Saturday, October 02, 2004

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

Quick post:

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

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

The tournament is password protected. The password is: iggy2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I have selected two, because they both very profound and

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

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

Gary Carson

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

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

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

Allrighty then. Nuff said.

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

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

Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Layne Flack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's the Full Arieh Interview

Talk poker with Josh Arieh!

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

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

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

Don't forget your poker face!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Josh Arieh: Confidence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike (Boston): how does the backing work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moderator: That's poker!

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

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

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

Thursday, September 30, 2004

"Well, well, well. Figured I might as well start trying to document some of my experiences with God's nectar, Guinness, and the Phenomena of Online Poker. I've been playing poker online for about five years. Drinking seriously for over twenty."
My first words, a year ago today.

Damn, I just realized:

Happy Birthday to this humble poker blog. A year ago, I began boring regaling you all with my petty profound insights about poker. I can't believe all the changes we've witnessed in poker, both online and b&m, since then.

Posts Written 212
Words Written 323,100
Outbound Links 2,265

Thanks for humoring me.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

"It is not enough to be a good player, you must also play well."
Siegbert Tarrasch

Howdy all, thanks for stopping by. And although this will be a quick crappy post, I once again state my poker blog credo:

Destroying Workplace Production One Poker Post at a Time.

And so, anyone working right now, go hit this 20 questions site and kill some time. A hoist of the Guinness to Grubette for the link. Safe for work and purty good coding.
20 Questions

How the hell did it know what a wiffleball was?

K, I gotta bang this out quick. My humble apologies that this post isn't up to my normal standards but I'm pressed for time. My MRI came back with bad results and I'm now looking at shoulder surgery in a few weeks. As if life couldn't get more insane, this shit happens. Ugh.

It was just a matter of time, folks: Poker player BobbleHeads. A jump the shark moment? Or brilliant marketing? Hell, probably both but I still might have to buy one, even thought they aren't offering a Phil Helmuth one. They are currently offering Mel Judah, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, David "Devil Fish" Ulliott, Men "The Master" Nguyen, Humberto Brenes, Johnny Chan, T.J. Cloutier, Scotty Nguyen, and Amir Vahedi.

Oh the humanity.

Anyway, first and foremost, let's link up the poker bloggers who met this past weekend in AC. We've got plenty of kickass Trip Reports between these guys. I sure wish I had been there. So go enjoy the tales of poker & booze debauchery at AlCan'tHang, Pauly's, PokerGrubby's, BG's & Cubans. Some great stories - go read them NOW.

As an added bonus, we have the Patron Saint of poker bloggers, Wil Wheaton with three new poker posts about playing at the Mirage poker room in Las Vegas. All of the above are must reads, but you already knew that. Hell, even Daniel Negreaneau reads Wil and so should you.

Let's announce this next, shall we:

The next poker blogger and their readers tournament:
October 21st, Thursday, at 9pm EST.
Poker Stars

Anyone got a name for this tourney? Shall we just call it the Poker Blogger tourney or what? Let me know if you have any ideas....

Best of all, no need to email me or any of that crap. The tournament will show up ahead of time and you can simply register with a password. As the Poker Gods intended it, damnit.

Hit my archives, I've said it many times. Poker Stars has the best software and customer support, hands down. I've played there since beta. That's why I managed to scoop the name 'Guinness' on there.

I just assume everyone has an account on Poker Stars. If not, please feel free to use my link or not. If you dig this humble poker blog, I hope you do, at any rate. But doesn't matter, either way. I only hope we have a decent turnout. Again, bloggers AND readers can play. The bloggers have won every time thus far, so we're still waiting for a reader to step up and win one.

And yes, as promised, we WILL have a celebrity playing with us. Woohoo! He will be playing incognito, so good luck guessing his identity. Hell, I don't even know his screen name. I just hope XXX our mystery player ends up winning the damn thing and blogging about it.

Moving on, I enjoyed playing o8 with the bloggers last evening, in honor of Al's birthday. Funny, funny stuff.

And for the first time ever, a player recognized my chat at Party Poker and I was outed. I enjoy slumming at the 50.1 table sometimes with blogger buddies. Plus I can see about 60% of the flops and just try to river other players. This was after an awful river beat. Thanks to Hel1xx for grabbing this chat:

castlerock69: iggy?
iggy: XXXX
iggy: i've been outed.

Per his request: Heya Castlerock! :) I also hit a Royal Flush later on that evening. Better lucky than good, I always say.

The new CardPlayer Poker Magazine is out. Go read Daniel Negraneau and the rest.

But Hot Damn, check out this very Public calling out by Andy Beal to The Corporation, posted in the brand new column in Cardplayer, by Barry Shulman. Whoa, this is some funny stuff. For those of you who don't know the story here, please Google 'Andy Beal and The Corporation' and discover about the biggest poker game in the world.

I simply must quote the letter right here. It's just too good.


The World's Biggest Poker Game
by Barry Shulman

Ever since it opened its doors, Bellagio in Las Vegas has hosted the biggest poker game in the world.

Oftentimes it has been "built around" an affable gentleman from Texas, Andy Beal, who flies to Las Vegas and tackles one player at a time.

The biggest game, played May 12 and May 13, 2004, was $100,000-$200,000 limit hold'em. If you are new to the scene, that means that many pots are more than $1 million and heads-up play sometimes gets in as many as 75 hands per hour.

Andy recently phoned me and expressed frustration with what he said were mischaracterizations in recent news accounts of his poker games. He said he wanted to somehow set the record straight, and asked me to publish his open letter below.

From The Desk Of Andy Beal

Dallas, Texas

Date: September 2004

To: Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Todd Brunson, Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer, Chau Giang, Barry Greenstein, Ted Forrest, Gus Hansen, Lee Salem, John Hennigan, Ming La, Lyle Berman, Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan, Hamid Dastmalchi

I recently read a story in the New York Daily News that is an unfair mischaracterization of my recent poker experience in the "Big Game" played at Bellagio.

No mention was made that I won more than $10 million in the largest game ever played, $100,000-$200,000 limit hold'em, on May 12 and 13, 2004. No mention was made of the fact that most of the above-mentioned professional players have substantial overall individual net losses after having played many hours against me. I concede that I am a net overall loser in the Bellagio games, although the extent of my losses is often exaggerated and mischaracterized.

These stories have become like fishermen's tales, in which the fish is always getting bigger every time the story is told. I spent four years learning the game from the best. Does it surprise anyone that I was an overall net loser during that period? Now, you want to reduce the stakes and refuse to continue to play at the previous betting limits. Does it surprise anyone that I have little interest in traveling to play in smaller games? My interest has always been the intellectual challenge of competing with the best, in games in which the amount bet is material to the people involved. I have played the best in the largest game ever played, and I won. I had a great time and a wonderful experience, but I have little interest in continuing to play the game, because of the time commitment and travel required to maintain excellence.

Call me naïve (I've been called worse), but I believe that I am the favorite in a heads-up limit high-stakes game against most of you. For the record, I challenge you to put up or shut up about your "professional play." Come to Dallas and play me for four hours a day and I will play until one of us runs out of money or cries uncle. If your play is so great and your wins have been as large as you claim, you should have plenty of bankroll and be jumping at the chance to come and play another $100,000-$200,000 game and win a lot more money. I should add that you can bring your own independent dealers and your own cards, and can play in a different location of your choice every day if you wish. You should provide a slate of any six or more of the above players and I will pick from your slate who plays. Observers should be free to attend in order to record exactly what happens at this game, so it won't turn into another fisherman's story.

My money says you will decline, and that says it all. If you accept, the resulting game will say it all. Either way, I will get to stop reading fishermen's stories.

Andy Beal

P.S. This challenge is for now (starting September 2004), not weeks, months, or years from now.

That's unprecedented. Calling them all out.
Methinks Andy has jumped plateau's. And it's quite possible he could break them all.

They should put THAT freaking game on TV. Screw this WPT stuff.

Damn, where to go from there?

How about this awesome bit of prophesy I've forgotten about from Jesse May. This was written and posted in September of 2002, right before the poker explosion.

The decline in cash game poker around the country points towards the
sport of poker's evolution, not to its decline. That's why the new Poker Million should not be looked at as a burden to the existing poker schedule, but instead as a welcome addition.

The problem with poker today has nothing to do with a cluttered schedule. The problem with poker is the profit model by which poker is run. It is a profit model which is absolutely outdated, constricting poker under the confines of "casino game", when poker is in fact a popular sport of skill, like golf. The current profit
model for poker is one that sees casinos running poker tournaments because of the money they will make in tournament fees and side games.

It is a profit model that forces the best players in the sport to make their living thru money won from other players in the sport, money that comes up thru the cash game ranks, money that the casinos are already dipping into. It is a profit model that squeezes down.

Consider the profit model of professional golf. Golf courses hold tournaments because of revenues from television and corporate sponsors, money from which the tournament purses are funded. The top ranked players are qualified to play in the tournaments, and the best players earn a living from prize money in tournaments that they qualified to play in. The best players also earn money from sponsors who pay players because of the television coverage that their sport receives. This is a profit model that looks up for its profit, using the players as the stars who are showcasing their skill to generate the revenue by which the best players are paid.

Poker is not really that far off, and to suggest that poker still is far off is to be stuck in a rut. Under the table cameras really do make poker exciting to watch. The fan base is there. The tournaments are there. And the best players really are that good.

The future of professional poker is a world poker tour. The top ranked players will be qualified to play in tournaments on the tour, which will be shown on TV. The casinos that host the tournaments will generate the purses from television and sponsorship revenue, and players will earn money through endorsements. That is the future of poker, and while it has not been a to b to c, one day it will all seem
to have happened fast.

Both of the Poker Million events, while far from ideal, at least look towards the new profit model for poker. The first Poker Million had 250,000 pounds added in corporate sponsorship. The second Poker Million, the Poker Million - The Classics, while having no added money, also has no tournament fees. And because the field is
restricted, and because the television exposure will be maximum (six two hour shows on Friday evenings on Sky Sports with a six player table, and the final live on Sunday prime time), and because players are allowed to wear sponsor logos, for the first time prospective players really have a product of value to sell to a potential sponsor.

And depending on what the market values of those logos is, some players could find this tournament better value than any they've ever played in.

Jesse is an awful commentator on Late Nite Poker (thank you again, Mr. Halverson!) but he's one damn fine poker writer, imho.

I see that Party Poker is now OVER 60,000 players every night. Hell, go look back in my archives and see how I was drooling when they hit 20,000 last fall. It's truly insane and is showing zero signs of letting up. Bonus Code IGGY damnit. It's the Gold Rush of poker. Take a shot.

I found this Ultimate Bet poker blog written by John Vorhaus on the now running Aruba Classic.
The 2004 Ultimate Bet Poker Classic 3 in Aruba.

Matthew Hilger finally posted a follow-up in his series of Top 10 Mistakes in Online Poker. Check it out at Poker Pages: #6 Playing at Limits Too High in Relation to Their Bankroll

Jay Lovinger has an awful new poker column up. He sucks.
Damnit, why him with so many fine poker writers out there?
The Poker Mob mentality is rare

I know many people posted about the MSNBC online poker article about poker bots and cheating and blah blah blah. I suppose I didn't because I've been hearing this shit for years now.

But I'm going to keep my yap shut and simply acquiesce to a much smarter man than I, Alan Bostick, and his post in his poker blog, As I Please.

But this doesn't alter the fact that at this point in time the fish are biting, and there are more of them every day. There's enough money for all of us to win, bots, colluders, and the merely skilled and experienced players, right now.


And finally, best of all, a new post by Paul Phillips about his top NLH tournament poker players.

Thanks again for reading this humble poker blog. I'll be back with more in a day or two. And don't forget about the impending blogger tourney, damnit. Gonna be a ton of fun.

Allow me to leave you with the final two pieces of The Fish's Trip Report to Vegas, with lots of pro poker playes mentioned.

The Fish has Fun (Borgata Non-Tournament Trip Report=Part 1)
From: Dave L

I arrived at the Borgata on Wednesday afternoon to play in the 1500 NL
tourney on Thursday. After taking a brief nap in the room, met up with
Richard "Quiet Lion" Brodie, Kim "Tiltmom" Scheinberg, and Bruce "Don't know
his nickname, but he's a tiltboy" Hayek. For those of you that don't know
Richard, he not only wrote the original version of Microsoft Word, but he's
also appeared in such movies as "The Usual Suspects," American Beauty," and
the immortal film "K-Pax."

Anyway, Richard had promised to steak me for this trip, and steak me he did.
Had a wonderfully delicious meal at the Old Homestead steakhouse, complete
with Tanqueray ten martinis. As those of you who read Richard's blog know,
I was extremely pissed at him, as I now have an almost-full bottle of Bombay
Sapphire in my liquor cabinet that I likely will never drink.

I try one hand of Roshambo with a Tiltboy, and come up empty. Fucking
Rock... I shoulda gone with scissors.

True to his word, Brodie picked up the check, and I begin the trip up at
least $75, probably more. I love positive EV meals.

The next day I played in the 1500 (see trip report), and after busting out
played a bit of 40/80. It was a great table, but I wasn't able to
capitalize on the sloppy play quite as much as I would have liked. Still, I
cashed out up a few hundred, and grabbed dinner with Richard (who was still
in the tournament). When I returned from my meal, I got a seat at the exact
table. It was full of loose, but skilled players, and one rock (more on him

Brodie soon busts out, and he joins me at the table. While he did well, I
left down about $400.

Brodie introduces me to a few tournament pros, including (among many others,
but I've already dropped too many names in these reports ;)) Scott Fishman
and Josh Arieh, two players who I had absolutely no desire to meet. Having
said that, let me state on the record that both came across as very nice,
friendly people, and I am glad I met them. While I am still no fan of Dutch
Boyd's (and never will be), I learned my lesson in judging a person based on
what I know of his friends. He's a nice kid with a solid head for the game,
and I got to pick his brain a bit about his internet setup.

And Josh Arieh surprised me even more. He was extremely humble and contrite
about how he acted during the WSOP, and says that he learned a great deal
about how not to behave. He talked at length about his laydown of the
king-high flush (as well as his laydown of two pair (T9) earlier in the
tournament). So, I learned a lesson myself...to never judge someone based
on what you see on TV. Yes, he came across as a self-righteous pompous
prick during the telecasts, but there were some backstories involved that
never made Television. It doesn't quite justify his actions, but it also
doesn't justify my actions of condemning someone before ever meeting them
(except, of course, for Dutch ;)). Hopefully, we both learned from past
mistakes. It was my pleasure meeting him.

Eventually, Brodie and I cashed out, and I watched him play Video Poker at
$125/pop. It was interesting to see the various hosts and staff fawning
over this whale, who in the end cashed out with a bit of the Casino's money.

I made my way back down to the poker room, hoping to play in a super for the
2500, but alas I missed my opportunity, and instead sat at the same 40/80
game, which was populated by pretty much the same players (save one
god-awful woman who played every hand no matter what).

Anyway, I had established a reputation as a Rock, and the started calling me
"Dusty" in reference to the Dust that was collecting on my chips. (They had
been playing hyper-aggressive poker, and I had been sitting back and picking
my spots, winning most pots I entered). I decide to capitalize on this
image, and raise from ep with a q4os. I get called in 2 spots. The flop
comes 667. Checked by the BB, I bet here, expecting to be raised and with
the intention of folding to set up a future play. Sure enough, Aggressive
(but good) player in MP bets, called by BB, and I fold. At this Aggressive
player chides me..."How can you fold for on SB there when you are getting
10-1 on your money?"

"I'm a bad player," is my retort. (Truth is, of course, that save for
running queens, there is nothing I can possibly hope to see that would make
me think I have any shot at that pot, and I wanted that weak-tight image.)
Sure enough, the sb takes it with a 6x.

So, a few hands later, I am UTG+1, and decide to make my "superstar" play.
UTG, who has been tossing around chips like they were play money, raises (he
was a very dangerous player, and loved to build pots with any 2 in the hopes
of nailing a flop). I look down and see the powerful 6-8os, so naturally I
three bet. Capped by aggressive from the previous hand, and called by SB,
UTG, and me. The flop comes j64 rainbow. UTG checks, I check, aggressive
bets, called by SB, called by UTG, and I now raise. Pretty much everyone at
the table now has me on pocket Jacks, and they all call, explaining they are
going to outdraw me. The Turn brings a second club (I forget which card at
this moment, but it is absolutely no help to my hand). UTG checks, I bet,
and am called by aggressive and SB. UTG folds and makes a comment that it
is a scary board, and the could outdraw me. just say that Maybe it'll be
the perfect card (implying a club with the board pairing).

The River brings the King of Clubs. I bet, aggressive goes deep into the
tank. I comment "Well, you can't call..it's either raise or fold...which
one?" He folds, as does SB.

Aggressive then begs me to show, and I oblige, flipping the 6-8os into the
middle, and say "How can you fold for just one more bet?"

His head goes into his hat, and he appears ready to flip the table over. I
scoop up my chips and can't wait to see the action that will surely be
falling upon me, but unfortunately the table starts breaking, and I decide
to call it a night soon after. The remaining players are still buzzing
about the hand as I walk past them after cashing on my way to clock out.
Dusty my ass ;)

(As the week went on, Aggressive player (Russ) and I ran into each other
many times, both on and off the table (In fact he snuck up from behind me
and put me in a headlock at the Taj Shouting 6-8, 6-8!!!). The 6-8 became a
running joke, and we became friendly as the week goes on (he was also at my
final table in the 10k super sat). He claims to have folded QQ there.)

The next day I again spend with Richard "Quiet Lion" Brodie. We visit
Harrah's for all of 20 minutes, and leave to discover his car has been hit
in the parking lot. (a more detailed account of this event can be found at
www.liontales.com). In the end, we wind up at Caesar's and eat at Nero's,
where I partake in a little lamb and allot of 1999 Joseph Phelps Insignia.
One again, the check is on Brodie (it pays to dine with a whale), and I am
up for the day w/o ever even sitting at a table.

I meet up with Kevin "Golfman" Conlon that evening (he was sharing the room
for an evening), and sign up for the 40/80 game, which is having trouble
getting off.

This is when I discover that the "Rock" I had been playing with most of the
previous day was none other than "Action Bob" Hwang, who I had planned on
meeting up with here. Fairly amusing that we failed to recognize each other
(we had only met once in atlarge, but talk frequently via the internet).
Ohhhh..if I only knew that going into those games, I would've never made
some of the laydown I made against him. ;)

I finally get a seat at KC's 10/20 game, and play all of 3 hands when I am
finally called for the 40 (at the same time as Action Bob). I play for
about 30 minutes, when the table starts to break. I had played exactly 2
hands (both in my BB), and finish about a rack up, and head to bed to get
some sleep before the super.

Still to come...The most fun I've ever had in one night in a Casino; Hey,
That's Johnny Fucking Chan; A Blessing from Jesus; Decimating Doyle Jr.; and
Zen and Art of Playing Blind.

-The Fish


The Fish Finds Jesus (Borgata Non-Tournament Trip Report, Part Deux)

From: Dave L

Sorry for the delay, I keep putting off these reports, then realized I
better get back to it before FARGO, and a whole new set of reports plagues

After busting out of the 10k event (and after about a 2 hour break from the
poker room), I trudged back downstairs and decided to watch some of the
action. I arrive in time to see Shana Hiatt doing 100 or so takes of what
seemed to be a relatively simple shot, but apparently the air conditioner
was up just a bit too high, and Miss Hiatt..shall we say...was putting the
"poke" in poker. The director asks her to go into a corner and warm up
those nipples. I offered to help, but alas, it turns out that this was a
union job, and they have very strict procedures.

So, I play some some ring games for a bit, then decide it is time to have
some fun.

I see Kevin Conlon (Golfman317) sitting at a short 10/20 game. I go over
and join, sitting on his left. At the table is someone I immediately dub
"Doyle Jr." He is a squat young man, with shades, earphones, and loves to
flip his cards in the muck with a zip of the wrist. He has a little posse
with him at his end of the table, and carries his bankroll, comprised mostly
of single dollar bills in a rubber band (no, I am not making this up).
Doyle Jr. and I get involved in a pot, he open raises, I three bet from the
BB with AK, and he calls. Flop comes K high and I bet, he raises, i reraise
he calls. "See you at the river," Jr. Doyle chimes in. The Turn brings a
jack, again I bet, he calls,. River is a blank and I bet, and he
disgustedly flips over AQ. "What did you have? King-Deuce?" he grumbles
in disgust.

"Yeah, I said. King Deuce."

I decide right then and there that I will take great pleasure in busting

I call Action Bob Hwang over from a 20/40 table he is raping (he is up like
6 racks, the lucky SOB) and he sits down on my left. I point out Doyle Jr.
to AB and he immediately starts calling him "Mr. Raise."

"Hey, Mr. Raise, why you raising my Big Blind?" Bob sings across the table.

"I'll raise your Big Blind every time, now, Buddy." Cries back Doyle Jr.

OOOPS. BIG Mistake there, Doyle.

Bob's brow furrows at this.

"OH YEAH?!" Well, I'm gonna raise YOUR Blind ever hand." retorts the Bob.

"I'm just kidding..." Doyle Jr. meekly says.

"Well, I'm not," says Bob. And he keeps his word, the whole night ;).

Very next hand, Doyle Jr. Again raises. I look down and see 5-2os and w/o
thinking I fold. SHIT.

Bob and at least 5 others call. And of course I flop the nut straight. I
accidentally tell Bob what I mucked, and he chides me for hours...it was the
worst mistake I made all night. I blew a golden opportunity to put a bad
beat on Doyle Jr. I vow NEVER to let that happen again.

Now, I should say that when Bob and I arrived at the table, it was a rock
garden. Well, we changed that. I guess capping in the dark from your
blinds will do that.

One memorable hand (for me) saw Bob and I capping preflop and the flop
blind. We were 5 handed. The Turn brings a third club. I bet, am called
by once spot, and raised in another. I decide now would be a good time to
look, and see a beautiful red Q7. I decide to play it up, burst into
laughter, and three bet. Everyone folds, save one player, who is a complete
calling station (he will call down a 4-way pot with King high). . Still, I
refuse to five up. I have the table convinced I backed into a flush, and
everyone but mr. Calling station seems to be 100% convinced. I bet again on
the river, and am raised by calling station. I reraise! He three bets. I
go to grab more chips, then decide to ask "If I bet here, will you fold."


Ok...heh..I fold then.

He flips over the nut flush. Let that be yet another lesson to you kids,
when playing blind, and your hand ends up queen high, do NOT go capping
against a guy who will call you with King high...ESPECIALLY when he has the

So, Bob and I play no fold'em Hold'em for about 2 hours. While we do end up
forcing Doyle Jr. to rebuy, we also inadvertently bust Kevin Conlon, who
on Mega tilt after a few bad beats caused in part by our play. Double
Bonus!! (He was,
unlike Bob and I, actually playing solid poker.)

In the end, I rack out up around $300 or so. Bob racks out down $600 I
believe, and Kevin...well...let's just say Kevin can use a few donations.

Obviously in a gamb00ling mood, Bob decides to teach Kevin and me Pai Gaw
Poker. "It's real easy, and money lasts a long time, " he says "Half of all
hands are pushes, and the rest you pretty much just split. It's hard to
lose your money fast in that game."

Famous last words, ya prick.

So, we play about 20 hands. I tie a few hands, and win ONCE. The rest are
ALL LOSERS. I go through $300 faster than you can say
"PaiGawPokerSucksFuckYouActionBob," and we leave the table. All down,
except of course for Bobby, who is up like 2 bajillion at the table.

We decide to hit a Let it Ride table, and again I come up empty.

Now, in between our table games, we decide to play some slot tournaments.
The rules begin like this: We each put $10 into a machine, and whoever has
the most after 5 minutes of play wins. The losers give the winner $5 each.
Bob wins the first tournament. Kevin, who finds a Sligo machine that is
broken (when you hit 3 sligos, a burst of air shoots some balls around the
top of the machine, and a random ball falls, indicating your bonus.) You
see, Kevin's machine was not pumping air, so every time he hit Sligo (and he
hit it at least 4 times) he got the same ball. Fortunately for him, that
ball was worth 250 coins (I, of course, never hit a goddamn sligo and was
the first to bust). So, with 2 casino employees now watching us and
laughing at our drunken slot-play, the moment Kevin gets up, they swarm the
machine. The prick not only won a few hundred dollars at the machine, but
he got me $5 as well.

The final slot tournament I decided to make video poker. I was sick of
coming in last each time, and, unlike the two bozos I was with, I actually
know how to play VP. We find 3 nice 9/6 Multi-Strike VP machines, and
decide to buyin for $20 this time. Halfway thru, I am busted. But, Thinking
fast, i quickly announce "REBUY!" and buyin for $20 more. Heh, heh.

I work my way to the lead, when on the very last fuckin hand, abob hits a
gutshot straight on the 8x pay level to win the damn tournament. Asshole.

So, I am now down well over $500, and we decide to play some three card

My luck changes immediately. I hit 2 flushes in a row, I hit pairs galore,
I can't lose! I slowly creep my way back up, but am still down $400 total.
Bob and Kevin are grumbling about eating, so I decide this is my chance to
finally win. "Whoever wins the most/loses the least at the tables has to
buy dinner." I proclaim. They both agree. Since both these fools are up
and I am way down, this is FINALLY a victory for me.

Eventually, we decide to just play blind. (The dealer kept not qualifying,
and both Bob and I werre losing money folding hands).

So, playing blind, the dealer flips over my cards and discovers...trip tens.
A nice 30-1 shot (on a $20 bet) and I am suddenly even for the night.

But, of course, even when I win, I lose, as it is now up to me to buy
dinner. Fuck.

After hitting the trip tens, we decide to pool together $5 each and let it
ride on #10 on a roulette wheel. We place out bet, when out of the corner
of my eye I see someone stumbling down the walkway signing autographs, empty
martini glass in hand. Why, it's none other than Chris "Jesus" Ferguson.
drag Chris away from his throngs of fans, and ask him to bring us some luck.
He starts out by making the sign of the cross and blessing the wheel. The
ball spins, and comes up...#1.

"What number did you want again?" asks Jesus.


"Well, that was stupid, you should have put it on one, since I am the #1
poker player!"

How can you argue with a holy man?

So, we leave the wheel, and head towards food. I am exhausted (it is well
after 3 am), and really had no intention of eating (I was going to just give
Bob $40, say Dinner is on me, and go to bed). when I get a brainstorm.

"Hey Jesus, you want some food?"

He looks up.

"Food? Hmmm. Will it take long?"

"No, Jesus, of course not." I lied

"Ok, where?"

"Well, how about the only place that's open?"

"Sounds Good!"

And off we go.

When we arrive, I decide to buy the table a round of the Tanquray-ten
Martinis that Richard Brodie got me hooked on during this trip. I don't
think my traveling companions were quite as fond of the drink as I was.
Ahh well.

Anyway, after 2 hours of Bullshitting, we decide to call it a night. But,
before we officially end it, we decide to once again pool $5 each and play
some huge casino long shot.

Eventually, we decide to play 2 pulls of a $5 slot machine (2 coins each
pull.) We find a nice "Playboy" (perfect!) slot machine. For the first
spin I insert the money, and Jesus pulls the lever.

Now, this may seem fairly dull and not worthy of writing in a trip report,
but on this night, a miracle happened. No, we didn't win on either Pull.

When I mentioned to him that this would make my trip report, he simply
laughed and said "good luck," No one will ever believe that I played a slot.

Well, folks, I can only report what I witnessed. I leave it up to you good
folks to decide whether or not to believe it.

I'm sure I am leaving a lot out, but it's late and I am lazy. I'll append
the report once I get an "oh shit, I can't believe I left that out" moment,
or I'll just include it in my superstat report, which will be coming either
just before or wayy after FARGO ;).

-The Fish

Link of the Day:
Enjoy My Cat Ass Trophy
An open letter to the person in Houston who found my Casio Exilim S20 compact digital camera containing 17 2.0 megapixel photographic close-ups of a cat's ass.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

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

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

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

Sign up on Party Poker, damnit!

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

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

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

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

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

Oh my. Raised eyebrows around the table.

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

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

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

Oh the humanity.

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

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

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

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

My take:
2004 WSOP Trip Report

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

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

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

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

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

./end shilling

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Two random TOC snarky lines:

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

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

--- ---

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

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

Good one.

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

I wrote this to a buddy today:

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

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

He never wrote back. Can you blame him?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy a goddamn vowel.

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

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

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

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

What a bunch of fucking monkeys.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poker Thread O' The Day


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

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

Iggy, The Blogfather, explains:

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

ESPN-The Real Story

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

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

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

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

This whole thing stinks, and really makes me sick.

It wasn't even that entertaining.

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

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

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

I'm ashamed to be in this business.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[From imdb.com]


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

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

I'm surprised I couldn't sell it.

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

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

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

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

Die is Cast

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

Profesional Poker Grad Student

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I just saw this from a reader. good stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading, if you made it this far.

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

The Last Thing a Pankcake Ever Sees

Bonus Code IGGY damnit! :D

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


An Aside---Searching for Mr. Tunica:

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


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

**/end EGO ALERT**

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

-The Fish


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

From: Dave L

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

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

To put it succinctly, I was prepared.

Ok, enough rambling, on with the tournament:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-The Fish

Link of the Day:

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

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

100% Signup Bonus at PokerStars.com up to $50

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?