Monday, July 05, 2004

Damnit, this is awful news.
I kept hoping it wasn't true but it seems that it is.

Enough legit RGP posters have confirmed that Andy Glazer, the Poker Pundit, and the best poker tournament writer out there - hands down, has passed away. :(

My regular readers know that I am a huge fan.

Over the years, I loved receiving Andy's massive WSOP tournament missives in my email or online. In fact, Andy was truly the inspiration behind my 'destroying workplace production' uber posts because he had that effect upon me.

Here is the sad announcement, along with an address for cards below. Following that is Andy's last post at Finaltablepoker.com.


On Mon, 05 Jul 2004 11:16:41 -0500, NutNoPair@aol.com wrote:

>Andy Glazer died yesterday, July 4 2004, from some complications that
>included a blood clot.
>Andy was a great friend of most in the poker community, and a champion
>of poker in the media. his tournament reports were very well written
>and read by many. he will be sorely missed.
>Andy's funeral will be thursday, July 8, on Long Island NY.
>i do not know how to send condolences to his family but perhaps
>someone else closer to the situation will be able to write that.
>that is all the info that i have.
>wherever you go, there you are...

here is some more information.
(i posted this in the initial thread also, and reposted it here to
make it easier to find.)

there will be a memorial service for Andy held on
Thursday, July 8
at the Wandy Memorial Chapel,
1841 New York Avenue,
Huntington , N.Y.
at 12:30 PM.
Guests will start arriving at 11:30 AM.

Immediately following the service will be a motor procession to
New Montifiore Cemetary
in West Babylon, N.Y.

After the burial, friends will be invited back to the
Garden City Hotel where his sister will have a suite so that mourners can reflect on the passing.

Condolence cards can be sent to Andy's sister Donna Hall.
her address is;

Mr. and Mrs. Ken Hall
5 Serendipity Way
Atlanta, Ga. 30350.


greatbrit (xxxpwestleyxxx@pacbell.net) Sent: Jul 5 2004 9:22PM

Stunned doesn't even come close to describing how I feel, Andy was
emailing us with his latest article just three days ago, and now he's
gone. Like all of us I've known Andy for years as a dedicated
ambassador to poker, always taking excruciating care to make sure his
articles and reports could be the best they could be. His fight for
honesty and integrity in poker is unmatched, up until the very end he
was heavily involved in trying to take poker to the highest levels. I
had much correspondence with Andy because of his connection with
finaltablepoker.com, and he had just started writing "Friday Night
Poker" for us. His second, and devastatingly his last, article shows
just how much he cared about the game, talking about his outrage with
the unfairness he saw at the last tournament he covered, in Ireland.
The last laugh is on us of course because Andy was too upset to go into
detail of what happened (hopefully others here can enlighten us more in
another thread, I know some of what happened) and so left us dangling
with a teaser saying he would explain it all in his next column.

For those of you already registered at http://www.finaltablepoker.com
you can just go there and read it, along with all his other articles and
WSOP reports in the archives. If not, and if you don't want to register
(name and email are required) here is the last article ever written by
Andrew N.S. Glazer, "The Poker Pundit", R.I.P. :

Poker is a Card Game
posted by Andrew N.S. Glazer, “The Poker Pundit”
July 02, 2004
Friday Night Poker No. 2

Editor’s Note:

I’m recently returned from Ireland, where I had intended to cover a
tournament called the “Gaming Club World Poker Championship.” It should
have been called “The World Poker Joke.” Later, I’m going to write a
separate article about why I decided to write nothing about the
particulars of this tournament (e.g., who won), despite the expense of
getting there (I went to write, not to play); for now, let me just say
that with the exception of outright theft or certain forms of cheating,
practically everything that could be wrong with a tournament was wrong
here. The details will follow within a week or two.

I mention it now for two reasons. First, I’m still so incensed by what I
saw and learned that I want to make sure I’ve calmed down sufficiently
before I name names (and I will say that not every name involved was
guilty). Second, I was so shocked by what I saw that I thought it
imperative to urge my readers to take certain steps before attending:
when a new group puts on a new tournament, ask every question you can
think of. Assume nothing. If you get an answer that seems vague, you
should press for a clear answer. Many, probably most, new tournaments
will be worth attending, but before you ante up big travel money to
attend one, let alone big entry fee money, get assurances you’d never
think to require from most established tournaments.

Poker is growing very quickly, for many good reasons, and with growth
comes growing pains. The Dublin tournament virtually redefined growing
pains (Ireland, by the way, is a lovely country: none of my objections
had anything to do with the country or city in which the event was
held). In the human body, the fastest form of growth is a cancer, and it
takes radical steps like surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy to rid the
body of it.

I feel badly for a few good people who were associated with this
horrific event, and who appeared to have no control over the mistakes,
but there are others whose names will be stained, and deservedly so, for
the rest of their poker lives.

As an aside, you may or may not know that earlier this year, I took, for
about three months, a consulting position with PartyPoker.com (once
before I had also held a consulting position with a different online
cardroom). Although the reason I’m about to state isn’t the ONLY reason
I decided to resign at the end of March, it was the main one, and events
like what I have just seen have made me terribly glad I left. Even
though, I left that to go to PartyPoker.com and then left a six-figure
part-time position there, I decided I couldn’t sit on both sides of the
fence. I couldn’t be a journalist analyzing this industry while I was
also sucking at the industry’s teat. While PartyPoker.com of course had
zero to do with the Ireland tournament, the events I witnessed there
left me feeling better about my moral stance than I have rarely felt.

There’s nothing immoral about working for a cardroom, but I finally
decided I couldn’t have my cake and eat it too (despite what my growing
waistline seems to indicate). I’m a writer, and will of course write for
publications and websites that take ads; those that don’t take ads don’t
get many readers. I just don’t think it’s possible to be honest and
straightforward about the industry if the industry is paying the bulk of
your bills, and I’ve just had a very good demonstration of why that’s
true (“attacking” a rival cardroom’s tournament wouldn’t seem very
sporting if I were working for a rival).

Enough editorializing for now: let’s talk poker.

Andy Glazer, Editor
Friday Night Poker



By Andrew N.S. Glazer, “The Poker Pundit”

“Wow,” you must be thinking. “Poker is a card game, that’s big news.
Glazer must have tilted a few too many pints in Ireland.”

In point of fact, I tilted not a single pint in Ireland. This article’s
title stems from what you’ll see below in the Advanced article, entitled
“Poker is a People Game.” No, I’m not going to pull out that old Certs™
television ad that said “Certs is a candy mint…no, Certs is a breath
mint…no, Certs is two, two mints in one.”

I’m not going to do that because even though it’s clear from the two
titles that I believe an ability to play cards and an ability to judge
people are both important in poker, there’s poker, and then there’s
POKER. (The use of capital letters is shorthand for “high stakes.”)

When played at the level that most beginners and intermediates play –
and that should be reasonably low stakes, unless you’re so rich you just
don’t care about the money and want the excitement of playing with the
best – most of the quite excellent material that has been written about
poker psychology is a complete waste of your time.

“You’re sure about those pints, Andy? ‘Quite excellent’ material is a
waste of time? Is this your oxymoron column?”

The answers to those questions are, in order, yes, yes, and no.

Advanced players are often heard complaining that they can’t figure out
what a beginner is thinking because the beginner doesn’t know what’s
he’s thinking himself (if indeed he is thinking at all). One of the
reasons why the Sklansky-Malmuth line of books are considered poker
bibles by so many players is that (picking whatever arbitrary percentage
you want – let’s say 90%, and I won’t argue if you want to say 80%) the
overwhelming majority of players, some 90%, are not advanced players, no
matter what they think, and no matter how good their results are in
their private games, where they may win frequently, but only because
their opponents are weak.

I ain’t bragging from my perch on Mt. Olympus. That’s exactly the
category I was in when I lived in Atlanta and did well for a period of
years in private games. I thought I was the bee’s knees (or as
“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” author Douglas Adams would have said,
“the wasp’s nipples”), and only when I moved to California and started
playing against truly tough players did I start to realize how much more
I had to learn. This doesn’t mean someone who doesn’t live in a poker
hotbed can’t be a star – Josh Arieh just proved that – but I certainly
wasn’t, and neither are most of the “local heroes.”

If you have lofty poker goals, there’s nothing at all wrong, and indeed
much right, in going ahead and trying to learn poker psychology – what
kind of player is this, why might he be doing that, what are his
motivations for playing, and more – but you risk major trouble if you
try to incorporate such approaches into your $3-$6 game (or these days
perhaps even in your $10-$20 game, because so many new players are
jumping into higher stakes games).

The flat-out reality is that plain old boring ABC poker WILL get the
money at most lower stakes games. The brilliantly set-up bluff that
might well have bought you a $1,600 pot in a big game will almost
certainly lose you a $40 pot in a $2-$4 game, because while players at
that level may consider the possibility that you are bluffing
(especially if you have already lost a ton of money by bluffing far too
often), they are just, on average, too unwilling to let a pot go.

If you want to win at low stakes limit poker, you virtually must play
almost exactly the opposite of how you see high stakes no-limit players
going at it on television. You play very few hands from early position
and many more from late position. If you’re playing a flop game like
hold’em or Omaha, your hand had better have fit the flop unless you
started out with a monster (and even that’s not true in Omaha, where you
can safely fold As-Ah-Js-10h if the flop comes 7c-6d-2h).

It might feel awful, or at least boring, to play ABC poker, but Fancy
Dan moves just won’t work at lower stakes (such a move will work
occasionally, but certainly not nearly enough to pay for a collection of
such moves in the long run), in part because most of your opponents are
paying little attention to you or your cards, and in part because most
beginning players would rather stick their fingers into burning hot
coals than they would lose to a bluff.

This isn’t necessarily true in pot-limit or no-limit games (where even
games featuring small blinds can escalate into huge pot situations
rather quickly), but when playing low stakes limit poker, play without
too much flair or imagination, and quite a lot of discipline, and in
learning and employing this set of skills you’ll take the money. Of
course, the time may come when you aspire to more, and when that time
comes, this week’s Advanced article may be of more than a little help.



I’m not going to make you read the Beginner article, not if you’re truly
an advanced player, because if you truly are advanced, you already
understand most or all of what I wrote there: that the sophisticated
moves and knowledge of people necessary to win in high stakes poker
games are not merely unnecessary at low stakes, they will actually hurt
your results.

Once the stakes start getting high – and defining just what “high
stakes” are can be a difficult thing, often influenced heavily by where
you are playing and why your opponents are playing – the basic “ABC
poker” that I so strongly advocated in the Beginner article isn’t merely
a bit less effective. The shift is so dramatic that a big winner at low
stakes becomes a big loser at high stakes, and sometimes (though not
quite as frequently), the big loser at low stakes becomes the big winner
at high stakes.

The games really are THAT different, and that’s why probably the most
important piece of advice you’ll get this week is that when you’re
reading poker magazines or books, you must understand the writer’s
context. Is s/he someone who only plays high stakes, and who likes to
regale you with tales of big tournament wins or huge high stakes side
game plays that worked because they understood how their opponent played?

If so, clip and save those columns for the time when you decide you want
to play in that kind of game, and for the most part ignore those writers
who give advice about low stakes efforts, because if you think men and
women are different because they come from Mars and Venus, low stakes
and high stakes poker are different because one group comes from this
galaxy and the other that was long, long ago, and far, far away.

I’ve known this for a long time, of course, but I don’t think I ever had
it slammed home as hard as when I spoke with Josh Arieh after he took
third in the recent World Series of Poker. “You wait to play strong
hands from good position the whole time, you only fold or raise, you
never call, and you’re not going to be winning many tournaments,” Josh
said. “I could mention some examples of players who used to be
successful that way, back when the ‘average’ player was much weaker than
he is today, but I don’t want to be mean.” I then mentioned two names to
Josh and he cracked up, saying, “OK, we’re thinking the same way, you
can mention their names, I’m keeping quiet.” Their names shall remain a

As you’ll see in the next issue of Card Player Magazine, where my story
on Josh takes the cover, Josh was willing to share a lot of theory about
how to play no-limit, and even though he’s hardly the household name
that many of today’s superstars are, it was obvious enough watching him
and even more obvious listening to him that the only reason he doesn’t
win more tournaments is that as an Atlanta-based family man, he doesn’t
play nearly as many big events as his brethren.

Although you might think that using player psychology and
unpredictability are most important in pot-limit and no-limit, you might
be surprised to learn that Jennifer Harman Traniello – quite possibly
the world’s best limit hold’em player – feels that these kinds of skills
are just as important once the stakes get lofty, say once you climb
above the $400-$800 level. “Poker becomes a people game at that point,”
she says. “Amateurs who watch some of the big games from the rail are
sometimes amazed at the weak hands pros turn over in huge pots, but we
aren’t playing them because we got bored and decided to gamble it up for
$5,000 we don’t need. We’re playing the player, not the cards.”

If you want to succeed at high stakes, you have to make the kind of
sacrifices that most star athletes make these days. Yes, in the days of
Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, men chuckled at anecdotes about these stars
wandering in hung over, or even drunk, and hitting two home runs, but
these situations were the exception, not the rule (and I wouldn’t be at
all surprised if in many of these situations they were facing athletes
who were similarly impaired).

To get an edge in high stakes, most players need to work all the time,
just as the modern athlete works out all the time. Think about it: it
wasn’t so very long ago that “Spring Training” or “Fall Camp” were times
when baseball and football players who had fallen woefully out of shape
during the off-season were just trying to get basic conditioning back.
These days, athletes who want those multi-million dollar contracts stay
in shape all year, and use the preseason to fine-tune skills, not to
remind their legs how to run and get rid of a pot belly.

What does “working all the time” mean? First of all, it almost certainly
means you’re working harder when you’re not in a hand than when you’re
in one. That’s the easiest time to study tendencies, patterns, tells,
and styles, because you don’t have to worry about what to do with your
own hand. How many times have you heard me (or some other pundit)
correctly call a hand from the rail, only to freely admit how much
easier it is to make correct predictions about who has what when you
don’t have pressure on you? Heck, at the WSOP this year, I actually told
Nolan Dalla that a player had not merely a strong hand, but four nines
(two were on the board). Nolan thought that was such an absurd
prediction he offered me a $10 freeroll were I correct. I kept the $10,
and will always smile fondly when recalling Nolan’s statement “That’s
why you guys play these big tournaments and I write about them.”

How could I make such an absurd prediction? After all, wouldn’t it have
been more reasonable just to say “I think so and so has a monster hand,
like a full house?” Reasonable yes, but I had been studying the player
carefully for hours, and I saw not one iota of fear when he was raised.
I had never seen a player so relaxed, and that meant the absolute nuts,
which given this board was four nines.

Surprisingly, “working all the time” doesn’t necessarily mean reading
every new poker book that comes down the pike, because especially now
that every publisher on Earth wants at least one poker book in its line,
all kinds of unqualified people are getting the chance to influence
tomorrow’s players. Usually, these people aren’t horrible poker players
– they just have no experience playing against the big boys and girls,
and so can really just regurgitate what they have read in other books,
or talk about what they have experienced playing $10-$20. If playing
$10-$20 is your goal, some of these books may be fine.

If you want to aim higher, take a good long look at the book before you
buy it, and see if it addresses significant, complex problems. Also see
if you can find, in a quick glance through, some kind of statement that
you haven’t read somewhere before. That’s hardly a capital crime – I
freely admit that a significant amount of what I write has been
discussed before (perhaps not as ably, perhaps more so). I also venture
into new ground, because I have the experience for it…and experience, my
friend, whether it comes from reading the experiences of true high
stakes veterans, or from studying carefully all the positions you run
through in those games (not just the hands you win or lose: ALL the
positions), is what will give you a chance to learn your opponents, your
moves, and what, for lack of a better term, I think I’ll call XYZ poker.

Wow, I think that’s actually an original thought. Maybe I should quit
while I’m ahead.

Andrew N.S. Glazer is the author of “Casino Gambling the Smart Way” and
the soon-to-be-published “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Poker.” He is
Tournament Editor and a columnist for Card Player Magazine, and travels
the world covering major poker tournaments for FinalTablePoker.com. He
welcomes your questions at PokerPundit@aol.com


RIP, Andy.

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