People News: Daiva Byrne latest GGPoker ambassador; Tony G Challenges Phil Hellmuth; GGPoker bans poker players and more…

In this column we deliver you the latest and most interesting news and gossip from our favourite poker people.

Daiva Byrne latest GGPoker ambassador

daiva byrne poker
Daiva Byrne. Credit: Casino Malta

After the signing of Dan Bilzerian and the outcry about this decision in the poker community, specifically the female one, GGPoker had promised to work on making the game more inclusive.

With a bunch of Bilzerian followers at the tables, likely creating a hostile environment for female players, this is going to be an extra difficult task for the poker operator. While business-wise it’s understandable to partner with an ambassador that might bring tens of thousands of sign-ups and deposits, we’re still all waiting for some innovative ways to really get the missing 50% to join the game: women.

What better way then to give this a good strong start by signing Fantastic Ladies In Poker (FLIP) founder Daiva Byrne? The Lithuanian poker pro has been doing an incredible job over the past years to create women’s events and highlighting successes of female players.

She had been very vocal about the “bad” decision of GGPoker to sign Bilzerian and it does speak for the poker operator to get Daiva on their side to see how they can work on this together.

Paul Burke, Head of Public Relations at GGPoker writes: “I’m excited to welcome FLIP to the GGPoker community, and am confident FLIP players will enjoy the GGPoker experience both on and off the tables. It’s also great to have Daiva as part of our team, and I know she’ll turbo-charge our efforts to be genuinely inclusive and make absolutely every kind of player welcome at GGPoker!”

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GGPoker bans poker players

A shockwave moved through the British poker Twitter world when well-known player Andy “dawhiteninja” Wool informed the community about the ban he just received on GGPoker after simply asking to increase his deposit limits.

Since the new UK Gambling Commission laws had been introduced it was clear that the monthly “soft” deposit limit of £100 will not be helpful for poker pros at all. A silver lining here was that pros could request an increase to this limit if they could prove they possess sufficient financial means.

So, many poker players contacted GGPoker straight away to request deposit increases and then the horror scenario unfolded for them. Many accounts were permanently closed by the poker operator due to responsible gaming concerns.

Wool had requested deposit limits of 1k a day, 5k a week and 6k a month and provided proof of enough personal funds to be able to play $100 games. But even with that proof his account was closed. So he took it to Twitter to warn other poker players. There were a number of replies from others that had experienced the same.

Wool had done the same process with partypoker and was allowed to keep playing. Now it is being speculated that GGPoker is targeting winning players on the site, trying to get rid of them.

Another explanation is simply that GGPoker is still fairly new to operating under some strict legislation and is rather taking the safe approach than getting their licenses in danger. It might not be the best idea though to disgruntle some of the bigger names in UK poker and so alienating a big chunk of the local community.

Tony G Challenges Phil Hellmuth

After Phil “The Poker Brat” Helmuth’s attack on Daniel Negreanu’s play during the heads-up Feud against Doug Polk he was quickly challenged by Negreanu himself to proof at the felt who is the better heads-up player.

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Daniel Negreanu (standing) and Phil Hellmuth (sitting)

If this match goes ahead it will likely be a sit & go format and will be played out on PokerGo, similar to the match Helmuth has played against Antonio Esfandiari recently, and won, three times!

A sit & go format that plays very differently form a deep stack cash game will not be comparable to the 25k hands battle between Negreanu and Polk, but this match will receive a lot of attention as these are two of the most recognisable and most famous poker players in the world.

And that is not all. What are the odds that we report about two Lithuanians in one People News article? You will have guessed it: Tony G is also challenging Phil Helmuth to a heads-up battle.

If this is going to go ahead also remains to be seen, but having two loud-mouthed old school players going at it will be another epic event not to be missed.

Limitless vs Stefan11222: First week of HU

Wiktor “Limitless” Malinowski vs. Stefan “Stefan11222” Burakov have been battling in their heads-up challenge for a week now. After 6.5k hands, the Belarusian Malinowski lost $557,070 (including the 2x Bitcoin side bet).

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Wiktor “Limitless” Malinowski. Credit: Paul Phua Poker

The match will end after 30k played hands or if one of the players loses more than $1 million. This might be a short battle looking at the stats after the first week.

Despite this, “Limitless” even wants to raise the stakes, meaning that he is offering to add 20k hands, still sure he can turn it around and win this challenge. So far this offer has not been accepted, but the smack talk is beautiful and we can hope to get more of this as it’s blissfully entertaining.

From Stefan’s blog: “It was a difficult session because I hardly slept, and my head did not think at all. We can say that I randomly clicked the buttons today. But the beauty of playing with Wiktor is that even in this state it’s very difficult to lose to him.”

McDonald and Chan argument

Many poker players love to place bets not just at the poker tables, but also on sports games, side bets or anything else really that can have a varied outcome.

Mike McDonald built the site PokerShares, offering a platform for the poker community and beyond to place bets on a lot of different things.

Pokershares owner Mike McDonald. Credit:

Now, a dispute and a full blown argument ensued on Twitter between McDonald and Terrence Chan. Chan spotted an interesting bet on Twitter that he was interested in placing a bet on. The line in question was about the upcoming heads-up match between Landon Tice and Bill Perkins.

It was displayed as 1.92 odds for Perkins to win and also 1.92 for Tice to win. Chan thought this was odd as Tice is generally seen as the one with the edge in this match-up. So he placed a maximum of $1k on this bet.

But then PokerShares sent out emails letting bettors know that this bet included the handicap of 9 big blinds per 100 hands and so Tice’s win would only count if he won more than $720k. PokerShares also offered a timeframe of 24 hours to get the bet returned if they had not been aware of the inclusion of the handicap.

So far so good. But Mike McDonald contacted Chan directly via a private message asking “Are you dumb?”, pointing at the fact that it’s clearly obvious that the bet includes all aspects of the challenge, and so also the handicap of $720,000. Then the pair took the argument public and it was basically about if PokerShares should accept the bet as Chan had intended it or if the betting site was in the right and within their Terms & Conditions.

Many in the poker community were shocked about the way McDonald carried himself in this argument, expecting more from the poker player and businessman.

In the end Chan gave up, had his bet of $1,000 returned and gave it to charity.