Thursday, September 23, 2004

Damn, I'm supposed to be in AC right now with Al but Real Life has gotten in the way. :(

I won't bore you with all the sordid details, but suffice to say, things are harrowing. A horse broke its leg yesterday and had to be put down. That's never good. My work situation has been utterly turned upside down. Also, I have a MRI on Monday in preparation for surgery. For these reasons and more, I am saddened to say I can't make the AC poker convention. My humble apologies to all - I've just got too freaking much going on right now. I'm really looking forward to reading the trip reports, however, as I'm sure the Boys are gonna have a blast. I wish I was there, damnit.

Sadly, I don't get to write one. But if you are new here, or perhaps tardy, please scroll down to my last post for my Trip Report on playing poker in Aruba during Hurricane Ivan. One more post and it's in the archives, forever.

Also, I wasn't sure if I was gonna mention this, but on the eve of my cancelled journey, it seems apropos.

There is a reason I never post my picture or anything on this here poker blog.
It's my big secret and I finally spilled it in chat.

Of course, once I did so, this person decided not to come to AC to meet me. I can't help the way God made me!

here's the chat:

fpb = fellow poker blogger

iggy: i have something serious to tell you
fpb: the borgata serves free top shelf liquor in real glasses
fpb: all will be good
fpb: okay mr. iggy, tell me
iggy: i am a dwarf
iggy: did you know that
iggy: ?
fpb: yeah me too
iggy: i can drink alot for a dwarf tho
iggy: im serious
iggy: what the fuck is wrong with you
iggy: i hope you are kidding
fpb: that's fine with me...I certainly don't mind
iggy: ok
iggy: just dont want you to act weird around me
fpb: I act weird around everyone lol
iggy: well
iggy: i know everyone will be VERY surprised so i HAD to tell someone
fpb: alright man. take it easy
fpb: not that it matters, because it truly does not to me, but are you being serious or just fucking around with me?
iggy: hrm
iggy: it sounds like it DOES matter
iggy: i'm getting offended, i'm not from the zoo or anything
fpb: alright man. take it easy - it's cool dont worry
fpb: it doesn't matter to me
iggy: its ok
iggy: im used to it
fpb: um. it really doesn't i was just curious because you've never mentioned it before
iggy: i am a little person
iggy: big deal
fpb: it's fine
fpb: honestly
iggy: i dont mind flying - i fit in the airplane seats better than most people
iggy: i just wanted to warn you
iggy: dats all
fpb: hey no prob man
iggy: shrug - anyway, if you could -
iggy: sometimes i like a boost into a chair at the bar. the chairs can be pretty tall.
iggy: and i dont like sitting in peoples laps
iggy: people take pictures and shit
iggy: that sucks
fpb: don't worry. I promise you won't have to sit in my lap
iggy: k
iggy: ty - i don't mind sitting in girls laps tho. just not guys. that's queer.
fpb: i'm a fat guy so don't sweat it - we've all got our imperfections
iggy: lol true
iggy: maybe you could carry me around in case i get tired?
fpb: you got it
iggy: k ty
iggy: i might take you up on that
fpb: i'll be glad to oblige
fpb: alright man, i have to get to bed...work tomorrow and such.
iggy: ok
fpb: i am looking forward to meeting up with you next weekend.
iggy: same here
iggy: bring a backpack
iggy: to borgata
iggy: to carry me around in
fpb: LOL now cmon iggy.


I blew it there with the backpack thingy, damnit.

Even Bill doesn't think that will fly.

Ah well, it was funny at the time. At 1AM, bored and full of Guinness you tend to do odd things like that. Thanks to my overly kind fellow poker blogger who played along with my drunkeness.

And in lieu of a real poker post, which I swear is forthcoming (new poker blogs and news and trip reports and flames), allow me to post the New York Times article (subscription) in it's entirety for ya. Poker just keeps on growing and growing.....

Teaser headline on Section A, Page 1 (yes - the Front Page):
"STARS OF EXTREME POKER" - A no-limit style of poker called Texas Hold 'Em has made some of its players stars as they bet as much as $1 million on a single card under the glare of television lights at the World Poker Tour in Atlantic City."

Quote of the Day - Section A, Page 2
"The only time we aren't in the action is when we are sleeping."
JOHNNY CHAN - a poker player

"DEAL THEM IN" - Section E, Page 1 (Arts section)
Poker Pros, Now in TV's
Glare, Always Want "In"

September 23, 2004

ATLANTIC CITY, Sept. 20 - Sunday night, three of the
luckiest guys alive finally caught a break and headed up to
a room at the Borgata casino here for a rest in the middle
of a long day at the World Poker Tour. In the past few
years these three have each won millions of dollars - the
talk generally gets less specific when losses come up -
playing Texas Hold 'Em, a card game that has stormed across
television and computer screens and put poker in the middle
of the table as never before.

The men are three of the kings of so-called no-limit poker,
a format in which any player at any time can put all his
money in the pot - all in, as they say. No-limit poker is
as indigenous to America as jazz, and full of just as much
improvisation. Apple pie is fine, and baseball is always
good on a sunny day, but what could be more American than
betting $1 million on the flop of single card?

Although pitiless when they sit across the table from one
another for a game of Hold 'Em, the three, Doyle Brunson,
T. J. Cloutier and Gus Hansen, are friends, as friendly as
professional card players get. They had mixed results
playing the seven-card game at the tables that day, in part
because they had to play through a clutter of amateurs that
the poker craze has created. Now that the pros finally had
some time to themselves, give or take a reporter, they
could unwind at last. And play some cards.

Away from the television cameras and clamoring fans, they
opted for a change of pace, plopping down on the king-size
bed as Mr. Hansen dealt 13 cards to each player. Chinese
poker was the name of this game, and it required that they
arrange three hands of poker out of the cards they were
dealt, in progressively better hands. The room went silent
for five seconds after the deal as each man clicked through
mathematical possibilities measured in thousands. And then
they played nickel poker, with the word "nickel" meaning
$500 and "dime" meaning $1,000. Many thousands of dollars
changed hands in a matter of minutes.

Mr. Hansen, a former top backgammon player who came out of
nowhere or, more specifically, Denmark, in 1997 as a
professional poker player, won the first hand. Mr. Brunson,
an old-school rounder who came up the hard way - and won
the World Series of Poker, twice - was gracious in defeat.

"You won it all as usual, which is something I will have
to become accustomed to," he said.

He and Mr. Hansen have seen a lot of each other. This past
summer they, with six other of the world's best card
players, each anted up $400,000 for a professional death
match on Fox Sports Net called the "Poker Superstars
Invitational Tournament" - no amateurs or Internet players
allowed. The last episode of the first round was broadcast
on Sunday, with Mr. Hansen riding a hot hand to victory. A
new round begins next Sunday.

In the game of Hold 'Em, each player receives two of his
own cards and then bets progressively over the next five
common cards on the table - three cards known as "the
flop," a fourth known as "the turn" and then the fifth,
"the river." Millions of new players are flooding virtual
Hold 'Em games on the Internet and have stormed the
casinos. The Borgata alone is in the midst of expanding its
poker room to 85 tables, from 35.

But these pros aren't new to the game. They are all
self-described degenerate gamblers who just happen to be
better at the game than civilians. Their every waking
minute is spent in pursuit of action, not always at the
poker table. If the three of them came across two worms
washed on a sidewalk after a rainstorm, they might be
compelled to stop and bet on which one makes it back to the
grass first.

Someone brought up the evening's National Football League
game: Miami would square off against Cincinnati in a few
hours. Mr. Brunson, who is famed for putting down as much
as a $250,000 on any given day on sports events, asked Mr.
Hansen who he liked in the game. Mr. Hansen said he had no
strong preference, but Mr. Brunson told him to pick anyway.
Mr. Hansen chose Cincinnati to beat the points and the
under, which is a pick based on total points. And with
that, the bet was down: $30,000. Who picked whom was
clearly beside the point.

"We all like the action," Mr. Hansen said later at the
casino's buffet, taking in mouthfuls of mashed potatoes off
a butter knife as he spoke. "If nothing is at stake, what's
the point?"

That does not explain why millions of people are sitting in
front of their televisions watching other people play
cards; the World Poker Tour was the Travel Channel's
highest rated show last year. (Among the other shows now on
the air are ESPN's "World Series of Poker" and Bravo's
"Celebrity Poker Showdown.") Poker became television fodder
when the toy mogul Henry Orenstein invented a camera
technology that allowed viewers to see a poker player's
cards through a window in the table. Mr. Orenstein is the
creator and executive producer of "Poker Superstars."

"Before, you never knew who had what cards," he said in a
telephone interview. "Now you can actually see the strategy
in the middle of the game."

It was the Internet, however, that changed the odds in
big-money tournaments. Last year an Internet player named
Christopher Moneymaker - his actual name, by the way - won
the World Series of Poker and $2.5 million. He had never
played in a live tournament in his life, so his victory
took a bit of the mystique out of poker, where it has long
been held that reading the people is more important than
reading the cards. There are no faces in Web card rooms,
only players and lots of them. Last year, according to
Christiansen Capital Advisors, a market research concern,
Internet gambling revenue totaled almost $6.35 billion.

Mr. Orenstein reasoned that if people would spend billions
sitting in front of their computers, they might want to see
the game's royalty going head-to-head, and he sold the
program idea to Fox; "Poker Superstars" made its debut in

The legendary player Johnny Chan, who appeared as himself
in the movie "Rounders," is one of those kings. At the
Borgata, he took a seat at a slot machine to chat.

"The amateurs are going to get lucky every once in a while,
and I don't think it is bad for the game," he said. "I love
this game. We all do. We want to be in the action all the
time. The only time we aren't in the action is when we are

It can get pretty silly after a while. Howard Lederer, who
has played chess for cash, is known as the Professor
because of his command of poker's numerical whims. Even as
he sat nursing a brutally small stack of chips in the poker
room at the Borgata during the World Poker Tour, he was
staring at a television screen above his head that was
replaying a hand he had against Johnny Chan in Fox's "Poker
Superstars." The hand in front of him did not look much
better than the one on the screen.

"I know I'm in a tournament and going to lose and running
bad on TV, too," he said.

"But you have to be in the moment," he added
philosophically. "I was having a mediocre day of cards, but
I was struggling to play my best. You can't think about the
meta, about the past, about the bad beats. You have to play
the cards in front of you."

The tournament ended after midnight and everyone, pros and
amateurs alike, counted their chips and thought about the
next day of play. But not everyone was done playing. At a
$15 craps table just outside the B Bar on the main level of
the Borgata, the guy chanting at the dice looked familiar.
It was Mr. Cloutier, who has 57 titles in major tournaments
and five World Series of Poker titles; he is poker's
all-time leading money winner.

Mr. Cloutier is one guy you do not want to have sit down at
your table, except that he is a complete gentleman, which
means he will be nice to you after he takes all of your
money. But he was playing craps right then. It was 1:26 on
Monday morning. He made a promise, empty even as it was
uttered, to stop by the bar when he was done.


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Another quick, Fat-Guy approved length poker post.

Again, I'm hoping to get off an uber-post before I leave for Atlantic City and the blogger convention. Hopefully tonight.

Saw these poker related articles in Forbes this morning and thought I'd pass them along.

  • Is Your Poker Game Legal?
  • Harrah's Stacks The Deck
  • Poker TV Gets High-Stakes Wagers

    I'm looking forward to all the great TOC poker writeups. Hopefully I'll be able to watch this before 2005.

    Annie > Phil

  • Tuesday, September 21, 2004

    An uber poker post - mebbe tonite.

    But for now, here's some new poker news:


    Harrah's, ESPN Create Poker Circuit

    LAS VEGAS - Harrah's Entertainment Inc. and ESPN are aiming to capitalize on poker's best-known event by beginning a series of high-profile poker tournaments across the country next year.

    The Las Vegas-based gambling company hopes name recognition will shuffle rival tournaments to the back of the pack in the lucrative and fast-growing poker market.

    The World Series (news - web sites) of Poker Circuit will include a point system and seven televised tournaments at Harrah's casinos in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City, N.J., New Orleans and San Diego, Harrah's Entertainment executives said. The circuit concludes with the Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas with top point earners gaining entry.

    While Harrah's wouldn't forecast anticipated revenues, the company is betting the individual events will attract hundreds of poker players, with each participant spending $10,000 for a seat at one of the tournament tables.

    Dan Goldman, vice president of marketing for PokerStars.com, a popular poker Web site, said anecdotal research shows that from 50 million to 60 million people play poker at least once a month.

    Harrah's thinks the World Series of Poker brand will help it tap that market.

    "It's so far head of everybody else you can't match up," said Howard Greenbaum, Harrah's vice president of specialty gambling and golf operations. "Everybody wants to play in the World Series of Poker. It's dying and going to heaven for the poker player."

    John Mulkey, a Bear Stearns Co. gambling analyst in New York, said Harrah's should generate a solid return on its investment. "It was a natural for a company like Harrah's with its distribution points across the country to own such a popular event," he said.

    Harrah's signed an agreement in July to buy Caesars Entertainment Inc. in a deal that if approved by regulators would make it the largest gambling company in the world with more than $8 billion in revenues.

    Other cable networks are already capitalizing on the poker craze include Bravo's "Celebrity Poker Showdown" and the "World Poker Tour" on the Travel Channel. Bravo is owned by General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal and the Travel Channel's parent company is Discovery Communications Inc.

    Steve Lipscomb, chief executive of the three-year-old World Poker Tour, began airing tournaments to impressive ratings about 18 months ago.

    Lipscomb's company, WPT Enterprises Inc., which went public at $8 a share in August and now trades above $10 a share, puts on a series of 15 poker tournaments with about $70 million in prize money. The finals are played at the luxurious Bellagio hotel-casino in Las Vegas.

    "When you play in the World Poker Tour championship at the Bellagio, there is no better poker event in the world, including the World Series of Poker," he said. "We've established the sport. The WPT is the NBA."

    "If they try to go up against our event, they are going to have to try to take on an established event," he said. Well-known pros such as T.J. Cloutier, Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth Jr. and Howard Lederer can play in both WPT and WSOP events. Or even online poker.

    While the Harrah's tournaments will carry the World Series of Poker name, the crown jewel will remain the once-a-year poker tournament that has been held at the smoky Binion's Horseshoe hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas since 1971.

    Harrah's bought the World Series of Poker and the Horseshoe name in Nevada for $44.3 million earlier this year from Becky Behnen, the daughter of legendary cowboy Benny Binion, who used high-stakes gambling to raise the profile of his casino and Las Vegas.

    MTR Gaming Group Inc. later bought Binion's for $20 million from Harrah's, which manages the property for the West Virginia company.

    Harrah's believes more than 5,000 people could enter the 36th annual World Series of Poker in 2005, seeking what ESPN calls "poker immortality," when it will be held at Harrah's Rio hotel-casino off the Las Vegas Strip and at Binion's.

    The 2004 world series attracted a field of 2,576 poker players, far surpassing the 839 in 2003. Next year, the total prize pool in the No-Limit Texas Hold'Em poker main event could exceed $50 million, with the $5 million first place being increased by several million.

    "We had expected to see a substantial increase in the number of players, but didn't anticipate anything of the magnitude of what actually occurred," said Ginny Shanks, Harrah's senior vice president for acquisition marketing.

    ESPN, owned by Walt Disney Co., purchased the rights to televise the World Series of Poker from the former owners of Binion's for $55,000 a year, Shanks said. But those low-budget days are over. ESPN's is filming the circuit in 2005 and its contract expires next year.

    "We need to see what the ... market will bear," Shanks said.

    Terms between Harrah's and ESPN weren't disclosed for the 2005 poker broadcasts.

    Last week's broadcast of the final table of the 2004 World Series of Poker, taped in May, gave the sports network its highest-rated and most-watched poker telecast ever, ESPN said. Patent attorney Greg Raymer of Stonington, Conn., won the Texas Hold'Em title and $5 million in cash.

    "The World Series of Poker is it," said Bob Chesterman, coordinating producer for ESPN original entertainment. "It's the pinnacle of poker. The players knows that and the viewers know it."

    ESPN said the last hour of the finals posted a hefty 2.8 rating representing more than 2.5 million households. ESPN hopes to draw similar numbers when it airs its first Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas, which will be part of the circuit next year. Tuesday's three-hour poker slugfest was played earlier this month and included 10 of the best players in the world. The winner takes home $2 million.

    Sunday, September 19, 2004

    "If you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain - do you know which philosopher said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she's just a big pair of tits."
    David Brent

    Howdy all, thanks for stopping by this humble poker blog. I've got plenty to chat about before my Bengals appear on national TV (first time since 1996) in a few hours. It's been a long 14 years, folks, and I doubt any of you can understand the depths of despair us Cincinnati Bengal fans have gone through lo these many years.

    In Marvin We Trust.

    Anyway, this will be a seriously disjointed post because I began drinking several hours ago and plus, I have no idea what I'm going to blog about. Poker, I guess. I might even try to blog every nite this week before I take off for Atlantic City and Fun at the Borgata.

    Damnit, sign up on Party Poker with Bonus Code IGGY. Do it now and thank me later.

    Anyway, this weekend was an ugly one for poker. Damn variance.

    The only fun I had was late friday nite when I decided to slum with Hel1xx and play some 50.1. Apparently I brought him some wonderful luck as he ran over the table, winning about 50 big bets. But then, poker bloggers suddenly started appearing at our table. Suddenly, at midnight, the bloggers had taken OVER the table. Hilarious.



    My favorite lines were Pauly continually saying:

    Pauly: alcantfold
    Pauly: alcantlimp

    Which was certainly true. Al played a kickass game of raise or fold.

    Suffice to say, it got nuts. You can read better accounts of this drunken, funny game at Pauly's or Al's or Hel1xx's or Ugarte's poker blogs.

    All were fine writeups but Ugarte had me chuckling with this line:

    Iggy checked for signs of life by poking me with a stick in the chat. Frankly, I’d rather he actually poked me with a hot stick than raise my big blind every time, but guess which one he did.

    Also, I think Pauly made a superb observation about:

    Poker used to be a social event for me. I love a good party. In the last year or so, I adopted a more serious approach to poker. And at times, that new mentality took a lot of the fun out of the game. Sure I have plenty of poker passion, but the fun had slowly slipped away in my most recent sessions. Last night was unlike so many other nights. I actually had a blast... losing. I guess technically everyone was on tilt, playing garbage starting hands and trying to outbluff each other. Maybe it was the liquor or the pain killers or the excitement, but that table was one of the best I ever sat down at.

    That speaks volumes.
    We should do this again. It was too damn funny.

    Also, God have mercy on the non-poker-bloggers caught in the middle of this stampede next week. It's gonna be quite the scene. Ditto for Al's bash on Saturday. Anyone who wants to come get trashed with some poker bloggers, please hit Al's site for the details. Al throws quite the yearly party.

    Be very afraid.

    Moving along, I'm still way behind on my poker reading. I keep reading all these posts from college drop-outs who are attempting to go "pro" by playing poker online full-time. It makes me cringe, mostly. Poker is one of those life skills that you can continually hone through experience and study, not something to be jumped into without a serious gameplan. Seemingly every day, a kid experiences an explosion with his bankroll and jumps into the fray as a pro. And for 99% of these guys, it's going to be a temporary thing, there's a psychic credit-card bill in the mail, somewhere, and I'm sad for them in advance about the eventual impending collapse.

    I had a fascinating conversation once with someone who told me (not in these words, I'm simply paraphrasing) that progress towards World Class Poker Play is slow, frustrating, humbling. A question less of talent than temperment. Basically because you proceed through mastery through a series of plateaus, there's a bunch of radical poker improvements up to a certain plateau, with the only way to get off to climb the next one up ahead is with a whole lot of frustrating tough play/emotions, conceptual understandings, and mostly patience and hanging in there while you learn. This relates to anything, I suppose, and not just poker.

    There aren't many who can slog along on the patient road towards mastery. Of those who can't, there are basically three types. You've got the Despairing type, who's fine as long as he's in the quick improvement stage before a plateau. But then he hits a plateau and sees himself starting to stall, not getting better as fast or perhaps even getting a little worse, and this type gives into frustration and despair. Just because he hasn't got the humbleness or patience to hang in and slog, and he can't stand the time to work. What happens? He bails.

    K, then you've got #2, the Obsessive type, so eager to plateau-hop he doesn't even know the word patient much less humble or slog. When he gets stalled at a plateau he tries to will and force himself off it, by sheer force. Obsessively reading and studying and playing and running sims and then playing more and more, as in frantically, until he overdoes it and cripples his game with Leaks because he can't step back and watch himself. IE: Focusing too much on pre-flop standards and not post-flop or worse, taking loose aggressive to tiltable standards. Pretty soon his poker game is riddled with poor plays and he hobbles at the table still obsessively playing until finally he isn't even able to comprehend what is going on in the game anymore. His bankroll withers and dies.

    And now for the worst type. The one I personally relate to the most, the Complacent type, who improves radically until he hits a plateau, and is content with the radical improvement he's made to get off a few plateau's, and doesn't mind staying at this last plateau because it's comfortable and familiar, and he doesn't worry about getting off it. Pretty soon you find he's developed a whole game around compensating for the weaknesses and chinks in the armor the given plateau represents in his poker game, still - his whole game is based on this plateau now. And little by little, guys he used to beat soundly start beating him, locating some chinks. He'll say he doesn't care, he's playing cause he loves poker and hell, the cards aren't running his way and he always smiles but there has got to be something tight and hangdog about his smile, and he keeps smiling and is real nice and funny to everybody and real good to have around but he keeps staying where he is while other guys hop plateaus, and he gets beat more and more but he's content.

    At some point, perhaps when this poker blog has outlived it's usefulness and I finally put it to bed, I'll return to giving actual poker play ALL of my focus and energy and use this so-called talent. Talent is it's own expectation, gentle reader, it is there from the start and either lived up to or lost. And damn, writing this out makes me realize how complacent I've become once again. I knew this blog would be good for something cathartic, eventually.

    In essence, the above is Mike's beef with Knish in Rounders. My internal rambling dialogue on this here blog. And I believe this is my first ever Rounders reference in my blog. I've officially jumped the shark.

    I could have skipped everything above and simply said, "I've regressed and I'm a lazy fuck."

    Go read Hank's new poker post where he makes the excellent point:


    Reading players and hands is the most important skill in aggressive games-- calculating pot odds and tight play becomes far less important, since it's extremely difficult to put a loose-aggressive player on a hand

    K. rambling over. Sadly, Guinness makes me overly verbose.
    My humble apologies.

    Let's lighten things up a bit. Here's a cartoon:

    Everyone knows by now that Paul Phillips rules and RGP sucks since he left. As I've said before, Paul is actually a lot like me, only successful.

    So go NOW and read this page where Paul shows shady ESPN editing in the WSOP:
    ESPN vs. Reality

    Can you believe I have even MORE poker blogs to pimp? I'll hopefully get to them next time. For now I shall just regurgitate all the Josh Arieh asshole and apologist posts I found interesting. Lot's of poker pro's gave their two cents below, from Edog, to Greg Raymer, to Lou Kreiger, to Daniel Negreanu, to Paul Phillips et al. Enjoy.

    Let's start with Josh's apology in RGP:

    My big hand with Harry, from the Ass himself

    From: josh arieh (anonymous@comcast.net)

    First off i want to apoligize for the way i acted after winning that hand... let me explain myself... Imagine believing you are going to win 5 million dollars the whole time you are playing and seeing it all flash in front of you at once... i was definitely caught up in the moment and acted childishly. I am definitely an emotional player, but not to that extent... As i watched tonights show, i couldnt believe the way i acted and wanted to publicly apoligize to harry, it disgusted me to watch my reaction... I should have reacted in a much more professional manner...
    Now to explain the hand.. i raised in first position, then after the flop i had 900k remaining, i bet 400k, basically telling my opponents that i am playing this hand to the river... AJ wasnt a hand i thought an opponent would shove with... i was wrong, there was a moment of shock, dissapointment, and humility all at the same time... hopefully that explains the way i acted... At this point in the tournament every hand is the most important hand of your life... i lost my cool and i want to send a sincere apology to Harry, and when i see him in person i will apoligize again.. thats not like me, i just hope that people that know me explain that i am a compationate person who cares about others feelings... Dont get me wrong i looked at the WSOP this year as a war for 5 million dollars, thats why you will see me needle people here and there, but that was uncalled for and was kicking someone when they were down... i hope you understand

    Of course, he was flamed unmercilessly. Rather than pick out one of 80 million individual flames, allow me to post RGP stalwart, Arlo Payne's post on the matter that doesn't directly address Josh:

    When you play without class.

    From: Arlo Speaks

    Many of the new young players (mind you, not all) just don't understand what is involved in making real money playing poker.

    Sure you can grind out in the low and mid range games but when you reach the high levels you must consider who is feeding and funding the game. Oh you can hit it big in a major tournament but this really only happens to a few each year and one year does not make a life time.

    In low and mid level games you have a lot of people trying to grind it out or dealers feeding back in their tokes. These people you can abuse if you must. However I have never understood how someone could find a reason to bad mouth someone based on their play. You should love it when people play bad not bitch about it.

    The true feeders in the higher games are mostly people with money that like to play cards and also enjoy a good time. When you have an ass or two in the game many times the players feeding in the money walk away.

    I have seen big game after big game killed by one or two jerks that don't know how to control their mouths. When I was playing high limits you can bet I was a real sweetheart to those that lost week after week. Those in the know know you never ever say anything bad because you want these people to want to play with you. I would
    always make it a point to remember anything they told me about their personal life and would always make it a point to ask about their kids or what ever interest they had going.

    In the 90s when I was playing almost full time I had a day job making around 125K per year and winning around 120K per year playing cards. I had no time to grind it out nor did I have any need to put up with jerks. Many times we would just freeze the jerks out of the game and by the time they got in on any given day we would just break the game.

    For many different reasons I found myself in Tucson. I was part of a pretty sweet private 1k 2k mixed game. However this game has faded away due to the summer plans of most that head out of the heat and my back that really stuck me to the house almost all summer. Now Arizona has killed off the pot limit games and in Tucson when you go out to the casinos there is nothing worth playing unless you want to grind it
    out for a buck or two and deal with nut cases. Now do you really think any of the jerk asshole types could get into a private 1k 2k game? Not a chance the people in the game just will not have anything to do with anyone that displays no class. The only reason I was in the game I am from this area and my family is well known in a few correct groups and I can be so much fun and just a sweetheart to play with :)

    I no longer need or care about making money but I do hate to see people go down the wrong path for the wrong reasons.

    If you are going to play poker and try and make some real money remember where it is coming from and take care of your sources.

    An email sent to Norman Chad about Josh Arieh from Erick EDog Lindgren

    Thanks again for the beer at the wsop it went down nicely for warm miller. I have a few thoughts about the wsop broadcast and wondered how you felt
    about them.

    I sweated Josh from the minute I was knocked out of the tournament....in fact I became his coach. I decided the only way to make it thru the tournament and all the highs and lows was to make him a warrior. I'm not talking your average aggressive poker player, I'm talking Kellen Winslow locker room speech. For the duration of the tournament he was the best player and to be honest I'm not sure there was a close second, tho the play of john murphy and greg raymer was very good. Josh was in the zone. He was picking up chips by stealing like a madman and picking off bluffs.

    It was his tournament. I preached to him that this was his shot and he was the best and fuck luck, he was going to win. This is why when Harry Demetriou made a very questionable call that he was shooting glances at me and wondering why Harry had called. I won't get into the specifics of the call but with Josh raising up front and then betting half his stack on the flop there was no way that Harry had him beat unless Josh held exactly what he did, a straight and flush draw. After five days of blood sweat and tears his tournament was on the line. The one thing we had talked
    about was eliminating luck as much as possible, this wasnt the situation Josh wanted to play but with the price he had to. In this instance it is hard to defend Josh's behavior but I will. His tourney was on the line and sure he got lucky. His celebration is no different than Ray Lewis making a great tackle and trash talking or T Mac smoking his defender and letting him know about it on the other end. I felt it wasn't fair to portray Josh as such an ass. He broke no rules, nor did he attack anyones character. He challenged Harry's call just as a hoopster might say you reach, I teach. The berating of Josh continued as in his interview Josh claimed he outplayed his opponents 95% and that he was the best player at the final table and was going to win. Now he was "cocky" and a young punk. What he said he believed and I wish each player at the final table had felt the same way, but they didn't. In all honesty the only players who played to win and thought they could were Dan and Greg, the others simply tried to move up. Go ahead, ask them who the best player was and they would readily admit it. Josh made one of the best laydowns in poker television history when he made his flush and laid it down, but it was hardly a blurb on the show.

    I apologize for going off and enjoy what you bring to the show minus a lack of some knowledge of the game. It seems you may be to focused on what the cards are not what the thought processes are in the players minds. ( David Williiams play with the two fives vs josh was awful) I just felt he didn't get a fair shake in the coverage and wish it would have portrayed poker talent more than character. After all we arent paid athletes, the only way we get paid is to win and that's exactly what he deserved.

    best regards
    Erick Lindgren

    Hrmm, the football analogy is just plain stupid, imho. Erick was flamed pretty hard as well, but would you expect anything less?

    Lou Krieger did chime in, though:

    Poker reveals character like little else. But the way one behaves at the table is simply a matter of choice. Although he might have been the best player at the table, that's no guarantee that he was going to win, and if David Williams made a poor play with his pair of fives and got lucky, that's poker too. I watched the final table from the stands and was very impressed with Arieh's play. I thought he and Raymer played extremely well, as did Dan Harrington. But you couldn't hear the remarks Josh made from where I was sitting, so all that revealed itself was the stunning quality of his play. It was only later, on TV, that the quality of his character revealed itself. But I'm betting, and hoping, that Arieh learns from this and behaves differently in the future. He's a terrific player and he might as well decide to be a terrific person too. But only time will tell, and the choice is his.
    Lou Krieger

    Daniel Negreanu couldn't resist his two cents. Check out his new poker site in his sig file at the end of his post.

    My thoughts on the whole "Josh Arieh Thing"

    From: Daniel Negreanu

    I consider Josh a friend but the purpose of this post isn't to defend his behaviour during the WSOP broadcast. Anybody who watched it, INCLUDING Josh knows that he was out of line on a few occassions.

    The reason for this post is to illustrate how much power we (the players) give over to the people putting on a show when we sign those release forms. Basically, once we sign those papers they can tell any story they want to tell, and they can tell it any way they feel with get the best ratings. Hey, I can't say I blame them.

    What I can say is that it was pretty clear to me that they took those few bits (where Josh was out of line) and summed up his character based on those actions.

    For example, there was one clip where they focused in on Josh looking flustered by Matt Dean's call with JJ. Josh was just looking over at Erick like, "What the?" He wasn't saying anything to Matt, he wasn't going off on him or anything like that, but they used that shot to make Josh look even worse.

    There were two hands left off the show where Josh played brilliantly. Two stone cold bluffs that would have showed how well Josh was playing. That wasn't the story they were trying to tell though. They were selling Josh "the Punk" not Josh "the Great Player." The hand where Josh makes a great laydown with a king high flush, there
    was NO mention of the great laydown really. Instead, they said something to the effect of, "John Murphy with some great play continues to build his stack."

    Again, I think Josh acted like a jerk on several occasions, but I know Josh and know that he is not a jerk. At this point, there is little Josh can do to prove to anybody that he is truly embarrassed about the way he acted. He's already apologized here publicly, and I'm assuming learned a great deal from his first TV appearance.

    Back to the point, again I don't condone Josh's behaviour on the show one bit. I just want to warn the viewers that you may not be getting the whole story. If the producers want a villian, they can make anyone a villian just the same way they can make a chump look like a hero.

    I guess this applies to all television, especially reality shows. Personally, I try to avoid judging anybody based on what I see on TV. It's not real, it's edited.

    Daniel Negreanu

    Some peanut gallery observations:

    The notion that he *didn't* think it would be overheard is even more telling. It reveals his true nature. A mean-spirited, cocky, arrogant prick. Defend him all you want. He may possess keen poker skills, but his social skills are sadly lacking. I was thrilled when Raymer busted him.


    i respect your view as well as Ericks but maybe you are too close to the subject. ESPN did not edit Josh Arieh telling David Williams to beat that mutherfucker..twice. Any more then they edited Scott Fischman doing the fosbury flop on the table. any more then they edited Mike Matasow telling Greg Raymer about his balls.

    They may have edited out other evidence Of Josh, Scott and Mike being good sportsmen but who cares? Someone who is a good sportsman some of the time and a bad sportsman some of the time is a BAD sportsman. Someone who shows class some of the time and a total lack of class some of the time has NO class.


    Very well said! Like the reality tv slut: "They didn't show the 8 out of 12 days I didn't get blindingly drunk and bang a random dude!"

    Sheesh. As if the producers put the words in Josh's mouth.
    Where do you people come from?

    How you handle stressful situations *is* your character.


    Dude showed zero class when he lost.

    Bust that MFer?

    Seriously, this isn't high school.

    You learn a lot about people when they lose. The guy won $2.5 million dollars. More money than most people can ever dream of having in their entire working lives. And all he can exit with is Bust that MFer?

    Seriously, Daniel, I even buy the fact that ESPN tried to make the guy look like an ass, but he showed zero grace, zero class, and deserves the criticism. It is pathetic to win that much money and act like a spoiled little 12 year old. 99% of the people in the world would take that kind of payday and be thankful, not spiteful. He played well, but acted like a bitch.


    Well, Dan, I know you have assumed this odd role of World Class Player's apologist for jerk-like behaviour.

    You did it for Hellmuth and now you're doing it for Arieh.

    "They're not really jerks, they just played jerks on television"

    I've said this before and I've said it again -- how you behave when things are at their worst demonstrates something at the core of your character...

    I remember when you got busted out of that tournament on TV and you were kind of pissed off at your finish (something about "not being able to get a car" with what you'd won)

    A couple of people trashed you for that, but I thought you were mostly angry with yourself -- you didn't blame other players, and you didn't trash them when they busted you. You showed class.

    Phil doesn't show that when he gets busted and neither did Arieh.


    John Harkness

    And I loved this post:

    Subject: If Josh Arieh was someone else...

    If Josh Arieh was Howard Lederer:

    "You are the worst player ever Brunson. How the hell did you ever win one
    of these things. Putting all your chips in on just a flush draw? I had a
    set of 7s. I could beat you any day of the week. I'm the best player
    here...I should have won." (Actual Lederer response: "Good hand Dolly")

    If Josh Arieh was Doyle Brunson:

    "WTF? You called my all-in with A7 offsuit? What kind of loser freak are
    you. You are the worst player I've ever met. I'm the best player in this
    tournament and some freak beats me with hand like that." (Actual Brunson
    response: a smile and a wave)

    And from the King of Snark, Paul Phillips weighs in from his poker blog. I'm still gonna quote it here, though, for the two of you don't visit his site.

    josh arieh

    In the post-WSOP discussions on rgp and twoplustwo, everybody I've seen who was at the final table with josh (mike mcclain, greg raymer) or knows him personally (erick lindgren, daniel negreanu, myself) has said that he was quite unfairly portrayed on television. I think that should be a clue to everyone willing to hate the guy based only on what was shown. Neither mike nor greg is the sort of person to have ANY reservation about calling a spade a spade.

    Mike said: "I also think Josh was unfairly portrayed. I played with him for two days and never witnessed anything that was shown by ESPN. Still, he obviously gave them something to work with, since they were able to find a few snippets of poor behavior. I know of a few things that I said and did during the telecast that could have been used to portray me rather poorly, but they chose Josh as the bad boy."

    Greg said: "I think he's mostly a nice guy who said a couple of things he now regrets, and most of them being things he thought he was saying privately. [...] If anything, I take his "bust that MF" comment as a compliment."

    Plenty of people just don't seem to believe that it's possible to take film out of context -- I mean, the guy obviously really did what you just saw, right? I see these as the same kind of people who walked out of "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Bowling for Columbine" saying "wow, michael moore is a genius who has opened my eyes to the truth."

    And let's finish with 2004 WSOP champ Greg Raymer and his wise thoughts:

    Re: Paul Phillips comments on Arieh and Williams

    In what I think will be food for thought for many posters here, my opinion is a lot more like Paul's than it is like most of the posts about Josh here. I think he's mostly a nice guy who said a couple of things he now regrets, and most of them being things he thought he was saying privately.

    If anything, I take his "bust that MF" comment as a compliment. I am going to assume, at the risk of being wrong, that I got under his skin without ever being a jerk about it. That is, having me behind him for a day and a half, and my frequent playing back at him got him at least somewhat upset with me. Such that, when it came down to Dave and I, Josh was cheering for Dave (since Dave didn't make his poker life so difficult during the proceeding couple of days).

    Later, Greg Raymer (FossilMan)

    Geez, that was a ton of formatting. Thanks to anyone who read this far.

    Dear Lord, what a drunken, awful post.

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