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Adam Sowell

Freelance Author Adam Sowell



Adam started playing poker as a boy, joining family and neighbors for friendly 5 cent spread-limit 7 Card Stud games at their South Texas weekend lake house.

He quickly learned that an aggressive style could lead to some extra lunch money, as his relatives would complain how he ‘max bet too much’. And yes… he did check raise his grandmother!

After graduating from high school, he accepted a baseball scholarship in Austin. Just like everyone else in the world, he and his friends were inspired to get into poker by the movie Rounders.

Adam soon found himself playing Texas Hold’em in home games, winning weekend beer money from his college teammates.

Several years later the World Series of Poker’s EPSN debut revolutionized the poker world and brought on the online poker era. Adam deposited $50 on Ultimate Bet and ran like Forest Gump.

Within the space of a month he found himself playing against the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke and Devilfish at Ultimate Bet’s highest NL stakes.

Adam quit his retail sales job and moved to Las Vegas. The next eight years would be spent traveling around the world, grinding online poker to stay afloat.

Currently living in Bangkok, Thailand, Adam plans to move to check out Queenstown, New Zealand and South America in the future.

PTR: “We’re Once Again Tracking PokerStars”

PokerTableRatings.com (PTR) is once again tracking player statistics from PokerStars, for the first time since April of 2012.

Poker Table Ratings Logo

PTR is an online poker data mining website that datamines poker player statistics, by screen-scraping tables in observer mode (fast fold poker cannot be mined).

Using a site like PTR controversially allows players to access key statistics of their opponents, such as:

  • Voluntarily Put Money into Pot
  • Fold to 3-Bet Ratio
  • Opponents Win/Loss Totals

PTR also offers Players Search, Buddy List, and Table Finder options. Combined, these stats can help provide an edge against opponents even without previous playing history together.

Sites that track PokerStars - PTR

Changing Philosophy:  Past vs. Present

In April of 2012, PTR removed PokerStars from their tracking site after a cease and desist order was issued by PokerStars. At the time PokerStars believed PTR was creating an “unpleasant environment” for players, possibly by giving pro’s more of an advantage over the casual player.

The exact reason the two parties have decided to work together again is unclear. However, both companies are recently under new ownership and are moving forward together. This move is a benefit to grinding regs, and at least clarifies that management doesn’t consider accessing sites that track PokerStars to be cheating as long as their services are open to all.

PTR Achievement BadgesOne advantage of PTR is it can assist in detecting collusion in the games and other cheating. Some recreationals also enjoyed the achievements aspect of PTR, which allowed for players to display a ‘top hat’ and other badges on their profile.

Unlike previously, PTR now no longer offers 10 free searches per day, instead requiring payment – this should help to limit its use to berate ‘fish’ in the chatbox at tables.

Russian PTR

Shortly after PokerTableRatings was initially ordered to desist by PokerStars, a secretive ‘Russian PTR’ emerged on domain http://whotfru.info, providing the same statistics on an invite-only basis. This created an unfair advantage for a small number of regs.

PTR being open to all – for a small fee – is debatably a better situation than WhoTFRU being reserved for cliques of winning regs or those who pay large sums for the information.

By James Spillane and Dan Dececco

Is Daily Fantasy Sports the Next Online Poker?

daily-fantasy-sports-the-new-online-pokerUS online poker refugees left out to dry by Department of Justice crackdowns on the game are increasing turning to fantasy sports to get their gambling fix.

Fantasy Sports – Legal in the US

Fantasy sports was already huge in popularity, booming online in the mid 1990s as a fully legal form of online gambling, exempted from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006.

Players draft teams on sites like DraftDay and WarDraft and follow the performance of their fantasy lineup over the course of seasons of play. The pastime having ‘an outcome that reflects the relative knowledge of the participants‘ and being ‘predominantly determined by accumulated statistical results‘, allowed it special status as a skill game (regrettably online poker wasn’t so lucky in being recognized as an intricate strategy game).

Daily Fantasy Sports – Comparison to Poker

A new twist on the game, single-day play or ‘daily fantasy sports’, has however seen the number of players today further increase to over 40 million, a 25% rise since 2010. With a much lower time investment required, daily fantasy sports (DFS) has found a core fan base in ex online poker players. DFS site FanDuel projects that it will pay out $1 billion in prizes in 2015.

These rapid-fire daily games allow for huge payoffs overnight – and although Forbes gaming columnist Marc Edelman sees ‘uncertainty about the legality of these games’ they as yet haven’t been banned since their introduction in 2011. Professor of Sports Law at Florida State Univ. told the NY timeson the spectrum of legality to illegality, they’re getting pretty close to the line.’ For now DFS is still supported by partnerships with the MLB and equity investment from NBC and the NBA.


DFS sites have a lobby just like in online poker, with ‘sit and go’ tournaments, ‘double ups’, multi-entry events and guaranteed prize pools (GPP). It pays to take risks as just like in poker the payout structure is top heavy.

As in poker you can play for pennies or thousands. The top crushers use sophisticated algorithms and spreadsheets, analagous to tracking software such as Holdem Manager or PokerTracker. Sites have mobile apps and celebrity endorsers, the ‘team pros’ of DFS.

Poker pro Max Steinberg – with earnings of $2 million on the felt – is on his way to his first million in DFS. He cites the critical thinking skills and learning process in poker as the reasons for his success.

Last month an ex-investment analyst who quit his job to pursue DFS won $1 million in a single tournament, a story featured in the Wall Street Journal. Stories of the transition from Wall Street to online poker success are becoming less commonplace than in previous years, a reflection on the state of the industry.


Poker In The US

It’s currently only possible to play regulated online poker in the US as a resident of one of three states*, Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. Even then the playerpool is segregated to only other players in that state.

Cross-state play or regaining access to the global playerpool at major rooms such as PartyPoker and PokerStars – as was possible prior to 2006 and 2011 – seems a distant dream, although former congress members and the Poker Players’ Alliance continue to campaign for that.

A few weeks back we also covered the story of prolific poker professional Tony Pirone returning to the US to swap online poker for daily fantasy sports (DFS) betting, finding similar profits in fantasy baseball.

It certainly seems DFS is experiencing a boom comparable to that of the online poker boom, and one spurred on by many of the same faces. Vice labelled it the ‘Daily Fantasy Sports Takeover‘. Poker players can feel even more at home with chances to qualify for land-based poker tournaments while they grind DFS, e.g. on DraftKings an official partner of the World Poker Tour.

For daily fantasy sports tips check out the blogs section of Rakeback.com’s sister site RealFantasyFootball.com.

*Players in other states are still accepted at a handful of poker rooms which are not regulated in the US, such as Bovada, Carbon PokerAmericas Cardroom & Juicy Stakes.

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By , Rakeback.com Staff Writer

Rakeback.com Xmas Freerolls on Carbon

Carbon Poker Holiday PromosRakeback.com is giving back this holiday season with a $500 freeroll and a $500 value added MTT, exclusively for our Carbon Poker players.

Register in the Carbon lobby under Tournaments -> Private.

$500 Freeroll

Tournament Name RBcom Exclusive $500 Holiday Freeroll
Password RBcomFREEMONEY (case sensitive)
Open To Our tagged Carbon Poker players
 Date Sat Dec 20th
Time 15:00 Server Time
Registration Opens 16th December 11:00 Server Time

Christmas Promotions at Rakeback.com

$500 Value Added $0.11 MTT

Tournament Name RBcom Exclusive $500 Added
Password RBcom10Cent (case sensitive)
Open To Our tagged Carbon Poker players
Date Sun Dec 21st
Time 15:00 Server Time
Registration Opens 16th December 11:00 Server Time

Super Bowl XLIX

Carbon are also running a Super Bowl Championship freeroll on Dec 28th with two tickets to Super XLIX for first place, plus $2,000 in spending money. Qualifiers are running every Tuesday.

Carbon Poker accepts US players.

Play Poker In the US

Free download securely from official Carbon Poker server

Struggling for gift ideas for the poker player in your life? Check out these poker gift ideas.

CEO Pokes Fun at Own Site in Forum Post

The Winning Poker CEO gave a humorous, self-deprecating appraisal of the US facing network in a candid post on the TwoPlusTwo forums.

Opening a thread for a rare post, the WPN CEO listed his ‘Top 10 Reasons to Play on Americas Cardroom‘ in reverse chronological order, David Letterman style.

Not the kind of Americas Cardroom review you’d expect to read, but each point prompted good discussion from players, largely positive.

The CEO’s 10 Reasons to play at Americas Cardroom

10) We guarantee you will have a stable connection to the poker site at least 50% of the time.

As far as poker in the USA goes, players don’t have a huge range of options – the largest sites alongside ACR being Bovada the US facing side of Bodog, Carbon Poker on the Merge Network, and Revolution’s Juicy Stakes.

Software issues are an unavoidable reality today for US players – sadly rooms like PokerStars and Full Tilt, where it was possible to mass table with a HUD on a budget laptop ten years ago and never lose connection, are no longer open to the US.

Posters pointed out that ‘WPN hasn’t been any worse than Bovada or Merge‘ for crashes in recent months, and appreciated the acknowledgment of technical faults as ‘a step forward‘. Others noted that a ‘large number of poker sites have been crashing lately‘ and ACR still fared ‘better than iPoker and 888‘.

9) We discourage bumhunting at every turn yet hired Dusty Leatherass9 as our elite pro.

One poster pointed out that legendary grinder and poker training site video producer Dusty Schmidt ‘lately stopped bumhunting anyway‘.

8) Our tournament series is called The Hi Five with $420,000 GTD (…that might explain this list).

Posters laughed at this tongue-in-cheek reference to recreational pot smoking, popular amongst MTT grinders.

7) We have the biggest rake race in the world (that you don’t have a shot at winning).

The Beast rake race has paid out over $2m to players over the years, and while it is hard to top the Beast leaderboard, someone has to. The mechanics of the promotion have changed recently to remove the issue of higher rake – as regs were quick to point out ‘the site itself now pays for the Beast‘.

6) We have the $1,000,000 GTD tournament on Dec, 14th. AND The Cage! (Shameless plug…)

Sneaking in an advertising plug, here the CEO drew attention to ACR’s unique cash game / SNG hybrid promotion. The ACR CEO himself explained the event the first time it ran, in the video below.

[youtube src=”VBL5Xvt2YKg” width=655 height=471]

5) We guarantee you will receive at least 10 emails a month (don’t believe us check your spam folder).

One user commented ‘I’m still to lazy to turn off my PS emails for every MTT you cash in, any SNG you cash in, any “Mission points”, three emails or one withdrawal etc. so 10 a month is nothing‘.

4) The longest standing poker product without a Mac or mobile product. (Who needs ‘em).

Americas Cardroom is lagging behind by not supporting other platforms. Posters at least were positive that the room wasn’t a poker site that would just ‘give lip service saying everything is great and then walk away‘. One reported he’d still been able to play at ACR on a Mac using Parallels software.

3) We have more popups than all other poker networks combined.

One poster forgave this, saying ‘if this is for advertising which keeps rake low – all good!‘.

2) We have an online store with no merchandise. (A combat point saved is a combat point earned.)

Generally regs see little value in spending VIP points on store merchandise such as branded clothing and electronics, preferring rewards to come from rakeback – ACR pays out 27% flat rakeback on demand.

1) We are not owned by AMAYA.

Finally the Winning CEO took a subtle jab at recent controversial decisions made by Amaya Gaming since their acquisition of the Rational Network.

Overall the forum respondents – largely active US players – were stoic in the face of difficulties with playing online poker from the US, and appreciated the comic relief: ‘It is obvious from this list that WPN is a poker site that is actually owned by real people. And I would much rather play at a site owned by real people who can tell jokes and don’t take themselves too seriously.’

Americas Cardroom‘s $1000 bonus is equivalent to 20% additional rakeback for your first 60 days of play. Satellite your way into the Punta Cana Poker Classic, which ACR proudly sponsor and use to raise money for breast cancer research.

Get ACR Rakeback

Free download securely from official Americas Cardroom server

By , Rakeback.com Staff Writer

Online Grinder TPiranha Quits Poker to Bet Fantasy Sports

High stakes Limit Holdem lost one of its most prolific regulars this week as SNE grinder Anthony Pirone announced his retirement from poker to bet daily fantasy sports in the US.

TPiranha was the first Fixed Limit player to be inducted into the PokerStars Hall of Fame in 2013 for earning 5M lifetime VPPs, with winnings of $2 million and hundreds of thousands of dollars in rakeback from the Supernova Elite program.


In total his poker career spanned over a decade, including battles at $50/$100 stakes and higher with St!ckman, Heisenberg and other elite names in LHE.

Mega Grinder ‘Sick of Playing’

Pirone cited a few reasons for wanting to make the switch in a blog post, including ‘getting older’ and struggling to ‘have that same level of focus’ when multitabling.

In addition he lamented the ‘current environment in online poker’ as a ‘major headache’.

Making money in high-stakes online games is more about table selection, seat selection, and quickness to the tables than about actual skill. The actual skill is still a prerequisite for making money but the vast majority of high stakes regulars at LHE are separated in skill by a fraction of a big bet.  So the other non-poker related skills carry much greater weight than they previously did. Now that nearly everyone is aware of them, the landscape has transformed into a race to get to tables, and into a contest to see who can get position on the recreational player.

The logistical difficulties of being an American online poker player with ‘constant travel’ and ‘ongoing banking nightmare’ issues have also been weighing on him. Living in Canada since Black Friday, the rise of 100% legal daily fantasy sports (DFS) offered a way to move back to the US.

Betting Fantasy Sports for a Living

So far the online phenomenon’s results have been positive, though with a limited sample size of just over 2 months. Applying the same work ethic to sportsbetting Pirone put in a massive volume in those months, playing over 9,000 fantasy baseball tournaments.

Like poker, Pirone feels betting on the MLB plays to his ‘biggest strengths’ in math, odds, psychology, and knowledge of ‘betting lines’. Being able to bet on sports legally in the US is the icing on the cake.

So far Pirone’s focus has been on baseball, football and hockey but he has plans to bet on the NBA with the new season upcoming. So far the 8 hour days, 6 days a week betting DFS have rekindled his ‘love of competition’ and he is optimistic for the future.

By , Rakeback.com Staff Writer

Americas Cardroom Introduces Cash/MTT Hybrid Game

‘The Cage’ – a high stake cash game for passionate poker players

Americas Cardroom is dropping their players into The Cage, an epic high-stakes cash game experience with a time-based tournament format.

The Cage is a multi-table time-based cash game with a $5,000 + $100 buy-in (satellites from $1.50 are available). The tournament ends as soon as the clock hits 3 hours no matter how many players are left at the table. The main event will be on 8th October, 2014.

The chips you have in hand after the 3-hour play will be converted into real cash. Say if you have $10,000 chips left, Americas Cardroom will load your account with $10,000.

Americas Cardroom CEO Phil Nagy talks about The Cage:

The Cage Highlights:

  • 3-hour cash game with multi-table tournament format
  • ends as soon as 3-hour time limit is up, regardless of number of payers left standing
  • 6-max tables
  • starting stake: 5,000
  • chips will be converted to cash and load to your account at the end of the game
  • winnings deposited directly into your bank account via free bank wire from ACR

What makes The Cage more exciting?

  1. More intense gaming each hour

> Hour 1 with $10/$20 blinds and $2 antes

> Hour 2 with $25/$50 blinds and $5 antes

> Hour 3 with $50/$100 blinds and $10 antes

2. Battle against legends

> battling against big poker names, check back often to see who is stepping into the ring.

The Cage Satellite Schedule

Date Time (ET) Name Buy-in Prize
Daily 4:00am ,5:30am, 7:00am, 8:00am, 9:45am, 10:45am, 11:50am, 1:00pm, 2:50pm, 4:25pm THE CAGE Sat. – 1 Seat GTD SS $1.50+0.15 1 Seat to the daily $30+3
Daily 4:30am, 6:00am, 7:30am, 8:30am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:20pm, 2:00pm, 3:20pm, 4:55pm THE CAGE Sat. – 2 Seats GTD SS $5+0.50 2 Seats to the daily $30+3
Daily 5:00am, 6:30am, 8:00am, 9:25am, 10:25am, 11:25am, 12:50pm, 2:20pm, 4:00pm THE CAGE Sat. – 2 Seats GTD 1R+1A $3+0.30 1R1A 2 Seats to the daily $30+3
Daily 5:30pm THE CAGE Super Sat. – 1 Seat GTD $30+3 1 Seat to the Wednesday’s $320
Wednesdays 7:30pm THE CAGE – 1 Seat GTD Satellite $300+20 1 Seat to the ME
Sundays 6:30pm THE CAGE – 1 Seat GTD R/A $100+9 R/A 1 Seat to the ME
October 8th 8:00pm THE CAGE Main Event

 Terms and Conditions

  • Tournament entries won through satellites are non-transferrable, may not be redeemed for cash and hold no cash value
  • Players who satellite their way into the tournament cannot unregister from it
  • Players who buy-into the tournament and then win a satellite for it, may take their cash and use their satellite win to play The Cage
Get ACR Rakeback

Free download securely from official Americas Cardroom server

Is a One Table Max A Good Idea? Criticism from Regs as PartyPoker Launches ‘Casual Cash Games’

partypoker-casual-cash-game-tables-one-table-max-beginners-logoLast week PartyPoker rolled out the first trial run of ‘Casual Cash Games’ at $0.50/$1.00 stakes. While the concept as an anti-bumhunting measure was generally positively received, players on the network have raised some issues.

First announced earlier this month, PartyPoker’s Casual Cash Games are only open to players who sit at one table at a time, whether Heads Up, 6-max or Full Ring. Marked by a smiley face in the lobby, they exist alongside regular tables at the same stakes.

Designated Casual Tables Added to Game Lobby


Introduced as a way to improve the poker experience for recreational and beginning players, casual tables have been better received overall than earlier attempts by Party to segregate the entire player pool by ability.

However some 100nl regulars see the tables as affecting liquidity at their stakes, with no significant benefit to the poker ecology as strong regulars from e.g. PokerStars open the Party client to ‘bumhunt’ one casual table.

Support of a One Table Max

  • Faster games for recreationals – grinders still have the ability to 18 table on regular tables, but can no longer slow down games for players who wish to 1 table, constantly timing out or using their timebank
  • A more personal experience – some ‘fish’ prefer playing against opponents who are paying attention, with time to type in the chat box, rather than ‘sharks’ robotically mass-tabling to make a living off rakeback

Criticisms of a One Table Max

  • The total number of available tables is reduced for all players – recreationals that play more than one table are also disadvantaged
  • Multi-tabling regulars from other poker sites can open the Party client to bumhunt one table while playing elsewhere, defeating the purpose of the one table max

Posters in the Official PartyPoker Thread on the 2+2 Forums have already voiced their concerns, in advance of casual tables being introduced at higher stakes with less liquidity.

Forum Responses

Most PartyPoker regular multitabling players are forced to play nl50 or nl200 or change poker room. And 1 table players are playing with bumhunters from other networks, who just add 1 partypoker table. I dont think it’s fair that you reward other network regulars and screw YOUR network regulars.

Posted by Largus on the 2+2 Forums – View Post

I can see the end of 400+ once segregation 2.0 is implemented there…

Posted by opal on the 2+2 Forums – View Post

Already seeing new screennames who are obv regs from other sites that have added one smiley face table while playing on other sites. I’ve been doing that some, too. Why wouldn’t I?

Posted by Lessu on the 2+2 Forums – View Post

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts on PartyPoker’s one table max tables in the comments below.

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Paradise Poker G2 Caribbean Poker Party Qualifiers

Paradise Poker G2 Caribbean Poker Party QualifiersParadise Poker is set to the join the anniversary celebrations of Europe’s premier cardroom, Dusk Till Dawn, on the island of St. Kitt’s in the Caribbean.

The resident Marriott Resort & Casino will host seven days of celebrations from 20th – 27th November, culminating in the Caribbean Poker Party $3,000 Main Event.

Satellite Path

Players can qualify online for an all expenses paid trip to paradise. Satellites are running  right now, with a range of buy-ins from €2.75 to €820. Two packages must be won every week until mid-November.

Paradise Poker G2 Caribbean Poker Party Satellite Path

Prize Package Details

Your €7,700 Caribbean Poker Party package includes:

  • $3,000 Main Event buy-in
  • €2,000 for expenses
  • Hotel Accommodation for 2 adults and 2 minors under 16 years of age
  • Unlimited food & drinks
  • A week of pool parties, nightclub events, beach BBQs, carnivals, and watersports
  • Kids club & babysitting services

Open a Paradise Poker account today to receive 30% rakeback and a 200% sign up bonus of up to €1,000 when you use the bonus code START1000.

SuperStack Poker – Great Sign Up Bonus Offers for Rakeback.com Players

superstack-poker-125SuperStack Poker is offering two great bonus offers to players. Get a 500% bonus up to $2,500 or a 50% instant bonus of up to $25 which is exclusively for Rakeback.com players.

$25 Instant Bonus

Exclusively for Rakeback.com players, SuperStack Poker is offering a 50% instant bonus of up to $25 when you use the bonus code INSTANT25. Just make an initial deposit of at least $50 using the bonus code and the $25 will be added to your account immediately.

500% Sign Up Bonus

Make your first deposit using the bonus code SUPER500 and receive a 500% bonus of up to $2,500. In order to receive the full bonus be sure to make your first deposit of at least $500 using the bonus code.

Open a SuperStack Poker account today and earn 40% rakeback and receive either the $25 instant bonus when you use the bonus code INSTANT25 or the 500% sign up bonus of up to $2,500 when you use the bonus code SUPER500 along with the special bonus code RAKEBACK.

PokerStars $100 Reload Bonus

PokerStars Reload BonusPokerStars doesn’t offer reload bonuses too often. That’s way players should RUN and reload their accounts with the latest bonus offer.

PokerStars is offering a 20% reload bonus of up to $100 when you use the bonus code PS100 between now and 23:59 July 15th. Players making a $500 deposit will receive the full bonus.

The bonus is cleared in increments of 10 based on the currency of deposit. VPP clearing requirements are as follows:

PokerStars Reload Bonus Clearing Requirements

Players will have 20 days from the date of deposit to clear all of the bonus or as much as they can.

Make that deposit and get playing today!

Don’t have a PokerStars account? Open and account today using the bonus code STARS600 and receive a 100% bonus of up to $600.

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