The changing face of Online Poker
Online poker has come a long way since the early days, when socially inept games fanatics who had never set foot in a traditional bricks & mortar casino would sit at home in their underwear, contemplating the implications of a check-raise in a Fixed Limit cash game… Of course, exploiting the absolute privacy afforded us by playing within the safe confines of our own walls still means that the modern online poker player has, at some point, enjoyed the game in various stages of undress (yes – we’ve all done it).
However, times have changed, and poker itself has moved on considerably such that, as its reputation as a pastime has allowed it to assume an air of everyday respectability, so the aims and expectations of the typical poker enthusiast have evolved. Not only are the games far more varied and exciting than they used to be, but whereas players used to deliberately place themselves in the ‘online’ camp, it’s now completely normal to take part in the numerous qualification quests that provide us with the opportunity to win all-inclusive packages to ‘live’ events around the globe for as little as 25 cents.
The rise and rise of the MPN Poker Tour is perfectly indicative of the changed face of online poker, the numbers speaking for themselves. In just a couple of years the popularity of using bankroll-friendly online satellites to qualify for player-friendly international poker festivals in such places as London, Vienna, Sofia and, recently (after a successful first time as host), a return to Tallinn, is reflected in both actual entries at the events and the snowballing in size of the numbers representing 32Red. As far as the latter group is concerned, what started as a few players being spotted sporting the 32Red logo has ballooned to a veritable invasion of what has become known as Team 32Red players, a proud band of typical poker fans simply enjoying a poker holiday that has the added bonus of a potentially big payout! And nearly all have won €1,500 MPNPT packages in a cheap satellite tournament, or even by virtue of a single hand by hitting a royal flush in 32Red’s nightly Flush Royale tournament, where the buy-in is a mere €3!
And therein lies the changing face of modern day online poker. It’s not necessarily all about number-crunching, robotic, multi-tabling bottom line accounts keeping! It’s about having fun, enjoying the game, whether it’s cash or a few Sit & Go tournaments or the thrills and spills of a multi-player event with juicy prizes, jackpots and the prospect of sitting down to play ‘live’ in an interesting faraway place, in the company of fellow poker fans.
Read on to see how some of our Team 32Red players enjoyed their time in Estonia’s picturesque capital, Tallinn, in August.
Old City, Young Country
When you first arrive in Tallinn’s Old Town it’s not surprising to learn that it dates back to medieval times. Moreover, the first mention of the city dates back to 1154. Yet Estonia itself – at least as an independent nation – could be described as one of the world’s youngest if we consider that it came into being in its current form only as recently as 1991.
No longer part of the former Soviet Union, it didn’t take long to thrive and, while the Tourist Office blurb that refers to the zoo ‘boasting the world’s largest collection of mountain goats and sheep’ can be rather misleading, such a description belies the forward-thinking nature of Estonia.
You might be surprised to learn that Estonia has one of the planet’s highest internet penetration rates, for example, and was the first country to use online voting for political elections.
Quite fitting, then, that Tallinn has the enviable distinction of being the first city to act as a return venue for an online-poker oriented international tour in the form of the MPNPT.
Back for more
Even a one-table home game can be problematic for its organiser, so hosting a few hundred players from around the world over a few days is a major undertaking. Inviting large numbers of the poker community to come back for a second instalment is another matter entirely, not least because previous success has already set a benchmark that organisers must endeavour to match. One of the attractions in Tallinn’s case was that the first time Team 32Red players joined fellow competitors in this colourful capital city was during winter, whereas this latest edition of the MPN Tour gave players the chance to explore what Tallinn has to offer in the summer (although, of course, good weather can’t be guaranteed!).
It’s the taking part that counts…
It’s testament to the underlying theme of poker that we can report that a ‘good time was had by all’, as the saying goes, without – this time around – any of our qualifiers succeeding in winning a significant prize. That would have been a nice bonus, but the atmosphere amongst Team 32Red players was fantastic throughout the festival.
Once the proverbial dust had settled it was a home win for the host city to celebrate, as Estonian Ranno Sootla added to what is already an impressive tally of results by winning the €500 + €50 buy-in Main Event to the tune of €31,000.
Running between August 12-14, the tournament totaled 338 entries, thus seeing the prize fund exceed the guarantee to reach a juicy €163,930. Sootla entered the final, heads-up phase of the marathon against Roland Luik with a 7:1 chip lead. Luik had been the erstwhile leader, at one point possessing half of the total chips(!), but he was unable to turn around such a deficit and soon succumbed, his 88 losing to AT to leave him having to ‘settle’ for the €24,000 runner-up prize.
The highest placed Team 32Red member in the Main Event was Mahala Roche (alias: Irish_Aces) of Ireland who qualified via a Sunday Package Final. After ducking and diving for so long and with her hands almost touching one of the 44 paid spots, Mahala suffered every poker player’s nightmare by finishing on the ‘bubble’ in 45th place… However, her first MPNPT event won’t be her last because, as a consolation prize for her efforts, the organisers rewarded her with the €550 buy-in for the next leg of the MPNPT in Morocco (10-13 November). Her overall view of her experience summed up in a few words: “Had a ball… loved the homely feel of 32Red…”
Double trouble (not…)
Kevin Greathead (Kevathallam), from Doncaster, teamed up with fellow Team 32Red player, Julie Whitworth (alias: Ladydriver) for a collective effort that saw them finish in 5th place in the ‘doubles’ side event! Between them these two popular 32Red players have notched up a number of Tour trips, and they epitomize what today’s game is all about.
Meet the Team…
Next stop: Morocco!
Satellites are already underway for the next leg of the MPNPT, which will be held in Morocco, 10-13 November. Win a €1,500 package for this €125,000 Guaranteed event for pennies – go to Tournaments > Satellites in the Poker Lobby and we’ll see you in Morocco!
As the old cliché goes, a week is a long time in politics, and a great deal happened after the UK voted to leave the European Union. At 32Red Poker we held our own unique poll in advance of the big day in the shape of two €500 Freerolls – namely Remain and Leave. Players were invited to choose one or the other, with the result being Remain 40% and Leave 60%…
Millions of people signed a petition in the (futile) hope of getting a second vote, but we have our own rules at 32Red and decided to give players a second chance to have their say, and, of course, to enjoy another two €500 Freerolls!
The results proved quite interesting. The run-up to our aptly named Referendum Freerolls: Part 2 saw our original poll result virtually repeated exactly, with entries hardly altering initially from 60%-40% in favour of Leave. However, we can report that, when the dust had settled, opinion was much, much closer than last time, with the final numbers being:
So there you have it. Our UK poker community had initially ‘voted’ overwhelmingly to leave the EU but, only a week or so later – perhaps influenced by the subsequent bizarre goings on in British politics, the 20% gap had narrowed to the point of being almost level…
We hope our players found the re-vote interesting and that fun was had in these bonus freerolls. We endeavour at 32Red to provide as much poker enjoyment as possible, whether this is in the form of such freerolls, opportunities to win packages for big money poker festivals and a host of ongoing promotions. Have fun, and good luck at the tables!
If you’ve not been opting into our player-friendly Bad Beat Jackpot while playing at the cash tables then you’ve missed out on a chance of some juicy cash prizes. The jackpot keeps getting hit, and opted in players keep being rewarded.
There’s even more reason to opt in because we’ve added a great bonus prize to the Bad Beat Jackpot at 32Red Poker – now the winner will receive a €1,500 MPN Poker Tour package, too! The Estonian capital, Tallinn, plays host this summer (11-14 August), and whoever hits the Bad Beat will also be awarded this fantastic package to the €150,000 festival.
Don’t forget that you only need to be playing at the same blinds when the crucial hand hits to be eligible for a share of the money, and opting in couldn’t be easier – simply click on the BB icon!
The latest jackpot hit came at a €20 max table, with the running total having reached € 29,661.56… This time four of a kind, sevens, ‘lost’ to four tens and the 13 players who had opted in each won a bankroll boosting €228.16… Don’t miss out – opt in!
The player-friendly, progressive Bad Beat Jackpot has a payout structure that rewards you even for playing at the same blind level as the winning hand. All you need to do to opt in is click on the BB icon, after which you’re eligible for a share of the money.
The most recent hit was at a €50 max table, with the jackpot standing at a massive €32,513 – four of a kind, queens, lost to a queen high straight flush…
A total of 18 players had opted in across the stake, each seeing a very welcome €180 added to their bankrolls.
Don’t miss out – opt in!
We’re always proud of our players wearing 32Red colours at international poker festivals, and Team 32Red promises to be quite a presence when Sofia plays host to the next leg of the MPN Poker Tour (April 21-24).
Our bankroll-friendly satellites have proved very popular, with players keen to qualify online for ‘live’ events, and this was the case in Monday’s Package Final Rebuy tournament when all five €1,500 packages that were up for grabs went to 32Red players!
Phillip Huxley (alias: Rixdorf), Simon Millard (Bada_Bing72) and Vladimir Pastushenko (DNIPRO2010) have already enjoyed seeing what some of Europe’s great cities have to offer after qualifying for this successful tour at 32Red, and they’ll be joined in the Bulgarian capital by Asif Warris (aseefo) and Knut Berntsen (freakshove22).
There’s still time to win your way to Sofia and, given that MPN Sofia packages include buy-ins for both the €125,000 Main Event and €25,000 Side Event, four nights’ accommodation at the Radisson Blu Grand Hotel Sofia and €450 towards travel and expenses, it’s well worth having a go. There are five more €1,500 packages on offer in Sunday’s Package Final, and another five in the Package Final Rebuy on Monday (both 7pm UK time).
The Bad Beat Jackpot is both progressive and extremely player-friendly thanks to there being a payout structure that even rewards you for playing at the same blind level as the winning hand. Make sure you remember to opt in by clicking on the BB icon, after which you’re eligible for a share of the money.
The most recent hit was at a €50 max table, with the jackpot standing at €8,695.10 – four of a kind, nines, lost to four tens, and the hand ‘winner’ (Skalkos) pocketed €1,847.70 for opting in. Meanwhile, seven players had opted in across the stake, each winning €108.68…
Don’t miss out – opt in!
Bad Beats are coming thick and fast on the cash tables, with those players who remember to opt in by clicking on the BB icon duly collecting their share of the booty. Don’t forget that the beauty of the progressive Bad Beat jackpot is that once you’ve opted in you’re eligible for a share of the prize pool just by playing at the same blind as the ‘winning’ hand.
This is exactly what happened with the latest hit, which was on a €20 max table when the running total was at €7,109. Four of a kind, twos, ‘lost’ to four kings, and as well as _subli_ earning €770 for being at the jackpot table, 11 other opted in players at the same blind level each received €59…
Don’t miss out – opt in!
The progressive Bad Beat jackpot has been hit with the running total at €20,337. If you’re not opting in – simply done by clicking on the BB icon – then you’re missing out, because you can win a share of the booty merely by playing at the same blind level as the winning hand.
The latest hit came at an Anonymous €20 max table, with four of a kind, sevens, ‘losing’ to a 9-high straight flush…
Only four players opted in away from the key table, so each received a whopping €508.43 for their forward thinking.
Don’t miss out – opt in!
Valentine’s celebrations aren’t just about romance at 32Red – we’re giving away instant €5 awards at our cash tables until a massive €25,000 has been snapped up. It’s all part of our special King of Hearts promotion, which rewards getting a hearts flush.
Apart from adding some spice to your poker in making the prospect of filling a flush in the most ‘romantic’ suit more exciting, King of Hearts is brilliantly simple. This is because you don’t even need to win a pot with your hearts flush to be awarded the €5 prize – it’s enough to merely make the flush. The only condition is that both hole cards are used and the hand reaches showdown.
Starting at 00:00 GMT on February 12th, 2015, King of Hearts will continue until players have been awarded all of the €25,000, the eligible cash tables being No Limit Holdem with minimum blind levels of €0.05/€0.10, and €0.20/€0.40 Fixed Limit Holdem.
Have fun, and keep an eye out for those hearts!
The MPN Poker Tour has proved to be a tremendous success, with the festivals giving players the opportunity to enjoy the thrills and spills of live poker in a varied selection of venues around the globe. The excitement of poker is one thing, but it’s quite another to be able to experience the different cultures and history that cities such as Tallinn and Tbilisi (places that most of us might not so readily choose to visit) have to offer. Throw in the craic of Dublin and the grandeur of Vienna, and it’s easy to see why record numbers of 32Red players found themselves in the Austrian capital after winning seats or packages through our extensive qualifying process.
Held at the Montesino Casino, 21-24 January 2016, the festival attracted an impressively large field. A total of 431 players took part in the €550 buy-in Main Event and, with 52 re-entries, this made for a tasty prize fund of €241,500. This more than comfortably surpassed the guarantee and produced a first prize of €54,000 for the eventual winner, with a further 52 places being paid.
Over 30 of the field came from the now visibly noticeable Team 32Red. Poker is indeed an ‘everyman’ (and woman!) game, and this couldn’t be reflected any better than in our group of players. Coming from across the globe, our qualifiers made the most of their time in Vienna, both on and off the tables.
32Red’s Jakob Anyszka (a Vienna native) was able to put his local knowledge to good use… How we perform at the tables has a lot to do with what we get up to when not playing, and our players certainly had an edge over the opposition when it came to making the most of what the city has to offer – as the photos show!
Some of the more experienced 32Red players – such as Vladimir Pastushenko (aka DNIPRO2010), Phill Huxley (Rixdorf), Adrian Nica (Lawliet1) and Angus Dunnington (AngusD) – have considerable ‘live’ poker experience, including the MPN Poker Tour. For others, Vienna was the first time they had found themselves actually sitting at a table with their opponents rather than playing in the quite different online environment. It’s interesting how most players who have hitherto not played live (or not, at least, at such a big festival) can feel more than just a little apprehensive but, in a surprisingly short time, not only get used to it but feel quite at home.
One point made by Simon Millard (Bada_Bing72) – for whom this was his second time at such an event – was that it had taken him a while at the tables for his game to loosen up to the same level as it is online, while others mentioned how there being fewer hands per hour took some getting used to. These same players, it has to be said, performed well, which serves to confirm that, generally, the transition from online to live tends to prove a natural one.
Live poker nowadays wouldn’t be the same without its growing contingent of online players (whether serious or recreational), and it’s good to see 32Red so well represented in the live festival arena. Having established a genuine, impressive presence at international festivals – particularly bearing in mind that we have such a varied group of players who also appreciate such events – we can look forward to similarly positive experiences being shared in the future. With this in mind we will endeavour to continue providing opportunities to qualify for prestigious events through our player/bankroll friendly satellites and other tournaments – the knowledge that a couple of our players were even able to enjoy their trip to Vienna after having hit a royal flush in our Flush Royale tournament, for example, is what makes it all worthwhile!
It’s not at all a clichéd approach to say that it’s not the winning but the taking part that counts, so while it would be great to announce that a Team 32Red member took home the first prize of €54,000, this was not to be – an Austrian by the name of Jannis Brauer emerged victorious. However, we did have a number of players cashing in the Main Event, with Canadian Ronald Alino – continuing his tour of Europe that sees him essentially following the MPN tour with each successive satellite qualification – finishing 28th for €1,410 and Peter Raynor (38th), Nadeem Nazir (49th) and the wily Phill Huxley (52) each collecting €1,150 for their efforts.
Others, of course, came close and ran well, and a special mention goes to Martyna Makarove who adapted well to the new surroundings of live poker to cash in the 185-player Austrian Cup!
Exits & Memorable Hands
Nobody likes either to hear or have to tell a so-called ‘bad beat’ story so here is a selection of hands with which some of our players exited tournament play in Vienna – the point being to illustrate the thin line that can mean the difference, for example, between a veritable hat full of chips and a potential big win, or none at all.
Diane Duncan (POKERLADY25) went all-in with AJs but ran into pocket tens after an impressive international poker debut. Pocket tens, meanwhile, is the very hand that Dionne Cowley (RangerMcFriendly) took a stand with, losing to KJ. We all accept the luck factor in poker but, for Dionne, her poor fortune manifested itself in falling ill during her stay. This clearly didn’t help concerned husband Richard, either, so here’s hoping they’ll be back with a vengeance at future tour events.
Short-stacked Simon (Bada_Bing72) Millard put his faith (on 16BB) with K9o, was called by A9 and AT, and that was that. He later remembered that this was the very same hand with which he’d been eliminated on his tour debut…
Satellite ‘killer’ Dara O’Kearney (HopAlongHnsn) shoved with AJs versus QQ, then noticed he’d actually put his remaining chips on the line with J4s! Funny old world.
Finally, even funnier – although not necessarily in the ‘hahaha’ sense for Ivan Damyanov… He went all-in pre-flop with kings, ran into aces and duly walked away, not realising that he still had 2,000 in chips still on the table. Two hours later a sole chip remained.
We hope to see Team 32Red similarly represented at the next stop of the MPN tour, which will be in Sofia, 21-24 April. Once again it will be possible to win both €1,500 packages and €500 seats in our satellites and special tournaments, so check out the Poker Lobby and start your quest…
Good luck, and see you in Sofia!