Saturday, June 05, 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

Howdy all, thanks for stopping by. Got 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.

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Just wanted to get that out of the way.

I've got plenty of fine stuff today so let's just jump into it, shall we? I'm not sure what's going on, but the tables have been especially fishy lately. I suppose it's the WSOP hype that's pushing things into a frenzy, but damn, my win rate has skyrocketed the last week. Plus, I finished 22nd in a large multi last night. Thanks to Hank, I've been playing a lot more multi table tournaments as of late, and am knocking at the door for a nice score.

There are a couple trip reports I'd like to post, including this next one from a guy who sat next to Phil Helmuth in the Big One. But everyone is seemingly waiting for 2004 WSOP champion, Greg Raymer, to write up *his* trip report. His reply?

"Watch it on ESPN."

Fair enough. So here's the report from the fellow who sat next to Phil Helmuth at the WSOP:


My first WSOP trip (very long)

I go to Las Vegas twice a year, with two buddies, Mike and Lee. We
play strictly mid limit Hold Em (10-20 to 30-60) and some NLHE
tourneys. I'm an OK/decent player nothing great. But when we go
to Vegas, we have one rule: we are there to have fun. I tell the
table, "if you don't liven up, I'm taking my money elsewhere." I won't
sit in the rock garden. If I can't talk to the other players, yuk it
up, and have some fun, it's not worth it to me. I have a job. I can
be bored at home. I WON'T be bored in Vegas. Sorry if you have a
different take on poker. For me, it's a hobby; granted, a hobby that
more than pays for itself, but a hobby nonetheless. We started
playing tourneys, and did what every other poker player in the world
does: dream about playing in The Big One. We always thought of it as
"someday." The three of us made a deal that if one of us won a seat,
he would fly the other two out, and the other two would pay his meals.
In the flukiest of flukes, I was one of the bazillion Internet
qualifiers this year. I qualified in my first online attempt (came
close in a couple of live tournaments, finishing third each time) at
the end of March, and had my eye set on May 21 for nearly two months.
I went out on Friday. Mike and his friend, Bob, would join me Friday
night. Bob would leave Monday, and Mike would leave Tuesday night.
Lee would come out Tuesday morning and fly home with me.

I played on Saturday, and the tournament started at 1:00. Per
Pokerstars rules, I was in full Pokerstars regalia: hat, shirt,
jacket, etc. I didn't have to wear ALL of it, but if I wore a hat, it
had to be a Pokerstars hat. I am at table 51, seat 2. It was nice
because it faced the rail and Mike and Bob could watch very easily.
1200+ players on day one (plus 75 alternates), and still they got
underway precisely at 1:00. I get dealt my first hand in the WSOP
and I just pray that it is garbage. It is and I fold. In fact, I
don't get anything playable until my BB. I get KsJs. Early player,
who has played quite a bit, has limped, as has another player. I
check and we see the flop. Flop comes J 8 3, so I bet out 200 into a
175 pot. I just want to win a pot. He raises me, and the other guy
folds. It cost me 300 more. Did he limp with AJ? I call. Turn is a
blank. I check, and he bets 500. I decide that I am calling him the
whole way unless he goes all-in. I'm NOT going bust in the first
hand I play. River is a blank. I check, he bets a couple hundred, I
call, and he shows A8 for flopping middle pair top kicker. I show
my KJ and scoooooop my first WSOP pot!! Now we're talking!!! In the
first level, I get AA once (got it UTG, raised, and won the blinds),
JJ twice (re-raised someone and won the pot right there once, and won
it on the flop the other time), AK and AQ. Nice cards, but in the
early stages you don't get much for them. At the first break I am up
to 12,400!! Then, the fire marshals apparently broke up a few tables,
and disbursed those players. We were now playing 11 handed at a
stud table no less!! But what did I care? I was in the WSOP!!!

Second level I see nothing. I play a few pots, and get nowhere, and
same with the third level. My table is playing relatively tight,
although there are 2 guys who play just about any ace, and most other
paint. I lose a couple of pots just before the dinner break, and go
to dinner with Bob and Mike at about 10,000. They had already lined
up for dinner so that when I got there, it was on its way. They ask
if anyone noteworthy is at my table. I see Mel Judah, Freddy Deeb,
Scotty Nguyen, and many others, but none are at my table (thank G-d).
I come back from dinner, and blinds are 100-200 with 25 ante (making
the standard raise about 800 or so). Second hand I am dealt, I see
Phil Helmuth walk by. That's kinda cool until he sits on my
immediate left!! You want bad players on your left, and good players
on your right, and I have Phil Friggin' Helmuth on my IMMEDIATE LEFT!!
I get up from the table and call Mike. "Get over to the Horsehoe," I
whisper into the phone. "Come over there? You want me to come to the
Horshoe? Now?" asked Mike. They come running over, and get a front
row view of me sitting next to Phil Helmuth for the next 6 hours.

Next hand it gets folded to me, and I have KcQc. I make it 1000 to
go ( I want to win it right there), when Phil looks at me, and asks
how much I have left. I spread out my chips (about 8500 or so Phil
has about 6000), and he throws 4 yellow ($1,000) chips in the middle
and says "raise." Everyone folds to me, and there is no way I can
call another third of my stack with KQ Phil HAS to have me beat. I
fold, and Phil jumps up and says, "$4,000? I just bet $4,000? I
haven't bet $4,000 all day." He then turns over AdKd, and says, "oh
yeah, I LOVE AK suited!!." (good fold on my part). I don't play
another hand for a few orbits, when I get KQ again. I raise again,
and AGAIN, Phil asks me how much I have. I show him my 6500, and
AGAIN he raises to $4,000. This time, the old guy in the BB re-raises
Phil all-in. I quickly fold (vowing to NEVER again raise KQ), and
Phil has to call. The re-raise was only 1000 more to Phil. Phil
shows AK (again and again a good fold on my part). Old guy flips up
JJ, and PH goes nuts. "JJ? You called me with JJ? You HAD to know
that I would re-raise with only AK, AA, and KK. You are dominated
with 2 of those hands, and a coin flip on the other. How can you
call???" When the board helps no one, Old guy doubles through, and PH
is left shaking his head for the ESPN cameras. (BTW -- ANY time Phil
put money in a pot, ESPN came running over to film it. Who knows,
maybe I'll end up on TV?).

A few hands later, PH and another guy get involved in a hand. On the
river, a bizarre four card straight shows, and the guy bets $3,000.
"$3,000? No one has bet $3,000 into me all day!" says Phil as he
jumps from his seat. Phil looks at him, and says "musta caught your
straight, huh?" and mucks his hand. The other guy shows the straight,
and Phil smiles. A few hands later, there are no raises, and I take
a free ride in the BB. Phil bets $3,000 on a ragged flop that totally
missed me, and it gets folded to me. I stare at Phil and say,
"$3,000? No one has bet $3,000 into me all day!!! This flop must
have helped you more than it did me," and I muck my hand. I don't
care what he had, I had 83offsuit, and had no chance at the pot.

A few hands later is the ESPN hand of the day. One player raises, and
another player calls. I fold, and Phil calls ESPN over, shows them
his hole cards, and tells them to stick around as they will want to
film this hand. Flop is Td 7d 4h. Original raiser bets out 3500, and
the next guy cold calls!! Phil sits up in his chair and starts
thinking. He can't figure out what to do. "Did you flop a set?" he
asks. "Diamond draw?" he mutters. He picks up his hand, and looks
at his chips. He has about 5k left, so if he calls, he's pretty much
pot-commited. He then takes his hand and SHOWS ME!!! He has KK. I'm
thinking to myself "what's the issue? My chips would be in the middle
faster than you can blink. Does he REALLY think one guy flopped a
set???" Phil looks at his chips again, and says "I've only folded
this hand three times in my life this is the fourth" and he mucked
his hand. We never see the outcome as the turn is a blank, and the
first guy bets a ton and the other guy folds. Phil's point, however,
is whether or not he is losing is less relevant than his point that he
wasn't willing to risk his tournament life on that hand. Right or
wrong, it doesn't matter, because about 90 minutes later, Phil builds
his 5k into 33k. and will survive to play on Monday. Phil does spend
the rest of the night telling anyone who would walk by that he mucked

A few hands later is the hand of the table. Battle of the blinds
(same two as in the hand noted with Phil above) between two of the
chip leaders at the table. BB must have had about 22k, and SB had
about 30k. Folded to the blinds, SB raises, and BB re-raises. Flop
is QQ2s. SB checks, BB bets 5k, SB calls. Turns is 3s (QQ2s3s). BB
checks. SB says, "I haven't acted yet." BB says" my mistake, you are
right. Action is on you." SB bets 10,000. BB, with about 13k left,
ponders a while, then calls. River is 5c (QQ2s3s5c). Sb checks, BB
bets his last 3k, and SB has to call. BB tuns over As4s for the
wheel!!!! He re-raised pre-flop, tried to buy it on the flop, and
then CALLED 75% of his chips on a straight and flush (and straight
flush) draw!!! And got home!!! EVERYONE'S jaw dropped, including
Phil's. The SB was nearly in tears as he mucked his hand.

Phil's troubling hand comes when a middle player limps, and Phil
raises on the button (which means that Phil has two cards that he
wants to play). Flop is 982. Guy checks, Phil bets, guy calls. Turn
is a 6. Guy checks, Phil bets (at this point, he has lifted his cards
so that I can see he has 9d6c and has just made two pair), and guy
calls. River is a 5. Guy bets out, Phil stands up and screams,
"NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" (at which point everyone around him at the other
tables scream "YESSSSSSS!!!"), and flings his chips into the middle
for a call. Guy turns over A7 for the straight. A7!! He called a
flop of 982 with A7!!!! AND HE GOT HOME!!!!

Meanwhile, yours truly hasn't seen a pocket pair higher than 4's since
the first level, and my chips have quickly dwindled. After posting
the BB (200-400 now), I have 1700 left. I have 56. Four people limp,
and I quickly check. Flop is 256. I hang my head, as I know that I
have no other play I have to push all my chips in and hope to take
the pot right there. I go all-in, and get called TWICE!!! Just as I
am screaming in my head for no 3 or 4 the 6 comes on the turn, and I
no longer care. My full house holds up, and I more than triple
through, and have about 6000 or so. Couple of orbits later, a
relatively tight Swedish kid (who has raised and re-raised only with
solid hands) raises to 3000. Two players later makes it 6000 to go.
I look down in the BB to see KK. I have 6100 left. I say to myself,
"I'm no Phil Helmuth, I'm not laying down KK. If she's got aces,
she's got aces," and I push all-in. Swedish kid folds (later tells me
he had QQ), and the re-raiser has to call the additional 100. She
turns over AdKd. I show my Cowboys, and say to Phil "I've never
mucked these pre-flop, and I can't now." He laughs, and says "no, you
didn't have much of a choice there." When the board helps neither of
us, I am sitting on 15,000+ chips!

Somehow, I get into a hand with Phil in my BB. It's not raised, and I
have 25. Flop comes K28. I check, he checks. Turn is a 7. I check,
he checks. I can't figure out what he has that he hasn't tried to
steal it at some point. River is a deuce. BEAUTIFUL! However, I
decide that betting it isn't worthwhile. If he was slow-playing a
set, he's now trapped me. If I bet, he doesn't call me with an
inferior hand, but if I check, he might try to buy it on the river. I
check, and he checks. I show my hand, he shakes his head, and mucks.
Don't know what he had; don't care. I stacked the chips.

At this point, everytime I win a pot, Mike and Bob keep shouting
"HEADHUNTER!!!! Gooooooo HEADHUNTER!!" Of course the rail roots for
me when I am in a pot against Phil - they always root against Phil.
At one point, someone behind Mike says to his friend, "who's that
sitting next to Hellmuth?" To which his friend replies, "oh, that's
headhunter." (as if I am a somebody all of a sudden).

We are winding down the last few minutes of play, and I realize that I
just actually will (probably) be playing on Monday. Annie Duke comes
over to talk to Phil and shows him her new tattoo on the small of her
back. I look down and see KhQh. Now, here I am, trying to look at
Annie's tattoo, and trying to raise, AND trying to get Phil's
attention that I have raised, all at the same time. I don't get to
see the tattoo very well, but I put in my raise. Phil looks at me,
and AGAIN asks how much I've got. I show him my chips, and then look
him in the eye and say "well, Phil, you've come over the top of me
EVERY OTHER time I've raised, you might as well do it now." He looks
at me, laughs, and mucks his hand. I show him my hand and say "the
same god damn hand I've had every OTHER time you came over the top of
me." He said I had him this time the whole way. For some reason, my
confidence is now boosted, and as they deal the last hand of the
night, I get QsTs. Folded to me, I try to steal the blinds. Phil
would have none of it, and he re-raises me. I lay it down. He tells
a friend at the other table that he finished the night with QQ but I
don't believe him. However, it doesn't matter. I have $16,225 and
will be playing on Monday!! As we count our chips, I turn to Phil and
ask him a question "Do we re-draw for seats on Monday?" He says
"yeah, we do." I reply, "good, 'cuz THIS REALLY sucked!!!" He laughs
and gives me a high five.

Say what you want about him. I hear all the talk about the whining
and the crying .. and he certainly did more than his share of it.
However, the player next to me started attacking him as soon as he sat
down. Phil sits down and the guy next to me says "humility is a
virtue, Phil. You need to learn humility." Hell, Phil hasn't even
put chip one in a pot, and already he's getting shit! He looks at
this guy and says "name me one great athlete who was humble." This
shut the guy up for about 20 minutes. He then shouts "Bill Russell.
Have you heard of Bill Russell, Phil?" Dude, give it up. Phil
challenged you, and it took you 20 minutes to come up with Bill
Russell? I mean, yeah, great champion, but the fact that it took you
20 minutes kinda proved Phil's point. Besides, the whole whining
thing is part of Phil's shtick. Many of the players were intimidated.
Some would go into check-call mode. One even kept betting 200 into a
$2500+ pot - and priced Phil into hitting his gutshot. A few times,
people played back at Phil (especially the Swedish kid, and this guy,
William in a UB hat) and Phil would lay down. He's a damn good
player who TOTALLY controlled our table. Watching him play was
amazing. He played about 6-7 hands every orbit. He accomplished what
he wanted, which was to build up his stack, and never risk all of his

On Sunday, I get a call from my wife. She is out of town with some girlfriends and is due home at dinner- time Sunday night. Her message
says that it is 1:00 and they are on their way home. I say to Mike "this doesn't sound good. They are coming home 3 hours early." I call her and ask if everything is OK. She says "umm." And the phone cuts out. She is in Amish Country Ohio, and can't get a cell signal. I wait an agonizing 30 minutes to reconnect. I find out that my father has been in the hospital since Friday morning (they didn't want to tell me) and will need surgery Monday. I later learn that my
nephew is in the hospital with RSV (a respiratory virus). Turns out my dad has surgery Monday morning (Ohio time) and everything is OK, and my nephew came home Monday. Both are doing well.

I draw a GREAT table. There are no "names" at my table, and the chip
leader has only $34,000 in chips - none of the monster stacks I had
heard about. The low guy at the table had 3500, but most were between
16 and 25k like me. Chip leader is on my immediate left for one
hand. He calls an all-in with QQ, and loses the coin toss to the AK
when the A flops. Chips shift to my right (cool), and we continue on.
Unfortunately for me, I get nothing. I re-raise a late position
raiser with garbage, and I get him to lay it down. I am merely
treading water, just waiting for a hand. Then, the original chip
leader makes a huge mistake. With the "normal" raise at 2k, he tosses
two chips in. As soon as they hit the felt, he realizes that instead
of two yellow ($1,000) chips, he tossed in a 1k and 5k chip. Dealer
announces that the raise stands at 6k. It is folded to the button
(who has played a lot of hands) who pushes all-in. First player
announces that he normally would fold, but that he is too invested in
the hand, and calls, showing QQ. Button has KK and doubles through,
leaving QQ man with about 2600. (QQ was NOT his hand that day as he
lost with it three times). Just before a break, I raise with KdJd,
and he comes over the top of me all-in. Everyone folds, and I have to
call as it is only 600 more to me. He shows QJ so I am feeling
good, until the flop has a Q in it. However, the flop is Th Qd 4d,
meaning I flopped a straight, and a flush draw. The diamond comes on
the turn, and I bust my first player of the WSOP. BOUNTY ON TABLE
46!!!!! At the next level, I don't get much again. Then, the UTG
player raises, and I am in the SB with 99. I am relatively
short-stacked and need to take a stand sooner or later. It's the best
hand I've seen in a while, so I go all-in. UTG flips over AdQd, and
when the board is all low cards, I basically double through (I had him
outchipped by 500 or so).

Unfortunately, that is my highlight of Monday. The guy who became the
chip leader on the first hand has one move: ALL IN. Whenever he
entered a pot, he went all in. The rest of us were DYING for a real
hand when he did it, but it never happened. Although he RAISED
all-in, I NEVER saw him re-raise until he did it to me. I raise in
middle position with AcKc. He re-raises me all-in. I think forever,
and decide that since he has not re-raised at all, I had to put him on
a big hand (Aces or Kings) and folded. There is a chance that he also
has AK .. but then I am risking all my chips to hope that we have the
same hand, and I am freerolling the clubs. Didn't sound like a wise
call there. I SUPPOSE he could have had QQ or JJ in which case I am
still the slight dog. It is the only hand of the tournament that I
still have doubts about. After that break, I don't see AK/AQ or a
pocket pair higher than 6's until after dinner. After dinner, I steal
a couple of blinds (just to stay alive). Late into the 11th level, I
have 17,000 and the blinds are 1,000-2,000 with a 300? ante. I post
the BB, and the middle player raises. I look down to see AK in the
BB. I decide that I cannot call here, and with an all-in, I MIGHT get
him to lay it down. Even if he calls, unless he has AA or KK, I'm not
TOO bad off. I push all-in. He calls the extra 9500, and I show Big
Slick. He looks bummed as he turns over AsQs!!! I think, wow, 34k in
chips! Maybe I will make it to Tuesday. AQ is one of the best
holdings I could ask for until the flop comes 2s3s6s!!!! Bam, just
like that I am drawing to a runner-runner (4s5s) to hope for a
straight flush just to chop!! Of course it doesn't come, and I am
out of the tournament. Even though I was low on chips and (I think)
made the right move, getting busted out still feels like a kick in the
gut!!!! What can I say? I accomplished my 4 goals (survive the first
hand, survive the first level, survive the first day, and have more
fun than anyone else with the possible exception of the eventual
winner). My first WSOP and I had a blast.

Notable hands of the tourney:

I wasn't involved in them but either saw them at other tables, or
heard about them:
1. Quads over quads. Yep, player A had 55. Player B had 99. Flop is
55x. They go all-in, and the turn and river are 9's. A 990-1 shot
and it's at the WSOP.
2. AA vs AK flop is Ten high, and THEN they get all their money in
turn and river are Kings. AA go home.
3. AA versus KK. Flop is a King, turn is an Ace, river is a King. AA
go bye-bye.
4. Player A's first hand that he plays is JJ. Flops a set, but
player B flops a straight. They go allin on the flop. JJ doesn't

Ring Games:
I played 10-20 and 20-40 at the Mirage and Golden Nugget, and 15-30 at
1. 10-20 at GN: Raise UTG with AA. Get 4 callers. Flop is Ad7cQc. I
bet and get three callers. Turn is a 7h. Bet and get one caller.
River is the dream ticket Ac. I bet and we go 6 bets on the river
before he gives up and says "you got the full house, huh?"
2. 10-20 at GN. I limp with TJs, as does the entire table, to the
button, who raises. Everyone calls, and the flop is Kh7d2c. Checked
to the button who bets, and I announce a stupid call as I throw two
chips into the pot. The turn is an Ace, and now I'm stuck. Checked
to the button who bets, and 3 people call (including me). River is
the Q, giving me the nuts. We check to the button who bets, others
fold, I raise, and we get 4 bets in before he asks "did you REALLY go
runner runner for the straight?" As he calls, I show him the nuts,
and he flips up Big Slick.
3. 20-40 at the Mirage. Two limpers, and I have KK. I raise, and we
see the flop 5 handed. Flop is 246. Early player bets, I raise,
called by two others. He re-raises, and I re-raise, and he caps it
with 4 of us in. Turn is a Two. He bets (I can only hope for the K
now) two of us call. River is the King. He bets, I raise, other
folds, and he calls and starts bitching up a storm.
4. On Sunday, I play in the 10-20 game at GN. I'm just blowing off
steam, knowing that on Monday I won't play many hands in the
tournament. I've more than loosened the game up - straddles, blind
bets, you name it. Several of us were Internet qualifiers, including
the two guys on my left (one from Washington, the other from Denmark).
Washington guy raised UTG to drag a HUGE pot when his 2h3h caught a
wheel on the river (AK945 board). Yep, Raised UTG with 2h3h - that's
the kind of game it was. Heck, I limp/capped with 5s6s and dragged a
huge pot with a Q55 flop. So, after Washington played his 23, I
played 57, limp capped it again. 7 way action. Flop is 256. I bet,
Washington raises, and the Dane sits back and starts laughing. I look
at him and say, "I know why you are laughing - you're wondering if
he's flopped the straight, and you're drawing dead (or very thin)
already. I'm thinking the same thing, so I hope the board pairs."
The Dane looks at me, laughs, and mucks. Everyone else mucks, and
Washington and I are heads up. Turn is an 8, and I check call, and
when the river is a J, we both check. He turns over A9 for pure
overcards on the flop, and my pair of 5's drag a monster. Dane
screams that he folded 99 (I have a hard time believing that, but,
5. I play 4h9h UTG. Flop is 993. I check, One guy bets, two people
call. I say "I check-raise with my 9." They all call. On the turn, I
say "I bet my trips." They all call. On the river, I say "I bet my
trips for the last time." Two people call. They ask what I have. I
say "trips," and turn over my hand. First guy says, "damn, he DID
have them." They muck.
6. Lee's ugly hand of the week. He had limped with AJ. I had limped
with KJ. Flop is Jh9c2s. He bets, I raise, Asian woman calls,
everyone else folds. Lee raises, I call, she calls. Turn is a 5. He
bets, I raise, she calls both. Lee re-raises, I call, she calls.
River is a 5. Lee bets, I call, SHE raises, Lee calls, I have to
fold. She turns over Qd5d - for no draw on the flop, and to go
runner-runner 5's to snap his AJ.

At the Mirage, Lee and I played with a woman named Maureen. A local,
we play with her every time we are out in Vegas. She's fun to play
with, and we have a great time with her every time we play. This time
was no exception, except that the table wasn't that great and Lee
and I dropped a bundle there. Moved to the Bellagio, and played in a
very volatile 15-30 game. I was up $900, and 2 hours later was stuck
$500. We went to dinner, and when I came back, I got to sit next to
RGP'er Jonathan Nut No Pair Kaplan. I told him that I thought that
was he when I returned from dinner - I had recognized him from his
ESPN confrontation with Scotty Nguyen. JK is on my RGP list - there
are a handful of posters that, when I see their name, I ALWAYS read
their post. JK is one of them. We talk for a long time (he probably
wanted to get back to his music, but I would have none of that and
continued to babble on and on). Turns out that he just got married
(congrats, again, Jonathan) and he married someone whom I knew from
poker circles back home. The cards came my way (caught quads for the
third time this trip - of course NEVER in the WSOP), and I got up
about $1,000 when we decided to leave.

All in all, great time. I won a little on the side action (about
$150), got a week free at the Golden Nugget, played in the WSOP, and
got a simulated leather vinyl duffel bag full of Pokerstars
merchandise all for $80.


While I'm on the topic, someone posted the True Secrets to how Phil Helmuth plays. I'm sure you noticed the picture above...

A study, published in the May 21 issue of the journal Science, compared the reactions to a gambling game among healthy participants and people who had injuries to the orbitofrontal cortex, a part of the brain that links regions involved in reasoning with other areas involved in emotion. When the players were informed of what they would have won or lost had they chosen differently, adding the possibility that they might feel regret, the healthy players minded losing far more than the injured participants did.

The researchers then changed the odds, making bolder bets lose more often. The healthy subjects quickly shifted to a cautious strategy, while those with injuries stuck to their original strategy, even as their losses piled up...

I always suspected brain damage amongst many of my opponents...should I feel guilty taking advantage of the disabled?

Don't answer that, it's a rhetorical question.

I enjoyed this email to Party Poker support:


I'd appreciate it if you would ask the above-named player to change his ID.
Thank you.

Oh the humanity, how do I segue after that one?

How about this, for my local and long-time readers: I participated this past year in the Bluegrass Poker Series, a series of local monthly NL tournaments created to send a player to the WSOP Championship Event in the BPS name. Basically, they would run a tournament with rebuys, and the rebuy money would go into a separate prize pool used to send a player to the WSOP, which they did. It's a great model for perhaps the bloggers to follow - I'd love to send a poker blogger to the WSOP - but I'll wax poetic about this later. For now, here is the latest on the Bluegrass Poker Series:

We have been back for almost two weeks now, and I think I just got my legs back under me. It was 5 non-stop days, starting by 9:00 AM every morning and ending at 4:00 AM every night...Oh Yeah, Brad played in the World Series of Poker.

We carried $10,000 cash into Binion's downtown on Thursday night. We waited in line to register right behind Norm McDonald. The first person we saw was Mike Sexton from the World Poker Tour. He talked to us like we had been old friends. Very nice guy and probably one of the biggest celebs there. Angie was excited to see Annie Duke (all 5'4" of her)....Oh Yeah, and on Day 1, Brad knocked out a current pro and former champ, David Pham.

There were 2576 entrants in the $10,000 main event. Brad ran his stack up to $24,000 on day 1 and ended Day 1 with $14,000. He sat out Day 2 as the 2nd half of the field played. On Monday, day 3, there were approx 1,200 players remaining. Unfortunately, our man lost 3 back to back pots and was eliminated right around 1,000. All in all, it was a great showing and he represented well. You can get all the details from him when we start BPS II.....That's right BPS II.

Here's the deal...BPS II will be 6-8 regular season tournaments and then a BPS Masters Championship in January...the winner will receive an entry into Jack Binion's World Poker Open in Tunica, Mississippi. The World Poker Open is a World Poker Tour $5,000 event. I am working out the details. Stay tuned.

There sure has been a ton of great blogging and poker writing going on all over the web. For starters, Mister Decker has a wonderful response to the Nigerian email scam artists. I hope they write back. The Poker Prof has a well-reasoned treatise on the legality of online poker written on June 2nd. Worth a read - go now.

This whole 'legality of online poker' issue keeps getting thornier. I don't see any way the government can stop it, except at the ISP level and even then, I'm not so sure. And what about regulation of the poker sites? Is that in our future in some dark day down the road? I have many more questions than answers on this subject, but I did find this compelling column about web gaming at Technology News:
Luck or Skill? A Niche for Web Gaming Firms

The generally accepted standard for legal gaming is that it must involve a contest where skill is the predominant factor in winning or losing; if a game is too easy or too hard for the participants, skill is less a factor in the outcome than luck.

Killeen's site offers about 30 games, and it provides game services to Yahoo, Lycos and Electronic Arts' Pogo.com. He compares his company's role to that of the U.S. Tennis Association, which organizes the U.S. Open tournament. "We provide the setting, award the prizes and create the draws," he said. "We take a management fee and award the prize to the winners. The difference is, we do it for millions of people."
WorldWinner has more than 10 million registered users, which places the site near the top of its category. Sixty-five percent of the registrants are women over age 40.

"It turns out they really like to play games online," Killeen said. "Mostly, they like the traditional games they're used to playing offline."

2+2 regular and new poker author, Ed Miller, is writing a monthly column for the new Casino & Gaming Television website. You can check out the first one here:
Opposite Day

This well-written story made me a little sad.
From our twisted 'Fear and Fetish' friend at Loser Variable blog.
The Reeper

I'm loving everything that Paul Phillips writes. I just wish he updated every damn day since I can't get a daily dose of his biting sarcasm on RGP anymore. He's fended off and belittled and bitch-slapped so many trolls on RGP - it's truly a thing of beauty. It sure must be fun to always be the smartest person in the room. Write a damn book, Paul!
Paul Phillips Blog

Fascinating column here about Poker and Introverts.
A winning combination? YES, according to Dr. Norm McAullife.
See why:
Poker and Introverts

Champions like Johnny Chan, Dan Harrington and even Chris Ferguson also come to mind. Are they introverts? I wonder. I strongly suspect deep-thinking poker people like David Sklansky and Mason Malmouth are introverts also.

Extroverts are expressive—not exactly a winning characteristic at the poker table. They generally talk a lot—and we all know you cannot listen when you are talking. Extroverts want to be, and perhaps are compelled to be—the “life of the party”. Expression, expression and more expression. How can any of this be good for your poker game?

Poker is the playground of the intelligent introvert. Wonderful brain fodder - I need to noodle around on that for a bit, maybe post an essay later.

Here's a unique take on publishing a book. God bless the internet - I need to print out this site and see what I can glean from it.
Hold em Brain book online


I am writing a book on Limit Hold'em which will be published by Pi Yee
Press. Currently, I have the entire book available online at my site
HoldEm Brain.

There are no ads on the site, the entire purpose for
the site is for me to get feedback from readers about my book. I am
specifically looking for constructive criticsm, suggestions, problems,
anything that can help me make the book better. I suspect the contents of
the book will be up on the site for two to three weeks. After that I will
take it offline and submit the final manuscript.

Per my surreptitious guerrilla marketing for us bloggers, I've bugged Maryann Guberman to write about our damn poker blogs to no avail. I don't think she even plays online, though. Perhaps linking to her will help? Here's a link to all of her columns.

Let's move back to the WSOP, shall we? I'm even more pleased that I made the trek to Vegas for it this year, especially from a historical perspective. That was the very last time the entire World Series will be played there.
Hopefully, we'll have a full contingent of poker bloggers joining Hank, Felicia, Glenn and I for the festivities next year. Perhaps we can all crash at Grubby's. :)

I found this excellent take on Greg Raymer's WSOP victory by RGP stalwart, Ashley Adams.

Response to WSOP Whiners re: Raymer

I'm copying an article I wrote for www.thepokerforum.com. Thought it might
interest some of you.

Greg Raymer is the World's Champion of Poker. He has done the difficult,
winning the final event of the World Series of Poker. There are so many
superlatives that describe his feat. By winning five million dollars
($5,000,000.000) he is the winner of the largest prize in a poker tournament;
the winner of the most money in WSOP history; and the winner of the largest
first place prize in any competitive sporting event. By beating 2,575 opponents he wins one of the (if not the) largest poker tournament ever held in a real (versus virtual) casino. He is, quite simply, the man. Lancy Howard would be proud (read The Cincinnati Kid if you don't know that reference).

Even so, there is some obnoxious and silly sniping along the fringes of the
win. I've recently read many posts complaining about the lack of "name pros" at the final table. Somehow, these posters have come to the conclusion that since no one they have ever heard of (and they haven't even heard of final table contestant and former WSOP Main Event winner Dan Harrington) won the largest event in poker history, the victory must be more the product of luck than ever before.

Some poker "purists" opine that with the mammoth field, luck clearly outweighed skill. Some famous players criticize many contestants in this large field for not having the skill to fold to a bluff, making the aggressive tactics of the world's best players less meaningful. "How can you outplay someone who doesn't recognize the great hand that the bluffer was representing" seems to be his or her mantra.

To all of these critics I say "HOGWASH". They are wrong on so many levels that I have to laugh at their inanity. This victory by Greg Raymer is the greatest poker no limit tournament victory in the history of the sport. Consider the following.

If a player is too bad to be bluffed out of a pot then how skillful is it to
attempt a bluff against that player? Don't whine just because the tactics that work against your regular crew of tight players doesn't work against a loose tournament newbie. If these well known professionals are such experts then why were they bluffing a guy who was going to call? What kind of a read was that?

The ability to bluff is not necessarily any more important a skill than the
ability to adjust ones play to fit the situation. It sure seems in hindsight
that the experienced player -- at least the player with experience playing
against a lot of unknowns of limited experience -- would know enough not to
attempt bluffs and other fancy moves against the typical loose, inexperience
big field player. Toward that end, maybe the guys who have the most experience playing in large on line tournaments against loose, inexperience players have a decided advantage over those big money players who generally are up against players whom they know and play regularly against in brick and mortar casinos. Adjusting to game conditions is a valuable skill indeed.

But let's say that the top pro really is significantly better than the field.
How much better is he? And how does this advantage translate into his chances
for winning an event with such a large field? How incongruous were the results from what we'd expect the results to be?

Is the top pro fifty percent better than the average player in the WSOP? That's a whole lot better -- certainly much better than I've ever been in a ring game (and I'm pretty good). To be fifteen percent better is to beat the rake at the $20/40 game I'm usually in. And there are darn few players who beat the rake -- maybe 10% of us at most. To be fifty percent better would be to win three big bets an hour or so -- maybe four or five big bets an hour. I honestly don't know anyone making that good a living playing poker anywhere in the world.

But let's really bend over backwards to give full credit to the best pros in
the business. Let's credit these top-level pros playing in the WSOP's final
event with being even better than the best. Let's say they're one hundred
percent better than average -- no, make that three hundred percent better --
four times better than average. If the average player has a ten percent chance of winning a one-table tournament then let's give these players a forty percent chance. That's an absurdly huge advantage. But then I want to make an absurdly huge point.

Now let's apply that to the WSOP. There were 2576 players. The average player
would have been a 2576:1 long shot to win the event. What shot would the best
pros in the world have? Even if we give them the benefit of being three hundred percent better than average, they'd still be a 644:1 long shot. Them's long odds folks.

But let's not look at just the chances of one particular pro winning the event. Let's look at the whole field of "name pros". How many pro players do you know by name? Can you name 30? 40? 50? OK, maybe you read a lot of poker magazines and have a good memory and can recognize 60 of them as the top pros. Good for you! Then the odds of one of them winning is about 10:1 against! So why be so surprised that the winner wasn't one of the people you thought was the most skillful.

As it happens, the universe of excellent no limit hold em players is probably
much broader than most observers think it is, and much broader than it ever
was. Consider this. Up until fifteen years ago or so, you had to have very deep pockets and be one of a select few touring professional players to get much experience at all playing no limit hold em. Up until a decade ago, if you wanted to play in no limit tournaments on a regular basis you really only had a few more options than that. You either had to live in Southern California or Las Vegas where these tournaments went off with regular frequency or you had to have the freedom and bankroll to travel around the world to play in tournaments as they happened. In the mid-90s these options expanded to living in Eastern Connecticut or Atlantic City and playing each week or so in small no limit tourneys. But that was pretty much it on a regular basis.

But then, starting in the late 90s and expanding exponentially each year until the present, on line poker really took off. Today, thousands of no limit tournaments a year can be played from the convenience of your home -- a few every day if you so desire. And while it isn't the same thing as playing in a live tournament, it's certainly close enough for hundreds of thousands of players to develop serious no limit tournament chops.

All of this points to the enormity of the recent victory by Greg Raymer. He not only won the world's most prestigious poker event (going away, by the way, for those of you who didn't follow the action live. Make sure to watch the overwhelming play of the final day when the event comes to video). He not only beat the largest field ever assembled in a live tournament. He beat the largest field of players with no limit hold em experience.

Some attempt to downgrade the proficiency of the competitors in this year's
final event by pointing to the number of players who won their seat in a
satellite or qualifying tournament of one sort or another. But this seems to be inverted logic. Which is the more skillful means to a seat at the Big Dance, buying your way in for $10,000 or earning your way in by beating other players? Seems obvious to me that those who won their seats by beating hundreds or even thousands of other players had the more difficult route.

All in all then, Greg Raymer's victory demonstrates that he is, right now, the best no limit tournament poker player in the world. Besides that, by the way, he is an amusing, intelligent, and affable player from my home casino of
Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. He is a credit to the game.

Congratulations Mr. Raymer. Long may you reign!

Ashley Adams
author of Winning 7-Card Stud

And not to deluge you with RGP threads, but I finally found an intelligent discussion that's worth passing along. Here's the abridged version - someone posted a Las Vegas Review-Journal article about "Harrah's Expects WSOP numbers to triple again next year". Yikes, tripling! But someone made a perfectly cogent point that the massive TV exposure on mainly No Limit Texas Hold Em was killing the split games (Stud hi-lo and Omaha 8). Of course, showing the split games on television is too confusing and difficult for your average television viewer. So recognize the writing on the wall regarding Omaha/8 and Stud/8 at land-based card rooms (both cash games and tournaments) and take appropriate action. All the same, I'm a huge believer in learning other games to deepen your overall poker knowledge. I know for a fact that hold em decisions become far easier to make after say, a week of nothing but O8.

And then came this two cents:

I am sure that the numbers could go that high but I doubt if they
will...the growth of the main event is tied directly to the various online
sites that create the satellites, which this year put over 900 extra people
in the tournament. The incentive for these sites to run the sats and boost
the entries was taken away by the disallowing of logo wear and the fact that
their marketing machines cannot operate successfully under the current
scenario. If Harrah's wants these sites to help boost attendance at the
WSOP, they will have to come up with a solution to also allow them to market
their product.

I know for a fact that Party was not happy about it, and I am sure that
PokerStars felt the same. Party, PokerStars and Paradise took over 9 million
off their sites to do this, and got little in return...Party could run a 20
million $$ tourney once a year and draw many new players to their site
without the WSOP or ESPN or Harrah's.

They and other online sites may forego the WSOP next year if Harrah's does
not change the way the sites can operate. Certainly the sites will look very
hard at their costs to do this and their potential gain before committing to
this next year. This of course is just my opinion.


And this was rebutted:

They didn't take anything off their sites. That was the players' money. If the tourneys they ran weren't WSOP sats, then the winners would've gotten the cash right there, not the site owners. And the sites collect a fee from each tourney entry, so they make their cut regardless. If they think they can fill up more tourneys without the tie-in to WSOP, then
maybe they will stop promoting it. If not, they still will sponsor it,
and continue to make a killing doing it.

Look at it this way. Those sites sent 900 players to WSOP. Packages were
worth approx $12K. The sites collected roughly 10% in fees for running
the tourneys, so let's say $1200 per package awarded. $1200 * 900 =
$1.08M. That's roughly how much the sites made running the sats for WSOP.

And I agreed with this succint assessment:

The only site that added significant value (beyond a shirt and a cap) to
the WSOP packages that I know of was PokerStars, which paid for the hotel
rooms and at least one meal for the 300+ players from its promotional

PokerStars knows its clientele: serious poker pros and semi-pros. Having
4 players at the WSOP main event final table was no accident.

PokerStars run the best online tournaments, bar none: fair number of
chips, slower blind structures, time bank, and official support for prize
chop deals.

And then the thread disintegrated into a buncha noise, as it usually does. But finally, Steve Badger, waded through the crap, as he always does, and offered these final words. Prior post snippets that he is responding to are in italics.

I think the numbers will go up, but 7500? I wouldn't bet on it. I am sure that the numbers could go that high but I doubt if they

Three first days, 10,500 cap, over $100,000,000 prize pool, if...

the growth of the main event is tied directly to the various online
sites that create the satellites, which this year put over 900 extra
people in the tournament.

Harrahs made a poor decision about logos. The growth of this event is
mostly due to online site participation. If Harrahs chooses to get in bed
(< wow, a pun) with Levitra instead of benignly ignoring the online sites,
growth won't be much. Online sites will still send players because players
will want to go, but they won't do anywhere nearly as much.

The incentive for these sites to run the sats and boost the entries was taken away by the disallowing of logo wear and the fact that their marketing machines cannot operate successfully under the current scenario. If Harrah's wants these sites to help boost attendance at the WSOP, they will have to come up with a solution to also allow them to market their product.

There is no solution needed. Harrahs prevented people from wearing shirts
because it diminshed their own brand and that of their paid sponsor. This
would not be a very bright decision to say the least, for the long run, but
at the time, with a trapped audience of players, they could freely do what
they wanted.

I know for a fact that Party was not happy about it, and I am sure that
PokerStars felt the same. Party, PokerStars and Paradise took over 9
million off their sites to do this, and got little in return...

Certainly not true. The online sites got a huge windfall that was worth it.
It's a enormour no-brainer positive for Pokerstars, for sure, and pretty
good for online poker in general. If a non-online player would have won
though, it would not have been good for the online sites.

They and other online sites may forego the WSOP next year if Harrah's does
not change the way the sites can operate.

Harrahs may be shortsighted but they aren't morons. You can bet that
Levitra won't get exclusive logo rights next year... or if they do, they
will pay a monstrous number.

Fortunately the online sites have a lot of leverage here, and the MOST
important thing, there are the one ally that players have. The online sites
allow players to get endorsement money. It will be a good thing to end the
sick status quo of a casino charging an entry fee AND pocketing all
endorsement money itself due to the free labor of players.

Steve Badger

Excellent points, all. But damn, watcha wanna do there, Steve, unionize the poker players?

Oh the humanity.

By the way, if anyone out there wants to pity this cableless loser, please consider making a tape for me of the ESPN poker shows. I resorted to paying $35 bucks for a tape on EBay of the 2003 Series after reading about it for months. My favorite moment of that one is still Sam Grizzle needling Phil Helmuth. I'd be remiss if I didn't deeply thank both Hank and Pauly for previously sending me poker tapes. Too damn cool of them.

Speaking of poker on television that I never get to watch - why is everyone bitching about Phil Laak in last week's World Poker Tour episode? From I can ascertain, he just goofed around for the camera - peeking at cards, knocking over chips and doing something called the Dinosaur Walk after a suckout? Entertaining or obnoxious?

Moving on, I've made several posts about online poker bots, so there's no need to rehash them here. But still, I thought I'd post this message - review to anyone considering using WinHoldEm. The guy who wrote this program is a real jackass, imho. Go read his tired posts on RGP if you don't believe me. I think he's already been banned from 2+2. Anyway, here's some perspective:

Here are the real facts on WinHoldEm pokerbot for those considering purchasing the product:

1) People using WinHoldEm have had their accounts closed/suspended owners
of those accounts may or may not have gotten their money back from their
2) Almost all of the Poker Sites have a way of detecting WinHold Em.
3) After 12 hours of using WinHoldEm you can expect to earn $2.38 an hour
at $3/$6 or less than 1/2 BB per Hour. This data was provided by an actual
test of the product.
4) It will take you roughly 50 hours just to make the $100 back you spent
on the program. If during that time or anytime after the poker site detects
your bot your account can be closed and bankroll may be confiscated.
5) WinHoldEm.com is registered to:

Name : Ray Edward Bornert II
Address : 4143 Red Laurel Way
City/State/Zip : Snellville, GA 30039
Phone Home : 770-736-7870
Phone Fax : 770-736-7890
Phone Mobile : 770-309-7870
E-Mail : ray.bornert@hixoxih.com
DOB : 1961-OCT-02

6) Providing software with the intent to fraud may or may not be a
violation of FTC or Government regulations and can be reported to the
Attorney General of the State of Georgia, Mr. Thubert Baker
(http://ganet.org/ago/), the Federal Trade Commision (www.ftc.com), and the
Internet Fraud Complaint Center which is a joint operation between the FBI
and White Collar Crime Center (www.ifccfbi.gov).

If this sounds like a good proposition for you then by all means buy

Nothing impacts better than a customer testimonial, eh?

I wanted to thank Pokernerd for reminding me about the WCOOP (World Championship of Online Poker) on PokerStars. I completely forgot about this event - PokerStars has announced the main event. It has a guaranteed prize pool of 1.2 million but it will likely exceed that, once things are all said and done. I hope I find time to hit some satellites...

Let's recap some of the very best poker columns from the mainstream press. Everyone light a candle to the Poker Gods tonight, please. We've got Dave Barry and MSN for you....

Screw it, this Dave Barry column is so damn funny I'm gonna post it here:

Be advised that a Poker Craze is sweeping the nation. Almost every night there are poker tournaments on television. And if you think that watching people play cards on television would be boring, I have three words for you: Correct-o-Mundo.
The problem is that there's not a lot of action in televised poker, where the most strenuous thing the players do is push small plastic chips a distance of about 15 inches. (Granted, this is more action than you see in televised golf.) To make matters worse, poker players do not betray any feelings, so most of the time what you have, visually, is a bunch of grim-faced guys sitting around a table looking like a hemorrhoid support group. Most of the emotion is supplied by the TV commentators, who, in hushed, dramatic tones, say things like:
"He's thinking about what to do here, Bob."
"You just know that, inside, he is churning with emotions, Bob."
"I'm sure glad I took powerful methamphetamines before this broadcast, Bob."
The guys are usually playing "Texas Hold 'em," which is the hottest poker game at the moment, although there are many other popular variations of poker, including Seven Card Stud, Five Card Draw, Alabama Grope 'em, Omaha High Low, Iowa Bore 'em, Six Card High Low Medium Jacks Wild Stud Draw Go Fish, Cincinnati Lawn Flamingo, Florida Recount 'em, Kansas City Clam Enhancer, Arkansas Geld 'em, New Jersey Whack 'em, New York Kvetch 'em, Red Rover and Whist.
All of these games are essentially the same: A person (or, in poker slang, "dealer") gives you some cards ("cards"), which you look at in a furtive manner ("sneaking a gander") to see if you have a good hand ("bling bling") after which you bet (or "kiss the eel") by placing money ("cheese") into the pot ("marijuana"). This goes on until somebody ("not you") wins, at which point all the losers express heartfelt congratulations in colorful slang terms.
Sounds like a lot of fun, right? Not to me, either. But as I say, poker is sweeping the nation, and so I decided to experience it first hand by going to the poker room at the Miccosukee Resort and Gaming Casino, located west of Miami right next to the Everglades, which makes it one of the few casinos in the world where not only can you gamble - excuse me, I mean "game" - but also you can experience the excitement of knowing that you could be attacked by an alligator in the parking lot.
I've never played serious poker, so I took along a friend, Philippe Boets, who is an expert. Unfortunately, he's not an expert on poker: He is an expert on petanque, an extremely French sport where you toss steel balls around, the object being to eventually stop and have lunch. Philippe is president of Petanque America, which consists largely of Philippe. When I thought about a possible companion for my poker expedition, his name came immediately to mind because of a certain indefinable quality he has, which I would define as "not having a real job."
On the way to the casino, Philippe told me that the only poker game he has played is "Indian poker," in which each player sticks a card onto his forehead, so that he can't see it, but all the other players can.
"Then what?" I asked.
"I don't remember," Philippe said. "There was a lot of rum."
Things were much more serious in the casino poker room, where the tables were fully occupied by grim chip-pushing hemorrhoid-support groupers. There was a nice lady there, and Philippe and I asked her how we could get into a game. She asked if we knew how to play, and we said sure, we knew the basics, in the sense of being able to recognize most of the cards on sight. This did not satisfy her: She wanted to know if we knew the winning hands, and we had to admit that we did not. She told us, apologetically, that we would not be welcome in the games, because the groupers get upset when, in the midst of all the rapid-fire dealing and bluffing and betting, a novice player (or "moron") says something like: "O.K., does a flush beat a trump?"
So Philippe and I did not get to participate in the national Poker Craze. Instead, we went to the bar and participated in the national Beer Craze, after which we spent a couple of hours losing money at the slot machines. This is an unbelievably mindless activity. It's only a matter of time before it's huge on TV. ("She's pulling the handle again, Bob.")

From Slate/MSN, is this great feature article:
Not in the Cards
How the World Series stacks the deck against the gods of poker.

Thanks to constant reruns on ESPN, the 28-year-old accountant from Tennessee has re-won the tournament two or three times a day for the past year. The network sold Moneymaker as poker's Roy Hobbs, the gifted youngster who started as "dead money" and dismantled the game's cagey veterans one by one. The broadcasts were also a vehicle to promote the game's established pros—former champions Scotty Nguyen and Phil Hellmuth, legends Howard Lederer and Men "The Master" Nguyen, and hot up-and-comers like Phil Ivey. Moneymaker's surprise victory didn't undermine ESPN's storyline, though. He may have been a newbie, but Moneymaker wasn't lucky: The wraparound shades, steely glare, and calm under pressure made him an instant member of ESPN's star system. He was a hard-bitten, old pro in a young man's body.

Alrighty then, I gotta finish this up. I don't even have time to proof this so my humble apologies for typos or broken links or whatever. I have a poker game / pseudo bachelor party tonight for my good friend, Filmgeek. I'm actually not sure how much poker will be played, but if so, it will probably be no-limit SNG's. Filmgeek has already stated that anyone getting knocked out will be forced to do a healthy shot. As if I need to get knocked out of a tourney to do such things....

I don't have time to proof this damn post nor to pimp all the blogs I want to. It's just time constraints. So allow me to announce a few brand new poker blogs:

First off is Daniel, the first French poker blogger to join our ranks. I love the following metaphor.
Poker experience

When I was young, I used to live in a region of France where hunting is more than a tradition, it's a religion. In this region (south of bordeaux) most of people have a gun, and most of people use it for hunting ringdove.
Hunting Ringdoves is not an easy game. You have to use decoys to lure the birds. You can kill them only if they land to eat. Most of the time, you see them flying around you, waiting for them to land near you.

For me, Texas Holdem is like hunting Ringdoves. Let me explain why.

This guy is off to a rousing start, I enjoyed the link to Shana Hiatt.
JackNine Off Suit
Death....taxes....and you catching your 2-outer on the river to beat my A high flush.

I am a fairly emotional guy and, while all the guys at the table seem to be having fun with it, I think if Phil came dancing around that table after catching a river Ace - I might put one right on his chin......accidently.

The Poker Bookie
A journal dedicated to my exploits into Poker, Sports Betting, and Thoroughbred Racing

And so it has been with poker, I have logged many hours online playing, reading hand histories, reading blogs, and reading some of the recommended poker books. I am now taking the next step to share with you my experience. What I am looking for is some critique of my play so that I can continue to improve and maybe one day be able to sit at the final table of the WSOP. Lofty dream, I know but don’t count me out!

I don't know what happened to my links to this site, but I forgot to add him to my poker blog list on the right. For that reason, I'm giving fhwrdh.net another pimp.

Poker Chip's Poker Blog
Hi! I'm Chip, and I'll be detailing my ongoing exploration of online poker in this blog. I'm new, and I'm not very good, but with any luck I'll improve.

Whew, I think that's it. Thanks a ton for reading and damnit, use bonus code IGGY on Party Poker. :)

Link of the Day:
Senator Has a Nice Ass
When the office of Sen. Mike DeWine read Washingtonienne, a weblog by one of their entry-level staffers, I bet they totally reamed her.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

"Real value of the WSOP experience (last year at the Horseshoe):

Nolan Dalla

Quick little post here so you can vote for Annie Duke on MSNBC.

Annie Duke is currently in 2nd place for the voting of 'Whine of the Week' behind Shaq O'Neil.

Whine of the Week on MSNBC

Also, another snippet about Annie:
Annie Duke article in Fortune Small Business - Page 80. One page article and full page picture. Breaks her income and expenses as follows:

Income: Tourney winnings: 340,000. Cash game winnings: 120,000. Consulting:
48,000. Appearances: 30,000.
Expenses: Entry Fees: 200,000. Profit split with backers: 70,000. Child
Care: 48,000. Travel: 48,000.

Says she evenly splits tourney winnings with a silent backer who fronts
entry fees. Earned the 48,000 consulting from ieLogic, a developer of
internet based multiplayer poker software, also received stock options.

Not much more to it. Couldn't locate the info on the web.

New Cardplayer is up. New Lovinger ESPN article as well. I don't care much for the latter.

Here's a question and answer for next year's WSOP:
Where is next year's WSOP being held? Binion's, The Rio or elsewhere?

In an interview conducted by Debbie Burkhead of "Poker Player" Newspaper,
WSOP Tournament Director Matt Savage stated that the 2005 WSOP will be at
the Rio, with the exception of the final 2 days of the main event which
will be held at Binion's as part of a political deal with the Mayor of the
City of Las Vegas.

Harrahs originally didn't want anything to do with Binion's after WSOP
2004, but had to agree to the 2005 deal with the Mayor of Las Vegas in
order to have permits approved.

The WSOP will stay at the Rio until Harrahs builds the new Horseshoe on
The Strip.

The Rio Pavilion Convention Center has a large ballroom with 55000+ square
feet of space and a seating capacity of 3680 for banquets. The room
should be able to fit 300 poker tables so that the WSOP main event can
accomodate as many as 6000 entrants split into 2 flights.

Per the comments from my last post - FatGuy, you can pre-order Doyle's new book on Amazon. Penguin - hell yes, I have a full-time real job.

I was flipping through Business Week and found an interesting article about Hot Growth Companies - The 100 best small companies that started off talking about Las Vegas based Shuffle-Master. Thankfully I found the article online here.

Founded in 1983 by John Breeding, an entrepreneur who figured out how to make a reliable card-shuffling machine that allowed casinos to quickly and securely deal more hands, the company has cashed in big on the explosive growth of new casinos and the resurgent popularity of poker.

And allow me to close out this mini-post with a great little story from Jonathan Kaplan on RGP:

Subject: Phil on 6! seat open!

I was sitting in a 15-30 holdem game at the bellagio. it was late on
Friday night, or more accurately, early Saturday morning. I had been
there for many hours. the game was great, populated by a profitable
mix of crazy action players, weak tight regulars, and new-found
rounders, college kids just learning how to play. Some of the players
were drinking. I was sitting in seat 3, my favorite seat (along with
seat 8) due to the ease of viewing every player from this vantage
point. The 1 seat was a Hawaiian/Californian man, somewhere in his
mid-twenties, a conservative/predictable player. The 6 seat was Adam
Krux, a sharp dresser whose father had just that day placed at the
final table in this year's WSOP championship. Adam had been drinking a
bit, chewing some tobacco, and flirting with seat 8. seat 8 was a
short/stocky gum-snapping asian chick. She played very aggressively,
playing many hands and usually raising pre/post-flop as often as she
reasonably (or unreasonably) could. The 7 seat was empty, having just
been vacated by a middle-aged white guy, chip-less when he departed.

A lot of chips had stayed on the table as the day wore on, but plenty
had left in the shirt pockets of dealers, and dealers at table 6 had
called out quite often, "Fill on 6!". After awhile we started joking,
"why always ask for Phil, why not occasionally George or Steve?" okay,
it was a lame joke, but this far into a poker session, it seemed
funny. Most of the players were either winning a lot or losing a lot,
kind of tired, and drinking to boot, humor appears quite often in that
kind of atmosphere.

The dealer calls out, "Fill on 6! Seat Open!". A few moments later, a
youngish guy appears, half drunk beer in hand, the other hand holding
a rack of $5 chips intermixed with some $1 chips, a very disorderly
half-empty rack. He sits down in seat 7. The lady in seat 8 jokingly
asks, "is your name Phil?" the new player looks at her and answers
"Yes". We all get a laugh from that.

The button is in the 8 seat. The dealer begins dealing. When he gets
to Phil, he asks, "would you like to post?". Seat 7 looks drunk and
bewildered. The dealer says, "put up $15 and you will get a hand".
Phil takes three $5 chips and puts in them in front of his rack. He
gets a hand. Utg folds, all fold until the 7 seat. He just sits there,
motionless. The dealer gestures at Phil, gets no response, then says,
"sir, do you check or bet? It is your option." Phil says "check". The
button folds, the blinds call. The flop comes A-Q-6. the blinds check,
the action comes to Phil. The dealer points again, gets no response
again, then says, "sir, your action". Phil turns his hand face up, J8.
some at the table start laughing, others say things like, "no, you
don't turn your hand over until the end". Phil looks very confused. At
my end of the table, I opine that Phil is a blackjack player who
thinks he just won, his 18 beating the dealer's busted hand/flop. The
dealer mucks Phil's hand, he looks confused, the hand finishes shortly
after. A few of us realize that Phil is a table-games player who just
happened to wander into a poker room, he has no clue what he is doing.

The dealer shuffles for the next hand, then distributes the cards.
Phil receives his two cards, then holds them up to view like some
experienced BJ players would, out from his body, so that nearby
players can see them, able to use his cards in their own point count.
The lady in seat 8 is apparently looking directly at Phil's hand. I
and the one seat call attention to this, but no one at the other end
of the table notices this or hears us. All fold to Phil in seat 7. At
the inevitable pause, the dealer says, "15 to you, sir". Phil
carefully pulls three more chips from his rack and places them on the
felt. The lady in seat 8 throws out 6 chips in a raise. Fold, fold,
then the 1 seat says "reraise" and throws out 9 chips. Back to Phil.
The dealer says, "30 to you sir, 6 more chips". Phil looks completely
unknowing, but carefully removes chips from his rack, one at a time,
until there are 9 chips in from of him. Seat 8 reraises, seat 9 thinks
for a moment, then caps it. Apparently, seat 8 knows what Phil has and
is raising to get it headsup, and seat 1 knows this, and is raising
them both. Back to Phil, the dealer says, "30 to call". Phil is
totally lost, but he puts in 6 more chips, one at a time.

The flop comes Q-7-2.

Seat 1 opens the betting. The dealer turns towards Phil. At least this
time, Phil knows to not just flip his hand up with the flop. The
dealer says, "15 to call". I say out loud, "you don't have to call,
you can fold if you wish." (when I used to teach poker at the trading
firm for which I worked, every year we had a company-wide tournament,
and every year we gave poker seminars to the many employees who didn't
play, just so they could play in that tournament. I always taught the
dealers to tell all newbie players what their choice of action was,
don't just automatically give them the amount to call, rather, say
"your choices are, fold, call 15 or raise to 30. so here Phil is, an
obvious newbie, and I feel compelled to do the same for him.) Phil
takes 3 chips from his rack and puts them down in front of his cards.
I groan, others laugh, everyone starts talking. The consensus at my
end of the table is that Phil is getting a real raw deal, has no clue
what he is doing, his short rack is getting fully decimated on this
one hand. Right about then, a floor person walks over. The floor says,
"don't you have a seat open here?". The dealer looks at him
quizzically and says, "no, you sent the player over, he is sitting in
seat 7". The floor looks at Phil and says, "I didn't send this guy
over, he's not on the list". The whole table is now up in arms, all
talking, some commenting on Phil's naivety, others trying to hear the
floor, some trying to explain to Phil that he just can't sit down to
play, he needs to be on the list, still others (like me) yelling at
seat 8 for taking advantage of this poor blackjack player who happened
to wander into the wrong table. Phil sits there in the eye of the
storm, quietly and totally confused. The floor says, "well, he'll
finish out this hand, then he has to leave." The action continues.
Seat 8 raises. Seat 1 reraises. The dealer points at Phil and says,
"30 to you, sir". A few of us say, quite loudly, "you can fold if you
want to". The floor hears this and says, "one player to a hand, the
rest of you keep quiet." This seems like a real travesty in this
specific instance, but the floor has spoken. I sit down, what can one
do? Phil looks at his one remaining tube of chips. The dealer says
again, "30 to you, sir". Phil carefully removes 6 chips and pushes
them forward. Seat 8 raises. Seat 1 caps. A few of us mutter/groan
about the inequity of the situation. The dealer says to Phil, "30 to
call, sir". Phil says, "if I win, I win all those chips in the
middle?". The dealer says "yes". Phil slowly calls.

The floor is standing behind Phil, ready to hustle him out of the seat
at the end of the hand. The 8 seat is glowering at me, presumably for
insulting her and also, for trying to get Phil to bow out while he
still has chips. The dealer turns a card, an innocuous baby card. Seat
1 bets. The dealer points at Phil, "30 to call, sir". Phil, now used
to the drill, apparently resigned to his fate, puts in six chips. Seat
8 just calls. The river is another innocuous card, straights are
possible, no flush, but who knows what anyone actually holds? Seat 1
bets. The dealer faces Phil, "30 to you, sir". Phil looks down at his
rack, he only has about $40 left, but game to the end, he pulls out 6
red chips and pushes them forward. The lady in the 8 seat calls.
The dealer announces, "showdown". Seat 1 turns up AQ, top pair, top
kicker. The dealer turns to Phil. Seat 8 says, "your turn to show
cards." Phil says to her, "you first." She says, "No, it is your
turn". Phil turns up 77. he flopped a set. Most of the table leaps up,
laughing, high-fiving. justice is served. Seat 8 disgustedly throws
her KK into the muck.

Tempers are high, what with all the laughing, wasted bets and strange
doings. The floorperson quickly racks up Phil's huge pot. Phil gets
up, still looking very confused, and the floor hustles him and his
chips over to the cashier. Everyone at the table is discussing the
events in the aftermath. Seat 8 says she didn't see Phil's hand, why
would she call the river if she had? (I still think it would have been
very hard to NOT see Phil's hand, but, I am no longer certain). Seat 1
confirms he was pushing real hard because he saw extra equity in the
way the situation developed, maybe seat 8 was overplaying to get it
down to headsup with Phil, and maybe Phil would fold at anytime. Who

That hand was talked about for hours afterward. I think Phil thought
he was playing some form of blackjack, but if so, why didn't he split
the sevens?

wherever you go, there you are...


Link of the Day:
Jack Watches Your Back
Jack Chick's tract has become inflamed by homosexuals. "I believe the time will soon come when godless judges will close churches that call being gay a sin."

Monday, May 31, 2004

"Hope Harrah's doesn't cancel the WSOP.
Would be a real shame to have to wait until next year to win it."

Greg Raymer (FossilMan) - 2004 WSOP Winner on 2+2, months ago

Happy Memorial Day!
I've got a bunch of new poker content that I’ve managed to scrape together, despite my intermittent internet connection. Hope you enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

Geepers, I don't even know where to begin. Poker won't be jumping the shark anytime soon, now will it? I can't even guess where all this hype is going to lead. Many of you don't even realize how lucky you are - to be at the epicenter of this poker gold rush. It's a fairy tale.

So hold onto your hats cause poker is going take another spike upwards (I can't even believe I'm typing this). Mister Raymer will be an excellent emissary for our beloved game and while not Moneymaker, will help grow online poker popularity even higher. I've been a huge fan of Fossilman's on 2+2 and RGP for a long time and it's awesome to have 'one of our own' take the big prize.

Everywhere you looked at Binion's you saw players’ t-shirts emblazoned with Stars, Party, Paradise and Gutshot logos. There were more online qualifiers this year than players entered for the ENTIRE tournament last year. Insane. With the media hype just starting anew and the ESPN broadcasts beginning soon, I'd be surprised if we didn't see a nice spike. We'll see if the numbers this summer doesn’t bear this out. Ultimately, it causes me to take pause.

Four of the players at the final table were PokerStars players.

Interesting side-note - Party was offering a tournament last evening to any players who made their first real money deposit between May 19th and May 30th. They currently have over 2100 brand new players signed up for this! What the hell? I'm running out of damn superlatives to describe the madness. Where are all these new players coming from? Should I even care? For the love of the Poker Gods, if you aren't playing there, please sign on.

As I alluded, my internet connection has been horrific the past few days but I've slowly managed to read the preponderance of columns and threads about this "new breed" of online players versus the Old Guard. I'll be quoting some interesting snippets below.

So my advice to you - get online and start playing. Sure, Stars has the best software and customer support, bar none, but they are missing 40,000 fish ala Party Poker. Please consider supporting this humble poker blog by using bonus code IGGY on Party. If you want to take advantage of the Empire bonuses, it's much easier to sign up now even if you have an existing Party account, and the bonus code there is IGGY1. Again, you are profoundly missing the boat if you aren't playing poker at Party - it's the biggest aquarium in the sea.

My humble apologies for the shilling but DAMN, it was fishy there this past weekend. I had a 50 BB win Saturday night, for example. Too bad you can't bottle those sessions.

Anyway, I need to get all this WSOP content out there so here goes a rambling, drunken, link-infested WSOP post. My apologies for the tangents ahead of time - I'm making this up as I go along...

Let's pick on Phil Helmuth first, shall we?
Check out Phil's hand of the week detailing his 2004 WSOP experience at philhellmuth.com First of all, on his home page he has this line:

Hmm... What a field! 2600 players in the WSOP (World Series of Poker) marks a Seminole moment for poker.

Seminole? I think you meant, seminal, Phil, good gravy. Here's just one line from everyone's favorite crybaby - I find it hard to believe he is serious here:

Day 1: I just seem to lose pot after pot and I'm down to $4,175 on the first break. I'm almost in tears as I call my parents at the break.

I finally found David Ross's trip report to the WSOP. Sounds like he had a blast despite wasting his time standing in line for the satellites.
David Ross trip report to Vegas

No World Series for me this year. I spent the day standing in line it seems, for no good reason. I gained a lot of confidence for my ring game play. I never felt outclassed and I thought I read opponents very well. My tournament play was another thing altogether. I never felt comfortable, and need a lot of work there. It’s kind of amusing now, 2 weeks ago I approached Fossilman for some lessons. He explained that he couldn’t even think about it until after the WSOP and I agreed to get back to him then. Obviously I know my stuff as he sits near the top of the leaderboard at the WSOP right now, but I guess I should have locked in a fixed price. Imagine what he could charge me as a WSOP champion.

Now it’s time to write my book. This was a nice finish to my first year of full time play. Recent results have me excited about this coming year. I met a lot of online players who recognized me when I told them I played as Bucephelus. One guy picked up his cell phone to call his buddy and tell him. That was kind of funny.

Of course, two must reads from LionTales, as Richard Brodie regales us with tales from the tables. And Paul Phillips slags Helmuth - damn I truly miss Paul on RGP.

Speaking of RGP, please forgive me as I post this long Vegas writeup from Groan as he manages to watch the end of the final table and post-tournament interviews with Greg.

I was surprised to learn that only 3 players were left. Since the
players were on dinner break, the main room was closed and there was a
large line formed to enter, from the upstairs bathroom to the Buffet.
It was long, but not 'night before a star wars movie' long, and was
actually shorter than I was expecting. Its Friday and the new weekend
tourist crowd is here, so the Freemont Street Experience was in full
swing and very crowded overall. I thought that would mean that the
Final Table would be obscenely crowded, but it really wasn't bad. I
waited in line for about 15 minutes, talking to others in line. Lots
were just coming to the event for the first time, and kept asking "is
Phil Hellmuth still in it? How about (insert TV poker player name
here)?" I had to bear a group discussion about who was the best poker
player on TV, with a crew of 'experts' coming up with their argument
straight out of there asses. I just nodded and waited. I did get an
update on who was still in and the chip counts. "Greg Rayner" (Greg
Raymer) was the lead, "Doug Williams" (Dave Williams) was second, and
"Josh Arena" (Josh Arieh) was in third position. I'm sure next year
all these people will have the names right, and talking about them
like they are next door neighbors and who is better than who once ESPN
airs the episodes.

Finally two "Rio" girls, one in yellow and one in purple, came by
dressed in full revealing showgirl outfits, and the guards let them
and the crowd in slowly. I did not get a bleacher seat, but instead
sat in front of the many large screen TVs that filled the corners of
the room, with plenty of seats set out for the crowd. I swear this is
true - not once, not twice, but three times I was asked "if they will
be showing the hole cards on the TV?" in a totally serious manner.
First time I just said 'no', second and third I was more annoyed by
the stupidity and laid into the asker a bit. Hope these geniuses
start playing online tomorrow in my game.

I took 30 minutes or so longer than the expected start time to get
everyone seated. Finally the players entered - Dave Williams was
their early and anxious. Resembling a shorter Tim Duncan (but without
as big a nose as TD), he was young and well dressed in all black, with
black sunglasses as well. Greg Raymer, a heavier set guy well known
to many here on RGP and active member of this group, was there second.
Greg had on a brown and white shirt and was wearing Hawaiian
'seashell' style necklaces, sort of like those you throw out during
Mardi Gras, in green, white, and brown colors. He and Dave talked and
were very friendly to each other. Finally Josh Arieh arrived, wearing
a purple stripped shirt with a large collar, unbuttoned down a few
buttons in disco style and exposing a gold link chain. They already
had the $5 million out on a separate table, and it was just this HUGE
pyramid of money, bundled in 5x$10000 packs. Finally the cards were
in the air.

Play at the Final Table.

I won't go over the hands since they are well documented elsewhere.
I'll just say that it was over FAST. It seemed like less than 10
minutes when Arieh went out 3rd,, in what seemed to be the first 5-8
hands. We then had another 20-30 minute delay as ESPN did their
interviews with him and the other two players disappeared off the
stage. They came back and they did the money ceremony where they
dumped it on the table, with two guys needed to bring the booty over.
They were holding the pyramid of cash on some kind of tray while
cameras flashed, at it seemed like they were straining to hold it up,
it was that much dough. Finally they started to dump the cash on the
table, only to realize that it would probably be so high that the two
players wouldn't be able to see over it (!) so they kept most of it on
a small side table and had it 'spill over' onto the actual playing
table, putting the bracelet on top.

Finally they began up again. I did not attend the WSOP on Days 3-6 at
all, so it was the first time I saw Raymer's novelty joke glasses.
There were round sunglasses with reptilian eyes printed on the outside
so that others would be faced with an unblinking lizard stare when
looking at him. Kinda funny. Preflop, he did not wear them, only if
he was in a pot and the flop was coming would he put them on.
Otherwise he kept them off, giving the effect of him going from being
a normal guy to something superhuman, like Bruce Banner transforming
to the Hulk. These glasses will be the signature icon of the ESPN
2004 broadcast.

Again, in what seemed like 5-7 hands, it was all over. Both Arieh and
Williams played extremely fast - it was bet-call, bet-call, bet-call
with no agonizing pauses at all, almost too fast (after I was
complaining about long pauses before). Since the last hand was NOT
all in before the flop, on the flop, or on the turn, and the TV's did
not show the 'flop area' and the crowd relied on the verbal
announcements to follow the action, when the river came and there was
the 'all-in' announcement and the 'I call' a split second later,
really really quickly, it was pandemonium where no one at the TVs knew
who had what or who won the giant hand. It became apparent when we
saw Raymer's hands raised in victory, but no one knew who had what.
Matt Savage's announcements had been drowned out by a lot of
screaming, and many of us (including me) could swear we heard Savage
say that Raymer had the 4th deuce, so we all thought that for awhile,
until the actual hands were finally shown. As everyone here knows,
Raymer had 88 to Williams' A-4o on a 425-2-2 board. My first
impression was that I was surprised that Williams' hand was so weak,
given that he called each round bet almost immediately without any
think time, each being a progressively larger bet. I'm not saying it
was terrible, just that from the action I was pretty sure they both
had medium pocket pairs or better, so I was not expecting just middle
pair and a straight draw from Williams, at least with his ultra quick
calling and without him not playing back at Raymer at some point if he
suspected Raymer just had overs (or to find out he was behind and
think of folding on the flop or turn). Dude won 3.5 million for
second though, so what do I know?

The remaining three were exceptionally cordial to each other and there
was a real sense of camaraderie present as each one was eliminated. I
guess they all knew they were millionaires now no matter what, and the
shared experience of 7 grueling days was enough to bond them in a
genuinely displayed way.

Raymer interview with ESPN's Norman Chad

I stuck around for the ESPN and media interviews. I'm not a reporter,
so the accuracy of the following can fairly be quite off. Its just
what I remember or scribbled down.

About Luck: Raymer said he didn't really believe in luck and then
said something metaphysical about the concept of luck that I didn't
really follow. He then said that looking back during the seven days,
he saw two times where he was extremely unlucky (his AA vs TT hand
where a T came, and some other hand where some other pocket pair
spiked a set on the river). Other than that, he said that he won a
great deal of his coin-flip confrontations, so his luck was good.
(This is probably the most inaccurate part of my report, since I just
started to listen in at this point)

About the reptilian scare glasses: Raymer bought them at Disney World
in Orlando, at the "Tower of Terror" gift shop, as a gag. He said
that he did not posses the 'Howard Lederer' or 'John Juanda' ability
to stare down opponents, so he used the glasses instead. Its easy to
stare someone down and make them nervous when the painted on eyes do
not blink. (Expect a *RUN* on these glasses and Disney World and
elsewhere once ESPN's shows air).

About his wife showing up late and just hours before the big win: His
wife flew in today and then there was some miscommunication as she
rented a car and tried to find a 'kids camp' to drop off their young
kid (7 years old?). Raymer said his directions to the camp were off,
and his wife had to drive around for hours to find it. The kid was
not allowed to be in any gambling area so thus the need for the camp
instead of watching daddy play. He said at some point he just had to
stop worrying about and get his head back into the game (said it

5 million dollars later I'm sure his wife isn't too mad at him for the
bad directions.

About his seemingly genuine happiness while playing and enjoying
himself: Raymer said that he is in general always emotionally
balanced, and this week in particular he just felt good and balanced.

About his style of showing good and bad hands after raising out the
field preflop: Raymer sort of corrected Chad in saying that he had a
plan to show strong hands only (not weak ones) when no one called his
raise to set up later steal attempts when his hands weren't so strong.
It was on purpose and in his plan to get a feared image.

About the Final Hand: Raymer commented that, since Williams just
called each time, he had no reason to believe that his overpair was
not the best had at any point. On the turn, when the board paired
deuces, he started to think that maybe Williams had the straight (A3 I
assume) since he was called but not played back at at any point. Then
when the river put trip deuces on the board, he had a full house and
thus could beat the straight, so he bet it. Raymer then said that in
hindsight maybe he shouldn't have bet out on the river since only a
hand that could beat his would call, which brought a laugh out from
the audience since it obviously worked out for him OK.

Raymer was well spoken and 'lovable' during his ESPN interview. It
was easy to tell that he was very experienced in poker by the way he
was able to describe situations and thinking. The whole segment came
off very well.

Media questions for the New Champ:

Question from No Sex Glazer: I frankly did not get what the hell
Glazer was asking, but it was something along the lines of "will the
'outer' Raymer be different than the 'inner' Raymer now that he's won
the WSOP 2004?" Raymer said he will still be the same guy "if that's
what you mean by your question", but he had talked with Moneymaker and
heard of MM's stories of being recognized in airports and signing
autographs, so that will of course be different. Raymer then said
that he fully knew that he was NOT the greatest poker player in the
world and that he had ten times more to learn about the game, and
would probably never feel differently. He also mentioned that he was
coming off 'one of the worse runs of his life', and detailed a losing
period from Jan-March where he lost all the time.

Question from an Internet Gaming magazine: Can you talk about your
experience with online gaming? Raymer said that he spends most of his
playing time on three of the major sites "with Pokerstars.com being my
top site". He said that online poker is a great place to learn poker
since you can play for 1cent, 2 cent, or even free and work your way
up and not risk a lot of money. He said that his online play
contributed greatly to his growth as a poker player. (Raymer only
used "Pokerstars.com" directly in his descriptions while answering
this question. At this point "Dan" from Pokerstars came over and
tried to kiss him, which Raymer jokingly rebuked, saying if he was
going to be kissed it wasn't going to be from Dan. BTW, no logos or
hats were worn by the final 3 players, I don't know if ESPN banned it
or what).

Question from FOX 5 news in Las Vegas: You are known as 'Fossilman'
and have two fossils at your side while you play - are they for luck?
Can you tell us about them? Raymer reiterated that he does not
believe in luck. He said that he bought them and a rock and mineral
show his wife took him to because he thought they would make a good
card weight (the thing he puts on top of his cards when he intends to
play, instead of a chip). Raymer used to buy a lot of these fossils
at rock shows and resell them in card rooms since to make a few bucks
since they always drew attention when he used them. Raymer used a
large, black fossil of what I thought was of fish bones as his card
protector and used a brownish 'seashell' one as just a talisman that
stood beside his chips.

Another question from (unknown - maybe Pokerstars Dan): Can you talk
about how you entered this tournament? Raymer confirmed that he
qualified for it just 2 weeks ago online. He then asked Dan how many
PS had sent to this even and Dan said 316 players won their entry via
Pstars. Reymer then said he was probably number "310 or 312" to
qualify on PS, and that he won the very last "Double Shootout" Tourney
that PS held to get into the WSOP. He said that overall he spent
around $2600 in various satellites to get into the WSOP, which was a
great savings compared to the straight up 10K entry. He then
mentioned that he had a lot of backers (all you on RGP that have a
piece of him- rejoice! And congrats.) and that he would not recommend
for a new player to spend $2600 to try to get in. He then mentioned
that PS's and RGP's own Terrence Chan was one of the backers and asked
him (TC was there) if he figured out what his share was yet. TC said
something like 'two of those' which I took to mean 2 stacks of the
$50,000 bundles (100K!), implying that TC had 2% of Raymer (note that
I am speculating here) then said to TC that they needed to figure out
the tax situation. (Jesus, now that I just typed that out, there must
be some DELERIOUSLY HAPPY RGPers tonight - a mere 2% of Raymer is
100K! Again, congrats to all involved.).

Another question from (unknown): What is your typical life like?
Raymer said that he was a patent attorney for the drug company Pfizr,
and that he had a regular working life - get up, tend to his kid, go to
work, and hang with his wife. He would come home and play poker
online, with some occasional excursions to Foxwoods to play live. He
then told a story about one time when he was playing in a Foxwoods
tourney and his wife was watching. He was involved in a gigantic pot,
and his wife got so nervous that she almost fainted. He then kissed
his wife - nice. Raymer then said that 53o used to be his favorite
hand, but now of course its 88.

Question from (unknown): At what point did you think you could win it
all? Raymer said that he started Saturday and with a field over 2500,
did not think about it at all, just played day-to-day. "So wasn't
there an exact time when you thought you would win?" Raymer: "When my
8s held up!"


That's all for me from the 2004 WSOP. A heartfelt congratulations to
Greg Raymer (and to his RGP backers) and Mike McClain for their
impressive showings at this year's Championship event.


(Again I must reiterate that this is not some journalistic level piece
in terms of accuracy and that it is only the best I could reconstruct
off the top of my head and a few notes. Take with a grain of salt.)

Hell, I enjoyed that so much that I'm going to post an online amateur’s take on busting John Hennigan from the Big One. Here's Mike's story:

I just returned from Las Vegas after having an absolute BLAST playing in my first WSOP. Although I was pretty disappointed after finishing
around 280th place (with the money within sniffing distance), I feel
like I played the absolute best poker I am capable of playing, and
that with a little luck, I could have progressed much further.
Anyway, for those that may be interested, I wanted to share my most
vivid memory of the event---the hand where I busted top pro John

For background, I finished day one around 22k in chips. I had been
all set to take 30k+ with me into day 2, until my AKc was beaten by
A6d. Anyway, after a lousy night of sleep, I was ready to play my
heart out on the second day. My first table of the day wasn't too
scary, although pro David Chiu was sitting two seats to my right. He
was running low on chips, and wasn't really pushing anyone around.
This table broke about 100 minutes into round 7, which was the one and
only 120 minute round of the day. I had a good time at this table,
especially since Phil Hellmuth was sitting at the table right next to
us. I even got to hear him complain about "getting run down twice
after being a 10 to 1 favorite!" Anyway, once the table broke, I made
my way to my new home---which was in the number 2 seat right next to
John Hennigan. "At least he is to my right," was the only positive
thing I could think of as I slunk into my seat. I remembered seeing
that he had a lot of chips at the start of the day, but his stack had
certainly dwindled when I sat down. He looked to only have about 18k
in chips. He certainly wasn't playing like he was afraid of going
broke, though. He was moving chips all over the place, and eventually
doubled up on one of the bigger stacks at the table.

Meanwhile, I was playing super-tight. I had managed to work my way up
to around 29k in chips before moving to my new seat. I didn't play a
single hand in 20 minutes or so, letting John steal my BB once when
everyone folded to him in the SB. I was again in the SB for the last
hand of the level. The dealer barely got the cards in the air before
the break was announced. Everyone was quickly folding and getting out
of their seats. All folded to Hennigan who promptly raised the pot.
I decided that he could have almost anything here, and was likely just
stealing since everyone looked so anxious to leave the table. I
decided that I was going to smooth call him, and then bet out no
matter what flopped. I called with my pocket pair of deuces and then
bet into him after the A-A-5 flop, and he mucked. Take that!

After the break, I folded every hand for two orbits. Finally, sitting
under the gun, I saw aces for the first time in the entire tournament.
What to do!? I knew that the other players knew I was playing
tightly, and that an UTG raise would likely signal an alarm in their
heads, but I didn't want to be beaten by a limper with some flukey
two-pair, plus, I figured that a limp my look even stranger than a
raise, so I decided to make it 2400 to go (300/600 blinds and 100
ante). Everyone was throwing their hands away, and I started to think
"gee, maybe I SHOULD have limped," when the action finally folded
around to John Hennigan. I was in my typical tournament pose,
sunglasses on, hat pulled low with my face in my hands, leaning on the
table. From the corner of my eye, I could see John giving this some
thought. After 30 seconds or so, he looks at me and says "You got
aces, kid?" I didn't move, but I was thinking to myself "man, is it
that obvious? What am I doing wrong?" Before I had time to think
any more about it, John said "Raise!" and made it 6000 more back to
me. At this point, I went into full-fledged WPT acting mode---but I
also had a lot to think about! What to do? What does he have?
Kings? Queens? Jack-four off-suit? Do I push now? What about a
call? Should I reraise? Is he going to see right through me? What
do I do!!?? I tried to look really nervous (which was easy because I
WAS really nervous). I contorted my face a little, and asked John how
much he had behind his raise. He told me "about 20K." At this point,
I began unstacking my chips and counting them down. Somewhere in
there, I just put my head in my hands again and rested on the table.
I carried on for about five minutes, until I was sure that someone was
going to call for a clock any second. I decided that I didn't really
like calling in this spot, and I also thought that a reraise all-in
would be too clear of a signal that I had aces. I decided that I
would reraise, and hope that Hennigan thought I was overplaying Kings
or Queens. FINALLY, I cut out 6k to cover his raise, said "Reraise"
and threw another 7k into the pot. Coming into this hand, I had about
32k in chips, and John had about 28k. I knew that he had put about
1/3 of his stack into this pot, but I was pretty sure he was going to
be able to get away from his hand. Hennigan thought for about 20
seconds, and then said, "I'm all-in," right before taking another pull
from his Miller Lite. No sooner had the "-n" gotten out of his mouth
did I say, "I call," and push all of my chips into the pot. John
quickly turned over his Kings, and immediately flipped over the Aces.
The look of disbelief on his face will stick with me for a long time.
He just kind of grimaced and let out a "uhhhhnnnn." The board was no
help, and Hennigan was out. He shook my hand, and said "good luck,
kid," before walking away from the table.

John is a hell of a player and classy guy. I'm sure he would chew me
up 99.9% of the time. But on this particular day on this particular
hand, the PartyPoker amateur came out on top!

I can't make this shit up. I'm sitting here playing 3.6 in the background and I just saw this back-to-back chat snippets come up at my table:

KumeG: ever since i called party poker to ask them if they set up deals .. i been losing some nice hands
SrBluffALot9: if i send someone 55 on paypal will u send me 50 dolalrs here?

Oh the humanity.

RGP has actually been even worse than usual - every WSOP the postings get more and more inane and troll laden. If not for this blog, I'd have given up searching for the needles in the haystack long ago.

But I love this quote from Daniel Negreanu:

"I've said all along that the "real" players are in the side games. The true greats are players you'll rarely hear of, and for the most part, that's exactly how they prefer it."

Makes sense to me.

I'm ready for the ESPN WSOP poker shows.
Here's the direct link to the entire TV schedule, beginning about a week from today:
ESPN WSOP Broadcasts

I'm sure a few of my geek readers already noticed this massive thread about poker on Slashdot, of all places.
Geeks and Poker?

Dear Lord, here is the most disturbing post in this thread:

My favorite poker-related episode was the one (one of the ones) in which the Enterprise gets caught in a temporal loop. Data, more than the others, experiences deja vu, to the extent that they realize (after several dozen iterations) that they're about to have a destructive, time-ripping encounter with a ship from the past piloted by a late 20th century sitcom star [frasieronline.co.uk].

They eventually find a way for Data (big D) to transmit a small amount of data (little D) to his past self. The data Data sends to Data is the number "3" (IIRC), which shows up in every poker hand Data deals. He realizes that the odd coincidence corresponds to the last thing his previous self saw before being destroyed -- Riker's command pips. He follows Rikers instructions (which had been countermanded by Picard) and the crews of both ships finally emerge from (yet another) temporal distortion.

All off the top of my head. I am such a geek.

Umm, you got that right. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Glazer wrote about Dan Harrington being the top NL tourney player right now and here was his rationale:

I think it's interesting to note that Dan Harrington made more money this year, as one of the runner ups, than he did in 1995 when he won it. Also, the player that came in third matched Moneymaker's win last year and the second place finisher made $1M more than Moneymaker made when he won it. That Dan made two final tables in the largest fields in history may be one of the greatest accomplishments in the WSOP.

Sure as hell can't argue with that. I mean, how freaking big is the WSOP gonna be NEXT year?? The Poker Pundit followed up with this:

let’s face it: unless they raise the buy-in, the WSOP is going to have 6,000 starters next year, maybe 10,000, and at that number, no one has a realistic chance of getting to the final table, even though of course nine players will.

I can't see this without another cap on player participation. Binion's was beyond full capacity for this event, I don't see how they handle next year in that space. Here's the business skinny behind the Binion's sale and the WSOP:

Why not revive the Horseshoe? They should keep the entire WSOP at the
HorseShoe. Is it only temporary if they do?

Because the Horseshoe sale was a three-way deal.

Some Midwestern casino company bought the property and Harrah's is
managing it on what I believe is a two year deal. At the end of the
two years, Harrah's is taking the Horseshoe name to the strip -- and
they own the WSOP. They're moving it to their own property and their
own hotels.

John Harkness

Interesting, I didn't know that.

I've heard noises that the major online sites will collaborate and hold their own event, where they set the rules. Could it be this next item?

Does anyone know about the World Championship of Online Poker? I found a dead thread about it where someone mentioned that it begins July 28th thru August 4th, I believe. Satellites start sometime next week. Of course, I couldn't discover what sites or games are going to be played....I'll write more as I find it...

Again, I'd highly recommend Andy Glazer's and Jesse May's write-ups for the best WSOP coverage. I'm waiting for Jesse’s final column but here is Andy's:
A Nearly Perfect Champ, a Nearly Perfect Rumble; Watch These Nine, and Feel Quite Humble

But while we wait for Jesse’s, please enjoy this interesting commentary from a non-pro-poker writer ala RGP:

WSOP 2004 - The winds of change

This WSOP has been nothing if not extremely curious. I think it also is a
defining moment for the game. I would venture to say that it exposes the
weakness of the "professional" game, something which online players have
suspected for a long time.

Tactically, I would venture to say that WSOP 2004 is to tournament poker
what World War I was to warfare. Prior to WWI, the old style of warfare
pretty much dictated that armies would line up across from each other on
the battlefield in their pretty red and blue uniforms and follow a very
particular rules of combat. Enter the prevalent use of the machine gun in
WWI and suddenly those lines of brightly uniformed troops were suddenly
prime targets to be mowed down. The British and Germans suspected this
beforehand, and their uniforms changed to gray and khaki to blend into the
background. The French stubbornly refused to forsake tradition and their
troops clad in blue coats and red pants were slaughtered.

Likewise the pros' experience in the WSOP. The pros would follow a very
strict method of play. If they were holding AK and the flop came 2-4-6,
they knew their opponent wouldn't likely hold a 3-5 or anything to make a
pair and their hand was still almost certainly the best hand, as long as
prior betting didn't indicate a pocket pair. In 2004, however, those
assumptions are no longer valid, and the pros have paid the price.
Starting hands were much more unpredictable. Betting patterns didn't
follow their brand of logic. Bluffs were not nearly as effective. The
"poor" play of their opponents -- namely the play which didn't follow
their particular rules of engagement -- suddenly became the most
effective method of combat. Some of the pros could maintain their
snobbery, a la the now infamous Annie Duke interview, but their bodies
were carted off the battlefield nonetheless.

This experience is not new. Online players have seen it brewing over the
past several years. The serious players had bought and studied Brunson,
Sklansky, et al, only to find those methods backfire time and time again
by seemingly poorer players. But should they venture to voice that opinion
on RGP or elsewhere, they were roundly ridiculed or at best told that "the
long run" would more than balance the scales. Still, those who became
profitable online learned how to mix "proper" play with the down-and-dirty
street fighting of low limit online games to find a middle path that

Even the Gus Hansens of the professional world must have sniffed the ugly
truth, finding a way to use so-called "wild" aggressive play to completely
befuddle their opponents and dominate the traditionalists. But even Gus
Hansen could not survive the new landscape presented in WSOP 2004.

The message of WSOP 2004 seems clear. The old ways of tradition must give
way to a newer style of play, one which is yet to be articulated, but is
being discovered daily by online players. The fact is, any regimented
approach to competition presents certain weaknesses to be exploited by
those willing to play outside the same rules.

I understand the disparaging of the 'internet players' at the WSOP by the pro's. But they are only now learning the lessons of playing extremely large field events, which many of us are used to and they will adjust to. But PokerBabe over at 2+2 (I lost the damn link) insists the games are far tougher to beat with all the fish. I've always liked The Babe but I respectfully disagree on this point.

I concur with Nate's assessment below:

I was talking about the big name tourney pros dropping like flies and everyone all over the internet (and probably the media too) claiming this is a signal of the new order for poker.

I'm saying no, the tourney pros are indeed great players, the game has not passed them by. There are just many more great players out there than people give credit for. Midlimit vegas games are entirely irrelevant to the discussion but for what it's worth, I think it's funny that all these "pro" 20-40 players can't win anymore because of all the suckouts. Damn that's funny.

And if these new terrible players are playing in a way that the pros must call the river more, maybe they aren't playing so bad eh? In the case of your example, I believe you actually ARE talking about people who have let the game pass them by.

Frankly, the difference is that many of the internet players are better, and the ones who aren't are quickly catching up. The only thing they lack is the experience of live play. The key thing to remember is that many of these internet players have played more NL tourney hands, and more entered more events in the last two years, than guys like Phil have played in their entire lifetimes . The learning curve has been drastically changed, and new players can catch up to, and even pass the older players very very quickly.

But for the famous tourney pros, I think it's just silly to assert they are dinosaurs. It's just that media and many vociferous onliner folks have long under-estimated how many good players are out there that nobody has heard of.

Greg Raymer case in point. do you think he's heading to the final table because Chris Ferguson and Daniel Negreanu and Johnny Chan suddenly forgot how to play, or maybe it's just that he can play too.

I don't know (after all the poker persona hero worship this past year) if some poker professionals don't understand that there are plenty of very good players who DON'T want to be a pro, for whatever reason. Hell, I'm not even comfortable playing the higher limits online - I am very happy to have stayed at 3-6 and 5.10 online all these years, playing against loose, unreadable opponents, even though I could have undoubtedly beaten higher limit, tougher games.

My online poker pro friends don't understand this, but that's cool. Ultimately, it's all a state of mind, isn't it? Allow me to address this just a bit. Am I afraid of online cheating? At the higher stakes, yes. Since the creation of this blog, I've been lucky enough to briefly chat with two CEO's of online poker rooms and all it did was confirm my suspicions.

And I found this perfect nugget of perspective from Patrick O’Malley:

If it makes you feel better doing that, then stick with it. Because the first time you lose, you'll blame it on playing too high or cheating going on. You have to play what you feel comfortable playing at, both due to your bankroll and due to cheating.

I tell people one thing about online poker. Stay away from the biggest game on any site and you'll be pretty safe.

So anyway, did anyone else see the Pokerpages blog during the WSOP? I wasn't impressed, but at least they tried. The Pokerstars final table webcast was kinda cool while it lasted.

I know everyone loves the mud slinging between pro poker players, but this time I'm going to share a nasty spat between poker publishers, Barry Shulman and Mason Malmuth. The father of the fellow who posted this was a 'name' PGA golfer back in the day. From 2+2:

On Tuesday night May 4th I was playing in a super satellite at the Horseshoe; sitting on my left was Barry Shulman, publisher of Card Player Magazine. At one point Casey Kastle came over to speak to Mr. Shulman voicing his concerns on the potential conflicts that occur when players share percentages of their tournament results. Casey had a copy of an article that Mason Malmuth had written for Card Player regarding this problem and asked if he would consider republishing it. After looking at the article Shulman said in no uncertain terms that he would not publish it; he then referred to Mason Malmuth as an "idiot" and a "disgrace to poker". I was somewhat taken aback by his comments due to the fact that he made them in public without regard as to who might hear them. I have known Casey Kastle for a number of years and consider him to be a person of integrity and consider his concerns a problem that few in the tournament poker world are willing to deal with. Shulman seemed less concerned, making the comment that this is a frequent occurrence in professional golf. At that point, I made the comment that this was untrue, and that the PGA tour had expressly forbidden this practice since the 1950's. I do not know Barry Shulman; I have known Mason Malmuth for more than fifteen years and consider him neither an "idiot" nor a "disgrace to poker". For better or for worse, the success of Two Plus Two Publishing has made Mason the object of much professional jealousy from other authors, publishers, and poker players. Barry Shulman's words were poorly chosen, and someone in his position has an obligation to a more reasoned temperament in public.

Mike Souchak


Two Plus Two Publishing LLC has ended our relationship with Card Player magazine and all affiliates of Card Player. We intend to keep this separation permanent.

Best wishes,

Geez, why don't they just play heads up 2k.4k and settle it like men?

Here’s a weird thing that a faithful reader tipped me off to. If you try any blogger URL and misspell blogspot as blogpsot, you get this giant Christian website:

Per a couple of fellow blogger posts about beating loose, nutty games, I thought I’d link up Abdul and his essay entitled
Start Enjoying Loose Games

Personally, Gary Carson’s fine chapters on loose, aggressive games helped me immensely. They are now my favorite type of games to play in, by far.

I suppose it was only a matter of time. It appears as if Howard Lederer is running a fantasy poker camp in September in Vegas. I wonder how many will enroll? It seems a little unclear on what other star power will be present.
Howard Lederer Fantasy Poker Camp

I’ve linked to these guys before – I still think Pauly should invade their home game and give a report. Definitely worth a read - all the Upper West Siders' Trip Reports (including a few choice photos) are up online now at Meat Machine Poker.

Oh my – you won’t wanna miss this: The Mighty Hank at Cards Speak has posted his article about Poker Blogs for ALLIN Magazine. This was a six-page spread – A huge thanks to Hank for taking the time to pimp our humble corner of the Blogosphere.
ALLIN Magazine article

Has anyone but me pre-ordered Doyle Brunson’s Super System 2 book?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the PokerBabe’s write-up of her WSOP experiences. Scroll down to the Main Event.
Poker Babe WSOP Report

Here is an entire list of diary entries from The Hendon Mob at the WSOP.
Hendon Mob

Potential huge news for my local readers. I just thought I'd pass on this email response I received from Belterra in Indiana:

"I am happy to say "yes"! Belterra Casino Resort & Spa currently has plans to add a poker room in the very near future. However at this time I can not give you an exact date. When a date is set, I am sure that it will be well advertised. I would like to thank you for your interest in Belterra, and hope to see you and your guests in the very near future. If I can answer any more questions for you, please fill free to ask.
Thank You,
Table Games Shift Manager
Ralph Wileman

Incidentally, allow me to pass along the blog by the fellow who wrote the Fear and Fetish in Las Vegas Trip Reports that many folks seemed to enjoy.
Loser Variable Blog

This news article was the featured article on MSN’s home page for a day or two. Better posted late than never, I suppose.
Poker Championship Gains Wide Following

Moneymaker was considered "Dead Money" in poker circles, someone destined to lose early. Instead, his Cinderella story is credited with transforming the game.

"He had the single biggest impact on poker history. Period," said Dan Goldman, vice president of marketing for PokerStars.com, an Internet poker site.

Here’s a great piece from CNN.
Road to poker glory through the Internet

Call it the Moneymaker Effect.
For the second straight year, an Internet unknown won the famed World Series of Poker, ravaging a field of professional players on his way to poker glory and riches.
Greg "Fossilman" Raymer, a patent lawyer from Stonington, Conn., earned a spot in the 35th annual No-Limit Texas Hold'Em event after winning a $150 satellite tournament on PokerStars.com.

Not sure what to make of this New York Times article about Paradise Poker.
The full article can be found here.

Federal law enforcement officials routinely seize money they suspect is
connected to activities like money laundering, terrorism or drug smuggling.
But in early April, United States marshals seized $3.2 million from
Discovery Communications, the television and media company, in an aggressive
effort to crack down on a new target, Internet gambling.

The money initially belonged to Tropical Paradise, a Costa Rica-based
Internet casino operation, which in October paid Discovery for television
spots to advertise an online poker room, ParadisePoker.com. According to
court documents, the government seized the money and told Discovery, which
is based in Silver Spring, Md., that it could be party to an illegal
activity by broadcasting such advertisements.

Federal prosecutors contend that online gambling sites are illegal, but the
offshore casinos fall outside their jurisdiction. So for nearly a year, the
government has been trying to curb the sites' activities by investigating
and pressuring American companies that provide services to offshore gambling
sites on the theory that they are "aiding and abetting" the operations.

Well now, that certainly ought to help curtail workplace production tomorrow. And that’s what I’m here for, after all. I hope there’s enough content here to satiate even the most voracious of my readers. Again, this blog takes a ton of work – I hope someone takes pity on me and actually signs up on PartyPoker or Empire Poker to support my humble efforts.

And yes, I have new poker blogs, God bless them. What kind of post would this be without new poker blogs? A crappy one, that’s what.

89TJ is a British player who uses terms that I absolutely love, like tits up, wanker and git. Looking forward to reading more new stuff from him.
Double Through
Another online poker blogger: Trying to make money and escape from an ocean of debt through low-stakes online poker.

Spooners Poker Table

a brief introduction: as of june 01, 2004 i am going to be playing online poker (via partypoker.com) with the goal to make $25,000 by june 01, 2005.

i will write about all my outings, and i will provide visual proof of my banking via screen shots of my deposit/withdraw screen as viewed on party poker.

i got this idea because because quite frankly, i am sick of listening to idiot bosses tell me what to do while i am at work. i am sick of giving up my nights and weekends, and most importantly, i am sick of working 9 hours for $6.75 an hour when i could work 1 hour and make $50.

Egads, the three banner ads at the top of the page are garish, but he posts plenty of hand histories for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing:
Joe’s Poker Corner

Poker Distraction is written by Roberto and I got a chuckle at his rant about Ohio State standout, Maurice Clarett.
Poker, Sports and South Florida

Maurice Clarett is a fucking moron. I'm so glad he got defeated in his court battle. Not only is he not good enough for the NFL, but he's a dipshit. He's got classic dumbass-"student"-athlete syndrome. I hope he has his eligibility stripped by the NCAA and he's forced to actually attend school like a normal student, or go play "professionally" in Canada for chump change. Fucking moron... wake up and see the opportunity you've blown. Jackass.

And last, but certainly not least, this guy has been posting all over RGP under the name Poker Blog Dude and deserves a link:
Poker Blog Dude

It has been said that "experience is the best teacher". And yes, the great no-limit players of the past got to be as good as they were because of years and years of hands on experience. The great thing about online poker is that it can shrink all of those years into months. That's because on the internet, you can play multiple games and play anytime of the day without leaving the house. My estimate is that with dedication an obsessed internet player can shrink as much as 6 years of experience into six months.

I'm going to update the links on the right to reflect the latest and greatest in the poker blog scene. I'd encourage anyone working right now to read the fine writing over there. You won't regret it.

And that oughta do it. One more Guinness-fueled uber-post into the archives. I can’t believe I’m still writing this damn thing. Most of the time I’m ecstatic that I have readers and am happy to post but a lot of the time I realize that this poker blog has taken on a life of it’s own, far away from actually PLAYING poker and I wonder if it’s worth it.

So in the interest of any current Party Poker players wanting to sign up on Empire with bonus code IGGY1, allow me to offer this simple Q&A from our fine friends at FreeShell.

I have seen a lot of questions about party poker and it's skins. Here is some information that can answer most of those questions.

Q. Are Party Poker and Empire Poker the Same?

A. Yes, same players same everything. Although the multi-table tournaments are different.

Q. Who owns Party Poker and Empire Poker?

A. Party Poker and Empire poker were both created by IGlobalMedia. However, they are owned seperately. Empire Poker is owned by a gentleman in Sweden.

Q. Where is the customer service located?

A. Customer service used to be contracted out to a company in Costa Rica. To lower costs they moved it back to India. Party Poker was started in India, technical support was always in india, so they thought it was best to move all operations back to India.

Q. When I cashout from Party Poker what bank issues the checks?

A. That answer really depends. Party poker has accounts with several banks. These Banks are, Bank of America, Colonial Bank, and Union planters bank. If you are doing a cashout by regular mail, it is usually drawn on Bank Of America. If you are doing the cashout by FED-EX the checks are usually drawn on either Union Planters Bank, or Colonial Bank. All of these accounts originate in Miami, Florida and use a seperate company as the bearer for the checks. The FED-EX checks come from Gibraltar.

Q. Can I have more then one account at Party Poker?

A. Yes and no. You can have two accounts, only if the accounts have different first names and date of births. You also cannot play on the same table with both accounts.

Q. But it can be the same address at Party?

A. If you filled in all of the personal information correctly you will not be hearing from them. However, they do call and verify every single account. If the phone number you entered is a fake they will email you and tell you to call them. If you fail to contact them, they will lock your account.

Q. How safe is it for me to play on Party Poker?

A. The answer to this question is not cut and dry. Party poker uses 128 bit encyption, so your computer is safe. However there are other issues that make party poker not the safest place to play. First and foremost, they have the most laidback all in and collusion policy of any online site. They say they investigate all in abuse, but they rarely take action. Furthermore, many people collude on party poker and go both undetected and unnoticed. You can complain if you think someone is cheating. However, bottom line is nothing will be done in most cases. They will usually send you some scripted response saying that the player in question has been warned. Party poker really only cares about their bottom line, which is the rake.

Q: But it can be the same address?

ie: i sign up as Sam with credit card #1 and use 12/25/50 as bday.

sign up #2 as sammy with credit card #2 (but both credit cards are Sam) and use 7/4/65 as bday.

Is that ok?

A: Same address should not matter. Also they have no way of looking up the cardholders date of birth. However, you cannot use the same credit card for two accounts. One card per account.

More then one person can live in a household, so as long as the two accounts are for two separate people it won't be a problem.

So if you are a current Party player, but have ever wanted to help this humble poker blog out, you can now sign up on Empire with Bonus Code IGGY1 by signing your wife, mom or brother up - just write support and tell them what you are doing to get the registry crap lifted.

Thanks again for reading this feeble post.

Link of the Day:
Hail Maury Full of Grace
On July 28, 2002, Ryan MacMichael wrote about talk show Maury Povich. Fed by poor reading skills and pathetic desperation, 300 people have decided that he is Maury, standing by to answer their prayers.

All Content Copyright Iggy 2003-2007
Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.

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