Wednesday, May 19, 2004

"Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game because they almost always turn out to be -- or to be indistinguishable from -- self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time."
Neal Stephenson

Howdy all, thanks for stopping by. There is much weighing on my brain this evening so I'll try to make this short (for me). I had a serendipitous major poker epiphany a few evenings ago and am still mulling over the consequences. It's taken me a long time, too long, to get to this point.

Confidence - that's what I'm talking about. And it's something I could only prove to myself, it didn't matter how many players whose play I respected who kept telling me I was better than I thought. It truly didn't matter. I had deaf ears. I'm a cynic and a skeptic and the last thing I ever wanted to be was one of those players who thought they were a damn good poker player, but truly weren't. That was unacceptable and consequently made me very suspicious of my poker skills.

This probably sounds stupid to most of you out there. But it's been a real issue for me. I never, ever wanted to admit that I was good above average. EVER. That would be wrong; complacency of some sort. And I see now how wrong that thinking was, even though it likely did me a ton of good in the long run. Kept my guard up. Kept me studying. Kept me thinking.

Poker is hard. Mastery of poker (hah!) requires the perfect simultaneous alignment of so many human and table-centric and meteorlogical mental variables as to overburden the average mind and drive it into the refuge of mysticism in its search for an ordering power. What if skill is a delusion? What if poker is a random and chaotic universe ruled by the forces of pure chance?? Every poker player who ever did everything by the book only to watch his pocket aces cracked by the river for the tenth time in a row has at least flirted with the idea. Not even the grizzled veteran or the advanced student of the game, in a bad run, can ever entirely overcome the sneaking suspicion that what it really comes down to is luck.

I was talking to a good friend, an avid golfer, about this concept today. And he showed me how golf is similar - the very "stickiness" of it - it's challenging to the point that you can never solve it. And usually, the enemy is yourself.

Because of this, poker, like the game of golf, hooks the susceptible and the desperate with the seductive promise of coming up a winner against all odds via nothing more than the auspices of Lady Fortune. And thus, like gambling, golf becomes addictive. Just one more round. I can feel it. Today's the day luck rides in my cart. Today's the day that higher power makes me destiny's tot, guides me thru the shadow of the valley of incompetence on a giddy roll of clean fairway drives, miracle putts and group one hands.

Well, it didn't work today. Maybe tomorrow. I'll just keep playing until it does. Gawdamnit, it's only a matter of a few inches here, a few folds there and a tad more topspin on my approach. Can't stop now - sooo tantalizingly close I can taste it!

It's maddening sometimes, isn't it?

But I'm done with that.
Now I believe.

So now I'm flying out to Vegas tomorrow and playing some damn poker. The prodigal son is returning after ten long years.

Oh the humanity.
And God help you if you meet me out there. Think ether-induced madness ala Fear and Loathing. I once tried to climb The Luxor because it seemed plausible at the time. Thankfully, I'm too old for that now.

VEGAS BABY! I'll be getting in Thursday evening and staying till whenever. Probably Monday because I'm not going to put much effort into the WSOP satellites. I'm going for the cash games. And to hang with Hank. And meet Felicia & Glenn. And heck, there's some other folks out there that I hope to bump into.

This is really a last minute thing. I love last minute things.

It's storming here, so without further adeiu, allow me to link up and get this post out. I have a helluva time staying online when it's like this.

Tis the season for WSOP news. Gets the juices going, doesn't it? I recently read that The WSOP Championship Event is looking at between 800 and 900 online qualifiers playing in the main event. Wow! That's going to be more players than played in the entire damn thing last year. Thanks to my readers who sent me a chart - I'll be posting an updated one after the 2004 Big One is completed.

My two cents: Thank goodness TJ Cloutier beat that asswipe Dutch Boyd. Lots of little kids trying to defend Dutch on RGP. Makes me ill. Ditto for Russ of GCA fame. Why won't this guy go away?

Speaking of which, in the category of too bizarre for words, this isn't even being offered on Ebay. TJ is selling his solid gold Binion's Horseshoe Hall of Fame Watch. I guess the craps tables aren't treating my hero too well....
Here's the link that includes pictures of it:
TJ selling his watch

RGP is a cesspool. It's true. But I'm happy to report that the vote for a moderated newsgroup FAILED! Woohoo!


moderated group rec.gambling.poker.moderated fails 228:148

There were 228 YES votes and 148 NO votes, for a total of 376 valid votes.
There were 11 abstains and 11 invalid ballots.

For group passage, YES votes must be at least 2/3 of all valid (YES and NO)
votes. There also must be at least 100 more YES votes than NO votes.

There is a five day discussion period after these results are posted.
Unless serious allegations of voting irregularities are raised, the group may
not be voted on again for six months.

ESPN posted when their 2004 WSOP coverage will be televised. Coming right up, thankfully, and starting on June 8th.
ESPN 2004 WSOP TV Coverage

Speaking of ESPN coverage, I found WSOP poker analyst Chad Norman's latest column, about poker, of course. I love the fact that he bashes Phil Helmuth on TV.
Chad Norman column

An addendum on The Big Game. A post from a railbird with a follow up from someone in the know:

I saw the game on thursday at the bellagio. bets were 100k - 200k.
game ended thursday night. some banker named andy beal won big. i was
told 12 to 15 million. unbelievable game with piles of 25k chips. I
couldn't get close enough to see the cards but i saw piles of chips in
the pot. johnny chan, gabe caplan, phil ivey, doyle brunson, chip
reese, sam farha, jennifer harmon, howard lederer were all there. i
saw jeniffer playing the banker and saw chip reese playing earlier in
the day. don't know who else played. everyone there said the banker
won big, but only one put the total at 12 to 15 million.

the tally: He won $6.5M. He lost 5M the first day and won $11.5M the 2nd day.

Back to the WSOP: Pokerstars will be offering a broadcast of the WSOP on their site - pretty damn cool.

I can't resist posting a link and paragraph out of Max Shapiro's write up on the final table at the WSOP Razz event.

Suddenly the remaining players - and the spectators - were treated to
a sight that certainly has to be a first for any poker tournament. A
young woman poker player named Jill Ann Spaulding, who is known more
for her extraordinary superstructure than for her poker
accomplishments, did a Janet Jackson. She strolled up to the stage and
fully exposed her extraordinary boobs - shielded only by small
heart-shaped pasties. Spaulding, who once adorned the cover of the now
defunct magazine Poker Digest, is a vivacious former Playboy model who
had been part of the Paradise Poker team. She said she quit them
because they frowned on her overexposing herself. This might have been
retaliation. It remains to be seen whether ESPN decides to leave the
footage in to titillate its viewing audience. Jill Ann is easy to
recognize. She usually carries around with her a tiny white poodle
named Hold’em.

You really need to read Andy Glazer's latest:

In large cities, at least, the U.S. Postal Service isn’t known for delivering mail to those who have been forced to sleep under bridges, and one of our starters, Ellix Powers, had been dealing with those kinds of conditions on and off for a while.

Ellix was table-talking, raising blind constantly and even leaving the game. I cannot WAIT to see the ESPN coverage of this event.
$5,000 Limit Hold'em

Immediately after the hand, another player offered an opinion. "You’re disrespecting the game with those blind bets," Jim McManus said.

"I can’t raise in the dark?" Powers asked.

"You CAN, it’s just disrespectful," Jim McManus answered. Powers laughed quietly and rather consistently about the comment for several minutes thereafter; his now much larger chip stack made laughter a lot easier, and I suppose when you’ve survived life and death situations, comments about 'disrespect' due to blind betting seem pointless.

Well put, Andy.

But Hell, I'd prolly watch a 'Homeless Home Game' before the 'Celebrity Home Game' on Bravo but I'm weird that way. Think about it - some sick bastards made millions with Bumfights - why not Homeless Bums Poker?

I hope everyone here has read Hdouble's outstanding post about poker players 'stages' of growth. Damn, Hank writes some great conceptual posts I can only admire from a distance. But in that vein, I recently discovered long-time 2+2 uber poster, Dynasty, posting his entire history and thoughts. Truly worth the read, from a Vegas poker pro reflecting back.
Dynasty's Three Years in Vegas

For the locals, there are WPT satellites running Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I'd be there if I wasn't headed to the panacea in the desert.
25k WPT Satellites

Odd news clip here about the Connecticut Governor, John Rowland, being investigated by the FBI because he was raking a poker game.
FBI Asks Rowland's Poker Buddies To Show Cards

Lion Tales is up with another WSOP post. Quick read as he sat with 2003 WSOP champ, Chris Moneymaker, at his first table.

Good Lord, I found FIVE new poker blogs. Everyone take a moment and go support the new guys. Believe me, it's hard to write a good poker blog but it's made easier knowing that you've got people behind you.

But the big news is that Sean at Anisotropy is back. Sean has a giant brain and is an excellent writer. He easily made my top ten poker blogs list written long ago. That list could use some serious updating, things have changed a lot since then.
But add Anisotropy to your daily reading - you won't be sorry.

Another outstanding WSOP post from Felicia - there are far too many famous poker players to name here, but she seemingly played with them all. Felicia rules.

First new blog to be pimped is BG's brother. That's endorsement enough, of course, but I dug through the old posts and had quite a few chuckles. He ain't about being PC, which I think we can all admire.
Based on years of experience...

A young mans erotic journey from Azerbajaan to Abu-rad. His trusty Emu friend
Paco, along for the ride. Follow Paco, and his owner Steve, as they travel thru the Middle East. Along the way they find love, friendship, and super cool hip hop dance battles.

Another Minnesotian! Plus he likes my blog so God Bless him and go visit. Now!
Laptop Defenestrator: A poker blog

Twanner comes back from the bathroom, and we started talking poker strategy. Yes, at the bar. Yes, while there are women within earshot. I'm sure we looked like two real winners, with glassy-eyed gazes affixed to the unspectacular drama unfolding before us, and talking about the value of a check-raise.

Sloe Times is another new poker blog that's gotten off to a superb start. Damn good stuff.
Personal journal focusing on life and my hobbies which currently, primarily means poker.

I wish I could quantify more about betting patterns into some cohesive strategy, but it seems to me that it's more of a feel thing than it is a rule or guideline. Either way, it's definitely something I watch for when playing, and it's made my home game play a bit stronger since it's now become second nature to watch how people bet more than trying to look for some sort of body tell.

I should write a Guiness-fueled rant about that sometime, because I personally think 'body tells' are vastly overrated. At least among good players, where reverse tells are often the name of the game.

Weeee, a stripper poker blogger! And it's about damn time! I imagine Joy is gonna get a lot of hits now that she's been pimped here, but hell, who doesn't wanna read about a stripper poker player who is outstanding at oral? I certainly do.

...Stripper by Night
Meanderings by me about my job, my other job, my poker hobby, my love life (or lack thereof), and other fascinating thoughts.

And lastly, a brand spanking new poker blog.
Please don't tap the glass
Just another student of this great game of poker.

Whew. I'm clearly insane. Here I am, on the eve of my WSOP debut, not reading TJ. Not reading Doyle. Not playing some $100 SNG's for satellite practice.

No. I am writing up this freaking post for you all. I guess my priorities are all screwed up but what the hell. PLEASE, anyone wanting to support this humble poker blog, please sign up on Party Poker with Bonus Code IGGY or on Empire Poker with Bonus Code IGGY1.

Please. I give so much and ask for so little and besides, it's discouraging getting zero signups for months at a time. Please consider helping me out here - it takes a lot of time to read, research and then write this stuff up for you. And I do it for free. This is a blog that I would love to read and that's why I do it.

"Destroying Workplace Production One Post At A Time."

That's me.

Also, a quick thank you to everyone who played in the World Poker Blogger Tour III last Sunday. Thanks for the great emails and such - it was a big success. For the record, I got ZERO cards and scratched and clawed my way to the bubble, finishing in 6th.

I'm still recommending
Pacific Poker.

Maudie and others are *killing* the games there. It aint Party Poker, but I'll be damned if they don't have some passive, weak players. I recommend you go over, pick up a $100 bonus deposit, and check it out for yourself. If you don't have an account there, please use my
Pacific Poker links and help me out.

Bonus whoring is cool. It's basically free money, so play tight and give it a try.

Heading to Vegas in about 12 hours. Oh the humanity.

It's mind-boggling even thinking about it. For the love of God, I need a t-shirt with BONUS CODE IGGY stamped across the back to wear at the Bellagio. Or maybe I should wear a welder's helmet at the tables? It's gonna be a surreal, fantastic experience.

So thanks for reading - I hope you enjoyed it. Good luck to everyone the next few days and I'll be back soon. Thanks again to anyone helping me out.

Party Poker rules.

The cicada's came out today. And I live at Ground-Zero of the 17 year plague.

When Strikes the Cicada
Cicadas are vicious killers seething with deadly venom and flesh-eating bacteria who prey on innocent children and pets, according to Cincinnati's leading authority on the insects.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Tourney in 45 minutes at
Pacific Poker!

It's listed under the multi-table tab.

Woohoo - it's official. The tourney had 30 players, only paid three and when the dust settled, it was heads up between two prior winners, Otis from UpforPoker and Mene Gene. Finishing in a third place was Boy Genius. BadBlood finished on the bubble. Yuppers, the poker bloggers dominated. Hit their sites for the respective write-ups!

Thanks for playing, everyone. Truly was a damn good time.

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

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