Saturday, October 09, 2004

"There is only one truly philosophical problem, and that is suicide."
Albert Camus

Scroll down to my prior post for the full transcript to the Annie Duke ESPN poker chat.

Damn, I've got too much to blog about and not enough time. In fact, due to Real Life, I may be forced to take a week off from poker blogging. Plus, I'm contemplating the unthinkable. Quitting da job and heading out to play poker as a pro for a year. And then maybe writing a book about it. How's that for genuine 'Oh The Humanity' nuttiness? I mean, it's kinda fun to think about, anyway.

Actually, it's funny how my real-life friends and colleagues have so much more faith in me than I do in myself. Even my wife said, "This has been a long time coming..." Yikes.

So who knows. I'll keep you posted, of course. I'm trying to straighten out my medical stuff (you can't even imagine what health insurance coverage costs for a Little Person) before I do anything drastic but the Forces of Change are closing in.

Hell, maybe I should move back to Vegas. The statute of limitations for my arrest has surely ran out by now.

Also, a shout-out of thanks to Double Through for recommending the fine film, The Station Agent. There is a sweetness and goodness to this movie that one rarely sees in films anymore.

I wanted to point out for the second time that there IS an RSS feed available for this humble blog. You can subscribe with my feed being:

Also, you can search all of my archives with that search box in the upper left hand corner of your browser. Both cool and handy.

Ugh, I'm loathe to blog about Andy Glazer but I suppose I must. I offer no judgement or perspective. I'll leave the philosophy to Camus, how about that? Anyone who has been touched by suicide, as many of us have, know it cuts too close for many people. But I was naively surprised at the vicious attacks on Steve Badger for writing the column stating that Andy died of a suicide. I'm certainly no arbitrer of taste so I have nothing of value to offer there, either. All I can do is pick out a few of the posts from RGP, including Mr. Badger's replies to the vitriol. I truly didn't want to even address this tragedy, it seems inappropriate, but I figure I'll bang it out now and never have to revisit it. Also, from my experience (for whatever that is worth) of reading Mr. Badger for a looong time, he's never been anything but a straight shooter.

Deep breath. Here we go:


Subject: Re: Did Any Glazer commit suicide?
From: Steve Badger

It's unfortunate to see my article of appreciation of Andy twisted by twisted nasties to attack me and/or Andy. I don't know how people can wake up each day with such hate in their hearts.

Andy's taking of his own life has been fairly common knowledge in casino poker circles since it occurred. It was always confirmable by calling the Coroner. The official Coroner's report has been available from the Coroner's office for about three weeks. It details Andy's taking his life, as well as two previous attempts. And that is enough about that.

My article is basically about three things:
- my appreciation and debt of gratitude to Andy in general, and for one specific thing
- my disappointment at Andy's final self-destructive act
- my encouragement to those who are not suited for the natural highs and lows of a poker career to not create unhappiness for themselves and instead find a more suitable-to-them way to spend their lives.

I am disappointed that Andy's tragic self-destruction denied the rest of the world further fruits from his life, but certainly nothing I wrote is intended as a criticism of Andy. I can't imagine why anyone would want to twist the words that way.

I only wish Andy could have been around to feel the genuine joy and appreciation that many people have posted and talked about that he brought them during his life.
Steve Badger

There are far too many typical hateful posts in RGP directed at Steve. So I'm just going to pull one, from Patrick O'Malley, because he's perhaps one of three voices of reason still left on that shambles of a newsgroup.

Subject: Re: Did Any Glazer commit suicide?
From: Patrick B. OMalley

I agree.

Glazer was a great writer who has moved on. Most just knew he died and that's all they wanted or needed to know. His life had ended, most had grieved, and most had moved on.

Now with this article, his death is brought back to many who didn't even know him and changed the perception that many had of him. There was no reason to let the whole world how he died when no one was asking and most had moved on.

I think Badger's article had no class mostly for that reason. His cause of death was known by the few that knew him closely and by anyone that cared. I feel like Badger did this so that people would think Badger is big in the poker world and has a ton of inside information that most don't have. It's not true.

I don't agree with Badger's article in the least and the many that I have spoke with in the poker world also 100% disagree with the writing of this article and the timing behind it.

Just my opinion of course.

Mr. Badger replies:

Subject: Re: Andy Glazer and the Truth

From: Steve Badger

> "DaVoice" wrote...
> "CherryJam" wrote...

>> But I truly loved Andys writing, and it moved me when he died. I think
>> that we deserve some truth.
> The people that knew and didn't post the cause of Andy's demise were the
> ones who DESERVED to know the truth. His friends, colleagues, and family.
> I think much less of Steve Badger now than I ever did in the past. Many
> of us knew, but none of us posted it on our websites trying to sell
> something.

If you can tell me how I will make a nickel out of this, let me know.

A good part of Andy's life was devoted to telling the truth. If I would have died before Andy, I am quite confident that if people deliberately lied about me or my death, that I could have counted on him to correct them.

The lies told about Andy are perhaps the final bit of tragedy in his life.

Now I know haters here and on 2+2 won't stop, but I'll ask anyway.

Stop lying about Andy. Andy *deserves* the truth.

I wanted to write an article of appreciation about Andy. To do that I either had to tell the truth, lie, or ignore one of the central lessons we can learn from his life, a lesson that might benefit some fairly small amount of people greatly. Ignoring it made no sense to me though since many hundreds, probably a couple thousand people, knew the truth. Other people may think lying is better is because it is better for the poker industry or for some people still living. For my part, I owe Andy a debt of gratitude, and as such will not be a party to lying about him.

I personally owe Andy the truth.

Andy may never truly rest in peace, but I hope people will allow him to. Give Andy the respect and positive legacy that this flawed, tragic, talented man earned in his life.

Steve Badger

Damnit, this post is bumming me out. Note to self: you suck.

And because most people consider Gary Carson one of the crankiest dickheads ever to inhabit RGP, I offer this post from the man who helped teach me how to beat loose aggressive poker games.

From: Gary Carson

> Now, if Andy had
>railed against suicide or losing to depression, the circumstances of
>his death would have relevance.

As near as I can tell, Andy was in severe denial about his depression.

I've never met Andy but had known him via email for a while. We had the same agent, and for a time kept each other informed about writing gigs, etc.

But, Andy would get very upset with me if I was critical of anything he wrote.

At one point he got very agitated about an email exchange we had and vowed to do everything he could to see to it that I never wrote for any publication he had any influence over. It was way over the top.

He went into a long explanation of how it was important for him to surround himself with people who could give him positive support, and cut off all contact with those who might offend him or his friends.

In retrospect I feel badly that I didn't recognize the depression, but I didn't. It seems that what he was doing was trying to "self-medicate" my managing his environment, rather than seeking medical help. He was taking a standard new age bullshit approach to managing his condition. Such an approach actually might work if combined with self-reflection about the truth of the condition and general honesty about it. Almost no approach to treating depression works when it's combined with self-delusional denial about it.

Early in our relationship I'd asked Andy if he had a problem with depression, the reason was that his abrupt quiting his law practice and landing in Esalon for a couple of years looked like it might have been motivated by depression. Andy unequivically denied ever having any problems with depression.

All I can say is that depression is a very serious disease, it's very deadly, suicide isn't the only form of death it leads to. If you suspect in any way you might suffer from depression don't hesitate to get help, don't worry about what others will think of you if they know. It doesn't get better, it's a progressive disease which just gets worse and worse if left untreated.

For many years I just didn't know I was depressed. I actually didn't think it was abnormal to be a vice president in Bank of America's Investment Securities Division one year, and be sleeping in a park the next year.

Once I figured out that I really did suffer from depression I got medical help that same day. I'm surprised I'm still alive.

Gary Carson

Whew, enough on that. Allow me simply state that I shall tremendously miss Andy Glazers' poker columns. He was my favorite.

Time to lighten things up here with the random picture of the day.

I'm not sure what's going on here. It's likely illegal.

Folks were upset at Doyle Brunson after getting an email stating a delay in SuperSystem 2. This much anticipated poker book was offered as incentive for new players to sign up at Doyle's new online poker room.

Super System II - expected delay 2 years

From: Toni

God damn it, Mr. Brunson.
Just received this from Amazon UK:

"We are writing to you regarding your order for "Doyle Brunson's Super
System II"

We have contacted the publisher in regard to your ordered item. We have
been informed that this title has not yet been published, however the
publisher now expects the title to be released in October 2006."

Pushed back TWO YEARS?

Two years seems less a 'delay' than a work stoppage. But that's just me.

But wait - I just saw an update from Doyle's newsletter:

"Super/System 2 was sent to the printer this week. It will take only 6-8
weeks for the book to be ready for shipping. If you are one of the
people who have already qualified with 10,000 action points for the
book, we will be sending it to you for free as soon as we receive it. If
you have not yet earned your 10,000 Action Points, then you still have
time to get one of the very first copies - ONLY available from
DoylesRoom.com. This book, not available anywhere else in the world,
will redefine winning poker strategy - just like the original
Super/System did 27 years ago. Watch our website, because we're planning
to publish some excerpts before the end of the month."

Much better, eh?

WPT news here:

WPT to Create Poker Analysis TV Show

The World Poker Tour is to air the first ever poker analysis television show, WPT Poker Corner, on October 13th, immediately after Wednesday night’s broadcast of the Season Two WPT Championship. Hosted by Mike Sexton, the program will include chat, tips and in depth analysis of the final table from the likes of pros Daniel Negreanu, Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth.

'The addition of WPT Poker Corner to the WORLD POKER TOUR's Wednesday nights on Travel Channel makes for a full night of poker entertainment, perfect for both die-hards and newcomers alike,' said Steve Lipscomb, President of WPT Enterprises and creator of the show. Show host Mike Sexton added, 'Players who are serious students of the game will enhance their own play with what they learn on WPT Poker Corner. Furthermore, watching WPT Poker Corner will offer viewers a completely different perspective into the WPT Championship.'

Well now, I just noticed that everyone's favorite poker blogger, tournament poker pro, Richard "Quiet Lion" Brodie, has put a new post up this evening:
There Are More Horse’s Shoes in the World: 2004 Hold 'Em at the Horseshoe
Too many mosquitoes

Some noise was also made by a few of my other favorite bloggers. You simply must go hit Up For Poker and read the articles by CJ & Otis for ALLIN Magazine. They took the time to write em, scan em and post em. The least you could go do is read them. Kudos.

Now that Glazer has left us, Felicia is writing the best poker tournaments writeups in her blog for the WPPA. They couldn't have picked anyone better and I'm interested to see how this new organization pans out. Hah!

Pauly had the unfortunate experience of dealing with an anonymous fuck coward blowing him shit in his comments. I've experienced the same infantile behavior, and lemme tell you, it's hard enough writing a freaking interesting blog without random fucknuts taking shots at you. Hell, I had assholes make fun of my cat, Monty, dying.

I just wish sometimes that people would accept that writing this, as Pauly put it, "puts us out there" - and that it's kind of a tightrope act. Hell, I've never written a blog before. I can honestly say that I'm making this all up as I go along. And again, it ain't easy.

But the positive has far out-weighed the negative (so far, anyway), and for that, thanks to anyone who takes the time to read the poker blogs. There's a ton of great poker writing over there on the right, take the time and read em the next time you're clicking & folding on Party Poker.

Anyway, back to Mike the Mouth Matusow. There were a few silly apologists trying to sell the poker world on Mike Matusow being SETUP on a cocaine trafficking charge. Give me a break. In the state of Nevada, possessing over an ounce of cocaine constitutes a felony with intent to distribute. That's prison time, boys. He got very freaking lucky to get 6 months in county jail. If he was an inner city kid caught with that weight in rock, he woulda gotten, far, far, far worse.

Interesting background story on Mike Matusow from the Call, Raise or Muck It Poker Blog. I appreciate the inside scoop.

I mentioned Poker Mountain a while back. Here's the follow up story for a new online poker room.

The software for Poker Mountain is being developed by Advanced Global Applications (AGA), the software company founded by WSOP bracelet holder Diego Cordovez.

Daniel Negreanu and Adam Schoenfield are also affiliated with AGA as consultants. T.J. Cloutier will also be an endorsee of Poker Mountain.

Holy shit. This next bit is.....unspeakable evil. And inevitable, I suppose.
House Party Poker - Bringing the poker home to you.

What happens when you combine a surprise house party with your weekly Poker game – you get the newest concept in reality show television - House Party Poker. House Party Poker (HPP) is a simple, seductive show that allows winning contestants to experience a sponsored poker tournament in the confines of their own home along with our zany HPP crew. The final episode features all weekly winners in a ‘Winner-Take-All’ HPP Grand Tournament. One lucky player will walk away with the grand prize -- plus the entry fee into the World Series of Poker Tournament®.

“The zaniest and most entertaining reality show yet! Combines the best elements of Big Brother, Trading Spaces and the Poker craze, throwing in a measure of Publisher Clearing House Sweepstakes. Ups the reality TV ante—a ‘must-see!’ ”
-- BV, Tri-Art Productions

Oh the humanity.
And I quote: "the best elements of Big Brother, Trading Spaces and the Poker craze."

I just choked on my Guinness.

OK, I just found another goofy pic. It could use a caption.

Here's a Phil Helmuth snippet from Friday's Sports Illustrated.

With engaging storylines in short supply, the gaming capital, to its credit, helped fill the void by offering up an off-the-wall surprise. Indeed, the biggest name in the tournament -- at least to the locals -- may not be Riley, or even Mickelson, but Phil Hellmuth.

This week, the infamous "Poker Brat"-- who in 1989, at age 24, became the youngest-ever winner of the main event at the World Series of Poker-- is caddying for Corey Pavin.

The couple couldn't be odder. Pavin has long been one of the most gentlemanly, unassuming players in the game. Hellmuth, on the other hand, is poker's answer to John McEnroe. Tabled with lesser players, he never fails to berate them for strategic miscues. When he loses, he's constitutionally unable to acknowledge he's been outplayed. His signature line: "I guess if luck weren't involved, I'd win every hand."

If nothing else, Pavin's taking Hellmuth on as a bagman indicates the degree to which poker-mania now prevails on Tour. Although few will admit to playing, World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour telecasts have come to rival SportsCenter as must-see hotel room viewing. Anecdotal illustration: Chris DiMarco telling me, early on Tuesday evening at the John Deere Classic, that I'd have to interview him on the phone that night, because he was rushing back to his hotel to watch the WSOP on ESPN.

Pavin, in his words, hasn't "played a hand for money since I was about 12." Yet he's lately become a TV poker addict, and was thrilled when, two months ago, a mutual friend, noted infotech gazillionaire Carl Wescott, introduced him to Hellmuth at Wescott's home in Beaver Creek, Colo.

Part of that Colorado visit was a day at nearby Eagle Trace Golf Club. "The whole round we talked poker and golf," Hellmuth recounts. "At some point, he said, 'You know, I'd like to come watch you play.'

"I said, 'Well, I'd like to watch you play.' So he said, 'Well, how about the first week of October, at the tournament in Las Vegas? Wanna caddie for me?"

(Yes, there was a bet involved in their match, with Hellmuth, who claims an 18 handicap, getting a stroke per hole. Yet the sum that changed hands at the end of the round was miniscule, Pavin says. "He wanted to play for thousands of dollars a hole, but I didn't want to take all his money.")

On Wednesday, the two reunited for a practice round-cum-caddying lesson at the TPC at the Canyons. Hellmuth announced his on-site presence early: his first stop was the pro shop, where he bought a $2 tube of lip balm with a $100 bill, and tipped an assistant pro $20.

Pavin teed it up with fellow UCLA alum McCarron, whose caddie, Rich Mayo, coached Hellmuth through his first nine as a pro jock. But after they made the turn, poker talk dominated the conversation. The shift in focus was largely the fault of 20-year vet Blaine McCallister, who joined the quartet on the 10th hole.

"I'm a big fan of yours!" McCallister cried when introduced to Hellmuth. "Anybody who can talk s--- like you do and get away with it has got to be my man."

Hellmuth smiled, and flashed a sense of humor as strong as his self-confidence. "Are you sure you're thinking of the right guy?" he asked.

McCallister wasn't kidding when he said he was a fan. Hole after hole, he rehashed Hellmuth's most memorable tirades, like the one that followed his loss to Annie Duke at this year's WSOP Tournament of Champions. "Let's see if I can get this right," he ventured. "'I can't believe she bleep-bleep-bleepity-bleeped me!'"

While Pavin snuck in tips on flag-tending and greenside bag placement, McCallister and McCarron rode Hellmuth hard, stressing how important it would be for him to subdue his loudness of mouth. The three cardinal rules of caddying, they reminded him, are Show Up, Keep Up, and Shut Up.

"That last one," McCallister cracked, "is going to be really tough on you."

Added McCarron, "You're only allowed to say three things: 'You were right, boss,' 'I was wrong, boss,' and 'You really got screwed there, boss,'" the last to be employed when a putt inexplicably fails to drop.

In the end, the Brat turned out to be the life of the party, obligingly rehearsing stories of bad beats and crazy bets, and even contributing to golf lore, revealing at one point that poker legend Doyle Brunson was one of Ray Floyd's backers in his storied late '60s match against then-unknown El Paso CC employee Lee Trevino.

As for Hellmuth's fee for the week, he's pledged to hand over his share of any winnings to Pavin's regular man, Eric Schwartz. In a sense, Hellmuth is even paying Pavin, helping broker a potential (and potentially controversial) hat deal with an Internet poker site that is one of Hellmuth's sponsors.

The sponsorship agreement, should it be signed, wouldn't knock Tiger and Elin off of the headlines. But the shrieks coming from Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach would be so loud they'd probably be audible in Barbados.

Per Mike the Mouth and other assorted crass, loudmouth players, here's a post by the always effervescent Daniel Negreanu:

Subject: A Bob Costas Quote I love
From: Daniel Negreanu

On this week's episode of Inside the NFL on HBO, Bob Costas said the following:

Bob Costas:

"Why do so many of us, not neccessarily on this program, but television in general make the mistake of confusing bafoonish and loudish behaviour with colorful behaviour. Colorful and quirky characters are the life blood of sports, but over the last many years we've seen guys who are just louts and television flocks to them. We can't get enough of them. We want to document their every utterance which is almost always dopey."

Chris Collinsworth:
"You understand why, ratings. They drive ratings what else can you say."

Now I have a question for you all: If I didn't tell you that it was Bob Costas who said it and that he was talking about football, wouldn't you have bet your last dollar that he was talking about poker? It amazed me how well Bob's comments related directly to what we are seeing in the poker world today.

I'll add my own two cents: It's human nature for people to want to be recognized which often translates to wanting to be on TV. In the poker world, there are definitely ways to ensure that you will get on the air.

Acting like a bafoon will absolutely GUARANTEE that you will get noticed. If you want to be a memorable character on TV, you can come up with a bagful of gimmicks:

Dress up in a pink chicken suit and you'll get camera time. Beat your chest like a gorilla and scream "I'm the best player in the world!!!" again they'll air it. Throw a temper tantrum when you lose... they'll air it.

What's seems so much less interesting is a kid like Gavin Griffin. The youngest WSOP winner in history who behaved well beyond his years at the table. Was extremely polite and well spoken. Didn't talk any trash, didn't parade around the table doing a victory dance. That kind of thing just doesn't sell tickets.

It does however earn you a great deal of respect from your peers in the poker community. Bafoonery will ensure two things: 1) camera time, and 2) distain from your peers.

I guess this message goes out to all of the new young stars of our game.

There are ways to get your due respect from the media... keep winning.
And there are ways to earn the respect of your peers in the poker world, do it humbly.

There is nothing wrong with being excited.
There is nothing wrong with being fun and colorful.
When doing so, ALWAYS be mindful of your opponents feelings and the way
your behaviour will be percieved. If you abide by that simple rule, you
will have the best of both worlds.

Hells bells, I'm done for now. Sorry for the rambling, crappy post.
I'll be back with lots more soon.

Don't forget about the Poker Stars blogger tournament!

Link of the Day:
Jeff Woods, Player Hater
Jeff Woods, maintenance programmer for Star Wars Galaxies, has a message for the 100,000 users making his life hell at any given moment: "Greetings and suck me."

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