Burke get it all in preflop after the latter jammed into ther former. Reichard tank-called with pocket sevens against Burke’s ace-queen. The six-jack-ten flop was safe for Reichard, but a king came on the turn to give Burke a Broadway straight and left Reichard drawing dead as he exited in third.

Reichard’s deep finish moved him ahead of Dan Bekavac on the MSPT Season 13 Player of the Year Leaderboard. Reichard now has 5,125 points while Bekavac sits with 4,850. However, with five stops still remaining on the 2022 schedule, it’s still anyone’s game.

Joshua Reichard 3rd
MSPT Hall of Famer Josh Reichard

Going into heads-up play, Burke had over 9 million of the total 10.5 million chips in play. The battle between Justin Barnum and Burke lasted a whole three hands before Barnum ripped it in with eight-ten suited against Burke with ace-deuce. Barnum flopped an eight and was looking good until the river came the ace from space to eliminate him in second for $55,467 and awarded Burke the title and trophy.

Barnum, who just placed second in the MSPT Main Event San Diego, when asked about his experience as runner-up again, said…

“It was really great being here in South Dakota with both the poker and the beautiful nature and surroundings… the dealers and staff were awesome…I placed second, again, but one of these times the cards are gonna fall my way and I’m gonna get that trophy.”

Congratulations to Chris Burke on becoming the 2022 MSPT Deadwood Shootout champion!

The MSPT will now head to Iowa’s Riverside Casino from October 27-30 for a $1,100 buy-in, $300K GTD Main Event. That will be followed by two events at Venetian Las Vegas in November, a stop at Minnesota’s Running Aces Casino from December 1-11, and then a season-ending Main Event at Venetian from December 28-30. Click here for more on the MSPT’s remaining schedule.

Check out the MSPT Hub on PokerNews here!

Name Surname
Kirk Brown

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Gambler’s Diary XXVI – Vegas (2/3)

Cobb salad 


I cannot sleep. It has been a week since I arrived in Vegas and my inner clock is bust. Everything else is bust too, I am like the reversed King Midas – everything I touch turns to dust. My one bullet to the 10k PLO went faster than the migraine attack I had before the tournament, 25k PLO was the same thing, only with two bullets.

For a week I have been sleepwalking through the casino halls, and nothing feels quite like it should. I feel numb, and the more I lose the number I feel. And I lose all the time. After busting my first $65k depo I transferred another one, collected it and was left with $70 000 in cash that I threw on the top of my bed. All mine, all hard earned from the online grinds and gotten here with a 2% vig on a BTC transfer. Just looking at that pile of cash should have made me feel something. Excited perhaps? I could not really remember, but I did remember that a trick like this had worked before. This time, it did not. It was just a pile of paper. And it smelled the kind of smell when paper gets wet and dries again, a little bit rotten perhaps. 

Fuck it

I marched to one of Wynn’s boutiques and bought a pair of sneakers worth $1100. Nothing feels like anything anyway so why not? After the purchase I came back to my hotel room, put the shoes on and ogled myself through the mirror. The shoes reminded me of an old ad campaign run by a finish affiliate which was just a sticker that said, “this too was bought with poker winnings.” I used to love that campaign. Way back then, when I received my laptop/screen or whatever with my VIP-points the most important part was to show off the sticker to my family. There was even a giant version of the sticker (which was more like a flag) hung from Jeans’s apartment balcony for the whole of Helsinki to see. These shoes brought me back to that time when I saw that flag for the first time. Time when I dreamed of being a poker professional and hoped to get an invite to one of the parties that that place must have hosted many times. 

“Huh, this too was bought with poker winnings” I muttered proudly. And then it happened; the absurdity of the moment was so strong that it restored my consciousness, and I could see myself truly again; a somewhat fat pale man with ridiculously expensive shoes, muttering to himself in front of a mirror next to a giant pile of cash. 

What the fuck is this? 

And the inner monologue, that was momentarily lost, started at once: You could have saved someone’s life with that money, you know.

Yeah. I know.

Days in Vegas followed a pattern: I would wake up next to a half-eaten Cobb-salad. This salad had two key factors that I had to evaluate every morning before making any decision about it: 1. It had been at room temperature for the last 8-hours, and contained chicken, blue cheese, and mayonnaise. It was certainly a health hazard even if my hotel room was set to a chilly 65°F. But: 2. Cobb-salad from the Wynn’s room-service cost $40,84.

… Often, I would end up eating the Salad.

After battling with the salad, I would try to do an exercise of some sorts (either gym or golf), then do a quick visit to my room for some mindfulness, which, the longer the trip went, turned more into a prayer for a winning session than anything even remotely meditative. When all of that was done, I usually got into the tables and got my ass handed over to me. Then back to the room, order a 40$ cobb salad & repeat. It was weird and numbing but at least since I bought the shoes, I started to feel a bit like myself again – mostly just like a dick though. 

There was still one more tournament to go; $5k half and half. A tournament that I very much looked forward to, partly because of the more comfortable $5k buy-in but partly also because I thought that it would draw a far softer field than anything I had played before.

I finished day one of the HA with a strong stack. All my tournament predictions had come true: I was playing more relaxed, and the field was insane (not getting coolered helped a ton too). Before we started day two, I shared a breakfast with Eelis, Joni and Niklas who also had made it to day two. 

“Wouldn’t it be funny if all of us made it to the final table?” someone said.

“Haha, yeah that would be insane”

There were still more than one hundred players remaining so all of us knew that it would be next to impossible for all of us to end up there. 

But… as I am sure some of you already predicted…


Niklas, I, Joni, and Eelis before the final table. I am wearing the shoes that brought my consciousness back (would not recommend).

Sadly, I was the first to bust out. My last hand was in NL, which is my weaker game. CL from an early position opened with a min-raise. I was on BB (with a BB ante) and around 14 big blinds looking at KhJc. Others fold, I defend. Flop comes Ks Tc 3h


I check, he bets one-third, I call.

Turn: Qc – I check. He jams 1,3x the pot.


I did not feel good about the hand – holding the Jack of clubs is not great but… I did not have the heart to make the fold either. I have read too many 2+2 high stakes NL threads to know for a fact that a pair never folds in this weird two card game, and I had top pair – basically the nuts. So, I called, the villain showed KQ, the river was a blank and GG’s. 

I cashed for $42 000, ordered four beers (two for me, two for others) and headed straight to the rail. Seeing your good friends dominate and play for a bracelet while drinking beer and partying right next to the action is an experience, I would not change for anything.

When it was all said and done, Eelis had taken down his first bracelet and more than $500k in prize money. 

(Joni got fifth and cashed for $125k)

Winning. Photo by: PokerGo

The untold secret of the poker world (at least with us Finns) is that IF you ever manage to win a bracelet – you will cover the bill for the rest of the night. Sadly, Eelis was – despite his very recent 500k+ cash – a cash broke. Luckily, I had 10k in cash, which I quickly gave to him combined with a WhatsApp message adding 10k to his debts. Immediately after handing the cash out to him, I took $400 out of the pile for “Quick Muling & other purposes – just you know, if you’re not close by…”

He looked stunned.

“…Oh, it’s only a start – believe me “, I continued.

He had no options but to laugh. The audacity was too much. Also, he was a bracelet winner. Why would he care? 

We went to the Wynn’s lobby bar, and I used the $400 for the first round. Life was good.

And then we partied the night away. 



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WSOP 2022: The largest poker series ever

WSOP 2022: The largest poker series ever

The WSOP 2022 series has just ended with enormous figures. Below you can find the most interesting ones of it.

1. The event

The live WSOP 2022 series was held between May 31 and July 20. The first interesting thing is that it was held in a new venue called Bally’s Lass Vegas Casino, which was rebranded and renovated for the WSOP 2022 series this spring. The hotel changed its name to a brand new one – Horseshoe Casino.

2. The figures

We can definitely say that this year of the WSOP series will be one of the best in terms of figures for sure.

In terms of prize money this 53rd Annual World Series of Poker awarded a monstrous $333,362,004 in prize money that is beating the previous record which was attained in 2019 by nearly $50 million (!). This jaw-dropping figure was reached in 88 live bracelet events.

Regarding the live bracelet this is a really huge number thereof however, it was introduced by the organizers that besides the live bracelet events there were held 13 more online bracelet event, However, it shall be noted that to these online bracelet events only players from New Jersey and Nevada were eligible to access. Therefore, of course, the prize pool and the entrants were not so high as in the live event however, there were still really good figures in both respect ($13,017,963 in prize money and 15,767 of entrants).

The series drew 182,662 entrants — that is over 50% more than the previous 2021 series which was hit by the COVID pandemic. Moreover, the WSOP 2022 Main Event – itself – pulled in 8,663 entrants for a prize pool of $80,782,475 in total.

In terms of buy-ins this year represents a high-end with an average amount of $11,000.

According to one of the chief official of World Series of Poker this 2022 year was a historic one for the series and was a real specialty for the poker community as well.

Below you can find the raw numbers of the WSOP 2022:

WSOP 2022 Live Series Stats

  • Live Bracelets: 88
  • Prize Pool Awarded: $333,362,004
  • Avg Prize Pool: $3,788,205
  • Total Entries: 182,662
  • Avg Entries: 2076
  • Avg Buy-in: $11,156
  • Fees Collected: $31,543,560

Furthermore, there are some more interesting figures that makes this year WSOP really special:

  • this was the first time that the total prize pool surpassed $300,000,000;
  • 25 players became millionaires during this series in 2022; and
  • 71 out of the 88 live bracelet events produced a prize pools of at least $1 million.

3. Winner

Probably the last thing what remains is who is the lucky (and pro) enough to be the winner of this magnificent event. This poker player is Espen Jorstad of Norway who won the 2022 World Series of Poker Main Event. On the way of doing so, he defeated Australia’s Adrian Attenborough duelling the heads-up of the series. By being the winner, Jorstad took home a prize of $10 million. To reach that monumental achievement he needed to outlast 8,662 (!) other player.

All the above are true examples that this event will (or probably already) have a page in the history book of poker.

If you like to participate in the WSOP event, you do not have to wait a year. The WSOP online series will be held at GGPoker from the 14th of August to the 27th of September with a 33 bracelet event. If you do not have a GGPoker account, you can create one via

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Chad Eveslage Wins Record-Breaking 20th Anniversary Five Diamond for 2nd WPT Title

Chad Eveslage Wins Record-Breaking 20th Anniversary Five Diamond for 2nd WPT Title

Chad Eveslage WPT Five Diamond

The illustrious history of the World Poker Tour (WPT)’s flagship tournament, the Five Diamond World Poker Classic added one of its most epic chapters Sunday. The $10,400 buy-in tournament attracted 569 entries, which surpassed the $5 million guarantee by offering up a $5,519,300 prize pool.

After a record-breaking 399 hands at the official final table, Chad Eveslage defeated Steve “Cuz” Buckner heads-up to win his second plaque on the Mike Sexton Champions Cup and a $1,042,300 top prize.

Play began at noon local time and lasted until almost midnight before Eveslage finally finished off his pesky opponent after a back-and-forth heads-up match that lasted just under four hours, despite accelerated 30-minute blind levels once heads-up play began.

Eveslage defeated a tough final table that also included Belgian star Michael Gathy, who had come back from under four big blinds on Day 4 to eventually finish in third place, and Day 2 and 3 chip leader Brian Kim, who finished fourth. The champion was quick to praise those two opponents in particular when asked about how it felt to win a second WPT title.

“It feels very good. I feel very fortunate. I had never played with (Gathy). I was so impressed. I haven’t been that impressed with another poker player in a while. He was really, really tough,” said Eveslage. “And then Brian, I had never heard of him really, but he was like… (Eveslage gave a look of amazement). It’s crazy that there’s so many good players out there, and to win two (WPT titles), I’m pretty sure I’m not that much or any better than either of them, so I just feel super blessed.”

Eveslage previously topped a 1,199-entry field to win the $5,000 WPT Venetian in July 2021 for $910,370. He also claimed his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet this past summer in Event #8: $25,000 High Roller for $1,415,610.

2022 Five Diamond World Poker Classic Final Day Results

1 Chad Eveslage United States $1,042,300
2 Steve Buckner United States $690,000
3 Michael Gathy Belgium $505,000
4 Brian Kim United States $377,000
5 Albert Calderon United States $283,000
6 David Kim United States $216,000
7 Zach Donovan United States $166,000

Action of the Day: Donovan is First Elimination to Set Official Final Table

Zach Donovan
Zach Donovan

Zach Donovan entered the final table with 960,000 chips, the second-shortest stack remaining, but on the tenth hand of the day, he was the first player sent to the rail, finishing short of the official six-handed WPT final table.

In level 25, with blinds of 30,000/60,000 with a 60,000 big blind ante, Donovan moved all in for 790,000 from the hijack. Brian Kim called from the big blind to put Donovan at risk.

Donovan held {a-Spades}{q-Clubs} but was in terrible shape against Kim’s {q-Hearts}{q-Clubs}.

After a runout of {7-Spades}{5-Hearts}{2-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{7-Clubs}, Donovan was eliminated in 7th place for $166,000.

From there, the tournament shifted back to 60-minute levels, with each player receiving a fresh stack of eight 30-second time extension chips.

David Kim Eliminated in 6th Place

David Kim
David Kim

The next elimination wouldn’t come until midway through level 27 at blinds of 50,000/100,000/100,000 when David Kim, who entered the day as the short stack was sent home in sixth place.

Kim raised under the gun to 200,000 and was called by Gathy in the big blind. After Gathy checked the {a-Spades}{8-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds} flop, Kim bet 150,000 and got check-raised by Gathy to 375,000.

Kim, called, then on the {q-Clubs} turn, Gathy moved all in for a bit over a million effective. After over a minute in the tank, Kim called off to put himself at risk holding {a-Diamonds}{j-Hearts} for top pair with a jack kicker.

Gathy however turned over {a-Clubs}{8-Clubs} for a flopped two pair. The river {3-Diamonds} couldn’t save Kim and he was sent home with $216,000.

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Calderon Out in 5th Place, Buckner Takes Over Top Spot in POY Race

Albert Calderon
Albert Calderon

Shortly after Kim’s elimination, the field was thinned to four as the chip leader to start the day, Albert Calderon was busted by Eveslage.

The action came on the 100th hand of the official final table with Eveslage raising to 225,000 on the button and Calderon calling in the big blind.

On the {a-Diamonds}{q-Hearts}{6-Hearts} flop, Eveslage continued in position for 225,000 and was check-raised to 500,000 by Calderon. Eveslage called to see the {4-Hearts} on the turn.

Calderon then jammed for 3,150,000, which was more than two times the size of the pot. Eveslage called, revealing {a-Clubs}{q-Diamonds} for top two pair. Calderon could only show {a-Hearts}{10-Diamonds} for a pair of aces with a flush draw.

The {10-Clubs} on the river gave Calderon two pair as well, but his were inferior to Eveslage who raked in the huge pot moving him into second place in chips behind only Gathy who now held over ten million.

Calderon took home $283,000 for his fifth-place finish, but a major side note to the hand was the ascension of Buckner into the 2022 WPT Player of the Year lead. Now with at least 650 POY points locked up, Buckner passed Ray Qartomy for top spot in the race by 50 points. He now had the opportunity to extend his lead if he could get even deeper in the tournament.

Buckner Needs a Miracle to Survive

Steve Buckner
Steve Buckner

Midway through level 28, Buckner’s run for the Five Diamond title and any further Player of the Year points were in deep jeopardy as he was all in and dominated versus Gathy.

Buckner had moved all in preflop from the button for 1,825,000 with {q-Hearts}{j-Diamonds} and was called by Gathy in the big blind with {a-Diamonds}{j-Clubs}.

The flop gave Gathy an even bigger lead in the hand, as the {a-Hearts}{8-Diamonds}{6-Hearts} board paired Gathy’s ace and left Bucker needing runner-runner to survive.

Runner number one came on the turn with the {k-Clubs}, giving Buckner a gutshot draw to Broadway.

Runner number two then slid in on the river with the {10-Clubs}, giving Buckner his straight.

Buckner’s familiar call of “LETS GOOOOOO” echoed throughout the Bellagio poker room as the pot was pushed to him, doubling him up to just under four million chips.

Eveslage Wins Massive Pot to Eliminate Kim in 4th Place

Brian Kim
Brian Kim

Buckner’s survival skills would prove fruitful, as late in level 29 with blinds of 75,000/150,000/150,000 he laddered up with the stunning elimination of Brian Kim in 3rd place.

After Eveslage opened to 300,000 from the cutoff and Buckner called on the button, Kim moved all in for 4,525,000 from the big blind. Eveslage then moved in for more and Buckner folded.

Kim showed {a-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds} versus Eveslage’s {10-Hearts}{10-Clubs} and a nine million chip coinflip was underway.

The board came {a-Spades}{q-Hearts}{10-Spades}{7-Diamonds}{7-Spades}, giving Eveslage top two pair on the flop, and sending Kim to the rail in fourth place. The sudden finish had to be disappointing, but it’s another great result for Kim, who’s had an outstanding year.

His fourth-place payout of $377,000 marked his best-ever live cash, surpassing the $323,000 he earned for his 23rd place finish in the 2022 WSOP Main Event. Kim also took down a $5,300 WSOP online High Roller just last week for a bracelet and $119,000.

Buckner Makes Gathy the Short Stack

With play now three-handed and Buckner with new life, the difference among the stacks began to close in level 30 with Buckner continuing to rebuild and then passing Gathy.

In a limped blind versus blind pot, Buckner led out from the small blind for 350,000 on a {j-Clubs}{9-Hearts}{8-Clubs} flop. Gathy called in the big blind, then on the {k-Spades} flop, called a 1,000,000 chip bet from Buckner.

The river brought the {k-Hearts} and Buckner now moved all in for just over four million. This time, Gathy folded and Buckner proudly showed {10-Hearts}{7-Diamonds} for a flopped jack-high straight.

The pot gave Buckner 7,325,000 in chips to Gathy’s 6,300,000, while Eveslage had both his opponents covered with 14,800,000.

Gathy Falls in 3rd Place

Michael Gathy
Michael Gathy

Gathy said at the end of Day 4 that he felt like he was freerolling after coming back from under four big blinds to make it to the final day with the third biggest stack. He took that freeroll deep into the final table but after dropping to the short stack three-handed, he couldn’t quite recover.

In Gathy’s final hand, he raised to 500,000 on the button, then faced an all-in from Eveslage in the small blind for 6,300,000 effective. Gathy called to put himself at risk and was pipped.

Eveslage held {a-Spades}{q-Diamonds} to Gathy’s {a-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}, and after the board came {10-Spades}{4-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{6-Spades}{9-Spades}, bringing no help to Gathy, the Belgian’s day was done in third place for $505,000, leaving Eveslage and Buckner to duel for the title.

River Déjà Vu for Buckner

Steve Buckner vs. Chad Eveslage
Steve Buckner vs. Chad Eveslage

In his runner-up finish to Chance Kornuth at WPT Choctaw, Buckner got his queen-ten in against Kornuth’s queen-nine in a pot that if he’d held, would have won him that tournament.

Kornuth would however river a flush on Buckner, leaving him with crumbs, then winning the title shortly after.

Sunday, Buckner got it in good again for the win, but once more was denied on the river.

With blinds now a massive 500,000/1,000,000/1,000,000 in Level 37, Eveslage moved all in for just over 12 million with {a-Clubs}{9-Hearts} and was snap-called by Buckner with {q-Diamonds}{q-Spades}.

The {8-Clubs}{5-Spades}{3-Spades}{4-Hearts} board ran clean through the turn for Buckner and he was again one card away from the win. But the {a-Hearts} on the river had other ideas, giving Eveslage a pair of aces and a massive pot that all but sealed Buckner’s fate again.

Buckner would get his last 3,100,000 chips in on the next hand with {9-Clubs}{7-Spades} against Eveslage’s {7-Hearts}{5-Diamonds} and again fortune favored Eveslage who flopped a pair of fives on the {10-Spades}{10-Diamonds}{5-Clubs}{k-Hearts}{j-Spades} board to win the tournament.

The World Poker Tour (WPT) will return to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida this November for the WPT Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open (RRPO), which will culminate with the $3,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Main Event taking place from November 25-30.

*Images courtesy of WPT/Joe Giron.

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Podcast – Buddy Frank & G2E 2022

Podcast - Buddy Frank & G2E 2022

Bob and I get a return visit from long time slot director Buddy Frank, and this was taped immediately after the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) show, the biggest casino industry trade show of the year. We spend a lot of time talking about the new things we saw.

We welcome your questions – send them to us at [email protected], or you can find me at @RWM21 on Twitter, or on Facebook at


Show Notes

[00:00]  Introduction slot director and consultant, Buddy Frank

[01:56]  Machine games at G2E

[04:06]  Biggest trends at G2E, cashless gaming and sports betting

[06:18]  Skill-based slot machines

[07:37]  Electronic versions of carnival games

[12:17]  Stadium gaming, player interaction, and tipping

[15:57]  Investment research, profitability

[18:02]  Variable state slot machines

[20:13]  Slot machine screen size

[22:47]  Slot machine bet size options

[28:16]  Progressive machines with different bet sizes

[30:58]  Must-hit by machines

[39:00]  Video poker games at G2E

[40:24]  Forfune X video poker

[48:35]  Big City 4’s video poker

[52:44]  Full House or Better Wheel Poker

[53:45]  Buddy’s additional comments on G2E trends

[55:04]  Gambler’s podcast episode with Rufus Peabody, The Longevity Paradox by Steven Gundry, This Is How They Tell Me The World Will End by Nicole Perlroth

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The 16 Best Vegas Shows to See Right Now

best shows in vegas


best shows in vegas

Whether you’re hitting up Las Vegas to try your luck at the poker table or just for a little bit of sightseeing, it’s likely that you’ll want to see a show while you’re there. And really, why not? Las Vegas, the home of entertainment, has some of the very best spectacles out there for you to enjoy on your visit.

The only problem you’ll really encounter is which show to choose to see. While locals have the chance to see every show possible throughout the year, those in the city for just a few days may find themselves a little spoilt for choice.

We’ve put together this handy list of the very best shows in Las Vegas out there so you can make the best decision possible, and we’ve even included handy links to where you can buy tickets for each.


Penn and Teller

Penn and Teller

Penn and Teller have become household names across America, and there’s nowhere better to be wowed by their magic than Vegas. The pair work together to create the perfect storm of magic, entertainment, and skill and bounce off each other in a way that will have you gripped throughout the show. While Penn serves as the comedic narrator, Teller handles much of the show’s action without saying a word.

This truly breathtaking show located at the Penn & Teller Theater, Rio, combines classic magic and sleight of hand with more innovative and creative tricks. Expect to see knives thrown across the stage, goldfish materialized from thin air, and unimaginable items swallowed. While the audience is let in on some of the pair’s mind-blowing magic tricks, you’ll be left contemplating others for weeks following.

Book tickets for Penn & Teller at Rio here.

Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil is one of the most well-known and best shows in Vegas, and there’s definitely a reason they perform seven permanent shows across various venues in the city. Known for their mesmerizing stunts and flying acrobats which take place in a water stage, the show is said to provide audience members with a close-up magical feeling.

The most popular Cirque du Soleil shows are definitely ‘O’performed at the Bellagio, ‘Michael Jackson ONE’ performed at Mandalay Bay and ‘Mystére’ performed at Treasure Island, although we simply cannot choose our personal favorites out of the 7. You can also catch ‘KA’ at MGM Vegas, ‘The Beatles LOVE’ at The Mirage, ‘R.U.N’ at the Luxor Hotel & Casino, and ‘Zumanity’ at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino.

Book tickets for Cirque Du Soleil shows here


absinthe cirque

Absinthe is an absolute favorite for the happy-go-lucky people among us who love a bit of fun and aren’t offended too easily. A thrilling showcase of world-class artists who perform amazing feats of strength, balance, danger and unfathomable flexibility, Absinthe is described as ‘completely intoxicating’. The show includes the very best blend of acrobatics and dancing that an audience is never likely to forget.

Shown at Caesar’s Palace, the home to some great slots of Vegas, the show is full of raunchy jokes, lingerie-clad acrobats, and you may even be pulled on stage for a lap dance, so there’s a reason it’s for those aged over 18 only. Whoever you choose to go with, you’re sure to be scooped away from reality with this hit spectacular that is one of the best shows in Las Vegas.

Book tickets for Absinthe at Caesars Palace here.


Carrot Top

Blue Man Group

If you’re less into magic and more into comedy, then we definitely recommend a trip to the Luxor to see Carrot Top, given the title of Vegas’ best male stand-up comedian. Known for his combination of comical commentary on current events and trunk full of weird and wonderful items, Carrot Top is described as an ‘absolute riot’.

Expect fast-paced and wacky jokes mixed with front row shots and a lot of over the top ginger hair from this act. You’re sure to be in fits of giggles the whole way through the show, as there’s a reason he’s also been named “Entertainer of the Year” and “Comedian of the Year.” For a show that’s guaranteed to bring you a good time, check out this guy.

Book tickets for Carrot Top at Luxor here.


Australia’s Human Nature Sings Motown and More

Australia’s Human Nature Sings Motown and More

While many hit up The Venetian for some of the best slots in Vegas, others go to see Australia’s Human Nature share their talent with the city. This show is bound to get to tapping your feet and singing along as the group performs a mix of pop classics, Doo-Wop, Motown, and soul standards. Human Nature is Australia’s top-selling pop vocal group and it definitely comes across on stage.

Effortlessly blending retro cool with contemporary sounds, this show takes the audience on a journey through the years and genres. Together Toby Allen, Phil Burton, and brothers Andrew and Michael Tierney aim to get personal with their audiences between songs by greeting audience members and telling stories. The group performs both with and without the band, truly showing off their award-winning voices.

Book tickets for Australia’s Human Nature at The Venetian here.


Mat Franco

Mat Franco

Magician Mat Franco got his big break on NBC’s America’s Got Talent season nine and has now been claimed to perform one of the best shows in Las Vegas with his headling magic show at The LINQ. His power to wow a huge audience with sleight of hand and mind-blowing magic has won Franco a whole load of popularity across all ages and is sure to dazzle you. Franco’s show is performed in an intimate showroom to allow audiences to get up close to the stage to watch the magician’s every move.

While he will teach you one trick during the show that will leave you in awe, the rest is left up to the imagination. We love how unlike the slightly restricting gambling age in Las Vegas, this show is completely family-friendly and suitable for anyone over the age of five.

Book tickets for Mat Franco at The LINQ here.


VEGAS! The Show

VEGAS! The Show

VEGAS! The Show has been named as one of the biggest stage productions and best shows in Vegas on the strip in almost 20 years which promises all the gossip, glitter, and glamor of the Vegas culture. Performed at Planet Hollywood’s Saxe Theater, this show recreates the greatest moments in Vegas’ history which takes the audience on a journey to meet vintage Vegas icons like The Rat Pack, Elvis and today’s most popular performers.

Expect to see gorgeous showgirls and dancers take over the stage with musical numbers that make you want to tap your toes and bathe in vintage glamor. While the Vegas show promises to keep you on the edge of your seat, you’ll also leave with a greater understanding of the history of Vegas in all its glory.

Book tickets for VEGAS! THE SHOW here

Le Rêve – The Dream

Le Rêve - The Dream

Enjoy great seats to see Le Rêve at Wynn’s aquatic theatre-in-the-round for 75 minutes of love and loss acted out by fun and humourous characters. Performed with a mix of acrobatics, swimming, dancing, and breathtaking plunges from the high-diver, Le Rêve promises a mesmerizing experience that is one of the best shows in Vegas for all. Sit back and watch as the performers dazzle center stage in a dreamlike atmosphere with aquatic ballet and gravity-defying stunts.

Le Rêve – The Dream has been voted  “Best Production Show” in Las Vegas by Southern Nevada Hotel Concierge Association for a record-breaking nine consecutive years and shows no sign of slowing down. And now, by buying tickets through to the end of 2019, one dollar from every ticket sold will be donated to Teach for America, Opportunity Village, and the Discovery Children’s Museum.

Book tickets for Le Rêve the Dream at Wynn Las Vegas here.

The Rat Pack is Back

Who doesn’t love The Rat Pack? Performing an award-winning tribute show to its original big band entertainers, The Rat Pack is Back is now playing at the Tuscany Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Perfect for those who enjoy reliving the days of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr., the show is now in its 17th season. It’s also the only full-time Rat Pack show in the world with over 1.5 million tickets sold – making it one of the very best shows in Vegas.

Audience members are invited to share in all the great classics such as ‘Luck be a Lady’, ‘Fly Me to the Moon’, ‘New York, New York’ and ‘That’s Amore’ and even welcome a special visitor. The cast is supported by the sensational 7-piece Tribute Orchestra who are sure not to disappoint.

Book tickets to The Rat Pack is Back here.


Crazy Girls at Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino

Crazy Girls at Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino

For a sexy contemporary burlesque show full of leather, heels, and lace, check out Crazy Girls at Planet Hollywood. Enjoy pole dance routines designed by some of Sin City’s finest choreographers, as the performers shimmy their way through the edgy 75-minute show of glitz and glam. After 30 years, America’s longest-running Burlesque show is sure to be sticking around on the Las Vegas Strip for much longer.

Expect an ultra-sultry show has entertained millions with brand new routines to the burlesque classics we all know and love to create one of the best shows in Las Vegas. The Parisian-influenced topless outfits to black leather and spiked heels are sure to wow and the performers love going out into the audience to interact with the crowd and make them part of the show. While penny slots are loved by all at Planet Hollywood, so are the Crazy Girls.

Book tickets to see their year-round show here.


Hitzville- The Show 

Hitzville- The Show 

Get a taste of Motown on your next visit to Planet Hollywood with this popular musical performance known for its standing ovations and for being one of the best shows in Vegas. Hitzville The Show is perfect for fans of Gladys Knight and The Pips, Tina Turner, The Four Tops, Diana Ross and more. Relive the greatest Motown moments through the fun and entertaining performances which are sure to add a little razzle and dazzle into your life.

Starring the ever-talented singer, dancer, and actress, Jennifer (Jin-Jin) Reeves and backed by the Hitzville Band and a group of incredible dancers, this show will have you singing and dancing along the whole way through. If you’re looking for the best shows in Las Vegas for Motown, this is definitely up there.

Book tickets for Hitzville- The Show here.


Nathan Burton’s Comedy Magic

Nathan Burton’s Comedy Magic

A breakout star of “America’s Got Talent”, magician and illusionist Nathan Burton’s comedy magic show is the perfect way to while away a Vegas afternoon. This high-energy feast of huge illusions and interactive magic is suitable for all ages and is sure to wow. Described as a ‘born entertainer’ by show reviewers, Nathan Burton’s show is perfect for anyone who wants to see good, clean fun in Vegas.

While you’re guaranteed to leave baffled at how he gets away with some of his tricks, Burton’s charismatic energy is guaranteed to catapult audience members into a world of mindblowing magic. It’s also one of the most affordable best shows in Las Vegas, too, so it’s a great way to squeeze another in on a budget.

Book tickets to see Nathan Burton’s Comedy Magic here.


Paranormal – The Mindreading Magic Show

Paranormal - The Mindreading Magic Show

Honestly, any show with the name ‘Paranormal’ is bound to entice and this one is no different – except it never fails to disappoint, just like many of the other best shows in Vegas. Paranormal is a 70-minute mind reading magic show led by Frederic Da Silva, Las Vegas’ award-winning magician, mentalist and hypnotist. Da Silva is always set to go deep into the minds of audience members to provide remarkable insights and predictions on their lives. The venue is super intimate, too, to provide audience members with the very best experience possible.

Even those with the shortest of attention spans refuse to look away for even a second as the quick-witted hypnotist moves through the show at a fast pace. This show takes place earlier in the night, so you’re sure to have plenty of time to hit up the very best Vegas Buffalo Slot Machines afterward.

Book tickets to see Paranormal – The Mindreading Magic Show here.


All Shook Up – Tribute to the King

All Shook Up - Tribute to the King

It’s pretty well accepted that you simply cannot visit Vegas without a trip to see the king himself. The live Elvis tribute is the only Elvis show on the Strip where you can hear all Elvis, all night backed by a live band and is one of the best shows in Vegas. Performed at Planet Hollywood, this Las Vegas classic is so intimate that audience members feel part of the show at all times and features all the songs we absolutely love.

The MC of the night is known for being highly entertaining and spends a short amount of time chatting to the audience before inviting ‘Elvis’ onto the stage in all his glory. The accompanying band is amazing, and Elvis himself brings great vocals and outstanding impressions to this well-loved show.

Book tickets for All Shook Up here

Mac King’s Comedy Magic Show

Mac King’s Comedy Magic Show

Mac King is said to be the funniest and now the longest-running magician in Las Vegas, and we totally agree. Guaranteed to hold audience members spellbound, King is right at home in his old Vegas-style showroom at Harrah’s. His family-friendly self-effacing sense of humor blended with a flawless sleight of hand and corny imagination is sure to provide a show that people of all ages will love.

Expect fabulous rope tricks, fun hand shadow puppets, mysterious appearances of Fig Newtons, and live animals such as worms, goldfish, and even a white guinea pig to bring on of the best shows in Vegas. Although appearing to be a little silly, King definitely does not disappoint in his magic or people skills and loves to get the audience involved in his tricks.

Book tickets to Mac King’s Comedy Magic Show here.


Blue Man Group

Blue Man Group

The Blue Man Group guarantees to bring the ultimate sensory overload to their audiences with what is described as an audiovisual encounter unlike anything else on the Strip. Blue Man Group is fun for the whole family that never gets old, no matter how many times you see it. The narrators of the Blue Man Group show profess to know a lot about human nature and social evolution, but the three bald and blue stars are oddly oblivious.

The men use music, movement, and very little verbal communication to glue audiences to the stage to swim in the sights and sounds that douse the theater. The show is good clean fun that is suitable for anyone over the age of three and includes a variety of impressive acts and quick-change illusions to make one of the best shows in Vegas. The show centers around the company’s signature music played on loud, makeshift instruments which will make your jaw drop.

Book tickets for Blue Man Group here

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Gambler’s Diary XXVII: Vegas (3/3)

Muling and Heads up for Rollz


I wake up and the world is not all right. The anxieties with a massive headache hit me as I try to open my eyes. Everything in my room is pitch black except for a small light on the alarm clock’s face: 01:05 PM – it reads.

Did I have something tonight? 

A memory of me receiving my ninth-place finish card with: “Show up half past one tomorrow for tax purposes, take your ID with you and don’t be late” – the lady on the counter.


I force myself up. The world is spinning. 

I am never drinking again.

I get to Rio’s parking lot three minutes before my meeting. I am already sweaty, disgusting and feeling like I wrestled with a bear but have no option but to make a run for it.

I arrive to the Tax-lady’s office one minute before our scheduled time. For the first time on this day, I am somewhat happy with myself. She marches in and gives me a look that does not feel friendly, at all. 

“Hey,” I start.

“Hey, do you have your passport with you,” she replies.

“No, sorry. No one told me to bring one, I did bring my ID with me however,” I continue.

She looks visibly angry which surprises me a bit. Like I was supposed to know to bring my passport – even though I was only instructed to take my ID (In all honesty, if my morning had been a bit different, I would have taken the damn passport every time – alas it was not and here we are.) 

“It doesn’t help, we can’t do anything” she replies.

“Can I run back to my hotel and grab it? It would only take about half an hour?” I asked.


I thought there would be a follow up, but she stayed silent and looked at her papers without giving me any time of the day. 

I looked at my watch, it was 01:40 pm. 

“Really? It is only…” I could not finish my sentence. 

“Yes, yes, I know, I have appointments, OK?”

Her punctuation went higher with each passing word and as she hit the final “K” her tone had gotten so high and patronizing that it triggered some primal nerve in me. 

I would love to slap you in your stupid fucking face

 I do not have many rules in life but both violence and treating people with lesser perceived power unjustly are both unfortunately very condemned, so I did nothing. Still though. She was really starting to get on my nerves. 

“So, what can we do? I have flights tomorrow morning” I asked. 

“Well, I guess we have to book you another time now, don’t we?” she said with a snarky tone of voice.

We booked another appointment for tomorrow 09:20am and I left absolutely amazed at how she had treated me through all our transactions. She had no mannerism suited for customer service; but the mannerisms of a power-corrupted despot. I had gone into the meeting trying to be as nice as possible and left with a vivid desire to slap the shit out of her. 

A trip back to the Encore, a shower, and a nap later a received a message: 

“Can’t take this hangover, mild-muling and ulti – come now” JJ sent to our group chat.

“Muling” is a verb we had come up with which meant: “drinking Moscow mules,” I loved the verb and the drink – “ulti” means “ultimate poker” which is basically Texas Holdem against the casino – I had no problems with some gambling either.

I could go for a bit of muling I suppose.

In the very first Gambler’s Diary, I wrote “I have a problem.” There is this little voice in my head that whispers to bet big, so big that it feels like something – so big that it really hurts to lose. It never fully goes away but I have somewhat contained it. When I was younger, the whispers were more like almighty roars, I had no other options but to listen and obey. Through the years though they have become more silent, barely noticeable, and very rarely I feel the need to act on them. On this day however, I witnessed both myself, and my friends go into a state of gambling madness that I had not seen in a long time. 

I meet JJ and EE at ulti, JJ is winning, EE losing, both have Mules in front of them. I sit down and follow the suit. It starts slow and reasonable but there are some signs in the air already; each of us have two mules and a lot of money in front of us – and the stakes are already high. About six mules later EE says that he has a bad vibe about the table, I agree. We switch to roulette. The degenerate whispers grow louder.

I am betting three grand per spin; the boys are betting more. Three rounds later I am break even, and they are down a lot. We leave. A fast and a costly attack for most of us. Mules are flying but we have a bad feeling about all of the table games. What to do? “Someone has cards, right?” I ask. JJ nods. EE loves the idea. We raid the mini- market at the Encore. A bottle of vodka and wine appears, we shove it JJs room bill. One never pays the room bills at the Encore; the comps will do that. Thank you, JJ. 

Back to JJs room. We are playing high stakes Chinese. At approximately 13-mules I am winning 30k and make a rare mistake in a hand – monetarily meaningless but cannot take it. Got to play something with absolutely zero skill. The voice of reason has switched places with my degenerate side. I feel like I am on the passenger’s seat and just observing the madness – and love it. How do you feel about a little table action? Boys feel all right about it. What a surprise. 

Back at the tables, even bigger bets but this time at the Wynn’s side of the casino because “I have bad vibes about the Encore not giving it to us today” – EE. Cool. Ulti destroys us and someone wants to leave – fair enough. A little roulette on the way though? Absolutely. The roulette is not giving it to us either, even though we are at the Wynn’s side. How is this possible? We get back to the Encore. Should we stop? How about a couple of flips instead? But of course.

We get to JJ’s room and start flipping. I make a straight flush on the first hand. Everything slows down for a bit and the time seems to stand still. I have found my personal Nirvana. 

It is still the same trio

The stakes are now so high that losing really hurts. You never feel quite as alive until you are on the edge of the sword. And I feel like I am dancing ballet on top of one. The fact that after all this time, all these stories and experiences later, the same trio might end up in the same state of madness like we used to when we were barely at legal age gives me a kick so hard that it feels like I am floating.

God damn, I love gambling

We decide to postpone our flights for three days. Why would we ever leave this city? 

I start to lose after that hand, hard. We order some room-service mules. Before the mules come, I am down 20k (50 from ATH) and it is 4:30am. Once we have finished our mules it is 6am. I am down 70k (100 from ATH). The whispers are gone, and so is the dopamine. I am done with this city, done with everything. Fuck this. Fuck fuck fuck fuck. I leave with a very loud bang from JJs hotel room (the only action I would have any regrets about later – if you gamble and lose, take it like a man) and fall asleep.

I wake up again around 1pm.

“Did I have something today?”


I get back to Rio and settle another appointment with the tax lady, she is not there but another lady promises to put it in her calendar. Couple of days fly by, as I am busy being hungover as well as losing another 35k to the cash games.

 I am waiting at the “player services” bench at Rio. I have my flights tomorrow and only need my ITIN-number, so I get to cash out – and salvage at least something from this god forsaken trip. I wait for about 15-minutes but cannot see the Tax- lady anywhere. I go to the front desk:

“Hey, I had an appointment for my ITIN-number?” I start with another lady.

She asks for my details; I give them as she disappears to her computer for a bit. I can tell by her facial expressions that she finds something that she is not happy to share with me.

“Ok so… Yeah. I got an email from her. She says here that you did not have a passport and did not show up for one (1) meeting, so she will not serve you, ever.”

“What, I know I missed one appointment but… How can she do that?” I ask, stupefied.

“Yeah, I don’t know,” she responds laconically.

“Ok, well can you set me up with another person who can do that?” I try.

“We don’t have anyone else”

I gather my thoughts for a bit as I feel a massive life-tilt building inside of me: 

“So, you’re telling me that I travel 18 000km + to play my first WSOP (Helsinki- Turkey – Vegas – Helsinki), LOSE more than 18k on your tournaments, and you want me to pay you extra 11k in taxes because I overslept one meeting?”

“You can also leave the money here” she replies.

I am shaking with rage. I am trying my best not to just explode right there and then but she so clearly not giving a fuck about my situation is also starting to get to me. 

“Can I talk to your supervisor?”  I ask (a question I have never asked in my life).

“Let me check that”

She disappears for 90-minutes. I wait and for the first time in my life understand why there is so much gun-violence in the US.  

“He’s available tomorrow at 11:30 am” she finally says.

“I have flights at 11am.”

“Then, no.” 

After three hours at the Rio, I leave with the greatest tilt of my life. I rant on Twitter, rant to everyone at the Wynn and to anyone who would listen to me. 10-hours later there is nothing to do, the city has crushed me. I sit down at an Ulti table and order a beer. Despite having loads of friends in the city I feel very alone. 

“Hey Sam, how are you doing?”

I look up and see my favorite Ultimate dealer, Karin, a motherly figure with a very natural warmth radiating from her. Like a scene from a movie where the hero tells a bartender all his troubles, I pour my heart out. Karin listens and nods when it is appropriate.

“Well, you get those bastards next year then Sam”

We must protect her at any cost

She brings me back from a very dark place. I finish my beer, tip Karin a one hundred, go back to my room and travel back to Finland the next day. I leave my $42 000 behind.

Viva Las Vegas


P.S. I went this year to the WSOP to get my missing 42 000$ back. I cashed one tournament for the required (more than 5k net profit) but this year, the WSOP had outdone themselves; this year they had absolutely no one capable of giving the ITIN-number. Apparently, there are hundreds of people in the same situation as me. So, again I had to leave my (now 53k+) cash behind. I also applied for the ITIN by myself which cost 550$ so maybe I will be able to get the money with that next December. Maybe. We will see what the WSOP comes up with at that time.

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