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15 DECEMBER 2017

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Global Poker Leaves an ImpressionWhen asked about the fast-growing Global Poker site where he won the live package, Blair had positive feedback.“Global Poker has been great, I have been playing there pretty consistently since July.“It is really easy to get in games and lots of fun to be able to play from home against so many different players. It is really easy to cash out your winnings. Being able to use PayPal is really nice."If Blair has anywhere near the kind of success he had in the Eagle Cup at the WSOP Circuit in Cherokee, he won’t need to cash out his winnings via PayPal. The entire Global Poker community will be keeping an eye on Blair, hoping he can do well in Cherokee. Global Poker will be providing updates on Blair’s progress via social media, so you can follow along at their Twitter page.If you have not already made an account and tried Global Poker out for yourself, you can head to Global Poker and sign up for free today. Maybe you could be the next to win a live tournament package at Global Poker.“The key for me was to stay focused and to not lose my cool when I got a bad beat. There are always other opportunities to make a comeback.”Blair got off to a rough start in the Global Poker Champions, but that didn't stop him.“When I started putting some good results together it became very interesting. It was really exciting to slowly start moving up the leaderboard.”Blair is excited to use the package he won to try his hand on the live felt — something he rarely gets to do.“I love tournaments so this is fantastic,” Blair said. “I normally just play online at Global Poker or some home games with friends so this is a great opportunity.

The late feature table of the day has just begun with stakes at €5/€5 pot-limit Omaha. Scotland's Andrew "Picasso" Hedley will be joined with guest commentator Ryan "Metalface" Davey to provide analysis on the action.Coolbet's Joel Lindpere is back as promised in Seat 2. He proved during the previous feature table that he can not only play football on a professional level but also play world-class poker. Time will tell if his skills in hold'em translate to the four card game of Omaha.Finland's Lasse Kekoniemi is making his Cash Game Festival feature table debut in Seat 1. He is an engineer by day and has been playing poker since 2010.Ireland's Kevin Malone is in Seat 4. He was the biggest winner at the feature tables in Dublin and won a hospitality package to this festival. He hopes his success in Dublin follows him to the Estonian capital.United Kingdom's Jonathan Bowers, in Seat 3, is making his Cash Game Festival feature table debut. His girlfriend Elizabeth Cape was on the previous feature table. PokerNews will be interviewing the couple on Facebook later in the festival about their experiences.Rain Jõgioja is one seat over in Seat 6 followed by Cash Game Festival Ryan Mullarkey who just flew in from the United Kingdom in Seat 7.Estonia's Sander Laprik, in Seat 5, has been playing poker for almost a dozen years. He joked that his biggest poker achivement was creating 2,500 posts at TwoPlusTwo.Rounding off the feature table in Seat 8 is a Russian player that asked to be referred to as just Alexey.

There is a popular trend developing in the poker world. People are starting to realize they should defend more often against small raises with a wider range of hands.Being a tight-passive, small stakes player, I wasn't easily convinced to get outside of my comfort zone, but I'm glad I did. In this series, I will share with you some of my "a-ha!" moments while making this transition in hopes that you, too, will begin to widen your defending ranges appropriately.I've been told that I fold too much, so finally I've started calling and three-betting with a wider range from the blinds and the button when facing frequent opens from aggressive players.We Can Also Defend By Three-BettingSometimes instead of just calling, I will occasionally want to defend against loose opens by three-betting for value with hands like ace-king or QQ+. In order to be somewhat balanced, I will three-bet bluff occasionally as well. The fact that I get to use the big blind as a part of my three-bet means I am getting a healthy discount on this play.Let's say I want to 3x villain's 2.2x open as a bluff. On the surface, it seems that this bet should cost me 6.6 big blinds. In actuality, it only costs me 5.6 BBs because I have already put my big blind into the pot. This 3x three-bet bluff only needs to work a little more than 54 percent of the time to break even. The hunter has now become the hunted. If I only try this against villains who fold more than 46 percent of their raising range, this bet is profitable with any two cards.Generally, I will do this with hands just below my flatting range. Since I call in the big blind with most of the hands that can flop good straight and/or flush draws, my three-bet bluffing range will consist of hands that are just a little too weak to flat like {Q-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} or hands with blocker value like {A-Clubs}{7-Hearts}.Again, I will only go this wide if I think villain will fold to the three-bet often. If I expect some flats, then I will three-bet bluff with hands that flop better than these.ConclusionThe math in this article shows that it is pretty hard to go wrong defending the big blind against small steal attempts with a wide range of hands. For the most part, we should be flatting most hands that flop somewhat decently and ocassionally three-betting both for value and as a bluff.Things get a little bit trickier when we are in the small blind. We'll continue this discussion by considering how to approach that position next week.How Often Should We Defend The Big Blind?Let's say I am in the big blind facing a steal attempt from the cutoff. It's a nine-handed multi-table tournament with antes that are 10 percent the size of the big blind.If villain makes it 2.2x the big blind to go, the bet needs to work as a complete bluff only 47 percent of the time in order to break even. This means that the players left to act must collectively defend 53 percent of the time to prevent him from making money with any two cards.This number doesn't even take into account that the raiser has some postflop equity when called. Since players in the small stakes games I play do not defend nearly often enough in spots like this late in an MTT, aggressive regulars profit by raising with very wide ranges.How Often Do We Need To Win?I used to hate calling out of position with the trashiest of these hands. I felt like I was throwing good money after bad until I started playing my backdoor draws aggressively postflop and winning more than my fair share of hands.If you're a small stakes player like me, then maybe you too failed to realize that losing even as much as 75 percent of the time means that we win 25 percent of the time — which is profitable when we only need to win 20 percent of the time to break even. This bit of math was eye-opening for me.What Sort of Hands Should We Defend?In the past when I was one of those players left to act, I'd think to myself "I know this clown doesn't have anything." I couldn't wait until I finally got a hand with which to catch him. The problem is that those top hands never seem to come often enough.Nowadays, I know that if he doesn't have anything the vast majority of the time, then I don't need much of a hand to play back at him. The opener's range in this spot is often so wide that it creates an opportunity for me to profit with a wide range as well. I can either call and take the great price I am being offered, or I can three-bet to try and resteal his steal attempt.In our example, I am facing a 2.2x open in the big blind. It costs me 1.2 BB to see a flop in a 5.9 BB pot. That means I only need to win this pot around 20 percent of the time to break even.It's true that this is hard to do from out of position with a bad hand, but consider that even a hand as raggy as {6-Spades}{2-Spades} flops two pair-plus or a combo draw almost 10 percent of the time. If I also continue with any naked flush draw, that gets me up to 17 percent of the time. If I am at all capable of donk betting or check-raise bluffing with backdoor draws or winning with weak one-pair hands, then I can easily continue at least another 3 percent of the time to make this call break even at worst.Postflop play is beyond the scope of this article, but taking aggressive lines such as these helps me to avoid the "fit or fold" mentality and win more often which, in turn, encourages me to defend more often. That said, I try not to go crazy with this, so I stick with hands like suited three-gappers or better that have the potential to flop combo draws I can barrel.

As bracelets get awarded at the World Series of Poker Europe in the Czech Republic, a select number of players will be hoping to accomplish a WSOP two-fer — winning a bracelet in Las Vegas followed by another bracelet in Europe. In 2008, Denmark’s Jesper Hougaard became the first player to accomplish the feat.While he’s not a full-time player, Hougaard has a love for poker accompanied by several other five-figure scores — and is also a bit of a renaissance man with some interesting passions (see below). He was a competitive table tennis player, and later a coach for the Danish national team. He lived for many years in England where his father worked as an official with N.A.T.O.How big was winning both a WSOP and WSOPE bracelet in 2008? What did it mean to your career?It was very big and not only for my bankroll. It certainly made my name in poker and I was rewarded with plenty of press and sponsorship opportunities in the years that followed.Is there a hand that really sticks out in your mind from that WSOPE?In this specific hand, Yev opens in the small blind and I defend the big blind with {Q-Clubs}{10-Spades}. He had me slightly out-chipped. The flop comes {J-Hearts}{9-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}. He bets, I call. The turn is the {7-Diamonds}. He bets 72,000, I call. The river is the {8-Spades}, giving me the uber-nuts. He bets again, about 50 percent of effective remaining stacks [180,000], and I sit there and just enjoy the moment. I’m certain he has a 10. This is it. I’m going to win again — best feeling ever.How big has the WSOPE become in Europe? What’s your opinion on its significance in the poker world?WSOP Europe has floated around for a while — London, Cannes, etc. While I think it’s a decent enough event to attend, it doesn’t hold the same attention or prestige as the WSOP in Las Vegas. In order for WSOP Europe to establish itself as a marquee event it needs a long-term home, to build some history, and receive a solid marketing push by Harrah’s/Caesars.What are your plans to play in the future?I will not be participating in the WSOP Europe. It’s a shame because I like Rozvadov. The games are decent and the service is good. I have no other events that I for sure know I’ll make it out to.Next summer in Vegas, I’ll probably only show up for the Main Event. I am running a business these days, that does not allow for me to travel for extended periods of time, except perhaps in summertime. So my poker plans are unclear at this time. It seems doubtful that I’ll be playing much at all. If I do, it’ll be when my schedule clears up and allows for me to go and find some mid/high-level PLO action

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