Thursday, August 12, 2004

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too, can become great."
Mark Twain

That's right.
Another disjointed, inane post of Tasty Poker Goodness.
Brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker!

I'm trying to post more often so I can make the Poker Nerd's list of Good Poker Blogs.

But, first allow me get to business before I begin my Guinness-fueled rant. Please sign up for the Monty Memorial Poker Blogger Tournament, open to all poker bloggers and poker blog readers for a whopping $20. I need signups finalized by NEXT Thursday. As in, i'll be sending them in around noon of that day. ANYONE CAN PLAY!!!

Let's try and have a show of force for the damn poker blogging scene.

Please sign up for Pacific Poker ASAP, by using my link or not. Then email me with your Pacific screen name and email address that you used to sign up. I'll prolly post the list of players signed up this weekend to make sure everyone who wants to play is signed up. So far we have plenty of great folks like Hank, TheFatGuy, Pauly & Maudie signed up and ready to play. Seriously, playing with the bloggers is always a blast.

I just don't want everyone to procrastinate. That turns into a big headache for me. So please consider signing up as soon as ya can, for my sake. It's enough work pounding out these posts without trying to organize something like this. And, please, don't wait until the last day to try and fund an account. Get the ball rolling now if you can.

Expect some special bounties, too. (AL already has laid one out)
Any of my fellow bloggers who want to help bring some readers into the fold, please feel free to spread the word. Thanks for any help.

Moving on, thanks to my fine reader, Drew, who pointed out this irascible blog post about poker on TV. From August 11th, posted with permission: You Are Dumb.



It's funny how these weird, sudden obsessions spring up. I mean, three years ago, "scrapbooking" was four middle-aged suburban women sharing a gluestick, and now there's an entire billion-dollar industry devoted to ugly-ass teddy-bear frames being stuck around a Polaroid of some grandson asleep on a couch. I have a number of vague, unformed theories about why scrapbooking is actually a Satanic ritual, but they'll have to wait for another day, because today, we're talking about poker. Specifically, Texas Hold 'Em.

Now, I admit, I have mellowed from my original position on televised poker, which was "Who the FUCK would want to watch POKER on TELEVISION". My position is now the much more refined "Who the FUCK would want to watch THIS fucking MUCH fucking POKER on TELEVISION." As you can see, wisdom develops over time. As do poker shows on basic cable.

But where wisdom accrues slowly, like the buildup of wax in the ear, basic-cable poker multiplies like ebola*. In the next two weeks**, if you wished, you could watch televised poker matches one hundred and thirty two times. That means that if you turn on the TV, and can't find a poker match, WAIT AN HOUR. That's too much poker.

There's Celebrity Poker Showdown, whose fault this all arguably is. Celebrity Poker Showdown is not without its charms, but would be much more interesting if I were in charge. First, celebrities would be betting their own money. And second, the amounts risked and betted would be weighted by the stars' individual successes. So when, say, Gabe Kaplan lucks out on the river, getting his straight flush draw, he takes Ben Affleck for more than a bit of charity chump change. Put some danger into the game. Some drama. I want to see sitcom stars and celebrity chefs at each other's fucking throats, don't you?

That's another thing. I should not be able to throw out phrases like "river" and "straight flush draw". And neither should you. But we can, because the poker in inescapable. We're channel-surfing, and before we can even say "Hey, is that David Cross in a bathrobe?" we've absorbed half-a-dozen bits of vocabulary that we otherwise would have to pawn our kidneys in Vegas to have learned.

But if the allure of famous people just distracts you from the intricacies of the Card Game of Kings Du Jour, don't fret. There's the World Series of Poker, the World Poker Tour, Championship Poker at the Plaza, the Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament, reruns of the World Series of Poker from ten years ago, and even the Strip Poker Invitational, which I'm sure uses a fairly unique variant on "Hold 'Em".

Coming soon are the Superstars of World Poker Tournament Invitational, the Showdown Poker World Challenge, and a very special episode of Veggietales in which Jimmy the Apostate Radish bluffs on a six-two off-suit, loses all his money, curses God from a cardboard box in an alley, and eventually ends up selling himself on the street for ten bucks a tossed salad.

You know who I feel worst for? (Well, besides the whoring radish, of course.) The poor, overworked poker players. With all the touring and invitationaling and championships, I bet they never even get home to see their families anymore. Plus, I can only imagine what this fearsome schedule is doing to their unlit cigar and funny little hat budgets. Not to mention the harried souls at the International Poker Nickname Registry, who are forced to tell people at least thirty times a day that "Moneybags" is taken, as is "Bling" and "The Hammer", and perhaps they could settle for "Fishtank", "Germanium", or "Peel-N-Eat".

Of course, if you're sick of watching poker on TV and have digital cable, you can always watch Celebrity Blackjack! Yes, if all that pesky strategy of poker gets on your nerves, and you just want to sit and watch semi-famous people be handed random cards until one of them cheers, presumably having won, then Celebrity Blackjack is for you. Make sure to catch it before the FTC forces them to put quotes around "celebrity". I mean, the only Baldwin they could get was Billy, and I'm pretty sure the charity Kevin Nealon is playing for is the Kevin Nealon Is Really Really Hungry Foundation.

* Normally, a sentence like this would end with a situation where ebola would thrive even more virulently than it normally does. But I think ebola pretty much just has the one level of near-instantaneous horrible bleeding death.

** Why, yes, I used online television listings in the course of writing this article, why do you ask?

I love the fact that I toiled in my solitary hobby for so many years and then suddenly BAM! - Poker shows are smothering television. And I can't watch the damn things. Irony is a cruel master.

But I sure as hell can document what I can with the written word, can't I? Or at least try, anyway.

I had another excellent tip from a reader reminding me to mention the badbeat jackpot tables on Party Poker. I didn't want to say anything but I've been clobbering the games there. It's just looser for obvious reasons, check em out but don't tell anyone else, damnit. The rake is higher but the games are better, too. It attracts more gambloors. Lotsa folks overplaying any suited connectors from any position, ditto for pocket pairs. But hey, you only gotta see Aces full of Kings get beat to get some dough. Lord G even contemplated opening eight 50.1 tables just for the hell of it.

I'm not a Bad Beat Jackpot kinda guy, myself, but I enjoy the players who are. So here's the skinny on the Party BBJ tables:

Bad Beat Jackpots

Nothing can be bigger or better than winning a jackpot! And it becomes double the fun and rewards when you can hit the big jackpot at PartyPoker.com.

We are launching our Beta Testing of Bad Beat Jackpot tables and to thank you for helping to test these jackpots PartyPoker.com is seeding the jackpot at $5,000! The Bad Beat Jackpot tables are available under the Bad Beat Jackpot Tab in the lobby. Each time the jackpot is hit the house will reset the Jackpot value back to $5000. Please send in your comments and suggestions to info@partypoker.com.

We were expecting the Bad Beat Jackpot to be hit more frequently. As it is a Beta version we have changed the qualifying hand condition to 4 of a kind 2's at 6 AM EST on 18th June. All other qualifying conditions remain the same and listed below.

To Qualify for the Bad Beat Jackpot
Bad beats will be paid out on real money Hold'em games (Limits $1/$2, $2/$4 and $3/$6); available under the Bad Beat Jackpot Tab only.
4 or more players must be dealt into the hand.
Players sitting out do not qualify for the jackpot.
The losing hand must contain 4 of a Kind 2's or better to qualify.
Both hole cards must be used in the winner and the loser's hand and the hand must go to a showdown.

The hand must be raked and jackpot contribution collected from the hand to qualify for a bad beat jackpot. (No jackpot contribution will be collected during the Beta Testing period).

If there are two or more hands that qualify for the jackpot within one hand #, then the two highest hands will be considered for the jackpot, with the highest hand being the winning hand (the winner) and the second highest hand winning the bad beat (the loser of the hand).
In the event that two qualifying Jackpot hands are hit at exactly the same time, the hand starting first (based on our system clock) will be awarded the jackpot.
Players must play their hands independently and cannot tell opponents how to act or reveal their hand to other players. Violations will disqualify the hand for the Jackpot.

Fund distribution
Of the distributed amount, 50% will go to the loser of the hand, 25% to the winner and 25% will be split between the other seated players who actively participated in the hand (any player sitting out will not receive a portion of the jackpot).

I hope that hasn't changed since they are now out of beta. Feel free to correct me, if so.

Let's post poker pro's online names, shall we? From RGP.

Pros & Name Players At Ultimate Bet

dill pickle Mike Matosow
psykokwak is Bruno Fitoussi
Erik123 Erik Sagstrom
atl-angela Josh Arieh
formerly devastator now spirit rock = prahlad friedman (Best NLHE player online, crushes guys heads-up)
Annie Duke - AnnieDuke
Phil Hellmuth - PhilHellmuth
Devilfish/David Ulliot
LayneFlack Layne Flack (has another name on UB but nobody knows it)
joe buttons - Phil Ivey
Tallphil - Phil Gordon
empty chair - Eric Sidel (has a new name, unknown)
scottynguyen - Scotty Nguyen (seldom plays on UB)
Ticker Erik Lindren Swede - (won this years UB Aruba Tourney)
Peasant - Juha Helpi (Last years winner of the Aruba Tourney)
bizingo is ben affleck (does well in pro NLHE game, extremely tight)
tiltboy Rafe Furst
Krullis Daniel Larsson 2nd aruba UB won 300K 2003
wetspot Harley Hall
Zhuge Liang John Juana


Ditto for Poker Stars, only from 2+2:


Daniel Negreanu - doublesuited
Tom McEvoy - Tom McEvoy
Minneapolis Jim Meehan - actiondonkey
Chris Moneymaker - Money800
Pete Giordano - TheBeat
Dutch Boyd - KidDutch
MrPokeJoke - Mike Matusow
LuckBox - John Juanda
Tigerma - Tony Ma
EDOGN - Erick Lindgren
Razorbax - Josh Arieh
DeOhGee - Joseph Cordi
reload this - Layne Flack

Moving into the Arts & Leisure section of this post, I found this wonderful poker poem from Edward R. Hutchison, Official Poet Laureate of RGP.

Them that raises with big pairs
seldom know despair
and ride limosines everywhere.

Them that chases straights and flushes
will have their little rushes
but go home on Greyhound buses.

I'm a haiku guy, myself, but I'm still impressed with the Robert Frost-like approach.

I completely forgot about this thread about Jim McManus, best-selling author of the poker book, Positively Fifth Street. Was McManus shooting an angle? Ron Rose says yes... I was digging through the archives about McManus and noticed this thread:

James McManus angle shooter? by Daniel Rentzer. Go read it for yourself, I can't possibly format that thread properly.

This is some kind of life I lead. Work till 7.00 pm, come home and write this drivel up for you. Please kill me now. But at least I'm not focusing on Monty, so this is cathartic, damnit.

I knew FilmGeek would come through with the photo of Dann, second place finisher in our weekend NL tournament (see prior post if you missed this) with his cursed pocket jacks.

FilmGeek says, "This hat is now the official asshat award for second-place tourney finishers."

Fuck you IGGY and Fuck Your Bonus Code!
this could use a caption

For the record, Dann is playing in the Pacific blogger tournament. He's a SNG specialist at Pacific these days so it will be interesting to see how he does. Hell, the bloggers ran the table last time and I fully expect the same this time. :) Also, Dann is a fine writer for MLB and wrote the definitive book on The Great American Ballpark, available at Amazon. Go buy a copy, I did.

Now where is my freaking guest post, Dann? ;)

Addendum: Dann and I are scouting out Atlantic City, specifically the Borgata for a fall poker road trip. I'm looking at the third weekend in September, as there is a WPT event that weekend. I've never played in AC and am dying to do so.

Let's start winding this down, shall we? I'm getting too drunk tired to play, much less write. Here is an excellent thread about the just announced ESPN Tournament of Champions Event. Ten poker champions, one table. Winner take all. Great concept, no doubt, and I'll wager one that becomes very popular.

Here is Danny Negreanu, rightfully asking about the Why's and How's, followed up by Annie Duke, and finally, a kickass thoughtful post by Eric Seidel. Would you expect anything less?

Oh yes, I wrap it up with a post by Daniel, after Eric posted....

Here we go:

ESPN TOC event update

From: Daniel Negreanu

So this is what I heard. The 10 players chosen are as follows:

Doyle Brunson
Chip Reese
Phil Hellmuth
Men Nguyen
Johnny Chan
TJ Cloutier
Phil Ivey
Howard Lederer
Greg Raymer
Annie Duke

Curious as to what the criteria was to play, apparantly they did an independant poll of 300 players and asked who they thought the best players were.

Of course, I don't know one person that was asked to vote in this poll and have no idea if it actually took place. If it did, I can't imagine who they asked? I'd be willing to bet that this poll never even took place.

I didn't care so much that I wasn't involved in the SuperStars of Poker Show, but now we are talking about a freeroll for two million dollars at stake! I'm starting to wonder what you actually have to do to qualify as one of the best no limit hold'em tournament players.

1. Tournament results obviously don't seem to hold much weight.
2. Being a winning player in the high limit cash games can't be enough.
3. Respect from your peers also doesn't seem to be very important.
4. Longevity? No that wouldn't make sense either based on that list.
5. Winning the ESPN Player of the Year Award? Useless.

So what then, does it take to qualify for the ESPN TOC? Please enlighten me, because I have no idea.

Daniel Negreanu

P.S. Sorry if this post comes off as whiny, but I'm a little frustrated
and feel like I've now been "double dissed" :-)---


How the TOC players were picked

From: JN (anonymous@hotmail.com)

According to Annie Duke:

"Here is the list--except for Raymer they were all picked by a poll espn did during the WSOP. Raymer is in cause he won the main event -- as it should be.

Howard Lederer, TJ Cloutier, Chip Reese, Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, Phil Helmuth, Men Nguyen, Annie Duke, Greg Raymer, and Johnny Chan.

There are obviously some notables not on the list: Erik Seidel and Gus Hansen in particular. But I guess if you are polling for 9 there will be great great players not included. It is a shame they cannot do two tables. I personally don't think I belong there but I will take the chance at 2 million!"
-Annie Duke


Subject: TOC Tale of the Tape

From: Erik Seidel

There seems to be a great deal of controversy on the selection process that ESPN used to chose the 10 players for this event. Having read through many of the posts here it seems as if there is some outrage at Daniel being left out. I think there is a case for Daniel, and also a case for a few others (myself among them). Here is the case for:

Gus Hanson- Hottest player on the WPT tour the last year and a half. Even more impressive when you take into account he didn't play many events the first year of WPT. The objection might be that although he has dominated the WPT he has no results or history with the WSOP.

Dan Harrington- I believe Dan might have the most impressive record of anyone in the 10k at the World Series. 6th in 87',1st in 95', 3rd last year, and 4th this year. This is a really impressive record and he certainly warants serious consideration.

John Juanda- Without question John has been the most overlooked and underexposed player in poker. Runner up for Player of the Year in 01, and 02'.

Champion of the Year in 02' and he is leading Champion of the Year list this year. Champion of the Year only counts the major events that the top players play. Phil Helmuth has been publishing the list for 2 1/2 years and Juanda has a chance to win 2 out of 3. The fields have grown so big this is really a remarkable achievement. In my opinion he's the best tournament player in the world and it's time that he get's the recognition he deserves.

Erik Seidel- 6 WSOP titles (4 living players have more than 6, 3 have been picked for the show, the 4th is Billy Baxter/Mr. Lowball, who owns all 7 in lowball).
3 Bellagio Titles, I believe only Scotty N. has won 3 also. Phil Helmuth. has been publishing the stats for Champion of the Year since 02'.

3 players made the top 10 in those 2 years. Myself, Howard Lederer, and Phil Ivey. I am the only player to score in top 5 both years and was the combined points leader going into this year. My record vs. the 10 players ESPN chose, heads-up in tournament finals is 8 wins and 1 loss. The one loss being in 88' to Chan. I wonder if there is anyone else who has even 2 wins against this formitable lineup?

All this said I think it's ESPN's show and they certainly have the right to pick who they want. I was very disappointed to be left off their list. Next year it sounds like we will have a clearer picture on how to qualify.

I also think this show is a huge breakthrough for all of us. ESPN is the first channel to step up and offer real money to some of the players and I'm hoping this will set a precedent that other channels will follow. The players have been waiting a long time for some financial compensation from the other channels and very little has trinkled down. The players have been providing quite a bit of programming for Fox Sports, Travel Channel and ESPN and it is great to see that ESPN/Harrah's is giving something back to us. Even though I am not one of the invited party's and would love to see them expand the show to 2 tables, I think the show will potentially have a big impact on all of the players who are playing these large events.

-Erik Seidel


I agree with your post completely. It's imperative that they come up with a legitimate criteria for qualification in order to protect the integrity of the game. The public in general doesn't have a clue who is a "great" player and who isn't. If the players are so "great" then they'd be making final tables without having to start at one.

The chosen list would just get demolished by a second group of ten. Assuming Greg Raymer is a shoe in, I'd take these nine over the nine chosen in a heartbeat:

Erik Seidel
Todd Brunson
Jennifer Harman
Daniel Negreanu
Gus Hansen
Barry Greenstein
Erick Lindgren
Ted Forrest
John Hennigan

In my opinion, this second group of nine is much, much stronger than the
ESPN TOC group. I could go on with more names that would outduel the ESPN
group in no limit hold'em, but I think you get the picture.

Several of the chosen players have shown absolutely no success in no
limit hold'em. My list here would crush em'.

Daniel Negreanu

Whew, I think the one table finale & the Names in Poker will be a big hit. I'd watch it every chance I could. If I had cable, that is.

Once again, I'm too toasted to post the new poker blogs. Damn Guinness. I swear I'll dedicate an entire post to them within the week. I just need the time.

./ white noise shilling

So thanks for reading and consider signing up on Party Poker with Bonus Code IGGY. It's a small way of supporting this humble blog and you don't lose a dime. 20% deposit bonus either way, with or without my bonus code. At least this way, you can pay it forward.

Lowlimit players should heed my advice - stick some dough in and play the bad beat jackpot tables. You will thank me.

Also, one last pimp for the blogger tournament. Sign up on Pacific Poker and play against all the poker bloggers. And please use my link to download the software - it's the only way I get any credit.

Damn, can't wait for us to play again. I hope you damn poker bloggers out there sign up and play, at least.

OK, time to go tackle the tables. ARRRG, I lost half my post tonite (thank you Blogger!) and don't have time recoup it. I'll have a better post next time. For now, let me just simply point to the TV Guide interview with Celebrity Poker host, Dave Foley. Don't forget the Poker TV Guide for all your poker viewing. And hell, I had two fine chip trick pages that were lost. I'll link them up next time.

your working boy,

Link of the Day:
Never Offend an Offender
Nikolaus Maack, the world's first artist whose medium is sex offender mugshots, says that producing his Web site "keeps me sane." I'm afraid I've got some bad news, Nik

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