Monday, May 31, 2004

"Hope Harrah's doesn't cancel the WSOP.
Would be a real shame to have to wait until next year to win it."

Greg Raymer (FossilMan) - 2004 WSOP Winner on 2+2, months ago

Happy Memorial Day!
I've got a bunch of new poker content that I’ve managed to scrape together, despite my intermittent internet connection. Hope you enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

Geepers, I don't even know where to begin. Poker won't be jumping the shark anytime soon, now will it? I can't even guess where all this hype is going to lead. Many of you don't even realize how lucky you are - to be at the epicenter of this poker gold rush. It's a fairy tale.

So hold onto your hats cause poker is going take another spike upwards (I can't even believe I'm typing this). Mister Raymer will be an excellent emissary for our beloved game and while not Moneymaker, will help grow online poker popularity even higher. I've been a huge fan of Fossilman's on 2+2 and RGP for a long time and it's awesome to have 'one of our own' take the big prize.

Everywhere you looked at Binion's you saw players’ t-shirts emblazoned with Stars, Party, Paradise and Gutshot logos. There were more online qualifiers this year than players entered for the ENTIRE tournament last year. Insane. With the media hype just starting anew and the ESPN broadcasts beginning soon, I'd be surprised if we didn't see a nice spike. We'll see if the numbers this summer doesn’t bear this out. Ultimately, it causes me to take pause.

Four of the players at the final table were PokerStars players.

Interesting side-note - Party was offering a tournament last evening to any players who made their first real money deposit between May 19th and May 30th. They currently have over 2100 brand new players signed up for this! What the hell? I'm running out of damn superlatives to describe the madness. Where are all these new players coming from? Should I even care? For the love of the Poker Gods, if you aren't playing there, please sign on.

As I alluded, my internet connection has been horrific the past few days but I've slowly managed to read the preponderance of columns and threads about this "new breed" of online players versus the Old Guard. I'll be quoting some interesting snippets below.

So my advice to you - get online and start playing. Sure, Stars has the best software and customer support, bar none, but they are missing 40,000 fish ala Party Poker. Please consider supporting this humble poker blog by using bonus code IGGY on Party. If you want to take advantage of the Empire bonuses, it's much easier to sign up now even if you have an existing Party account, and the bonus code there is IGGY1. Again, you are profoundly missing the boat if you aren't playing poker at Party - it's the biggest aquarium in the sea.

My humble apologies for the shilling but DAMN, it was fishy there this past weekend. I had a 50 BB win Saturday night, for example. Too bad you can't bottle those sessions.

Anyway, I need to get all this WSOP content out there so here goes a rambling, drunken, link-infested WSOP post. My apologies for the tangents ahead of time - I'm making this up as I go along...

Let's pick on Phil Helmuth first, shall we?
Check out Phil's hand of the week detailing his 2004 WSOP experience at philhellmuth.com First of all, on his home page he has this line:

Hmm... What a field! 2600 players in the WSOP (World Series of Poker) marks a Seminole moment for poker.

Seminole? I think you meant, seminal, Phil, good gravy. Here's just one line from everyone's favorite crybaby - I find it hard to believe he is serious here:

Day 1: I just seem to lose pot after pot and I'm down to $4,175 on the first break. I'm almost in tears as I call my parents at the break.

I finally found David Ross's trip report to the WSOP. Sounds like he had a blast despite wasting his time standing in line for the satellites.
David Ross trip report to Vegas

No World Series for me this year. I spent the day standing in line it seems, for no good reason. I gained a lot of confidence for my ring game play. I never felt outclassed and I thought I read opponents very well. My tournament play was another thing altogether. I never felt comfortable, and need a lot of work there. It’s kind of amusing now, 2 weeks ago I approached Fossilman for some lessons. He explained that he couldn’t even think about it until after the WSOP and I agreed to get back to him then. Obviously I know my stuff as he sits near the top of the leaderboard at the WSOP right now, but I guess I should have locked in a fixed price. Imagine what he could charge me as a WSOP champion.

Now it’s time to write my book. This was a nice finish to my first year of full time play. Recent results have me excited about this coming year. I met a lot of online players who recognized me when I told them I played as Bucephelus. One guy picked up his cell phone to call his buddy and tell him. That was kind of funny.

Of course, two must reads from LionTales, as Richard Brodie regales us with tales from the tables. And Paul Phillips slags Helmuth - damn I truly miss Paul on RGP.

Speaking of RGP, please forgive me as I post this long Vegas writeup from Groan as he manages to watch the end of the final table and post-tournament interviews with Greg.

I was surprised to learn that only 3 players were left. Since the
players were on dinner break, the main room was closed and there was a
large line formed to enter, from the upstairs bathroom to the Buffet.
It was long, but not 'night before a star wars movie' long, and was
actually shorter than I was expecting. Its Friday and the new weekend
tourist crowd is here, so the Freemont Street Experience was in full
swing and very crowded overall. I thought that would mean that the
Final Table would be obscenely crowded, but it really wasn't bad. I
waited in line for about 15 minutes, talking to others in line. Lots
were just coming to the event for the first time, and kept asking "is
Phil Hellmuth still in it? How about (insert TV poker player name
here)?" I had to bear a group discussion about who was the best poker
player on TV, with a crew of 'experts' coming up with their argument
straight out of there asses. I just nodded and waited. I did get an
update on who was still in and the chip counts. "Greg Rayner" (Greg
Raymer) was the lead, "Doug Williams" (Dave Williams) was second, and
"Josh Arena" (Josh Arieh) was in third position. I'm sure next year
all these people will have the names right, and talking about them
like they are next door neighbors and who is better than who once ESPN
airs the episodes.

Finally two "Rio" girls, one in yellow and one in purple, came by
dressed in full revealing showgirl outfits, and the guards let them
and the crowd in slowly. I did not get a bleacher seat, but instead
sat in front of the many large screen TVs that filled the corners of
the room, with plenty of seats set out for the crowd. I swear this is
true - not once, not twice, but three times I was asked "if they will
be showing the hole cards on the TV?" in a totally serious manner.
First time I just said 'no', second and third I was more annoyed by
the stupidity and laid into the asker a bit. Hope these geniuses
start playing online tomorrow in my game.

I took 30 minutes or so longer than the expected start time to get
everyone seated. Finally the players entered - Dave Williams was
their early and anxious. Resembling a shorter Tim Duncan (but without
as big a nose as TD), he was young and well dressed in all black, with
black sunglasses as well. Greg Raymer, a heavier set guy well known
to many here on RGP and active member of this group, was there second.
Greg had on a brown and white shirt and was wearing Hawaiian
'seashell' style necklaces, sort of like those you throw out during
Mardi Gras, in green, white, and brown colors. He and Dave talked and
were very friendly to each other. Finally Josh Arieh arrived, wearing
a purple stripped shirt with a large collar, unbuttoned down a few
buttons in disco style and exposing a gold link chain. They already
had the $5 million out on a separate table, and it was just this HUGE
pyramid of money, bundled in 5x$10000 packs. Finally the cards were
in the air.

Play at the Final Table.

I won't go over the hands since they are well documented elsewhere.
I'll just say that it was over FAST. It seemed like less than 10
minutes when Arieh went out 3rd,, in what seemed to be the first 5-8
hands. We then had another 20-30 minute delay as ESPN did their
interviews with him and the other two players disappeared off the
stage. They came back and they did the money ceremony where they
dumped it on the table, with two guys needed to bring the booty over.
They were holding the pyramid of cash on some kind of tray while
cameras flashed, at it seemed like they were straining to hold it up,
it was that much dough. Finally they started to dump the cash on the
table, only to realize that it would probably be so high that the two
players wouldn't be able to see over it (!) so they kept most of it on
a small side table and had it 'spill over' onto the actual playing
table, putting the bracelet on top.

Finally they began up again. I did not attend the WSOP on Days 3-6 at
all, so it was the first time I saw Raymer's novelty joke glasses.
There were round sunglasses with reptilian eyes printed on the outside
so that others would be faced with an unblinking lizard stare when
looking at him. Kinda funny. Preflop, he did not wear them, only if
he was in a pot and the flop was coming would he put them on.
Otherwise he kept them off, giving the effect of him going from being
a normal guy to something superhuman, like Bruce Banner transforming
to the Hulk. These glasses will be the signature icon of the ESPN
2004 broadcast.

Again, in what seemed like 5-7 hands, it was all over. Both Arieh and
Williams played extremely fast - it was bet-call, bet-call, bet-call
with no agonizing pauses at all, almost too fast (after I was
complaining about long pauses before). Since the last hand was NOT
all in before the flop, on the flop, or on the turn, and the TV's did
not show the 'flop area' and the crowd relied on the verbal
announcements to follow the action, when the river came and there was
the 'all-in' announcement and the 'I call' a split second later,
really really quickly, it was pandemonium where no one at the TVs knew
who had what or who won the giant hand. It became apparent when we
saw Raymer's hands raised in victory, but no one knew who had what.
Matt Savage's announcements had been drowned out by a lot of
screaming, and many of us (including me) could swear we heard Savage
say that Raymer had the 4th deuce, so we all thought that for awhile,
until the actual hands were finally shown. As everyone here knows,
Raymer had 88 to Williams' A-4o on a 425-2-2 board. My first
impression was that I was surprised that Williams' hand was so weak,
given that he called each round bet almost immediately without any
think time, each being a progressively larger bet. I'm not saying it
was terrible, just that from the action I was pretty sure they both
had medium pocket pairs or better, so I was not expecting just middle
pair and a straight draw from Williams, at least with his ultra quick
calling and without him not playing back at Raymer at some point if he
suspected Raymer just had overs (or to find out he was behind and
think of folding on the flop or turn). Dude won 3.5 million for
second though, so what do I know?

The remaining three were exceptionally cordial to each other and there
was a real sense of camaraderie present as each one was eliminated. I
guess they all knew they were millionaires now no matter what, and the
shared experience of 7 grueling days was enough to bond them in a
genuinely displayed way.

Raymer interview with ESPN's Norman Chad

I stuck around for the ESPN and media interviews. I'm not a reporter,
so the accuracy of the following can fairly be quite off. Its just
what I remember or scribbled down.

About Luck: Raymer said he didn't really believe in luck and then
said something metaphysical about the concept of luck that I didn't
really follow. He then said that looking back during the seven days,
he saw two times where he was extremely unlucky (his AA vs TT hand
where a T came, and some other hand where some other pocket pair
spiked a set on the river). Other than that, he said that he won a
great deal of his coin-flip confrontations, so his luck was good.
(This is probably the most inaccurate part of my report, since I just
started to listen in at this point)

About the reptilian scare glasses: Raymer bought them at Disney World
in Orlando, at the "Tower of Terror" gift shop, as a gag. He said
that he did not posses the 'Howard Lederer' or 'John Juanda' ability
to stare down opponents, so he used the glasses instead. Its easy to
stare someone down and make them nervous when the painted on eyes do
not blink. (Expect a *RUN* on these glasses and Disney World and
elsewhere once ESPN's shows air).

About his wife showing up late and just hours before the big win: His
wife flew in today and then there was some miscommunication as she
rented a car and tried to find a 'kids camp' to drop off their young
kid (7 years old?). Raymer said his directions to the camp were off,
and his wife had to drive around for hours to find it. The kid was
not allowed to be in any gambling area so thus the need for the camp
instead of watching daddy play. He said at some point he just had to
stop worrying about and get his head back into the game (said it

5 million dollars later I'm sure his wife isn't too mad at him for the
bad directions.

About his seemingly genuine happiness while playing and enjoying
himself: Raymer said that he is in general always emotionally
balanced, and this week in particular he just felt good and balanced.

About his style of showing good and bad hands after raising out the
field preflop: Raymer sort of corrected Chad in saying that he had a
plan to show strong hands only (not weak ones) when no one called his
raise to set up later steal attempts when his hands weren't so strong.
It was on purpose and in his plan to get a feared image.

About the Final Hand: Raymer commented that, since Williams just
called each time, he had no reason to believe that his overpair was
not the best had at any point. On the turn, when the board paired
deuces, he started to think that maybe Williams had the straight (A3 I
assume) since he was called but not played back at at any point. Then
when the river put trip deuces on the board, he had a full house and
thus could beat the straight, so he bet it. Raymer then said that in
hindsight maybe he shouldn't have bet out on the river since only a
hand that could beat his would call, which brought a laugh out from
the audience since it obviously worked out for him OK.

Raymer was well spoken and 'lovable' during his ESPN interview. It
was easy to tell that he was very experienced in poker by the way he
was able to describe situations and thinking. The whole segment came
off very well.

Media questions for the New Champ:

Question from No Sex Glazer: I frankly did not get what the hell
Glazer was asking, but it was something along the lines of "will the
'outer' Raymer be different than the 'inner' Raymer now that he's won
the WSOP 2004?" Raymer said he will still be the same guy "if that's
what you mean by your question", but he had talked with Moneymaker and
heard of MM's stories of being recognized in airports and signing
autographs, so that will of course be different. Raymer then said
that he fully knew that he was NOT the greatest poker player in the
world and that he had ten times more to learn about the game, and
would probably never feel differently. He also mentioned that he was
coming off 'one of the worse runs of his life', and detailed a losing
period from Jan-March where he lost all the time.

Question from an Internet Gaming magazine: Can you talk about your
experience with online gaming? Raymer said that he spends most of his
playing time on three of the major sites "with Pokerstars.com being my
top site". He said that online poker is a great place to learn poker
since you can play for 1cent, 2 cent, or even free and work your way
up and not risk a lot of money. He said that his online play
contributed greatly to his growth as a poker player. (Raymer only
used "Pokerstars.com" directly in his descriptions while answering
this question. At this point "Dan" from Pokerstars came over and
tried to kiss him, which Raymer jokingly rebuked, saying if he was
going to be kissed it wasn't going to be from Dan. BTW, no logos or
hats were worn by the final 3 players, I don't know if ESPN banned it
or what).

Question from FOX 5 news in Las Vegas: You are known as 'Fossilman'
and have two fossils at your side while you play - are they for luck?
Can you tell us about them? Raymer reiterated that he does not
believe in luck. He said that he bought them and a rock and mineral
show his wife took him to because he thought they would make a good
card weight (the thing he puts on top of his cards when he intends to
play, instead of a chip). Raymer used to buy a lot of these fossils
at rock shows and resell them in card rooms since to make a few bucks
since they always drew attention when he used them. Raymer used a
large, black fossil of what I thought was of fish bones as his card
protector and used a brownish 'seashell' one as just a talisman that
stood beside his chips.

Another question from (unknown - maybe Pokerstars Dan): Can you talk
about how you entered this tournament? Raymer confirmed that he
qualified for it just 2 weeks ago online. He then asked Dan how many
PS had sent to this even and Dan said 316 players won their entry via
Pstars. Reymer then said he was probably number "310 or 312" to
qualify on PS, and that he won the very last "Double Shootout" Tourney
that PS held to get into the WSOP. He said that overall he spent
around $2600 in various satellites to get into the WSOP, which was a
great savings compared to the straight up 10K entry. He then
mentioned that he had a lot of backers (all you on RGP that have a
piece of him- rejoice! And congrats.) and that he would not recommend
for a new player to spend $2600 to try to get in. He then mentioned
that PS's and RGP's own Terrence Chan was one of the backers and asked
him (TC was there) if he figured out what his share was yet. TC said
something like 'two of those' which I took to mean 2 stacks of the
$50,000 bundles (100K!), implying that TC had 2% of Raymer (note that
I am speculating here) then said to TC that they needed to figure out
the tax situation. (Jesus, now that I just typed that out, there must
be some DELERIOUSLY HAPPY RGPers tonight - a mere 2% of Raymer is
100K! Again, congrats to all involved.).

Another question from (unknown): What is your typical life like?
Raymer said that he was a patent attorney for the drug company Pfizr,
and that he had a regular working life - get up, tend to his kid, go to
work, and hang with his wife. He would come home and play poker
online, with some occasional excursions to Foxwoods to play live. He
then told a story about one time when he was playing in a Foxwoods
tourney and his wife was watching. He was involved in a gigantic pot,
and his wife got so nervous that she almost fainted. He then kissed
his wife - nice. Raymer then said that 53o used to be his favorite
hand, but now of course its 88.

Question from (unknown): At what point did you think you could win it
all? Raymer said that he started Saturday and with a field over 2500,
did not think about it at all, just played day-to-day. "So wasn't
there an exact time when you thought you would win?" Raymer: "When my
8s held up!"


That's all for me from the 2004 WSOP. A heartfelt congratulations to
Greg Raymer (and to his RGP backers) and Mike McClain for their
impressive showings at this year's Championship event.


(Again I must reiterate that this is not some journalistic level piece
in terms of accuracy and that it is only the best I could reconstruct
off the top of my head and a few notes. Take with a grain of salt.)

Hell, I enjoyed that so much that I'm going to post an online amateur’s take on busting John Hennigan from the Big One. Here's Mike's story:

I just returned from Las Vegas after having an absolute BLAST playing in my first WSOP. Although I was pretty disappointed after finishing
around 280th place (with the money within sniffing distance), I feel
like I played the absolute best poker I am capable of playing, and
that with a little luck, I could have progressed much further.
Anyway, for those that may be interested, I wanted to share my most
vivid memory of the event---the hand where I busted top pro John

For background, I finished day one around 22k in chips. I had been
all set to take 30k+ with me into day 2, until my AKc was beaten by
A6d. Anyway, after a lousy night of sleep, I was ready to play my
heart out on the second day. My first table of the day wasn't too
scary, although pro David Chiu was sitting two seats to my right. He
was running low on chips, and wasn't really pushing anyone around.
This table broke about 100 minutes into round 7, which was the one and
only 120 minute round of the day. I had a good time at this table,
especially since Phil Hellmuth was sitting at the table right next to
us. I even got to hear him complain about "getting run down twice
after being a 10 to 1 favorite!" Anyway, once the table broke, I made
my way to my new home---which was in the number 2 seat right next to
John Hennigan. "At least he is to my right," was the only positive
thing I could think of as I slunk into my seat. I remembered seeing
that he had a lot of chips at the start of the day, but his stack had
certainly dwindled when I sat down. He looked to only have about 18k
in chips. He certainly wasn't playing like he was afraid of going
broke, though. He was moving chips all over the place, and eventually
doubled up on one of the bigger stacks at the table.

Meanwhile, I was playing super-tight. I had managed to work my way up
to around 29k in chips before moving to my new seat. I didn't play a
single hand in 20 minutes or so, letting John steal my BB once when
everyone folded to him in the SB. I was again in the SB for the last
hand of the level. The dealer barely got the cards in the air before
the break was announced. Everyone was quickly folding and getting out
of their seats. All folded to Hennigan who promptly raised the pot.
I decided that he could have almost anything here, and was likely just
stealing since everyone looked so anxious to leave the table. I
decided that I was going to smooth call him, and then bet out no
matter what flopped. I called with my pocket pair of deuces and then
bet into him after the A-A-5 flop, and he mucked. Take that!

After the break, I folded every hand for two orbits. Finally, sitting
under the gun, I saw aces for the first time in the entire tournament.
What to do!? I knew that the other players knew I was playing
tightly, and that an UTG raise would likely signal an alarm in their
heads, but I didn't want to be beaten by a limper with some flukey
two-pair, plus, I figured that a limp my look even stranger than a
raise, so I decided to make it 2400 to go (300/600 blinds and 100
ante). Everyone was throwing their hands away, and I started to think
"gee, maybe I SHOULD have limped," when the action finally folded
around to John Hennigan. I was in my typical tournament pose,
sunglasses on, hat pulled low with my face in my hands, leaning on the
table. From the corner of my eye, I could see John giving this some
thought. After 30 seconds or so, he looks at me and says "You got
aces, kid?" I didn't move, but I was thinking to myself "man, is it
that obvious? What am I doing wrong?" Before I had time to think
any more about it, John said "Raise!" and made it 6000 more back to
me. At this point, I went into full-fledged WPT acting mode---but I
also had a lot to think about! What to do? What does he have?
Kings? Queens? Jack-four off-suit? Do I push now? What about a
call? Should I reraise? Is he going to see right through me? What
do I do!!?? I tried to look really nervous (which was easy because I
WAS really nervous). I contorted my face a little, and asked John how
much he had behind his raise. He told me "about 20K." At this point,
I began unstacking my chips and counting them down. Somewhere in
there, I just put my head in my hands again and rested on the table.
I carried on for about five minutes, until I was sure that someone was
going to call for a clock any second. I decided that I didn't really
like calling in this spot, and I also thought that a reraise all-in
would be too clear of a signal that I had aces. I decided that I
would reraise, and hope that Hennigan thought I was overplaying Kings
or Queens. FINALLY, I cut out 6k to cover his raise, said "Reraise"
and threw another 7k into the pot. Coming into this hand, I had about
32k in chips, and John had about 28k. I knew that he had put about
1/3 of his stack into this pot, but I was pretty sure he was going to
be able to get away from his hand. Hennigan thought for about 20
seconds, and then said, "I'm all-in," right before taking another pull
from his Miller Lite. No sooner had the "-n" gotten out of his mouth
did I say, "I call," and push all of my chips into the pot. John
quickly turned over his Kings, and immediately flipped over the Aces.
The look of disbelief on his face will stick with me for a long time.
He just kind of grimaced and let out a "uhhhhnnnn." The board was no
help, and Hennigan was out. He shook my hand, and said "good luck,
kid," before walking away from the table.

John is a hell of a player and classy guy. I'm sure he would chew me
up 99.9% of the time. But on this particular day on this particular
hand, the PartyPoker amateur came out on top!

I can't make this shit up. I'm sitting here playing 3.6 in the background and I just saw this back-to-back chat snippets come up at my table:

KumeG: ever since i called party poker to ask them if they set up deals .. i been losing some nice hands
SrBluffALot9: if i send someone 55 on paypal will u send me 50 dolalrs here?

Oh the humanity.

RGP has actually been even worse than usual - every WSOP the postings get more and more inane and troll laden. If not for this blog, I'd have given up searching for the needles in the haystack long ago.

But I love this quote from Daniel Negreanu:

"I've said all along that the "real" players are in the side games. The true greats are players you'll rarely hear of, and for the most part, that's exactly how they prefer it."

Makes sense to me.

I'm ready for the ESPN WSOP poker shows.
Here's the direct link to the entire TV schedule, beginning about a week from today:
ESPN WSOP Broadcasts

I'm sure a few of my geek readers already noticed this massive thread about poker on Slashdot, of all places.
Geeks and Poker?

Dear Lord, here is the most disturbing post in this thread:

My favorite poker-related episode was the one (one of the ones) in which the Enterprise gets caught in a temporal loop. Data, more than the others, experiences deja vu, to the extent that they realize (after several dozen iterations) that they're about to have a destructive, time-ripping encounter with a ship from the past piloted by a late 20th century sitcom star [frasieronline.co.uk].

They eventually find a way for Data (big D) to transmit a small amount of data (little D) to his past self. The data Data sends to Data is the number "3" (IIRC), which shows up in every poker hand Data deals. He realizes that the odd coincidence corresponds to the last thing his previous self saw before being destroyed -- Riker's command pips. He follows Rikers instructions (which had been countermanded by Picard) and the crews of both ships finally emerge from (yet another) temporal distortion.

All off the top of my head. I am such a geek.

Umm, you got that right. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Glazer wrote about Dan Harrington being the top NL tourney player right now and here was his rationale:

I think it's interesting to note that Dan Harrington made more money this year, as one of the runner ups, than he did in 1995 when he won it. Also, the player that came in third matched Moneymaker's win last year and the second place finisher made $1M more than Moneymaker made when he won it. That Dan made two final tables in the largest fields in history may be one of the greatest accomplishments in the WSOP.

Sure as hell can't argue with that. I mean, how freaking big is the WSOP gonna be NEXT year?? The Poker Pundit followed up with this:

let’s face it: unless they raise the buy-in, the WSOP is going to have 6,000 starters next year, maybe 10,000, and at that number, no one has a realistic chance of getting to the final table, even though of course nine players will.

I can't see this without another cap on player participation. Binion's was beyond full capacity for this event, I don't see how they handle next year in that space. Here's the business skinny behind the Binion's sale and the WSOP:

Why not revive the Horseshoe? They should keep the entire WSOP at the
HorseShoe. Is it only temporary if they do?

Because the Horseshoe sale was a three-way deal.

Some Midwestern casino company bought the property and Harrah's is
managing it on what I believe is a two year deal. At the end of the
two years, Harrah's is taking the Horseshoe name to the strip -- and
they own the WSOP. They're moving it to their own property and their
own hotels.

John Harkness

Interesting, I didn't know that.

I've heard noises that the major online sites will collaborate and hold their own event, where they set the rules. Could it be this next item?

Does anyone know about the World Championship of Online Poker? I found a dead thread about it where someone mentioned that it begins July 28th thru August 4th, I believe. Satellites start sometime next week. Of course, I couldn't discover what sites or games are going to be played....I'll write more as I find it...

Again, I'd highly recommend Andy Glazer's and Jesse May's write-ups for the best WSOP coverage. I'm waiting for Jesse’s final column but here is Andy's:
A Nearly Perfect Champ, a Nearly Perfect Rumble; Watch These Nine, and Feel Quite Humble

But while we wait for Jesse’s, please enjoy this interesting commentary from a non-pro-poker writer ala RGP:

WSOP 2004 - The winds of change

This WSOP has been nothing if not extremely curious. I think it also is a
defining moment for the game. I would venture to say that it exposes the
weakness of the "professional" game, something which online players have
suspected for a long time.

Tactically, I would venture to say that WSOP 2004 is to tournament poker
what World War I was to warfare. Prior to WWI, the old style of warfare
pretty much dictated that armies would line up across from each other on
the battlefield in their pretty red and blue uniforms and follow a very
particular rules of combat. Enter the prevalent use of the machine gun in
WWI and suddenly those lines of brightly uniformed troops were suddenly
prime targets to be mowed down. The British and Germans suspected this
beforehand, and their uniforms changed to gray and khaki to blend into the
background. The French stubbornly refused to forsake tradition and their
troops clad in blue coats and red pants were slaughtered.

Likewise the pros' experience in the WSOP. The pros would follow a very
strict method of play. If they were holding AK and the flop came 2-4-6,
they knew their opponent wouldn't likely hold a 3-5 or anything to make a
pair and their hand was still almost certainly the best hand, as long as
prior betting didn't indicate a pocket pair. In 2004, however, those
assumptions are no longer valid, and the pros have paid the price.
Starting hands were much more unpredictable. Betting patterns didn't
follow their brand of logic. Bluffs were not nearly as effective. The
"poor" play of their opponents -- namely the play which didn't follow
their particular rules of engagement -- suddenly became the most
effective method of combat. Some of the pros could maintain their
snobbery, a la the now infamous Annie Duke interview, but their bodies
were carted off the battlefield nonetheless.

This experience is not new. Online players have seen it brewing over the
past several years. The serious players had bought and studied Brunson,
Sklansky, et al, only to find those methods backfire time and time again
by seemingly poorer players. But should they venture to voice that opinion
on RGP or elsewhere, they were roundly ridiculed or at best told that "the
long run" would more than balance the scales. Still, those who became
profitable online learned how to mix "proper" play with the down-and-dirty
street fighting of low limit online games to find a middle path that

Even the Gus Hansens of the professional world must have sniffed the ugly
truth, finding a way to use so-called "wild" aggressive play to completely
befuddle their opponents and dominate the traditionalists. But even Gus
Hansen could not survive the new landscape presented in WSOP 2004.

The message of WSOP 2004 seems clear. The old ways of tradition must give
way to a newer style of play, one which is yet to be articulated, but is
being discovered daily by online players. The fact is, any regimented
approach to competition presents certain weaknesses to be exploited by
those willing to play outside the same rules.

I understand the disparaging of the 'internet players' at the WSOP by the pro's. But they are only now learning the lessons of playing extremely large field events, which many of us are used to and they will adjust to. But PokerBabe over at 2+2 (I lost the damn link) insists the games are far tougher to beat with all the fish. I've always liked The Babe but I respectfully disagree on this point.

I concur with Nate's assessment below:

I was talking about the big name tourney pros dropping like flies and everyone all over the internet (and probably the media too) claiming this is a signal of the new order for poker.

I'm saying no, the tourney pros are indeed great players, the game has not passed them by. There are just many more great players out there than people give credit for. Midlimit vegas games are entirely irrelevant to the discussion but for what it's worth, I think it's funny that all these "pro" 20-40 players can't win anymore because of all the suckouts. Damn that's funny.

And if these new terrible players are playing in a way that the pros must call the river more, maybe they aren't playing so bad eh? In the case of your example, I believe you actually ARE talking about people who have let the game pass them by.

Frankly, the difference is that many of the internet players are better, and the ones who aren't are quickly catching up. The only thing they lack is the experience of live play. The key thing to remember is that many of these internet players have played more NL tourney hands, and more entered more events in the last two years, than guys like Phil have played in their entire lifetimes . The learning curve has been drastically changed, and new players can catch up to, and even pass the older players very very quickly.

But for the famous tourney pros, I think it's just silly to assert they are dinosaurs. It's just that media and many vociferous onliner folks have long under-estimated how many good players are out there that nobody has heard of.

Greg Raymer case in point. do you think he's heading to the final table because Chris Ferguson and Daniel Negreanu and Johnny Chan suddenly forgot how to play, or maybe it's just that he can play too.

I don't know (after all the poker persona hero worship this past year) if some poker professionals don't understand that there are plenty of very good players who DON'T want to be a pro, for whatever reason. Hell, I'm not even comfortable playing the higher limits online - I am very happy to have stayed at 3-6 and 5.10 online all these years, playing against loose, unreadable opponents, even though I could have undoubtedly beaten higher limit, tougher games.

My online poker pro friends don't understand this, but that's cool. Ultimately, it's all a state of mind, isn't it? Allow me to address this just a bit. Am I afraid of online cheating? At the higher stakes, yes. Since the creation of this blog, I've been lucky enough to briefly chat with two CEO's of online poker rooms and all it did was confirm my suspicions.

And I found this perfect nugget of perspective from Patrick O’Malley:

If it makes you feel better doing that, then stick with it. Because the first time you lose, you'll blame it on playing too high or cheating going on. You have to play what you feel comfortable playing at, both due to your bankroll and due to cheating.

I tell people one thing about online poker. Stay away from the biggest game on any site and you'll be pretty safe.

So anyway, did anyone else see the Pokerpages blog during the WSOP? I wasn't impressed, but at least they tried. The Pokerstars final table webcast was kinda cool while it lasted.

I know everyone loves the mud slinging between pro poker players, but this time I'm going to share a nasty spat between poker publishers, Barry Shulman and Mason Malmuth. The father of the fellow who posted this was a 'name' PGA golfer back in the day. From 2+2:

On Tuesday night May 4th I was playing in a super satellite at the Horseshoe; sitting on my left was Barry Shulman, publisher of Card Player Magazine. At one point Casey Kastle came over to speak to Mr. Shulman voicing his concerns on the potential conflicts that occur when players share percentages of their tournament results. Casey had a copy of an article that Mason Malmuth had written for Card Player regarding this problem and asked if he would consider republishing it. After looking at the article Shulman said in no uncertain terms that he would not publish it; he then referred to Mason Malmuth as an "idiot" and a "disgrace to poker". I was somewhat taken aback by his comments due to the fact that he made them in public without regard as to who might hear them. I have known Casey Kastle for a number of years and consider him to be a person of integrity and consider his concerns a problem that few in the tournament poker world are willing to deal with. Shulman seemed less concerned, making the comment that this is a frequent occurrence in professional golf. At that point, I made the comment that this was untrue, and that the PGA tour had expressly forbidden this practice since the 1950's. I do not know Barry Shulman; I have known Mason Malmuth for more than fifteen years and consider him neither an "idiot" nor a "disgrace to poker". For better or for worse, the success of Two Plus Two Publishing has made Mason the object of much professional jealousy from other authors, publishers, and poker players. Barry Shulman's words were poorly chosen, and someone in his position has an obligation to a more reasoned temperament in public.

Mike Souchak


Two Plus Two Publishing LLC has ended our relationship with Card Player magazine and all affiliates of Card Player. We intend to keep this separation permanent.

Best wishes,

Geez, why don't they just play heads up 2k.4k and settle it like men?

Here’s a weird thing that a faithful reader tipped me off to. If you try any blogger URL and misspell blogspot as blogpsot, you get this giant Christian website:

Per a couple of fellow blogger posts about beating loose, nutty games, I thought I’d link up Abdul and his essay entitled
Start Enjoying Loose Games

Personally, Gary Carson’s fine chapters on loose, aggressive games helped me immensely. They are now my favorite type of games to play in, by far.

I suppose it was only a matter of time. It appears as if Howard Lederer is running a fantasy poker camp in September in Vegas. I wonder how many will enroll? It seems a little unclear on what other star power will be present.
Howard Lederer Fantasy Poker Camp

I’ve linked to these guys before – I still think Pauly should invade their home game and give a report. Definitely worth a read - all the Upper West Siders' Trip Reports (including a few choice photos) are up online now at Meat Machine Poker.

Oh my – you won’t wanna miss this: The Mighty Hank at Cards Speak has posted his article about Poker Blogs for ALLIN Magazine. This was a six-page spread – A huge thanks to Hank for taking the time to pimp our humble corner of the Blogosphere.
ALLIN Magazine article

Has anyone but me pre-ordered Doyle Brunson’s Super System 2 book?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the PokerBabe’s write-up of her WSOP experiences. Scroll down to the Main Event.
Poker Babe WSOP Report

Here is an entire list of diary entries from The Hendon Mob at the WSOP.
Hendon Mob

Potential huge news for my local readers. I just thought I'd pass on this email response I received from Belterra in Indiana:

"I am happy to say "yes"! Belterra Casino Resort & Spa currently has plans to add a poker room in the very near future. However at this time I can not give you an exact date. When a date is set, I am sure that it will be well advertised. I would like to thank you for your interest in Belterra, and hope to see you and your guests in the very near future. If I can answer any more questions for you, please fill free to ask.
Thank You,
Table Games Shift Manager
Ralph Wileman

Incidentally, allow me to pass along the blog by the fellow who wrote the Fear and Fetish in Las Vegas Trip Reports that many folks seemed to enjoy.
Loser Variable Blog

This news article was the featured article on MSN’s home page for a day or two. Better posted late than never, I suppose.
Poker Championship Gains Wide Following

Moneymaker was considered "Dead Money" in poker circles, someone destined to lose early. Instead, his Cinderella story is credited with transforming the game.

"He had the single biggest impact on poker history. Period," said Dan Goldman, vice president of marketing for PokerStars.com, an Internet poker site.

Here’s a great piece from CNN.
Road to poker glory through the Internet

Call it the Moneymaker Effect.
For the second straight year, an Internet unknown won the famed World Series of Poker, ravaging a field of professional players on his way to poker glory and riches.
Greg "Fossilman" Raymer, a patent lawyer from Stonington, Conn., earned a spot in the 35th annual No-Limit Texas Hold'Em event after winning a $150 satellite tournament on PokerStars.com.

Not sure what to make of this New York Times article about Paradise Poker.
The full article can be found here.

Federal law enforcement officials routinely seize money they suspect is
connected to activities like money laundering, terrorism or drug smuggling.
But in early April, United States marshals seized $3.2 million from
Discovery Communications, the television and media company, in an aggressive
effort to crack down on a new target, Internet gambling.

The money initially belonged to Tropical Paradise, a Costa Rica-based
Internet casino operation, which in October paid Discovery for television
spots to advertise an online poker room, ParadisePoker.com. According to
court documents, the government seized the money and told Discovery, which
is based in Silver Spring, Md., that it could be party to an illegal
activity by broadcasting such advertisements.

Federal prosecutors contend that online gambling sites are illegal, but the
offshore casinos fall outside their jurisdiction. So for nearly a year, the
government has been trying to curb the sites' activities by investigating
and pressuring American companies that provide services to offshore gambling
sites on the theory that they are "aiding and abetting" the operations.

Well now, that certainly ought to help curtail workplace production tomorrow. And that’s what I’m here for, after all. I hope there’s enough content here to satiate even the most voracious of my readers. Again, this blog takes a ton of work – I hope someone takes pity on me and actually signs up on PartyPoker or Empire Poker to support my humble efforts.

And yes, I have new poker blogs, God bless them. What kind of post would this be without new poker blogs? A crappy one, that’s what.

89TJ is a British player who uses terms that I absolutely love, like tits up, wanker and git. Looking forward to reading more new stuff from him.
Double Through
Another online poker blogger: Trying to make money and escape from an ocean of debt through low-stakes online poker.

Spooners Poker Table

a brief introduction: as of june 01, 2004 i am going to be playing online poker (via partypoker.com) with the goal to make $25,000 by june 01, 2005.

i will write about all my outings, and i will provide visual proof of my banking via screen shots of my deposit/withdraw screen as viewed on party poker.

i got this idea because because quite frankly, i am sick of listening to idiot bosses tell me what to do while i am at work. i am sick of giving up my nights and weekends, and most importantly, i am sick of working 9 hours for $6.75 an hour when i could work 1 hour and make $50.

Egads, the three banner ads at the top of the page are garish, but he posts plenty of hand histories for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing:
Joe’s Poker Corner

Poker Distraction is written by Roberto and I got a chuckle at his rant about Ohio State standout, Maurice Clarett.
Poker, Sports and South Florida

Maurice Clarett is a fucking moron. I'm so glad he got defeated in his court battle. Not only is he not good enough for the NFL, but he's a dipshit. He's got classic dumbass-"student"-athlete syndrome. I hope he has his eligibility stripped by the NCAA and he's forced to actually attend school like a normal student, or go play "professionally" in Canada for chump change. Fucking moron... wake up and see the opportunity you've blown. Jackass.

And last, but certainly not least, this guy has been posting all over RGP under the name Poker Blog Dude and deserves a link:
Poker Blog Dude

It has been said that "experience is the best teacher". And yes, the great no-limit players of the past got to be as good as they were because of years and years of hands on experience. The great thing about online poker is that it can shrink all of those years into months. That's because on the internet, you can play multiple games and play anytime of the day without leaving the house. My estimate is that with dedication an obsessed internet player can shrink as much as 6 years of experience into six months.

I'm going to update the links on the right to reflect the latest and greatest in the poker blog scene. I'd encourage anyone working right now to read the fine writing over there. You won't regret it.

And that oughta do it. One more Guinness-fueled uber-post into the archives. I can’t believe I’m still writing this damn thing. Most of the time I’m ecstatic that I have readers and am happy to post but a lot of the time I realize that this poker blog has taken on a life of it’s own, far away from actually PLAYING poker and I wonder if it’s worth it.

So in the interest of any current Party Poker players wanting to sign up on Empire with bonus code IGGY1, allow me to offer this simple Q&A from our fine friends at FreeShell.

I have seen a lot of questions about party poker and it's skins. Here is some information that can answer most of those questions.

Q. Are Party Poker and Empire Poker the Same?

A. Yes, same players same everything. Although the multi-table tournaments are different.

Q. Who owns Party Poker and Empire Poker?

A. Party Poker and Empire poker were both created by IGlobalMedia. However, they are owned seperately. Empire Poker is owned by a gentleman in Sweden.

Q. Where is the customer service located?

A. Customer service used to be contracted out to a company in Costa Rica. To lower costs they moved it back to India. Party Poker was started in India, technical support was always in india, so they thought it was best to move all operations back to India.

Q. When I cashout from Party Poker what bank issues the checks?

A. That answer really depends. Party poker has accounts with several banks. These Banks are, Bank of America, Colonial Bank, and Union planters bank. If you are doing a cashout by regular mail, it is usually drawn on Bank Of America. If you are doing the cashout by FED-EX the checks are usually drawn on either Union Planters Bank, or Colonial Bank. All of these accounts originate in Miami, Florida and use a seperate company as the bearer for the checks. The FED-EX checks come from Gibraltar.

Q. Can I have more then one account at Party Poker?

A. Yes and no. You can have two accounts, only if the accounts have different first names and date of births. You also cannot play on the same table with both accounts.

Q. But it can be the same address at Party?

A. If you filled in all of the personal information correctly you will not be hearing from them. However, they do call and verify every single account. If the phone number you entered is a fake they will email you and tell you to call them. If you fail to contact them, they will lock your account.

Q. How safe is it for me to play on Party Poker?

A. The answer to this question is not cut and dry. Party poker uses 128 bit encyption, so your computer is safe. However there are other issues that make party poker not the safest place to play. First and foremost, they have the most laidback all in and collusion policy of any online site. They say they investigate all in abuse, but they rarely take action. Furthermore, many people collude on party poker and go both undetected and unnoticed. You can complain if you think someone is cheating. However, bottom line is nothing will be done in most cases. They will usually send you some scripted response saying that the player in question has been warned. Party poker really only cares about their bottom line, which is the rake.

Q: But it can be the same address?

ie: i sign up as Sam with credit card #1 and use 12/25/50 as bday.

sign up #2 as sammy with credit card #2 (but both credit cards are Sam) and use 7/4/65 as bday.

Is that ok?

A: Same address should not matter. Also they have no way of looking up the cardholders date of birth. However, you cannot use the same credit card for two accounts. One card per account.

More then one person can live in a household, so as long as the two accounts are for two separate people it won't be a problem.

So if you are a current Party player, but have ever wanted to help this humble poker blog out, you can now sign up on Empire with Bonus Code IGGY1 by signing your wife, mom or brother up - just write support and tell them what you are doing to get the registry crap lifted.

Thanks again for reading this feeble post.

Link of the Day:
Hail Maury Full of Grace
On July 28, 2002, Ryan MacMichael wrote about talk show Maury Povich. Fed by poor reading skills and pathetic desperation, 300 people have decided that he is Maury, standing by to answer their prayers.

All Content Copyright Iggy 2003-2007
Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.

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