Sunday, June 13, 2004

"A card player should learn that once the money is in the pot, it isn't his any longer."
Herbert Yardley

Thanks for stopping by this humble poker blog. Allow me to complete my abbreviated post from yesterday – I don’t have much in the way of commentary today, but hopefully there is some interesting fodder here for you. Scroll down to yesterday's post for the Shiana Hiatt outtakes video. Also, cat update: Monty has improved but it's still day to day.

Anyway, I’m still plugging away here, hoping to make this a decent post. Tomorrow is a work day, after all, and I wanted to give my faithful readers a chance to slack off.

So let's get right to it, shall we?

I'm quite sure you all know about the new update at Party:

- Multi Table Sit & Goes
- Life Line for disconnections
- Late Registrations for tourneys

Here’s the web page for the skinny on the new Bad Beat Jackpot.

I found this excellent Trip Report of the new Party SNG’s from RGP veteran, Linda Sherman. This is pretty damn long but it’s very comprehensive and worth the repost:


[Standard disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any poker site--I just play at them.]

Party Poker has just added a few new features, including three-table,
30-handed sit-and-gos. I decided to play in one $30+3 NLHE 3-table just
to try it out. I finished 4th despite mostly rough cards, for a $135
payout and a $102 profit. Flushed with success, I entered another
$30+3, got no cards and no breaks at all, and went out in 15th when I
raised all-in with ATs and got called by AJo. I decided to try one more
time and finished 7th when I semibluffed a pot-sized all-in bet with my
straight draw (76 in hand, 853 on board) and got called by an 87. I
think the moral of the story here is that I probably shouldn't try so
hard to run Party Poker players off a pot.


To register, you can either click on the register button in the main
lobby, or you can go to the tournament lobby and click register. In
either case, you will automatically be seated just before the tournament
starts. Seat assignment appears to be random.

Currently, the only buy-ins offered are $20+2 and $30+3, and the only
games are limit, no-limit, and pot-limit hold'em.

The prize structure is fairly typical of online multis: 30-25-20-15-10.

The game starts with three tables of 10 players each. Each player
receives T1000. The blinds go up every 10 minutes at reasonable
increments. I believe it's the same schedule used in their regular
multis, but I haven't double-checked that. There's a 5-minute break
afer the first hour, and also after the second hour if it goes that long.


Overall, I liked these little tournaments. I vastly prefer them to
Party's single-table SnG's where the blinds go up too fast (every 10
hands instead of every 10 minutes--in the late stages when you're
short-handed, this makes a huge difference). The software has a few
problems (see below) but nothing major. Also, you get T1000 for your
$20 or $30 entry--in the single-tables, you get only T800 unless you
play $50 or higher.

I also liked the structure better than Poker Stars 2-table games. It
takes about the same length of time to finish, maybe slightly longer,
without much loss of "play". The Stars 2-table games start with T1500
and seem to drag too much at the beginning.

For NL, I found the blind schedule to be satisfactory. There's plenty
of play in the middle to early-late rounds, so you don't have to go
all-in on every friggin hand, and smaller stacks have a chance. I
haven't tried the PL or limit tables yet, so I have no opinion on how
well the blind structure suits those games.

The tournament lobby screen is basically the same for the scheduled
multis, and has some of the same design issues. Button movement and pot
leveling bugs that used to afflict the multis appear to have been fixed,
but I haven't played enough hands to be sure. The dead button rule is used.

As far as the qualify of the opposition, it's Party. The typical
line-up seems to be 2-3 genuine sharks, a handful of weak-tight
break-even types, and the rest typical PartyFish. Standard tournament
survival strategy works best: play tight early, start attacking in the
middle rounds, and fire with all barrels at the end. If you're a
winning player in the single-table SnGs, you should be able to clean up
in these three-table games, although you will have to make some
adjustments, including playing tighter in the early rounds. The
variance is also going to be higher because only the top 1/6 rather than
top 1/3 spots pay, so you'll need more bankroll than for the
single-table SnGs.


It goes without saying that New Feature + Party Programmers = Bugs. And
not surprisingly, some old bugs are still with us. None appear to be
showstoppers, but they are all annoying as hell and need to be fixed.

Bug #1: In the main lobby, the list of games with "waiting" status
doesn't always update correctly. It lists games as "waiting for
players" that have long since started. This is not the old slow lobby
update problem, but some problem with the local list in the client not
getting cleared before it is updated from the main server. If you click
on the page for some other type of game then come back to the multi
sit-and-go page, the list will update correctly.

Bug #2: The tournament lobby screen doesn't always update either. For
example, at one point we were down to 7 on one table and 6 on the other,
and it was still showing 10+10 on my computer. After I left the
tournament lobby window in the foreground for a few seconds, it finally

The rest are old ones that I believe the scheduled multis also have (I
rarely play Party's scheduled multis any more):

Bug #3: At the start of the final table, a "Congratulations Players"
banner comes up and stays up until someone is knocked out. It
interferes with the view of the table and should disappear when the
first hand is dealt. Better yet, get rid of the stupid thing entirely.
We know we've made the final table, thank you, and since only 5 places
pay, not 10 like in most multis, it's not really a big deal to make the
final 10.

Bug #4: The server waits one hand too long to combine tables. For
example, if it's down to 6+5 and a player gets knocked out at either
table, the system goes ahead and starts another hand if the other table
is still playing. The correct behavior would be to wait until the other
table is finished and then combine the tables (UB and PS get it right.,
as do most onland TD's).

Bug #5: The option to disable the Congratulations messages in the chat
window doesn't work.

Bug #6: The five-minute break isn't always a full five minutes.


There are some things Party could do to make these tournaments a little
more user-friendly. I suspect the Multis have some of the same issues.
The software basically looks like the Multis except that there's no
scheduled starting time and the number of players is limited to 30.

Ugliness #1: The blind schedule is nowhere to be found in the tournament
lobby. It would be nice to have a button that pops it up in a separate
floating window. A link to the rules page would also be handy.

Ugliness #2: How hard is it to display the current chip counts and
position for all active players when there are only 30 to start with?

Ugliness #3: There are only five places paid, but you have to click on
the "More payouts" button to see the whole list. If the programmers
would remove the button, they'd have enough room to list all five
payouts on the lobby screen.

Ugliness #4: No time bank. I really don't think Stars has a patent on
this. Why other sites don't implement this feature is a mystery to me.
It's not that tough. I'd hate to lose out on a big pot because my ISP
or wifi router picked that moment to expel intestinal gas.


I'd rate these new 3-table SnGs 7 out of 10. Party needs to address the
Bad and Ugly issues to get the rating up. I'd also like to see them add
$50 and $100 games in the near future, as $30 is a little low for me. I
wouldn't mind seeing Stud, Stud H/L, and PL Omaha, and Omaha Hi/Lo either.

I suspect these little tournaments will be a big hit once players find
them and get used to the idea. They'll probably hurt the single-table
SnGs, because the 3-tables are much better structured. I know I'll be
playing more of the 3-tables and fewer of the single-table games,
especially if they add a $50 or $100 buy-in.

Here is an addendum to her post:

Just an update. About 30 seconds after I sent this to Party (I CC'ed
the original message), I got a phone call from one of their support
people, who went through each issue point by point. We didn't agree on
everything, but he did say he would pass the email along to the
technical people and management.

His explanation of one item was interesting:

> Ugliness #2: How hard is it to display the current chip counts and
> position for all active players when there are only 30 to start with?

He said that they deliberately don't do this, one reason being because
they feel that players who are short-stacked will get discouraged and
just throw their chips off if they see that they are at the bottom of
the list.

I think a lot of players do this anyway. What does everyone else think?

Sure, some do, but I disagree with Party on this. Of course, I haven’t delved into these tourneys yet, but most certainly will. My buddy, GMoney, finished second in one and reported that it took about two hours.

I see that some bloggers enjoy the bizarre and esoteric search referrals for their respective sites. And sure, I get a few, but I thought I’d share this odd link from LowGradePanic who posted this:

I need a word describing an irrational fear of web tools, sites, archives, etc. shutting down and disappearing. Also, let me know if you have this condition and what things on the web bring it out in you...for me, it's deli, Amazon wishlists and other Amazon lists, My Movies at IMDB, fitday, various archived message boards, etc.

Yup, I (Guinness and Poker) am the 'etc' link. Sure, it’s wonderful to be lumped into uber-brands like Amazon and IMDB, but damn, all I could merit was an “etc?” Ouch, I guess I won't be selling IGGY pogs anytime soon.

A news story last week about the WSOP had one Harrah's exec predicting 7500+ entrants in the 2005 WSOP, this story released earlier in the week is a "bit" more reasonable.

Continuing the personality types and poker is this compelling column:
Is There an Optimal Poker Personality Profile?

What’s the most valuable personality trait for the winning poker player? Is it patience? Discipline? Imagination? Reason? I believe the strongest poker skill (really more of an innate attribute) to have is the ability to self-examine your play in a rigorous, continual, ongoing way. I also believe that specific personality types are more likely to do this effortlessly.

Felicia graciously pointed out this interesting thread at 2+2, entitled Poker and Personality. I personally feel that Dr. Dan is over-simplifying things – as much as I enjoy the Myers-Briggs insights, it’s far too easy to generalize these things for a game such as poker, imho. So here are a few of my favorite snippets from the discussion. First up, a question and a response:

"A suitable personality may be necessary or very desirable for a great poker player, but it is no substitute for talent."

Could you please explain this to me? I thought having a suitable personality was the thing considered having talent for poker. What do you define as being talented for poker?


An NFL cornerback needs nerves of steel, physical courage, mental toughness, and the ability to perform at peak ability only moments after being humiliated in front of millions of people.

He also needs to run really, really fast.

No amount of psychological gifts can enable a slow cornerback to succeed. If you don't have talent, nothing else matters.

Same for a poker player. If you aren't smart in the right ways you will never be one of the best. Your personality may allow you to work hard on your game, realize your full potential, and always play your best. Still you may find that your best is not as good as someone else's best. Even someone else with a decidedly less useful personality. It happens everyday in every walk of life.

Please don't let me discourage you. Poker talent can't be measured with a stopwatch. If you think you have what it takes and you want it, then go for it. You won't know unless you try. Not trying would be to exhibit a very bad personality trait that no amount of talent can overcome.

I also concur with the PokerBlogDude:

I think the ideal poker personality is the flexible personality.

Someone who can easily shift from being an extrovert to being an introvert
and back again. Johnny Chan has admitted that if he weren't a poker
player, that he would make a great salesman. Chip Reese WAS a great
salesman. Doyle Brunson too. In other words, these guys are comfortable in
social situations as well as being alone inside their own heads analyzing
their thought processes.

The player with the ideal personality has the flexibility to look at the
big picture but at the same time is also good at looking at the fine
details. He also knows how to be perceptive and zen like. But he is also a
good analyst. JMO.

Lotsa great stuff to consider in this discussion. For me, one of the most important rules an aspiring poker player must take to heart is: Know Thine Self.

Ok, where was I. Oh yes, I have a tip I’m loathe to give out, but hell, I give this all away for free anyway, what can it possibly hurt? Check
Pacific Poker for their $10K guaranteed nightly tournaments. A paltry $15+1.50 buy-in (you could play this six times with the free bonus) and a nice-sized overlay because not only does
Pacificr lose money each time, but the players are just as bad as Party. Even Chicago Phil didn’t want to say anything about the nightly PL tournament he’s currently crushing there.

Wow, you know that Poker Has Arrived when it gets a nice article in The Economist.
A chip and a chair

Unlike blackjack or baccarat, poker has traditionally been a private game. Casinos have shied away from it because it tends to be less profitable: people play each other, not against the house (which tends to take a cut of each pot or an hourly fee for the table and dealer). In London, a city full of casinos, until recently there was only one poker room, and the game seemed somewhere between moribund and underground. But now things are picking up. In April a new venue called Gutshot, dedicated exclusively to poker, opened in Clerkenwell, a newly fashionable London district near the City. This is just one sign of the game's renaissance, fuelled by a proliferation of games on the internet and by television shows like the Bravo Channel's “Celebrity Poker Challenge”.

Did anyone else see this goofball trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for playing poker?
Trying to set a poker playing record

We have all heard about all night poker games before, but one man is taking it to the extreme. He's at Foxwoods trying to break the world record for the longest casino poker session. Larry Olmsted is anteing up an awesome task; play poker non-stop for 72 hours. If he bets right, he'll cash his chips in the Guinness Book of World Records.

What's next, what's next... Oh yeah – here’s an interesting tale that dragged on and on for days on RGP. A fellow by the name of Paul Wolfe won a WSOP seat through PokerStars. He claimed the PokerStars stipulation that he wear PokerStars clothing was illegal and he couldn’t be held to the terms because he had no clue about the rules before having won said seat, and secondly, he never signed a damn thing. He then insinuated that Stars shut down his account and confiscated his funds and thus, he started “waging war” on them in RGP.

Here is Dan Goldman, from PokerStars and his response to the madness:

Subject: The full story about Paul Wolfe and PokerStars

From: Dan Goldman/PokerStars (anonymous@pokerstars.com)

As happens so often in these cases, the facts surrounding the situation
with Paul Wolfe have been carefully crafted to support his argument. Here
are the events as they happened, in the order in which they happened:

1. On April 5, Paul played in a $615+35 satellite in which he won a WSOP
package. This package included the $10k seat, $1k cash (out of the prize
pool) and 8 nights' accommodations (paid by PokerStars). Subsequent to
his win, Paul was sent an email from Lee Jones that included the terms and
conditions – here is an excerpt of what he received:

* You will be required to sign a copy of the Terms and Conditions under
which you originally won your seat. You can see it at:


[Note that the T&C that we asked players to sign was IDENTICAL to what
appeared on the site. These terms and conditions were also posted on the
web site beginning the day we announced the WSOP satellites, and there was a link to them in the tournament lobby.]

2. The last week in April, while at the WSOP, Rich Korbin and I
independently discussed some sponsorship opportunities with Paul
(unrelated to the main event – this had to do with the other televised
WSOP events), but were unable to come to terms. Subsequently, Paul signed
a sponsorship agreement with Full Tilt Poker.

3. On or about May 18, Paul asked me about his WSOP ticket, and I
reminded him that he needed to sign the T&Cs. He told me that he wasn't
going to sign because he was now employed by Full Tilt Poker. For the
record, Paul also mentioned that he was completely unaware of the T&Cs.
However, since (a) they are on the site and there is a link in the
tournament lobby, (b) Lee emailed Paul a link, and (c) Paul is a regular
reader here (where there were numerous discussions of the topic), I found
this hard to believe, and told him so.

4. On May 20, I reminded Paul that he needed to sign the T&Cs once again.
I suggested to him in very clear terms that he had agreed to this when he
played in the satellite, and told him, if he didn't comply, that his
PokerStars account would be suspended. I suggested as an alternative that
we could un-register him, credit his PokerStars account with $10,000 in
W$s and he could buy himself into the WSOP. (He would also have to pay
for his own hotel room, of course.)

5. Later that day, I also suggested that Full Tilt might buy out Paul’s
WSOP entry. Paul told me that he would discuss this possibility with
Howard Lederer and get back to me. At no point did I suggest that we
would confiscate funds from his account, although I did tell him that his
account would be closed if we could not resolve these issues.

That was the last I heard from Paul on this topic (and just for the record
- Paul has my cell number, and so could have easily found me). Since he
never got back to us, our assumption was that he simply chose to not sign
the T&Cs, and we took the action we told him we would take (closing his

6. Subsequent to these events, Paul subjected me to an obscenity-filled
tirade in the hall outside the WSOP. Among his comments, he promised
retribution, a threat he repeated during several subsequent cellphone
calls to me (specifically, he said “I will **** you and **** PokerStars at
every opportunity I get”). He then approached at least 3 PokerStars
players, attempting to get them to breach their agreement with PokerStars
and sign with Full Tilt Poker. I was later told that Paul had no
authority to act on Full Tilt’s behalf on this or any other matter. For
the record, we have no complaint with Full Tilt on any of this – they
were, as far as I know, unaware of any of this.

7. Regarding Paul’s hotel room – we are still looking into this. Paul’s
room was on our master account at the Golden Nugget; however, since he was
already staying there prior to the WSOP main event, and stayed in the same
room, it’s possible that we double-paid this (that is, that he paid on his
credit card and we also paid for the room on our master account).

8. Regarding Paul's account being frozen - without good cause (like
proven cases of collusion, when funds may be seized and redistributed to
other players), we have never confiscated player funds, and we didn't in
this case, either. Paul transferred most of the remaining funds out of
his account on May 21, leaving a very small balance (under $50). He wrote
to PokerStars management a few days ago inquiring about this small
balance. We offered to transfer this balance to any of his friends’
accounts. There was absolutely no indication that his money will be
frozen. Interestingly enough, this was before he posted on RGP. So he knew
his balance had not been confiscated, yet he implied in his posts that it

Things like this are rarely as they appear when viewed from just one side.
Most of you have worked with PokerStars in one way or another, and you
know that we don't act capriciously. PokerStars spent close to $500,000
on the WSOP (and sent over $3 million out of the PokerStars economy into
the WSOP), and in return we asked our players to wear our apparel – this
promotional opportunity is our real equity in offering WSOP satellites.
The vast majority of players had no problem with this, but Paul thought he
could get away without complying with the terms to which he agreed, and
without accepting any of the compromises we suggested. We took what I
believed at the time, and still believe, were reasonable and correct
actions to deal with this situation - we simply told Paul after he refused
to honor his obligations that he was not welcome to play on PokerStars.

PokerStars has hosted 5 events like this in the past 18 months - the
Aussie Millions, the 2003 and 2004 WSOP, the PokerStars Caribbean
Adventure and the 2004 World Poker Tour Championship. Players who have
participated in these events can attest to the first-class treatment they
received at these events (parties, dinners, great PokerStars gear and
more). We have always treated our players well and fairly, and expect the
same in return.


Dan Goldman
Vice President of Marketing

Of course, I always enjoy Gary Carson’s cranky two cents:

That's the mindset of the typical regular big buyin tournament player. They live in an insular world, playing with their buddies, swapping loans, and taking care of each other. They think they are poker.

Just look at what Paul Wolfe keeps repeating -- that everyone in the poker
world thinks he's an honest standup guy.

Guess what. I don't have to play in tournaments to be part of the poker world. And, Poker Stars is part of the poker world also.

But, that's not Paul Wolfe's world.

And last but not least, one of the fine lawyers of RGP posted his analysis on his website, Gambling & Law

I reach the conclusion that, while PokerStars was sloppy in keeping
its click-wraps sharp, Paul's actions are not legally defensible.
Chuck Humphrey

I just saw the PokerHermit’s cartoon. Too freaking funny and clever. It appears as if Pauly, The Penguin, CardsSpeak, Grubby, the Hermit and I are all immortalized in this cartoon. I hope you don’t mind my posting this here, Mr. Hermit, I just wanted to show your fine work.

Click here to see the photo.

Damn, I'm gonna frame that. Brilliant!

Alrighty then, I have TEN new poker blogs to point out. Amazing. I can barely keep up with the damn status quo and here we have many more quality writers joining our ranks. But because I wanna play some poker tonight, I’m going to wait to blog the new fellers in my next post. Otherwise, I’d be writing till midnight on this evil modem, which I already do far too often, anyway. As I’ve said before, this blog has become its own hobby, distinct from actually playing poker. But hey, I'm thankful and surprised that I have ANY readers. This whole poker blog scene sure has came a long, long way, hasn't it?

And finally and ONLY because the Hermit reminded me: ;)

Please consider using bonus code IGGY for signing up on Party Poker as a way of supporting this albatross poker blog. For Empire, please use bonus code IGGY1.

Thanks for reading.

Link of the Day:
Iraq Your Brain
Chris Bowers has some bad news for all Americans: "You don't know shit about Iraq. In fact, you don't even know how much shit there is about Iraq that you don't know."

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Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.

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