Weekly Poker Update: March 15, 2021

Weekly Poker Update Text and Poker Pro Qing Liu

When you talk about someone who is having a good week, it usually means that they got a surprising day off from work. Maybe they were able to spend quality time with loved ones. Or as the case may be these days, maybe they received their stimulus check a little early.

But poker pro Qing Liu had the chance for the week of all weeks: two real money poker championships within a single seven-day span. Actually, he could have picked up two in two days. He had to settle for one out of two, with a final table purse score in the other being a pretty good consolation.

Liu for Two

The excitement for Liu began in the middle of the week, when he picked up a championship at the Venetian in a $5,000 buy-in event that had begun the previous week.

Despite starting head-to-head action with approximately half the chips of the formidable leader, former World Series of Poker Main Event champion Joe McKeehen, Qing Liu rallied by winning about three-quarters of the final two dozen hands. His prize: a nice $752,880 score.

Normally, Liu wouldn’t have had the chance to come back so soon for another World Poker Tour final table.

But as it happened, the World Poker Tour Gardens event, which had begun back in January of 2020 but then had the final table postponed due to the pandemic, was finally able to reschedule the action for the day after the Venetian Event.

And guess who was one of the players at that final table: Qing Liu.

Liu was one of the last six left out of the 257 entries that had started in the Gardens event over a year ago. But alas, he was fighting an uphill battle with the second-smallest chip stack out of the group. And his dreams of WPT titles on consecutive days disappeared pretty quickly.

Poker Pro Tuan Phan

Liu found himself battling against Tuan Phan with an off-suited three-five against Phan’s pair of kings.

Despite being way behind, the flop of queen-five-three gave Liu two pair and some confidence to stick around. A two on the turn card bolstered his confidence and he went all-in with the rest of his chips against Phan, who had the higher stack and called.

The river came and revealed a queen. That turned everything around, giving Phan the higher pair and tilting Liu.

Liu had a chance to pull of a feat that will likely be impossible in future years, but he could be consoled by the fact that he pocketed another $111,000 to bring his winnings for the two days over $854,000.

Gonsalves Wins a Title

As for the rest of the Gardens event, it looked like Markus Gonsalves was going to have an easy time of it when it got to head-to-head. After chip leader Chance Kornuth faded and ended fourth, Gonsalves went into the showdown with Phan with nearly five chips for every one of his opponents.

It seemed like the end was near.

Three hours or so later, that still wasn’t the case. In fact, Phan actually grinded his way to the lead at one point. But Gonsalves didn’t panic and stormed back out in front. And this time, he wouldn’t relinquish.

The end finally came when Phan’s two pair came crashing into Gonsalves’ flush.

Gonsalves’ first ever World Poker Tour title came with a winner’s purse of $554,495. But it might be a tournament remembered for what might have been had Liu been able to pull off the double-wins.

Speaking of Big Weeks in Poker

Online poker pros make a habit of entering tournaments often throughout the week and multi-tasking their way through the events.

That could be a recipe for disaster if you’re not up to the task. But for British online master Bert Stevens, who goes by the handle of girafganger7, it’s lucrative business as usual.

In a seven-day stretch, Stevens managed to cash in for at least five figures in a dozen tournaments. Yes, do the math and it means that he had several days where he cashed in multiple times.

The amazing haul came close to $1 million, with the largest chunk of that coming from a $650k purse for second-place in the GGPoker Super High Roller event that was part of the site’s Super Million$ week.

Poker Pro Bert Stevens

The end result of all this was that Stevens moved to the top of the online poker rankings sponsored by PocketFives.

This title is unofficial but it works a little like the World Golf rankings in accumulating the results over various online tournaments, with more recent events holding a little more weight. Stevens was able to overtake Brunno Botteon, who had been at the top for about three months.

This isn’t the first time that Stevens has held the top spot. And if he keeps having weeks like the one he had recently, it will be tough to knock him out of there. Still, in the online poker world, things can change in a hurry.

BetOnline Brings You Into the Poker Action

Week after week, in this column, we talk about the exploits of poker pros who put up big buy-ins to play tournaments for massive stakes.

But that doesn’t mean that poker hobbyists and part-timers need to get shut out of the action. As a matter of fact, BetOnline Casino is giving you chances to play for some serious dough without putting up a cent.

At the end of March, BetOnline will be holding a main event tournament with a buy-in of $109 and prizes of $150,000 guaranteed. But you can earn free passes to the tournament. Check out your dashboard at the site and look for the links that say “My Missions” or “Contests.”

When you click on there, you’ll find out how you can be one of the 100 players who earn free seats to the main event.

That’s the kind of opportunity that you won’t often get for a tournament with that kind of purse. Normally, the only way to earn your way into tournaments like that is to win your way through a satellite event.

In the case of BetOnline, all you have to do is take part in a certain number of tournaments or cash games to put yourself in the mix. Check out the website for all the terms and conditions.

Then, polish up your Texas Hold’em skills as you get the chance to go for the kind of prizes normally associated with the pros.