Best Poker Moments from Social Media - February 2016
Roughly every four years, the Earth celebrates the fact that we get an extra day tacked on to the year's shortest month. Rather than the usual 28 days of February, we all got 29 in 2016, which ensured that our calendar lined up correctly with the planet's revolutions around the sun. It also gave us an extra 24 hours of poker action, which certainly delivered in terms of entertainment from around the globe.
Poker posts on social media in February focused heavily on two huge events that were happening in opposite corners of the world: the European Poker Tour stop in Dublin and the APPT Aussie Millions in Melbourne, Australia. In addition to the tournament swings captured by the cameras, the American Poker Awards rounded out the month, packing the 29 days of February with some serious poker action.
Let's take a look at some of the best poker moments from social media in February 2016.
Somerville Breaks Another Twitch Record Down Under
When it comes to poker, the word Twitch should bring one name to mind: Jason Somerville. Known to his 161,000 followers as JCarver, this Team PokerStars Pro member has become an online poker streaming sensation and made headlines last fall when he broke viewer records during his live streams of the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) on Twitch. Reaching peak viewership of over 37k, Somerville had accomplished something completely new in the poker community, and he just recently took this concept Down Under to see what he could accomplish at a live poker event.
Partnering with the Aussie Millions in Melbourne, Somerville live streamed and commentated on several of the premier events at the series, and ended up setting a new standard - and breaking a new record - for live poker tournament coverage. With the popularity of Twitch growing by the day and given the number of poker events on the 2016 calendar, this could mean great things for anyone who loves to watch the chips fly from the comfort of their living room.
Ivey's Insane Bet at the Aussie Millions
Somerville's experiment at the Aussie Millions paid off in spades not only in terms of viewership but also in regards to the stunning hands that he talked us through. On day one of the $100k Challenge - basically a nosebleed buy-in event with a massive payout - we join the action as the one and only Phil Ivey opens the pot on the button with a raise. Because he is the first player to enter the pot, his range is wide, and his opponents know that this can often be a steal with any two cards. Spectators and commentator Somerville are left wondering though, as the hole card cameras did not pick up Ivey's hand.
Dario Sammartino understandably defends his blind by calling Ivey with J-9 suited. The flop is good and the turn is much better for the Italian player. The question is: what do you do on the river when facing this overbet from Ivey?
It's an insane spot for any player to be in, and the call from Sammartino isn't unreasonable. In the end, Ivey's seemingly suspicious bet was pure genius, bringing him full value from his flopped boat and inciting Somerville to comment, "What a sick hand. We've got ourselves an early contender for the sickest hand of the Aussie Millions, ladies and gentlemen."
The Slowroll of the Century
There are a few golden rules when it comes to poker etiquette, and quite a few of these have to do with being a good sport at the tables. There's really no reason to needle your opponents or make them feel worse when they are behind in a hand, but try telling that to Australian player Mikel Habb.
We join the action of the APPT Aussie Millions Main Event as Habb pulls an angle preflop with a monster holding - pocket kings - when he pretends to accidentally raise. The scandalous move is successful as it makes Sam Abernathy feel pretty comfortable with her pocket sixes, and she jams all her chips into the middle.
Jason Somerville is left screaming "noooooo" once she's all-in, and in what appears to be a completely unnecessary bout of theatrics, Habb looks to be in complete agony, going to great lengths to slow roll Abernathy. As the flop and turn are dealt, Somerville, who is usually a bipartisan observer, calls for "a six for justice".
When that glorious river card is dealt, Somerville exclaims "ship it to mama!" as Mikel Habb is eliminated in 15th place for $59k. Sam Abernathy went on to place 3rd in the APPT Aussie Millions Main Event for over $430k, and a lifelong memory of hitting that six for justice.
Happy Birthday Ronaldo & Neymar Jr!
There are a few celebrities in this world that you feel like you know personally. Their charisma penetrates our TV and computer screens and makes us feel like they're part of our inner circle. We root for them, follow them on social media, and even wish them a happy birthday when that time of the year rolls around.
Ronaldo & Neymar Jr, members of Team PokerStars and among the world's most talented footballers, are celebs that we can't help but engage with on social media, so it's no surprise that thousands of fans signed on to Instagram on February 5th to wish him well on their birthday.
Epic Hand for EPT Dublin $25k Highroller
Season 12 of the European Poker Tour (EPT) has been nothing short of epic. The 5th stop of this season's tour was in the Irish capital of Dublin, where PokerStars captured some heart stopping action from the felt.
Imagine you've found yourself playing three handed in the $25k buy-in Highroller event. You have the chip lead and the opportunity to win a cool €501,640 if you can best your last two opponents. You look down at pocket Kings, and amazingly manage to get not one but both, BOTH of your adversaries all-in. This is the exact situation that Italian player Mustapha Kanit faces as we pick up the action from Dublin.
In an amazing turn of events, both all-in players make their hands and outrace the pocket kings to stay alive. The battle continued on, but eventually Kanit was rewarded for his efforts and emerged as the 2016 EPT Dublin Main Event Champion, good for a lifetime of bragging rights and half a million Euros.
Breaking Bad Beats on Instagram
One of the safest ways to protect your hand (that is, to make sure that it isn't accidentally killed by the dealer or by another player mucking their cards) is to cover it with a chip. However, many players like to get a bit more creative and bring small trinkets or "good luck" charms with them to the tables to protect their hand, and perhaps even spark up a conversation with their neighbor. This particular figure was hard to miss, and was a crowd pleaser on PokerStars' Instagram account in mid-February
After all, who better to protect your hand than the incomparable and devious character of Walter White himself? Something tells us that nobody is messing with your chips unless they want to face the wrath of Heisenberg.
Negreanu Prevails at the American Poker Awards
In late February, poker players from all over America were honored at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles at the 2nd Annual American Poker Awards. With so many of poker's elite players, media and ambassadors in attendance, the race to secure an award was extremely competitive.
One of the toughest awards to land was for "Poker Moment of the Year". With Phil Hellmuth winning his 14th bracelet at the 2015 World Series of Poker, it was a dead heat between him and Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu, who ultimately scored the trophy for his near miss of the final table at the WSOP Main Event back in July 2015.
The always-humble Negreanu said in an interview after his win that while he didn't expect to take the award home, he was grateful for the support and energy he received while playing the event, and that he could feel that the poker community as a whole really wanted him there at the WSOP final table. Interesting enough, Joe Giron, longtime photographer for the PokerStars blog, also picked up an American Poker Award for capturing the moment when Negreanu lost his chance to sit among the November 9 and fell to the floor when the river card was dealt, leaving him an 11th place finish and the lingering dream of becoming World Champ.
Well, there you have it. 2016's super-sized February brought us some pretty fascinating poker moments from live events around the world. So what's on the agenda for March? Well, with some amazing online action anticipated during the Sunday Million 10th Anniversary celebration, something tells us that the virtual chips will be flying in every direction. Stay tuned to see how it all unfolds.