Saturday, October 02, 2004

"There's opportunity in poker…If Horace Greeley were alive today, his advice wouldn't be "Go West, young man, and grow up with the country." Instead, he'd point to that deck of cards on table and say, "Shuffle up and deal."
Lou Krieger

Quick post:

The next poker blogger and their readers tournament:
October 21st, Thursday, at 9pm EST.
Poker Stars
It's a $20 No-Limit tournament, per usual.
Open to anyone.

The tourney is now officially listed on the Poker Stars Private tournament tab. I think it's called Guinness and Poker Tourney or something. Go sign up now with my link, damnit! You'll have fun, trust me.

The tournament is password protected. The password is: iggy2004

I'm announcing a bounty on myself. Whoever knocks out the defending blogger tourney champion (that would be me), will get the poker player bobblehead of their choice.

I'll have some more bounties and prizes to announce as we draw closer to the actual event. It's gonna be a ton of fun, per usual.

What next....well, I was perusing the poker blogs the other day and discovered one that was talking about poker theory and how it help us understand inherent elements of the game. How it gives you perspective. So I wanted to list some of these, for the hell of it. Each of these focuses on a different variable of some particular facet of the game.

Poker is a struggle among the players for the right to the antes.
Money flows from bad player to good players.
Poker is a game of money and odds.
Poker is a game of partial information.
Poker is a game of strategy and deception.
Poker is a contest between a made hand and a drawing hand.
Poker is a game of kickers and hand domination.
Poker is a game of manipulation and pressure.

Gary Carson says that developing the ability to quickly shift your point of view is the first step in being able to adjust to changes in game conditions - the key to winning poker.

Damn, this lends itself nicely to a segue about Mortens Theorem, but I don't have the time to pontificate properly. I've got my home game in a few hours and plenty of errands to run beforehand.

But one thing I'll say, especially playing at the loose tables on Party Poker, is that in hold em, you need to adjust your thinking about poker hands away from its poker ranking and more towards its money-winning potential.

RGP still sucks. It's just not the same anymore. If only Paul Phillips or Steve Badger would return, I would have _someone_ worth reading on there. But Ken Lovering did make his RGP Quotes of the Month!! post which I will now share with you. Both quotes are from the aforementioned Mr. Carson.


I have selected two, because they both very profound and

"I don't particularly give a shit about trying to beat moderately tough
games. I'd rather stay home and jerk off."

"Sklansky puts way too much value on butting your head against a brick wall."

Gary Carson

Anyone who's read me for any length of time, knows that I'm a fanboy of snarky Paul Phillips. And I always find it humorous that the peanut gallery on RGP keeps taking shots at Paul, well past his departure. The phrase "girly journal" is often referenced when talking about his kickass blog. And while Paul is the last person who needs an apologist, especially with the written word, I now offer this post on RGP, on his behalf:

I think you miss the rather important point that Paul Phillips doesn't give a shit what you or anyone else thinks. He posts and reads where and what he likes purely for his own amusement. He's clearly an intelligent guy whose writing is engaging enough that even people who hate his guts seem to be unable to
tear themselves away from it.

Maybe the real problem is that the guy has zillions of dollars, a beautiful/intelligent wife and superior poker ability to most people on RGP.
Basically, he personifies what a lot of people on here conceive of as the perfect life. The fact that he won't sink down to the level that a lot of people try to drag him down to further just shows that he sincerely doesn't care what most people think... and that seems to bother a lot of people. Take him or leave him. But don't mad at him because he refuses to play in what he figures to be your infested sandbox.

Allrighty then. Nuff said.

I've a ton more to post about (including about ten new poker blogs) but I'm out of time. I just wanted to let everyone know that the tournament is now up at Poker Stars.

So allow me to leave you with two nuggets. One is an article about poker pro, Layne Flack, and the second is the full unedited chat with Josh Arieh from ESPN for those of you without an ESPN.com Insider password.

Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Layne Flack

"I don’t think you play poker by reading other people. I think you play poker by reading how others are reading you."

Layne's Personal Notes
• Born in Rapid City, South Dakota, 1969
• Former poker dealer
• Ran poker games in Montana
• Doesn't like being interviewed
• Known for his wry smile and "malicious laugh"
• Resides in Las Vegas

Aside from playing pinochle with his grandparents as a kid, Layne Flack had no experience with card playing when he took his first job as a casino worker in Billings, Montana at the age of 18. His youth was spent between the flatlands of South Dakota and the rugged terrain of Montana.

After six months at the Billings casino, Layne was promoted to night manager. That's also when he started playing poker himself. These early games were $1-$3 Five Card Stud, and he loved it. A year later he began a short-lived college career studying business. During the summers he started dealing—cards, that is. When he wasn't dealing, he was playing. He got so busy making money from poker that he eventually decided to call it quits with college classes.

"That's when I started to run my own games," he says. "All throughout Montana: Bozeman, Butte, Missoula, and Billings. Up there I just went up to the little casinos and told them I'd pay $1,500 a month to lease out a room where I could put up two tables."

At one of his Montana games he met poker pro Huck Seed, himself a native of Montana. Impressed with Layne's game, he says Huck convinced him to go to Vegas. "Six weeks later," adds Layne, "I was playing in the Hall of Fame tournament and won the second event I played in" — a $1,500 buy-in No Limit Hold'em. "The first time I ever played in Vegas, I won!" That first Vegas win inspired Layne to stay on the poker circuit. He was also inspired by poker great Johnny Chan, who he says took him under his wing. "He let me sit behind him while he was playing," Layne explains, "and I learned a lot."

From there Layne went on to be very competitive. In 2002, he earned the nickname "Back-to-back" Flack when he took two gold bracelets in back-to-back World Series events. Those two wins catapulted him to the big leagues. "But I got really well known a year later when I beat Jerry Buss," he adds.

The owner of the L.A. Lakers lost to Flack at the 2003 Celebrity Invitational at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. "I walked in the door the other day at the Commerce," he says, "and Jerry said to me, 'there's the one I made famous.' That episode probably got played five times more than any other because it was the celebrity invitational." Buss, Layne adds, now lets him sit with him up in the owner's box at Lakers games where both poker and basketball are the hot topics.

Layne is known for being a "madman' — an aggressive player who is often hard to read. And that's important to the up and coming star. "I wear a smirk that I think makes me hard to read. Players will sit there and look at me and all they see is my grin. They have no idea what I'm holding, or if I'm ready to bluff." Layne says he's hard to read even away from the poker table: "People must try too hard. I'll be walking out of the casino and people will say, 'hey, it looks like you had a good day.' And I'll say, 'no, not at all.'”

When asked what makes him a good poker player, Layne scoffs at the question. "I've been trying to figure out what makes a good player, but no one really knows why they're good. It's probably just your chemical makeup." He does, however, admit to having a way with reading other people. "When I read someone, I go way more in depth than what their cards are. I read every situation. I look at what they might do and what kind of person they are. If this person is a shady person, he's more apt to be stealing a pot, and if he's friendly with me at the table, he's less likely to bluff me."

More importantly, however, he says, "I don't think you play poker by reading other people. I think you play poker by reading how other people are reading you. With my outgoing personality, I get a lot of information."
Layne's Major Poker Accomplishments

• 2003, First place, WSOP, Omaha Hi/Lo Split
• 2003, First place, WSOP, Limit Hold'em Shootout
• 2002, First place, WPT Celebrity Invitational
• 2002, First place, WSOP, No Limit Hold'em back-to-back titles
• 2000, First place, Legends of Poker, No Limit Hold'em Championship
• 1999, First place, WSOP, Pot Limit Hold'em

Here's the Full Arieh Interview

Talk poker with Josh Arieh!

Welcome to The Show!
On Thursday, World Series of Poker third place finisher Josh Arieh will
stop by to talk poker and take your questions.

The 29-year-old from Atlanta collected a cool $2.5 million in this year's
World Series of Poker after finishing third among 2,575 players. He
started playing at the age of 19 and claimed his first big pot in 1999,
winning a World Series of Poker bracelet and $200,000.

Send in your questions and comments now (just submit it using the fields
below) then join Josh in The Show on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.

Don't forget your poker face!

Josh Arieh: Hey everybody, I'm here and ready for your questions!

Pete (Green Bay): Hi Josh,Enjoyed watching you play....Do you play a lot
of high stakes poker or just a lot of buy-in tourneys?

Josh Arieh: Lately I've been playing mostly tournaments b/c of the hours.
YOu spend so many hours playing that there is not much time to play the
side games.

Dave (CT): TV showed you get saved on the river once, how many other were
not shown??

Josh Arieh: There were actually two on TV that were big pots that I won
on the river. Those were the only two I can think of. There was a key had
on day 3 when I was short in chips, I had AQ vs. AK and I won and really
never looked back from there.

Travis (Omaha): Do you watch tapes of yourself playing poker to see if you
have any obvious 'tells'. If so, how do you fix them?

Josh Arieh: I do a little. I try to look at things that I do when I have
a good hand and things that I do when I have a bad hand. I just try to
reverse them on people. If I think it's a person that will spend time
studying the tapes, I will especially try to reverse things on those

Raymond (Detroit, MI): Is your "tough guy" attitude at the table just part
of your overall strategy? Also, what is your favorie poker room in Vegas?

Josh Arieh: Well, it's not really a tough guy attitude, it's an intense
attitude from years of high-level competition and just a real desire to
win. ... In Vegas, definitely the Bellagio.

Kelly (Fort Collins, CO): Josh, on TV you came off as a cocky player,
which seemed to rub some people the wrong way. Do you agree with that or
were they inacurrately portraying you?

Josh Arieh: Well, it's a little of both. I'm definitely very confident.
There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. I know that I have
a hard time playing players that I sense are very confident. So that is
who I try to be. It's a message that I send by body language to the other
players without having to actually say anything.

Tony (St. Louis): Have you ever gone up against the Poker "Queen" Annie
Duke?How was she?

Josh Arieh: We've played a lot. There are many great women players. Annie
is definitely a great player. We've played together on several occasions.
I don't remember how we fared, but I really enjoy playing with her. I
learn a lot from it.

John (Omaha): Hi Josh. At what age did you start playing poker? How soon
before you moved your game to a casino?

Josh Arieh: I started playing when I was about 18. I was going to the
casino when I was 19 ... with a fake ID.

Cayne (Federal Way, WA): What's up with the upside-down sunglasses?

Josh Arieh: Ha! That's just Marcel! He is just one of the funniest
characters you'll ever meet. He's like a cartoon character come to life!

Sammy (Des Moines): what is the hardest thing to read...an experienced
player bluff or the young aggressive player.

Josh Arieh: Definitely the experienced player bluff b/c of the deep level
of thinking that the experienced player goes through. I experienced that
yesterday with Daniel Negranu. He just completely screwed my game up b/c I
never knew where he was at.

Trent (NY): What's the biggest mistake that new hold em players make? Is
it playing too many hands?

Josh Arieh: Nope, it's exposing too many chips which causes decision
making to become harder than it has to be.

Pete (Rochester, NY): Josh-aren't you tired? How late did the tourney go
last night?

Josh Arieh: Yeah Pete, I'm very tired! I got about 3 hours of sleep and
caught a 5 am flight out of Philly!

Dave (Chicago): How good is Greg Raymer compared to the elite poker

Josh Arieh: Greg Raymer is definitely a great player but it's hard
comparing him to the elite players b/c there are about 10 players that are
really just on a level of their own. But Greg is definitely a great

neal (dallas): do you think greg raymer played the best poker at the final
table or just got the luckiest?

Josh Arieh: It's a combination of both. He definitely ran well and
definitely caught good cards, but he played them great. That's all you can
do. I defintely feel like I had a chance, but in a 50-50 shot, I just

Mike (Minneapolis): How impressive was Harrington's back to back final

Josh Arieh: Wow. It's amazing that he can play on a level that high for
so many years. It's absolutely amazing, right? It's such a great feat.

Derek (Cleveland): Was Norman Chad correct in his assesment of your pker
etiquette? Were you embarrassed by any of your behavior?

Josh Arieh: I think that it came across the wrong way. I wouldn't take
back any of my behavior. A few of my outbursts -- like the one with Harry
-- I'm not sorry that it happened. But I'm sorry that it had to happen
with him b/c he is such a nice guy. I'm an intense player and when
emotions are mixed in I forget the cameras are there and I'm just myself.

victor (union, nj): can you talk about the hand with you and Harry D.,
When you caught the flush on the river

Josh Arieh: Yeah, I had the 9, 10 of hearts and the flap came AKQ and I
had 900,000 in chips and bet 400,000. I know Harry is good so i'm trying
to send the message that I have a good hand. I was hoping he would fold,
but he pushed me all in and I saw it as a chance to get back in the
tournament rather than just play from a short stack. When he turned his
hand up and showed Ace Jack, that was not a hand I thought he would call
with, I was a little upset. There were a million emotions that were going
through my mind and I started to think that I was not going to win anymore
and that is what provoked my reaction.

victor (union, nj): Can you explain why you were so surprised/upset when
he called you with AJ?

Josh Arieh: Because on a high level of play like that, if you think about
it, there is no hand he can beat that I would call him with -- except for
a flush draw. And if I had a flush draw, he would only be a small

Anthony (Cincinnati): Speaking of that hand, "I didn't get lucky. You
wanna gamble? We can gamble" has become my official slogan.

Josh Arieh: Haha. Cool. But when I said that, I'm sending a message to
everyone at the table that I'm not there to inch up in money, I'm there to
win the tourney and from that point on, it was smooth sailing, I was never
again in a big confrontation.

Jimmy (Villanova, PA): hey josh, besides marcel, who were some of the
funniest players you played with in the main event?

Josh Arieh: Mike the Mouth is funny is his own way. It is just so stupid
to see somebody act the way he does. There are so many different
characters, it's hard to pick them out.

Kevin (Syracuse, NY): What do you think was David Williams thinking when
he checked in the dark, the hand he had 55 with and catches the set?

Josh Arieh: I don't know. It was a play that Marcel taught him. I don't
to this day -- and I've become very good friends with David -- I just
don't understand why you would do that. He basically played it to only
flop a set and that's it. I don't see the meaning.

Carwash (Covington): Josh, I know you play at some home games in Atlanta.
Are there any players in Atlanta that are any good, or do you just take
all their money?

Josh Arieh: There is one player in Atlanta that is good. His name is Mike
Snyder, other than him, the rest are a bunch of idiots.

Scott (Phoenix): What are your favorite pocket cards that you like to play
but know you shouldn't?

Josh Arieh: 10 8. No, you know, there are no cards that I don't think I
should play. It's situations that I look for, not cards. You make a lot
more money with the bad hands that you "shouldn't play" but you have to
learn to detect sitation and know if those cards are good -- it's called
flop poker.

Jonathan (Los Angeles): I went to Vegas and lost money playing poker. Even
at your level does the house make money off of you guys?

Josh Arieh: Well, the house makes money when there is a game. That's all
they care about. I make an hourly when I play, I mean, I'm sure I lose
some money to the house but that's just the nature of the game.

Brian (Kalamazoo ): Other than poker do you gamble on other things?

Josh Arieh: Just for entertainment. Nothing big. I like betting sports,
but just cheap entertainment stuff.

neal (dallas): what did you buy with all that money????

Josh Arieh: The day we got home I bought my wife a BMW X5.

Kevin (Dallas): Josh....how did such a spare like yourself land such a
beautiful wife?

Josh Arieh: Confidence.

George (Virginia Beach, VA): As a poker player how do you plan for the

Josh Arieh: Just take it day by day. I've never dreamed that it would be
the way it is. Whatever happens -- happens. I'm living a dream. It seems
like it's too good to be true.

chris (hart, mi): did you take your winnings in cash or a check

Josh Arieh: Check. I would have been hard carrying 2.5 million in my

John (Richmond, VA): Does winning a huge pot like that make you less
motivated to go earn in other tournaments? Or do yuo always want to win

Josh Arieh: Well, I still haven't won. It's been over 5 years since I
actually won the tourmament. It just makes me want to get back to a stage
like that, I love competing on that level and it just makes me want to get
back there and play even better next time.

Sam (Dallas): I see you play online alot,who are some of the best internet
players out there?

Josh Arieh: Eric 123 is a great limit hold 'em player. There are tons of
great players.

Sumit (Pittsburgh): How do you feel about online poker? do you think its
rigged at all on certain sites? the other day i tried playing and lost
with an ace high flush to four of a kind on the river then with pocket
aces (making my set on the flop) to someone who made a straight on the
flop? this made me think even more so that online poker is rigged

Josh Arieh: I'm 99.9% sure that it is not rigged. I would stay with the
bigger companies, but the reason there seems to be so many bad beats is
because the number of hands that you are playing an hour increases.

David (Charlottesville): Can you tell us more about Chip Reese, who
appeared on the WSOP TOC? Most of us had never heard of him.

Josh Arieh: You've never heard of him b/c he is a cash game player. I've
never played with him, but he plays in the highest cash games available
and he definitely belonged at that table.

Richard (Omaha): Will you let your daughters play poker professionally?

Josh Arieh: Absolutely. 100% without a doubt. There is definitely a lot
of bad element in poker but if a young person is taught the right way,
there is no better way to make a living.

joshua (Lincoln, NE): Does it bother you that at the end of tournies such
as the WSOP it becomes more and more of a crapshoot with all of the 50/50
confrontations with two people all in? I know the blind levels increase to
speed up the tourey, but it would be nice if they didn't increase that
quickly so skill was still the main factor instead of luck having such a
huge say.

Josh Arieh: I agree Joshua, but due to the great structure of Matt
Savage's tournament, that doesn't come into play near as much as it does
in others.

neal (dallas): is it really true that cash game player can make more money
than playing in tournaments?....and also, do you have a backer and is that
very common for pro players to have?

Josh Arieh: Cash game and tournament players can both make great yearly
income. Yes I am backed, and a lot of the top players are backed as well.

Fred (WV): How about all the celebrities getting involved now? Does that
bother you? Are there some who can actually play?

Josh Arieh: It doesn't bother me a bit. I think it's great! The more
people -- whether it's a celebrity or your average Joe, as many people
that come in as possible is great.

Mike (Boston): how does the backing work?

Josh Arieh: Somebody puts up the money for you to play in the tournament.
YOu split up the winnings according to whatever the agreement is.

Razorbakfan (Maui): Paul Phillips, on his poker blog today, commented on
what he perceived as soft play or cheating by Matthias Anderson during the
WSOP. How prevalent do you think such issues are in the tournaments?

Josh Arieh: It's definitely an issue when there are friends at the table,
but I didn't sense that at all. I played with him for a couple of days and
never noticed anything of the sort.

Jerry (Atlanta): Do you have any 8's? Go fish....

David (Oklahoma City): I'm sure you have seen, ROUNDERS, how did you think
it was done? What were your likes and dislikes?

Josh Arieh: I thought it was a great movie. That movie was the beginning
of the poker boom. It was absolutey well done. I've probably watched it 20

Andrew (state college): Hey Josh what is soft play?

Josh Arieh: Soft play is not betting a hand against a certain opponent
that you would against somebody else b/c of friendship.

Scott (Phoenix): Here's a situation for you...you're on the button with
the short stack in a tournament. There is a raise of the BB and one
caller. You look down at your cards. Which would you rather have, 10-10 or
A-K suited?

Josh Arieh: I'd rahther have A-K suited b/c 10-10 is so vulnerable.

Dave (Chicago): Do you regret proclaiming victory before the final table?

Josh Arieh: Absolutely not. It wasn't a prediction, it was me being in
the zone and being totally confident with the task at hand. If I go in
there thinking that I might not win, then I'm not going to do any good at

Darius (Oakland): Looking back is there a key hand that you would have
played differently?

Josh Arieh: Wow. Umm. No. The two hands that I got lucky are the two
hands that I would have played differently .... I would have folded.

Jeremy (Springfield, MO): Sunglasses seem like an unfair advantage
favoring weaker players who can't handle eye contact. What is your

Josh Arieh: I agree. I want people to think the same. I wear them b/c of
the camera lights. I don't wear them unless there are camera lights.

Steve (Milwaukee): Are casinos ever going to let players where a ski mask
at the table?

Josh Arieh: I hope not! Those people just need to stay on the internet!

Bill (Santa Barbara): do you think that major tournaments should be open
to anybody who has cash or do you think there should be more requirements?

Josh Arieh: Absolutely open to anybody who has it! That's the great thing
about poker tournaments!

Kelly (Fort Collins, CO): So do you think Greg Raymer's neon owl glasses
were an unfair advantage he used?

Josh Arieh: They were not unfair, but it was definitely goofy. I mean,
you'd look at him and laugh. You've never seen anything of the sort around

Jim (Benton, WI): What is your key in to reading peoples faces

Josh Arieh: I don't really look for peoples faces. Each hand, I look for
a series of information. ONly a part of that series is the tells that come
from their face. When I put all that information together and disect the
hand, then that is when I make my decision.

Josh Arieh: My time is up, I'd just like to thank everybody for joining
me in the chat. I hope everybody understands my intense look at
competition. We're playing for our lives and it is very emotional. My
intense outlook mixed with feelings and emotions causes me to come across
a certain way.

Moderator: That's poker!

Josh Arieh: Ok everybody. Thanks again. Take care!

ShowGirl: OK folks, next up is Mel Kiper to talk football. Hang tight.

Link of the Day:
Ladder Theory
The ladder theory is a theory of adult male/female interaction. It has its basis in many years of sociological field testing. it was first conceptualized in 1994 in Exeter, CA.

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