Sunday, September 26, 2004

"I will ask him for my place again; he shall tell me I am a drunkard! Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. To be now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast! O strange! Every inordinate cup is unblessed and the ingredient is a devil."

Howdy all, thanks for stopping by this humble poker blog.

I've a big old honking uber-post for you today. Sponsored by, well, sponsored by NOBODY. I do it all for you, gentle reader, because I am profoundly & irrevocably deranged.

Sign up on Party Poker, damnit!

Not to mention brutally hungover. I didn't get home till 6AM from poker. Forgive my typos and such, I'm still cloudy.

After not being able to make it to Atlantic City this weekend, I was bumming and craving some live action. Hank & the Poker Chronicles had stated that the 20.40 games are pretty soft in AC and I had been looking forward to it. Now Ceaser's Palace in New Albany, Indiana, isn't the Borgata, not by a long shot, but it's the closest legal card room in this here neck of the woods. Upon finding out that my man Dann had a day off from the Cincinnati Reds front office, we quickly agreed that an evening of crazy gambling was in order.

Dann doesn't trust my specially equipped car (for little people) so he insisted upon driving his spiffy red Mustang. I didn't mind because that meant I could drink with impunity. Which I did. And I was a tad out of hand, as I am loathe to get when Drinking Heavily.

Now Dann is threatening to write a trip report of this event and if so, I'll post it. For the record, we sat 4.8 so we could play at the same table. And this was, for perhaps 8 hours, one of the most friendly and entertaining tables I've played at in awhile, Aruba, notwithstanding. Everyone ended up with nicknames, like "Nascar" and "Michelob" and "Dirty Unshaven Hippy" and "CPA". I was stuck with the moniker "Swayze" but it certainly could have been worse. Anyway, it mostly 20-something guys, with two great older guys sitting to my right and left. One was an impeccable Southern Gentleman from Lexington, who was a CPA and provided me with invaluable gambling tax tips. The guy on my right was actually a damn good player and told some pretty funny stories. Our table was having a blast, laughing and chatting about TV poker and Phil Helmuth and everything else under the sun. Then around midnight, Mr. CPA had to leave.

Enter the Ugliness on my left. A 21 year old wigga asshole. Within literally 30 seconds of sitting down, he sourly refused the Jack and Coke I bought him, saying, "I'm not a friendly player, you buy your own fucking drinks."

Oh my. Raised eyebrows around the table.

Suffice to say, it went downhill from there, with my needling him incessantly. Which, from what I am told, is not fun to be on the receiving end of, unless your sense of humor isn't surgically removed. Long story short, It only took about an hour before he stood up and began screaming that he wanted to fight. As a few of my tablemates engaged him with expletives, and security began running over, all I could do was chuckle and think of how our poker table was back in the corner, against a wall, with little manuverability, and how I had probably $500 in chips in front of me, which would soon be scattered (along with everyone else's) if I followed my impulse to stand up and bitchslap this ridiculous punk.

But thankfully, the biggest guy at the table forcefully told the kid to 'sit the fuck down before he got hurt and thanks alot, this table was awesome for hours and hours before he sat down and ruined it.' He couldn't believe that this kid was picking on a drunken half-wit dwarf, and what kind of person was he anyway? By that time, security and the room manager had rushed over, lectured him and gave him a warning.

I decided to leave him alone for a bit, before eventually mocking him to the table and sometimes offering a single $5 red chip for assorted articles of his clothing, including his very expensive and apparently socially significant tennis shoes. He was not amused. As Karma would have it, I busted him out of the game on back-to-back hands and he thankfully left. It turned out that a few of the guys at the table had hoped he would sucker-punch me so they would have the excuse to pummel him.

Oh the humanity.

But, aside from that blemish, I had a fantastic time. I had a nice little win while Dann suffered thru hours of ice cold cards, and lost a little. We both enjoyed a ton of laughs. I've said it many times in this silly blog ala Mike Caro - a laughing friendly poker table is far more profitable than a serious, quiet one.

Let's move on - first off, allow me to thank the mighty Chris Halverson for the huge package of poker DVD's I received this week. I nearly wept, damnit.
Thank you, Sir!

Damnit, I sure wish I could have met all the poker bloggers this weekend. Recalling this impending trip caused me to think back to my first interaction with fellow bloggers this past spring at the WSOP. Let's head to Hank's archives and his kickass story of us hanging out, playing poker and craps, and above all else, drinking Heavily at the 2004 WSOP earlier this year. Enjoy.

Blast from the Past:
Double Shots and Dice: Rolling with Iggy at the WSOP

My take:
2004 WSOP Trip Report

I hope many of you can make the 2005 WSOP as the official blogger convention meeting place. And while I can't promise anything (most of my local buddies expect me to get arrested during a roadtrip - albeit hopefully not naked like that one time), I shall attempt to be on semi-coherent good behavior. But I'm not promising a fucking thing.

For the record, I met a ton of people last evening, none of which are playing poker online. Truly amazing. Which begs me to ask the question - where on earth are all these new players from Party coming from???

Which is a perfect segue into, what else...Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit. We're up to 60,000 players there now. And let's face facts, this new blood isn't exactly shark-like poker talent.

In a year of writing this poker blog I have never once had anyone tell me, "Damn Iggy, you couldn't be MORE freaking wrong. Those Party Poker players are tough and tricky." Not once. Ever.

I have, however, gotten several emails and comments thanking me for pointing them in the direction of the Biggest Aquarium on Earth. And that's pretty damn cool, whether or not you use my bonus code. You simply owe it to yourself to sample the games. You will not be disappointed.

./end shilling

Let's rock n roll, shall we? Time for a truly Guinness-fueled, rambling, disjointed, typo-ridden post. That's what I excel at, after all.

The drunken, made-up as I go along, post.TM

Quick big announcement: I have confirmed that another poker tournament is pending for both poker blogger and their readers. However, this time we WILL be graced by poker royalty. The date and venue to be announced, probably next week. I am very happy with where we will be playing.

Secondly, in a first, I have a job announcement posting. Does anyone fit this description? It wouldn't surprise me, considering my diverse, well-educated (not to mention good-looking) readers.

Someone wants to employ a full-time blogger. Here's the details, as they are:


We are ideally looking to do a site which is just about money, writ large. Making no distinction between online banking, online trading, spread betting, and straight sports betting. Strong bias towards naughty money stuff that one can do on the internet.

So, ideally looking for a writer who spends as much time on E*Trade as on Tradesports.

Oh the humanity.
Does someone like this even exist? I wish I qualified for this gig, damnit.

Comment or email me if interested. These are truly crazy times that we live in.

Per the Tournament of Champions ESPN poker show, there are far too many threads and comments to post here. I cannot wait to see Phil meltdown. Please go read MeneGene's poker blog for the backstory if you didn't watch it. There seemed to be a consensus that it was the most entertaining poker tournament on TV yet.

Two random TOC snarky lines:

TOC - I don't know what's worse...

Annie Duke's unwashed hair or Phil hitting that one outer against Chan?

--- ---

> Did I just hear Phil Hellmuth refer to Howard Lederer as an amateur!?

After hearing PH say if it wasn't for luck, he'd win every time, I've stopped reality-testing his utterances. He ought to just declare himself the Bobby Fischer of Poker and move to Romania.

Good one.

ARRRR! Bonus Code IGGY, Matey!
Bonus code IGGY gets you into heaven!

I wrote this to a buddy today:

Be a Student of the Game. Like most cliches, this is profound. You can be shaped, or you can be broken. There is not much in between. Try to learn. Be coachable. Try to learn from everybody, especially those who fail. Poker is hard.

Others who fizzle or implode or fall down, run away, disappear from the tables. Opponents. It's all educational. How promising you are as a Student of the Game is a function of what you can pay attention to without running away. Chips and cards can be mirrors. And between the hands and bets, opponents are also mirrors. That's why the whole damn thing is so much fun and sometimes frightening. See yourself in your opponents. They will bring you to understand the Game.

He never wrote back. Can you blame him?

I also recommended two gems to keep in mind regarding pre-flop play from TwoPlusTwo:

"You should be cold calling so infrequently that you can't even remember the last time that you did so".

"Cold calling raises with medium and small suited connectors is the fast track to the poorhouse. Yes, even with 3 others in the pot."

Hrm, let's see what else I have here....oh yeah...I saw this post that related to my blog post a day ago about the WPT and WSOP directly competing for poker market share. Here's one feller's view:

"When you play in the World Poker Tour championship at the Bellagio, there is no better poker event in the world, including the World Series of Poker. We've established the sport. The WPT is the NBA. If they try to go up against our event, they are going to have to try to take on an established event."

Those were the words of WPT head Steve Lipscomb on Monday upon hearing the news that Harrah's and ESPN had officially announced plans to create their own poker "tour" to compete directly with his product (as reported here on BSN). Tough words - but when the big boys come after your baby - it's completely understandable.

Just because the WPT was first doesn't by any stretch of the imagination mean you're the best. Norman Chad is a piece of shit, but he (and ESPNs coverage) is ten times better than Mike Sexton.

You people at the WPT just don't get it. You think everyone wants the overextenuated Sexton hype, Shanna Hyatt and flashing lights bells and whistles.

Buy a goddamn vowel.

People (us) want to see some fucking poker! We don't give a shit about your stupid hype.

So someone comes along and does a better job (ESPN) than you're doing, and now you have the balls to say you're coverages are better than the WSOP? This statement proves how out of touch you really are.

Will someone come along and do a better job than ESPN? Probably. (We can only hope) But until then the WPT is just a stupid joke! It makes my stomach turn to watch the moronic thing. (As we say.)

Poker on TV is really getting to be ridiculous. It's embarrassing to watch.
The WPT thinks it's about them, and ESPN thinks it's about the heroes and villains they create.

What a bunch of fucking monkeys.


My humble two cents? If it's on TV, it's good for poker.
Nuff said.

Moving into some poker content around the web, Jay Lovinger at ESPN has his first worthy poker article up.

How Good is Greg Raymer?
He's no Chris Moneymaker, that's for sure.

The average poker player probably had never heard of him before his breakthrough win this year. But most insiders know Raymer as a bold and original thinker, and a disciplined and aggressive player.

Once, at a poker convention, he was giving a talk on what he calls the "stop-and-go" limit hold 'em move. You are in the big blind on a short stack -- say, $6,000 -- in a limit tournament, and the limits are $3,000 and $6,000. Somebody with a big stack bets into you, and you've got the kind of hand that you know you are willing to go all-in on - say, A-Q suited. You could raise all-in right there, but you know the guy with the big stack is going to call you, which means you'll have to show down the best hand to win. Or you could try the stop-and-go move -- just call the $3,000 bet, then go all-in after the flop, no matter what it is. That way, if the flop totally misses Mr. Big Stack, he might fold. At worst, he'll call, and you'll have to show down the best hand to win, just as you would have if you had raised all-in before the flop. So the stop-and-go gives you two chances to win, instead of one, under the right conditions.

After Raymer explained the stop-and-go, he acknowledged that he hadn't invented the move, just named it. "I learned it by watching other top players," he said. "For example, I'm sure Chris" -- that would be Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, a WSOP winner himself, who was sitting in the audience -- "has been using the stop-and-go for years."

"Never heard of it," said Ferguson, smiling. "But now I'm going to have to seriously think about."

By the way, here is the main ESPN poker page, listing all the articles, columns and chat transcripts.
Archive of all ESPN poker related content

And while on ESPN & poker, someone told me about an ESPN poker forum thread where one of the regulars was quoting me. Yikes and thank you smacca17.

ESPN Poker Talk in the Oakland A's baseball forum.

Poker Thread O' The Day


re: The Blinds. I thought I explained that. :)

I was protecting my blind. I do that (not always). It's quite profitable, at times.

Iggy, The Blogfather, explains:

Everyone should run ideas through the blender of the game they play in. There is no "typical" Holdem game, and any advice that says there is is lousy, laughable advice. In some games you should defend less; in some games you should defend more. In all games you should defend when profitable to do so.

Too many players have an absurd obsessiveness about quality of starting hands, instead of focusing on the $-values and the post flop play. If you lay down 98o headup in the big blind when an early position raiser has raised with AQo, you have made a major error -- if you play good poker, which means playing well after the flop in Holdem. If you play poorly, then perhaps your best choice is to lay down the 98o because it will mean you lose less money. But the focus of your continued study should be on learning to be a better player so that you can play these hands profitably.

To a large degree, a major difference between mediocre players and very good ones is how they deal with the blinds. Mediocre players lose more in the blinds (either by giving up too easily, or chasing too foolishly), and they do not steal equity from the blinds of weaker players (if when holding AKo you do not raise the blind of a weak player who will lay down 98o, you are playing poorly). Everybody loses in the blinds. Where mediocre players lose $40, very good ones lose $32, or $37, or even $39.


Suppose in Holdem an early position raiser who happens to hold AKo raises your big blind. Everyone folds to you. You hold 98o. What do you believe is *your* most profitable action here? Let's assume no one says reraise, so that leaves call or fold. You are getting 3.5-to-1 on your call. Depending on how the suits are lined up, if both hands always went to the showdown, you would be about a 64/36 underdog, or less than 2-to-1.

But of course there is betting. The AKo has position throughout the hand. But the AK is likely to payoff certain sorts of hands that the 98 won't (98 loses nothing on a KK2 flop but AK pays off on a 992 flop). For me, calling is an easy, clearly profitable situation. Apparently others do not believe this is the case. I'm curious, since the 3.5-1 and 64/36 numbers are clear, among those people who think a fold is appropriate, why do you think that action after the flop will cost your 98o more than the AKo to a degree that offsets the pre-flop odds?


Geepers, at least I know _one_ person is reading this drivel.

Ooops, I almost forgot this vitriolic post about ESPN and their TOC poker tv broadcast.

ESPN-The Real Story
From: CoconutCarl (coconutcarl@aol.com) Sent: Sep 24 2004 4:26PM

ESPN-The Real Story

ESPN decides to hold a one-table satellite and give the winner two million
dollars. They think this will be a ratings bonanza, and give added impetus to
their televised poker steamroll. They also get to choose who plays, and
they're going to have it right on the heels of the WSOP. Nevermind that the
Big event just concluded and the winner had to play for seven days against
2500~ people to win five million dollars. We'll just give away two million
dollars for half a day's work, and everybody will get their nut off.

ESPN you are such a bunch of goddamn morons. First of all how in the FUCK did
you decide on who gets a shot at this money. I wasn't invited. Oh, I don't
play tournaments...so fucking what? I'd make an exception in this case.

Secondly, how on earth can you dilute the value of the WSOP by giving out two
mill for a one table satellite? What on earth are you thinking?

You invite a bunch of multi-millionares to play in a free-roll, like they need
the stinking money, and all of the little people who have made this possible
over the years are left with their thumbs up their asses. ESPN has just
inslted 99% of the poker playing masses.

This whole thing stinks, and really makes me sick.

It wasn't even that entertaining.

And if you think for one goddamn minute that deals weren't made you are really
from la la land. Is anybody in their right mind gonna run out the cards for
two million dollars? Nobody is ever gonna stop anybody from making a deal,
because it's just not possible. You can "give" your money to anybody you damn
well please.

Sure all of the "I've seen Rounders seven times wannabes are gonna say that
this was the coolest thing since the toaster oven", but nobody listens to them
anyway. Or maybe they do. Maybe that's how ESPN and the WPT get their ideas
for this crappola.

And don't get me started about that worst actor on the planet Phil Hellmuth.
Jesus Christ Almighty in Heaven. This guy goes out of his way to perpetuate
his "bad boy" image. He's playing it for all it's worth. And everybody under
the sun is falling for it. Nice try Phil, but I know for a fact what a phony,
lying, hypocrite, asshole, bad acting son of a bitch you really are.

I'm ashamed to be in this business.


Phil Gordon was on NPR this past week. You can listen to the audio here:
Poker Expert Phil Gordon

Gordon is the co-host of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown. Gordon made big bucks in the world of hi-tech before winning more than $1 million in poker tournaments. He's a two-time World Poker Tour champion. Gordon worked for Lockheed and then Netsys, which was subsequently sold for $95 million to Cisco Systems. After that, he went on the road to play poker. His new book is called Poker: The Real Deal.

The folks at PokerLizard.com sat down with one of the foremost Poker writers in the
business, Lou Krieger. Lou discusses online poker, the effect of Televised poker on new players, his books and more.
Interview with Lou

Damn, sooo much more to get to, but I'm getting soused running out of gas and better start wrapping this up.

i've mentioned this poker film before but here it is again, raising it's ugly head. Here's the IMDB snippet with a follow up post from the peanut gallery:

This new film script was just announced as sold this week. It's going to be directed by the guy who did "L.A. Confidential" and will star Eric Bana
("The Hulk," "Black Hawk Down," "Troy"). So it has potential, perhaps.

Title: Lucky You
Log line: Set in the world of high-stakes professional poker.
Writer: Eric Roth
Agent: David O’Connor of CAA
Buyer: Warner Bros. Pictures
Price: n/a
Genre: Drama
Logged: 9/22/04
More: Curtis Hanson & Carol Fenelon and Denise DiNovi will produce. Curtis Hanson will direct. Eric Bana will star.

Plot Summary for Lucky You (2005)
After exploring the world of rap contests in 8 Mile, Oscar-winning director Curtis Hanson will helm the drama Lucky You. Set in the world of professional poker, a young player tries to beat the odds and his own demons in order to win a world championship. The script is by Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth.

[From imdb.com]


That's great they sold that script. I tried to sell my poker movie script. Here's the synopsis:

A guy in his late twenties spends his waking hours in front of a computer playing internet poker. Slowly his freinds turn away from him, he loses his girlfriend and his cat commits suicide. It was written as a musical.

I'm surprised I couldn't sell it.

I've actually watched some decent gambling themed movies, as of late, including Croupier, Hard Eight and Nine Queens.

So, hells bells, I better pimp the new poker blogs before I nod off here at the keyboard. It's damn hard writing a poker blog out there for everyone to mock, so please, go support the new guys and girls.

Except this guy. He doesn't need my damn help since he's an actual expert on all things gaming. David G. Schwartz is the Coordinator of the Gaming Studies Research Center at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and a prominent writer, lecturer, and consultant on gambling and related topics.

Schwartz's areas of specialty include the history, casino surveillance and security, gaming and technology, and related issues.

Die is Cast

Looks like another keeper right here. Mike is a grad student AND a pro poker player. Smart and unemployed make for a compelling blog, imho. Please scroll a little down for his excellent post on the the MSN news article on poker bots and the consequent follow-up discussion on Slashdot, which I only now realize that I forgot to link to. Hit his site for the full skinny.

Profesional Poker Grad Student

bodhi is new but plugging along with interesting posts every other day. Add to your blogroll's:

Hmm, I think I'm whinier off the sauce, too...

Also, people are boring. I went to the watering hole last night, and bumped into Peter Anemone, and "dude," I was thinking to myself, "I *need* a drink to listen to you".

I've been reading Go Be Rude for awhile. So should you. He's been posting since June and has a Phil Helmuth apologist post up right now. That's reason enough....
Go Be Rude
Poker Blog for DuggleBogey, small time online and live poker player in Oklahoma.

It's confession time. I actually LIKE Phil Helmouth.

A new Australian poker blogger! Woohoo! Please go check out the debut post here:
Aussie Poker

Doh! My humble apologies to Leo for not linking him up earlier. A worthy daily read.
Poker Quest
This blog is about my quest to turn $200 into $2000. How am I going to do it? Playing poker of course.

Russ Georgiev sent my free Poker Cheating DVDs today. Russ is famed on RGP for his paranoid cheating posts. Interesting reading, but I don't know that I buy into everything he says. Awful nice to send the DVDs free of charge though. I haven't had a chance to watch them yet. I did pop the 1st one in and tried to watch a little during halftime, but didn't have too much time. The quality is poor and the sound sucks.

Don't even get me started on crazy Russ Georgiev. Hrm, maybe I should wear my Poker Mafia t-shirt to the cardroom? Not.

I can't belieive I haven't linked up our N. Hollywood poker blogger, yet. My apologies, sir. Daily read and not just because he said:
Chicks Dig Poker Geeks

Due to the insistence of practically every single poker blogger on earth, as soon as i make 50 dollars i'm withdrawing from Absolute and depositing at Party Poker. That's where all the cool kids are.

I just saw this from a reader. good stuff.

while some might find it fun to lose repeatedly to good international poker players at pokerstars, i on the other hand have finally seen the light. i just used IGGY and doubled my money on a .5/1 table at party in literally 15-20 minutes. why didn't you tell me about this sooner? ;)

i'm only an average player at best, but these party poker players make me feel like i could do this for a living. put simply, they are terrible.

Amen. I just can't believe some of you guys & gals aren't playing there. You are deeply and profoundly retarded.

Another daily poker blog I am waaaay behind on linking up is. A pro blogger - excellent stuff.
Catching The Antichrist
Saving fish from their chips, one piscoid at a time.

My first day on the couch was spent playing 11 SnG's, armed with Poker Nerd's SnG strategy guide (which I highly recommend). I took one 1st, one 2nd, one 3rd, and lost all the others. (Interestingly, the majority of my losses came when I strayed from the strategy.)

SeattleJohn is banging on 10.20 in the live games. Live game play rules.
Seattlejohn Poker Life

You see good players all the time just quit the game because they cannot take the bad play.

And last, but certainly not least, here is a new poker writer with his own domain name, nonetheless. He's not fucking around.
hearts wild ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
just another poker blog

Whew. This feels like an uber post but I can't tell - I still have beers left, so probably not. But damn.

I'm going to leave you with an interesting double WPT Borgata Tournament Trip Report as a love offering, since work will likely own me this week. No, it ain't playing poker in a hurricane in Aruba, but it's got lots and lots of pro poker players involved.

Thanks for reading, if you made it this far.

If you've got a better caption for this next random image, I'd love to hear it.

The Last Thing a Pankcake Ever Sees

Bonus Code IGGY damnit! :D

The Fish Swims with the Sharks.
(WPT Borgata Tournament Report - Day 1)
From: Dave L

Here is a basic summary of the first day of my first WPT tournament. This is solely a tournament trip report, and I will be writing a more detailed report a bit later that covers more than just my tournament play. (Highlights will include fine dining and whale-watching with the Quiet Lion; lunch with a WSOP Champ and 2 WPT Championship Table finalists; Dinner with Erik Seidel and John Juanda; the unfortunate effect of a cold room and a tight sweater on a certain WPT spokesperson (and no, it aint Mike Sexton); Food, drinks, and semi-drunken gambling with a guy named Jesus; and much,
much more...

Anyway, on with the tournament report. There will be many typos, I am sure. Get over it.

1st Table: (I am in the 1 seat) Layne Flack on my immediate right (10 seat). Steve Zolotow 2 to my left. WSOP Bracelet winner (don't know his name) in the 5 seat. Men the Master in the 6 seat.

We get 20k chips to start. And the great minds at the Borgata decide to make the 10k chips almost the same color as the 1k chips. In fact, unless you are under direct lighting, it is close to impossible to distinguish between them, but more on this later.

1st level, I get absolutely nothing to play with, but somehow manage to finish with 29,000 in chips. I am not intimidated in the least, and am commanding respect from EVERYONE at the table. Layne is not playing his best poker, and busts out during level 1 (I do not receive many of his chips, as they went to the weakest player at the table when Layne tried to bluff off his last 10k with bottom pair into a flopped set.

Shortly after level 2 starts, key hand for me: I had not been allowing the blinds on my button to limp often (actually it was often because I really had a hand..I don't bother with blind steals this early in a tournament) and had usually been raising 2-4x the BB with solid hands. With the Blinds at 50/100, I pick up AK on the button, and decide to make it look like a steal and raise to 500. Steve Z flat calls. Flop comes 7AA. Steve checks, I check. Turn is a 6. Steve Checks, and I purposely overbet the pot 2k. Steve then raises me to 5 or 6k, leaving him with about 10000 chips ( I am not sure of the exact number, it could be +/- 2k) . I go deep into the tank (not really, but I was looking to see if he had a set), and announce all in.

I have Steve Covered by quite a bit. Now it's his turn to go into the tank. He thinks for 4 minutes, when Freddy Deeb joins the table to replace Layne. Steve tells Freddy he has arrived just in time to see him bust, in an attempt to get a reaction from me (I assume). I give nothing, but force my face to go flush (A little trick I am able to do). He finally calls with a5, no help on the river, and I now have around 48k in chips and Steve is out.


An Aside---Searching for Mr. Tunica:

During level 1, a new player joined our table (who is well known by some at the table, but is unfamiliar to me, tho one of the players referred to him as "Mr. Tunica" (He apparently placed well there, but is not from there)). Sometime during level three, he starts asking a bit more about me, and feeds my ego quite a bit, telling me he has never seen me before but is very impressed with my play. At first I don't know whether or not he is blowing smoke up my ass or not, but as our table breaks he asks if he could buy a piece of me. I decline (Already had way too many pieces of me sold out), and thank him, and he asks me if I'd be interested in future agreements. I tell him to see me at the conclusion of day 1. Unfortunately, I COMPLETELY forget about our conversation and wind up going straight to dinner. (So, Mr. Tunica, in the unlikely event that you read this forum, feel free to contact


Not much else happens to me at this table. Freddy gets KOd shortly after joining the table, and we are broken up before level 3 concludes.

I am now moved to a new table (1 seat again) with Barry Greenstein on my immediate left, TJ Cloutier across from me in the 5 seat, and John Esposito in the 7 seat. I pretty much play my cards, and take a few blinds when they are worth stealing. I Make a nice Bluff on TJ when I was allowed to limp from the SB on a J 6 3 board (6 handed). A nice hand for the blind, but unfortunately not great for my 46. I check, and it is checked around to TJ, who makes a pot-sized bet. Folded to me, and I check raise him the pot, forcing him to laydown JQ. He flashes his cards before laying them down, commenting that he is giving me a lot of respect, and against anyone else at this table he plays. I nod, and just say "It was a good hand for the blind."

Things are uneventful for me until level 4 begins. With the Blinds at 100/200 and a $25 ante, EMP player opens with a minimum raise to $400. Unknown in the 8 seat, who had been getting pushed around by Esposito all day goes All in for $14,500 (into an $800 pot). All fold to me in my BB. And whaddya know..AA. I just call, and hope to god that EMP raiser is dumb enough to not only have KK, but call with it. Don't know what he had, but he folded in a flash. Mr. All in has ATs, he gets no help (gutshot str8 on the turn to add a little excitement), and I am now up to 70k in chips. Player is replaced by the "I'm a professional poker player!!!" Bozo from the WSOP (Asian guy, fu manchu mustache).

Deep into level 6, I am staying steady at around 70k. I have pretty much shut it down for the day, and make a conscious decision not to get involved unless I have the goods. Then comes the "Dumbest thing I ever did in my poker Career." With the Blinds at 300/600, Mr. Poker Pro (MPP) raises to $1700. I am on the Button and decide to just flat call AK to mix things up a bit. The Flop comes K9x, and MPP checks. I also check. Turn 3, and MPP bets 2k, hands shaking. I know he is big, but want to find out how big. Illusions of slowplaying now go out of my head, as I get a distinct impression I am behind. I flip in a 5k chip and think raise, but unfortunately never say it. I just call. MPP now bets 4500 into the pot. The smart thing here would have been to just call, but I figure the paired board may have scared him a bit. I Announce raise, and the second I do, MPP's eyes go big and he is (to me) visibly shaking. The Fucker is huge. Fuck. Having already announced raise, I know I am committed to do so. I look at his chips and it appears he has about 9k left. Esposito comments about the time I am taking (as I am trying to figure some way out of this). I realize I can't just make the minimum bet and then fold to him coming over the top of me for 3k or so more, so I just say all in, push my chips into
the middle and relegate myself to the fact that I probably just cost myself an unnecessary 10k. PPM actually thinks for about 20 seconds, then says "I CALL", and flips over pocket 9s for a a flopped set and boat. The second he says Call I say you got it, and ask the dealer how much.



We were in the very back of the Poker Room, where the lighting was bad (and we were semi-hidden behind a WPT Banner). Three of his 4 yellow 1k chips were in fact 10k chips. I am now down to about 20k in chips, and feel the earth crash beneath me. I have just played 8 of the best hours of poker in my life, and saw it all negated with one stupid play. Lesson for all you kids out there: ALWAYS ask for a chip count.

Anyway, nothing I can do about it now but I realized I suddenly went from the Predator to the Prey.

Rather than letting the beat effect me negatively, it actually steps up my level of play. Everything suddenly seems VERY clear to me, and I am zoned in, albeit zoned in and mega-depressed. I decide to harp on the play a bit to the table, so they think I am on tilt, and that the new kid is cracking under the pressure. The reality is I am about as far from tilt as a person can get, and my reads become almost laser-guided for the next hour.

I manage to work my way up to a bit over 32k, and Barry suffers the ultimate Bad Beat....losing to a dead hand. Here is how it ensued:

John Esposito was up from the table when his hand was Dealt. I was busy counting my chips, so did not notice this. Barry says at first to me, that's a dead hand. Then repeats it a bit louder for the table. By the time I look up, I don't know what he is referring to, and tell him I didn't see it. Esposito looks at his cards, raises, and the hand continues. Nobody else says anything, and I am trying to figure out what is going on. Barry Calls Espos raise, and they are HU. The flop comes 679 (or 567..I
forget exactly). Barry raises about 3k, and Esposito moves in (Barry has him covered). Barry laughs disgustedly and says "I am going to call just so I can say I lost to a dead hand." He calls. Esposito has pocket Aces and Barry 88.

Barry then comments that he said it was a dead hand, but was reluctant to say much more because he did not want to give away the strength of his poker hand, which is understandable. Once the action had already passed Espo, he felt there was little he could do. While our end of the poker table heard Barry clearly, apparently the other side did not hear him.

Barry is now crippled, which is actually great news for me (as a side note it was a pure pleasure to be seated next to him. While I absolutely HATED my position, he was a 100% class act and I had an enjoyable time chatting with him between hands..it alleviated a lot of the pressure that I should have been facing (but wasn't...in fact, except for the first few orbits of level 1, I was VERY comfortable the entire tournament).

My 32k slowly chips down to about 23k, when I get KK in the BB. Mr. Poker Professional Makes his standard raise, and I come over the top. He goes all in, and I call in a shot. He flips over 88, and my Kings hold up. I am now back to life, with 48k. MPP, who was the table chip leader after my blunder, now has around 40k left, and promptly loses it a few hands later when he slightly overvalues A5 on a AQQxx board. (Actually, AK won the pot, and had to make some very hard calls.)

Barry also busts out sometimes during level 6, and I get the pleasure of sitting next to a short-stacked Joe Awada for about 20 minutes before he, too, busts out. (I wish I had more time to get to know him..very humble and just seemed like a great overall person). In Fact, our table kept busting players so fast, the TD could not keep up, and we were constantly playing 7/8 handed at a time when most tables were 9 or even 10 handed.

Joe is replaced by Curtis Bibb, who joins our table with around 22k. Talk about mixed blessings. I have the pleasure of sitting next to three gracious, eminently likeable poker players. Unfortunately, all three have position on me and all three IMHO fit into the Category of WCP. I guess you gotta take the good with the bad.

Anyway, Every time I pick up a decent, playable, albeit marginal hand, Curtis either has the goods or has a read on me, and moves in, forcing me to a tough decision. In the end, he forced me to give up my smallish (standard 3-4x BB raises) of AQ, TT, and 88. He was doing a good job of shutting me out of pots.

With 2 minutes left to go in round 7 (signaling the end of Day 1), I get TT on the button. TJ makes his standard raise to 3500 (blinds 600/1000), and I flat call, opting to see a flop (this may have been a mistake). The flop comes Jack high. TJ checks, and I bet 6k. He comes over the top for a raise of 18k, and I am DEEP into the tank. For the first time all day, I don't have any sort of read on TJ whatsoever, and that in itself scares me a little. I had played back at him a few times when I senses weakness and won, and had been played back at and made easy folds when I sensed strength. I comment that "I don't see you playing AJ here." Nothing. "You flop a set on me, TJ?" Nada. "You making a play on me?" Zilch.


After 2-3 minutes I tell TJ "I'm going to let you outplay me here," and just fold. He nods, and doesn't show (shit) and I close the day at around 38k in chips as opposed to 48k, which is fairly significant. (I ran into him the next day during breakfast, and he asked what I had (I semi-bluffed and said a small PP, and he said he flopped top set and I made a good laydown...whether or not he was actually telling the truth I don't know).


So, I ended the day below average in chips (below the mean, but well within the median). I was thrilled with how I played (save for one HUGE fuckup), and Erik Seidel and John Juanda really fed my ego that night by telling me that I was as good as, in not better than many of the "Superstars" and to relax and just play my game. (TJ also complimented me at the end of Day 1 and again before the redraw on day 2).

I know they were very tired, but their advice/pep talk that night really gave me a lot more confidence in my game. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely cocky about my poker abilities (tho I like to think of myself as humble-cocky), but hearing praise from Caesar (whether or not they really meant it ;)) instilled a fresh batch of confidence inside me. But, more on the dinner and outside events later. I just wanted to let them know how much their words/advice meant to me at that time. And JJ, if you read this, what you said about starting out resonated profoundly. I look forward to being able to continue the legacy in a few years (or hopefully much, much

**/end EGO ALERT**

Sometime tonight and Tomorrow I'll write up my day 2 report. Unfortunately, there obviously will be no day three report. But I expect to be writing a 4-part Tournament report in October.

-The Fish


The Fish Gets Eaten (Borgata WPT Tournament Report - Day 2)

From: Dave L

Well, unfortunately my day 2 report will be much shorter than my day 1 report. When I woke up, I wasn't hungry in the least, but forced myself to choke down half a sandwich at Risi Bisi before heading for the room. Ran into TJ Cloutier and Erik Seidel while there, and when I finished up made the long walk towards the poker room.

Even though I was relatively short stacked at ~38,000 chips, I felt good. As mentioned in the previous report i received some very sound strategy advice from John Juanda and Erik the night before, and had been talking with Russell Rosenblum, who has a wonderful mind for the game. Two of my favorite players to talk strategy with are Matt Matros and Russell (yes, they actually are two different people). It is an extra benefit to me because I often get very new perspectives and approaches. While our overall final decisions often concur, how we arrive at conclusions usually differ greatly. In poker, at the end of the hand either one of two things have happened, you
either win it or lose it (with the occasional tie), but the outcome is anything but Machiavellian. The how and why of the decisions over the course of the hand is, of course, the heart of the game. Both Matt and Russell are far more analytical players than I, and getting the occasional peak into their minds helps me incorporate new strategies each and every time I play.

To put it succinctly, I was prepared.

Ok, enough rambling, on with the tournament:

The blinds started the day at 800/1600 with a $200 ante, a rather steep step up from the previous day's 500/1000/100. We kept our seating assignments from the previous day, with a redraw coming at 100 players (we began the day at 112). Within a few orbits, I had worked my stack up to a little over 46000. Since this is an RGP report, I will include my poorly played presto hand.

In EMP I wake up to and offsuit presto (the best kind). I raise to 4500. Curtis Bibb moves all in behind me for 32000. Dammit, Curtis.

Folded to me, and I have a (rather small) decision. Curtis had been making the all in move quite a bit against me. I ask Curtis if he feels like racing, and actually get a sense that he may be fairly weak. Unfortunately, I can't quite tell if he is AQ-weak, A4-weak, or 66-weak. I decide to make a Cardinal sin and fold Presto, and from this point forward the Poker Gods mocked me.

Allen Cunningham soon joins our table as a shortstack in the 8 seat. He is at the table for 3 hands when he moves all in in my BB for about 16,500. Folded to me and I see AK and call. He flips over AT. A Ten on the flop and now I'm the shortstack with a little under 20,000. Next hand is folded to the button, who makes it 5k to go. I see A8s and push the remainder of my stack in. Blind folds, and button folds. Phew. (He later tells me he had AJ and I had more than enough to cripple him. I compliment him on his good fold, and tell him I had AQ and was hoping for a call. Now you know why Joan calls me Dave L(iar).)

We are now down to 100, and redraw seats. I get the same table, but am placed in the 7 seat. I have a good draw, and am ready to play some fuckin' cards, when it is discovered that 3 players were assigned the same seat.
So, we had to re-redraw, which was...interesting.

Destined never to leave the chilly back section under that air conditioner, I draw seat 10, table 2, which is right next to where I had been sitting the previous day (table 33 became table 1). I have John Myung (4 seat) and an unknown poker pro on my right, who I believe may have been Lee Markholt ( I don't know for sure...it was one of those players that i somewhat recognize but don't quite know who he is) in the 9 seat. I have played with John in the past, so had some sense of his game. The table was tight, and I was getting respect. I even manage to win a hand with QQ...the first time in a month I can recall winning with that hand. Of course, I won because I
picked up the blinds. But hell, I'll take it.

I work my stack up to 40,000 w/o showing a hand (thank god).

Alan Goehring arrives in the 5 seat with about 65,000 in chips. The table dynamic is about to change.

Now, I have never played with Alan, but know his game very well through stories relayed to me by friends. In fact, I had spent about 1 hour the previous day listening to Russell describe how he played against him, and why he made the decisions he did. Of course, Russell was knocked out by Alan, so perhaps my approach could be flawed (j/k Russell!).

Anyway, right away he comes in and makes it 2x the BB in my BB. Folded to me, and I call with KsTc. I never look at the flop, and instead stare directly at Alan (who is also staring at me) and check. I'm not sure whether or not he was aware I had no clue what the flop brought. He bets out 4k. I look down and see 9 high with 3 spades. I like my hand, and also feel I have a good read on him. I reraise to 10k and he folds. I now have around 45k.

Very next hand, Alan again raises the minimum. I look down this time and see TQos. I'm in the SB and call the discounted raise. The BB folds (which surprised me a bit).

The Flop comes Ten high rainbow. This time, I decide to bet ( I check raised the previous hand), and lead out with 7k. Alan Calls, and I know he has nothing, or at least he has a hand equal in strength to the one he just folded. The turn brings a second ragged club, and I again bet 7k. I want the call, I don't want to push him off. Alan raises to 20k. There is no decision here. If he was weak last hand, he was weak this hand, and I have to go with my instincts and what I know about the player. I go all in for about 12,900 more, and Alan thinks for a good 2-3 minutes. I'm shocked it took so long when he calls and shows 2 clubs. In hindsight I guess the extra 13k was the difference between him having a workable stack and being on the shortstack. Anyhoo, the Qc comes on the river, and I am knocked out. I rap the table and stare at that ugly queen for about 15 seconds until the dealer brings in the hand. Alan actually apologizes and I shake my head as if to say it's not necessary, and offer that infernal phrase "that's poker." I have absolutely no regrets on how I played the final hand. I suppose I could have pushed in on the Turn or Flop, but I didn't want a small pot. A double up and I am in the top 20 in chips. I came to win, not place.

I take a last long sip of water, get up and wish the table luck. On my way out I pass Juanda's table and wish him luck, and he stands up, shakes my hand, and offers his condolences and congratulates me on a well-played tournament. I quickly understand why just about everyone who has ever met John likes him.

I make the long, quiet walk out of the tournament area with my wife, make some phone calls and explain a few dozen times to those who were rooting for me what happened, then head towards the VP machines to get my mind on other things. It took about 2 hours to get over the sting, but by the time darkness fell, I was having one of the most enjoyable evenings I can recall in a long time.

But that, of course, will have to wait for another trip report. ;)

Thanks to those who supported me during this tournament, both financially and in other ways. I learned more about my game this past week than I have in the past year. I always thought I could compete at this level, and now I know I can. I'm looking forward to Foxwoods, where for the first time I plan on visiting a casino during tournament time as much (if not more) to play in the tournaments than in the ring games (usually I just skip the tournaments and focus on the side action).

Of course, between now and then is FARGO, and I gotta defend my ATLARGE title. Warm up the cards Queenie, cause this fish smells blood in the water.

-The Fish

Link of the Day:

Who Wants to Be a Psychic Millionaire?
The James Randi Education Foundation has offered $1 million to any person who can show evidence of paranormal, supernatural, or occult powers. "Please be advised that several claimants have suffered great personal embarrassment after failing these tests," says Randi.

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