Thursday, August 10, 2006

"I asked Amy about him and she referred to Iggy as “the Blogfather.” I’m not sure if that’s because of his huge following, how long he’s been at it, or the scope of his posts, but it would be an appropriate nickname for all three reasons."
Michael Craig

Very kind of you to say, Michael, truly appreciated.
Have I mentioned that your book, The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time is one of my all-time favourite poker books?
I'm pretty sure I have.

Well hell, here we sit again, gentle reader.
Seems like old times, don't it?

This tangential, Guinness-fueled uber poker post brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit.

Today's post is extra crappy tangential since I'm leaving bright and early in the morning for Minnesota fishing. Also, I've a pretty big announcement to make but it's gonna have to wait until I return. Tis a Good Thing™.

Lotsa tasty poker goodness for you tonight.
Once again, I'm Destroying Workplace Productivity one post at a time.
It's what I do best.

This is what I'm fishing for:

This poker thing sure is a fun itch to scratch, I gotta admit. And it's surreal for me to think back and ponder how deeply it's affected my life these past few years. More on this later - it's worthy of it's own post.

Per poker lately, it's all been WSOP this, WSOP that. And frankly, it doesn't interest me very much. And sure, I still read Pauly and Otis, but everytime I hit CardPlayers site for official coverage, I just get pissed off and disinterested.

A hearty thank you to CardPlayer for destroying internet coverage of the WSOP. Well done, you've raised the bar of incompetence.

I swear, I've eaten things smarter than the people at CardPlayer.

Information wants to be free, damnit.

Anyway, I found this little snippet about blogging and media coverage, journalists versus amateurs, that I thought I'd share.

Bloggers Will Outblog The Journalists

Jay Rosen undermines a current theory bubbling in journalism (although he states that he means this all as satire?), namely that journalists will adopt the blogging model and quickly rise to the top of the blogosphere:

[from PressThink: The Pros Gonna Blog You Under the Table.

We hear every day how “the pros are gonna blog you under the table.”

Count me unimpressed. I say a majority of the blogging is going to continue to be done by the traditional underwear types who have the passion and irreverance the pros seem to lack.

And speaking of passion, has anyone noticed how some of the most prominent press bloggers, faced with the rigors of posting every day, have quietly abandoned the form? David Carr, who pompously describes himself as “the first blogger at The New York Times,” gave up his Carpetbagger blog way back on March 9. Apparently the counter-revolution will have to wait. It was too hard to keep blogging with everything else he had to do!

Blogging is a marathon performance art, as much as a literary form, and journalists -- I believe -- are more like sprinters. They are not up for the long distance.

I can't say I agree 100% with the above, but it sure is fun to navel-gaze, ain't it?

So I'm flying out and missing the WSOP final table tomorrow. I suppose I'll have to monitor things by phone, not that I really care who wins. I was kinda rooting for the charity guy - woulda been an excellent story. But now? Based on all the nice things I've read about Mr. Cunningham, I suppose I'm hoping he pulls it off.

I now have a $100 prop bet on the WSOP final table with Dan. I took Cunningham & he picked two Texans.

That being said, I'm glad I had tiny pieces of Johnny and Ryan, both of whom cashed in the Main Event. Congrats to both.

So much to rant about, so little time.
Let's hop right to it, shall we?

First off, so many folks enjoyed the epic TuffFish poker videos that I'm linking up the entire list of them. This is priceless stuff, my friends, I can't recommend them enough - listening to them while you play is high-quality poker time. You can thank me later for this link. (thanks again to marty for reminding me of this)

TuffFish poker videos

Continuing in this vein, some sharp 2+2'r put together a fine list of links to an infamous poster there:

For those who don't know, John Kane is a legendary poster in some circles. I am going to take a moment out of my time to share with you some of the greatness that is John Kane. Regardless of what forum he is posting in, he is consistently coming strong. Here are just a few of the gems he has blessed the forums with:

Allow me to present The John Kane Anthology

Now let's hit the very best of the poker press coverage.

From the Fuck Me Sideways Department here at Guinness and Poker, I am sad to report that Bill Frist publicly states that the online poker ban is on the September agenda.
Easier said than done, of course, but:
Sen Frist: Telecom,Gambling, Maybe Tax Cuts On Fall Agenda

As the Senate begins a four-week recess, Frist laid out his agenda for September, which will include port security legislation, completion of the annual budget for the Defense Department, a bill banning certain types of Internet gambling and legislation codifying court procedures for military prisoners held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Here are his comments with a bit more context. From the floor:

And it continues with addressing Internet gambling. As it is now, this industry threatens to undermine the quality of life of millions of Americans by bringing an addictive behavior right into our living rooms. It's got to stop.

Good God. Please stop trying to save us from ourselves.

Anyway, there's a Serious political guy on 2+2 who helps with analysis on these legislative issues. He knows his stuff. And here's what he had to say about this. It's chilling to admit that I agree with him - if it goes to a vote - it passes. Read the entire thread if you so choose. Allow me to highlight:

So that brings us to Internet gambling. Well, the fact that Frist mentioned it means it is a definite candidate for floor time. And if it gets floor time and a cloture vote, it will pass.

The thing is, I don't see Frist going through the whole cloture thing to pass it -- too time consuming. So the holds will either be dealt with or not. If the holds are weak holds, then Frist could do a single cloture vote on it, break the holds (if he holds a vote he'll get 87 votes or whatever), and then pass the bill quickly, assuming the holds capitulate after losing this first vote. That would only take two floor days or so, again assuming the holds were not total scorched Earth I object to everything holds. However my feeling is there is probably at least one "strong hold" out there -- somebody prepared to be a 100% pain in the ass -- and if that's true, the bill will not go to the floor in September. Potential political problem, though: the Dems would probably be very happy to have the Internet gambling bill on the floor in September. A chance for them to again flog their "misplaced priorities" line.

So, what's the summary, for you "tl;dr" folks? It is that the bill seems like a candidate to move, but an unlikely one at present. It is on the bench, but it can and will be called into action if the bigger players go down with an injury. In that case, its chances of passing are extraordinarily high. The only question is whether amendments are made, and if so, how the House would react to those amendments.

Sources indicated to me this AM that there will be an effort to move Internet gambling bill via unanimous consent in September, but that would likely involve modifying the bill, and then the question will arise will the House accept those changes, and what will the President do via-a-vis the WTO issue. Those two pressures push in differing directions, complicating passage of the bill.

I still think it is possible that the bill is being held for non-substantive reasons, such as the horse racing people's concerns with DOJ's comments to WTO that Wire Act prohibits all gambling, despite IHRA. The horse tracks, being pissy about those comments, could for instance (CAUTION: HYPOTHETICAL) have had their guy in the Senate (Mitch McConnell, R-KY) hold the bill to extract an agreement from DOJ that horse race betting IS legal, despite what they said previously. Once the DOJ caved, McConnell would then release his hold and let the bill pass unmodified. Or, Senators could be holding the bill because they are upset that their bill, on whatever topic, hasn't moved, and if they get leadership to get their bill to move, then maybe they'd release their hold on the gambling bill. In other words, an unlimited amount of behind-the-scenes horse trading may be going on here, and we cannot discount that possibility, or the possibility that these holds may be released *without* the bill being modified.

Sucks. All I can do is watch in abject disgust.

From MSNBC, we have an update on the BetOnSports indictment.
Online gambling world watches U.S. case
BetOnSports indictment may show limits of American authorities’ control

This next bit is pretty damn cool. USA Today tech writer, Andrew Kantor, writes in his column below about the hypocrisy of our government attempting to ban online gambling.

Don't be fooled, gambling doesn't get worse online

From Forbes is an update on the WSOP chip leader.
Former Hollywood Agent Keeps Poker Lead

Leave it to Slate to have a take on the chat monkeys playing online poker these days. Worthy read.

"I Remember My First Beer, Too"
The art of trash-talking in online poker.

From The Age: Poker is a big deal, but is it a sport?

"On a short period of time, like the World Series, I think it's about 75 per cent luck, maybe more," said the winner of 10 World Series of Poker bracelets, 72-year-old Texan Doyle Brunson. "The longer you play, the more skill surfaces."

The Washington Post has a fine writeup from today on the 9 Players Left at the World Series of Poker.

From ESPN tonite, here's an excellent article on chipleader, Jamie Gold. For the record, Ari Gold is my fave character on Entourage, by far.

Good as Gold

"There might be a story,'' Gold said, "if I dump at the end because I don't want to be famous.''

Excuse me? "Dump at the end''? Isn't it every player's dream to win this one event?

"I don't want to be famous,'' Gold said while sitting in the Bodog lounge before Day 6 of the event Monday. "I'm not sure if I want to win. And I'm in control of that.''

Fine article regarding Internet Gambling issues discussed on August 6, 2006 on The Beckner-Posner blog: Internet Gambling

You simply MUST watch this 1 minute video of Daniel Negreanu dismantling Mike The Mouth Matusow on High Stakes Poker. Brilliant trash-talking.

This is probably the best rant I've found about CardPlayer's WSOP coverage this year.
I gotta concur with everything he says.

I hate Cardplayer and my apologies to Mark Napolitano

actually it appears that full tilt players can actually be in 154th place with only 21k in chips. it is amazing what paying for "news" coverage can do.

this is one RGPer who will not forget how Full Tilt and Cardplayer have ruined WSOP coverage for the unwashed masses.

today 1150 or so people including probably 5 or 6 friends of mine are playing in the biggest money event in, well in forever. Prize pool over 80 fucking million.

Organizers of this event are pocketing a cool 5 mill plus sponsorships. how fucking hard would it be to have a list of who busts out so people could follow along? I realize the brain surgeons at Harrahs and CP (now known as that fucking rag that couldnt cover an event if 2 people were playing) cant quite figure out a solution so let me help.

With each bag of chip give a button with the name of the person. As each player busts turn in the button to the dealer. The floor occasionally picks up the buttons and gives to a blogger who types that these people have busted.

I swear on all thats pure and right that I will never, ever pick up a that fucking rag that couldnt cover an event if 2 people were playing for any other reason then to toss in the trash. If I ever got lucky enough to win the WSOP that fucking rag that couldnt cover an event if 2 people were playing would have to kidnap my kids to get me to talk to them.

I feel better now...

I take back all the bad things I said about Mark Napolitano when he was pimping Pokerpages. At least he seemed to care about getting actual coverage while growing his site.

Randy Collack

The bias in "reporting" this year was sick. Again, kudos to the bloggers who made the best of a bad situation and told us the real stories that we all wanted to read.

An excellent post here by April about adding up the WSOP chip counts.

Math is Hard

Someone asked about this on RGP and the ever-knowledgable Oliver Tse gave this informed answer:

Re: WSOP payout confusion

1. 6% of the prize pool were withheld: 3% as house fee, 3% for the tournament staff as toke.

2. There were some extra "dead stacks" in play because a number of players did not show up to the Main Event. Some of the "dead stacks" got their buy-ins refunded because of documented medical reasons (i.e. death in the family, serious illness requiring hospitalization, etc.) Those "dead stacks" that couldn't play due to being underage did NOT get their refunds.

3. The color-up process always introduces extra chips into play.

When in doubt, ask Oliver.

Moving along, I discovered this crazy tale about the BetonSports indictment. Wowzers.

What got the Betonsports legal bus rolling (amazing)

Excerpt from NCAA report:


(2) BetonSports.com. This is a bus tour that will be circulating the nation attending
both professional and college contests, providing promotional materials and allegedly in some instances, allowing individuals to place wagers inside the bus, which would be an illegal activity. The staff has notified each institution where the bus is scheduled to visit to alert the administration to police the campus environment and to alert appropriate law enforcement officials should any illegal activity occur.


A report published in the Times of London business section makes it clear what potentially set of US prosecutors.

They refer back to a 2002 story appearing in the St Petersburg Times of Florida: "Four men stood near a garishly painted motor home parked in front of Raymond James Stadium. It was Sunday, Buccaneers game day.

“They tossed footballs, T-shirts and hats to the throngs of fans walking into the stadium. ‘Action you can bet on!’ said the letters on the side of the motor home. ‘World’s Largest, Legal and Licensed Sports Book.’ Two Tampa police detectives who passed by the display disagreed . . .”

"The policemen walked into the mobile home, placed a bet on the American football team, then pulled out their badges and arrested four men taking bets ranging from $25 to $100,000. Mr Carruthers told the newspaper that the bets were completely legal because they were placed via the internet to Costa Rica, BetOnSports’s home, where gambling on sports games is allowed.

“'You have a great law in the US,” he said. “It’s called free speech.” He boasted that BetOnSports spent tens of millions of dollars on advertising, including slots on Howard Stern’s radio show."

Diane Feinstein is deeply and profoundly retarded.

Feinstein openly supports H.R. 4777. Sweet - now the uber left and the uber right are coming together on this issue. It's nice to see common sense completely removed from our government.


Thank you for contacting me regarding Internet gambling. I appreciate your thoughts and views on this topic and welcome the opportunity to respond.

There is no doubt that the Internet and related technologies have had a remarkable effect on the U.S. economy in recent years. Commerce on the Internet has enhanced American industry=s ability to distribute goods economically and efficiently. The continuing development of this industry in California has provided hundreds of thousands of new, well-paying jobs, and I am committed to strengthening online commerce and preserving and expanding this vital job base.

While I understand your thoughts on internet gambling, I have supported legislation aimed at curbing Internet gambling during my tenure in the Senate. There advent of the Internet has clearly been beneficial to American society, however, I believe the same cannot be said for Internet-based gambling activity.

Internet gambling is too easily accessible to minors, too subject to fraud and criminal misuse, and too easily evades state gambling laws. The "Internet Gambling Prohibition Act" (H.R. 4777) is currently under consideration by the Judiciary
Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, and at this time, there is no companion legislation in the Senate. While we do not necessarily agree on this particular topic, please know that I will certainly keep your thoughts in mind should this particular bill be considered by the Senate in the 109th Congress.

Again, thank you for your letter. I hope that you will continue to write on matters of importance to you. Should you have further questions or comments on this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841.

Weeeee. God Bless America.

Hell, I'm only a week late with this next tidbit of info, but better late than never, right? Goes without saying that I'm a huge fan of PokerStars.

WCOOP Satellites Are Open!

It is my extreme pleasure to inform you that satellite play to this year's World Championship of Online Poker has begun. The first tournament starts in just about an hour. Satellite tournaments will continue right through the WCOOP.

More information, culled from the WCOOP website, is below:

The PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) is the largest poker tournament series held online. In 2005, PokerStars hosted 15 events and guaranteed $8,000,000. This year, the 5th annual WCOOP will boast 18 events and guarantee an overall prize pool of $10,000,000!

Each year, the prizes get bigger. In 2003, DeOhGee won $222,750 in the main event. In 2004, Ragde won $424,945 in the big one. Last year, Panella86 won the championship event and took home $577,342. With a guaranteed prize pool of $3,000,000, the 2006 WCOOP main event is sure to be one for the record books.

We've also added Razz and HORSE to this year's schedule, including a $5,200 HORSE championship hosted by Team PokerStars' own Barry Greenstein.

To ensure that every PokerStars players has a chance to play in the 2006 WCOOP we are putting up $1,500,000 in free WCOOP seats through VIP Club and Frequent Player Point Freerolls.

As with the past four WCOOP tournaments, players are not just playing for cash in the 2006 WCOOP. Each event winner will also receive a champion's gold bracelet to commemorate their win.

For still more information, visit http://www.pokerstars.com/wcoop/

Thanks, good luck, and we hope to see you at the tables!

I can't remember if I ever posted the picture of the WCOOP bracelet that Fast Eddie won a few years ago. Heck, I need to post a pic of his computer set-up. It's beyond nuts.

What the hell? I found this ESPN poker column where David Williams denies being in that porn video.
Williams no runner-up

Is there a career as an adult film actor in Williams' past?

"No,'' he said, "but I would if I could. If I wasn't in a role-model position like now, I wouldn't care. Porn is porn. I like chicks. I've been seen around with some hot chicks. But I'm in the public eye. A lot of people have kids coming up to me. I don't have the option to do those kind of things. I would if I wasn't in kind of a role-model position.

"They say it was me. And if it was me, I'm not shy. All my friends who know me say, 'If that was Dave, he would've said it was him.'''

So, OK, was it you?

"Nah,'' he reiterated, "I was in school in Dallas. I had a girlfriend. I played poker live. And I came out here.''

I did a lil digging around and it turns out that video he did is no longer available. I guess the rumour is that he was able to buy it out from the company that owned it. Purty smart, David.

Let's do some random linkage here.

Here's a 2+2 post from Rizen himself:
Couple of quick comments

Mike O'Malley's WSOP Trip Report for Day 1.

I was sad to hear that Lord Admiral podcast announced they are retiring after an incredible 80+ shows. It was a fantastic run and thanks to Sean and Stacks for providing hours and hours of pokery goodness.

I truly enjoyed this fine interview about Todd Brunson & making his own way. Hell, he kicked ass in the Big Game versus Andy Beal. There's nothing else to say.

Well, except for the mullet should go.

Todd Brunson: His Own Successful Path

"The path to do the right thing is in front of everyone, and each knows how to walk it. The path is clear, yet some choose not to take it. This applies to life as well as poker. Not every path I've taken has been glamorous, but I did the right thing and it got me where I am today." - Todd Brunson

LW: What do you think of the impact television has had on poker?

Todd Brunson: Poker has been around forever, and televising it has been a long time coming. I remember sitting at the poker table late one night and ESPN was airing Canadian Lumberjack Women. I thought, "Would America rather watch this or the high-stakes poker game I'm in?" A player had just scooped a $300,000 pot with 3-2 offsuit. Our poker game was entertaining and borderline ridiculous, yet America was watching women chop down trees.

I'm not sure why I'm linking this up except as a cautionary tale. I have a tremendous amount of empathy for anyone battling addiction issues.

Confessions of an Internet Gambling Addict

Of course, how can you be college-educated and then believe that an online site could
offer this:

"They have a single deck blackjack game that has about a 0.3% player advantage if you play optimal strategy."

Geepers, what a sad tale.

More WSOP news. Such as it is.

Here was an interesting perspective from Alan, a long-time RGP'r about the age-old pro's versus the amateur debate in the WSOP Main Event.

Matusow was right

Thorsson Eliminates Another

William Thorsson raises to $700 from the cut off and the button re-raises to $1,200. The small blind makes a third raises to $3,500. Thorsson re-raises $7,000 more and the small blind calls. The flop comes A22 and the small blind checks and Thorsson moves all-in for $100,000. The small blind makes the call after 2 minutes of
deliberation and shows K-K. Thorsson taps the table and says "Wow," and sheepishly shows his 75. The turn is a 3 and the river a 4 giving Thorsson the wheel. Thorsson now sits with $125,000.


I posted on here last week that if enough donkeys play like this, at least one of them will "get lucky" and might possibly win the whole thing. David Sklansky says pretty much the same thing in his Theory of Poker book. According to Sklansky, in a tournament field of 100+ players, (not to mention 8,000-plus players!), at least two or three of them will manage to pull off a series of incredible against-all-the-odds suckouts. (Actually, if Sklansky's 2-3 percent metric is correct, then probability alone says that there may be as many as 80+ William Thorsson's lurking in that minefield!)

If enough of these "crazy" players have entered the Main Event with an "I don't care, I'm going for broke" mindset, (and they truly don't give a damn about losing their entire 10K buy-in), then it's not beyond the realm of possibility that 8-10 of these "extrordinarily lucky" players could wind up at the final table. (I'm not saying it is likely that the final table will be full of donkeys, but it is certainly a
possibility.) I read in another post where Sam Farha got knocked out when his full house was clobbered by quad 6's which hit runner-runner on the turn and river, so that donkey called Sammy's all-in bet with a pair of sixes! Given these kind of plays, it's apparent that a lot of the amateurs aren't relying on skill to try and make the final table. (Give me a break!)

I have a feeling the pros are up against a strange and perverse dynamic in the Main Event. Undoubtedly, they are facing amateurs who are chasing 600-1 longshots solely in the hope that they'll bust out somebody like Sammy Farha (or Phil Hellmuth or Mike Matusow) and spend the rest of their lives bragging to their wife (and friends) about
their "great" accomplishment. (I imagine for some of these suckout artists, it will be the highlight of their poker career ...) That's what the pros are up against.

On the other hand, I guess its OK to witness a spectacle like this once a year in the city of gaudy excess. I wonder what Benny Binion must be thinking as he looks down from heaven on all this? I imagine even Benny is gagging! :-)))

Here's some insight from the Quiet Lion, Richard Brodie, over in Lion Tales:

"It is ludicrous to hold a tournament where you can bust out in the eighth day and go home empty handed. In fact, it's ludicrous to support a tournament where the sponsoring corporation takes $5.6 million out of the prize pool despite making tens of millions on rights and advertising. The online sites should get together and cut Harrah's out of the picture entirely. All they own is the trademark "World Series of Poker" and as far as I can tell they add very little value to the tournaments. Call it something else, have actual intelligent players design the structures and formats, and add money to the prize pool rather than subtract."

Someone asked this legit question and got an informed reply per the WSOP prize money.
I was wondering about this, too, actually.

$12,000,000 cash on the table?

Will the WSOP continue the tradition of dumping the first place prize on the table when it gets to heads up? Is there room for two players with huge chip stacks, a board, and 12 mil on one table? I don't think so.


Lately it's been a table adjacent to the poker table that's slid up to it thus supporting the main bulk of the bulk while some topples forward onto the table itself. This Matterhorn is necessary for the obligatory photo op, tho the days of putting one's arms around it could be coming to an end.

I found this strange tale from Vanessa Rousso's infrequently updated blog about Phil Hellmuth. Yup, Phil loves hanging with the 20-somethings. But hell, he knows who Jay-Z is, whereas I've never heard of em. Figures.

We were strolling along when we see a fast-paced, sunglasses-wearing (it was night time), Phil Hellmuth heading away from the Aviation Club (apparently just having been knocked out). I had spoken with him earlier in the day at the tournament, so I decided to wave and ask about how he went out. To my surprise, he stopped not only to chat, but he decided to join us for dinner...

When we got there, Phil surprised us by ordering a bottle of Crystal and a bottle of Dom with two glasses for each of us to taste test. As three twenty-something year old poker fans, we were convinced that we had to be dreaming...We ended up drinking, eating and chatting the night away until almost 4am...

He was a talented conversationalist and he was generous in sharing his business savvy and insight into the poker-business world. The highlight of the night was when Phil decides to bust out in a Jay-Z rap, then messes it up, tries again, messes it up, and finally gets it right (but by that time the three of us were practically crying we were laughing so hard!). Phil is eclectic, outgoing, and intelligent, not to mention a very proud family man.

I tried to find an interesting Circuit show to link up and failed. Who thought Phil Ivey would be so boring?

Whew, this post is killing me. And I've got along way to go, damnit. Lord knows I wanna put up a monster post before leaving town. See how I care for you?

Anyone who loves poker strategy blogs had sure as hell better be reading DoubleAs. He is to NL what Hank was to limit.

He thankfully wrote a poker book. I read it and it's damn good. You should read it. Seriously. Buy his book damnit!

Obligatory online poker is rigged post. This is the best from the past week.
I love it.

PartyPoker and PokerStars are the worst fucking cheats that ever fucking were

Anyone can prove they are cheating by keeping stats on the all in hands. The very fact that the more money is at stake the less likely the huge favorite is to stand up is proof that they are not dealing at random. They don't give a fuck, if you have QQ vs 88 and 88 they will give both the losers the straight, suddenly they aren't losers. There is absolutely no question about the fact they are cheating for the worse players. I still make quite a bit of money there but they cheat me out of a staggering amount.

Take yesterday for instance, I rightfully won about $2,000 with my play but they stole almost all of it with their rigged beats. I only got to keep barely $150 of it, and this is just about every fucking day they are ripping me off for a couple grand with their cheating rigged bad beats. Not just bad beats, fucking beats that are impossible if they weren't cheating. How often do you think QQ should lose to two players who both have 88? Well on PartyCheaters and CheaterStars the QQ will lose that huge 3-way pot over half the time. Absolutely no way is there any possibility that they are dealing at random or anywhere near fairly. They are cheating the shit out of the good players.

Don't forget that real poker is rigged as well, witnessed to by this WSOP hand:

More proof WSOP is rigged

Three Sets

With a board of 9c7h2dJd, there is $250,000 in the pot with Ryan Nathan all-in. Rick Mombourquette ($455,000) checks to Rich Lee ($1,063,000), who bets $150,000. Mombourquette declares all-in, and Lee calls. Nathan shows 7cl7s, Lee reveals 9h9d. and Mombourquette flips over JsJh. All three players in the hand have a set. The river is the 5s. Nathan is eliminated, and Mombourquette takes the pot. Mombourquette now has $1,160,000, and Lee has $608,000.

Ask Men's top ten poker movies? Do you even care? I'm not so sure a good poker movie has been made yet.....

This might be the most priceless chat ever. Some railbird captured this at FT:

Ram Vaswani: maybe sent to wrong person by accident
Ram Vaswani: eric instead of erik
Mike Matusow: how much hav eu sent
Mike Matusow: alltogether
Ram Vaswani: 100000
Mike Matusow: k
Mike Matusow: hang on
Mike Matusow: k im calling jason right now
Ram Vaswani: ty
Mike Matusow: i left message
Mike Matusow: email support also
Mike Matusow: want to play some o 8
Mike Matusow: 5001k
Ram Vaswani: you to good at 500 1k but i play you 1k 2k

Sweet. Trying to get Mike out of his comfort range and implied tilt odds.

Here's a crazy ass story about one of my local boats. Apparently a slot machine malfunctioned and turned into an ATM. Nice.
Slot machine: Here's $200, come again

Gamblers raked in nearly half a million dollars over two days on a slot machine that multiplied by 10 the amount of money that players put in, then paid out vouchers without playing.

Yoyo won the blogger Roshambo event in Vegas, thanks to my coaching. She rocks.

I've literally posted dozens of "poker has jumped the shark" moments on this here humble poker blog, but this might take the cake. From the press release:

Pamela Anderson and Doyle Brunson Wed at WSOP

Anderson Appeared at the Rio to Celebrate the Launch of PamelaPoker.com Pamela Anderson showed up at the Rio in Vegas today wearing white, a diamonded veil, and carrying a bouquet of pink roses, but Kid Rock was nowhere in sight. Instead, standing next to her under the hot lights and blazing flashbulbs was poker great Doyle Brunson, who hasn’t worn a grin so big since he won his last World Series of Poker main event bracelet back in 1977, the year Anderson turned 10.

The pair was there to announce the launch of PamelaPoker.com, the newest member of the Doyle Brunson Poker Network, which includes Brunson’s signature site, DoylesRoom.com. The site is now up and running.

PamelaPoker.com has been in the works for about a year now, and everything fell together in the last six months with the help of a friend of Anderson’s who also happens to work for Brunson’s poker network. Anderson’s father, who the blonde knockout described as a great fan of poker, also had something to do with this hook-up.

“My dad’s a huge fan of Doyle’s, and if I was going to do this with anyone, it had to be with him,” Anderson said. “If you’re going to do it, do it right and go straight to the top.”

She likened her partnership with Brunson to the one she shared with Hugh Hefner, who played a huge part in Anderson’s fame by featuring her in Playboy Magazine. She said both of the men are the best in their fields, and she doesn’t work with anyone except the best.

Anderson, who said is facing three wedding ceremonies in the next few weeks -- all to her former and current finance, Kid Rock – added a huge flash of celebrity to the already bright and wild WSOP, which has been going on since late June. The first day of the $10,000 main event starts Friday.

Dozens of fans bypassed booths promoting other online sites and tried to get into the press conference held to announce the “wedding” between Anderson and Brunson. A table and two chairs sat on a stage in front of a great white sheet and when the two celebrities came out, most of the press jumped to their feet and sent their cameras shuttering.

“It was very exciting when we got the word that we could do business with Pamela,” Brunson said. “Obviously, everyone is impressed with Pam that meets Pam. We’re really thrilled about it.”

PamelaPoker.com will offer the same poker games as DoylesRoom.com, which are hold’em, Omaha, Stud, and Badugi. The room will also hold tournaments and the site will hold at least $3 million in guaranteed tournaments each month.

Like Brunson’s site, players are welcomed to PamelaPoker.com with a video featuring the site’s namesake. In the video, Anderson explains that she’s new to the game of poker and encourages new players to follow her footsteps and learn how to play with her. At the press conference, Anderson said she plans on becoming the best player out there.

“Look who’s my teacher,” she said, giving Brunson a hug.

Unlike Brunson’s site, Anderson’s features a page dedicated to pictures of the superstar model. For fans, this page is alone worth a visit.

At the end of the conference, both the stars stood under banners that were set up to unroll with the tug of a ribbon. When Brunson and Anderson stood to unravel the signs, the cameramen practically ignored Brunson and focused all their lenses on Anderson. When she pulled her ribbon, the clasps holding her banner gave way and it fell on top of her. Unfazed, she then stood with her back to the crowd and tossed her bouquet of pink roses to the crowd, as if she was at a real wedding. A guy with a goatee caught it.

Anderson’s site can be found at PamelaPoker.com.


My favorite part of the website is the disclaimer at the bottom:

PamelaPoker.com is not available to residents of the following Countries and States: Russia, Italy, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin

Not to be outdone, Chris Moneymaker is getting in on the action.

Moneymaker and Playboy hosting poker camp

Playboy Enterprises, Inc. announced a partnership with Moneymaker Gaming to develop and produce its first-ever Playboy Poker Camp. The camp will feature world-class instruction from some of poker’s top players, including Layne Flack and Jim “Krazy Kanuck” Worth.

Moneymaker Gaming is former World Series of Poker champion Chris Moneymaker’s company that manufactures everything poker, including high-end poker sets, gaming accessories, apparel, and licensed commemorative chips.

The first camp will be held at Morongo Casino Resort and Spa in Palm Springs Jan. 17-21. For $4,999, players get four days and four nights at the resort, daily tournaments with professional instructors, and a party at the Playboy Mansion. Participants will also have a chance to win part of $100,000 in prizes.

Yikes, I almost forgot this excellent comment in Pauly's blog last week. This is truly a first - blogging comments. Kill me now.

To the Tao of Pauly readers out there. I cleared this subject line with the man himself, and he gave me an okay to throw it into the comments as a topic of discussion for us loyal poker readers.

ESPN programming has apparently lost their minds. Have you seen the schedule for the upcoming broadcasts? In all fairness, they've picked a few good final tables for viewing, but here's what we WON'T see..

As Pauly has stated, they didn't properly film the Final table of Event #9, which had Hellmuth, Marcel Luske, Isabelle Mercier and Vinny Vinh at the table. Any final table with Marcel Luske at it is something to watch.

And to have him there with Hellmuth, who is always fun to watch for ridicule factor, and the always lovely Isabelle...It would have probably been an episode favorite. Now we are merely left to wonder what might have been.

We WON'T get to see Sammy Farha win bracelet #2 in Event #12. ESPN filmed the final hour of the Heads-Up match, but not the whole final table. It appears that ESPN isn't even going to use any of the footage they DO have. They aren't even going to play the last 15 minutes or so, like they did when Chan won bracelet #10......You have Sam Farha and Phil Ivey at the same final table, and not only do you NOT film the whole
thing, you eliminate the footage you DID tape? This heads-up match is the one we were waiting for since the 03 WSOP, when Ivey got bad beated out of the Main Event in 10th by the luckbox and Sammy lost out to the same luckbox for the title.

And...Even though he isn't one of my favorites, They are NOT going to air the final table of event # 34, in which Hellmuth finally ties Brunson and Chan for number of bracelets. Say what you will about Hellmuth...I'll most likely agree with you, but him winning #10 is a big deal. How ESPN can throw the win out the window, after showing Doyle win #10 and tagging final table footage from Johnny Chan's #10 win onto another final table episode is beyond me.

But, it's okay, because we have THIS final table to watch. It's event #31. Here's the lineup:

Justin Scott, Farzad Rouhani, Robert Bright, Gregory Glass, Nathan Templeton, Carl Olson, Josh Wakeman, Jason Johnson, Bryan Micon.

Wow....Sure will be exciting. The whole thing seems like a slap in the face to Sammy Farha and Marcel Luske...Hell, even to Phil Hellmuth. All three make their tables entertaining. Farha's featured table runs in '04 and '05 and Marcel's run in the '04 WSOP were really the best highlights of the series. And watching Hellmuth blow up in '05 was a blast. They make the most of their onscreen time, and to show their gratitude,

ESPN dumps the footage of them winning at this years WSOP, Relegating them to maybe a blurb in one of the other episodes. What a nice thank you.

Anybody else have similar feelings about this?
Nick | 08.06.06 - 3:10 pm | #

Random Paul Darden snippet of table talk:

Conversation when I played with him in the 2500 6max.

Me: Paul, that's some watch (points to his ridiculous bling diamond encrusted watch)
Him: hm, thanks
Me: You see all these people wearing sunglasses at the table? They aren't trying to hide their eyes. They're trying not to get blinded by that watch. (table chuckles)
Him: hm.
Me: Thank you thank you, I'll be here all week.
Him: We'll see.

I'm still disgusted with myself for blogging a Russ Gorgeiv post last week. Lord, I feel dirty.

But I very nearly chuckled out loud today when reading RGP and saw a post about Allen Cunningham and the WSOP. Of course, Crazy Russ GCA had to make some insane post but I loved the immediate reponse post by Wayno. Kudos.

I know Cunningham very well. I used to bust hin on a regular basis from about 1994 -2000, but that was about 6 years ago. Even I, with the ego I have, must admit Cunningham had potential. He was very aggressive, perhaps too aggressive in his early days. If he has improved, which should be a gimme, he will have a decent chance. However, even if he has a 2-1 chip lead at the final table, he's still a big dog to win the event.

Russ Georgiev


I used to routinely hit ground balls to Babe Ruth. I showed him some pitches too, and how to hold the ball, and Ty Cobb would sometimes come over and listen in, but I could tell, even then, that the Babe had that "little extra something" that separates one ball-player from another. Then the war came along-- & I had to take several years off to teach Charles Lindburgh to fly-- and the Babe and I lost touch. It later turned out I was so right about him. You could just tell the big kid had

Per the WPT issues going around, here's a look at the financials:

WPTE stock hits another all time low: under $4 a s

WPTE closed on August 3 at $3.98 a share, for a market cap of just over $80

Note that WPTE has over $37 million in cash, cash-equivalents (i.e. certificates
of deposit) and short-term investments (i.e. US Treasury Bills) on its balance

That means "The Street" is only valuing the rest of WPTE, including the existing
video library (about 200 hours of poker tournaments), the WPT and PPT brands
(including brand licensing contracts), casino membership contracts, and
sponsorship contracts, to be worth a measly $43 million.

Ok, let's tackle the silly drama behind Daniel Negreanu and a few of the poker pro's who are currently suing the WPT. It appears as if Daniel caught some grief from several of the pro's behind the suit, including Greg Raymer, Andy Bloch and Phil Gordon.

Daniel then went on the offensive on his video diary. Go ahead and listen to the episode: Raw and Uncut and follow up with Long Balls and Lawsuits. Go ahead now - I'll still be here when you return.

I might as well post the comments from Andy Bloch from Full Tilt chat.


CaneBrain888 (Observer): andy I hear you and daniel negraneau are having issues
Andy Bloch: daniel's having issues

Maverick505 (Observer): what has Daniel been saying???
Andy Bloch: daniel has been saying nonsense

Andy Bloch: i posted a couple of replies to daniel, do a google search

FromCAtoCO (Observer): Andy do you think raymer was out of line in ripping daniel?
Andy Bloch: raymer didn't "tear into daniel"

rjb333 (Observer): whats the arguement here? whats up with negreanu

Andy Bloch: daniel has almost zero knowledge of antitrust law

Andy Bloch: and almost all the bad publicity we've gotten because of the lawsuit is from daniel himself

Andy Bloch: lyle berman isn't the wpt and the wpt has never ever even entertained that idea

Andy Bloch: seriously, daniel has been spreading a lot of misinformation

thekid80 (Observer): Danial said he has talked to alot of other player and none of them support the lawsuit

America_One: Andy, none of my business of course but anyone in the suit shouldnt be talking much.
Andy Bloch: daniel hasn't talked to very many people

Andy Bloch: why doesn't daniel talk to us first before repeating everything that lyle tells him?
MoneymanBC (Observer): how would u know how many people daniel has talked to???
Andy Bloch: because i know many players who support or are in favor of the lawsuit the lawsuit

K5J3 (Observer): So there are more people on ur side than daniels ur saying..
Andy Bloch: compare what raymer said to what daniel said and you will realize how mild raymer's comments were

thekid80 (Observer): I think that daniel doesnt want you team saying that you guys are standing up for the players when some players dont support the lawsuit

Andy Bloch: Is this disrespectful to post in a public forum: "I did speak to xxx xxx. He went on one of his nutcase rants "


Again, I'm not qualified to offer any insight on the suit itself. I would highly recommend hitting Ftrain's latest post on the matter. The comments, as well, are exceptional, including a lengthy one from Gary Carson.
Let Slip the Dogs of War

And even though FTrain thinks Daniel has the better hand here, I'm not so sure I agree. Perhaps I'm just swayed by the formidable brain power in those group of seven. Raymer, Bloch, Chris Ferguson, Phil Gordon and Howard?? That's some uber bright people there, folks.

Secondly, Why not take Raymer and these guys at their word? I've been reading Greg online for more years than I care to remember and he's never been anything but a straight freaking shooter.

I found this post by the CEO of True Poker that I concured with, responding to this first line in quotes:

"Greg's claim that he is doing this for the benefit of all poker players is BS"

I was a litigator for a number of years. If Greg Raymer says he is involved in this suit to benefit all poker players who might win a tournament on the WPT or become marketable, then why not accept that as his personal motivation. People decide to file suit for any number of reasons.

I have never met Greg Raymer, but his views on the endorsements issue have been spelled out at length here before. That he takes the time to try and educate players in forums like this is pretty indicative of his personal motivations vis a vis the "poker world". NOT everything he does is about him or building his personal "brand".

I would suggest that his word is good, period.

(I happen to doubt whether this suit can survive summary judgement, but that has nothing to do with motivation for bringing it. The use of litigation to effect change in the market is very common. The name plaintiffs often have such change as a goal, "class action" status is irrelevant.)

Truepoker CEO

Raymers 2+2 quote is already on Ftrain's post, which is another reason to go read it, cause I ain't gonna bother. But allow me to point out some links for your reading pleasure:

Let's start with Daniels Video Diary.

My Apologies To Daniel - Raymer's apology to Daniel

Here is an ESPN article where Annie Duke talks about the lawsuit and her reason for being involved in it:
Where's Annie?

Whoops, I almost forgot this FullTilt chat with Phil Gordon. I don't think Daniel would win a video debate with Phil, regardless of the topic. Your mileage may vary.

Dealer: Phil Gordon shows a flush, Ace high
Dealer: Phil Gordon wins the pot ($784) with a flush, Ace high
Dealer: Hand #874431309
Gambino23 (Observer): Phil is a traitor
Gambino23 (Observer): Wptlawsuit.com
Gambino23 (Observer): Cant believe this stuff
Gambino23 (Observer): Daniel Negreanu is so mad about
Phil Gordon: Gambino, get educated
Dealer: hAAydon wins the pot ($38.95)
Dealer: Hand #874433863
Gambino23 (Observer): Well maybe I am taking sides tho
Phil Gordon: if you're going to comment, don't do so ignorantly
Gambino23 (Observer): I goto Daniel Negreanus site a
lot and just hear his point of view and Raymer go off on
Phil Gordon: Daniel is not being overly intelligent about
this issue
Phil Gordon: in my opinion
Phil Gordon: and yes, we're friends and will be
regardlesss of his stance
kartracer63: why no pocket cams on ppv ?
Gambino23 (Observer): Phil I think your a great guy, hell
you sent me your autograph, im just a little shock thats
all about who filed the suit. Dont get me wrong I plan on
fully reading everyones point of view but I just found out
you were involved
Phil Gordon: but he is spealing without really
understanding the legal issues
Dealer: FromAbove wins the pot ($28.50)
Dealer: Hand #874440289
SonnyJonez (Observer): Hiya phil
Gambino23 (Observer): the point Daniel made about
most poker players wouldnt be where they are today of
WPT is true tho dont you think?
Gambino23 (Observer): WPT created such a great image
for so many poker players
Phil Gordon: think about it and the players involved: do
you really think we would file this suit if you didn't think it
had real merit and would HELP the players?
Gambino23 (Observer): Very true...
Dealer: jersey cows shows two pair, Aces and Fives
Dealer: hic shows a full house, Fives full of Fours
Dealer: hic wins the pot ($168) with a full house, Fives
full of Fours
Dealer: Hand #874445668
Phil Gordon: think for just a minute... think about the 7
players that filed the suit... think that it has already cost
us about 200k in legal fees
Phil Gordon: fees that none of the other players are
Phil Gordon: our lawyers are not dumbasses - - they are
the best antitrust legal counsel in the business, they won
free agency for NFL, NBA, MLB, and others
hic: kk no good eh
Dealer: kartracer63 wins the pot ($105)
Dealer: Hand #874449103
Phil Gordon: they would not back this suit unless they
thought it had merit
Phil Gordon: what the WPT is doing is CRIMINAL and
ILLEGAL and will not be allowed to continue
Phil Gordon: period
Dealer: FromAbove has 15 seconds left to act
Gambino23 (Observer): That does make me wonder
what's really going on...like I said everyone kept talking
about this "group of 7 players" and talking down on
them....but after realizing who is on it like Howard Chris F
Hachem you Raymer makes me think twice
Dealer: FromAbove has timed out
Phil Gordon: read the lawsuit.
hic: theres my flop
Phil Gordon: www.wptlawsuit.com
Phil Gordon: ask a lawyer friend
Phil Gordon: read the WPT release for gods sake
System: Tonight at 12:00AM ET there will be a
$69+$6/Token NL Hold'em tournament with a $12,000
guaranteed prize pool.
Gambino23 (Observer): You know Phil I give you a lot
more credit talking about it to some average Joe like
myself and sharing your opinion that actually shows a lot
Phil Gordon: think about how you'd feel if you won a
tournament and then walked down the street to see
your face all over a billboard for WPT #@! cream.
Dealer: hAAydon has 15 seconds left to act
Gambino23 (Observer): I just found out about the site
and the 7, and saw you on so I would say I jumped the
gun without all the knowledge.
Dealer: hAAydon shows two pair, Jacks and Fives
Dealer: hAAydon wins the pot ($546.90) with two pair,
Jacks and Fives
Dealer: Hand #874457752
Phil Gordon: the issue is simple: they force you to sign an
illegal release
Gambino23 (Observer): Yeah I would feel like I got taken
advantage of
Phil Gordon: that release states that they can use your
name, likeness, and image FOR ANY PURPOSE
Dealer: jersey cows shows [Ac 6h Qs Ah]
Dealer: kartracer63 shows [5h 3s 4h 7d]
Dealer: jersey cows wins the side pot ($18.80)
Dealer: jersey cows shows three of a kind, Aces
Dealer: kartracer63 shows a pair of Threes
Dealer: jersey cows wins the main pot ($36.35) with
three of a kind, Aces
Phil Gordon: Even if the current management isn't going
to use that power (and they have, by the way) there is
no guarantee that the future management would be kind
Dealer: Hand #874462006
actiondavidk (Observer): hello phil
Phil Gordon: we have to put a stop to this exploitation
now. end of story. and I'm willing to put up a couple
hundred thousand of my own money so that the players
that HAVEN"T gotten famous from this poker boom yet
don't get taken advantage of. If anything,
Gambino23 (Observer): The thing I would wonder is, if
the WPT will black ball you in future tournaments
regardless of the result of the lawsuit?
Dealer: FromAbove wins the pot ($87)
Dealer: Hand #874465787
Phil Gordon: I would thijnk that the players of the world
would thank us profusely.
Phil Gordon: and now, back to poker.
Dealer: jersey cows wins the pot ($69)
Dealer: Hand #874468700
Dealer: FromAbove has 5 seconds left to act
Dealer: FromAbove has timed out
Gambino23 (Observer): well Phil maybe I shouldnt have
mentioned it while your in a hand, I was just really
wondering what was going on. I really appreciate you
responding to it, cuz everyone is talking about it
Phil Gordon: and they should be
Dealer: kartracer63 shows [Qh As Ah Qs]
Dealer: hic shows [Ts 9s 9d 5c]
Phil Gordon: please tell your friends to check out the site
Dealer: kartracer63 shows a flush, Ace high
Dealer: hic shows a flush, King high
Dealer: kartracer63 wins the pot ($381) with a flush, Ace
Phil Gordon: www.wptlawsuit.com
Dealer: Hand #874472933
Gambino23 (Observer): who is the head guy taken
action, you?
Phil Gordon: BTW, I've asked Daniel for a video debate...no word yet.
AFRONINJA (Observer): phil why dont u roshambo them
instead? that way you will win guaranteed
System: Tonight at 12:00AM ET there is a $10+$1
Midnight Madness tournament with a $5,000 guaranteed
prize pool.
Gambino23 (Observer): Are you in charge of the website?
Phil Gordon: no, there is no "head guy" -- we're all equal
Phil Gordon: no


Good gravy, this is silly stuff, eh?

Anyway, here's the original massive thread on 2+2 that shows Greg's original chat transcript. Greg chimes in here and there amongst the retards. Worthy to hear what Greg thinks:

Fossilman's Account Hacked?

Sigh. I really respect both of these guys - can't they meet up for a damn drink and settle this in private?

I think Daniel was irked at Greg's un-Raymer-like comment of:
“he’s either stupid, or a sockpuppet for the WPT.”

Of course, Daniel had to respond childishly on his forum with:
“Tell Raymer to go breast feed some hungry children in Africa. Goof ball calling me out, who does he think he is, for real.”

He's since deleted that post. Wise call. And anyway, Greg graciously apologized on Daniels forum and Daniel returned the favor. Whew. Hate to see two great ambassadors of the game bicker like this.

I shall never speak of this spat again.

Esteemed poker author, Lou Kreiger, pointed out in his blog that 91 Percent Favor Legal Online Gaming, per a CNBC Poll.

An overwhelming majority of Americans want online gambling legalized in the United States. According to a CNBC poll conducted last week, when asked, "Should all online gambling be legalized in the United States?" 91 percent said "Yes," while only 9 percent said "No."

Lou also made this fine post on RGP on the WSOP and How Things Have Changed. Suffice to say, not everyone agreed with him.

Subject: The WSOP: Are We Having Fun Yet?

Are we having fun yet? The diminution of the fun factor as the World Series of Poker grows ever larger is one of the themes echoing through the halls of the Rio recently.

It's coming primarily from players and media members who have a long association with the WSOP, and are in a position to compare the current state of this event with the good old days - which, in case you're wondering, is anytime from the WSOP's inception through 2003.

Right now the WSOP is less fun and more like real work. A Canadian player I've known for some time was lamenting the loss of informality the WSOP used to have, when you knew everybody and everyone knew you. Now my friend feels like a stranger in a shopping mall the week before Christmas, beset by throngs of people who are pushing and shoving, and the informality and joy of the event is lost somewhere in the shuffle. While my friend is not a professional player in the sense of earning his entire living from poker - he has another career - but he does supplement his income with his poker winnings, writes extensively about poker, and helps promote the game
wherever and whenever he can.

Whether the loss of the fun factor is a result of the WSOP's corporatization, or the just something that comes with the territory when an event becomes so large that it cannot be planned, managed, administered, or run informally any longer is an open question. Perhaps it's a mix of both, but pinpointing the reason does nothing to ameliorate longings for the good old days.

I remember eating breakfast in Binion's coffee shop with a couple of other media guys in 2002 or 2003. When we were finished we walked up to the cashier, flashed our media badges, signed our checks, and walked out. We could have eaten ten breakfasts a day with that kind of system in place, but everyone knew each other; there was a modicum of trust in place, no one pushed the envelope too far, so it worked. What might have been lost in efficiency when compared to a system that would have required meal tickets to be issued to media members each day was offset by the informality, easy
of administration, and the goodwill that was engendered for the WSOP. We loved it, and it was fun.

With the advent of the Gaming Expo, which I love - it's a terrific addition to the WSOP and necessary for the growth and development of poker as an industry - the licensing of all sorts of direct and ancillary rights surrounding the WSOP, and ESPN's need to produce compelling television, something has been lost and I'm wondering if we can ever get it back.

The fun factor is hard to define, and harder still to measure. But when it's missing, everyone knows it, and everyone who experienced it in the past longs passionately for its return.

Bigger does not always mean that the fun factor will be lost or ignored. But it's a challenge building it into an event that threatens to spiral out of control with each additional player who signs up for an event. The Grateful Dead never lost that informal, funky, friendly, down-to-earth sense of being regardless of how popular they were. Neither did Willy Nelson or Bruce Springsteen. Disneyland tries its best to retain that sense of personalization and fun, though it's admittedly hard when you're running a theme park with a gazillion visitors coming through the gates each year.

Minor league baseball does it with fan-friendly (though admittedly hokey) promotions in a way that major league baseball never can. But MLB tries. They have scads of promotions, from fan photo days and bobblehead doll giveaways to all sorts of other events designed to narrow the distance between the guy buying the tickets and the players on the field.

Can the World Series of Poker get back to the way it was? I don't think so. In fact, I don't want to see that kind of shrinkage. After all, no one wants to return to the days when 300 entrants into the main event was considered a big turnout. But there is much that can be done to regain much of the intimacy that has been lost over the past few years.

At this point in its history the WSOP appears to be a prisoner of its own success. Everything has grown so very large so quickly, except for the fun factor. That's been shrinking. I'm hoping that Harrah's sees the need to bring it back, and understands its importance in the WSOP experience.

If they can grow the WSOP while retaining a player friendly sense of informality, and raise the fun factor in the process, perhaps my Canadian friend, and others I've talked to who expressed very similar opinions, will come back next year instead of seeking out other venues for their poker fix.

When that happens, the answer to the "Are we having fun yet?" question will be a resounding "Yes!"

I discovered this fun little thread about Allen Cunningham. First off is a question about How Does He Do It?

Follow up with a story of playing with him from one of my fave RGP'rs, Howard Treesong.

How does Cunningham do it?

Allen Cunningham seems to go deep in an astounding amount of tournaments that have a high proportion of amateurs (i.e. large fields and/or low buy-ins). I think every pro recognizes that Cunningham is a very solid player, but it would appear that he is a step ahead of them all when it comes to maximizing value and minimizing volatility against poor players.

For example, the two bracelets Cunningham has won over the past two years have been in fields of 2,305 ($1,500 with no rebuys) and 752 ($1,000 with rebuys). He also won a preliminary event at at WSOP circuit tournament that had 342 entries ($1,000 with rebuys). Now he is in the midst of tearing up the biggest donk field in the history of poker. So how the hell does he do it?

Personally, I think he views his opposition as though they are sub-human, retarded calling stations and adjusts his playing style accordingly. This of course means he just waits for the nuts and then shoves all his chips in, letting the donks form all the conspiracy theories about his holdings that they want. I mean, how else could you explain a hand like this?

Kevin Aaronson raises to $170,000. Erik Friberg, Richard Lee and Allen Cunningham make the call. The flop comes K52. Lee and Cunningham check. Aaronson bets $400,000 and Friberg calls. Cunningham check raises all-in for $2,255,000 more. Aaronson debates a call and eventually folds. After three minutes, Friberg makes the call. Friberg shows 99. Cunningham shows a flopped set with 55. The turn and river come QQ, and Cunningham doubles up to $6,000,000. After the hand, Friberg is down to $4,200,000.

Cunningham didn't screw around. He didn't slow play, he didn't try to induce a
bluff. He just check-raised all in on the flop and let Friberg, who obviously
"put him" on Ax of spades, lose his mind.


My experience is different. I'll repost an excerpt from an '04 trip report from the $5K NLH at the Bellagio -- the event where Cunningham was leading until the power went out. I've included some context. Stan is Stan Goldstein and Mickey Mouse is actually Mickey Mills. I can only conclude that Allen is very capable of shifting gears:

I move into the three seat, with Raymond Davis in the one, an Asian guy I don't know in the two, and David Plastik in the four. I immediately find QQ and reraise the Asian guy; he mucks. I steal two pots, reraise the Asian guy again with AK, and all of the sudden, I'm back in business. I bust Ray's short stack when he moves with Axs and I call with 77. Allen Cunningham moves in with a T40,000 stack.

At the T400-800 level, a huge pot develops between Allen and a guy named Stan. I don't know his last name. He appeared to be an experienced player: he knew many of the people in the room and he and Allen were discussing a hand they'd played some time back. He was also very aggressive, and it felt like he was playing back at me more often than he ought to. In any event, Stan had over T40,000 in chips and Alan somewhere in the mid-thirties. Stan raised from MP to T4000; Allen, in late position, reraised to T12000, and Stan moved in. Allen called quickly. I was more than a little surprised to see Stan roll over 66 and Allen AK. Allen, however, flopped a king, turned a king, and rivered a king for quads.

Mickey Mouse moves in to the table. I've played with him many times, but I don't know his last name; he's tight and careful. I raise to T3500 from EP with AsQs. Mickey, on a short stack of about T13000 raises all-in. I've got about T28000. I go into the tank. I consider my play against Jim Miller last December holding AJ. I
figure out what Mickey can be holding: he hasn't played a hand in half an hour, and he's not bloody likely to be holding 66. I think he has a minimum of QQ or AK, so I finally muck. No lousing up AJ or equivalent for me, baby! Mickey courteously shows me the AK, and I exult internally -- making good laydowns and then getting confirmation of it is a huge confidence builder.

Limits go up to T600-1200. I put out an MP raise on a cold steal, and Stan reraises. I muck. Three orbits later, with twenty minutes to go until the dinner break, I'm in the big blind. It's folded to Alex Brenes, who makes it T3500 to go. Allen raises T10000 more. I don't look at my cards, but instead assess the situation for a moment. I'm almost positive that a big raise will get Alex to muck his hand. And
as for Allen, he's been involved in well over a pot a round; more like a pot every six hands -- and half an hour before, he was involved in six or seven consecutive pots. He can afford to play aggressively, though, because he's by far the deep stack (pushing T80,000) after his huge confrontation with Stan.

I think through the chip positions and then look at my cards. 77. Ugh; that's a tough decision. It's very likely the best hand: Allen certainly doesn't need to need a big hand to make his move, and in fact, I think he's pretty likely to try to trap with a big A or a premium pair. If he has a micropair, I've got him dominated; I'm in great shape if he has A2 through A7; and I'm an eleven to ten favorite against A8-AK or two paints.

The only situation where I'm really in the crapper is 88 or 99, maybe TT. I think there's a chance he'll fold, too, so I stack off. Brenes mucks immediately, and Allen goes in the tank. He can do the math faster and more accurately than I can: playing eight-handed, there's T1400 from the small blind and antes. There's Brenes's T3500. There's Allen's own T13500. There's my T12200 call. All that plus my T11000
raise is almost T43000, which Allen can get for a mere T11000.

He looks at me a little sheepishly, as if to admit he knows I've got the best hand, which he surely does, and says "I'm already invested in it." He calls. He rolls over KT off with the K of diamonds. I'm an 11:9 favorite to his offsuit overcards. I feel a frisson as I see a paint on the first card off, but it's a harmless J, along with a 6 and, I think, a 4. Two are diamonds. Solid: I move up to a 70-30 favorite. The turn is a 9 of diamonds. Ugh -- that gives Allen nine diamond outs and four queen outs, plus five overcards, subtracting one off because it's already counted as a diamond. That's eighteen of forty-four. The dealer pauses, burns, and rolls a red five. I blink and look twice: sure enough, it's a damn diamond. My positive EV blows away like smoke in the summer Vegas wind, and I head home just
in time to make Easter dinner and play with the kids.

It's really a sign of the times that I have to blog all this poker related legalese crap. But this WTO case has been dragging on and on and on. Here's the latest update on how the US is trying to deal with losing the case along with Jay Cohen info. Truly an interesting read:

Against All Odds
Antigua Besting U.S. in Internet Gambling Case at WTO

Locked in a federal prison in the Nevada desert, tortured by the distant lights of the Las Vegas strip, Jay Cohen couldn't stop thinking about getting even with the government that had put him away -- and his revenge fantasy had a unique twist.

U.S. prosecutors put Cohen behind bars in 2002 for running an Internet gambling site in the Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda. Not long before the prison gates clanged shut, he had learned that the federal crackdown on online betting might violate global trade rules.

So he got Antigua and Barbuda to instigate a complaint at the World Trade Organization. "It kind of helped keep my spirits up," he said.

Fast forward: Antigua and Barbuda, population 69,000, is winning. The case has become an embarrassment to Washington, one that could result in economic pain. It isn't quite over, but the world's only superpower may have to capitulate to a country whose entire population could easily fit into the Rose Bowl.

Never has such a tiny nation brought a WTO complaint against the United States, which is one reason the dispute has implications well beyond the issue of gambling.

A frequent irritant in international relations is that small, weak countries such as Antigua feel run over by big, rich countries such as the United States. That's especially true in global trade. For instance, developing countries say their destitute farmers get the short end of the stick because of the subsidies and protections that rich governments give their farmers. Just last week, negotiations to
redress such grievances collapsed.

The WTO, the body that referees global commerce from its offices in Geneva, claims to play equalizer: Its Web site notes that small countries have beaten bigger ones in its trade courts. A win for Antigua would improve the WTO's image of requiring all nations, Davids and Goliaths alike, to follow the rules.

At the same time, global institutions such as the WTO sometimes seem to infringe on national sovereignty, forcing countries to defy the will of their own people. An Antiguan victory could inflame such feelings in Congress. Sentiment against online gambling remains strong there; the House recently voted to bolster the U.S. ban on it.

Far as it may be from the central debates of world trade, the curious tale of Internet gambling in Antigua reveals a lot about the perceptions of fairness that fuel those debates.

Setting global precedents wasn't what Cohen, now 38, had in mind a decade ago when he quit his job as a floor trader at the Pacific Stock Exchange and moved to Antigua with a couple of friends.

Gambling was legal in Antigua, so Cohen and his buddies figured they would have no problem operating a business that took sports bets from people in the United States. Between golf rounds and fishing trips, they built World Sports Exchange Ltd., one of several dozen Internet betting parlors then springing up in Antigua and elsewhere.

They booked millions of dollars in wagers, mostly on football games and other sporting events in the United States. The industry boomed, becoming Antigua's second-largest employer, after tourism. "Life was fine," Cohen recalled.

Back in the States, though, many leaders grew alarmed, citing a risk that computer betting would lure teenagers and fuel gambling addiction. A crackdown ensued. "You can't go offshore and hide. You can't go online and hide," said Janet Reno, the attorney general at the time.

In 1998, federal prosecutors charged several operators, including Cohen, with violating a 1960s-era law forbidding the use of phone wires for gambling. Convinced that the law didn't apply in Antigua, Cohen returned voluntarily to U.S. soil.

"No judge is going to let this stand," he recalled thinking. But a jury convicted him, the judge gave him 21 months, and the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal.

Out of the blue, not long before Cohen entered prison in Nevada, a strange letter arrived. He has since lost it. The writer suggested that the U.S. government's position left it vulnerable to a trade complaint.

"Is there anything to this?" he asked a lawyer friend.

Turned out there might be: Several years earlier, Washington had pledged in a trade treaty to open the U.S. market in "recreational, cultural and sporting services" to global competition.

Cohen alerted the Antiguans. They hesitated to file a case, citing one of the biggest inequities in the WTO system: a dearth of funds and legal expertise that often shuts out small countries. Antigua's budget is $145 million a year, and a trade case promised to cost at least $1 million.

The gambling industry finally agreed to foot the bill. Antigua filed. "Did we not have a duty to our citizens to protect their jobs?" said Sir Ronald Sanders, who was then Antigua's ambassador to Britain and the WTO.

The United States had a seemingly strong defense -- the need to protect "public morals and public order." WTO member countries can ban goods and services that might harm their social fabric, a classic case being the prohibition of liquor imports in Muslim countries.

"Gambling in general, and remote supply of gambling in particular, raises grave law-enforcement and consumer-protection concerns," the U.S. trade representative's office said in a legal filing. Attorneys for the trade representative declined to make additional public comments.

There was, however, a hole in the U.S. position: The government tolerates Internet betting on horse races and, in some states, lotteries and other games. Numerous U.S. sites, including Youbet.com and Xpressbet.com, let users wager on races from the New Jersey Meadowlands to the Louisiana Downs.

This was blatant hypocrisy, the Antiguans claimed, contending that the U.S. position violated a trade principle called "national treatment." The principle essentially requires a government to treat foreign goods and services the same as domestic ones. To outlaw liquor imports, a Muslim country must ban domestic brewing, too.

Likewise, the Antiguans contended, the United States can bar citizens from using overseas gambling sites only if it bans domestic sites. Yet Congress has refused to enact a comprehensive ban -- in part because horse racing depends on phone and Internet wagers.

Gambling "preys on lower income classes," said Gary C. Hufbauer, a trade specialist at the Institute for International Economics, who opposes it. "But here we've had all this tolerance toward gambling -- Indian gambling, for example, in my native state of New Mexico. So if the U.S. is going to tolerate this amount of vice, while ruling out a foreign supplier of vice, it does seem to be . . . inconsistent" with trade rules.

WTO judges bought that argument. Antigua won a slam-dunk ruling in 2004, and though an appeals panel scaled it back, Washington was still in a tough spot. The final ruling essentially said that the United States must outlaw all forms of online gambling, including on horse racing, or Antigua wins.

The U.S. government has refused to concede defeat.

The Bush administration first vowed to secure legislation "clarifying" that all forms of online betting are illegal. But the horse racing industry has blocked such efforts on Capitol Hill.

Next, the administration cited testimony by the Justice Department in April claiming that all Internet wagering across state lines, including that on horses, violates existing laws. That was news to the horse racing industry, and it seems to have had little effect. Even so, the administration has pointed to the statement as evidence that the United States treats all online gambling the same.

Scoffing, the Antiguans are asking the WTO to declare that Washington is defying its ruling. Many experts expect Antigua to win again, after months of delay.

Then comes the hard part for Antigua.

The WTO cannot force a country to do anything. Even if found guilty, a country can refuse to change its trade practices. The WTO largely enforces its rulings by giving the victorious country the right to impose punitive duties on the loser's products.

That enforcement mechanism works for big, rich countries such as the United States because other nations fear losing the vast U.S. market. But Antigua's economy is so tiny that few U.S. companies would notice.

"The WTO gives the little guys clout, but it cannot guarantee symmetry of justice," said Claude Barfield, a trade expert at the American Enterprise Institute.

So the Antiguans plan to ask the WTO for the right to impose sanctions that would hurt -- namely, permission to copy and export U.S.-made DVDs, CDs and similar material. Hollywood is not amused.

It's unclear whether the WTO will allow Antigua to exact such a pound of flesh. For now, the Antiguans are trying shame, accusing the United States of being a scofflaw. If Washington refuses to obey WTO rulings, the Antiguans say, other countries may follow suit, undermining global trade.

Cohen, the convicted gambling tycoon, has finished his probation but will not say what he's doing. He has nothing but scorn for U.S. trade policymakers.

"They're so stubborn," he said. "They want all these commitments from other countries, and tell them, 'Oh yeah, we're all equal.' But when they lose, they run away."


Damn, this is where I wanted to rant about something in particular, but it's late, I haven't packed yet and have to get up very early.

Getting up early is not one of my strong suits.

So this is where I say thanks for anyone reading this far. Always appreciated.

This post took forever to write.
Brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit.
If you've already got a Party Poker account, consider signing up on a new site through one of my other banners. No one ever does so I figure I might as well ask.

I don't know if anyone besides me loves well-done trip reports. But I love sharing em for the people who do. So today you get a couple. To hold you over till my return.

Here's the first, from an old school RGP'r, Mr. Haskins:


Vegas Trip

Although we stayed at The Orleans (for the last time--too many kids running
around) I am smitten with the Bellagio. I love everything about the place
and spent almost all my time there except when I played the $1,500 NLHE at
the WSOP (ended with an uneventful bust on day one).

The poker room was packed the whole week with wall-to-wall action. One
night I noticed John Hennigan at a table. I looked at the game while I
waited and it looked like he was playing in a "lowly" 600-1200 game in the
main room since the bigger game was in Bobby's Room (which was always filled
with the names--Ivey, Greenstein, etc.)

I played primarily 30-60 HE but got on lists for 15-30 and played some
100-200. Amazing contrasts among these three levels. The 15-30 was raked,
the 30-60 had a time charge of $6 from every player every new dealer down,
and the 100-200 had a "time pot" every dealer down where the rake for that
down was taken out of the first pot with no rake thereafter until the next

The level of aggressiveness escalated with each level. 100-200 is a bit out
of the bankroll I brought but I was running well at 30-60 and bought into
the 100-200 for two racks ($25) and some cash which seemed a little
excessive but that's what everyone else had and more. I soon found out why.
Super-aggression. In the 30-60 sometimes the blinds would chop. The
subject never came up in the 100 game: raised, two-bet, three-bet and more
every hand. I was at a feeder game that became short-handed (five of us)
and that is what I like best. The two-rack or more buy-in can go quickly
with that level of aggression but it can add up fast, too. It wasn't too
long until I was called to the main game and I didn't want to leave the
short-handed table I was on.

The hand I remember most was at the main table. MP player raises, 7 seat
raises, I look down at KK and three-bet, it goes back around to MP who
four-bets and 7 seat caps (there can be a four raises). We all put in $500.
Flop is 5-6-7 rainbow. MP bets, 7 seat calls, I raise, it's capped again.
Turn is an Ace. MP bets, 7 seat calls (very fishy after the hand), I raise,
MP goes into the tank and says, "I guess that hit you" and he folds. 7 seat
raises. Shit. There is a mountain of green chips in the pot. I call him
down and he turns over 8c9c. He flopped the nut straight. He was a local
player named Tong or Kong and he was on tilt from an earlier hand when his
aces got cracked. Still, he capped it pre-flop with that hand. That
puzzled me and I cashed out. If you play while steaming in that game just
kiss your ass goodbye.

I'm definitely staying at the Bellagio next time. The tournments there were
SUPERB. Jack McClellan runs them. $1,000 +80, start out with T5,000,
blinds of 25-50, and 40 minute levels. TONS of play and the final table
takes about twelve hours or more to reach with still lots of play. NOTE:
you can't buy in for cash, you have to buy chips (usually a $1,000 chip). I
cashed once for $2,100 and played in three. I highly recommend these.
Usually a minimun of 200 players with 400+ at the 2:00 p.m. with the winner
taking $80,000 -127,000. They ran two a day but I think that was for the
duration of the WSOP. They called it The Bellagio Cup or some such.
Excellent tournament structure, and you play in the Fontana Lounge. It was
a nightclub they converted to a poker room and it has windows looking out to
the fountains, no smoking, lots of sunlight. Just perfect.

Other miscellaneous items:

1. If you cash out at the cage for more than $3,000 you have to show ID.
This is apparently a new gaming regulation and caused a lot of waiting at
the cage. The lesson apparently is don't cash out more than that at a time.

2. Best t-shirt I saw: "I have too much blood in my alcohol system."

3. Best story. This is from a craps dealer at Caesar's Palace. Caeser and
his entourage made their way through the pit. I said, "That guy really
looks like Caesar." The craps dealer said, "And he really thinks he's
Caesar in the break room." I chuckled. He then told me a story that he
swears is true. About ten years ago they hired a guy to play Caesar and he
was nuts. He really thought he was Caesar. One day, the Sheriff's deputies
come in and arrest Caesar for back child support. He resists. As they slap
the cuffs on him, he bellows, "Don't you know who I am?! I AM CAESAR!!!"
The drag the poor guy from the casino, all the while he's bellowing that he
is Caesar!

4. Steve Dannenman was at my table during one of the Bellagio tournaments.
I sat next to him and he was wise-cracking the whole time, just like he
acted on TV. It really relaxed the table and loosened things up. I liked
it. He was gracious when he busted and was very good to have at the table.

Here's #2. A doozy.


My WSOP Main Event Tournament Report (With Prologue)

Warning: This fucker is going to be long. Grab a pizza, some delicious
combination of barley and hops, and make sure you’re comfortable.

This story starts all the way back in September of 2005. I’m on my laptop one
day, watching the DVD “The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior”, when I get
an IM from veeRob telling me he had just won a tournament where 1st prize was a
Caribbean vacation and entry to a bunch of tournaments. Of course, my first
question, as a true friend, was “What site?” I mean, if Rob could win a
tournament there for that, I could probably win like a minimum of thirty. His
answer? “JetSet Poker.”

Over the following months, I learned a bunch of things about JetSet and its
players. What I learned about JetSet that is relevant to this discussion is
that the head of support there, Andrew Smith, is a real standup guy who
understands and cares about player’s concerns. Initially, this led me to
believe that the entire support staff was top notch. After some time dealing
with them, I can safely say that Andrew and a few others who work there are an
aberration. The majority of the other support workers for JetSet either don’t
understand or don’t care about the players on the site, or at least from my
experience, that’s the way it seems to me. I mean no disrespect by this, as I
continue to play on the site and recommend it to other people, but it’s an
honest observations. What I learned about the players that is relevant to this
discussion is that the majority of them are large vaginas. Anybody who has
played there can attest to the fact that it’s reminiscent of a high school
yearbook meeting. They all consider themselves to be best friends and true
buddies. Also, they are the most horrible players I have ever come across as a
collective. Weak tight to the nth degree. Obviously, when Rob and I (and to a
lesser extent GambleAB) started playing there, our personalities did not mesh
with the group as a whole. We are sarcastic and brutally honest at the tables,
which irritated the players to no end. In additition to that, we were destroying
the tournaments on the site whenever we felt like playing the low limit stuff
they spread and taking it seriously. In the space of a few days, 95 percent of
the players hated us. This will become important later.

Fast forward to January. I had started my “career” job in November after
finishing up with college and because of this, I hadn’t had time to play any
poker. Around January, I had gotten in synch with my new schedule enough to
begin playing again. At that time, I noticed a promotion that JetSet was
having. It was a World Series of Poker Points Race. To sum it up, from
November 15th thru February 15th, JetSet held two WSOP Points Race tournaments a
day. In addition to the cash payouts, the final table of each tournament
received WSOP Race Points, with the most points going to first place
(obviously), and the weekend tournaments being higher buy-ins and worth more
points than the weekly tournaments. At the end of the three month period,
whoever was in first place got a WSOP Main Event package worth 12k. The 2nd
through 19th place finishers would be placed into an 18 man, 2 table Sit and Go
where the winner would also receive the 12k package.

As I said, I hadn’t been playing poker at all until January. On January 15th, I
was on JetSet’s homepage and saw this promotion. It had already been running
for two months at this point and there was thirty days left. After running the
numbers with GambleAB, we realized that assuming the players were slightly below
average (a safe assumption), it would be possible to make a run in the last
thirty days and possibly get as high as 16th place. Top 19 was tough but doable
in the amount of time left. So for shits and giggles, I decided to start
playing the events to see if I could actually get into the two table Sit and Go
for the WSOP Main Event seat.

Fast forward to February 15th. In thirty days, I had gone from zero points to
somewhere in the top ten in WSOP Race Points (I forget exactly, but I think it
was ninth). That weekend, I would be playing in the 18 man Sit and Go freeroll
for a World Series of Poker Main Event seat. Now I’m a decent player. I tend
to put myself slightly above average, but not much. One of my greatest
strengths as a player is my ability to accurately judge my skill level relative
to the field and adjust my game accordingly. In a normal two table, I’d put my
odds of winning somewhere around 18 to 1, possibly 17 to 1. In this tournament,
if I was booking it, I would have put myself at 8 to 1 to win it. I wasn’t
worried about the players beating me as much as I was worried about me beating

I played a looser game than I normally play in this SnG and ran my chips up
quickly. I put a few “bad beats” on other players when they priced me in with
draws, which I hit, and then got them to stack off with an overpair into my
straight/flush/set/two pair hand. Now, rather than accepting defeat graciously,
or even saying “You suck” and then leaving, the players I busted and their
friends stayed around on the rail, taunting me, threatening me, rooting against
me, etc.

Let’s take a quick flashback right now to a JetSet tournament I had played about
a month before that. It was their “big” weekly 55 dollar 10k guarantee. When I
got to the final table, head of support Andrew had come to wish everybody luck
and stuck around to talk with me a little bit, as I had met him previously and
we got along pretty well. So he was still at the table when I got heads up with
a slight chip lead. I could tell the guy I was heads up with wasn’t comfortable
playing for that much money (2500 for 1st, 1500 for 2nd), so I figured I could
take advantage of him in a deal. I only had him slightly outchipped, but I
offered a deal where I would get 2350 and he could have 1650. He was about to
accept it when the rail chimed in, telling him what a bad deal it was, how I was
ripping him off, etc. He ended up rejecting the deal, which didn’t bother me
much because I won the tournament. However, I was at another table on JetSet at
the same time and Andrew came to the table to talk about the situation with me.
I made my objection about how the rail should not have chat at final tables so
situations like that would not occur. He concurred with my assessment and told
me that it would be rectified in the near future.

So back to the WSOP Qualifier. When we got down to one table from the original
two, I realized that the rail still had chat. I didn’t really mind the abusive
comments towards me, most of them made me laugh. I was worried about someone
from the rail influencing the action, directly or indirectly. JetSet Poker has
a live support feature where you can call an admin to the table. I did that and
asked the admin to dechat the rail for the duration of the final table. He
refused; instead, he issues the rail a warning. I objected, he still refused.
Five minutes later, I was still being berated in chat nonstop, so once again I
called the admin to the table and asked him to dechat the rail. Once again, he
refused (even after I pointed out that a warning was already issued and did
nothing to stop the behavior) and this time told me that if I had a problem with
it, I could always opt to hide observer chat from myself. Obviously I didn’t
want to do that because I wanted to keep an eye on what they were saying so that
I had all of the information the other players at the table had. I understood
the first warning to the rail from the admin – JetSet really fosters a
“community vibe” and the admin didn’t want to upset the regulars by not allowing
the people who were just there to cheer for their friends to have the ability to
do so. However, when the warning did nothing, the chat should have been banned

I ended up calling the admin to the table about a half dozen times during the
course of the final table, first asking and then pleading with him to dechat the
rail. He repeatedly refused. This all becomes relevant when we got to heads
up. My opponent had me slightly outchipped at this point. I called a raise
with A3o and saw a flop of J 9 3. I checkraised my opponent all in on the
flop. As soon as I did that, the rail EXPLODED. “You have to call”, “He does
that on a draw”, “He’s weak, trust me”. After tanking, the other guy called
with J2o, I didn’t get there, and he won.

Immediately, I sat at another table and called live support. It was the same
admin who had repeatedly refused to dechat the rail at the final table. In
response to his question of “How may I help you?”, I told him he could have
helped me by banning the chat the first 6 times I asked, but since he didn’t do
that, I doubted he could help me at this point and I would like to talk to a
different support representative and/or his supervisor. He flat out refused to
put me into contact with somebody else for close to 20 minutes, repeatedly
telling me that all support members were equally able to assist customers.
After putting up with this for (in my estimation) far too long, I lost my temper
and started berating the support guy, demanding to talk to Andrew. Finally,
Andrew came to the table and asked for an explanation of the situation. I
spelled it out for him and he told me he would look into it and call me later on
that night.

Now, at this point in the situation, I wasn’t expecting much. I thought I got a
raw deal. Note that I don’t know if the rail influenced the call on the final
hand, but I honestly don’t believe it matters. Just the fact that it COULD
have, and the situation could have easily been avoided, was enough for me to
think that I was screwed over. But obviously there’s no way of knowing whether
or not I would have ended up winning, so I figured getting a seat was probably
too much. My equity at that point was around 6k, but even that seemed like a
lot. I assumed if they agreed with my thoughts on the whole thing, I would get
some cash and maybe some freeroll entries into subsequent WSOP satellites.

Andrew called me back a few hours later and told me that after reviewing the
chat transcripts and the action, management agreed with my take on the
situation. As a show of good faith, they would buy me in to the WSOP Main Event
as a member of Team JetSet. At the time (and still to this day) I was shocked
and amazed by the way that JetSet Poker went out of its way and above and beyond
the call of duty to keep a player happy and do what they thought was correct. I
have had problems with certain support members in the past but I always know
that if I disagree with a decision, I can always take it up with upper
management if I think something is wrong and they will look into it with an
unbiased eye. I dislike the cliquey community atmosphere that JetSet has (as
poker is a game when I’m trying to take your money, not be your friend), but the
respect that management shows its players is extraordinary.

Let’s take the TiVo remote and once more fast forward to this past week. At
noon on July 28th, I took my seat at and started to play some cards in the World
Series of Poker Main Event. I had decided beforehand that if the table would
let me, I would play over half of the pots and see if I could push the table
around and chip up steadily by taking down small pots. It worked well as I got
up close to 14k by the end of the first level. It helped that the first hand, I
raised from EP with QQ, 2 callers, and the flop came Q 5 2. I led out at the
flop, both folded, and I showed my set. A few hands later, I’m in the BB with
Q5d, UTG raises to 200, 2 callers before me so I throw in the extra 150 to take
a flop. Flop comes 667 with two hearts, we check to the UTG raiser who fires
out 800. It’s folded to me, so I mincheckraise to 1600 and he calls. Turn is
the Jack of clubs and I shuffle my chips for a few seconds before checking,
making it look like I’m on a flush draw. UTG throws 1200 chips into the pot and
I quickly mincheckraise him again to 2400. He tanks and finally folds AA face
up. With pleading eyes, he asks me “Did I make a good fold?” so I show him the
Q high, no draw. He punches the table and walks out of the room quickly.
(Interesting side note, he busted in 3 hands after he came back when he couldn’t
let go of queens against the SB’s obvious KK/AA, which turned out to be KK on a
ten high board. I successfully put him on tilt, I just couldn’t be the one to
get his chips when he tried to give them away).

So I’m chipping up nicely, up to around 14k in the 2nd level, then down to 11k
when I take a short stack on with 1010 against his AJ and he gets there, when
the first hit comes. I raise to 600 from MP with J9d, both blinds call. Flop
comes Jx 9x 2d. Checked to me, I lead out for 1100. SB folds and BB
coldcalls. Turn comes 5d and BB leads out for 1k. I really have no clue where
he’s at at this point, but I have top two and might back into a flush, so I pop
him up to 3k (he has me covered at this point). He thinks for a few seconds and
calls. River comes Ad. Immediately, BB fires out 2500. I’m just totally
confused at this point. Does he have AJ? A set? I have both of those hands
beat. I can’t really put him on a bigger flush than me since the Ad hit and I
can’t imagine he’d call the flop with King high. I end up flatcalling and he
flips up Q10d and rakes the pot. I take a 7k hit to my stack and am around 4k.

Later on, still the 2nd level, I’m around 3500 when the pot is limped 5 ways and
I call from the SB with 62d. BB checks and we see a flop 7 ways. Flop comes
10x 6x 2x. I check, the BB leads out for 800 and it’s folded to me. I pop him
back to 2k, ready to stack off if he pushes. He IMMEDIATELY pushes and seems
damn happy with his hand. The problem is, my raise only leaves me with 1500
back, so I see no way that I can fold the hand. He could be doing that easily
with just a ten, knowing that my relatively short stack can’t hurt his (which is
around 25k at this point after his QQ cracked AA all in preflop with a four
flush). I’m sitting there thinking through everything, really having no plan on
folding but not wanting to rush the decision. I start studying him and I
realize that he REALLY wants a call. I can’t beat anything that he REALLY wants
a call with so I’m trying to talk myself into folding. I’ll still have 15BB but
winning this pot would get me back over 8k and allow me to start chipping up
again. A clock is called on me and I eventually, painfully fold. He just
looked too damn comfortable. The kind scallywag took pity on me and showed me
his hand before he mucked – 10 2.

Obviously I’m not happy with my chip stack at this point, but I’m happy I’m
still in the tournament after getting cold decked twice. I get down to 900 at
one point and then get it back up to 1800 with some preflop stealing and leading
out from the BB in a limped pot and taking it down. I have 1800 in the BB when
the cutoff, an aggressive Danish guy, raises it to 300. The button, a weaktight
older man, flat calls and it’s folded to me. I look down and find K10o and
push, figuring I can squeeze the cutoff out and possibly get the button to fold
for the extra 1500. The cutoff looks sick and folds and the button tanks. He
finally calls and flips up 33. Flop A Q 7. Turn 7. River J. I make Broadway
and am back up to almost 4k.

Penultimate hand in level 2 I’m in the cutoff with 55 and I call a MP raise to
300. Flop comes QQ5 and MP checks to me. I lead out for 500 into the 750 pot
and he checkraises me to 2500. I stack off, he has to call the last 1500 with
QJ and doesn’t hit. From 900 to 8k in one level, not too shabby.

The 3rd level was uneventful, I basically treaded water and finished with around
9k if I remember correctly. After the dinner break, I chipped up to 15k when I
called the SB’s raise after it was folded to him and I was in the BB with 85o.
Flop came Q82. He bet ½ the pot and I called to see what he’d do on the turn.
Well, the turn came another 8. He led out for ¾ of the pot, so I minraised,
making it look like a feeler bet, hoping he’d try to stack off or at least put
another raise in. He tanked and flatcalled. River came another 2, giving me
8’s full. SB checked to me, and I led out for like 3k (sorry for forgetting the
chip counts/bets exactly here, I didn’t take notes because I wasn’t planning on
writing anything up). The SB autocalled and quickly flipped up his Ace high.
Good read sir.

So I’m at 15k for a little while but then take a hit when another player calls a
big bet on the river with the board reading AJ234, 3 clubs with A10o which has
my Qc10x killed. I played it like a flush draw and bet it like a flush draw
when the club hit the river, but the guy made a great read on me on the river
and I was back down to around 8k.

Last hand before the end of the 4th level. 100/200, ante 25. I’m in the BB
with J10s. MP raises to 900 and it’s folded to me. I flatcall. I have about
9k to start the hand. The flop comes Jx 6s 5s. I consider leading out, but he
basically always bet the flop when he raised preflop, so I wanted to get some
more money in the pot. I check to him and he bets 1500. I think for a few
seconds and stack off. I didn’t really have a read on the guy at that point, he
was a pretty solid player is about all I could tell you. I thought there was a
good chance I had the best hand and didn’t want to get outplayed later on in the
hand and if I didn’t have the best hand, at least I was the one jamming with a
shit ton of outs. The table is empty at this point except for the two of us and
the dealer since we’re on break. The other player tanks for around 5 minutes,
trying to talk himself into calling out loud so I really have no clue what he
has at this point. After what seems like an eternity, he calls and flips
up…AJo, no spade. Well, I’m not as live as I’d like but at least I’m live.
Unfortunately, the board blanks out and I bust. IGHN.

I can’t feel too bad about the tournament I guess. I made some good plays, some
good folds, and ran into a few bad hands early. I mean, obviously I second
guess my bustout hand, but I was willing to take a shot in that position to get
some chips so that when the blinds went up to 200/400 with an ante, I’d have
some more ammo to work with. I’m really pleased that my player reading ability
is where it’s at and is improving steadily. And I’m in Vegas for 10 days,
hanging out with friends and having a blast. I can find no reason to be upset.

For all the RGPers still alive in the Main Event, best of luck.


And finally, last but most certainly not least, Tuscaloosa Johnny offering up the next installment of his WSOP tale:

Subject: Day 3 report
Author: Tuscaloosa Johnny

You could sense the high nerves as players made their way to the Rio
for Day 3 of the main event. More than 250 players would be eliminated
Friday without making the money, despite two full days of tiring,
meticulous play on the green felt. Short stacks would be looking to
double up early while medium stacks would be looking not to screw up. I
figured I was in good shape with my 142K as it put me in the top 140 of
the 1,159 players remaining.

I made my way to Table 39, and had to wait several minutes to unbag my
chips as the big stack to my left, Bill Gustafin, sorted his black and
pinks and yellows. That's one thing I had not experienced before -
in truth, I never thought about it. It takes several minutes to empty
those bags of chips and stack the chips by proper denomination if you
have hundreds of them, like Bill and myself. To my right sat Mark
Lawler, dressed in a coat and tie and a bowler with a feather peeking
out of the brim.

"I bought it in the gift shop this morning," he said of the cap.

I asked him if he was trying to play up to the cameras, but Lawler said
he just wanted to look good today. I choose to wear my white Poker
Share polo and straw hat I picked up at the party at the Palms. All I
needed was a piece of straw to chew to complete the country boy look.

"You're name is Mark, right?" I asked Lawler. He was surprised
before I told him I had researched him and the other players on the
Card Player Web site the night before. I didn't mind telling them
because I thought it would give me the appearance of someone they
should fear at the table.

"I imagine you found nothing on me," he said. He was right.

But it was the guy without the acclaim that would take more than 40
percent of my stack early and it was a foreboding start to the day.
Here's how the hand came down: Lawler raised to 3,600 and I called
with Qd-Jd. The flop was a Q-J-9 rainbow and Lawler bet 5K. Wanting to
play the hand for value, I raised to 12K rather than shut my opponent
out of the pot. That turned out to be my undoing. Lawler pushed all in
and I called. He showed T-J and hit an 8 on the turn for the straight.
I missed the re-draw on the river and pushed about 60K Lawler's way.

Despite that hit, I remained composed with my remaining 80K and built
it back up to 89,500 at the first break (only one hour in since we
stopped mid level on Tuesday.)

Before going back in, I felt a pat on the shoulder. I turned around to
find Gustafin with a grin on his face. "Hang in there buddy," he
told me. I was delighted that this big stack to my left, who could
create headaches galore for my now slightly below average stack, was
such a nice guy.

The field narrowed to 910 players during the second level. Only 37 more
players to go before the money. Play tightens further and I become more
aggressive. Here's two examples:

1) I'm in the small blind with Jc-8d and Lawler limps. He checks the
Qs-2h-3c flop and I bet 3,500 and he calls. A Kh appears on the turn
and he checks again. I fire another 9K and Lawler folds.
2) Two hands later I'm on the button and try to steal the blinds (now
800/1,600) with a 4,500 bet with K-7 off and a big stack calls in the
big blind. After a flop of J-2-3 rainbow he checks and I fire another
6K. He mucks 6-6 faceup and we go to break.

I'm at 107,600 at the break and feeling good. Even the big stacks are
letting me push them around. It's a friendly table and I seem to be
ruling it. So of course my table is broken minutes after we return. I
take my new seat at Table 51 and find several young, aggressive players
with monster stacks. It's my worst WSOP nightmare come to life.

I'm forced to completely change my game strategy, going from the
aggressor to the passive player. There's no playing these guys
without a hand and I don't want to bubble. We narrow to eight hundred
eighty something and we begin playing round for round. After each
dealer deals around to where the big blind started, he or she stands up
and waits for all the tables to complete the action. After one round,
we are down to 876 players and have to continue the round for round.
Finally, after round two we are all in the money.

Tournament director Jack Eiffel announces the fact and the room is
filled with cheers and claps. A man at the table to my right, British
apparently as he's wearing pants with the Union Jack, stands on a
chair and shouts to the rafters.

"That's step one," I tell the man to my right.

"Did anyone tell you you look like that actor?" he asks.

"James Spader," I reply.

"Yes, that's him," he says.

Unfortunately, step one would be the only step for me. We play a few
more hands and players drop like flies. The floorpeople bring racks
over to our table as they're about to break us. In fact, I have
nearly all my 80K in chips in racks when this table's final hand is
dealt. Matt Maroon raises the 2K blind to 6K and an aggressive Asian
guy on the button makes it 16,700. I look down and find K-K. Finally,
after waiting this table out, I pick up a hand with a chance to double
up or more before moving to new digs. I think for a minute before
pushing all in.

Maroon calls quickly, making me think I might be screwed. When the
Asian guy calls too I know I'm screwed. Maroon turns over Q-Q. The
button turns over A-A. No one improves and two of us go home.

You hear stories of how people react when they're knocked out of the
main event, but I took it in stride. It was that tranquility that
allowed me to keep an even keel through the first two and a half days
and I kept that same attitude upon being eliminated.

I didn't care much for the guy on the button. He was a bit of a dick
and he had a haircut that could have sprung from an Archie's comic,
with hair shaved close around the sides and parted in the middle on
top. But I bit my tongue.

I just shoved my racks of chips over.

"Nice hand, sir," I said before being escorted to the payout desks.

My final showing was 768th, though I really should have been 767th
since I had more chips than Maroon. It's irrelevant really since all
of us in that group got $16,493 for our efforts. It's not $12
million, but it beats a kick in the shins.


Link of the Day:
Let's Hug This Out, Bitch

When you complete the Cuddle Party Facilitator training, you will be able to show others how to create a "safe, non-sexual space to explore intimacy on both on a personal and professional level" and "leave your participants feeling touched."

The cost to become a professionally licensed grabass tutor: $950.


Bonus Link of the Day:
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Even after nearly three years of running Guinness & Poker, I'm still learning about obscure new sex fetishes like voraphilia, the excitement that comes from watching people get eaten or eat others.

Cindy thought it would be great to surprise her boyfriend with a special Valentine's Day treat. Little did she know that she was going to be the treat for his huge mutant snake that got loose that night. Watch as bunny Cindy is caught and swallowed alive whole but enjoys every minute of it.

God bless the Internet.

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

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