Dominik Panka’s Entry into Professional Poker

April 28, 2014

There is a new kid on the poker block and his name is Dominik Panka. Panka created quite a stir in the poker world when he won the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) in January 2014, beating known favorite, Mike “Timex” McDonald.

Panka came from nowhere to dazzle the poker world. From earning only US $ 981 in October 2013, to earning a total of US $ $1,843,934 through 2014, Panka is a new poker superstar. Also, Panka’s poker victory at the PCA is no flash in the pan. About three weeks after winning the PCA, Panka won the EPT Deauville High Roller poker tournament, defeating 96 contestants for a prize money of US $ $371,498.

Panka won his way into the PCA through a Sunday qualifier on PokerStars. The latter has offered to sponsor Panka through Season 10 of the EPT. Panka is grateful for this sponsorship, and feels that this will help poker players in his home country, Poland, to identify with the game and encourage others like him to enter the poker fray.

Panka has continued to travel the EPT, with a stop in Vienna in March 2014. When asked whether he plans to play the World Series of Poker to be held in Las Vegas, USA, this summer, Panka said he would prefer to concentrate on European tournaments. He said that the distance and the US tax laws were deterrents.

An early start

Dominik Panka has had an early start to his poker career. Hailing from Brześć Kujawski, a small town in Central Poland, Panka began creating a platform for poker as a child, when he developed a deep interest in logic and mind games. Upon completing primary school, Panka attended a boarding school in Torun. After this, he headed to Szkoła Główna Handlowa for a Bachelor of Arts degree. However, before he could earn his Master’s degree he left to pursue – of course, poker!

Panka reminisces that while he had heard about poker in high school, he began playing poker while in his second year at University with his friend. Panka decided to give online poker a shot and was quite successful at it. This encouraged him to become a professional poker player.

While Panka has been an online poker player for many years, he decided to enter live poker tournaments only in 2012. Panka is the ninth player from Poland to make it to the EPT final table, but no Pole has ever won this title.

After his win at the PCA, Panka is keen to prove himself as a true champion and not a one-tournament wonder. He proved this by clinching a win at the EPT tournament, wherein he wrapped up a victory in about six hours. Most players who played the PCA were admiring of Panka, including McDonald, who was slated to win the tournament a second time. Panka admitted that he was calm and icy cool during the PCA and EPT tournaments. Most veteran players admit that the world of poker will see a lot more of Panka in the time to come.

A bright career

With such a brilliant early start at such a young age, Panka has a bright career ahead of him. However, the humble Panka does not intend to upgrade his lifestyle significantly. While this magnitude of success could go to any player’s head, this is the not the case with the down-to-earth Panka. He just wants to continue to do what he has always been doing, which is play poker.

Panka reveals that while he wants to make it to as many final tables as possible, his main focus would be to improve his skills. Panka also says that while he would love to win the triple crown or to win the EPT twice, for now, he simply wants to play better and improve as a player and as a person.

Panka’s career has taken off to a blistering start. After winning the PCA, he placed eighth in the €2,000 Eureka High Roller for €20,150. He also placed fifth in the €2,000 No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed Deepstack for €13,400.

Panka is part of the Elite group of players. The Elite buy-in level includes the biggest events on all major tours. These buy-in levels range from US $ 5000 to US $ 24,999. The most successful player in the Elite group is none other than Dominik Panka.

Panka will be a guest on an episode of The Rundown, and Panka has won US $ 10,000 at the PCA this year. After winning this event, Panka won the €10,000 High Roller at the EPT Deauville. The wins in these tournaments have put Panka ahead of McDonald in the POY race.

All of this is testimony to the fact that Dominik Panka has a bright poker career ahead of him. And so, in the world of poker, a star is born!

23 Confirmed Players for the WSOP $1 Million One Drop

April 18, 2014

The World Series of Poker (WSOP)$ 1 Million One Drop, which has been scheduled to take place from July through June 2015, has already confirmed 23 seats out of the total 56!

Having a precedent to the event that had been held as far as two years ago in the year 2012, WSOP has the entire poker community in an uproar. So perhaps it is not too much a surprise that 23 seats have already been confirmed for the event.

Adding one more table to what had been available in the initial event, the number of seats for the tournament have consequently risen from 48 seats (in 2012) to 56 seats in 2014’s event.

Many past contestants have registered for the event, falling into the 23 confirmed seats so far. However, it has been noted that WSOP has tried to reach more players that strike out of their familiar range of poker layers.

According to WSOP’s report, they already have 17 players who have committed to the second ever $1 million buy-in tournament, while three spots have been reserved for businessmen who wish to remain anonymous, and three more seats that will be granted via satellite wins.

It seems the two-year gap after the first event has people more excited about this year’s event than ever!

About the $1 million tournament

WSOP is well-known for using its platform and PR to encourage its players to donate one percent of their winnings – if they choose to – to charity. And the two year delay from the year 2012 has only helped draw in the crowd and keep them excited.

In 2014, WSOP will also be hosting its second ever one million dollar buy-in tournament. And, as mentioned, seventeen players have already committed to it.

Among the twenty-three players are also Antonio Esfandiari, the 2012 One Drop Champion, Phil Ivey and Guy Laliberte.

Esfandiri is reported to have said that he is ready to defend his title. And not just because of the championship, but because he had a first-hand experience the last time about how the series helped those who were much more under-privileged with their publicity and donations.

Bill Perkins, an investor, even quipped that although he had lost a million dollars in the 2012 event, he still had a lot of fun. And then he stated further that he was all set to win it back at the 2014 event.

Guy Laliberte, the One Drop founder, stated that he was looking forward to the 2014 event being as historical as its inaugural event. He said that the amount of support and attention it’s received from the large poker community was massive and utterly incredible.

List of players

Numbered at 23 seats out of 56 seats, the confirmed list of players – as specified by WSOP, include: Guy Laliberté, Phil Galfond, Antonio Esfandiari , Sam Trickett, Jason Mercier, Phillip Gruissem, Vivek Rajkumar, Andrew Robl, Brandon Steven, Phil Galfond, Erik Seidel, Brian Rast, David Einhorn, Noah Schwartz, Phil Ivey, Anonymous Businessman 1, Anonymous Businessman 2, Anonymous Businessman 3, Aria Resort Satellite Seat, Bellagio Resort Satellite Seat, and World Series of Poker Satellite Seat.

Of the 23 players that have been mentioned above, 18 of them have already played at the 2012 edition of the tournament. These include Noah Schwartz, Sam Trickett, Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, Phil Galfond, Andrew Robl, Paul Newey, Guy Laliberte, Vivek Rajkumar and Antonio Esfandari. .

Jason Mercier, who had lost the title to Antonio Esfandiari in 2012, has also claimed that he will definitely win this year – even going as far as to state that he will quit poker if he doesn’t.

Whether that was a threat that might be carried through or not remains to be seen. The poker community can only hope that such a result will not change the player’s decision to quit the game. The community has stated that it would not like to lose such a valuable player.

And as the hurricane of entries continues for the 2014 World Series of Poker, players should keep in mind that the seats are allotted on a first come, first serve basis. And on paying the deposit, their seats will be confirmed.

Welcome to WSOP 2014! The poker community waits with bated breath!

Mukul Pahuja to Take Up Poker Professionally

April 12, 2014

Mukul Pahuja is a poker professional who is leading the World Poker Tour Player of the Year Race. In his three-year stint in live tournaments so far, he has amassed over $1.2 million. Last year, he won the third place in the Seminole HardRock Poker Open $10 Million Guarantee. This year has brought him more luck as he was the runner-up in the WPT Montreal and placed fourth in the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars. He also bagged the eighth place in the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open.

In fact, in the WPT Bay tournament, Pahuja stepped into the finals all set to cash in on the second WPT final of his career. He turned up as the chipleader at the final, but didn’t find luck on his side and ended up fourth. The main event of the 2014 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star saw a whopping 718 entries, and by the final day, that had come down to six players battling it out for the first place. Apart from the two WPT events (Lucky Hearts and Bay 101) where he performed handsomely, Pahuja is also a serious contender for the 2014 Global Poker Index Player of the Year race.

Pahuja’s Shift from the Finance World

Vinny Ahuja was one among the many young people who jumped into the world of finance on Wall Street. Working for the Lehman Brothers was a dream-come-true for him. However, when the markets began to take a downward spiral, he opted out to jump into an even more high-risk profession, poker. His younger brother, Mukul Pahuja, was also doing well in the finance world. He studied hard for four years, at the Penn State University where hegraduated. Later, he became a junior trader, but soon a job at the Bank of America beckoned.

In fact, Mukul pursued finance only after seeing his brother’s success, but soon enough, his brother was a full-time poker player. Vinny did pretty well, earning a little less than $800,000 in his first two years as a pro. Mukul’s interest in finance started dipping around the same time too, and he began to take an interest in poker. He used up every day off from work, every weekend to play a tournament or a cash game. Every weekend, he would take a bus to either Foxwoods or Atlantic City for poker games, while in the summer, he went up to Las Vegas to play at the World Series.

Towards the end of 2009, Pahuja won the fourth place in the main event of the World Series Circuit Harrah’s Atlantic City. In another three days’ time, he took another day off from work to play in another game, bagging $51,169. The Atlantic City event had fetched him $73,347, and he was realizing that he had to bid his finance job goodbye.

Pahuja Storms into Poker Rankings

The BLUFF poker player power rankings for the week ending March 31, showed one newcomer – Mukul Pahuja, who has come in at the 20th position. These rankings give a true picture of any player’s performance over a two-year timeframe. With 21 final tables in his career, and five wins, Pahuja has made his presence felt in the rankings as well. He was ranked 61st in the 2013 Poker Player of the Year.

The Global Poker Index or GPI ranks poker players performing in live tourneys. These players are given rankings on a weekly basis, on the back of their performances in qualifying tourneys over the last 36 months. Their cash positions are measured as part of the rankings, with the cash position defining a situation where a player wins a part of the overall prize for their performance in any event.

The ranking list for any week includes the top 300 players who have done well in tournaments. Various criteria such as buy in, age of an event are all taken into account before coming up with the overall ranking. Pahuja finds himself in 24th place in the Global Poker Index ranking. Other rankings include 385th place on the All Time Money List, 245th in the United States All Time Money List, the 23rd place in the New York All Time Money List.

Pahuja is certainly a power to reckon with in the world of professional poker, if one looks at the various rankings and lists. His total earnings in live games stand at $2,267,241, handsome earnings for someone who quit the world of finance and took his chances at poker.

Day 3 of EPT Vienna

April 9, 2014

The PokerStars European Poker Tour is a renowned series of poker tournements played across Europe, and are hosted in the continent’s legendary cities. The event began in 2004 and is now into its tenth season. The March 23-29 leg of the tournament was hosted in Vienna. The following are the earlier tourneys held in Season 10 and the players who won them. The figure in the brackets indicates the prize money for each leg of the season.

  • EPT Barcelona: Tom Middleton (€942,000)

  • EPT London: Robin Ylitalo (£560,980)

  • EPT Prague: Julian Track (€725,700)

  • 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure at Paradise Island: Dominik Panka ($1,423,096)

  • EPT Deauville: Sotirios Koutoupas (€614,000)

The next two events after Vienna will be held at Sanremo and Monte Carlo, which will host the grand finale.

As on Day Three of the EPT Vienna, Pablo Gordillo Caballero was the chip leader with 2,111,000 worth of chips. The others who were hanging by a thread on Day Three were Stephen Chidwick, Jude Ainsworth, Johnny Lodden and Marcel Luske. By the end of the day, 50 players stayed on course to compete for the first place which will earn the player a prize money of €816,000. The other players who gathered a good collection of chips on the day were Miltiadis Kyriakides (1,034,000), Simeon Naydenov (1,040,000) and Timo Pfutzenreuter (1,065,000).

Hansen, Blom bust on day 3

Viktor Blom is the youngest of the pros at Full Tilt Poker and is one of the most promising players in the world of poker. He has dominated several games in the past under the name ‘Isildur1’ and the 20-year-old player revealed his identity only in early 2011. He won the 100K Super High event as part of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure event in 2012. He is known for his innovations and dynamism. During his avatar as Isildur1, he was known as an extremely dangerous foe and tested his opponents rather too much.

Gus Hansen came into Vienna not very confident because things have not been working very well for this Danish player on the cash games and Full Tilt front. EPT Monaco and the World Poker Series to be held in Las Vegas were very much on his horizon as he came into Vienna.

The 40-year-old Danish was the first player to win three WPT open tourneys between 2002 and 2003, and was also part of the Walk of Fame (World Poker Tour). Hansen, who is also into backgammon, racquetball and even tennis, is one of the most well-liked of poker professionals.

However, both the players, Blom and Hansen were booted out of the EPT Vienna on Day Three. Blom finished in the 77th position, while Full Tilt pro Hansen was placed at 71.

The other notable players to bite dust on the day were Sam Trickett, Alexey Makariv, Jeff Rossiter, Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Bertrand Grospellier, Henrique Pinho, Alexander Kravchenko and Jasper Wetemans.

Pablo Gordillo’s success on the third day

On the third day, the man who was in the best position to stake a claim to the grand prize was Pablo Gordillo, who won the lead at Level 18. This was when Portuguese player Michel Dattani tried a trick that dented his prospects at the tournament. Gordillo ended up making a good call and Dattani had to lose out.

On day three, a list of 910 players was pruned down to 56 players, with the Spanish Gordillo calling the shots. This PokerStars qualifying player had a little over $3k as part of his tournament winnings till date, and was all set to lead the 53 players into the fourth day’s proceedings.

Gordillo remains a bit of an enigma, with little information about his techniques and his personality. His past winnings include the third place in a side event that was held as part of the Estrellas Poker Tour in Madrid early last year, where he collected a prize money of €2,421. This 20-year-old is known to be an aggressive player, and this EPT is his very first. He qualified by way of PokerStars.es, the Spanish version of PokerStars.com

Among the most promising players to come from Spain are Aido or Mateos Diaz, both known to be among the world’s very best. If Gordillo managed to make a mark on day three by leading the listings, he could be among the very best. Spain’s hopes of producing its first EPT winner lie on the shoulders of these three men.