Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Poker Blogs & Poker Blogs Redux
"Hold em is to stud what chess is to checkers."
Good God, some great poker content today, including some serious snarkiness between two poker pro's.
Daniel Negreanu versus Erik Seidel.
I'll leave that for last.
Thanks to any new readers - I'm glad you discovered this humble corner of the Blogosphere where thoughts, ideas and news about poker are running amuck. If you want to read about poker, you're in the right place - in fact, it may be more than you bargained for. Verbose is my middle name.
I read a couple of posts today about our poker blog community and how it would be nice if we could get some more notoriety, or perhaps merchandising.
Hell, Party or Empire oughta be paying me for telling everyone how soft the damn games are. I'm just drinking some Guinness and giving my two cents after all my experience playing online. And to be frank, I've had so few referrals (mostly fellow bloggers who have been reading my blog for an extended period of time, and I thank them for it) it doesn't matter, anyway. I'm here to write about poker.
But if Party/Empire (God forbid) ever falters, and someone else steps up and claims their market share, I'll be the first one on the soapbox, letting folks know where to play, referrals or no referrals.
As our UK poker blogger perfectly states:
The revenue models that can be applied to portals or "review" sites, or which makes perfect sense for a poker pulse, just cannot be applied to blogs, which are intensely personal and passion based.
Amen. I HATE banner-laden review sites. DESPISE THEM. They are full of false information and shameless shilling. I doubt that 99% of their webmasters even play poker online, much less play and win.
I just read PokerGrub's thoughtful explanation of how he views signups, and I wish I had written it first, because it's exactly how I feel:
It's a nice way of paying it forward for all the hard work they do and in fact, can even help you with various bonus offers (an extra percentage atop your initial deposit). I have a list of links with various signup bonuses, but you can also sign up through other bloggers who are also affiliates. Like iggy or hdouble who bust their humps day in, day out to provide quality, thoughtful, entertaining writing and linkups. The hours it takes to read through all the wonderful blogs... think how many more hours it takes to research, collect those links, and write 'em up coherently in the first place.
The point is: if you're planning to sign up to a site anyway, sign up through an affiliate.
Truthfully, this blog DOES take time. So I consider my shilling (sign up on PartyPoker with Bonus code IGGY or Empire poker with Bonus code IGGY1!) to be a small reward for my efforts. I've been doing it more this week, because my readership is growing. I don't do it every damn day, as my long-term readers know. So I'm not sure what my point is, except to thank Grubby for articulating why it's OK to signup with a bonus code. It costs nothing, gets you a bonus, and is a small nod of appreciation for the bloggers out there.
Best of all, PokerGrub has a poker post today from Grubette, his sister. Funny stuff, per usual.
Segue: This is one of the best articles I've read about poker in a long, long time. And that's saying a lot. This expose details the underground "charity poker games" being played out in Cleveland. Fascinating read - VERY eye opening:
The House Folds
In Northeast Ohio's gambling underworld, Mike Moneypenny was king.
I'm not going to quote it, please go read it now so you can keep up with the following post.
I've played in the Dayton charity games, and must admit, they were very well run. But only if you ignore the "rake" taken out of both tourneys and ring games.
That being said, poker author Gary Carson, had this comment about said games:
They sound like snatch games to me.
First, Gary, what in heck is a "snatch" game?
One with a rake of whatever the dealer can snatch.
The aforementioned article was posted on RGP and this kickass insight was offered by a long-term regular:
Irish Mike responds:
Thanks for posting the article. I have a great deal of experience with "charity games" and would like to make a few points:
Well said, but I'm not holding my breath. Slot machines will be legalized well before poker. Don't even get me started on the lottery. That's simply a 'dumb tax' on people who can't do math.
I'm jealous of all you poker bloggers out there "practicing" sit and go's for our inaugural Grubby Classic this Sunday. Hell, I haven't played a SNG since early 2003. And with the massive popularity of PartyPoker, coupled with my 33.6 modem, I couldn't jump on one now if I tried.
Prediction: I'm first out and win a copy of Poker for Dummies.
Oh the humanity.
A non poker blog, A Middle-Aged Man in Moderate Distress, but reader of our poker blogs, took the Poker Penguin and Hdouble's advice and started crushing the NL ring games on Party.
Well, in three or four sessions, I've been killing the $25 games. Just killing them. I busted one guy's stack three times, and he reloaded again! I almost told the guy to give it up, but thought better of it.
And seriously, here is why it's often better to only play ONE table, instead of several.
I've also given up multiple tables. An advantage to this strategy, especially at no limit, is I get more satisfaction out of check-raising. At multi-table limit, I rarely would, because I didn't have the feel for the opponents. One table NL, however, I can just feel when it's time to check-raise 'em.
I concur. NL is all about the feel.
While I'm pimping my fellow bloggers, I must point out that MeneGene claims he has a 2,000 word post about Phil Helmuth, my old favorite target (see archives) in the que. His post has taken mythic proportions in my mind, because:
#1 Phil is an easy target
#2 Gene is fucking funny
Go read Gene because he not only belittles Phil Helmuth, but mentions James Joyce, William Faulkner and Doyle Brunson in the same post. Face it, fellow bloggers, Gene is operating at a different, almost presidential level.
Are you reading Felicia's newly migrated poker blog yet? She's still the favorite to win the poker blogger tournament, imho.
I have decided that the turn check-raise may be the most powerful play in poker. Almost always, the player will call down afterwards. I don't know if it's anger at getting raised or what. Usually player 1 bets the flop and player 2 calls. Then player 1 checks the turn and player 2 bets. Player 1 now raises and you know he's got a big hand. But player 2 will call the turn bet and also the river bet. I've rarely seen this as a bluff, but it works almost every time. I've used it several times this week when flopping monsters. Raising with position never seems to work as well, quite often there is a fold, but I've seen some horribly weak hands call down the check-raise.
For any new players, it's important to realize that sometimes breaking even is winning. Add up the rake and blinds you paid in on a small losing session. Do the math and you'll see how you actually won without those factors. This is very important. Understand the rake. Use Pokertracker. Grow your game.
Two quick links:
For those of you who care, the new CardPlayer is out.
When poker hits Iowa, you KNOW it's big:
Know when to hold 'em
Local poker tournaments draw big crowds
This post is gonna get even longer, if you can believe it.
I promised you Daniel Negreanu versus Erik Seidel. Time to deliver:
Follow me here - I posted a few nights ago about how Erik Seidel (the guy Johnny Chan smoked in Rounders) wouldn't show his cards:
This was from last night's airing of the 2003 US Poker Championships on ESPN. They mentioned that Erik was hiding his cards from the lipstick camera so often, that they went to TWO cameras to try and show his cards. He said the reason he did it was that he didn't want to have the TV audience see how he plays his cards. I'm surprised people haven't talked about it that much here, maybe that'll happen soon enough.
Well, hell, of course, Daniel Negreanu, couldn't resist a post about this.
> If Mr. Seidel in not being directly compensated by the broadcaster, he
> has no obligation to show his cards on television. The argument that he
> should do it because it is good for the game does not hold water.
That's not true at all. Before you enter the tournament you sign an
agreement. The rest of the poker world adheres to the agreement, why
should Erik be any different? There is no reason why Erik should be
allowed to play by a different set of rules.
Had this been on the WPT there is no chance they would have let Erik
get away with it. They would have demanded he follow the rules he
AGREED to follow PRIOR to entering the tournament.
Erik's decision to hide his cards was no "stand" and was hardly
ballsy. It was flat out wrong and he has to know that. I've had a
similar discussion with Erik in the past about this regarding the
all-in show your hand TDA rule. In a tournament in Reno, Erik (fully
understanding the rule) mucked his hand face down before the river so
no one could see the play he just made. I understand he doesn't like
the rule and he has every right to voice that. It doesn't however
give him the right to ignore it and avoid sharing information ALL of
the other players understand they agreed to share.
I mean think about it: so Erik gets to see everybody elses hole
cards and study their play, but hides his own? How is that fair?
> I think his "stand" could (and should) result in any player sitting at a
> televised table being compensated on some kind of airtime/hourly/"level
> of celebrity" basis which would make the revelation of ones playing
> style worth it (if that is possible).
Again, it wasn't a stand, it was a total shot. It was Erik trying
to gain an unfair advantage over his competitors and I hardly find
that commendable. Erik's decision to hide his cards from the camera
won't help the poker world at all. Added money and sponsorship is on
the way anyway, but the players not following the simplest and most
essential rule that makes televised poker exciting isn't going to be
the reason why that happens.
As for the poker pros not being compensated... oh my. You think
without televised poker we'd be seeing all of these million dollar
prize pools? I think not. I feel extremely well compensated and
thankful to the visionaries who decided to invest their money in such
a high risk project.
And the response from Erik?
I'm posting this again because I forgot to address it to Daniel:
Daniel-Well I've got to say I'm very surprised at the vitriolic nature of
your post. I was very impressed with the rational discourse that was
going on with regard to my comments on the USPC show. I thought both
sides of the argument were being represented well, by the various
posters. To me these threads represented the best of what RGP can be,
a lot of sharp people in an interesting debate. I want to clarify a
few things before this gets out of hand. I understand the rules of
these televised events and the benefits that we have gotten. This was
the 5th final table I've played where cameras were recording the
action and I think the second where they used table cams that showed
the cards. I am very uncomfortable playing under these conditions and
I don't feel I've played my best poker on TV. I can be very self
conscious about how I play when people are watching and don't even
like to have friends sweat me, because I feel like it effects my
thinking. I am a poker player, not an entertainer. I've always been a
private person & although I can clearly see that we will collectively
benefit in many ways from the coverage on TV it is not anything I ever
asked for. I was doing just fine before TV came around.
You seem very happy playing up to the cameras and I envy the fact that
it comes so naturally to you. I think it is important to note that you
now work for the WPT & you have a history of trashing people, when you
think it will benefit either your image or your allies' images. Doyle,
Phil H., and Annie have all been trashed by you publicly on RGP, when
you thought it was to your benefit or would make your friends look
better. Now it looks like you are attempting to kiss up to your new
bosses with this attack on me. To make my position clear, I don't like
showing my cards, never will. Obviously it is now part of the game and
if I want to continue making a living playing tournaments it's a fact
of life that I will have to adjust to. I can live with that. What I
don't need is some immature grandstanding kid to use me to further his
career. You will have plenty of money and fame; just stick around. You
don't need to make any new enemies along the way.
Regarding your comment about throwing my cards away without turning
them over, that is very common practice for people when they are
drawing dead in spite of the rule. To suggest that I did something
unethical is very offensive & out of line. Since your overzealous
objection, I always turn over my cards when all in. I expect that now
when your friends do it you will also speak up with your objections.
Personally I prefer allowing people the dignity of throwing away their
hand when they are drawing dead.
The most offensive part of your post, to me, is your comment that I
"took a total shot" by not showing my cards to the cameras. That's a
pretty strong phrase. The implication being that I am a shot taker or
angle shooter. Again, I never asked for cameras to be present when I
play and they are, for me, an unfortunate fact of life. I can't just,
as someone suggested not play the events where there are cameras,
because those are now all the biggest events and this is how I make a
living. I resent your holier than thou implication that my reluctance
to show my hole cards to the camera is cheating.
I'm really not looking to get into a whole public mudslinging fest
with you. I just felt that I needed to respond to your very personal
And Daniel clarifies:
> You seem very happy playing up to the cameras and I envy the fact that
> it comes so naturally to you. I think it is important to note that you
> now work for the WPT & you have a history of trashing people, when you
> think it will benefit either your image or your allies' images.
Actually I don't work for the WPT at all. That's not true in the
least. I've done favors for them, but I haven't been paid one red
cent for any of those favors.
As for me trashing people, I've done a lot of stupid things over the
years, many of which I'm not proud of. I simply don't see any
connection however to my support of the WPT and my objection to hiding your cards from the
camera. I don't feel there is any correlation and think that it was
very presumptious of you to assume so. I'm a fan of the hole card cam
period. Whether it be Fox, ESPN, WPT, whatever. It adds money to my
pocket (and yours) because it enhances the programs' popularity, no
question about it.
> Obviously it is now part of the game and
> if I want to continue making a living playing tournaments it's a fact
> of life that I will have to adjust to. I can live with that. What I
> don't need is some immature grandstanding kid to use me to further his
> career. You will have plenty of money and fame; just stick around. You
> don't need to make any new enemies along the way.
Well I sincerely apologize if you took this as a personal attack to
your character. It wasn't intended to be but I can see how you may
have taken it that way. For the record, I think you are an extremely
honest player with a high set of morals. On this point, I think we
simply disagree as to what is considered ethical.
> Regarding your comment about throwing my cards away without turning
> them over, that is very common practice for people when they are
> drawing dead in spite of the rule. To suggest that I did something
> unethical is very offensive & out of line. Since your overzealous
> objection, I always turn over my cards when all in. I expect that now
> when your friends do it you will also speak up with your objections.
Absolutely. In fact in a recent column I wrote about a hand where I
flopped the nuts and asked that the other player turn over his hand.
He tried mucking it, but I wouldn't let him because I thought it was
important to enforce the rule. As it turned out, that player hit
runner runner and tied me costing me half the pot.
I objected to you doing it, because I felt it was clear that you
were trying to hide information that the other players were entitled
to according to the rules. Again, that's something we simply don't
> The most offensive part of your post, to me, is your comment that I
> "took a total shot" by not showing my cards to the cameras. That's a
> pretty strong phrase. The implication being that I am a shot taker or
> angle shooter. Again, I never asked for cameras to be present when I
> play and they are, for me, an unfortunate fact of life. I can't just,
> as someone suggested not play the events where there are cameras,
> because those are now all the biggest events and this is how I make a
> living. I resent your holier than thou implication that my reluctance
> to show my hole cards to the camera is cheating.
Well I wouldn't call it cheating, but I do think it's unfair. I've
never seen a problem like this with any other player, whether it be a
pro or an amateur. I mean you have access to everybody's hole cards
when they make a televised tournament, why do you think it was ok for
you to hide information from the other players?
I totally understand that you don't like the rule, but times change
and so will poker. Thankfully for all of the pros, these hidden cams
have added tremendously to everyone's equity, including yours.
> I'm really not looking to get into a whole public mudslinging fest
> with you. I just felt that I needed to respond to your very personal
> attack.-Erik Seidel
Neither am I, and had I known that you were going to take it
personally then I would have certainly been more careful with my
wording. Again, I think you are a great player with a formidable
track record both at the tables and away from them. Still I have to
say that I respectfully disagree with your decision to hide your hole
cards. My apologies for attacking you personally as that was not my
And here I must take pause. Sure, professional poker players probably have some of the biggest ego's. But this next post (in the same thread) by Jesse May, poker writer and TV announcer, absolutely blew me away. Sure it could be the Guinness, but damn, I've been reading RGP for a LONG time now and this is one of the most obtuse, bizarre posts by a "name" that I've ever seen.
Ready - Set - Go -
From: Jesse May
Subject: Re: Erik Seidel
It's started. The erosion of poker truth has begun. In today's world
it is he who slings the mud farthest that clamors to the top. Hold
your tongue Johnny come lately, watch out Daniel in the lion's den,
because poker players know that if a man has fleas he's been lying
with the dogs. And the men of respect they know who the dogs are,
with quiet mouths and jerky glances they've been fading dogs for
years, because it's not so long ago. Maybe the microscope got turned
upside down into a megaphone, maybe every televised hand has been
parsed twice and passed through Sklansky, but that doesn't mean that
past is ashes. And in the poker world, character has never been
fleeting. The players have minds like elephants caught in the steel
traps, the world was never so big that you could sit down at the table
and nod just once for times gone by. The water's under the bridge
with the writing always clear on the wall. Poker's big now, but the
story is the same as ever. Someone will be getting fucked, and if
you're desperate enough to want to survive, sell your soul and join
the team. Don't worry. He'll throw you bones, he'll toss mongrel
scraps and promises from above, after all Don King made Holyfield rich
and famous. Rich and famous and collared to a post.
The men of respect have mostly been rangers. They grew up with
talent, they were burdened with honor, and they banded alone and faded
getting fucked. There have been freight trains of others, cattle cars
in and rib roast going out, and the few mangy cows that avoided the
slaughter bled from the jugular and squealed like pigs before the
devil came down and offered the deal. And the men of respect? They
padded softly, out of the limelight, from game to game and in the wee
hours of the night. Stu Ungar showed up in a coffeshop in Tahoe on
the morning of a final table to find the other nine having breakfast
as one. He howled. They shouldn't have made him mad. He didn't
collapse with the Ace-king when the pressure came on. And the dogs
hated him for it. And they always will. The oppressed people, they
never want to be free. All they want is to rule.
Is it true Mr. Molson? Is it true that there are players who will
benefit from the fact that no sponsorships are allowed? Is it true
that one management firm has sprung up, a company whose office is in
some building in Minnesota, the same building as the W pis-pee? Is it
true that Bile has handpicked some players to promote, to promote in
the advertising and the commercials, leading lights to front the team,
while the rest of the players have to listen to prize pool bullshit,
to an incessant drone that is aeons old, band alone and fade getting
fucked? There was only one player at the Sands who didn't take the
money, who said sponsorships are for children while $40,000 was being
offered for two hours wearing of a hat. There was one who claimed to
be above the fray, but players want to know why. Players want to know
why. You think the Furrier's a savior, you think he took something
where nothing's been before? Well then Bill Gates is a genius, too,
with clean hands to boot. But there's a lot more at stake then one
man replacing his Toyota with a Lexus.
There's poker players out there, stars of the game, men of respect who
hold their tongue and go about their business, because they've doing
it since boo. Since the Furrier was a snake. Since he was a hooded
serpent who bought people and smashed them. What you think? You
think they don't deserve what's fair? You think you can tell a man
who's survived the war that the gun is not loaded?
Make no mistake Johnny. Money is not added. Money is not filtering
down. Promises are not being kept. The players are the stars, they
always have been, and the overlords will be thieves long before we
call them Daddy. Basketball and baseball, there is a reason for
players' unions, there is a reason that there is a sharing of
television revenue, that players wear logos, that there is a player
pension fund. And there's a reason why old boxers drive delivery
trucks. One man stands up, a quiet man, a man of respect, and in his
own small way he says, look. Do you see this?
Where's the 40 million for the TV contract? Where's all the money
that sponsors pay to have their brands associated with the most
exciting guy to ever fling two cards and his stack in the pot? You
think people want to watch some schmuck who will crumble at the sight
of a raise? Everybody wants to watch the golden hearted lions, watch
them flock in the jungle. But the man wants them to be stupid. He
needs the smart ones to band alone, to fade getting fucked, and the
stupid ones can join the team and clamor loudly. Because dissent is
the terror of the Furrier.
I can't even comment on that. I'm stunned, re-reading it.
Oh the humanity.
I suppose I should close this out, I'm
Thanks a ton for reading.
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