Thursday, February 03, 2005

We had 32 players in our very first WPBT tournament.

151 last night. Amazing.

And the reign of dominance by the bloggers finally ended, with a reader, on_thg, taking it to the hoop. The bloggers won again! on_thg's blog is here. Congratulations! And a big thank you to everyone who played, I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

Well, considering I was bad beat out into 129th (by Tapin, who wins a Party Poker jacket), I didn't have THAT much fun. Actually, that's not true. I really enjoyed watching the festivities from the rail, rooting for the bloggers.

In case you missed the hand of the tournament, I'll post a hand history for perhaps the first time ever. But taking The Hammer allin versus AA and KK allows for rules to be broken.

The Power of The Hammer, as wielded by Dr Pauly.

PokerStars Game #1161867959: Tournament #4684031, Hold'em No Limit - Level III (25/50) - 2005/02/02 - 21:36:24 (ET)
Table '4684031 9' Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: NemoD (2445 in chips)
Seat 2: 787Style (2140 in chips)
Seat 3: DrPauly (2355 in chips)
Seat 4: kingtutt13 (1180 in chips)
Seat 5: MacDaKnife (1255 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 6: WAXMAN13 (1220 in chips)
Seat 7: kennycasino (2665 in chips)
Seat 8: MtDewVirus (1725 in chips)
Seat 9: SoxLover (2775 in chips)
kingtutt13: posts small blind 25
MacDaKnife: posts big blind 50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to 787Style [Ac As]
WAXMAN13: folds
SoxLover said, "blog fatger is ftrain?"
kennycasino: folds
MtDewVirus: folds
DrPauly said, " good luck man!!!"
SoxLover: folds
NemoD: folds
787Style: raises 100 to 150
DrPauly: raises 2205 to 2355 and is all-in
kingtutt13: calls 1155 and is all-in
MacDaKnife: folds
787Style: calls 1990 and is all-in
*** FLOP *** [7h 5d 7d]
SoxLover said, "if not, he fell too"
NemoD said, "wow"
787Style said, "LOL"
NemoD said, "WOW"
kennycasino said, "lol"
*** TURN *** [7h 5d 7d] [9d]
kingtutt13 said, "LOL"
TNSpaceman [observer] said, "WHOA"
hank987 [observer] said, "omg!"
*** RIVER *** [7h 5d 7d 9d] [5h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
787Style: shows [Ac As] (two pair, Aces and Sevens)
DrPauly: shows [2s 7c] (a full house, Sevens full of Fives)
DrPauly collected 1920 from side pot
kingtutt13: shows [Kh Kd] (two pair, Kings and Sevens)
NemoD said, "holy ****"
787Style said, "that sucks"
DrPauly said, "lol"
TNSpaceman [observer] said, "that is incredible"
DrPauly collected 3590 from main pot
leftyhoyt is connected
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 5510 Main pot 3590. Side pot 1920. | Rake 0
Board [7h 5d 7d 9d 5h]
Seat 1: NemoD folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: 787Style showed [Ac As] and lost with two pair, Aces and Sevens
Seat 3: DrPauly (button) showed [2s 7c] and won (5510) with a full house, Sevens full of Fives
Seat 4: kingtutt13 (small blind) showed [Kh Kd] and lost with two pair, Kings and Sevens
Seat 5: MacDaKnife (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 6: WAXMAN13 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: kennycasino folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: MtDewVirus folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: SoxLover folded before Flop (didn't bet)

God Bless you, Pauly.

Here's the final standings - I tried to link everyone as best my memory permits. Let me know if you're a blogger so I can add your link.

1: on_thg (Grand Haven), $906.00
2: pokerlife (La Canada), $604.00
3: WAXMAN13 (LAFAYETTE), $359.38
4: Grasp (Midland), $241.60
5: ZeRat11 (Berwyn), $196.30
6: Quillayute (Travelers Rest), $151.00
7: a104l9 (West Columbia), $105.70
8: mirven (Austin), $78.52
9: Tapin42 (Campbell), $51.34
10: Riddim Killa (Birmingham), $36.24
11: Count Fosco (Toronto), $36.24
12: jerge88 (Ames), $36.24
13: myradiohead (Huntsville), $36.24
14: jcostale (Burnaby), $36.24
15: S.t.B (Milwaukee), $36.24
16: Joanne1111 (Calgary), $36.24
17: Bugsy 99 (Toronto), $36.24
18: darice (Kimberly), $36.24

Check out the official WPBT web site with a leaderboard and everything. Cool stuff.

Can't wait for the next one. Early February, perhaps? Mebbe do the next one on a Sunday evening?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Hot Damn!

151 players.

And we're off...

Have fun and good luck.

First place pays $906.00

Final Table

2.5 hours left to sign up!

Where: PokerStars - Private tab
When: TONIGHT, 9pm EST
How Much: $20 Buy In, NLHE
Password: thehammer

"If I don't have friends, then I ain't got nothin."
Billie Holliday

If you didn't read Pauly's final post on the blogger meet-up in Vegas, please do so now. It's posts like these that remind me why I blog and am a member of this great community.


All are welcome.

Geepers, we easily had over 100 players in our last World Poker Blogger Tournament, yet as of now, we have 70 signed up to play, mostly bloggers. Cmon folks, hurry up and sign in!

I hope we receive a flurry of last minute signups per usual.

Where: PokerStars - Private tab
When: Feb 2nd, 9pm ET
How Much: $20 Buy In, NLHE
Password: thehammer

I've seen some bounties posted here and there. Hell, PokerStars is throwing in an official jacket to the winner so I'll throw in a Party Poker jacket to whomever knocks me out - how's that? I am the defending champ, after all.

You oughta play just for the chat. Some seriously funny banter at these tables. Hell, that's the main reason I play at the NL bloggers table on Party - simply for the witticisms. It's tough to keep up sometimes.

I'm still stuck in introspective mode per this blog. I'm feeling both inspired and utterly burned out, simultaneously. I owe a hoist of the Guinness to Hank, Pauly and Otis for advice and encouragement. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I feel a paradigm shift might be in order. Hell, I'll prolly just fix a Guinness and vicoden cocktail and write a shitty cathartic post to get it out of my system. Stay tuned.

Allow me to leave you with two pics today in honour of the tourney.

Good luck to everyone tonight!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I'm reposting this article from the NYT because a subscription is needed to view it.

But mostly because it mentions The Hammer commercial with Chris "Jesus" Ferguson.
Full Tilt Poker Hammer Commercial

In one spot, Mr. Ferguson reveals that all he is holding is a seven of clubs and a two of diamonds, which is emphasized by sight gags like a neon sign appearing overhead reading, "That's right." An announcer intones: "Sometimes you want to advertise your bluffs. It makes your opponents second-guess themselves. Mostly, you're setting them up for later."

New York Times Article:

Promoting Poker Online - FULL TILT

A campaign for a poker Web site hopes to attract not just players but also students — of the game, that is.

The campaign is for the Full Tilt Poker Web site (fulltiltpoker.com), one of a number that are seeking to capitalize on the new craze for playing poker set off by the wave of televised games on cable networks like Bravo, ESPN and Travel Channel. The television, print and online campaign, with a budget that is planned to reach an estimated $10 million, carries the assertive theme, "Learn from the pros" — the pros being the poker champions affiliated with the site, who include Andy Bloch, Chris Ferguson, Phil Gordon, Phil Ivey and Howard Lederer.

The campaign was developed by the Bob Wolf Company in Los Angeles and produced by the Los Angeles office of DDB Worldwide, part of the Omnicom Group. They also teamed up last year for a more fanciful campaign for Full Tilt Poker, timed to take advantage of the interest in the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, which humorously appealed to the International Olympic Committee to designate poker as an official Olympic sport.

The new campaign for Full Tilt Poker is indicative of how a fledgling advertising category develops from infancy. Now that the idea of poker Web sites is a familiar one to computer users, who no longer need to be told they exist, the owners and operators of sites like Full Tilt Poker, Golden Palace Poker, Party Poker and Paradise Poker, want to distinguish themselves from each other in much the same way that consumer products like beers, cars or soft drinks strive for differentiation from rivals in campaigns that stress attributes like flavor, heritage, price, popularity or quality.

The poker Web site category "is a very crowded, very competitive space," says Mr. Lederer, who is the president of TiltWare in Los Angeles, which designed the software for Full Tilt Poker and licensed it to a company called Vert Enterprises.

"Our brand in the poker community is already well known, but certainly a lot of people haven't switched to the brand," he adds, "so we're saying, 'This is what we have to offer.'"

By focusing on the poker champions, "we're definitely trying to convey authenticity," Mr. Lederer says, adding: "We're "trying to connect with people watching poker on TV wondering, 'What was he thinking while making that decision?' The way to find out is to speak to him, and you can do that on fulltiltpoker.com."

"People who really like this game want to learn about it, not just play it," Mr. Lederer says. "Getting into the head of Phil Ivey is like getting into the head of Michael Jordan because you want to become a better basketball player."

"I've met people who've told me they watch the same episode of the World Series of Poker on ESPN over and over again," he adds, "because they feel they learn something each time they watch."

That thought is conveyed directly and effectively by the campaign. The print ads, which are to appear in magazines like Cargo, Details and Maxim, feature remarks posted online by the pros to the regular players, like one in which Mr. Lederer advises a player named "Rocco779" that "you need to protect aces like they were your firstborn" and another in which Mr. Ferguson expresses incredulity that a player named "Punjab82" played a bad hand "all the way to the river."

The commercials, to strengthen the authenticity message, are presented in shades of black and white and depict the pros imparting wisdom as they play in the real world (not online) with a regular player.

In one spot, Mr. Ferguson reveals that all he is holding is a seven of clubs and a two of diamonds, which is emphasized by sight gags like a neon sign appearing overhead reading, "That's right." An announcer intones: "Sometimes you want to advertise your bluffs. It makes your opponents second-guess themselves. Mostly, you're setting them up for later."

In a second spot, Mr. Ivey is tuning out what is going on at the table with the help of a large pair of earphones, then stoically tosses his cards away. "Sometimes you just know you're beat," the announcer advises, "and to have to lay it down."

In a third spot, Mr. Lederer is unfazed as his regular-guy opponent ostentatiously celebrates a great hand. Such a sore winner ought to be ignored, the announcer says, because "he's not thinking about the next hand. You should be."

All the spots end with the "Learn from the pros" theme and a Full Tilt Poker logo. They are already up on the Full Tilt Poker Web site and are scheduled to start appearing this week on a variety of TV poker shows.

"If you're into poker, we know why you play," says Bob Wolf, chief executive of Wolf, who worked for more than two decades at Madison Avenue advertising agencies like Chiat/Day.

"You want to win, certainly, but you want to compete and have fun," he adds. "And this is the place to play, because you can learn something."

"Our whole strategy is about what makes our site different, the involvement of 10 of the best players in the world to deliver the best online experience," says Mr. Wolf, who describes himself as an avid poker player.

The players "are not the typical paid endorsers," he adds, "but are invested in TiltWare, helped develop the software, play on our site every day and chat with players."

"It's a huge differentiator," Mr. Wolf says, likening it to affording a golfer "the opportunity to play with Tiger Woods."

"He'll beat you," Mr. Wolf adds, laughing, "but it's a great opportunity."

Monday, January 31, 2005

"Blogs are 100x gayer than bulletin boards. And 1000x gayer than Usenet."
The Fat Guy

Yes, I'm still on hiatus. But I feel the urge to ramble right now.
Humour me and the vicoden.

Let's start off our Monday with one of my fave pics:

Maria enjoys a snack

So who's more dangerous?

USA drunks > insurgents

Number of people killed in Iraq on election day: 35 (source: The New York Times, 1/31/05)

Average number of Americans killed daily by drunk drivers: 47 (source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2003 data)

I spent a good chunk of yesterday digging through the Iraqi blogs. If you have any interest, I would suggest Healing Iraq or Iraq the Model as jumping off points. As a long-time reader of these blogs, yesterday was a rare good day. For the record, I read poker blogs, Iraqi blogs and food blogs. That's it, though, Blogs are gay.

Anyway, for a few weeks now, I've had this idea of writing about the gestalt of the poker blogging community bouncing around my head. I'm a big believer in community, per se, and our scene has been a fascinating one to watch and encourage since our nascent beginnings. Who'da thunk?

Both poker playing and blogging are solitary, individual pursuits. But somehow both have melded into a kind of group activity. It's like an accidental lab experiment with unexpected & amazing results.

I never dreamt this blog (and poker blogs, in general) would become popular. I stll remember in December of '03 when I was getting around 50 hits a day, mostly from fellow poker bloggers whose writing I truly admired and respected, and thinking how cool it was and couldn't possibly get any better. Ah, the halcyon days.

Yet look at us now.
Otis blogging professionally for PokerStars in Denmark, Hank beginning his first day at FullTilt, Grubby moving to Vegas, and me sitting here typing away one-handed.

Oh the humanity.

I'm simply feeling nostalgic after reading Pauly's superb, honest retrospective post.
Go read it now!

I'd love to pontificate about meta-blogging, a topic near and dear to my heart, but I'm hurting and typing is too tedious for me. But someday, I'm looking forward to writing up a retrospective of our community, or at the very least, what it's been like for me. As the reluctant BlogFather, I may have something of value to add to this conversation. Bah, prolly not.

This blog is an accident. One that I'm still making up as I go along. Some folks are just naturally talented writers who have a clear voice. I'm not one of those people - I floundered for quite awhile before discovering what my blog was. I knew I could ramble about poker, that's a given. This blog, in some ways, supplanted lengthy, drunken emails I would write to poker buddies late at night. And I think they're thankful for that.

Blogging is tougher than it looks. Both Pauly and BG's posts really got me thinking. I think they meant to inspire and encourage new bloggers in a roundabout way - blogging & community really is organic - you can't force it.

Regardless, I've tried my best to be a cheerleader for all the poker blogs - I've always felt that was a worthy cause. The more the merrier has been my calling card. Plus, it's a small way of giving back to this community that has actually changed my life.

If you had told me 18 months ago that I'd be quitting my job to play poker professionally, I would have laughed in your face at the mere idea.

Yet here I sit.
A professional gambler.

That seems so bizarre to me... a professional gambler. I say to myself, "I'm no gambler, damnit, I'm a poker player!" I intellectually understand that I gamble on the turn of a card but I *still* don't feel like a gambler.

Poker player (and anthropologist) David Hayano did a study of poker players and the poker subculture in the 80's in which he theorized about the meaning of gambling. He noted that the poker subculture offers certain things to its inhabitants - namely; the "opportunity to make one's own decisions, the desire to be greedy, generous, or noble, and the quest for some form of organized social activity that is repetitive and ritualized and yet offers unpredictability and action."

David wrote a fine book, Poker Faces, but for me, it's been all about learning (and accepting) the "process of poker". By which I mean, one of the most important skills a successful poker player can have is emotional management. I know I harp on this, but I truly consider this one of my most important assets. It took me years to overcome the histrionic hurdles of bad beats, bad players drawing out on me, getting poked in the eye by players on a lucky streak - and when I did, I've consistently won at this silly game. Coincidence?

Poker is a combination of luck and skill. People think mastering the skill part is hard, but they're wrong. The trick to poker is mastering the luck."
Jesse May, Shut Up and Deal

Progress in poker is always an erratic one. I've written extensively about plateau's and learning before, so I won't beat that dead horse. But when I look at my poker earnings notebook, I see a jagged, upward graph-line that never goes straight up but zig zags up the page.

"Income in poker is not made in a linear way."
Steve Badger

A key to the game, especially when playing every damn day, is realizing that after booking a good-sized win, you sit the next day knowing it's likely to go backward again. You must be willing to risk losing some back, as a condition to moving forward again. Damn variance conundrum.

I've now been on my own for over 3 months. I've done better than I expected but there have still been some nerve wracking weeks. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything, but then again, I wouldn't recommend it either. My only regret is not playing any tournaments - I really thought I'd be tackling those.

I finally joined the tables again this weekend and Party treated me very well. If I wanted to bore you, I'd post the hand histories. Trust me, some awful players out there.

A new blogger sums it all up:

All hail the blogfather. . .
I've been putting off this post, but it has to come as it seems everyone eventually comes around to doing. I've always hated Party, I don't know what it is about the site, I just can't stand it. But I've deposited there for various reasons without ever playing. Mainly to play at the blogger table, and test my skills against some of the best. (Even if they are just screwing around) I haven't been able to find the blogger table lately, so I've been playing a Party NL $25 table in the background while playing a S&G on Stars. The reason is to try to build my bankroll for the inevitable hits I will take at the blogger table.

The thing about it is, I can't lose. I play ABC, simple, stupid, patient poker and make a killing. Every session I've played lately I've won. Tonight I've been playing for 40 minutes, while playing a $30 S&G and reading blogs, and have run my starting $25 up to $95. It's just absurd, the fish school by the 1,000's. I apologize Iggy, you are a genius and I doubted you. Ring games are now the sole property of Party.

So consider signing up on Party Poker with Bonus Code IGGY as a means of supporting this unemployed, non-professional blogger. It costs you nothing and it gives me a damn reason to come on here and type this drivel out, even one-handed.

Final reminder!
Feb 2nd - This Wednesday!
9pm EST
$20 +2 Entry fee

Anyone can play.

Thanks for stopping by and reading. Sorry for the lame post but it shall have to suffice. I'll have a veritable plethora of links and content once I get out of this sling. For now I leave you with this legendary RGP essay from poker author, Jesse May. I ain't posted this since last April, enjoy:

From: Jesse May

It's started. The erosion of poker truth has begun. In today's world it is he who slings the mud farthest that clamors to the top. Hold your tongue Johnny come lately, watch out Daniel in the lion's den, because poker players know that if a man has fleas he's been lying with the dogs. And the men of respect they know who the dogs are, with quiet mouths and jerky glances they've been fading dogs for years, because it's not so long ago. Maybe the microscope got turned upside down into a megaphone, maybe every televised hand has been parsed twice and passed through Sklansky, but that doesn't mean that past is ashes. And in the poker world, character has never been fleeting. The players have minds like elephants caught in the steel traps, the world was never so big that you could sit down at the table and nod just once for times gone by. The water's under the bridge with the writing always clear on the wall. Poker's big now, but the story is the same as ever. Someone will be getting fucked, and if you're desperate enough to want to survive, sell your soul and join the team. Don't worry. He'll throw you bones, he'll toss mongrel scraps and promises from above, after all Don King made Holyfield rich and famous. Rich and famous and collared to a post.

The men of respect have mostly been rangers. They grew up with talent, they were burdened with honor, and they banded alone and faded getting fucked. There have been freight trains of others, cattle cars in and rib roast going out, and the few mangy cows that avoided the slaughter bled from the jugular and squealed like pigs before the devil came down and offered the deal. And the men of respect? They padded softly, out of the limelight, from game to game and in the wee hours of the night. Stu Ungar showed up in a coffeshop in Tahoe on the morning of a final table to find the other nine having breakfast as one. He howled. They shouldn't have made him mad. He didn't
collapse with the Ace-king when the pressure came on. And the dogs hated him for it. And they always will. The oppressed people, they never want to be free. All they want is to rule.

Is it true Mr. Molson? Is it true that there are players who will benefit from the fact that no sponsorships are allowed? Is it true that one management firm has sprung up, a company whose office is in some building in Minnesota, the same building as the W pis-pee? Is it true that Bile has handpicked some players to promote, to promote in
the advertising and the commercials, leading lights to front the team, while the rest of the players have to listen to prize pool bullshit, to an incessant drone that is aeons old, band alone and fade getting fucked? There was only one player at the Sands who didn't take the money, who said sponsorships are for children while $40,000 was being offered for two hours wearing of a hat. There was one who claimed to be above the fray, but players want to know why. Players want to know why. You think the Furrier's a savior, you think he took something where nothing's been before? Well then Bill Gates is a genius, too, with clean hands to boot. But there's a lot more at stake then one man replacing his Toyota with a Lexus.

There's poker players out there, stars of the game, men of respect who hold their tongue and go about their business, because they've doing it since boo. Since the Furrier was a snake. Since he was a hooded serpent who bought people and smashed them. What you think? You think they don't deserve what's fair? You think you can tell a man who's survived the war that the gun is not loaded?

Make no mistake Johnny. Money is not added. Money is not filtering down. Promises are not being kept. The players are the stars, they always have been, and the overlords will be thieves long before we call them Daddy. Basketball and baseball, there is a reason for players' unions, there is a reason that there is a sharing of television revenue, that players wear logos, that there is a player pension fund. And there's a reason why old boxers drive delivery trucks. One man stands up, a quiet man, a man of respect, and in his own small way he says, look. Do you see this?

Where's the 40 million for the TV contract? Where's all the money that sponsors pay to have their brands associated with the most exciting guy to ever fling two cards and his stack in the pot? You think people want to watch some schmuck who will crumble at the sight of a raise? Everybody wants to watch the golden hearted lions, watch them flock in the jungle. But the man wants them to be stupid. He needs the smart ones to band alone, to fade getting fucked, and the stupid ones can join the team and clamor loudly. Because dissent is the terror of the Furrier

Link of the Day:
VW Polo is Blowing Up
Volkswagen has issued an all-points bulletin for Lee and Dan, the producers of the Polo spoof ad: "We are prepared to pursue the two individuals."

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

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