Ellen DeGeneres Has Been Hosting High-Stakes Poker Games

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Turns out, Ellen DeGeneres is a poker freak. The talk show regularly hosts high-stakes poker games at the California home where she stays with wife Portia De Rossi, but only Hollywood’s top names are invited to play.

Wait, is it legal? Well, of course, the games are completely legal in California. Reportedly, Ellen’s poker games are pretty huge, sometimes racking up pots worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, the poker games have drawn so much attention since they show Ellen’s life outside her famous TV show – this is likened to her dark side.

According to Radar Online, the comedienne has a tendency of not holding anything back during the games – some of the participants of her poker games have described her as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of sorts with poker being her medicine of choice. A recent invitee gave an account of how she was not able to keep up with the game and this earned her Ellen’s wrath and rage for supposedly ‘ruining the game.’ This frightened the guest and caused her so much grief that she eventually decided to fold her cards and get away from Ellen’s $18.6 million oceanfront property.

The invitee, whose identity remains undisclosed said that “The energy around the table was very tense. Ellen threw a tantrum, and her screams echoed through the halls as frightened guests looked on in sheer disbelief!”

Is Too Unbelievable?

Obviously, this is definitely not the image that DeGeneres has been portraying on TV ever since she began her stand-up comedy routines in the late 70s. It was about the same time that Ellen made an appearance on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1986. Since then, Ellen has appeared in a number of films including the massively successful Finding Nemo and Finding Dory animated film. She also starred in a self-titled show, Ellen, for 1994 to 1998 before jumping on to her talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2003. Her Show has earned her 29 Daytime Emmy Awards alongside a Primetime Emmy Awards, two Grammy Award nominations as well as three more Golden Globes nominations.

Chelsea Handler, Melissa Etheridge, and Olivia Munn are some of the few Hollywood bigwigs who have been courageous enough to risk their pride by going against Ellen. All the attendees describe the games as tense and dark especially because they had to be careful not to step on the hosts, toes. Sometimes, she even throws objects in the room if things do not go her way.

Indian Boxer Vijender Singh Joins PokerBaazi as Ambassador

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Poker has been rising in popularity for quite some time in many parts of India with many online poker operators nabbing the opportunity to get a piece of the growing market. PokerBaazi is the latest poker operator that is making tremendous effort to market itself to the Indian poker-playing market through various endorsements with the most recent being their move to sign Indian Super Middleweight boxing champion Vijender Singh.

The signing of sporting figures has proven to be quite an effective marketing method especially in the west where the likes of Neymar Jr, Usain Bolt, Christiano Ronaldo, Boris Becker and Rafael Nadal have represented PokerStars as ambassadors at one time or the other. On a similar note, British former World Super Middleweight champion Carl Froch is currently the PartyPoker ambassador and Brazillian soccer star Denilson is currently representing 888poker. Evidently, the success of the endeavors have attracted the interest of other online casino operators both in the West and the rest of the world – India is just one of them and we should see the trend continue with even more public figure endorsements in the near future. This move is particularly important for markets that are similar to the Indian market where poker is still disregarded because it is not considered to be a game of skill and it is also still illegal. The goodwill that public figures, sports figures, and celebrities attract is rather a big deal when it comes to ensuring that poker is legitimized in the country and that it eventually appeals to the mainstream audience.

In addition to bridging the gap between PokerBaazi and Hindu-speaking states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, PokerBaazi founder Nakivran Singh also believes that Vijender’s sporting background will play a significant role in the campaign to take poker to the next level in India.

“It gives me immense pleasure to welcome Vijender Singh on board as the brand ambassador of PokerBaazi.com. As a professional boxer, he has already won tremendous accolades for India in the past. His reputation as a serious sportsperson and champion will help us in promoting poker as a serious sport that only flourishes on sheer skill and talent. We are looking forward to a long-term association with Vijender Singh,” the PokerBaazi founder said in a January 22 press release.

Why Singh?

After winning multiple medals as an amateur boxer, Singh went ahead to win all of his ten professional fights, seven of which were through knockouts. His success on the global stage made him one of India’s leading sports figures and amassed him a Twitter following of over 3.2 million. While the Indian boxer’s social media presence may not be at par with those of former sportsmen and now poker players like Usain Bolt or Christian Ronaldo, his new deal with PokerBaazi will work in both their advantages – 3.2 million followers is still a pretty big deal.

Singh himself is quite happy with his sponsorship deal saying, “As a sportsperson, it is always an honor for me to be part of campaigns or associate with brands that endeavor to promote sports in the nation. PokerBaazi is doing a great job of utilizing technology and letting Indians play online a game that they adore.”

2017 Poker Wrap Up: Bitcoin, Hackers, and Ransoms

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As 2017 comes to an end we look back at some of the dark forces that afflicted the poker industry all through the year. When it comes to poker, it might still be too early to call it a year even if it is just a few more days to 2018 – it is one of the shakiest businesses in the world and anything can happen at any time. So, let us just delve into the events that shook the poker world most so far;

May’s Hack Jobs

The hackers targeted High-limit poker pros who they left defenseless by seizing control of their phones, Facebook and Twitter accounts. The poker pros who later publicly revealed that they had been the victims of hacking included Cate Hall, Dan Smith, Vanessa Selbst and Vanessa Russo. However, according to poker pro Doug Polk, the poker pros mentioned above were just a tiny fraction of the high-stakes community that had had their personal information stolen by hackers.

“The hackers have infiltrated bank accounts and tried to initiate wire transfers, used credit cards to rack up charges, gotten into Dropbox accounts containing copies of passports, credit cards, and tax returns, and extorted victims using incriminating information found in their email accounts,” Polk said in his popular YouTube channel.


This was a result of hacking but this time it is not just individual players who were affected but a whole site – America’s Cardroom. The hacker demanded ransom forcing the site to cancel all ongoing tournaments and refund all player buy-ins in early September. The standoff which lasted for three days, however, played out in favor of Winning Poker Network CEO Phil Nagy who refused to pay the hacker saying:

“We had the attacker get on chat and say I am gonna attack you in one minute and he does the attack, but I will never pay an attacker I won’t pay a ransom, I won’t do it because once you let the bully get your lunch money, he’s taking your money all the time. Once they make you a bit*h, you are a bit*h, and I don’t like the idea of being a bit*h.”

Well Played!

Enter Crypto

Decentralized digital currencies have gained a lot of popularity in poker circles this year thanks to the buzz bitcoin has been creating. Cryptocurrencies have proven in a very short time that they are the key to turning an average poker bankroll into a massive pile of real money. In fact, a number of online poker sites are already supporting cryptocurrency transactions which come with the added advantages of reliability and unmatched processing speeds.

Still, we have to acknowledge the downsides of this particular arrangement by putting into consideration the unpredictable volatility of these cryptocurrencies – case in point, bitcoin. Crypto might be a savior thanks to the exceptional security associated with blockchain technology but a lot of this security is compromised when the decentralized currencies are hosted on centralized networks like poker sites. We wouldn’t that now, would we?

Molly’s Game: The Ultimate Christmas Treat for Poker Lovers

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Are you a poker enthusiast or an avid follower of the game? Well, Christmas is here and you can get in on a bit of poker fun while you enjoy the festivities. If you are into the idea of mixing fun and your poker hobbies, then an amazing poker movie might be in cards (pun intended). Molly’s Game, the latest attempt at a poker movie hit theatres for a limited release on December 22nd and it is so good that there is already Oscar buzz going around. The buzz, of course, does not matter if you have a fondness for poker because you will certainly love it anyway.

Molly’s Game stars Jessica Chastain as the titular lead of the film and Idris Elba as her attorney with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin taking the helm with this being his first directorial venture. If you are not familiar with Molly’s Game then the first thing you need to do is to get acquainted with Molly Bloom, the poker celebrity who authored the book of the same name which the movie is based on. Just in case you are wondering, especially if you still have no idea who Molly Bloom is, it is not the regular ‘underdog-beats-odds-and-triumphs’ stories. We will try to break this down without giving you any spoilers in the process.

Molly’s Game, the book that the movie is based on, was Bloom’s expose of the time she spent operating and running the biggest underground cash games in the United States.

The book details Bloom’s hustle that saw her cash in a good deal of money from the tips that she got from the players who ranged from Hollywood actors and directors to New York’s politicians, stockbrokers, and hedge fund managers. You can also expect a bit of action as the business was not a bed of roses for Bloom – she abused drugs, had a few nasty run-ins with the Russian mob and eventually was arrested by federal agents and charged with illegal gambling. The poker community has already dubbed the movie the ‘next big poker film.’ It is that good!

Just like her book, the movie does not mention any names – if you were expecting to see some high profile celebrity names get dropped you are going to be very disappointed by the turn of events. No dirt is revealed, at least not in the cinematic version of the tale. The book does, however, name-drop Tobey Maguire who comes off as some sort of douchebag – read the book if you want to find out how. Merry Christmas!

PokerStars Announces 2019 PokerStars Player’s Championship

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PokerStars live events are coming back with a bang after the site staggered through the past couple of years with their live tournament series. Stiff competition from rival sites that upped their game in the same period was bound to cause a bit of a stir in the industry and they have indeed given PokerStars a run for its money when it comes live poker festivals.

In response to the growing competition, Daniel Negreanu on behalf of PokerStars announced the PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC). The announcement that was made in Prague highlighted the juiciest $25,000 buy-in event that is set to be held in the Bahamas and is anticipated to be the best event come 2019.

There are, of course, a plethora of $25,000 buy-in events around, but PokerStars will be giving out 300 free Platinum Passes or PSPC packages each worth $30,000 in preparation for 2019 – this will be done all through 2018 and will also include hotel and travel expenses. As such, by the end of 2018, PokerStars will have pumped about $8 million into the championship’s prize pool with an additional $1 million to be added to the first-place prize as soon as the event kicks off on January 6th, 2019.

“We expect the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship will set the new global standard for live poker tournaments,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, the Chief Executive Officer of The Stars Group. “We want to demonstrate and reinforce our commitment to the game, and give something back to the players by investing in our live events in a meaningful way. Our objective is to create an event that brings professionals and amateurs together, creating many winning moments and unforgettable stories.”

Thanks to this new initiative, 300 ordinary or upcoming poker players will have a shot at playing alongside poker bigwigs for the mind-boggling prize money without having to battle through fields of thousands of players before they get to the final table. The next batch of Platinum Passes are to be awarded in the online Winter Series event that will take place from December 25th to January 7th – so be sure to add that to your calendar especially if you are not within U.S borders. More Platinum passes will be handed to poker players during the PSL Macau, IPO in Italy, PokerStars Festival London and all through 2018 till all the 300 Platinum Passes are in the hands of the lucky poker dreamers. Also, look out for the Platinum Passes at the PokerStars signature online series WCOOP, SCOOP as well as Sunday Million and Sunday Storm events.