Friday, July 15, 2005

"But like Boris Becker once said, when they asked him how it was, what it is that makes a champion different from the rest.

That’s easy, he said, it’s a very simple thing. It’s the ability to play like it’s nothing when it means everything in the world. Today is the most important day of the 2005 World Series of Poker."

Jesse May

A quick post.

WSOP Championship day. I was pulling for Raymer and Ivey and mostly Tiffany Williamson, but that's incidental.

A one Mike Matusow will provide for a fine TV final table. And that's the most important thing, isn't it?

Here's a brief look back at other final tables in the past few years, from a conversation about how 'well-known' this years table is:


Varkoni's final table: Gardner, Rob Perry, Scott Gray, Harley Hall, Russ
Rosenblum, John Shipley, Tony D, and Minh Ly. Think Julian, Harley, and
Russ were pretty decently known.

Moneymaker's final table: Amir Vahedi, Tomer Benvenitsi, Sammy Farha, Young
Pak, Jason Lester, Harrington, David Grey, and David Singer. I'd say that
Amir, Jason Lester, and David Grey were widely known, other than Dan and
Sammy. Plus between 10-20 included Ivey, Deeb, Luske, Scotty, and Lederer.

Raymer's final table: Mattias, Arieh, Krux, Matt Dean, Harrington, Glenn
Hughes, David Williams, and Mike McClain.
Raymer's year had the largest field, you're bound to have more unknowns at
the end. Arieh and Krux were known pros before this final table.

There's just so many more unknowns in this year's field, it's a lot of bombs
to dodge for the short numbered name guys.


Also, I liked this Mike Matasow story as told here:


Karmic Update on Mike Matusow's Dealer Bet
Log: Shortly before play started yesterday, Mike Matusow doubted the final table dealer when they said play would be starting soon. I was standing a few feet away as Matusow said something like, "They'll never start on time. There's a bazillion people here. If we start within five minutes, I'll pay you a thousand dollars." Play began four minutes later.

Making good on his word, I learned that Matusow paid the dealer later in the day. Unfortunately, Harrah's would not allow the dealer to keep the money, and it was returned to Matusow. Nevertheless, Matusow received the positive karma from making good on his boast. Could that be part of the reason why he's among the chip leaders?

Lesson learned: Always tip your dealer.


I'm proud that I've never blogged a bad beat here. So in that vein, allow me to briefly mention I set my new record for the most money lost in a single hand last night as well as the biggest pot. All to a sweet 81 year old man (who was the only reason I moved to this NL game) who hit his three outter on the river.

Must. Resist. Urge. To. Post. Hand.

I'm still all tingly.

I've got a game to catch so I've gotta make this brief. Here's a fine article about final table player, Steve Dannenmann.


Md. poker player puts money on fun
World Series of Poker is a lark

LAS VEGAS - Steve Dannenmann, an Anne Arundel accountant, has a strategy
for winning the World Series of Poker main event.

It involves riding only in cabs whose serial number ends in an even digit,
taking the same route from his hotel to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
where the tournament is being played, wearing the same tan shirt daily and
not ever allowing his wife to watch.

And, oh yeah, there's the same brand of socks that say, "Champion," but
those he changes.

And there's this crumpled-up paper with a list of poker do's and don'ts,
such as, "Avoid coin flips when you have the big stack." These are rules
the 38-year-old CPA from Severn freely shares with his competitors,
including some of the world's greatest players, in this no-limit Texas
Hold-'em tournament.

And although it's not part of the strategy, while his opponents are
sipping spring water and Coke, Dannenmann is standing at his table
yelling, "Cocktails!"

He likes Bloody Marys with a rim of Old Bay seasoning. Lot's of 'em. For a
time Tuesday night, he had one drink in his hand and two at his feet.

So, naturally, Dannenmann - whose poker experience comes mostly from home
games on Tuesday nights - ended Tuesday as the fourth-leading chip holder
among 58 survivors from a World Series championship field that started
last week with 5,619 players. The local poker wunderkind had more than 2.1
million chips, the overall leader more than 3 million.

So far, Dannenmann has played at the ESPN feature table with superstar
Howard Lederer, now long gone from the tournament. About midnight Tuesday,
Dannenmann knocked out Russ Hamilton, the 1994 world champ, and scooped up
500,000 chips in the process.

The other Marylander who made it into yesterday's round was John Howard,
32 and self-employed, from Lexington Park in St. Mary's County. Howard was
sitting with Dannenmann when the field narrowed to fewer than 35
yesterday, assuring each at least $274,000.

"I'm here just having fun," said Dannenmann, who bought his $10,000 seat
in the main event after a poker and golf buddy chipped in half. "Every day
that you wake up, everything after that is a bonus. I'm not especially
religious but I believe every day is a blessing."

Dannenmann, who grew up in Brooklyn Park, spent his improbable run Tuesday
ordering drinks, chatting with other players, kibitzing with fans and even
wandering from the table to call his mother, Mary, in Glen Burnie for 15
minutes at a time on a spectator's cell phone because his own had run out
of juice.

As he rallied from a low of 280,000 chips, Dannenmann was clearly
irritating others at the table - including one dealer who accused him of
"disrepecting the game." While Dannenmann was off on one of his cell phone
calls to his mother, or his wife, Anita, back at the Mirage resort, or his
friends in Baltimore, other players had to toss in Dannenmann's antes.

And although his opponents sometimes stewed, Dannenmann defused some of
the annoyance with an affable, aw-shucks demeanor, occasionally rooting
for players with whom he faced off in showdowns. Whenever a new player sat
down, Dannenmann was a one-man Welcome Wagon extending his hand, "Hiya,
I'm Steve. What's your name? Where ya from?"

While table tension mounted, Dannenmann would rummage through a plastic
shopping bag of odds and ends, once pulling out a book on Zen philosophy
to the delight of onlookers.

So far, the off-beat, sometimes loony approach has worked.

"Look, I'm a bad player; I know that," Dannenmann said on a break between
sessions during another 12-hour day of poker Tuesday. "The only way I have
any chance here is to get the table on-tilt." In poker parlance, on-tilt
means being so agitated that it adversely affects a player's decisions.

It also hasn't hurt that Dannenmann has caught a few cards. In one crucial
hand, he doubled up to more than 1.4 million when his pocket fives turned
into three-of-a-kind and then four-of-a-kind against another player's two

The World Series main event was expected to be pared to three tables - 27
players - by today, when the event moves to Binion's Casino in downtown
Vegas. The final table will be either tomorrow or Saturday, depending on
how quickly players are eliminated.

The winner gets $7.5 million; everyone who makes the final table will
become a millionaire.

Dannenmann's stay at the poker World Series main event, which began for
him Saturday when he played in his first round, has caught him by surprise
in more ways than one.

"This is my last pair of clean underwear, but I told my wife to hold off
buying new ones until I saw whether I made it this far," he said.

"You know," he added, "I'm missing my Tuesday night game back home because
of this."

Dannenmann's friend who split the buy-in, Jerry Ditzel of Severna Park, is
in that game.

"The way you see him out there, that's how he is back here," Ditzell said.
"I went in with him on this thing because he's my friend and that's what
friends do. This is something Steve wanted, we sat down and talked about
it, and so we did it."

In return, Dannenmann wears a visor with the name of Ditzel's company,
Environmental Technologies Inc., at the table.

After Tuesday's surge, Dannenmann and a handful of competitors and
spectators he had just met piled into a black stretch limo at the Rio and
headed to the Hard Rock Casino, where he met with his wife and bought the
bar a round.

"Yes, he's always like this," Anita Dannenmann said as she watched her
husband pose for photos with newfound friends at the Hard Rock bar. The
couple have been married just six months. "He's always outgoing; he's
always smiling."

As yesterday's poker play opened, Dannenmann was slightly subdued, the
effects of the 4:30 a.m. partying. But while his eyes were slightly puffy
and he moved a little slower, his mood remained constant.

As an early session ended and he rose from his pile of chips, he said,
"I'm still having fun."


Random Photos of the Day:

Now go read Pauly and Otis for the best in live WSOP coverage.

And check out my hero, Greg Raymer's, thank you/recap WSOP post at 2+2, just posted a bit ago. Must read as he even gives his thoughts on the final players. I won't spoil what he says about Mike the Mouth Matasow, go read it for yourself.

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