Catch up on all of this week’s PokerStars Blog content…

  • Select Sunday Major tourneys go PKO this week
  • Lex Live festival kicks off in Belgium
  • EPT takes over Sochi
  • Charlie “JIZOINT” Combes gets back in the game
  • Catching up with Ryan Riess


  • 5-Card Fiction: Poker Solves a Murder
  • Book Excerpt: “Purposeful Practice in Poker” by Dr. Tricia Cardner and Gareth James


There’s lots of money to be won on Knockout Sunday.

This Sunday, March 31st, PokerStars is mixing things up with a little something we’re calling Knockout Sunday.

For this weekend only, 10 of our regular Sunday tournaments are being converted into Progressive KO events. On top of that we’re adding a bundle of money to the guarantees. The best part is that players of all bankrolls can get involved. Buy-ins for these tournaments start as low as $11, plus you can always win your way in through a more affordable satellite.

Name Start Time (ET) GTD – Previous Week GTD – Knockout Week
$109 Sunday Kickoff 08:00 $50K $100K
$11 Mini Sunday Kickoff 08:00 $30K $50K
$215 Sunday Warm-Up 11:00 $175K $250K
$109 Sunday Million 13:00 $1M $1M
$22 Mini Sunday Million 13:00 $175K $200K
$11 Sunday Storm 14:00 $200K $250K
$215 Sunday Supersonic 18:00 $115K $175K
$22 Sunday Supersonic 18:00 $65K $100K
$215 NLO8 Sunday Supersonic 18:00 $20K $30K
$22 NLO8 Sunday Supersonic 18:00 $12K $15K

Remember, this is for one weekend only. Next week the guarantees for these tournaments will be back to their regular levels and the Progressive KO structures will no longer be in play, so don’t miss out!


Lex Veldhuis

This week Namur belongs to Lex Veldhuis and his Twitch community.

Lex Veldhuis and hundreds of members of his vibrant Twitch community have gathered in Namur, Belgium, this week for the first Lex Live festival. PokerStars Blog got to know some online qualifiers this week and was there for the first day of the festivities to catch up with Lex, Spraggy, and friends.

Our own intrepid reporter Jack Stanton is on the scene for the duration of the festival. Check out our Lex Live hub for coverage throughout the weekend.


The EPT is back in Sochi, Russia, and we’ve had our eyes on the action all week.

The first big event on tap was the EPT Sochi National. Yury Masliankou from Belarus entered the final table with the chip lead and held on against tough competition to walk away with $139,755, the biggest score of his career.

TV table at EPT Sochi

TV table at EPT Sochi

Next up was the EPT Sochi Main Event. After four days of play just six players remain in contention for the Israel’s Zakhar Babaev holds nearly three times as many chips as anybody else at the table. The final table will play out today and you can watch it here.

Finally there was the EPT Sochi High Roller. Just nine players, including PokerStars Ambassador Ramon Colillas and Taiwanese pro Pete Chen, return today for the third and final day of play. Leading the way is Alvin Sarkarov of Azerbaijan, who had begun Day 2 with one of the shortest stacks.

Check out our EPT Sochi hub for access to full coverage of all the events.


Charlie Combes

Charlie Combes and his fiancée, Nicola.

With more than $7.9 million in cashes over a decade, Charlie “JIZOINT” Combes is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most successful online players. A couple of years ago Combes opted to take a break from poker in order to travel the world with his fiancée, and by his own admission, the game had passed him by upon his return.

Things didn’t get any easier when the couple had twin babies seven months ago. Now Combes is balancing fatherhood with working hard to get back to the top of his game. The results are speaking for themselves, as two weeks ago he chopped the Sunday Million for $83,813.

Check out the full interview here.


2013 WSOP Main Event champ Ryan Riess.

Ryan Riess first came to prominence in the poker world in 2013 when he won the tournament every player dreams about: the WSOP Main Event.

“At the time I didn’t really know what I was doing in poker,” he told us in an interview this week. “I actually lost money the following year, followed by two years of essentially breaking even. 2017 is when I really stepped my game up and started to get better and play higher stakes.” Since then he’s worked to tirelessly to improve, inspired by his girlfriend and their two daughters, who he says “constantly empower me to be the best version of myself.”

Riess is now a regular competitor in the High Roller Club and in high roller tournaments worldwide. We chatted him up about how he prepares for the toughest competition around, and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Read the full Ryan Riess interview right here.


5-Card Fiction: "The Canary Murder Case"

Poker solves a murder in 1929’s The Canary Murder Case.

Anthony Holden once famously wrote that a person’s “character is stripped bare at the poker table.” It’s a truth well understood by anyone who has played the game at all seriously. The 1929 film The Canary Murder Case tests this idea to an extreme, you could say. The film features a poker game expressly set up in order to get someone to expose himself sufficiently to reveal he could have committed a murder. And it works!

In this week’s 5-Card Fiction, Martin Harris walks us through detective Philo Vance’s use of deduction at a poker game to eliminate suspects from suspicion for the murder of a showgirl — complete with video clips from this early sound film.

Play along and solve the case of 5-Card Fiction, the Canary Murder Case edition.


“Purposeful Practice for Poker” comes out this July.

All poker players want to improve their skills and thus their chance of success. But what is the most effective way to go about such study? Reading the forthcoming Purposeful Practice for Poker: The Modern Approach to Studying Poker is a good place to start.

Appearing this July, Purposeful Practice for Poker by Dr. Tricia Cardner and Gareth James provides readers advice about the “right sort of practice” to start improving their games.

Read the excerpt here.

Other pieces you might be interested in:

• How Twitch has changed the poker experience
• Can you use poker skills to win the Grand National?
• PokerStars School: Reading players in a live setting, and auto-rebuying in online cash games
• EPT Open Sochi packages to be won every week
• High Roller Club monthly leaderboard debuts in April

Have a great weekend!

You can play poker for free on PokerStars. Simply click here to open an account.

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