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Thursday, August 25, 2005

"You might sit astride a mast and feel your oneness with nature, but fall into the sea and you're going to get eaten."
Herman Melville

Howdy all, thanks for stopping by.
Get comfortable - uber post.

I once again state my poker blog credo:
Destroying Workplace Production One Post at a Time.

I'm still way behind on my poker reading. But I caught Drizz & Joe Speaker's fine posts about the challenge of poker and decided to riff a bit on this topic, because these two are obviously thinking long and hard about the game.

But alas, I keep reading all these posts from college drop-outs who are attempting to go "pro" by playing full-time online poker. It makes me cringe. Poker is one of those life skills that you can continually hone through experience and study, it's not something to be jumped into without a serious gameplan. Seemingly every day, a kid experiences a bounce with his bankroll and jumps into the fray as a professional.

Why not use poker as a recreational hobby? How many hobbies can MAKE you money?

And for 99% of these guys, it's going to be a temporary thing, there's a psychic credit-card bill in the mail somewhere, and I'm sad for them in advance about the eventual collapse. It's called Variance, and most of these new players haven't met Her yet.

I had a fascinating conversation once with someone who told me (not in these words, I'm simply paraphrasing) that progress towards World Class Poker Play is slow, frustrating, humbling. A question less of talent than temperment. Basically because you proceed through mastery through a series of plateaus, there's a bunch of radical poker improvements up to a certain plateau, with the only way to get off to climb the next one up ahead is with a whole lot of frustrating tough play/emotions, conceptual understandings, and mostly patience and hanging in there while you learn. This relates to improving at anything, I suppose, and not just poker.

There aren't many who can slog along on the patient road towards mastery. Of those who can't, there are basically three types. You've got the Despairing type, who's fine as long as he's in the quick improvement stage before a plateau. But then he hits a plateau and sees himself starting to stall, not getting better as fast or perhaps even getting a little worse, and this type gives into frustration and despair. Just because he hasn't got the humbleness or patience to hang in and slog, and he can't stand the time to work. What happens? He bails.

K, then you've got #2, the Obsessive type, so eager to plateau-hop he doesn't even know the word patient much less humble or slog. When he gets stalled at a plateau he tries to will and force himself off it, by sheer force. Obsessively reading and studying and playing and running sims and then playing more and more, as in frantically, until he overdoes it and cripples his game with Leaks because he can't step back and watch himself. IE: Focusing too much on pre-flop standards and not post-flop play, or worse, taking loose aggressive to tiltable standards. Pretty soon his poker game is riddled with poor plays and he hobbles at the table still obsessively playing until finally he isn't even able to comprehend what is going on in the game anymore. His bankroll withers and dies.

And now for the worst type. The one I personally relate to the most, the Complacent type, who improves radically until he hits a plateau, and is content with the radical improvement he's made to get off a few plateau's, and doesn't mind staying at this last plateau because it's comfortable and familiar, and he doesn't worry about getting off it.

Pretty soon you find he's developed a whole game around compensating for the weaknesses and chinks in the armor the given plateau represents in his poker game, still - his whole game is based on this plateau now. And little by little, guys he used to beat soundly start beating him, locating some chinks. He'll say he doesn't care, he's playing cause he loves poker, and hell, the cards aren't running his way and he always smiles but there has got to be something tight and hangdog about his smile, and he keeps smiling and is real nice and funny to everybody and real good to have around but he keeps staying where he is while other guys hop plateaus, and he gets beat more and more but he's content.

At some point, perhaps when this poker blog has outlived its usefulness and I finally put it to bed, I'll return to giving actual poker play ALL of my focus and energy and use this so-called talent. Talent is its own expectation, gentle reader, it is there from the start and either lived up to or lost. And damn, writing this out makes me realize how complacent I've become once again. I knew this blog would be good for something cathartic, eventually.

I could have skipped everything above and simply said, "I've regressed and I'm a lazy fuck." But recognizing and acknowledging it is half the battle, methinks.

The games are still treating me well, but I can sense auto-pilot creeping back into my limit game, especially after so much nolimit at the boat. And the online poker games are still very aggressive, which is what I love best. Reading players and hands is the most important skill in aggressive games -- calculating pot odds and tight play becomes less important, since it's extremely difficult to put a loose-aggressive player on a hand

K. rambling over. Sadly, Guinness makes me overly verbose.
My humble apologies.

Let's lighten things up a bit. Here's a random photo of the day:



Sometimes I receive incredible emails from players beating the hell out of Party Poker right now. Has there ever been a better time in history to be a poker player? Party is the main vein in this gold rush of poker popularity and it's great to see others making some money. I may repost some of the emails if I get permission.

Honestly, there's never been a better time to be a solid poker player. Ever. There were less than 3,000 players on Party Poker three years ago. Now there are 70,000 freaking players! I'm still pinching myself.

If you had told me even two years ago that 70,000 people would be playing on Party Poker, I would have laughed in your face and called you a fucktard. What the hell do I know? Only that it's all about the game selection and Party is #1 there.

And look, I know 99% of my readers have accounts on Party already.
So that's why I'm asking any faithful readers of this blog to consider signing up with one of my other sponsors.

Golden Palace Poker
Caribbean Sun Poker

Here's your typical internet poker player on one of these sites:



I've known a few degenerate gamblers in my day. Hell, I remember living in Las Vegas and watching co-workers spend entire paychecks on video poker machines. It was stunning to observe, like a car wreck. I couldn't even conceive of the mindset, the insanity, the compulsion.

So I recalled this anecdote of a casino in Las Vegas receiving a bomb threat one evening. Over the loudspeaker, management advised everyone to leave the casino floor ASAP. So who were the stubborn gamblers?

The poker players were the first to leave, followed by the blackjack players, then the crapshooters, then the baccarat players; finally the roulette players left. But the damn slot machine and video poker addicts refused to leave.

I don't know if this a true story or not, but I sure as hell believe it.

K, I've got a ton to share with you. Let's rock and roll.

First of all, I gotta send out congrats to Daniel Negreanu for going ahead and getting married this past weekend, without a pre-nup, either.

Gary Carson couldn't resist a comment:

I wish him luck, but I still put the over/under at 2 years.


Interesting interview with Nolan Dalla about the book he co-authored, "One Of A Kind", about the legendary Stu Ungar. He talks about the process of writing the book as well as what he thinks would be happening with Stuey today, if he was alive.

This anecodote spoke to me on many levels:

When W.C Fields was young, he worked on the Atlantic City beach as a professional drowner. Basically, he would wander out into the surf and pretend to drown. Some passers-by would heroically rescue him, and he'd suggest that to celebrate they go to a nearby bar. He was basically a shill for the bar. Years later, he had a mansion with a huge pool, and someone asked him whether he swam. "Once you've done it for money, it's no fun," he replied.


Here's the latest on the WPT stock fallout.

CNBC's Jim Cramer commented on WPTE on his show "Mad Money" on Monday:

WPT Enterprises reported quarterly results that were simply the "ultimate in train wrecks."

Shares of WPT Enterprises Inc. fell about 16 percent in extended hours of trading after the owner of the World Poker Tour television show said on Monday it had a
quarter loss when Wall Street analysts forecast a profit. WPT shares lost $2.19 percent to $11.15 on the Inet electronic brokerage, after closing at $13.34 on the Nasdaq."


And RGP regular, Arlo Payne, took the chance to bash em even further.
Enjoy:

Subject: WPTE the end is near! Remember you heard it here first

Well gang not too long ago I told you all that the WPTE share price would hit $10
within 12 months.

Well today it is under $14 and dropping like a rock. Pretty clear those in the know understand the "As seen on TV" poker crap is headed south. Interest in watching the same old crap week after week has gotten old and viewers are turning that dial.

The only poker on TV that stands a chance of growing is the WSOP.

The WPT had a good idea but they have done great harm by feeding the same old reruns week after week and VVP rap crap has gotten old with most viewers. One can only take "show tunes going off in his head" for just so long.

If you happen to own any WPTE stock dump it now! If you really like it you will be able to buy it back at $10 before you know it.


But on the positive side, the WPT logo nazi's have lightened their grip as witnessed by this question and answer.

Subject: WPT allows logo wear
Author: Chris Bigler

It was announced today, that players may wear logo wear at WPT Final Tables starting at Borgata on Sept 19

Here is the article:

http://tinyurl.com/bg8ng

and here are the rules:

www.worldpokertour.com/rules

---

> I guess this is basically PPT-style logos with .net allowed?
The Quiet Lion

---

Not exactly.

The key word is "approved".

Translation:

Only those companies that purchase ads during WPT telecasts on The Travel Channel, and those companies that purchase WPT sponsorships or WPT "memberships", will be allowed to sponsor players at WPT final tables.

The cynic will say that WPTE had to soften its stance on logos because:

1. WPT TV ratings have fallen 10% year-to-year (according to The Wall Street Journal.)

2. WPT is facing heavy competition from the Harrah's WSOP Circuit.

3. WPT was facing a player revolt led by "super agent" Brian Balsbaugh

4. WPT needs all the revenue it can get after letting operating costs balloon (because of a hiring spree and speculative ventures such as PPT and WPT Online), resulting in near-term financial performance that was dubbed "the ultimate in train wrecks" by CNBC personality Jim Cramer.




In case you missed the Pamela Anderson roast, this blog reels off a few of the key moments. (Brilliance: "You starring in a show about books and reading is like Tom Cruise starring in a movie about vaginas.")

Moving along, some poker message-board folks had fun playing these poker riddles.

What's the only straight you can't make if you're holding 5-10??

and

How many wheels can there be in a Omaha h/l game?

Yet another reason why I keep winning at poker.
Gambling Monkeys Compelled by Winner's High

"When given a choice between steady rewards and the chance for more, monkeys will gamble, a new study found.

And they'll keep taking risks as the stakes rise and dry spells get longer."


Too cool - Wil Wheaton gives us a tease with this great poker post starring our own Dr. Pauly and a stylish new nickname.

Damn, this was a 100 message long thread. How dare they doubt Andy.

Subject: Is Andy Bloch right?

NL HE Tourney

-Blinds are $300-$600.
-Player under the gun has $605 and goes-all in.
-Everyone folds to the blinds and both call the $605.

Andy Bloch said that if the UTG player is smart, he will only go in for
$600, and one of the other players will have to raise or bet 600 later
to get him all-in, potentially forcing out the other player.


The idiocy factor on RGP is growing exponentially. In the above thread, someone was stating Andy's qualifications: MIT, Harvard Law, blackjack professional, poker pro.

And got this response:

All I said was I went to their website - www.mit.com - and it didn't look like anything special. Plus my brother went to ITT, which is a highly respected technical school and he's no smarter than I am.


I gotta say it.
Oh. The. Humanity.

Poker has become huge in this country, but apparently it has not reached broadcasting behemoth, Bob Costas. Here were his thoughts on poker on his recent HBO show.

"I hold in my hand the New York Times, and in the sports section, their new regular column on poker" Costas started. "Now at the risk of alienating degenerates from coast to coast, I must say I find it hard to get worked up over a sport that boasts all the pageantry and magic of Saturday night at my Uncle Murray's basement."

On a roll, Costas continued: "Look, poker is not a sport. ... Put it on the Game Show Network and let Chuck Woolery host it. Me, I have more high-brow duties, such as reminding you to stay tuned, if not next, then sometime soon for 'Cathouse,' 'G-String Divas' and 'Taxicab Confessions.'"

Yikes. One of our colourful St. Louis bloggers needs to invite Bob over for a home game. Or Jim McManus, perhaps.

The esteemed Russ Fox, who I met briefly at the last blogger Vegas get-together, has an excellent gambling - tax blog up. Check it out.

Taxes and Online Gambling
The first installment of this series is available on my tax blog. It's titled "Taxes and Online Gambling, Part I" and you can find it here. Most of what you see on the Internet relating to online gambling are either lies or falsehoods. In this series I'll let you know the (usually bitter) truth.


I'm not really sure what the hell to make of this next thingy. Lots of folks thought it was a fine idea but not the original poster:

Subject: The end of poker as we know it....

I saw this article on poker news today. I think it sucks and could cause
quite an uproar in the poker world "if" it happens. I really hope this
company just goes bankrupt and dies.

A snippet from the article:

----

Imagine, if you could, stepping into your local card room and not seeing one dealer at the tables. Instead, everyone would be staring into a monitor at their seat, devising their strategies and playing poker as if they were online. It may sound a little crazy, but it is something that you could see happening in the near future.

A North Carolina company called PokerTek, Inc. has developed a new poker table that could revolutionize the casino game. Their technology is called PokerPro and is designed to remove the possibility of human error from the game. The tables would have monitors on them for each player that accept the deal of the cards, rather than a human dealer who would be responsible for the shuffle and deal. Play
World Championship of Online Poker sattelites running now!
would commence as normal in whatever game was being played, with the bets being registered on the monitors and constant information being fed to the other players at the table. At the end of a hand, the winner (or winners, in a split pot game) would be credited with their share of the pot, as the computers would already have deducted the appropriate rake and determined the winner.

The purpose of the technology is to speed up the casino game. With the computer systems, there could be more hands dealt per hour (as is the case online) as there would not be a wait for a mechanical shuffler or the dealer themselves to shuffle the deck. There wouldn't be the problems of a misdeal or of the dealer accidentally "flashing" cards during play because it would be done through the monitors. There wouldn't be a disagreement over the rake being taken by the house, as the computer would be programmed to remove the proper amount (never too much and never too little). There would also be no argument over who won the hand, as the determination of the computer would dictate which hand was the best.

The advantages beyond the nuts and bolts would be of interest to the casinos. It would virtually eliminate the need for the gaming rooms to employ poker dealers. It is estimated that there would be around a 30% increase in the number of hands played because of the computer system (thus creating more rake) and the ages old question of tipping would be eliminated.




From the Who Cares Department: Ben Affleck has cut back on poker.

Speaking of movie stars, did you see Robert Ebert obliterate Rob Schneider in his review of the new Deuce Bigalow flick?

Wow, I just found an abandoned WSOP dealer blog. Vitriol Extraordinaire!
I'm having a hard time picking out just one paragraph to quote.
Geezus, go enjoy the ranting, especially the one about Kathy Fucking Leibert. This is one bitter dealer!
WSOP Dealer

Scott Fishman is the complete package. He is the head of a dick, he is the shaft of a dick, he is a pair of nasty balls that hang under a dick. Again, he is the complete package. This KID stands at a stellar 5-foot nothing, and weighs about a buck-0-five. He is an ex Bellagio dealer who used to live off of tokes (tokes are tips, for you who don't know what that is, or how to do it). This collosal douchebag goes out of his way to tell people NOT to tip. This little prick goes out of his way to make an asshole out of himself. He can kiss my ass - right down where it's pink. I can't stress how much I despise this twerp. Fuck him and his 'crew'. If I could, I would piss in his 'fish tank'.

Russ Boyd...aka Dutch Boyd. Russ is his real name, but after scamming thousands of people out of 100s of 1000s of dollars on a long extinct poker site, he changed his name to Dutch - boy..you fooled us there, Dutch. I dealt to this scumbag a sometime last week. All he did was do simple little chip tricks the entire time I was there. He never said a word. Probably for fear of getting my size 13 shoe crammed into his lying mouth. Fuck him too. As a matter of fact - fuck anyone related to these people, the 'crew' and any relatives therein. Fuck the lot of 'em.


For the record, he also calls Sam Farha a cocksucker and Joseph Hachem a fucking wanker. Many times.

Random gambling factoid.
The oldest known playing card, from China, dates from the eleventh century.

Paul Phillips has a post about the impending CardPlayer interview with Mike Matasow, but even better, Paul's spidey sense is tingling about the guy (Todd Witteles aka "Dan Druff") everyone on RGP referred to as a "douchebag" from the first WSOP TV event. Go read Paul's links, damnit, for the nitty gritty. This thread rules. Especially once Paul becomes the lone voice of reason - geezus, until I saw his first comment I thought I was losing it after reading the original post and a dozen straight atta-boys.

Speaking of CardPlayer, here's a take on their latest marketing efforts with a follow-up from Amy Calistri.

Subject: Shulmans and Card Player Magazine need to check themselves

After hearing about Cardplayer's recent plan to rollout a "Card Player College Edition" Magazine free to campuses across the nation, I got a pretty sick feeling in my stomach.

Personally, I think its one thing to give away a free magazine in a casino about gambling i.e. poker like Card Player. People are there to gamble so why not. However, its an entirely different thing to give it away free and completely "unsolicitated" to college campuses.

The logic is very simple... college kids love poker and let's get them hooked early on. The more college kids we get hooked, the more profit we make.

I recently heard Lee Munzer say on Larry Grossman's show that if college kids are going to gamble they should do it the right way with the "Card Player College Edition". While Lee is respectable and a fine writer, that is a bunch of bull shit. Most of these college kids especially the ones that get addicted have no idea what the hell they are getting into.

Ultimately, the Shulman's greed (I am talking about you Barry and Jeff) prevails over a business conscience. Skilled poker players have certainly profited because of poker's ascent. However, the real coin is being made by the online sites and purveyors of all things poker. When I hear about a "College Card Player", it makes me want to puke.

-----

Amy:

I got to agree with you on this one. I got the same feeing when I saw the pro-poker anti-education themed T-shirts that Arieh is marketing. And it's not just an altruistic heart that makes me feel this way. The following is a link to the blog entry I made re: poker and college.


Go watch Dr. Pauly and the Poker Geek in this film trailer.

I found three good poker rules from poker author, Larry "Wayno" Phillips, (another one of my all-time favorite RGP posters and a big fan of Pauly's blog.) Food for thought:

1. Play as well as you can every session and enjoy the people.
2. Never mock a new player or acquaintance in poker, because in 6 months or so you may find he is a very good friend.
3. Most long-time players would agree whole-heartedly with the following sentiment: It is generally the case that if I never won another dime in the game of poker, that the people that I have met through the game (and otherwise would not have met) have made the whole experience worthwhile.


Thanks for reading and humouring me. I only got through about 1/3 of what I wanted to post so there's lots more coming. I'm clearly deranged.

Final appeal! Avert eyes.
Support a sponsor! Please!
Golden Palace Poker
Caribbean Sun Poker

And let's leave you with this poker catfight story.

Subject: Cat Fight
Author: BRAHMA BULL

Went to plink around at Pechanga tonight to witness the zoo. It was great. The poker room was full, all tables being used, and full of drunks.

Everybody in there was a poker pro. My wife and I got sat at a 3/6 game.

Well there was this hot chick at the table drinking shots of Vodka, yelling at people for chasing flushes, and when she won she would state, "I knew I had the nuts"......most of the time it was like runner, runner, flush or k-5os for 2 pair.

Well, this other lady sat down and the girl made fun of her "Coach" purse, when she states that "Coach is $400 crap. I have a $1000 Gucci bag." She made it very clear to the table she was a high roller.

Yah right!!

I say "Wow, really a $1000 purse you must be rich." she didn't catch my sarcasm.

Drunk Hot Chick "Yah, Im a poker player, I play at Commerce, the Hustler,
Hawaiin Gardens, The Bike, and all over Vegas."

Me: "Wow, you must be rich and know alot of Poker Pro's."

DHC: "Dude, you don't buy $1000 Gucci if you don't."

Now at this point the Coach bag girl gets pissed and flames out about "Well if you're so fucking good, what the hell are you doing here with us in this shithole....at the 3/6 table"

15 minute dissertation from DHC about playing $10,000 NLH in Vegas at the Bellagio. Finally the Coach purse chick dumps a drink on her and ......away we go.

It was awesome. I actually thought I saw nipple from each!!! So much more,
but it was one of the "you had to be there at the 3/6" kinda moments.



Link of the Day:
Where No Perv Has Gone Before
Writing for Huffington Post, author Ellen Ladowsky ends the long-running debate over what to call hardcore fans of Star Trek: Sexually deviant pedophiles.


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Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.


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