Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Poker Blogs & Poker Blogs Redux

"Hold em is to stud what chess is to checkers."
Johnny Moss

Good God, some great poker content today, including some serious snarkiness between two poker pro's.

Daniel Negreanu versus Erik Seidel.

I'll leave that for last.

Thanks to any new readers - I'm glad you discovered this humble corner of the Blogosphere where thoughts, ideas and news about poker are running amuck. If you want to read about poker, you're in the right place - in fact, it may be more than you bargained for. Verbose is my middle name.

I read a couple of posts today about our poker blog community and how it would be nice if we could get some more notoriety, or perhaps merchandising.

Hell, Party or Empire oughta be paying me for telling everyone how soft the damn games are. I'm just drinking some Guinness and giving my two cents after all my experience playing online. And to be frank, I've had so few referrals (mostly fellow bloggers who have been reading my blog for an extended period of time, and I thank them for it) it doesn't matter, anyway. I'm here to write about poker.

But if Party/Empire (God forbid) ever falters, and someone else steps up and claims their market share, I'll be the first one on the soapbox, letting folks know where to play, referrals or no referrals.

As our UK poker blogger perfectly states:

The revenue models that can be applied to portals or "review" sites, or which makes perfect sense for a poker pulse, just cannot be applied to blogs, which are intensely personal and passion based.

Amen. I HATE banner-laden review sites. DESPISE THEM. They are full of false information and shameless shilling. I doubt that 99% of their webmasters even play poker online, much less play and win.

I just read PokerGrub's thoughtful explanation of how he views signups, and I wish I had written it first, because it's exactly how I feel:

It's a nice way of paying it forward for all the hard work they do and in fact, can even help you with various bonus offers (an extra percentage atop your initial deposit). I have a list of links with various signup bonuses, but you can also sign up through other bloggers who are also affiliates. Like iggy or hdouble who bust their humps day in, day out to provide quality, thoughtful, entertaining writing and linkups. The hours it takes to read through all the wonderful blogs... think how many more hours it takes to research, collect those links, and write 'em up coherently in the first place.

The point is: if you're planning to sign up to a site anyway, sign up through an affiliate.

Truthfully, this blog DOES take time. So I consider my shilling (sign up on PartyPoker with Bonus code IGGY or Empire poker with Bonus code IGGY1!) to be a small reward for my efforts. I've been doing it more this week, because my readership is growing. I don't do it every damn day, as my long-term readers know. So I'm not sure what my point is, except to thank Grubby for articulating why it's OK to signup with a bonus code. It costs nothing, gets you a bonus, and is a small nod of appreciation for the bloggers out there.

Best of all, PokerGrub has a poker post today from Grubette, his sister. Funny stuff, per usual.

Segue: This is one of the best articles I've read about poker in a long, long time. And that's saying a lot. This expose details the underground "charity poker games" being played out in Cleveland. Fascinating read - VERY eye opening:

The House Folds
In Northeast Ohio's gambling underworld, Mike Moneypenny was king.

I'm not going to quote it, please go read it now so you can keep up with the following post.

I've played in the Dayton charity games, and must admit, they were very well run. But only if you ignore the "rake" taken out of both tourneys and ring games.

That being said, poker author Gary Carson, had this comment about said games:


They sound like snatch games to me.

First, Gary, what in heck is a "snatch" game?

One with a rake of whatever the dealer can snatch.


The aforementioned article was posted on RGP and this kickass insight was offered by a long-term regular:

Irish Mike responds:
Thanks for posting the article. I have a great deal of experience with "charity games" and would like to make a few points:

Well said, but I'm not holding my breath. Slot machines will be legalized well before poker. Don't even get me started on the lottery. That's simply a 'dumb tax' on people who can't do math.

I'm jealous of all you poker bloggers out there "practicing" sit and go's for our inaugural Grubby Classic this Sunday. Hell, I haven't played a SNG since early 2003. And with the massive popularity of PartyPoker, coupled with my 33.6 modem, I couldn't jump on one now if I tried.

Prediction: I'm first out and win a copy of Poker for Dummies.

Oh the humanity.

A non poker blog, A Middle-Aged Man in Moderate Distress, but reader of our poker blogs, took the Poker Penguin and Hdouble's advice and started crushing the NL ring games on Party.

Well, in three or four sessions, I've been killing the $25 games. Just killing them. I busted one guy's stack three times, and he reloaded again! I almost told the guy to give it up, but thought better of it.

And seriously, here is why it's often better to only play ONE table, instead of several.


I've also given up multiple tables. An advantage to this strategy, especially at no limit, is I get more satisfaction out of check-raising. At multi-table limit, I rarely would, because I didn't have the feel for the opponents. One table NL, however, I can just feel when it's time to check-raise 'em.


I concur. NL is all about the feel.

While I'm pimping my fellow bloggers, I must point out that MeneGene claims he has a 2,000 word post about Phil Helmuth, my old favorite target (see archives) in the que. His post has taken mythic proportions in my mind, because:

#1 Phil is an easy target
#2 Gene is fucking funny

Go read Gene because he not only belittles Phil Helmuth, but mentions James Joyce, William Faulkner and Doyle Brunson in the same post. Face it, fellow bloggers, Gene is operating at a different, almost presidential level.

Are you reading Felicia's newly migrated poker blog yet? She's still the favorite to win the poker blogger tournament, imho.

I have decided that the turn check-raise may be the most powerful play in poker. Almost always, the player will call down afterwards. I don't know if it's anger at getting raised or what. Usually player 1 bets the flop and player 2 calls. Then player 1 checks the turn and player 2 bets. Player 1 now raises and you know he's got a big hand. But player 2 will call the turn bet and also the river bet. I've rarely seen this as a bluff, but it works almost every time. I've used it several times this week when flopping monsters. Raising with position never seems to work as well, quite often there is a fold, but I've seen some horribly weak hands call down the check-raise.

For any new players, it's important to realize that sometimes breaking even is winning. Add up the rake and blinds you paid in on a small losing session. Do the math and you'll see how you actually won without those factors. This is very important. Understand the rake. Use Pokertracker. Grow your game.

Two quick links:

For those of you who care, the new CardPlayer is out.

When poker hits Iowa, you KNOW it's big:
Know when to hold 'em
Local poker tournaments draw big crowds

This post is gonna get even longer, if you can believe it.

I promised you Daniel Negreanu versus Erik Seidel. Time to deliver:

Follow me here - I posted a few nights ago about how Erik Seidel (the guy Johnny Chan smoked in Rounders) wouldn't show his cards:

This was from last night's airing of the 2003 US Poker Championships on ESPN. They mentioned that Erik was hiding his cards from the lipstick camera so often, that they went to TWO cameras to try and show his cards. He said the reason he did it was that he didn't want to have the TV audience see how he plays his cards. I'm surprised people haven't talked about it that much here, maybe that'll happen soon enough.

Well, hell, of course, Daniel Negreanu, couldn't resist a post about this.


> If Mr. Seidel in not being directly compensated by the broadcaster, he
> has no obligation to show his cards on television. The argument that he
> should do it because it is good for the game does not hold water.

That's not true at all. Before you enter the tournament you sign an
agreement. The rest of the poker world adheres to the agreement, why
should Erik be any different? There is no reason why Erik should be
allowed to play by a different set of rules.

Had this been on the WPT there is no chance they would have let Erik
get away with it. They would have demanded he follow the rules he
AGREED to follow PRIOR to entering the tournament.

Erik's decision to hide his cards was no "stand" and was hardly
ballsy. It was flat out wrong and he has to know that. I've had a
similar discussion with Erik in the past about this regarding the
all-in show your hand TDA rule. In a tournament in Reno, Erik (fully
understanding the rule) mucked his hand face down before the river so
no one could see the play he just made. I understand he doesn't like
the rule and he has every right to voice that. It doesn't however
give him the right to ignore it and avoid sharing information ALL of
the other players understand they agreed to share.

I mean think about it: so Erik gets to see everybody elses hole
cards and study their play, but hides his own? How is that fair?

> I think his "stand" could (and should) result in any player sitting at a
> televised table being compensated on some kind of airtime/hourly/"level
> of celebrity" basis which would make the revelation of ones playing
> style worth it (if that is possible).

Again, it wasn't a stand, it was a total shot. It was Erik trying
to gain an unfair advantage over his competitors and I hardly find
that commendable. Erik's decision to hide his cards from the camera
won't help the poker world at all. Added money and sponsorship is on
the way anyway, but the players not following the simplest and most
essential rule that makes televised poker exciting isn't going to be
the reason why that happens.

As for the poker pros not being compensated... oh my. You think
without televised poker we'd be seeing all of these million dollar
prize pools? I think not. I feel extremely well compensated and
thankful to the visionaries who decided to invest their money in such
a high risk project.

Daniel Negreanu


And the response from Erik?


I'm posting this again because I forgot to address it to Daniel:

Daniel-Well I've got to say I'm very surprised at the vitriolic nature of
your post. I was very impressed with the rational discourse that was
going on with regard to my comments on the USPC show. I thought both
sides of the argument were being represented well, by the various
posters. To me these threads represented the best of what RGP can be,
a lot of sharp people in an interesting debate. I want to clarify a
few things before this gets out of hand. I understand the rules of
these televised events and the benefits that we have gotten. This was
the 5th final table I've played where cameras were recording the
action and I think the second where they used table cams that showed
the cards. I am very uncomfortable playing under these conditions and
I don't feel I've played my best poker on TV. I can be very self
conscious about how I play when people are watching and don't even
like to have friends sweat me, because I feel like it effects my
thinking. I am a poker player, not an entertainer. I've always been a
private person & although I can clearly see that we will collectively
benefit in many ways from the coverage on TV it is not anything I ever
asked for. I was doing just fine before TV came around.

You seem very happy playing up to the cameras and I envy the fact that
it comes so naturally to you. I think it is important to note that you
now work for the WPT & you have a history of trashing people, when you
think it will benefit either your image or your allies' images. Doyle,
Phil H., and Annie have all been trashed by you publicly on RGP, when
you thought it was to your benefit or would make your friends look
better. Now it looks like you are attempting to kiss up to your new
bosses with this attack on me. To make my position clear, I don't like
showing my cards, never will. Obviously it is now part of the game and
if I want to continue making a living playing tournaments it's a fact
of life that I will have to adjust to. I can live with that. What I
don't need is some immature grandstanding kid to use me to further his
career. You will have plenty of money and fame; just stick around. You
don't need to make any new enemies along the way.

Regarding your comment about throwing my cards away without turning
them over, that is very common practice for people when they are
drawing dead in spite of the rule. To suggest that I did something
unethical is very offensive & out of line. Since your overzealous
objection, I always turn over my cards when all in. I expect that now
when your friends do it you will also speak up with your objections.
Personally I prefer allowing people the dignity of throwing away their
hand when they are drawing dead.

The most offensive part of your post, to me, is your comment that I
"took a total shot" by not showing my cards to the cameras. That's a
pretty strong phrase. The implication being that I am a shot taker or
angle shooter. Again, I never asked for cameras to be present when I
play and they are, for me, an unfortunate fact of life. I can't just,
as someone suggested not play the events where there are cameras,
because those are now all the biggest events and this is how I make a
living. I resent your holier than thou implication that my reluctance
to show my hole cards to the camera is cheating.

I'm really not looking to get into a whole public mudslinging fest
with you. I just felt that I needed to respond to your very personal

Erik Seidel


And Daniel clarifies:


> You seem very happy playing up to the cameras and I envy the fact that
> it comes so naturally to you. I think it is important to note that you
> now work for the WPT & you have a history of trashing people, when you
> think it will benefit either your image or your allies' images.

Actually I don't work for the WPT at all. That's not true in the
least. I've done favors for them, but I haven't been paid one red
cent for any of those favors.

As for me trashing people, I've done a lot of stupid things over the
years, many of which I'm not proud of. I simply don't see any
connection however to my support of the WPT and my objection to hiding your cards from the
camera. I don't feel there is any correlation and think that it was
very presumptious of you to assume so. I'm a fan of the hole card cam
period. Whether it be Fox, ESPN, WPT, whatever. It adds money to my
pocket (and yours) because it enhances the programs' popularity, no
question about it.

> Obviously it is now part of the game and
> if I want to continue making a living playing tournaments it's a fact
> of life that I will have to adjust to. I can live with that. What I
> don't need is some immature grandstanding kid to use me to further his
> career. You will have plenty of money and fame; just stick around. You
> don't need to make any new enemies along the way.

Well I sincerely apologize if you took this as a personal attack to
your character. It wasn't intended to be but I can see how you may
have taken it that way. For the record, I think you are an extremely
honest player with a high set of morals. On this point, I think we
simply disagree as to what is considered ethical.

> Regarding your comment about throwing my cards away without turning
> them over, that is very common practice for people when they are
> drawing dead in spite of the rule. To suggest that I did something
> unethical is very offensive & out of line. Since your overzealous
> objection, I always turn over my cards when all in. I expect that now
> when your friends do it you will also speak up with your objections.

Absolutely. In fact in a recent column I wrote about a hand where I
flopped the nuts and asked that the other player turn over his hand.
He tried mucking it, but I wouldn't let him because I thought it was
important to enforce the rule. As it turned out, that player hit
runner runner and tied me costing me half the pot.
I objected to you doing it, because I felt it was clear that you
were trying to hide information that the other players were entitled
to according to the rules. Again, that's something we simply don't
agree on.

> The most offensive part of your post, to me, is your comment that I
> "took a total shot" by not showing my cards to the cameras. That's a
> pretty strong phrase. The implication being that I am a shot taker or
> angle shooter. Again, I never asked for cameras to be present when I
> play and they are, for me, an unfortunate fact of life. I can't just,
> as someone suggested not play the events where there are cameras,
> because those are now all the biggest events and this is how I make a
> living. I resent your holier than thou implication that my reluctance
> to show my hole cards to the camera is cheating.

Well I wouldn't call it cheating, but I do think it's unfair. I've
never seen a problem like this with any other player, whether it be a
pro or an amateur. I mean you have access to everybody's hole cards
when they make a televised tournament, why do you think it was ok for
you to hide information from the other players?
I totally understand that you don't like the rule, but times change
and so will poker. Thankfully for all of the pros, these hidden cams
have added tremendously to everyone's equity, including yours.

> I'm really not looking to get into a whole public mudslinging fest
> with you. I just felt that I needed to respond to your very personal
> attack.-Erik Seidel

Neither am I, and had I known that you were going to take it
personally then I would have certainly been more careful with my
wording. Again, I think you are a great player with a formidable
track record both at the tables and away from them. Still I have to
say that I respectfully disagree with your decision to hide your hole
cards. My apologies for attacking you personally as that was not my

Daniel Negreanu


And here I must take pause. Sure, professional poker players probably have some of the biggest ego's. But this next post (in the same thread) by Jesse May, poker writer and TV announcer, absolutely blew me away. Sure it could be the Guinness, but damn, I've been reading RGP for a LONG time now and this is one of the most obtuse, bizarre posts by a "name" that I've ever seen.

Ready - Set - Go -


From: Jesse May
Subject: Re: Erik Seidel

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

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

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

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

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

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


I can't even comment on that. I'm stunned, re-reading it.

Oh the humanity.

I suppose I should close this out, I'm drunk tired.

Thanks a ton for reading.

If you like this blog, please email this webmaster and tell him I belong in the poker blog top ten.
Email him.

Better yet, sign up with on PartyPoker with bonus code IGGY or on Empire with IGGY1! :D

Or best of all, just come back and keep reading.

Confessions of a Smut Lord
"I honestly believe that five or 10 years from now I will be walking through a porn convention, and someone will say 'There goes Adam Grayson, the creator of the world's most amazing porn database.' And when that moment occurs, I'll know I've done my job."

Monday, February 16, 2004

Poker Blogs and more Poker Blogs

"A dollar won is twice as sweet as a dollar earned."
Fast Eddie Felson

Thanks for reading! I've dug up plenty of interesting, random poker stuff today, and perhaps a rant or two. Enjoy.

Note to self: stick to playing on Party Poker. There's a damn good reason they have 36,000 players. It's called massive, schooling fish. I made the mistake of playing on Stars, mid-limits yesterday, and received a swift kick in the nuts. It's been awhile since I've even remotely tilted, but yesterday was a doozy. Let's just say the river was extremely cruel to poor old me. Losing boat over boat twice in a session hasn't happened in awhile.

For the love of God, I was sober, too. Oh the humanity.

Damn variance.

Oh yeah, this MUST be noted. My man over at Pokercode has been loving the games at Party and found out that it's OK with the Empire folks (the same exact site as Party for the new readers) as long as you use a DIFFERENT computer. So there you have it. Those of you who missed out on the insane bonus whoring (bonus whoring= collecting large sums of cash for creating a new account on a site) all last year (easily a grand or two if you were smart) can now get in the game. Bonus code IGGY1 for you current Party players opening up an Empire account. 20% deposit bonus and all the advantages of additional bonuses and most importantly, a second identity. You ARE using PokerTracker to track the fishies aren't you?

I'm still working on identifying other Party skins (skin = same server/site, different color software/interface). More to come on that later. Again, IGGY1 for Empire and just IGGY for opening a Party account.

/end shill

Alrighty then, on to the good stuff.

I've often blogged about good versus bad players, usually while playing bad. I found this post that was just too good to pass up:

Why bad players don't know they are bad

While surfing some other stuff I ran into a very interesting article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. While not about poker per se, the conclusions are easily applied to poker players. Some of the conclusions: (paraphrased to apply to poker).

Bad players grossly overestimate their own competence.

Bad players fail to gain insight into their own bad play by observing the behavior of other players.

Despite seeing the superior performances of other players, bad players continue to hold the mistaken impression that they had performed just fine.

Even if bad players receive feedback that points to a lack of skill, they may attribute poor performance to some other factor.

It takes a good player to recognize a good player.

The quicker you realize that another player is better than you, the better you yourself must be.

Strong players tend to overestimate the skills of other players.

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments


The one point that jumped out at me was it takes a good player to recognize a good player.

Jeremy, old-school blogger and Tampopo fan, over at LoveandCasinoWar had an interesting post last week, pointing out the PokerRoom EV (expected value - how much you can win) for every starting hand in hold em. He pointed out that the biggest loser in online poker (at Pokerroom, anyway) is ace-rag. Amen, brother.

I can't wait for the update from online poker pro and veteran blogger, Jason, at PokerOdyssey.
I'm going to challenge myself to play 100 hours over the 10 days. 10 hours a day is a little crazy, but certainly not impossible.

Good luck, Jason, I can't wait to read about it.

I saw a post this morning where someone said they bought in to an online site for a couple hundred, ran it up to $1000 playing $10/$20, then busted out. Per usual, they blamed the software being rigged for their bad fortune. What they didn't realize is they had only a 50 Big Bet downswing, which isn't unusual.

Hence, this response:

Personally, I have been taking my time, and it has paid off for me thus far. I started at 1/2 and waited until I had 300 BB's for 2/4 to move up. My roll has just reached the point where I can comfortably move up to 5/10. By taking my time, I have given myself a much greater chance for success.

It only took Fuzz maybe three or four months to run his $50 buyin into $1000 playing 50.1 and 1.2, but then again, he had me as a coach. ;) But it _can_ be done with serious discipline and tight, correct low-limit play. He never experienced this type of sustained run at PokerStars.

Correct low-limit play, you may ask? For starters, burn your Sklansky books. Although his thinking and writing on poker are clearly the Torah, his books won't help you at the low-limits. Go buy Lee Jones or Ken Warren or anything by Mike Caro. Next, make sure to read the second half of Gary Carson's fine book on how to play drawing hands. Chris Halverson is digging it.

Sklansky writes for tight, high-limit games where the phrase, "raising to isolate" actually means something. On PartyPoker, there is no such thing. Carson writes for the loose games (my personal favorites) and are hard to miss on PartyPoker.

A couple of drunken thoughts:

In loose games, suited connectors and pocket pairs go up in value and offsuit cards go down in value. In aggressive games, suited connectors go down in value as well.

If you are raising UTG, then you want everyone at the table to call your raise cold, unless perhaps you have AKo or AQo. Big pocket pairs are indeed big hands... loose, tight, passive, aggressive... doesn't matter... the more money that goes in the pot when you have these big holdings the better.

If people call your raises too much to chase you, then that is +EV for you (otherwise they wouldn't be making a mistake, now would they?). Would you rather they not give you action and play better?

AA will only win about 35% of the time against 9 random hands. Though considering the average hand would win 10% of the time, AA sounds pretty good, huh? But understand that AA will probably lose more than half the time in a loose game... and it's natural, and you'll still make a lot of money with AA over the long-term.

Bet and raise when you have the best of it while folding when you no longer have the best of it (or proper pot odds). In loose games, you will win a smaller percentage of hands, but the pots you win will be bigger. The main tricks are to know how hand values change in a loose game and how to adjust your play for different pot sizes, especially for large pots.

The Sklansky poker concept of a 'dominated hand' doesn't apply in loose games.

K, enough on that. I hate over-simplifying. That's almost as bad as posting hand histories. The answer to every poker question is, "It depends."

I discovered this fascinating nugget per RGP about poker pro, Erik Seidel, hiding his cards from the TV cameras.

This was from last night's airing of the 2003 US Poker Championships on ESPN. They mentioned that Erik was hiding his cards from the lipstick camera so often, that they went to TWO cameras to try and show his cards. He said the reason he did it was that he didn't want to have the TV audience see how he plays his cards. I'm surprised people haven't talked about it that much here, maybe that'll happen soon enough.

I'm not sure what the contractual agreement is with the players, certainly someone knowledgable will address this, but I can't help but think that is a +EV move for poker professionals. Showing hole cards obviously makes for some compelling poker television, but the tournament pro's out there might not be so happy, as evidenced by Erik's actions.

Regarding TruePoker, I re-discovered this great 2002 article from Salon featuring an old TruePoker screenshot and the writer's quest:

I will lose my $500 or win $1,000, then I will write an article about winning $1,000 playing online poker and get out for good.

I pull $600 in my first three days in 10 hours of play and find myself hooked
Swimming with the online card sharks

I'm not sure the guy knows what he is talking about, after reading this snippet:

The same rules apply: Don't drink and play poker, anywhere, anytime


Yet another Guinness-fueled post. Thank God for cold Guinness and Coltrane.

Please take the time to explore the other poker blogs over there on the right. Some damn great writing and insight. In fact, too much for me to link to everyday. You owe it to yourself to avail your brain of these valuable poker resources. It used to be so damn easy to read everyone's blog when there was only six of us.

That being said, I wanted to point out TheFatGuy's awesome expletive-laden tirade about the ARod trade to the Yankees for Soriano. Poetry in motion.

TheFatGuy > Peter Gammons

I'm with Scott on this one. This is a terrible deal. Soriano has no glove and is due for a 'correction' with his wild, swinging ways bound to catch up with him. I don't put him in the same class as Vlad, another superb bad-ball slugger, but I could be wrong.

As if I needed another reason to hate the Yankees. Oh the humanity.

So I've been thinking. I haven't ranted since Christmas (see archives for rant) because the Poker Vegan hasn't made any more idiotic posts. I'm still waiting patiently, though, I think he has it in him.

So even though I've been posting daily for quite awhile, offering up my drunken tips, and even writing an article about the poker blogging scene over at the excellent PokerSavvy site.
Poker Blog Roundup if you care to read it.

So anyway. this ridiculous shill site created his own Top Ten poker bloggers list, of which I didn't make the cut. I mean, what on earth is he doing sticking GoCee's Trip Report Page up in a list with nine poker blogs? Sure, that's a fine poker resource, but it sure as hell ain't no poker blog.

Ivan, the webmaster of this site that Shall Not Be Named, wrote me a rather condescending email after his list went up. Damnit, I didn't give him the idea of the list out of hoping to see my blog at the top of the list. I did it cause I love seeing poker blogs get ink. But in the interest of having someone to fuck with, I hope he will list me at #10 in place of GoCee.

So please, in the interest of poker blogs everywhere, email him right now. Take ten seconds, please. Just say include Iggy or include Poker and Guinness in your top ten poker blog list or whatever.
Jackass Webmaster

After all, this is straight from the site that Shall Not Be Named:


Our poker lists are compiled through various methods which include but are not limited to:

  • experience by the poker team
  • research on the internet
  • feedback from our readers
  • industry accepted standard


    Note the third one down.

    Also, they warmly welcome feedback. Since the jackass guy who compiled the list obviously doesn't read poker blogs, except to create thinly veiled content to hide his crappy shilling:

    Poker questions, requests, opinions, tips, breaking news, images, etc. are all warmly welcomed.

    Fuck him and his fucking desktop wallpaper of playing cards and scented candles.

    So take ten seconds & send him a quick note.

    Thanks to anyone helping the cause. I'm loathe to spend too much time and effort on a rant - his site doesn't matter one iota. I've got the semi-respect of my peers and that's all that matters. Plus I'm drunk too tired to write anymore.

    Last thoughts. I fired up TruePoker yesterday and enjoyed the 3D avatars and chat feature. I only sat 1.2 as I just wanted to get a feel for the interface again and beat the game for nearly $70 in about two hours. Loads of fun and Hdouble even tried it out, writing up an excellent TruePoker trip report.
    I have to say that I'm very impressed with the site. It took 10 minutes to download, since I wanted to try out the super-nice graphics and sound that True Poker is known for. It was worth the wait-- the graphics and sound are excellent, and it's about as close as you can get to playing in a B&M.

    It's a small site with lots of friendly regulars. I haven't played there in years, but the game-play was just as a remember it. Weak-tightish-passive. Not my favorite style of game, but it can be profitable.

    Interesting side note: The True Poker CEO mentioned that at one point they almost implemented a "hockey fight" feature in their software.

    So again, sign up for the Poker Blogger World Poker Tour II at True Poker on Wed, March 10 at 9pm EST. I changed it to Wednesday so hopefully Felicia, StickandMove and Grubby could work around scheduling conflicts.

    Enough allready. Yet another crazy post. Thanks for reading.

    No animals or animal products were harmed in the creation of today's post. Thanks for reading.

    Link of the Day:
    Hugo Back to Prison
    As this 500-comment discussion shows, the Altered Perceptions weblog has been adopted by "Hugoists," international fans of accused Pennsylvania killer and prison escapee Hugo Selenski: "Some women around the country want to meet him because he's cute."

  • Sunday, February 15, 2004

    "You cannot beat a roulette table unless you steal money from it."
    Albert Einstein

    Thanks for reading yet another uber poker post. I'm truly happy to be back playing poker and blogging.

    There's a lot going on in the poker world, so let's get right to it, shall we?

    I had a great day at the tables today, a triumphant return for me. Ditto for Dann, as he continues to crush the low-limits on Party Poker. It's just too damn easy to play with bad players if you take the time. There's way too many guys just gambling it up, having fun. Again, table/game selection is key.

    I really oughta go sit in the NL ring games, but why fix it if it ain't broke?

    Supporting evidence to back my ranting yesterday, from Mike Caro:


    "If you're no longer a novice, but not a professional player, game selection may be the key to winning money. Without using any selection, you'll probably lose dramatically. By using selection moderately, you'll probably lose a little or break even. But by using game selection prudently and consistently, you probably will be a winner from now on."


    Can you guess what poker site offers the greatest table selection? Of course, you can. Lord, I've been reading tonight about players playing on PokerStars and Paradise and frankly, I'm shocked. Hell, there's one "respectable" shill site out there currently ranking poker sites and they ranked Paradise Poker #1. WTF - are you kidding me? I feel sorry for any poker newbies that hit those sites and actually believe them.

    That being said, if Mike Caro were objective, I'm quite certain he would recommend Party Poker, if only for the sheer number of players. 34,000, as of this moment. 34,000. Does Paradise or Poker Stars even have 1/5 of that number?

    Oh the humanity.

    Thanks to anyone who wisely took my advice and signed up for Party with the bonus code 'Iggy'. I'm not doing this to get referrals - it's easy enough to sign up with any of the hundreds of bonus codes being spammed on RGP, but seriously, please don't play on a site where game selection is made for you, rather than vice-versa. Do the math.

    Sorry for the shilling above, but it seemed to match up with the Caro quote and what I saw on the web tonight. I mean, I've played on PokerStars since beta. There's no comparison. PokerStars may have the best software and customer support, hands down, but they are lacking one very important feature: 20,000 fish.

    PartyPoker > Poker Stars

    That being said, PokerStars finally announced that they will be running 100 FPP (frequent player points) satellites to the WSOP qualifiers again this year. Woohoo, I've been waiting for that confirmation. So, they're giving away 14 WSOP $10,000 seats this year. I'll make a comprehensive list of all the WSOP seats being given away by online poker sites here soon.

    I'm still contemplating a prodigal-son-like return to Vegas for the WSOP this year. At the very least, I could harass Phil Helmuth by asking him to autograph his worthless tournament book and then demanding a refund.

    It's funny, though, after taking a week off from playing. Grinding at limit on Party is like slipping on an old, comfortable robe. I know that's a terrible metaphor but it's so damn familiar and stress-free. There are truly some bad players on Party.

    Quick segue: I re-watched the movie, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, today. All you poker players should watch this flick if you haven't. The scene of our Hero losing an all-in hand (and then some) truly captured the sick, punched-in-the-gut feeling you get when losing a massive pot. Wonderful cinematography. Damn, my wife brought home three movie favorites today, Rushmore, Lock Stock and Smoke Signals. Life is good when your wife just wants to hang out and watch movies on Valentine's Day.

    K, back to poker. I wanted to address "why play poker" and all of the psychological needs it satisfies for some of us; the need to compete, the social aspects, the money, et al but instead, here's something I've thought a lot about: what type of player do you *most* dislike playing against? For many of us, the answer would be the tight, tricky aggressive player, regardless if you are playing in a NL tournament or grinding in a limit game. So here's my tip of the day: BE that player. Work on becoming the type of player you wouldn't want to face. It won't happen overnight or even in a few months, but if you make this your mantra, your style will change over the long-term. And let's face it, poker is a life-long skill - that's a huge part of the attraction for me.

    Damn, almost forgot to mention this huge change on Party Poker. They are no longer allowing you to hide where you are from. I've always hated jumping on a table with six players being from: "undisclosed."

    So now when you mouse-over a player you will now see where EVERY player is from. This will slightly hurt the colluders. Jump on a table with three or four players from Dallas? No thanks. Tip: Make sure to Google any suburbs.

    Let's hit the poker news scene real quick:

    From the Las Vegas Business Press an excellent article summing up poker and it's influence.
    Poker draws major attention

    Less than two weeks after the purchase, Harrah's announced that the renowned WSOP tournament would continue this year, including the broadcast rights to cable television network ESPN, and even enhanced, with more than $20 million in official prize money.

    The reason for Harrah's quick action is that poker has become one of the hottest commodities on television, even drawing attention from network giants. When NBC recently aired the Travel Channel World Poker Tour's (WPT) Battle of Champions opposite the Super Bowl pre-game show, the poker tournament drew the second highest ratings in the time slot behind the quintessential football event itself.

    Good Lord, I despise all those banners but for players looking for a game, check out,
    Home Poker Games - Directory of home games and players looking for them.

    Party emailed a statement that they were being blackmailed in DOS attacks.
    For deeper reading on this latest form of cyber extortion, go read:
    DDoS attacks go through the roof

    Gasp, brick and mortar poker rooms are going crazy!
    New poker faces
    Playing is hot on TV and smokin' in game room
    "There are a lot of real greenhorns that are playing poker now," said Bordages, who lives in Lakeshore and goes to the poker room six times a week. "I like that. They'll throw $8 out on a hand when they don't have anything."

    I really should stop posting the 'POKER IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD' type news articles. I'm sure everyone gets it by now. My humble apologies, I just can't believe this is the world I live in. Poker will surely jump the shark, but I think it's too far gone to ever go back to the way it was. Believe me, nobody knew what texas fucking hold em was five years ago....

    Damn, there's just way too many great poker blog posts for me to point to. I'll leave it to you, gentle reader, to go surf through the links on the right and discover the gems that are poker blogs.

    However, I must point to Grubby. First and foremost, because of the inaugural Grublog Poker Classic, our first poker blogger NL tourney. Secondly, because he finally had the opportunity to write up his trip report to LA and playing poker with Hdouble. Coupled with the casting call (complete with photo's!) for his zombie play, a very entertaining read.

    This line caused me to laugh out loud.

    Yeah, that's right, I check-raised my sister.

    I promised brand-new poker blogs in a prior post, and I shall stand and deliver.

    I'm hoping my regular readers will go read this new poker blogger. He's actually been writing since mid-January.
    College and Poker
    The poker exploits of a poor college student
    I decided that my NLHE play was much too limity.

    This isn't technically a new blog, but the most popular poker blogger of them all, Felicia, finally got up and running with a website rather than a Yahoo group email list. Superb writing and it looks great, to boot. Kudos to ThatFatGuy for setting it up.

    More new poker blogs: a new one per Lord G:
    Ralph Nader's Chocolate Poker Jam

    I'm not entirely sure what it means, but I dig the name.

    Redux: new poker blog - encourage him to go all poker.
    Poker for the Masses

    Allow me to officially post the date/place of the second Poker Blogger World Poker Tour. True Poker! Sign up through this link or not. Anything I get as a referral will be plugged back into the prize money. Be forewarned, said prize will likely be an autographed, framed picture of Phil Helmuth brushing his teeth.

    TruePoker, one of my favorite old poker haunts, has graciously allowed us to play there:

    What: Poker Blogger World Poker Tour II
    Where: TruePoker
    When: Wed, March 10 @ 21:00

    A little backstory: TruePoker CEO David Gzesh actually called me a while back after I wrote and asked if they would host our tourney. This guy is the hardest working man in the online poker biz and with his participation in 2+2 (TruePoker hosts private tourneys for the 2+2 folks, a demanding crowd, to say the least) and other poker message boards. He is easily the most responsive - accessible executive of any poker room out there, bar none. I had the chance to ask all sorts of crazy questions about the poker biz but I had to promise I wouldn't write about them here in da blog.

    So anyway, go download and signup for the tourney, it's already posted in their site. Email me for the password.

    It appears as if True is offering a 20% deposit bonus, too. Anyway, let me know if anyone wants to make any side-bets or whatnot. I think David is throwing in some hats for us, too.

    Anyway, I found this recent post about True Poker that I found both accurate and apropos:

    I've been playing on TP for several years now, along with all the rest of
    the major sites. I find it to be 1 of the nicest places to play. On the plus
    side is definitely the graphic interface, the best in the biz. Although
    Patti finds it terribly disturbing to have to click on her cards, I think
    they do that to give you more of a feel of a B&M casino. It's not a big
    deal. Secondly, the atmosphere at TP is superior to most other online
    sites. Most of the people are friendly and, due to the fact that they don't
    get the enormous traffic that PS and Party do, people tend to know each
    other and actually have conversations with one another. All you see on PS
    and Party are whinners complaining about bullshit flops and dumb calls. On
    the negative side, the action at TP is lacking. Tournaments rarely fill and
    u have to wait for the SNGs to fill as well. Rarely can you find an Omaha
    table in play and the action at the HE tables is lacking as well, although
    there is generally always a NL table going. If big action is your pleasure,
    look elsewhere. If you are looking to hone your game and play with some
    friendly people on a visually pleasing site, stop in.

    There aren't many games going (usually in the evening they have about 4
    1/2, 2 2/4, maybe 1 each of: 3/6, 4/8 sh, 5/10, and 10/20, and 3 NL
    games). The players are by far the most talkative (and usually pretty
    friendly) of any of the sites I've played. Very passive games.

    I enjoyed the 3D aspect of the game and the chat. I haven't played there in awhile, so I'm gonna jump on right now.

    Thanks a ton for reading.

    Valentine's Link of the Day:
    Spare the Rod
    Men: This Valentine's Day, give your wives (and your hand) a present -- stop looking at porn. It'll free up time to spend with strippers and mistresses

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

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