Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"Midgets have adult intelligence, so you'd be more susceptible to strategy.
I'd also wager they weigh a bit more on average."

2+2 thread below

Howdy all, thanks for stopping by.

Lotsa bad beats in the blogosphere lately. Truly blows and my thoughts are with ya'll. So I'm just gonna roll on and do my poker thing.

Destroying Workplace Production One Poker Post at a Time.

My goal tonight is to write my longest blog post ever.
And that's freaking saying something.

I'm heading out bright and early in the morning for a week of vacation. Time for some world-class skiing in Colorado. Hence, this Mother of all Uber Posts to hold you over until I return. And when I do, I'll likely be announcing some pretty cool stuff. Stay tuned.

Geepers, what have I got here? Andy Beal updates, Annie Duke taking the WPT to task, great 2+2 threads, strange stories about Asian massage parlors, Daniel Negreaneu drinking challenges, and hell, even a story about playing golf with Phil Hellmuth.

What more could you want from a poker blog?
Even from a crappy one?

But hell, I'm just making up this blog thing as I go along. What do I know?

Somebody was once asked to define blogs. They refused and said:

I don’t care. There is no need to define “blog.” I doubt there ever was such a call to define “newspaper” or “television” or “radio” or “book” — or, for that matter, “telephone” or “instant messenger.” A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list. People will use it however they wish. And it is way too soon in the invention of uses for this tool to limit it with a set definition. That’s why I resist even calling it a medium; it is a means of sharing information and also of interacting: It’s more about conversation than content… so far. I think it is equally tiresome and useless to argue about whether blogs are journalism, for journalism is not limited by the tool or medium or person used in the act. Blogs are whatever they want to be. Blogs are whatever we make them. Defining “blog” is a fool’s errand.

Interesting perspective and I concur.

Not sure how to relate the above to this here poker blog, but if you like to read about poker, you've hit the right place.

Nuff said.

I've been thinking about my losses this month and how I need to get back to the Hard Work of poker. I've gotten lazy and complacent. Time to turn it up a notch and this vacation is a perfect break before hitting the tables hard and heavy once again. This has been a disappointing February after a damn good January.

Found this apropos quote from Doyle Brunson:

"The whole problem with most players is that they want success without work. Their mental picture of a successful gambler is like the Hollywood image - some guy betting big money and doing nothing but win.

Well, gambling is a profession that takes hard work to learn and skill to stay on top. You can't buy an education and say, "Stick it in my head." You can't become an athlete by sitting in your easy chair and watching sports events on television. It isn't until you turn away from the dream and get down to real work that you get on the right track."

God bless you, Doyle, for the reminder. He makes a valid point - I mean, whatever doctors and lawyers say, we know what they do and how they achieved their status. But for a marginal occupation, like a professional gambler, it's easy to see how individuals may certify themselves as members without any formal criteria involved.

I truly enjoy thinking/reading about poker strategy. The more I learn, the more I question. Learning - improving in poker is a beautiful thing. It's an affirmation. Poker is really nothing but a decision making process over and over. Paper, rock, scissors. Making adjustments to your and your opponents adjustments.

It's skill and judgement that determine profitability. Culpability is crucial. In the long run, you don't get paid paid to win pots, you get paid to make the right decisions.

Damn, let's hop right to it, shall we?

The big news of the evening is that Party Poker acquired Empire Poker.

And lest you forget - this honkin Uber Post is brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit. Consider supporting this humble poker blog by signing up on the biggest poker aquarium on the net.

Party Poker Acquires Empire Poker - 02/14/06

In October, Party Poker broke away from its former network partners, including Empire Poker. While Party still used the same software as its former network partners, they no longer shared the same tables.

Soon afterwards, most of the former network partners either moved to a new network or were acquired by Party Poker. The one exception was Empire Poker, which was now a stand-alone poker room, though it used the same software as Party Poker.

In December, Empire sued Party Gaming, the company that owns Party Poker, over its decision to divorce itself from its former network partners. The matter has now been resolved out of court. Party Gaming has agreed to buy Empire Poker for 250 million dollars.

It is not clear what Party Poker will do with Empire Poker. Most likely, the two platforms will be reunited again under the Party Poker brand.

And the other Big News is that despite CardPlayer announcing that Andy Beal quit poker (yes, he left town and sent out a press release stating so), he returned to battle against the corporation this week and is up $3mil at last count.

Here's the latest news I've read & plucked for you.
Andy Beal versus the Corporation roundup:

First of all, a nice summary of the book, The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time about this game:

The "professor" is Howard Lederer, a professional poker player whose rigorous analytical approach to the game earned him his nickname. The banker is Andy Beal, a multimillionaire obsessed with beating the world's best poker players at their game, limit Texas hold 'em, played for stratospheric stakes. The suicide king, a symbol of the aleatory nature of the endeavor, is the king of hearts, who holds his broadsword behind his head. It's a great mix, and Craig (The 5 Minute Investor) offers a knowledgeable and observant chronicle of the high-stakes games between Beal and the syndicate of professional players organized by the "Babe Ruth of poker," Doyle Brunson. The syndicate put up $10,000,000 to sit opposite Beal, trading $100,000 bets. Beal, for his part, took a mathematical approach, at one point running millions of computer simulations of various poker problems, in search of an edge against the pros, who rely on an uncanny intuition honed by thousands of hands. Craig includes enough details about the professionals to allow readers insight into their gambler personalities.

Having interviewed many of the participants in this legendary poker battle, he describes it with an appropriate sense of awe, and readers will be awed as well. A tale of outsize egos, appetites, and ambitions, here is the completely true, heart-stopping story of one man, 20 million dollars, and the most expensive game of poker ever played-with never-before-revealed details of what really happens at the game's highest levels. In 2001, a stranger from Texas descended on the high-stakes poker room at the world famous Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. His name was Andy Beal, and he had come to play. Challenging some of the best players in the world, including Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Howard Lederer, and Jennifer Harman, the result was a series of seven unforgettable poker games, including the final showdown - a single game with a jackpot of more than 20 million dollars.

Linda Geenan from Table Tango did a nice retrospective of her original posts about Andy - for a long time she was the only source of material about the Big Game. There's a reason why author Michael Craig thanked Linda first, (right after his wife, of course) in his credits.
original post on meeting Andy located here

Bluff Magazine is providing live reports again. Woohoo! Seven pages of threads for your perusal, including an appearance by Todd Brunson AND Michael Craig.
Andy Beal is Back - PART 2

Here's a snippet or two:

Andy Beal Had a HUGE day at the tables. Play resumed today, at 11PST. I guess last week was just a lead in, because there were fire works today. From the looks of things Jennifer was playing very agressively all day, and Andy countered that agression with a relentless attack of his own. There were many more showdowns, and heavily contested pots.

With both sides starting with 4 racks (10 million) It looked like Andy Beal has erased his loss from last week, and pulled ahead. Word is that, Andy while ahead all day, finsihed the day up almost 2 Racks, or 5 Million dollars. Jennifer battled back from being down most of the day, but everytime she was ready to pull even, Andy would find a way to win a big pot. It seems to me this was by far the most spirited match of the 6 days of play.

In Attendance were some familiar faces. David Grey, Johnny Chan, Minh Ly were all in the room for some parts of the match. Also making his first appearance at Wynn, was none other than the man himself Doyle Brunson.

Play will resume early tomorrow morning. While we knew that Todd was probably playing tomorrow, I know have even bigger news. Since Todd is not really a morning person, Doyle Brunson is stepping up to the plate. Yes you heard me....Doyle Brunson will be playing Andy Beal tomorrow morning!!!

Ill get more info if I can, and of course tune back tomorrow.


Monday's Recap:

So, yes a lot of what has been written or heard about today did and didnt happen. No Doyle Brunson did not step up and play in the wee hours of the morning at the Wynn. Instead, Todd, who, posted on 2+2 that he was up from the previous night took the seat across from Andy for a 9AM start. I dont have much detail on the atmosphere of the game, but Todd seemed to have control of the match from the onset from what i have heard. I am told at one point, Todd had won a rack back for the corporation (2.5 million). The comeback, however was short lived. Andy, in the latter parts of the day erased the day's deficit and took a lead of his own. It was not quite the 5 million dollars that he had won the previous day, but he did manage to pull ahead for the day by about 2 stacks of 25K chips, or roughly 1 million dollars. That added with his big day on Sunday, puts his total for the week at 6 million, and total for 2 weeks at up about 3 million dollars. Not too shabby!!

We were correct about the Phil Ivey sighting. He was at the Wynn today, although there are no plans for Phil to play as far as I know (Big let down in my book). This is probably a sigh of relief for Barry Greenstein, who told me earlier Phil had put in a late night session the previous day, and he wasnt sure if Phil had slept at all. Phil was seen shooting craps with David Oppenheim, I guess he needed more of a gamble than Heads Up Limit Hold'em.

Because of winning ways, Andy is extending his playing time once again, and will continue his match tomorrow with Ted Forrest. This should be interesting, as Ted is the only player of the group to put up significant numbers agsinst Andy this year. I think we all are a bit anxious to see if Ted can erase the deficit as he did last week, when he had a 4.5 million dollar day.

Thats about all I have for you right now. Thanks for checking in everybody


Oh and by the way!! I have officially been banned from the 2+2 forums.

Banned by Mason Malmuth for being a phony poster with an agenda of promoting Bluff Magazine.


Hilarious. I really need to blog my stored up Mason material, damnit. He really is one cranky old man.
To all of you who have Mason Malmuth posters over your beds, I apologize.

Here's CardPlayer's recap of week #1.
Andy Beal Is Back to Wynn: That's a Wrap for Now

Crazy stuff - I'm really psyched that Michael Craig is getting a front row seat into this historic game and (hopefully) writing another book.

Ready for more?

Best. Threads. Ever.
Prepare yourself, gentle reader.
Three superb reads.

This might be the oddest 2+2 thread ever. Thanks to EV for reminding of this.
How many 5 year-olds.....

Now the best part is that David Sklansky finally answered the above question in a different thread and forum.
three questions for david sklansky - scroll down to #3 for his reply. Aw hell, I'm posting it here.

3. Are you talking specifically about me? Because I happen to be surprisngly strong. Meanwhile I believe the question is extremely variable base on the strength of the adult and the tactics of the five year old. And I think the answer is MUCH different for seven year olds.

Certainly the right tactic would be for the kids to rush the adult en masse, knock him down and then pile up on him. Otherwise he could knock each one out individually with one punch. I believe a heavyweight wrestler could withstand the weight of kids on top of him long enough to snap a neck every three seconds and could thus beat even a sardine packed court. If neck snapping (purposeful killing) was not allowed it might be different.

If killing is allowed, do the other kids get to climb on top of the dead bodies? That would be bad for me.

Anyway because of my stength and the size of five year olds bodies and necks I believe I could easily handle thirty. If there were fifty they would probably be favorites IF they were trained perfectly. The average guy my age though would lose to twenty.

I'm sure it's just all the Guinness I've consumed that makes the above seem so surreal. But words are truly failing me.

#2 fine thread:
Veteran poster at 2+2, Dynasty, pulled together all these gems. Worthy.
Unintentional Humor From the Archives: The Newbie Chronicles

As I've been re-reading my Harrington and digging around for poker tourney advice online, I hit the motherload of links on MTT from 2+2. Read this NOW.
An Anthology of 2+2 Wisdom on MTTs

Lotsa great pokery goodness up there. I hope all you skimmers of blog posts come back and take some time to rip thru the links. Lotsa time killers here.

Few obligatory poker articles in the news:

Here's some inside scoop on Wayne Gretzky and other celebs and their high-rolling ways in Las Vegas. From Norm at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Gretzkys on list of highest rollers

Nice article from Florida about Dewey Tomko.

Once Tomko devoted himself fully to poker, he established himself as one of the nation's best players. He became known for his fierce concentration, wearing earmuffs at the poker table and, more recently, earplugs.

Playing for huge pots, of course, meant Tomko sometimes incurred heavy losses. After his first visit to "Bean Valley" -- poker slang for losing $100,000 in a day -- he couldn't sleep for three days. He also mentions the first time he dropped $1 million at the card table.

"When you lose, the agony of defeat is much greater than the joy of winning," Tomko said before adding: "You never learn nothing when you win. You learn when you lose. Poker gives you character. You can't win every hand; you have to be able to accept losing."

Interesting poker article from Sports Illustrated. Take heed.
Using poker to raise money has pluses -- and risks

MSN Money has the WPT Fourth Quarter and Full Year Fiscal 2005 Financial Results.

Play Poker at Party Poker, damnit

This was kind of a cool post I found from David Sklansky, talking about his seminal poker book, The Theory of Poker, and his Fundamental Theory of poker.

Subject: Re: Sklansky's fundamental theorem in error

The FTOP doesn't really apply to the last round of betting.

The FTOP was written when most readers did not realize that they gained when a player folded a worse hand than their's when that player was less of an underdog than the pot odds they were getting. Other's didn't realize that making someone fold, gains less than enticing a call with bad odds (with certain multiway exceptions). Those same players were often unaware how pot odds affected their own calling strategy. Nowadays these concepts are of course much more widely known.

There were three reasons to mention this concept and give it a name (and by the way I did not use my name in front of it. Furthermore the fact that it is self evident to many people doesn't preclude using the term. The FTO arithmetic is that every number can be factored only one way. The FTO Algebra is that every equation has a root.) One reason was to illustrate the importance of reading hands so that you would know not only whether you were beat but also whether if you were beat, you were getting the right odds to play.

The second reason was to illustrate the importance of disguising your hand, not only to make your opponent think wrongly about whether you had him beat, but also to make him think wrongly about whether if you had him beat HE was getting the right odds
to continue. Finally it was to show how a deceptive bet or check early on, especially in stud games, could be used as a weapon since subsequent cards that you caught on board, along with your earlier deceptive play, could induce a bad read from your opponent, who might therefore fold a hand where he was getting the right odds to call with, or call with a hand that he wasn't.

Those who think the FTOP was written for reasons other than the above are wrong. Those who think the FTOP did not accomplish the above aims are also wrong.

Classic RGP post villifying all the bad beat tale tellers.

You God-Damned Monkeys

Your bad-beat stories are absolutely fascinating.

It is quite exciting to read about your bad luck. Try this simple excercise to see if you can finally figure out what the hell is going on. Put two black chips and one red chip in a bag. Stick your fat pig-hand in there one thousand times and pick out one chip each time. Roughly two-thirds of the time you will pick out a black chip...the other third of the time you will pick out a red. Gee, what is this? The final analysis is that you SUCK. Now run along and go borrow a dollar off of someone.

More ranting.

Subject: He must have been a 2+2 loser...

Early in the 20 table multi yesterday, a guy chats "Raised UTG with A9o? wtf?".

I simply ask him what percentage of the players does he believe knows what UTG means. Two other people laugh when I ask the question. He proceeds to explain it to me. I tell him that wasn't the question. I didn't get an answer from him.

It continues to amaze me how people refuse to believe there are players that don't know much about poker.

Two random gambling factoids.

The oldest known playing card, from China, dates from the eleventh century.
The great Indian epic Mahabharata hinges on a royal gambling contest.

And so it goes. It's painful to cruise in the burnt shambles of RGP. No Abdul. No Caro. No Izmet. No David. No Paul. No Daniel. No Andy. No Morten. No Badger. Hell, even cranky Carson has flown the coop. It used to be a once proud and deep discussion arena for poker. And now it's....well, it's hard to put into words what it is now.

Anyway, it's been awhile since I've been suckered in by a satire post but this got me for about two minutes.

With all the new competition in real money wagering games out there, of course poker will show a decline. Online Monopoly for instance has been increasing 125% per quarter the last two years. It is not uncommon to see 15,000 players now at the top Monopoly sites. I have been multi-tabling 4 games of Monopoly at two sites now, which was virtually unthought of just last year.

So with all the new great gambling alternatives out there, poker sites are sure to show some decline. If Party was smart, they'd start a Party Monopoly site of their own.

Now some people are saying Battleship is the next great emerging gambling game to come. All I can say is these poker sites need to get on the ball and expand their offerings or be left in the dust.

Most online players don't play optimal Monopoly strategy and therefore a top monopoly player can clean up on the noobs.

Deal making is the key, as well as being able to value the utilities correctly.


I think you all are imagining the Monopoly game you played as a kid. Online real money Monopoly is much different. Just the doubling cube alone makes the game totally different. Often a double is declined after the first couple rolls and a new game begins. Games are always heads up games.

I have been in a $5 buyin game where the doubling cube hit 64 and have won $320. My opponent was behind the whole way but kept doubling back at me each turn. I would then beaver it and double again on my turn. Just a total noob.

Well done.

I just wasted hours at the Poker TV Network. Jesse May has some solid interviews with Mike Sexton and Greg Raymer. I especially enjoyed the Part 2 interview with Greg as he recounts his poker past, a vicious losing streak that led to his creating 4-5 page contracts for his backers and raised around 30k for him to play poker with. Check it out.

I'm not sure about the small edges thingy. I used to be a big believer in that concept, but when losing in poker, it's easy to doubt even your most trusted philosophies.

Subject: Is it time to re-think pushing small edges?

Posting simply to spur discussion and thought...

Two parts to this. Traditional thinking (as I understand from reading posts, books, etc.) is to always push any edge in a cash game, because if you lose, you can re-buy and in a tournament stay away from marginal situations (especially early in a deep stack tourney) because if you're good, you can outplay them in the long run and chips are more valuable (once you're out of chips you're done).

Well we hear more and more about taking chances early in tournaments, paricularly large-field tourneys, because you need chips and its OK to take chances to get them - even many pros have been saying this, right?

So is the traditional thinking passe now, or are there merits to both and it depends on field size and playing style?

And in NL cash games, if you are a part-time player, like myself, I'm not so sure about pushing every edge. First I'll say if you KNEW you had a small edge, OK, but we never KNOW, we're always making rationale guesses about opponents' holdings. So I've found myself passing on marginal situations (where I may believe I'm a slight favorite) because I might not have enough of these situations to make them even out over the long run where if I happen to lose this one, I win the next one.

And I am trying to practice good game selection and generally keep pots small so that I don't lose much in marginal situations and I CAN (feel OK about it) pass on these situations because I know there will be another situation where someone will make a similar play and I will be a huge favorite. So this theory of mine certainly works better against bad opponents. You won't believe how many of them I find at 3/6 and 5/10 NL games on Party. It also tends to lower variance slightly, which I perceive as a good thing.

So what does everyone think about this, and is this also paying style/other dependent (for instance, maybe it does have merit for the occasioanl player, but if you make a living and play enough, always push a perceived edge)?

This was a fine forum post about MTT play from Brandan Adams. Brandon made the final table of the TOC recently (knocking out both Doyle Brunson & Johnny Chan) AND just made over 100 dimes at the WSOPC event in Tunica last month.
Tournament Tactics

Chris Ferguson writes at AllIN about the Worst Play in Poker.

Somebody asked about The Poker Movie documentary which lists Phil Gordon, Howard Lederer and Jennifer Tilly as castmembers in IMDB. I did a little more digging and found the official web site at The Poker Movie.

Looks like Annie Duke weighed in on the WPT and the pro's "boycott" of their tourneys. Here ya go:

Subject: Annie Duke Response to WPT letter

Here is is:

"1) The new release from the WPT gives them the right to use your image in any and all media...not just to promote the WPT show itself. This means they could put your image on, for example, a WPT slot machine, T-shirts, Posters, books etc without your approval or any compensation to you. In other words, by signing the release you grant them all licensing rights for free to your image.

2) Steve asserts that all media companies use a similar release. This is patently untrue. ESPN's release, for example, only grants rights for use of your image and name to promote the show itself...in commercials for example. This is a much narrower release and other releases I have signed for TV appearances are the same...they grant rights for only promotion of the show itself.

3) There is a sentiment that because the WPT made us well-known that we owe them. First, remember we pay our own buy-ins and entry fees. It is our own money we play for.

Second, consider the logic here. Without the NFL there would be no Tom Brady, Joe Montana, John Elway, etc. Without the NBA there would be no Shaq. Without the MLB there would be no Johnny Damon. Would anyone expect these guys to grant those organizations the right to licence their image to Nike, Reebok, Sprite for free much less pay to play football, basketball, baseball? Of course not. That would be absurd.

Yet this is exactly what the WPT is asking. They are saying if we want to enter a WPT licensing deal with Nike then Nike can use your image with no compensation or approval by you and the only one that gets paid for those licensing rights is the WPT.

Hey, pay your 10K buy-in (I have no issue with this part), pay a $500 fee to the casino and hand us a few hundred thousand in licensing rights on the side because we made you.

4) Lipscomb claims that he would never abuse the players in that way. Then why doesn't he put that in writing? He mentions the banner add promoting their online site with player images that looked like an endorsement. Notice he says it was perfectly legal to put that banner up. He took it down out of the kindness of his heart. Well...put it in writing that you can't do that or we are putting ourselves at risk by signing the release.

5) He claims that is you have played and event before you have already signed the release and have granted those rights so you might as well keep playing now. This is not true. the languae was drastically changed at Foxwoods to grant much broader rights. A player who only signed releases up till Foxwoods this year would win in court if a licensing issue came up. Not so after Foxwoods.

6) Lipscomb keeps crying poor about the WPT and how rich all the Full Tilt people are. First, no pro owns Full Tilt...that would be illegal. They own part of a software company that develops software for Full Tilt and to say otherwise is irresponsible.

Second, None of them has made money yet as Full Tilt is not a public company and there is no way to cash out equity. Granted there is a potential for money but that depends on a lot of good things happening.

Meanwhile the WPT has gone public and Steve has cashed out 20% of his holdings.
I believe, at least I have been told, that is in the 8 figures. Don't cry for me Argentina.

7) Steve claims he went to bat for the players to get logos. This is just not true. We were promised logos in year two by him when the WPT first started and we agreed to show our hole cards. That did not come. His reasoning, which I know from conversations with him at the time, was that it would take away the WPT's ability to get a title sponsor. The value to a beer company for being the title sponsor of the show would be less to the WPT so they would make less money.

We only got logos after every other showed allowed them and articles started getting printed about the issue. The WSOP has been allowing logos for years and the WPT just hopped on board this year when it became clear players would play other events that had logo in prefence to the WPT. That is not going to bat for the players...it is caving into financial pressures.

8) While the release indeminifies the WPT against lawsuits by the player signing the player is not indemnified in any way. If a lawsuit resulted from the way they used your image or name in association with a wPT venture you would have to pay all your legal fees etc. The wPT does not indemnify the player at all nor are they require to show proof of insurance against such an event as the release reads today. You indemnify them but they do not indemnify you. It is a one way street.

There is so much else to say on this issue but this is already so long.

I am very grateful to the WPT for all it has done for me in terms of business oppportunites that have opened up to me because of the explosion of poker. The WPT has certainly contributed to this as has ESPN and online poker. They are a part of the puzzle but that does not give them the right to exploit my image in any way they want, without compensation, approval or indemnification. They say it does. Players disagree on the issue.

Annie Duke

Let's move along to silly, rhetorical questions, shall we?

Subject: Men: Is sex better after a big, big win?

Conversely, do you even feel like it after a big, big loss? I'd rather take a 1mg. Xanax and go to sleep if I lose big. In my old, sick gambling days I'd rather go 8 out of 10 on Sunday than anything else.


Scenario 1:

You are about to go out on your fourth date with a really hot woman. In the natural course of events tonight should be the night. You carefully shave, trim your hair here, there and everywhere and when you shower you are careful not to miss those spots you sometimes pass over. You dress your best, take her to a fine dinner and the nightclub of the moment and as the valet is getting your car she leans over and whispers "Let's go to your place."

Scenario 2:

It is 11:00pm on Wednesday night and that date is scheduled for Friday. You have been sitting in the 20-40 game at your local poker room and, after 7 hours, you are up $2,800 when your cell rings. It is that same woman who says "I've been sitting here all alone and thinking about you. Do you want to come over?"

Which time do you think will be better?

For those who think they have "passed" this test, that they don't have a gambling problem here is the Final Jeopardy question:

You are in that same 20-40 game and doing really well. You are at the top of your game, getting great cards and getting paid off. There are 3 horrible players, 3 drunks and no one looks like they are going to leave. BUT! Two tables over, in the 6-12, there is a really hot young girl with big naturals, long legs in a short skirt, and who is deeply tanned. For the past hour she has been making heavy eye contact and now, as you are raking in a huge pot, you look up and see that she is outright staring at you, her shoe dangling from her big toe, which she is wiggling. The next
hand is your big blind.

What do you do?

Exact same scenario as above but you have already lost the rent money and are down $300 on a borrowed dime.

What do you do? Tell the truth, what do you do?
- - - - - - - -
Howard Beale

I can't even answer. These kind of things never, ever happen to Little People, trust me.

A reader sent me this damn cool card shuffling link from kuro5hin.
How To Shuffle and Cut a Deck of Cards One-Handed

With the apparent growth in popularity of poker I thought it might be useful to provide some instructions for a couple of simple shuffling flourishes to impress your friends and potential victims with. With enough practice you should be able to absentmindedly shuffle and cut a deck of cards with one hand while sorting your chips with the other. It's also a useful flourish for those interested in card tricks, and just generally for those interested in manual dexterity games.

And here's a nice RGP bitchslap - to someone complaining about smoke in cardrooms.

Subject: Second hand smoke affects ability to play

Does anyone else have the problem of second hand smoke affecting you ability to play cards?

I have two cardrooms in my area. One allows smoking and the other is non smoking. I myself am a non smoker. The smoking cardroom is part of a casino and even though there is no smoking allowed at the tables, there is plenty of second hand smoke coming in from the rest of the casino.

My tracking database shows that I play worse at the smoking cardroom. And I believe it's due to the smoke. After awhile, the smoke is burning my eyes and throat and it distracts from my play. I'll step outside to get some fresh air, but it doesn't help much as I have to be inside in order to play cards. I can usually play there two or three hours, but after that my game heads downhill.

Any creative ideas for combating second hand smoke other than the obvious solution of not breathing it?

Any non-smoking card rooms in Vegas?



Hey Dwight,

Get the sand out of your vagina, that might help.

This book was highly recommended by some folks in RGP so I'm stoked to check it out. Lord knows you can never have enough poker books, especially one with this angle.

Subject: Cat Hulbert?

Saw a book by Cat Hulbert, aimed specifically at women.
I'm not female, but still curious... anyone know her?

It seems to be full of advice like "ignore the jerks who make crude remarks", "use his male ego against him" and so forth.

There was one interesting comment, that one should always keep a large stack (via rebuys, if necessary), in order to project the image of a winner, thus to intimidate people. But this contradicts a stock piece of warfare strategy, which dictates that you should always try to misinform the enemy. I.e. if you really are an expert, you want the opponents to see you as a chump. In any contest, it is advantageous to be underestimated. Is poker somehow different?


I've known Cat Hulbert for years, back when she used to prop at Hollywood Park. An article in Card Player once listed her among the best 7-card stud players in the world -- male or female -- and before she played poker she was on Ken Uston's blackjack team.

With the gradual reduction of 7-card stud games, Cat has become a hold'em player. She always was a good writer.

I haven't read her book yet, but I have it, and I intend to.

Lou Krieger

Let's deal with crazy Russ GCA from RGP. Somebody figured out that in the last five years Russ Georgiev has spent around 7,500 hours spamming RGP. That figure is based on only 15 minutes per post so it could easily be more.

But for now, Russ Georgiev has left RGP for health reasons. At the risk of sounding crass - oh joy. Here's the post with a nice Family Guy reference that alludes to Russ constantly saying he's "writing a book".


Last week Russ completed a battery of medical tests that indicate some serious
problems that will definitely affect his future. His doctors have ordered him to
stop all activities that cause excessive stress and anxiety. In prioritizing the
things in his life that are causing the greatest stress, it is obvious that
running this site is killing him. He is inundated with emails and phone calls,
and his pride demands that he give his members his all. The stress of deadlines
and responding to member questions as soon as possible, and in as much detail as
he feels necessary, cannot be in his new lifestyle.

Russ plans on continuing work on less time-sensitive matters such as his books,
giving lessons, and, of course, gambling. PokerMafia.com will be altered to
incorporate that change in lifestyle. The site is one of Russ's dreams and he is
as sorry as you that his health cannot allow him to continue. Changes in his
prognosis may affect the future of the site.


How you uh, how you comin' on that novel you're working on? Huh? Gotta a big, uh, big stack of papers there? Gotta, gotta nice litte story you're working on there? Your big novel you've been working on for 3 years? Huh? Gotta, gotta compelling protaganist? Yeah? Gotta obstacle for him to overcome? Huh? Gotta story brewing there? Working on, working on that for quite some time? Huh? (voice getting higher pitched) Yea, talking about that 3 years ago. Been working on that the whole time? Nice little narrative? Beginning, middle, and end? Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends? At the end your main character is richer from the experience? Yeah? Yeah? (voice returns to normal)
No, no, you deserve some time off.

Two random soundboards.
Pauly Walnuts.

Also, this following site was set up for any and all Russ G info. If I have the time, I'll research all the insane posts and such that Russ has flooded RGP with over the years, but for now I have permission to post their FAQ. For the record, I've spoken twice to Russ on the phone, and yes, he's a nut.
Russ Georgiev Debunked

Russ Georgiev FAQ:

1. What is GCA?

Originally Russ Georgiev recruited John Martino and Bill Nirdlinger to help him discredit successful people and build up his own ego. He planned to do this by accusing far better poker players than himself of being dishonest cheaters. To make his story seem more plausible Russ would admit that he himself had been a cheater all of his life. John Martino and Bill Nirdlinger had an IQ of about 100 (that's added together). They were a pair of dorks that would say pretty much anything for a big mac. Their organization would be called 'Gambling Cheating Analysts'. Shortly after forming GCA both John Martino and Bill Nirdlinger would quit GCA and admit that they were lying through their teeth. Russ had to change the name of the organization from 'Gambling Cheating Analysts' to 'Gambling Cheating Analyst'. Today Bill Nirdlinger has passed away it's unclear whether John Martino is back in on the lies or recanting. Basically, Russ Georgiev and GCA are interchangeable.

2. Isn’t it true that cheating occurs at high stakes poker?

Anytime money is at stake there will be some low life crooks that will cheat if they can. Twenty-five years ago in California the players dealt for themselves and paid the cardroom by paying time, a rent for the seat. The casino had little incentive to police the games and no doubt some cheating occurred. Today poker and casinos are big business and poker rooms use professional dealers who are watched by a camera 24 hours a day. By using a little common sense today’s savvy poker player can be reasonably assured of finding an honest game.

3. Is Russ Georgiev really a top poker player as he claims?

No. Russ is barely an average player who made money years ago by running petty scams in the cardrooms of Gardena, California. Russ no longer plays poker in public

4. What’s really behind Russ’ five-year vendetta of 25,000 posts to the newsgroup rec.gambling.poker?

As poker progressed from the back rooms to mainstream casinos security was improved and it became more difficult to cheat. At the same time with the increasing popularity of poker and more available information, books, the internet, and so on, the quality of play increased significantly. By 1995 Russ realized he could no longer make a living and he took a job working as a prop player in Southern California. He did this off and on for six years. Then even with a prop player’s salary he could no longer keep his head above water. Old, broke, and full of hate and jealousy Russ embarked on his crusade to tear the best players down and thereby try to build up his own ego.

5. Are the challenges Russ makes on RGP to well-known professional players for real or just BS?

Total bullshit. The challenges he makes will never happen. For the most part the name players just ignore Russ. Most of the top players who participate in internet poker discussion do it on 2+2, not RGP. Anyone who might hear about one of Russ Georgiev’s silly challenges knows it’s not for real. Recently when Barry Greenstein offered to play Russ he backed down making all kinds of weak excuses. Most top players don’t even know who Russ is. The few that do consider him a laughing stock.

6. Haven’t some ‘name’ players like Mike Caro and Roy Cooke corresponded with Russ on RGP?

Yes. In the beginning of the GCA campaign Mike Caro and some other notable players considered corroborating with Russ. They had the idea they might actually help make poker more honest and thereby improve the game for everyone. But when Russ started making ridiculous and unfounded charges against respected players like Chip Reese, Doyle Brunson, and others all of these people immediately distanced themselves. In short order they realized he was out of touch with reality and his accusations were entirely fabricated.

7. What about Doyle Brunson?

Doyle had a brief exchange with Russ in the early days. Doyle challenged the GCA claim that Chip Reese, Doyle, and Doug Dalton were scamming the big game at the Bellagio and had been cheaters all of their lives. He asked Russ to provide any proof of his allegations and of course Russ could provide none. Today Russ continues to make all kinds of ridiculous charges against all kinds of people without any proof.

8. Why don’t some of these people sue Russ for defamation?

Three problems: (1) Finding Russ. He has been hiding underground for several years. (2) To prove defamation you have to show you were damaged. Except for a few rec.gambling.poker dumbbells, nobody believes anything Russ says anymore. Therefore he has done no real damage. (3) Russ is what creditors call ‘judgment proof’. He hasn’t got enough assets to allow anyone to collect anything after they have won their lawsuit.

9. Is Russ' poker mafia website worth the monthly fee he charges?

No. After 25,000 articles posted to rec.gambling.poker he has nothing to say that hasn't been said several times before. Save your money and spend it on a few books written by real players.

10. Lately Russ has been spamming rec.gambling.poker with all kinds of ads as an Interpoker affiliate. What's that about?

It just confirms that Russ is desperately in need of cash. Affiliates earn a small override on rake generated or a flat commission for new player sign-ups.

11. Russ claims he likes Interpoker because they advertise they have no bots. Is Interpoker really a good site?

No, Interpoker is a second rate skin. It is more likely that they have bots than a bigger site with better security. Interpoker is the easiest site to set up multiple accounts and you are more likely to be cheated there than many other sites.

12. If Russ lives in the LA area why doesn't he ever play at the Commerce Club or the Bicycle Club?

According to Russ it's because he is fearful of retribution for exposing all the cheating that has gone on in California clubs. The real reason is that his bankroll is much too short to play anything but the smaller limit games.

13. Is it true there is $150,000 contract hit out on Russ as he maintains?

No, just more of his lying delusions of self-importance. If Russ walked into the Commerce Club today nobody would even notice him.

14. Does Russ make much playing online at Interpoker?

Considering that he posts a self congratulation to RGP every time he wins something that doesn't appear to be the case.

15. Why would a TV news show like 60 Minutes do a segment with Russ Georgiev?

They wouldn't. A few years ago, after Russ bombarded them with a barrage of letters, a 60 minutes producer interviewed him to see if there was any merit to his accusations. He determined that there was not and the matter was dropped.

16. What's up with the book that Russ keeps bragging he is writing?

If and when he's finished it will just be a collection of the 25,000 plus lies that he has already posted to rec.gambling.poker. It will offer nothing new. Since Russ can't substantiate any of his tall stories and ridiculous accusations it's unlikely he will be able to get it published through any reputable publisher. He may try to publish it himself. Either way if the book ever sees the light of day it will be a money loser and a waste of time.

17. Aren't some of his strategy posts to rec.gambling.poker worthwhile?

Russ has 35 plus years playing poker at a variety of different games. The purpose of discussion groups is for people to discuss. To that extent his contributions have some value but remember he is far from a world-class player. However, since no 'top' players post strategy information to RGP these posts might help some beginning to intermediate players. This doesn't mean his lies, accusations, big talk, and bragging stories have any merit.


And here is Mike Caro's look back. I'm still pissed at him for introducing Russ to RGP, damnit. And worst of all, Mike no longer posts on RGP due to this nutcase.

Subject: Mike Caro on GCA: "They suck"

The Dumbest Thing I've Ever Done - An Apology
This article first appeared in Poker Digest magazine.

It was about 15 years ago. I had provided the legendary twice-world champion of poker, Doyle Brunson, with seven consecutive losing football bets. He shook his head in miserable disbelieve, flung a magazine featuring me across his desk, and pointed to where it read, "Mike Caro: The Mad Genius of Poker." Then calmly, in his trademark
Texas drawl, he proclaimed, "You're the dumbest genius I ever met!"

But giving Doyle all those losing football bets doesn't compare in dumbness to the fiasco that has resulted from my recent exploits with a group of confessed cheaters, the so-called Gambling Cheating Analysts (GCA). First, a little background: I've been taking reports on cheating for years, with independent offices for that purpose at
two Los Angeles-area casinos. Like many others, I'm proud of the unparalleled inroads our industry had made. Poker at major casinos today is controlled by high-tech surveillance and sophisticated techniques to keep games honest. It wasn't always that way in "the bad old days" of poker.

About a year and a half ago, two poker cheaters, comprising GCA before it added a third member, came to me with vague accusations and asked if I wanted to listen. One of the original two members has since left CGA and now recants many of the speculative allegations. Anyway, they said they were going to make their allegations about high-level poker cheating public on the Internet, with or without me. They planned to put up a web site, make a video, and begin posting online.

So I listened and listened.

I went to several restaurants and listened to their stories. While they seemed well versed on incidents that happened 20 years ago, I could not detect anything other than speculation (some of it wild) to support their allegations of recent misconduct. And they went on and on. I warned them that they absolutely should not make their
accusations against specific people public, because most were just speculative. And I was quite dubious, because much seemed third-hand or worse. I suggested they go to law enforcement, casino management, and to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

As an alternative to having them post inflammatory and unsupportable allegations on the Internet, I offered to shop them around to selected casino management and to the publisher of a rival poker publication, seeking high-level opinions about the validity - if any - of what they had to say. And I agreed that I would consider
conducting an online interview on the rec.gambling.poker (RGP) newsgroup, instead of them posting indiscriminately.

The rules of the proposed interview specified that the cheaters couldn't name people or events about which they were just speculating. Unfounded public speculation about real people, with real reputations wouldn't be fair, and they understood that I
wouldn't be a part of that. Nolan Dalla, who joined me and largely drafted the rules for the proposed interview, also insisted that the cheaters would not be allowed to tarnish anyone's reputation without proof. They got the message; they agreed. They must strict to (1) facts they knew first hand and could prove and (2) exposing methods of cheating they had personally used. Otherwise, we would not complete the interview.

My first two mistakes.

My first mistake was posting to RGP in 2000, asking readers whether they thought theirs would be an appropriate forum for such an interview. By doing this, I lent my name to all the unforeseen accusations that would follow.

My second mistake, looking back on it, was making a video tape of my interviews with the cheaters. I considered these to be my personal notes and never allowed anyone to see these extremely poor-quality recordings. But the lead cheater decided to make copies and distribute them without my permission. He had previously pledged to make his own video, and I'm not sure why he chose to distribute one where I challenged so many of his group's accusations. While it would seem at first that the tape would have less of an impact because I, as interviewer, made no accusations and challenged them repeatedly, it has since become evident that they were just trading on my name for their credibility.

I deeply regret my participation in that. While my intent was to keep them from slandering people, exactly the opposite occurred. They used me as a vehicle to transmit their ill-spirited and often unfounded message. Frankly, in over 20 hours of interviews, I never heard any convincing evidence from them about poker cheating going on right now. Their knowledge base, such as it is, seems to be about things that went on far, far in the past.

Because I came to believe that GCA's behavior was becoming increasingly bizarre, I decided not to do the online interview. This freed them to make all sorts of charges (many that I know to be ludicrous) - but at least those didn't have my name associated with them as an interviewer.

We all want to keep games honest.

Honest people have asked me to disassociate with GCA. That's hard to do, because I never associated with them to begin with. My role was always that of an antagonist and fact-finder (not that I found many). But, because I didn't choreograph the event correctly, some people began to associate GCA's claims with my own. Let me say this
one more time: I never endorsed, supported, or was affiliated with GCA. I think what they've done and what they continue to do is reprehensible. You don't go around accusing people of things when you're not 100 percent certain - and you definitely don't do it when you're 10 percent certain, as I believe has been the case with many
of GCA's shameful public pronouncements. To me, these loose cannons make Joe McCarthy a bush-leaguer.

I should have realized that this group's "leader" was using my reputation to advance his own. Even though I have repeatedly scolded him publicly for his attacks on many without evidence (some of them close friends of mine who I know to be innocent), and even though he has attacked me publicly, people still get confused about which side
I'm on.

So, I'll tell you. I'm on the side of honest poker and all the honest casino management I'm proud of everyone who has fought for the integrity of our game over the years. I'm on the side of honest players and against cheaters. And I'll be damned if I'll let some has-been cheaters with an axe to grind use my name to further their
obscene and senseless cause.

I regret - no, I'll go even further , I apologize - for my part in bringing this ludicrous embarrassment to so many honest industry people that I trust. Many of the casinos under attack are the ones I choose to personally play in, simply because I'm confident about the integrity of the management. GCA has even made posts tarnishing my wife. I have spent much time listening to what GCA has to say, and I can tell you that as cheating analysts who also should be concerned with protecting the innocent, they fail; and as human beings, they suck.

We all want to keep games honest, but this isn't the way to go about it, and GCA aren't the guys to do it.


Wanna try a new technique for tilting your opponents? This is pretty classic, methinks.

Subject: Hillarious way to put the fish on tilt

The other night I was playing in a SNG on one of the new sites, and just for kicks I typed the following in the chat window:

"execute command -private -me -p107"

Then I typed:

"Oops, forgot the /"

these two guys in the SNG freaked out and would fold everytime I called or raised. They even followed me to another SNG and were warning the other players that I could see their hole cards. 3 people at that table folded to me everytime I raised or called as well.

It was freakin hillarious. I was supposed to be funny, but these guys went totally ballistic and freaked out in a major way. They even reported me to support for using cheat commands to see their hole cards.

This seems like a pretty solid wager, imho.

Subject: My Bet With Mike Sexton Re Will WSOP Champ Repeat?

I came across this while I was cleaning out some files. I bet Sexton in June, 2002, that no WSOP main event winner would repeat in the next 20 years:


The WSOP was over in 2002, so I won 2003, 2004, and 2005. Just 17 more years to go! I don't see the fields getting any smaller. I wonder what $200 will buy in 2023.

From Daniel Negreanu's blog. I'm shocked that I found such an easy money wager with a shark like Dan. Um, can we get Al or Big Mike on this? ASAP?

We ordered a few bottles of Belvedere and a few gallons of whiskey for my brother. I know, I know, everyone knows somebody that can really hold their liquor. If y’all would like to put your money where your mouth is, I got my brother to down more whiskey in one sitting than even the great “Mike Laing.” My brother isn’t the biggest guy in the world, at 6’ 3” and about 205 lbs., but he is built like a brick wall.

His stomach acts as a garbage disposal.

Easy money, folks. Easy money.

Here's a Howard Beale tale for all you pervs.

Subject: Trip Report to the Asian Massage Parlor

Down the street from the Bike. 2 years, or so, ago.

I find myself in a rare mood these last few days. I think that I may have to adjust my medication. This post will be a radical departure from my usual style. Back to "normal" tomorrow.
- - - - - - - -
Aside: It turns out that I am not reformed, after all. I am simply older and more in control. Give me back 20 years and wild money and I am still the libertine I was.


I do not expect anything to beat the Asian Massage Parlor scene in New York City, circa 1985-1995. By NYC I really am talking about Manhattan as I rarely ventured into the other boroughs. I lived in Westchester County but was regularly in Manhattan to play poker at the VFW club on Madison Ave. and at the Mayfair.

In 1985 I was 3/4 divorced and extremely busy with little opportunity to date. I don't say that as an excuse but it was the case. I probably would have gone to the Asian Massage Parlors anyway but it was one reason that I did.

In those days there were always 5 or 6 Asian Massage Parlors in Manhattan. You could buy a copy of Screw Magazine and they advertised on the back pages with their phone numbers. Call and they gave you the address. I think the Village Voice ran the ads also and in the last issue I saw they were still there. They kept getting shut down by the police and I got caught up in a couple of the busts but nothing ever happened to me. Whenever they got shut down I'd have to buy another Screw Magazine for the
new ads.

I'm putting all this here so that you will know what I was used to and how it was different down the street from the Bike. When you walked into one of the places in NY there would be a large room with all of the available girls sitting in skimpy outfits and you could choose which one you wanted.

That was a great feature because if there weren't at least 10 girls it was a bad night. They sometimes had 20 or so and I will tell you that it can be pretty darn difficult to choose one so sometimes I chose two. The going rate for everything was $150/hr but I usually paid $200. For that you got a table shower, decent massage (most times) and a half & half. Surprisingly, the girls were for the most part very friendly and open and if they weren't really "into it" they were pretty good actresses and I enjoyed myself immensely, to say the least. It was best if you could get a regular girl or two so you didn't always have to tell them what you liked but they would all be gone after a while so you would have to look for a new one.

One time I ended up with a new one and just after the massage, when she figured it was time to get down to it, we had this conversation, pretty much:
"Do you want a dildo?"
"I'm surprised you would mention a dildo. After all, you do this all day long and you must have sex at least 4 times a day."
"It's not for me."
"Well, if it's not for you what would I do with a dildo?"
"I stick it up your ass."
"JESUS H. FUCKING CHRIST! What do you mean you stick it up my ass?"
"Lots of men ask for it."
"HOLY FUCKING SHIT! I don't want a dildo up my ass and I sure don't want a dildo up my ass that's been shoved up another guy's ass!"
"We clean them in between."
"Just forget the fucking dildo and suck my cock."

As I've said sometimes I'd get two and they would do it to each other first. That's a lot of fun to watch, let me tell you. At any rate, I was used to pretty good service so when I moved to Arizona around 1997. I really missed what I had left behind. At that time Arizona didn't have many Asian Massage Parlors that I could find and the few that I did weren't any good compared to what I'd gotten used to in NY. That was one of the reasons that I was so happy to see that there were Asian Massage Parlors in LA. They weren't close to what they were in NY but they were a
lot better than they were in Arizona. It's sort of like pizza. You young guys will probably never know what good pizza is. I grew up in a town that was 1/2 Italian. In the 1960's they made good pizza but now it's changed. No more home made ingredients. No more whole milk mozzarela or olive oil. Now when I eat a pizza I bring up the old memories and add them into what I'm tasting now. That's the only thing today's pizza is good for to me now and the same applies to the Asian Massage Parlors.
- - - - - - - - -

The Asian Massage Parlor down the street from the Bike:

When I first went to LA to play poker I noticed a whole bunch of Asian Massage Parlors and I started going to them. At first I'd been playing at Hollywood Park and that street that runs past the Coloseum had a bunch of them so I'd go there. They were ok. Then I started going to the Bike and would drive down to HP to go to the massage parlors because those were the ones that I knew where they were.

One day one of the Bike players just happened to ask why I was leaving and I admitted I was driving down to HP to go to a massage parlor and he said "Why don't you just go to the one down the street?" and he told me where it was.

You turn right going out of the Bike and a few blocks down on the same side in a little dingy shopping center there it is. I don't know the name or if it's still there. I've told you what I was used to but in LA it's different and more difficult to get what you want. They try to assign a girl to you and that sucks, plain and simple. I want to pick. So I'm in the place and I'm having a hard time and finally get my way but it was aggravating. They sent girls into the room I'd been assigned, one by one, and I'd reject them and finally one asked me what I wanted and I said "One about 1/2 your age, nothing personal" and they sent in a really hot young one, and I mean hot, but she was no damn good.

On my next trip down I determined to do it right. I was going to tell the lady in the front that I wanted to see all the girls at the same time and that was that and that is what I did. She assured me that she would send all of the available girls in to see me and that I should go into the room and get ready which meant naked. I paid the lady the room fee, went into the room and put the $100 tip that whoever took care of me was going to get on the dresser and got undressed. A couple of minutes later the door opened and Oh My Fucking God! the ugliest, fatest, most vile Asian "girl"
ever born walked into the room! She looked like 3 asian girls glued together and not the best parts, either. I immediately demanded to see the others. A farm animal would have been better. She then told me that she was the only available girl. Oh, shit. What now? I've already paid the room fee and I know damn well that I'm not getting that back. I'm naked and the $100 tip is right there on the dresser and I hesitated. I said to myself "Howard (not my real name) you've done worse things than
this. Just keep your eyes closed." And that is what I did. I laid down on the massage table and she started rubbing away. With your eyes closed it doesn't matter much who is rubbing you, it turns out, but in this case the anticipation of what was to follow was not only not pleasurable, it was downright frightening.

Time waits for no man and it didn't wait for Howard, either. After a while she figured it was time to do her thing and she had me roll over onto my back. I sneaked a peek and my opinion hadn't changed. She lifted her top, leaned over, and started to rub her tits into my face. I said "That won't be necessary, you can stop that now." "Well what do you want me to do then?" she asked and I requested a service that she could perform from just the chin up.

To my fabulous relief she was great at that!

Arguably the worst thing I've ever posted in this here blog. Well wait - there was that nekkid picture of Hank I posted way back in the day. That's prolly still the worst. But still, Mr. Beale needs to adjust his meds.

So let's continue with the tasteless content, shall we?

Subject: Hottest Chicks In Poker

This was a discussion on 2+2 and I gave the definitive answer on this question:

Dear All,

I think we need a definitive list her, from an expert, based on sound criteria. So, I will give the list of the top 10 hottest women playing poker either professionally, or with some sort of semi-professional status today.

My qualifications:

1. I am a loser who has some time to think about this ridiculous question.

2. I have been an active heterosexual for nearly 36 years.

3. I have discriminating tastes as evidenced by the fact that I dated 9 of the 10 finalists of the Miss South Carolina Pageant, 1992.

4. Did I say I was a loser already, and if I didn't, doesn't point #3 really just say it all?!?!?!?!

The Criteria. 10 Points each category, 4 categories, 40 points scoring a perfect 40 on the total "Poker Hotness Meter"

1. Total Hotness, irregardless of personality. As some have pointed out, take away the chips, etc. and is this person still hot.

2. Personality. Again, we all know that looks aren't everything, and a great personality can pull you up from a 6.5 to an 8.

3. Playing ability - The better you play the hotter you are. Trust me, there is nothing as exciting as seeing a hot, sexy, incredibly nice women drag a MASSIVE pot.

4. How UNLIKE Phil Hellmuth are they. This is subjective, but the more someone reminds me of Phil the more unattractive they are.

OK, so the Top 10:

1. Jennifer Harmen - 36.5
Total Hotness - 6.5 (yeah, she's cute, but not the same as being hot).
Personality - 10, is there anyone better?
Playing Ability - 10
Unlike PH - 10 (she's the anti - Phil)

2 (tie). Cindy Violette - 31
Total Hotness - 6 (But only because of age)
Personality - 7 (not great, but she isn't annoying)
Playing Ability - 9, not playing in the biggest games, a braclet winner.
Unlike PH - 9 (very gracious and takes her losses against Donkey's well).

2 (tie). Isabelle Mercier - 31
Total Hotness - 9, You ever hear her say shuffle up and deal while wearing a very nice evening dress and having her hair all dolled up?!?!? It is very hot.
Personality - 8, she has this cold/french thing going on that is way cool.
Playing Ability - 8
Unlike PH - 6. Her only bad score. Being French, she is just a little like Phil.

4. Clonie Gowen - 28
Total Hotness - 8
Personality - 6
Playing Ability - 7
Unlike Phil - 7

5. Shirley Rosario - 27
Total Hotness - 7.5
Personaility - 7.5
Playing Ability - 4
Unlike Phil - 8

6. Evelyn Ng - 26
Total Hotness - 7
Personality - 5
Playing Ability - 6
Unlike Phil - 8

7. Jennifer "Jennicide" Leigh - 25.5
Total Hotness - 6.5
Personality - 6
Playing Ability - 7
Unlike Phil - 6

8 (tie). Erin Ness - 25
Total Hotness - 9
Personality - 10
Playing Ability - 1
Unlike Phil - 5

8 (Tie). Mimi Rogers - 25
Total Hotness - 6
Personality - 6
Playing Ability - 4
Unlike Phil - 8

10. Jennifer Tilly - 23
Total Hotness - 6
Personality - 6
Playing Ability - 4
Unlike Phil - 3
***4 bonus points on "unrelated category" for her performance in "Bullets Over Broadway" - The single best performance in the single best comedy of our generation***

Well there you have it gentlemen. No one can dispute my results.

Anyone want a WSOP credit card?

I've got two sides of the poker coin here.
First off, check out Tuscallosa Johnny's retrospective post about playing poker for a living after nearly a year. Some interesting insights and unsettling questions that I've grappled with myself. Johnny is also using his newspaper column to pimp the poker blogging scene - very cool and thanks, sir.
An easy buck, but for what?

And then there's this fella from RGP, struggling with What To Do.

Should I continue with online poker career or return to 9-5 job?

I am lately caught in a bit of a mid-life or something like it crisis.

Here’s my situation. Up until a year and a half ago I had a great job in the software industry, getting quite a great salary, for very reasonable working hours and conditions. It was a very niche business segment, so we didn’t get much work, but when we did get clients, they would pay very high rates for this specialized knowledge.

I always knew however that the gravy train would end sometime, and last spring it did. Unfortuanately, I got laid off due to work shortage and our company having to cut costs, so they went with more junior consultants (which turned into a very bad move on their behalf, but that’s another story). Anyways, I wasn’t really too depressed about it, cuz I was getting really bored on that job after doing same thing for 8 years, and the office politics were getting ridiculous.

So after a nice negotiated severance package, I decided to take it easy over the course of the following 6 months, play poker fulltime, and spend more time with my young kids and enjoy a couple months off. Needless to say my wife needed some convincing that the poker would continue to pay the bills and allow her the lifestyle
she’s accustomed.

The plan was to simply play poker, and take on some occasional clients myself for 2-6 week projects now and then. That worked for the first several months, but since then the clients have dried up (a major technological advancement in my field kind of automated now what I used to have to do manually for clients).

So for the last year straight its been almost playing poker for living exclusively. I love all the positive things that go with playing poker for a living, and I am in no way tired of game yet. However, I am starting to ask myself more and more what I plan to do with my life over the next several years. As much fun as this currently is, I can’t realistically expect to do this for a living long term and support my family from it.

Not to mention the whole stigma this is creating between our social circles, for me and my wife. Some people think its cool, others think its highly irresponsible, and some think its downright negative. I don’t really care what others outside of my family think, but for my wife she needs to put up with people shaking their heads at it from time to time.

I also get ribbed from some of my own friends who always drop little verbal jabs that, oh you don’t have a job so of course you have time to pick up kids from school…or asking are you still unemployed??

The truth is I love to play the game, I love to work on my skills, read up on strategies. The other truth is I just can’t seem to want to return to a regular 8-5 job. Its just too tempting to know I can do what I love, and make a good living at it (albeit not as highly paid as previous job). Although I do feel like the longer I stay out of regular workforce, the worse kind of job I’d have to settle for when I do decide to return.

Anyways, I am beating myself up and having sleepless nights lately cuz I can’t decide what I should do. Work a regular job, getting regular paycheques and have wife and social circles happy, but at expense of me not “loving” what I do, but instead just getting through the days. Or play poker, and settle for a little less money and luxuries, but enjoy immense freedom, and more time at home.

The thing is though its tough being a poker player. On a great day or week, you feel on top of the world and get all the positive emotions that go with it. During a bad week, not only can you blow through large amounts of bankroll (which now represent your phone bill, property taxes etc.), but you also start to question yourself and hate that this is what I’ve become.

I am really caught in the middle, and my wife is growing more impatient with this, which is understandable. I’m almost 40 with 2 kids, and while friends and former university class mates are just entering their prime earning years of their careers, and advancing to executive levels, here I am grinding it out at online poker. I gotta give my wife much credit for putting up with this as long as she has, but its getting to point of I really gotta decide which way I want to go in my life, and pursue it whole heartedly.

Any relevant advice appreciated.

I love this advice because it's so damn right, even though I've actually seen a lot less of it lately.

Subject: Don't call them 'Fish'

Or Donkeys, Morons, Idiots and anything else that may come to your mind, especially in a B&M setting directly to their face. I don't know any player whose game I respect that calls weak players any names at all.

They may refer to another player as weak or as being un-informed or not sophisticated but that's about as far as it goes. They never say such things directly to the weak player, either, except for congratulations on winning a hand or some statement meant to encourage the weak player to make the same bad play again.

Think about what you are doing. You don't make your money because you are such a genius. You've studied the game of poker and know to make less mistakes than a weak player and have an arsenal of profit producing plays. You make your money from the players who don't know these things and aren't bothering to learn them. Do you want them to make less mistakes and make the plays you make? Do you want to insult them so that they leave the game or give you no action?

This tendency to berate the weak players is driving me nuts. Keep your mouths shut! I can't count the times I've had to try and repair the damage done by players who should know better but can't stand it when they get beaten in a hand. What the heck is going on? Do you expect to win every pot you're involved in? Just shut up when you're beat! If you can't control yourself enough to cultivate the players that provide your profits how do you expect to control yourself enough to play winning poker?

I'll give you one more incentive to stop berating the bad players even when you are with a group of your friends and are seeking sympathy. It will damage your own mind and your game. It is negative, not positive. It puts you into an improper frame of mind wherein you start to blame other players for your losses rather than where the blame belongs and you may start to lose focus and stop playing the game to the best of your ability.

Besides, who are you trying to impress by calling players donkeys and donks and all the rest? Do you think it makes you sound cool? It doesn't to me and I wish you'd all stop.

Sigh, I just realized I lost one of my best links, damnit. Ouch, I really wanted to end with a bang.

Anyway, upon my return, we'll start the WSOP satellite tournaments, k?
I'd love to send a ton of folks to the WSOP this year.

Last but certainly not least - playing golf with Phil.


Subject: Playing Golf with Hellmuth

So, one of the cool things about Aruba was getting to meet/interact with a lot of the pros in a more relaxed atmosphere then there would be at a normal tournament. One of the players that I got a chance to meet was everyone's favorite man to hate, Phil Hellmuth.

I had brought my friend Jason with me to Aruba, who is an assistant pro at Sharon Heights Country Club in Palo Alto, which is where Phil lives. They got to talking about golf, and Phil said he had never gotten a chance to play at Sharon, which is a private course with members such as Jerry Rice, Bill Walsh, Charles Schwab, etc. Jason invited him to play next time he was home, and Phil readily accepted the invitation.

As Phil will tell you (often), he is a very busy man these days, so we didn't get a chance to play until this Tuesday, the 6th. It wasn't something I was going to mention on here prior to playing, since I figured there would be a good chance he might flake once or twice before finally showing up. He did show up on Tuesday however, although he was running a bit late. He said he was mobbed by autograph seekers at Fry's Electronics that morning. Heh...classic Hellmuth. Considering he showed up at the golf course in full UB attire (including a circa 1990 Mizuno UB golf bag), looking exactly like he does for a poker tournament, he shouldn't be surprised that people recognize him.

Anyway, Phil is _exactly_ like he seems on TV. Seems like a nice enough guy, but the ego is the same as it is on TV. Sometimes I had thought that he acted over the top for the cameras, but after spending 5 hours with him on the course, I can honestly say that's not the case. The Phil you see on TV is the way he is away from the tables as well. Not the blow-ups, the berating etc, but the competitiveness and the ego.

For example, he did utter things like 'Well Pat, when you are the best player in the world, people are going to be jealous.' and similar things.

We talked about a number of poker and non-poker related things throughout the day, some of which I will have to keep private (for instance, his opinion on other players, etc etc). After playing golf with the guy and getting to know him a bit, I would feel like a rat.

He did say he was astonished that the online forums still questioned his abilities however, and that he had to stop reading them because people were so critical of him. Phil used to read RGP and post occasionally, but he stopped once Russ G. came on to the scene. I asked him about Russ, and he confirmed that was the reason he left RGP. He didn't think it was right for a known cheater (Russ) to go on there and slander people, even though Phil wasn't one of those players. (make of that what you will RGP :-) )

So, after watching Phil on the driving range, it was pretty obvious that he wasn't a very good player. Not a pretty swing by any means. I don't play as often as I used to, but I still play at about a 6 handicap, while Phil is closer to a 20 I'd think, perhaps higher. pokerHO had told me that Phil wasn't very good, but a decent putter.
Phil seemed pleased when I told him that, and then later on made the comment of 'Pat, my putting is legendary throughout the poker world.'
Classic Hellmuth.

So, we decide I have to give him 6 strokes a side, and based on how many holes one person wins on the front, then we'll adjust it .5 per hole on the back. My friend is a wussy and is playing for $20 a hole, and Phil suggests we play for $50 a hole (which is nothing really).

So I start out and play like absolute garbage...and win the first 5 holes and am up $250. Phil meanwhile is steaming (yes, he used that word), and walks off the 5th green in disgust. We get to the next tee box, and he wants to press to $100 a hole and we do. I finally lose a hole he strokes on when I got greedy on my approach shot and flew the green into a hazard, which made him a lot happier. Heh, I didn't mind
because it was a bit uncomfortable with him so censored off after the first 5 holes.

We end up splitting the last 4 on the front side when he wins the 9th hole, which he stroked on. I got a bit unlucky there, because I absolutely stuck my approach shot 2 ft to the right of the pin. Unfortunately for me, it was a wedge and it spun back...down to the 2nd tier. So instead of a make able birdie putt, I had a difficult two putt for par. It was a moot point however, because he ended up somehow making par, minus his stroke on the hole for a net birdie.

Now as we go to the back I'm up 250, but I have to now give him 8.5 shots on the back, so pretty much every hole. He won a hole, and then we pushed 3 straight holes, so 14 was worth 400. He hit two balls OB and conceded once I was on the green in 2...lol..and stormed off.

So now, I'm up $550, and he wants to press to $200 a hole. I agree, and the first hole after that is this little straightforward par 3..maybe 150, slightly downhill...He goes first and hits it off the back edge, and then I hit a horrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrid shot. censored me off because it's a brand new tee box, so they weren't allowing play off of it, and we had to hit off a temporary mat...I hate mats. So, I hook it to the left of the green, hit a decent flop shot to get within 10ft for par, but he gets up and down and makes my putt worthless. Blah.

With that win for him, I'm down to + 350 going to the 16th, but he hacks it around a bit, and for once I played a hole decent and won.

So now I'm up 550 again with two to play, and he wants to press to 300 a hole, even though he says it's unfair to press since I had to give him more strokes on the back. I say I don't mind; the way I saw it, the worst I could do was lose $50, while the best I could do was win $1150...

So, 17 (8 actually, we played the back first) is the number one handicap hole. It's a very long par 4, very narrow. I hit a crappy drive, a crappy approach shot from 200 into the green side bunker, and had an awful downhill lie in wet sand. He played the hole in classic hack fashion, taking three shots to get to the front of the green. I
thought there was a decent chance he might get up and down, so I had to make sure I did as well to push the hole. I try to dig under the ball on the downhill lie, and blade it across the green into the rough...MFER. I go over and hit my chip to 3 inches, tap in and at least force him to make his 5fter or so for par. It got a bit comical here, as Phil took like 5 minutes to read the putt. He took his oakleys off, turned his UB hat backwards...Classic stuff...And finally lips it in. censored.

So, going to 18, I am now only + 250. He hits his banana slice drive 200 yards out, and I come over the top a bit and pull my drive down the left side. He's in the middle, and again hits an ugly looking 3 wood from 180 yards, that somehow slices to off the back edge. I have a side hill lie with the ball below my feet and hit what looks like a beautiful punch 7 iron.

When I get up there however, I see that once again I've spun it back down the hill so I have a 25ft birdie putt instead of a 6 ft putt. He goes first and hits a weak lag putt to like 19ft. I putt and miss it off the left edge, and tap in for par. So, if he makes it he wins the hole, if he misses we tie, and if he 3 putts (not a chance, he always babied his putts), I'd win the hole. Again, he takes forever, hit a weak looking putt, says 'Ben Crenshaw baby, it's in', and somehow gets the ball to lip in and drop...

So, last night:

Dear PMJackson21,

This is a confirmation that you have successfully transferred $50 to philhellmuth.

LOL...MFER.... We are going to play again though, possibly the 17th. I played sooooooooooo bad all day, I should have taken him for at least a couple k, and especially since the more I won, the more he wanted to up the stakes. Oh well.

The whole experience was very enjoyable however, and Phil truly is a fun guy to hang out with. Sure he's got an ego, but so do a lot of us. He asked me not to say that he was a nice guy because it would ruin his 'rep', but I had to anyway.



Whew, this has been a brutal posting experience. Thank God I'm taking a little break - this has taken the wind out of my damn sails - even though I'm pretty sure I failed at writing my longest post ever. I tried, damnit, Lord did I try.

I must make note of two long-time bloggers who have hung up their hats and decided to quit for various reasons.
Ed, a long, long time reader of this here blog has a bittersweet end. It was incredibly cool to meet him this past winter in Vegas.

And I'm sad that Travis is leaving us, too. I've had the pleasure of hanging out with him for two blogger get-togethers and even witnessed firsthand the winning of the Imperial Palace bathrobe, which he wore proudly at the poker table. Truly funny.
Throwing in the towel

Of course, I hope both just go on hiatus and return to the fold.

In that vein, I'm STILL trying to track down Lord Gez from Rhymes with Joker and to get him to give us all an update on his going-on's. Anyone? Bueller?

So I hope someone made it this far and killed some time at work. That's what I'm here for, after all. And allow me to apolgize for the overly disjointed nature of this post - I'm in a big rush to get this done.

Last shill:
This Guinness-fueled, tangential uber-post brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker. For the love of God, quit playing on tightass tables with tightass players. Come play in the Land of Fish. I think it's safe to say that Party Poker has the softest games on the web. I've actually read that some folks consider it too fishy, as if there was such a thing.


Thanks again for reading and I'll be back soon.

Link of the Day:
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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Howdy all, thanks for stopping by.

I'm not sure how the PokerStars 750k guaranteed tourney today ended up with 5,506 players, but it did. My guess is the turnout was so damn big because it's the first weekend without football. Just a hunch.

So I multitabled the Stars 750k and the Party Poker 500k today. Busted out in the latter close to the second break.

I lasted into 561st place at Stars, doing a decent Dan Harrington imitation. They paid out 549 spots so it was truly a classic bubble performance, winning nothing after outlasting 5000 players. Fast Eddie cashed, however, and I had a small piece of him, so there's that.

But hell, I had fun and it was a decent showing considering I haven't played one of these in forever. I really want to tackle these each week.

I was all set to uber it up but I just got a few emails so I'm gonna wait till tomorrow. So for now, this is some important stuff that I need to pass along. Consider this Public Service Announcement Sunday.

First of all, WPBT Vegas Champ, Glyph, over at StudioGlyphic is desperately seeking help. Please go read his post Seeking potential bone marrow donors (Filipino, 18-61).

You can also check out Christine's website: www.savechristine.com.

And a fellow poker blogger sent me this email today, which I'm posting with permission. I'll be playing in this tourney, for sure, and I hope my readers will, as well. Please go sign up.


Suck Out on Leukemia


I remember that you were a big supporter of the tourney for Charlie last year on PokerStars. I was hoping that you could help support a similar tourney over on Full Tilt later this month. All info about this tourney can be found at http://www.fulltiltforum.com/Topic178624-37-1.aspx

I am a member of www.fulltiltforum.com (FTF) and I am writing to invite you to play in a special tournament called FTF Sucks Out On Leukemia on Sunday, February 26th at 17:00 EST, one hour before the 200k guarantee.

Here’s some information about our group:

FTF is a poker community of a thousand-plus who play almost exclusively on Full Tilt Poker. We are a diverse group - from virtually every state and country, young and old, male and female, high rollers and small stakes players - brought together by our shared love of poker.

And sometimes a little more.

Last September, after Hurricane Katrina, we knew we had to do something to help. So FTF sponsored a three-day poker marathon with all members' winnings going to the victims of the disaster. Assisted by some some wonderful pros who spent hours at our FullTiltForum.com table drawing in players - including Andy Bloch, Erik Seidel, John Juanda, Clonie Gowen, Rafe Furst and Richard Brodie - we managed to raise over $4,000 for the American Red Cross.

It was a gratifying achievement for a group of people, most of whom have never even met.

But now we face a personal crisis.

The founder of our forum, Rich Deede (rocco20v), recently received some devastating news. A few days before Christmas his fiance, 24-year-old Jill, was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). She was admitted immediately to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland and since then, has been receiving chemotherapy treatments while waiting for a bone marrow transplant. Obviously, something like this can never happen at a good time, but for Jill and Rich it has been particularly difficult because their joint insurance, purchased just weeks earlier, had not yet kicked in. That means the initial weeks of her hospital stay, treatment and diagnosis costs rest solely on them.

So our forum is coming together to help and through the kindness of Full Tilt Poker, we have been granted permission to hold this one-time $10+$16 NL HE tourney to raise money for Rich and Jill. It will be listed in FTP under PRIVATE TOURNIES, as FTF Sucks Out On Leukemia on Sunday, February 26th at 17:00 EST.

The password: playforjill.

It would be a thrill to have you join us. I would be very appreciative if you could blog about it at the least, as you are so widely read, being the "blogfather".

Your participation would go a long way towards making this very important tournament a success. Thanks in advance for considering this request.

Bill (aka Illinifan, Illinifan97) (Confessions of an amateur poker player)

Count me in, damnit.
And I'll donate any winnings (as if) to the cause.

Back soon with an uber.

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

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