This summer all eyes will be on the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, and rightly so. This is the biggest poker event in the world, with more people heading for the City of Sin to play the WSOP than any other poker event. Not only will the winner of the Main Event net themselves a profit of several million dollars, but there are countless other bracelets to be won, with everything from Omaha to Turbo Hold’em and even Senior events throwing up big cash prizes.

That feels like it’s someway away right now, but there are plenty of other big tournaments on the way. As well as the World Series of Poker circuit stops, which we mentioned in a recent article there are also stops on the World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour to keep you sharp in time for the big one.

World Poker Tour

For many the World Poker Tour is the second biggest tour after the World Series of Poker, certainly as far as American players are concerned, with Europeans tending to lean more towards the European Poker Tour discussed below. This tour runs throughout the year with stops at some of the most glamorous casinos all over the world.

At the time of writing the World Poker Tour has just finished its Los Angeles leg and is preparing for a visit to San Jose and the Bay 101 Casino. The tour will stop here until the 13th, and as the next stop begins on the 12th, several thousands miles over the Atlantic, it’s going to be a stretch for players seeking to make every stop. The proximity to the previous event in LA makes this event an obvious choice for WPT fans, but the fact that the 12th March event is in Vienna, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, makes that a tempting offer. You can’t possible say no to the birthplace of Mozart, can you?

The final day of the Main Event in San Jose is on the 13th, so if you do make it that far then you can always arrive in Vienna a day later. You’ll miss the Main Event there if you do, as it begins on the evening of the 12th, but you can still catch the High Roller event, a Turbo tournament and/or a Knockout event.

Still, most American players will probably choose to remain in California, and that will make it easier for them to hit the WPT Rolling Thunder stop on the 14th of March. This is located in Lincoln, California, and then the next stop is southeast, in Hollywood, Florida. Michael Mizrachi and Jason Mercier actually call this city home and will no doubt be heading to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino for this televised WPT event.

That event finishes on the 22nd of April and then, two days later, the WPT moves north to Atlantic City and the Borgata casino, which will be the final stop on the 2015 World Poker Tour.

European Poker Tour

As you may have already worked out, it’s not really viable for a US poker player to hit all stops on the WPT, because as soon as they head for Europe and Vienna on the second stop mentioned, then they’re throwing their schedule out of whack. Still, Vienna has so much more to offer than many of the US stops and if you tire of California and do make it to Vienna, then you can also remain in Europe and hit-up the European Poker Tour instead.

The EPT is in its eleventh season and the next stop is in Malta on the 17th of March. Malta is a tiny island but it has a lot of history and it attracts a lot of tourists. This is not one of the biggest stops on the tour but it’s well worth a visit if you fancy your chances at EPT glory.

Next up is the Grand Daddy of casinos, the Monte-Carlo Casino in the principality of Monaco. This casino has featured in countless films and has hosted James Bond many times. The stop reaches here towards the end of April, and as you’re in a billionaire’s playground you can expect to be facing just as many rich amateurs as poker professionals. In the last season of the EPT this stop netted the winner over 1.2 million euros, which amounts to just under $2 million. The Main Event has a buy-in that works out to around $15,000 and is therefore more than the WSOP Main Event, but the experience of the Monte-Carlo Casino, one of the most luxurious casinos in the world, is not to be missed.

Monaco is also the final stop of the EPT, often called the EPT Grand Final, but the next season should kick-off again towards the end of the year.

We have already looked ahead to the World Series of Poker, announcing the schedule for those few weeks when all eyes in the poker world are turned towards the glittering lights of the City of Sin. But there is more to the build-up — all big events require long and tortuous roads to get there, and the WSOP is no different.

The Road to the WSOP National Championships is an extensive one that began at the end of a July 2014 and is played through to May 2015, with 21 circuit stops in total, giving players all around the country a chance to get in on the action.

The first stop was in Florida on the 30th of July 2014, at the famous Palm Beach Kennel Club. The play then moved to the huge Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut. In fact, although that event is well behind us now, the Foxwoods Resort will also play host to the final stop in May 2015, before the actual World Series kicks off.

There are plenty of stops between now and then though. At the time of writing, the tour is currently in Maryland, in the Horseshoe Baltimore. Although not particularly known for its high stakes poker action, the tour is due to move to Los Angeles very soon, where the Bicycle Casino should attract some more of the country’s best players.

The Horseshoe takes over again after that, this time at the Council Bluffs in Omaha/Iowa, before the tour moves to two Harrah’s casinos in North Carolina and then Louisiana. With Foxwoods after that, the tour is due to finish on May 24th, after which players only need to wait for 3 days before the World Series of Poker actually begins.

The WSOP may seem like a long way away now, but the excitement of the tour is sure to keep your appetite sated for the time being. Just remember, the tour, as with the World Series itself, is not for amateurs and there are plenty of professional players who follow it through every stop that it makes.

Michael Mizrachi is a poker professional known for his ability to cash consistently in major poker tournaments. The Florida resident has won three bracelets at the World Series of Poker and once finished 5th in the WSOP Main Event. He also has two World Poker Titles and one European Poker Title to his name, and his record in cash play is astonishing, which is what saw him gifted a sport at the televised High Stakes Poker event.

These days, however, Michael has turned his sights to a new venture, and one that promises to bring the greater poker community together. Known as Blast Longer, this is an app and a community that allows poker players to place last-longer bets against each other. It’s all about the side bets, which are one of the most popular ways for many gamblers to bet, and the goal for Blast Longer is to extend those side bets for as long as possible.

“Players at live events really enjoy last-longer side bets,” Mizrachi, known as The Grinder throughout the poker community, began, talking to Pokernews. “We realized that if we could bring it to online players, they might like it just as much.”

The process is pretty simple, players just need to download the Blast Longer app and join the community. It’s free and there is no commitment to pay at any point, unless you lose the bets of course. Once there they can challenge other players to last-longer bets for all of the major online and offline poker tournaments.

Known as “Blasts” these last-longer side bets can also be placed with friends through the Blast Longer community, but the aim is to create a trusted gambling community, which means that you don’t have to already know and trust the person in order to place a bet with them. There is a pot and all players contribute to it, before the player who lasts the longest in any given tournament is then given the pot.

This is an innovative platform that has received a lot of thought and development, there are even separate pots for different levels, and as well as live tournaments (due to be available later this year) it also works for online ones. To date, Blast Longer is compatible with all of the major tournaments from all of the major networks, including PokerStars, Full Tilt, iPoker, PartyPoker and WinaMax.

Blast bets give players like Michael, those who run deep in many tournaments but don’t have the luck to win them all, the chance to cash in. It means that even if they don’t make it to the final table, they will still stand a chance of bettering their opponents, winning the side bet and making the tournament a profitable one.

At the time of publication, Blast Longer is still in a beta stage, but it is a public beta which means it is open for new members to join. Simply head over to and sign up.

TonyBet were the first online bookies and poker room to bring Open-Face Chinese Poker to the world of real-money online gambling. They weren’t as popular as they should have been in the beginning, but as word spread and fans of OFC realised that this was the place to be, their numbers grew. After being in operation for a little while longer, TonyBet’s numbers have continued to grow and they have continued to focus on Open-Face Chinese Poker, and now they have welcomed a new game to their poker room.

Known as Open-Face Chinese Pineapple 2-7 Poker, this has a lot in common with standard OFC, and indeed with Pineapple OFC, which has become one of the most played poker variants in the last few months. If you know how to play Pineapple then you’ll know how to play this new game, and if you enjoy Pineapple then you will love this.

In this variant players use their middle hand in a Kansas City lowball style, which means they need to put the lowest possible hand in the middle. This is a slight change, but it mixes things up and makes the thought process of compiling your hand much harder, due to the fact that there are more cards in the middle and therefore more chances of making a big hand.

As with Open-Face Chinese Poker, the limits on this new variant start as little as a couple of cents a point, and they go all the way up to 25 Euros, or around $35 USD. This is another exciting step in the world of Open-Face Chinese Poker, and once again it is one that was ushered in by TonyBet.

The biggest tournament in the poker world, the World Series of Poker, has just announced its schedule for 2015. The tournament is held in Las Vegas and run by Caesars Entertainment, held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. This is the competition that all players aspire to win, and the one that has forged some of the biggest names in the game, including Chris Moneymaker and Phil Helmuth.

The tournament will begin on May 27th and will play host to the best poker players in the world, with everyone from rich wannabes to hard-working amateurs getting involved, not to mention the huge number of professional players and celebrities that steal the limelight and the focus of the television cameras every year.

This is the 46th year for the World Series of Poker, and there are some new events on the schedule. There have also been some changes to the Main Event. It is still a No-limit Hold’em game like it has always been, and the cost to enter is still $10,000, but they have changed the number of players that will cashout, increasing the number to 1,000 of those that enter, providing over 5,000 players enter (last year there were 6,683). Although that would usually reduce the amount that the higher finishers get, the organizers have promised that those who make it to the final table will receive a prize of over $1 million. The Main Event kicks off on July 5th, a day after the Independence Day celebrations, and it will be shown on ESPN.

There are eleven new events in total, many of which are No-Limit Hold’em events. These include a $565 Colossus Event, which will be the fifth event on the schedule and will be followed by a Hyper No-Limit Hold’em Event, which is also new. Later in the schedule there is a new Extended Play Event, a $5,000 Turbo Event, a $25,000 High Roller Event, a $1,500 Bounty Event, a 50/50 Event and more. There is also a Super Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Event added, where those above a certain age can play over the course of two days beginning June 21st, and a Dealer’s Choice Event which costs $10,000 to enter.

One of the most interesting events is the 64th event, which will be the first event to be played entirely online at This will commence on July 2nd and will finish a day later at the casino.