Local players excel in World Series of Poker

Local poker players excel in World Series of Poker

Tens of thousands of players from virtually every state and a multitude of countries around the world have descended upon Las Vegas, Nevada for the greatest competition in professional poker, the 2016 World Series of Poker.

The non-stop action began on May 31 for the 47th edition of the poker world’s longest running tournament series and will continue through July 18. There are 69 official gold bracelet events spread over 50 days with buy-ins ranging from $565 all the way up to $111,111.

A month into the competition there has been one striking trend: Four major event winners hail from the Chicago area, a remarkable statistic and a true credit to the caliber of players who frequent the poker rooms in this region.

The competition at the annual extravaganza is branded so indelibly around the world that it is considered an honor and a rarity to have multiple winners of events come from the same country let alone the same relatively small geographical region.

That said, with many major events still to be held, here is the honor roll of recently crowned Chicago area and Northwest Indiana gold bracelet winners:

Benjamin Keeline of Oswego, Illinois, who won Event #2, the Colossus II No-Limit Hold’em Tournament. Sporting a relatively small $565 buy-in, this competition attracted no less than 21,613 entries which created an incredible $10.8 million prize pool. Keeline outlasted them all to claim the $1 million first prize in epic comeback fashion.

Kyle Julius of Naperville, Illinois, who captured Event #4, the $1,000 Top Up Turbo No Limit Hold’em Tournament. His prize was $142,972.

Jean Gaspard from Evanston, Illinois, who now calls Chicago home. He won Event #11, the $10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship and a check for $306,621. The former professional basketball player at one time attended camp for the Chicago Bulls.

Alexander Ziskin won Event #29, the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Tournament. The native of Vernon Hills, Illinois collected $401,494.

All four of the champions are veterans of competition in the World Series of Poker Room at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond with a collective bevy of prominent performances in World Series of Poker Circuit events through the years.

We’ll soon find out who’ll win the biggest poker tournament of them all, the $10,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em World Series of Poker Main Event Championship? The globally recognized world championship of professional poker will run over 10 consecutive days from July 9 through July 18 on which day the final table participants, or “November Nine” as they have been come to be called, will be announced.


Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

Poker Bots - Online Poker

How to Identify Poker Bots

How to Identify Poker Bots

Online poker players sometimes ask about How to Identify Poker Bots. If you’ve been hitting the online poker tables then you’ve probably heard the term “Poker Bot”. But what exactly is a “poker bot”? It is a program designed to make automatic decisions when playing poker. It does not have emotion as a factor, which makes it a tough adversary for people. Bots are programmed to know the odds they have and the odds they need, which means that they have the winning tactics programmed inside them. They can also sit a lot of tables at the same time since they make instant decisions. Of course, some bots have flawed strategy inside them, meaning that they will not often play well, particularly against bets that are unusually small or large. They are good at exploiting novices, though, by taking advantage of their propensity to call bets too frequently.

So how do legal online poker rooms identify bots? The sites do have automatic systems in place to check for them, but sometimes they do slip through. This means that you need to be on the lookout for some of the tells that you are playing against one of these applications.

Many online poker sites test for bots by putting a bright message in the chatbox, asking players to type in some characters into the chat to verify their humanity. Bots don’t notice this, and they keep playing as usual, but the vast majority of people will notice this message. Another way that rooms identify bots is to pick out accounts that are playing on large numbers of tables for a really long time. People can’t play around the clock, day after day, but some poker bots have been left in place playing continuously until the poker rooms notice them. The bots do win real cash for the sites (because they still lose too), so some sites don’t put as much effort as they could into detecting them.

So what should you look for? Bots tend to play the same way, hand after hand. If a player makes the same sets of decisions, and takes the same amount of time to make each decision, that player could be a bot. There are some human players that fall into fairly set routines as well, but the difference with a bot becomes noticeable over time.

Here’s an example of a fairly badly programmed bot: 90 percent of the time it folds to bets on the flop. The other 10 percent, it would instantly go all in for several times the amount of the pot. When the human players sent chat messages, it would never respond. The high fold percentage made this bot very easy to beat, but then it would automatically quit after losing three games in a row.

Of course, if a bot is poorly made, you can win money from it. So don’t necessarily run from all bots. But just be aware that they are out there – and how they behave. If you are worried about a particular player on a site where you have been playing, don’t be afraid to file a report with the support department of that poker room. After all, the poker room is making money off you – so you deserve to have a fair table around you.

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

WSOP 2016 Las Vegas

Day 24 of the WSOP 2016 at the Rio

Day 24 of the WSOP 2016 at the Rio in Las Vegas

Here’s what to expect this weekend at the WSOP 2016 World Series of Poker.

Friday’s schedule:

10 a.m. — $1,500 “Monster Stack” No-limit Hold ’em (5-day event)

Noon — $1,500 Pot-limit Omaha (Final table); $1,500 “Summer Solstice” No-limit Hold ’em (Final table); $10,000 Six-handed No-limit Hold ’em Championship (Day 2)

2 p.m. — $3,000 Six-handed Limit Hold ’em (Final table); $2,500 Limit Mixed Triple Draw Lowball (Day 2)

3 p.m. — $3,000 Shootout No-limit Hold ’em (3-day event)

Saturday’s schedule:

10 a.m. — $1,500 “Monster Stack” No-limit Hold ’em (Day 1B)

Noon — $10,000 Six-handed No-limit Hold ’em Championship (Final table)

2 p.m. — $2,500 Limit Mixed Triple Draw Lowball (Final table); $3,000 Shootout No-limit Hold ’em (Day 2)

3 p.m. — $10,000 Seven-card Stud Hi-Low/8 or Better Championship (3-day event)

Sunday’s schedule:

11 a.m. — $1,000 No-limit Hold ’em (3-day event); $1,500 “Monster Stack” No-limit Hold ’em (Day 2)

2 p.m. — $3,000 Shootout No-limit Hold ’em (Final table); $10,000 Seven-card Stud Hi-Low/8 or Better Championship (Day 2)

3 p.m. — $1,500 Mixed No-Limit Hold ’em/Pot-Limit Omaha (3-day event)

Players to watch:

* Reigning WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen is one of eight players remaining in the $3,000 buy-in Six-handed Limit Hold ’em event. The resident of North Wales, Pennsylvania, is second in chips behind Matt Matros of Brooklyn, New York. Also alive is Russian sports commentator Mikhail Semin, who made his fourth final table of this year’s WSOP.

* Tommy Le of Tustin, California, owns the chip lead with 16 players left in the $1,500 buy-in Pot-limit Omaha event.

* Koray Aldemir of Vienna holds a slight chip advantage over Spain’s Adrian Mateos during heads-up play in the $1,500 “Summer Solstice” No-limit Hold ’em event. Action was halted after 1 a.m. Friday, and the Europeans will return to play for the $409,171 first prize.

Thursday’s highlights:

* Las Vegas resident Hani Awad, 65, won the $2,500 buy-in Mixed Omaha/Seven-card Stud Hi-Low event ($213,186) for his first career bracelet. The Israeli-born Awad, who owns a local taxi cab company, finished second in this event last year and dedicated the victory to his 93-year-old mother living in Nazareth, Israel.

“I promised her I was going to win it for her,” Awad said. “It was my dream to win this, and it means the world.”

* Michael Gathy, a professional poker player from Brussels, won the $5,000 buy-in Six-handed No-limit Hold ’em event ($448,463). It is his third career bracelet, tying Davidi Kitai for the most by a Belgian player.


Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

California Online Poker

California Online Poker Bill Passes Committee

California Online Poker: The “most-vetted bill” in California this year passed through the California Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

“If we held every bill to the standards we’ve held this bill, we wouldn’t have any bills,” AB 2863 sponsor Adam Gray said. Gray’s measure regulates and legalizes online poker in California, the largest US state by population, and first heads to the full Assembly for consideration. The California State Senate will act only if the Assembly passes Gray’s bill.

“Believe it or not, this is the furthest internet poker legislation has gotten in California. Now it will move to the full Assembly, and based on testimony today, there is still work to do to ensure its final passage,” Poker Players Alliance Executive Director John Pappas said. “We stand ready to work with California lawmakers to produce a product that puts consumers first and removes many of the obstacles that have bogged this bill down for years. We commend Assembly member Adam Gray for his hard work and commitment to do what is right for California consumers.”

Several amendments were tacked onto the bill in the last week following an hour-long debate last Tuesday, including a five-year waiting period or $20 million fine for any company that serviced the California market between 2006 and 2011. Any operators in the market post-2011 would likely be barred from getting a license altogether.

“We’ve spent the past week negotiating with the Committee chairperson and Committee staff,” said Gray. “We have strong suitability language in the bill.”

Much of the hearing focused on “tainted assets” such as the list of PokerStars’ former California players. Also debated was whether a $20 million payment from a company like PokerStars that was in the market between 2006 and 2011 was sufficient or whether that amount should be considerably more or exist altogether. If the $20 million were paid, a company could access the California market without needing to wait five years.

“The bill has a three-year blackout period on those very lists,” Gray said of PokerStars’ former Golden State customer list. “Could we go further to permanently ban the lists? We could have that discussion.”

Gray added that he might be able to get a better list of people who like poker currently from Facebook rather than PokerStars’ old California player list. PokerStars left the US market on Black Friday in April 2011, over five years ago.

California racing lobbyist Barry Broad was one of a handful of witnesses to testify on Wednesday and said, “With regard to these amendments, this bill continues to be an example of how to do things right in terms of moving a complicated issue forward.” He noted that a broad coalition of interests are in support of Gray’s AB 2863.

Leland Kinter of the Yocha Dehe Tribe, which operates a casino resort, said in his testimony, “Our position is not driven by profit motive or business model, but rather principles of heightened gaming rights.” He added that the amendments fail to address tainted assets appropriately and said that bad actors should be disqualified.

Assemblyman Ian Calderon applauded Gray on his endurance during a multi-year effort to pass online poker legislation in California, but said he was concerned about bad actors being allowed to operate. Therefore, he asked Gray where he got the $20 million number from. “They could do a lot more and maybe should do a lot more,” Calderon said. Gray responded by saying he negotiated the number with the Committee’s leadership.

Discussion of tainted assets and bad actors continued en masse, with many committee members with concerns seemingly looking forward to debate in the full Assembly about the issues.

“I want to get there,” Assemblyman Donald Wagner said. “You have someone that everyone says was a bad actor and you give a new date and an opportunity.” Wagner worried that PokerStars would have an unfair advantage given its old e-mail list and years of experience.

Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia asked about the “grey” period between 2006 and 2011, when sites like PokerStars were servicing the market and reaping millions of dollars.

“The simple fact is that the vetting and regulatory process of these licenses could cost more than $20 million,” he said. Garcia asked for the fee to be “far more” than $20 million and also asked Gray to address the unintended consequences of gaming in future revisions to the bill.

Assemblyman Bill Quirk questioned whether AB 2863 should punish Amaya Gaming, the current owners of PokerStars, since the Canadian company didn’t acquire the site until after it departed the US market altogether. “The biggest tainted asset here is the PokerStars name,” Quirk said. “The founders of PokerStars are long gone… The big question is whether the PokerStars name is a tainted asset.”

Finally, Committee Chair Lorena Gonzalez summed up the arguments from the bill’s opposition, calling for a clear distinction of what happens if horse racing isn’t an activity California engages in down the road, clear language that the bill only applies to iPoker and not iGaming in general, and said that bad actor language still needs to be discussed.

In the end, the bill passed via a roll call vote.


Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

fast-paced poker

Taking advantage of fast-paced poker

Taking advantage of fast-paced poker

One of the great things about the Internet is that it speeds everything up. When it comes to online poker, this means that you can play multi table tournaments at a turbo speed, with short levels and antes and blinds that just shoot up. A lot of live tournaments also have fast structures and are sometimes listed as “turbo” to tell you that you can anticipate the game going at breakneck speed.

Visit some several poker sites, and you’ll find a ton of tournaments set up this way. For example, some real money poker services designate some tournaments as “Regular” or “Slow.” These feature levels that can take up to 15 minutes, and the starting stacks are deep, while the antes and blinds don’t go up quickly at all. However, the “Turbo” and “Hyper-Turbo” tournaments are gaining in popularity as well.

How does it work? Well, the usual “Turbo” tournament will give you five-minute levels. However, the “Hyper-Turbo” tournaments feature three-minute levels, and the antes and blinds will go up approximately twice as quickly as they would in a “Turbo” event. Other poker websites offer tournaments moving at similar rates with those designations.

This means that tournaments will end pretty quickly. The most frequently played “Turbo” events are daily affairs, and the buy-ins range from 55 cents to $109. These games are called “The Hot $75” or whatever the buy-in is, and they all provide 3,000 chips to start and offer five-minute levels. If you get to the second hour, you’ll be at the 200/400/50 level. The “Hot” online fast-paced poker tournaments with lower buy-ins often bring in thousands of players, and the whole thing is usually done within no more than four hours.

Does this mean that speedier tournaments reward good luck more than skill? After all, the format means a lot more all-ins preflop, which means you’re hoping for strong hands more so than you do in the slower formats. However, these faster tournaments also benefit those who have the same skills to do well in slower tournaments. This means that it still pays to be clever with your starting hand choices, realizing the importance of position, choosing the right bet size and having the ability to read and predict what opponents are likely to do.

The main difference? Everything is going much more quickly. Your adjustments will be fewer, and you won’t have as much time to get over mistakes. You also can’t wait as long for the ideal hand. So let’s say for example that you get 150 big blinds to start for the initial five-minute level, but after the antes kick in, you’ll just have 30 if your starting stack hasn’t changed. So how can you benefit in this format?

Stay awake

If you don’t pay attention to deadlines, you’ll miss registering for the next hand and you’ll leave a lot on the table.

Read the others early

Use your initial levels to get a sense of your opponents’ tendencies to find the tight and loose players, and who appears to be playing with more savvy than guesswork. You don’t have as many hands to get this read and you have less time per hand.

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

Poker opponents strategy

Poker Opponents | Strategy for driving out player with best hand

Strategy for driving out poker opponents when a player has best hand

So you’ve finally picked up a big hand, and you’re ready to win real cash. So how do you manage the process of getting your pot as large as possible so that you can drive your poker opponents out of the game with your good fortune?

Step one: Analyze the situation and pick a poker strategy. The first step is to determine whether you have a small-pot hand or a big-pot hand. Do you have a pair or two? You’re looking at a smaller pot. If you have a straight, flush, a full house, or even better, now you’re willing to throw in the whole stack for the chance to drive a poker opponent out of the game. This is harder than it sounds, even more if you’re playing online poker. Regardless of the game or platform, you are facing poker opponents who want to protect their stacks and stay in the game. So take a look at his perspective — just like you, he doesn’t want a big pot unless he feels confident he can win it.

So the job now is to trick him into thinking that he has a better hand than you do, which is harder than it sounds. You have that huge hand and what do get things all-in, because you can’t knock your opponent out until you put your entire stack on the line. But if you do this right away, you won’t get called. If you throw $300 into a pot that has $15, no one will call you. They will know that you have a primo hand and will fold right away.

So you have to work more gradually. You have to bet and keep betting, putting money on the flop, the turn and the river. If you’re playing no-limit poker, you know that bets always take shape in proportion to what is already in the pot. So as each street comes and goes, the pot will start growing exponentially. The pot might be paltry at the flop, but if you stick around and stay consistent, it could be mammoth by the time you get to the river.

Here’s an example. You’re playing $1/$2 No-Limit Texas Hold’em, with $300 effective stacks. You have AK and raise to $12 on the button. The big blind calls, and the flop shows QJT. So the big blind checks, and you bet $20 into $32. He calls again, and the turn shows 3, and the big blind checks again. You now put $55 into $59, and he calls again. The river shows a 7, and your opponent checks. So you look down and see $161 in your stack, and the river has $170. You now have a chance to go all-in, and you won’t have to make a massive overbet to do it. If you’re working against weaker players who follow the calling stations, this bet is likely to work like a charm every time. If you’ve been caught in a bluff lately (or have lost some big pots recently), your opponents might think you’re on the tilt and are overbetting anyway, which will make it extra sweet when you rake in their stacks.

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

Big poker weekend winners

June – Weekend 1 – Big Winners

Congrats to our big weekend winners – June – Weekend 1!!

We had a great weekend at Cafrino. Were you a part of it? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more chances to win a Level 10 invite!

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And special shout out to brokeherman, who wins our Level 10 Bubble Boy award (a free ticket to the next Level 10 game). Join us all week long for cash tournaments daily!

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

Good luck at the tables!

New York Online Poker Progress

MGM Resorts Comes Out In Support Of New York Online Poker Progress

New York Online Poker Progress

Nevada-based casino giant MGM Resorts appears optimistic about the chances of New York passing online poker legislation in the near future. A bill on the table in the Empire State advanced out of a Senate committee this week and awaits a possible full Senate vote.

“This legislation recognizes that millions of New Yorkers play online poker on unregulated and unprotected off-shore poker websites that operate with no oversight, fraud controls, or age restrictions,” MGM General Counsel John McManus said in a statement Thursday.

“We applaud the Senate Finance Committee’s vote to create a safe, legal environment for online poker through legislation that will generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for taxpayers, and create open and fair opportunities for all providers of online poker.”

MGM cited a poll that showed that more than 70 percent of New York residents “agree that safe, regulated online poker should be legal.”

McManus was recently seen at a Congressional hearing on daily fantasy sports, which did touch on the regulation of other Internet gambling. He also gave testimony at September’s online poker hearing in Albany. “If the gaming industry doesn’t innovate it will be Amazon’ed by other forms of entertainment,” he told Empire State lawmakers. “Internet poker can be effectively regulated.”

New York’s interest in online poker comes as Pennsylvania is considering Internet casinos and New Jersey is witnessing record Internet gaming revenue for Atlantic City casinos.

MGM recently reached a deal to acquire Boyd Gaming’s 50-percent stake in Borgata, which also has the state’s largest online casino in terms of revenue. That move could have implications for the Garden State online betting industry. Nevada’s governor indicated last month that he really wants to broker an online poker compact with New Jersey.

Source: CardPlayer – New York Online Poker Progress

Identifying Fish - Cafrino Online Poker

Identifying Fish at the Poker Table

Identifying Fish at the Poker Table

Need to know the best ways of identifying fish at the poker table? No matter what you’re playing, there is always an immense gap between the pros and the rookies. If you’ve ever watched pickup basketball at the playground and then gone home to turn on the NBA game, then you know what I’m talking about: the action goes a lot faster, the players have a lot more strength and ability and the whole tenor of the sport is different. In poker (Online and live poker), you can’t always tell right away between the sharks — and the little fish.

Where does the difference come from? Sharks put a ton of thought into every move and have a sophisticated understanding of how the game works. Have you ever watched high stakes poker online? You can see the pros raising and re-raising hands, people calling with their second pairs, just like you might see in the cheap games. However, you’re really watching pros who have played against these same opponents thousands of time. That means that they recognize their opponents’ game as well as they recognize their own. Here are some signs that you’re playing against a shark — or against a fish.

Marking Detail

Fish pay way too much attention to their own details when you sit at a poker table. What do they have? What do they need? The sharks aren’t looking at themselves; they’re looking at everyone else. Even after they have folded, they keep an eye on everyone else and they watch every bit of the action. Even if they don’t seem to be paying attention, they are soaking up as much data as they can.

Fish don’t notice things like your reaction to turn raises, or how often that you bet out with a big hand. You can get away with the same tricks over and over against them because they just aren’t paying attention. Take a look at their eyes: they will be on their own hands the vast majority of the time. The sharks, on the other hand, are looking at you.

Fish get “Emo”

No matter whether they have a royal flush or a pile of junk, sharks know how to behave. They know that overreacting is a bad poker strategy. They always look calmed and keep the same facial expression. Fish, on the other hand, often have visible reactions depending on what they pick up. If they win a hand, even if they are playing a friendly session of free online poker, they act like they’ve never raked in a pot before. You can use these reactions to gauge which players are the most vulnerable to your strategies — and the least likely to spot your mistakes.

Fish don’t balance their ranges

Sharks know that they should not make the same move all the time. Fish tend to make the same play over and over once it works. If you don’t want people to recognize that you’re a fish, you have to play so that your opponents will have no idea what you have. Do you check-raise the flop with a huge hand? Then you have to show you will do that as a semi-bluff, or even a bluff. Keep altering your play, or you’ll be caught on a big hook and end up watching your poker bankroll disappear.

Ready to put your skills on the line? You can practice as much as you need on the free online poker tables at Cafrino and get all the practice you need while winning real cash. Good luck!

Kid Poker



As Lee Davy reviews the Kid Poker documentary, he ponders why on earth a 90-minute documentary about a poker player reduced him to tears?

As the credits start to roll so do the tears.


Why has the story of a man, who I still have never met, reduced me to tears? I think about it over my cold cucumber soup and in between stinging eyes, and sensitive teeth, I realise that each droplet is a lost opportunity. The compass point has never changed; rusted to the same spot. I can see it. I know where I am supposed to go and yet here I am.

Is this why so many people dislike him?

When they look at him, does it hurt like I am hurting? And without the anaesthetic do they force the shield out in front of them and go charging in his direction lance in hand hoping to silence him once and for all so they don’t Why The Kid Poker Documentary Brought me to Tearshave to look at him and see what they could have become.

I’m not talking about being a great poker player. Even Daniel Negreanu is avoiding having that title scratched into his tombstone. I am talking about being the very best human being you can be. Don’t we all want to be loved? Don’t we all want our parents to be proud of us? Don’t we all want to help others who are less fortunate that we?

I have always liked Daniel Negreanu. After watching the documentary Kid Poker, I no longer like him. That’s the wrong word. I need a new one – respect will do nicely.

People will see him when they watch this. He tries to be authentic. What you see is kind of what you get, but that’s not the whole story. The dust of the newcomers hurried feet obscures the real picture – one of pain, struggle, and dedication.

I now understand why his words seemed so vociferous when he vented his frustrations over Twitter regarding what he perceived to be a lack of respect levelled at the pioneers. I can see why he believes that it was much tougher to make it during the pre-Internet era.

Here is a man who has done his 10,000 hrs.

Here is a man who has transcended poker.

Ambassador is not the right word. It’s not high enough exultation. While the conversation around poker is so often stilted, he is encouraging the flock to adapt and evolve. His legacy is to redefine what it means to be a poker player. So often poker players freeze in the face of self-discovery. After the crowns and the jewels, they want to know what else is golden. Something is gnawing away in the gut. Something is off. They feel compelled to march, but they don’t know where to go. They feel an urge to take the stand, but they don’t know what to say.

His brother said that as a child Negreanu was ‘a brat’, ‘a troublemaker’ and most importantly, ‘misunderstood.’ I see that in him today, particularly the last statement. I don’t think people understand him, and in the age of instant gratification, I don’t think most of them can be assed spending the time to figure him out.

Let’s hope they watch this documentary.

Let’s hope they are aware of introspection.

His views on life are worthy of self-reflection. Take the way he sees his parents as an example. His love for the both of them is the beauty of this documentary. He is in awe of them. In his words they have taught him everything that he knows, and yet I doubt they sat him down and handed out lessons in life.

They just did what he has done for years. They got their head down and got on with the job. Negreanu did the rest by recognizing the good in them and was astute enough to spread that gospel far and wide.

I have parents.

I don’t talk about them with the same level of awe and love that Daniel does.


I haven’t grasped the importance of it. I am not mature enough to understand where it can take me. I am full of anger instead of love. I am still treading water, watching Negreanu take off into the distance like a fire breathing dragon.

This way of thinking has helped shaped a quite incredible human being. People who think he is too opinionated don’t get it. He is the authentic being. He is not the one hiding his true feelings. He flies on the wings of liberation. He soars. That’s why tears streamed down my face when his brother talked about his mother’s passing. That’s why I balled when he gave his Poker Hall of Fame speech, and I realized how much gratitude he felt for the game that had afforded him the stage that he now commands and uses to change the world.

And so I ring my Mum, and I tell her that I love her. I think about her death. I wonder if I will miss the opportunity to hold her hand like Daniel lost his. I think about regret. I ponder my decision not to visit her home anymore because she smokes. And all the time I think and ponder the dunes of life are always changing with the wind, and the clock goes tick, tick, ticking away.

“He’s crushing it,” said Doyle Brunson.

He is.

“I have reached my peak.” Said Negreanu.

You aren’t even close.

It started out as a game of cards.

Today, it is so much more.

He is the cards, he is the chips, and he is the dirty green baize that he complains never gets cleaned.

He is poker.

And for that, I give him my tears.