Saturday, July 09, 2005

Damn, two posts on a Saturday. Lucky you.

I've been spending my day watching the ESPN poker DVD set of the 2004 WSOP. Very entertaining, especially the Mike the Mouth Matusow and Greg Raymer bit.

And then I read this wonderful snippet that I feel compelled to share, from action earlier today:


"Floor on 127!" are the first words audible today, over the sounds of the clicking chips. Tournament Directors are called to the very table at which Mike Matusow sits, where he's being accused by a dealer of throwing cards. He's immediately assigned a ten minute penalty, but he adamantly and politely defends himself, and is supported by the rest of the players at the table. He's let off with a warning, but not more than a few seconds later, still steaming from the accusation, he let's the F-word slip.

"Now I have to give you a 10 minute penalty," says Tournament Director Louis "You can't say the F-word." "F___ that," says Matusow. "Twenty minutes." "F_____n' great." "Thirty minutes." As Matusow leaves the area, he manages to fire off one more
F-Bomb, rounding out his penalty to forty minutes, and starting a small round of applause from a crowd who up until this point, had been quite silent, and is now chatting away. Leave it to Mike "The Mouth" to get people talking.


"The single greatest key to winning is knowing thy enemy - yourself."
Andy Glazer

It's days like today that I really miss Andy Glazer. He was the King of WSOP tourney reporting and I relished every lengthy report in my inbox. I'm not slighting my heroes, Pauly or Otis here, because I'm obviously a huge fan of theirs, not to mention they are kicking ass and taking names.

But I miss Andy all the same.

And so I bounced around this morning, catching up a bit on my reading (I should start writing the Mother of All Uber Posts tommorrow) and read about Phil Helmuth tilting and getting knocked out of The Big One last evening. Great stuff.

And then I remembered I had some old notes on noted poker authors discussing Phil's car wreck behavior at the poker tables and tilt factor. So let's time travel back to 2002, shall we?

This was after Phil was penalized (and subsequently disqualified) at the Bike tourney for kicking a door in.

Enjoy for now and I'll be back with a doozy.

First of all: Phil pleads his case. Commentary after.


From: AuthorAndy (authorandy@aol.com)
Subject: Phil Hellmuth "kicks" down door at Bicycle Casino

Hi Everyone, Andy Glazer here...

Phil Hellmuth is staying at my house and so is accessing RGP from my account. The words below are his:

Hi All, I'm in the poker news again...Tonight at the Bicycle Club casino in LA, with 8 tables left in the $500 buy-in Omaha eight or better event, I lost an average size pot, and left steaming for the break. I tried to kick open the glass door (like I've done a lot at the Horseshoe), but in my haste I kicked the wrong side of the door, and the bottom hinges of the door broke, leaving the door still attached by the top hinges only.

I did not karate kick the door. I did not try to kick the door off of it's hinges. I did try to kick the door open out of frustration, and I feel bad that I can't control my emotions better. I need to grow up and handle losing better.

I have not had a penalty since the 1997 World Series of Poker (perhaps I've deserved a few since then!). The tournament director, in association with the management at the Bike, decided to disqualify me from the tournament and ask me to leave the premises for the day. I had $2500 in chips, and, I'm in the points race. I argued my case with Denny, saying that I didn't intend to kick any door down, and that I've never been cited for something like this before, and I haven't had a single penalty since 1997. However, Denny and co. stuck to their guns.

When I drove back to Andy's place, I called to apologize to Denny and the Bike one more time.

I feel like an idiot at this point, knowing how things look, but believe me, I didn't try to kick the door down! Hopefully, someday soon I will learn to control my emotions better. Hopefully, someday soon the poker world will realize that I'm a good family man that "Just needs a little fixin" (as Amarillo Slim would say).

-Cheers, from an upset Phil Hellmuth Jr.

And no less than David Sklansky chimes in with his thoughts:

From: Dsklansky (dsklansky@aol.com)
Subject: Re: Phil Hellmuth "kicks" down door at Bicycle Casino

I believe a large part of the reason Phil does this stuff is because he simply does not realize the large luck factor in poker. (One reason is because he started his career with a "rush". The other is that he apparantly hasn't bothered to study basic statistics.) Thus when he loses, he attributes it either to bad playing on his part or to unfair, in some sense, bad beats. If either was true it would be a reason to be angry. But neither is. Perhaps Tom Weideman will explain further, to Phil and Mark Napolitano as well.

And so Mr. Weideman does give his two cents. Good insights here.

>Phil's a pretty smart fella - I don't think he needs a lecture in >the luck factor.

I know for a fact that you are mistaken. You may have missed the thread where Phil contended that his A game gives him twice the chance of winning tournaments as his B game. Impossible of course, except maybe in no limit holdem.

>There is only so much human beings can do to keep their emotions in
>check by using their intellect.

I believe there is more that can be done than you think, especially as regards to gambling. The main idea is to look at things EV wise where every bet is thought of as a small earn regardless of the outcome. All blackjack pros learn to think this way, since losing concentration after a bad beat is disastrous. In fact I have noticed that all poker pros who came from blackjack do very little steaming.

It may have seemed like I was saying that Phil had a better grasp of this than most people, but what I meant was that he isn't a total idiot about it, and as such I could do him no good lecturing about it. It has been my experience that people with Phil's knowledge of (and success at) the game are typically unwilling or unable to unlearn their current beliefs regarding the luck vs. skill element of poker.

I suspected this was the case all along, and it was confirmed for me when I took Daniel (and Doyle and Howard) to task on it and received a great deal of resistance. In fact, I was pretty sure that most of my posts on this matter were (and will be, if I should do so again in the future) tantamount to being "inside jokes" with the very few people that do have a reasonable grasp of the luck factor. What's funny is that I don't believe I fully "get it on a gut level" it either, but the difference between my instincts on this matter and those of most people I discuss it with is night-and-day.

So I don't think I will be changing my mind. And I still think you way overestimate how well someone can separate their emotions from their results by use of their intellect. Your blackjack example has a cause-and-effect problem - successful blackjack players are successful (in part) BECAUSE they are capable of detaching themselves. Blackjack play is a FILTER for this ability, not (much of) a training ground for it, as you seem to imply.

Please note that I believe this "view things as ev to stay off tilt when losing" skill can be learned to a small extent, particularly by people with scientific/mathematical bents to their nature. But I don't think trying to force such a scientific world-view upon someone so that they might be a bit better at acquiring this skill is going to be particularly fruitful.

Tom Weideman

And last, but certainly not least, Lou Krieger gives his take:

From: LouKrieger (loukrieger@aol.com)
Subject: Re: Phil Hellmuth "kicks" down door at Bicycle Casino

Looking at things in terms of EV is incredibly helpful because to do so means that one is taking a long term view of the game, and is not overly influenced by the immediacy of short-term situations.

But the essence of this, it appears to me, lies in the exercise of willpower and self control. It can be both very easy and incredibly difficult, simply because it is left to each of us to decide whether our locus of control will come from within, or whether we will allow external factors to drive our behavior.

When we see only the short run, and look to place the blame outside ouselves, our inclination is to kick in doors. When we take the longer view (using the EV perspective, as it were) we don't tilt and we take things in stride -- even if we wind up muttering that good, old RGP catchphrase, "...nice hand sir, well played" to ourselves, under our breath.

lou kreiger

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Championship WSOP Event is running!
My main man, Pauly, is live blogging it.
WSOP Blog.

Ah, back to the ranks of the unemployed professional poker.
How sweet it is.

Now if I could only get someone to sponsor this freaking blog, I'd be set.

In that vein, let's get the shilling out of the way first, shall we?

Party Poker (Bonus Code IGGY damnit!) is offering a freeroll for a PORSCHE CARRERA 911 S if you can get in 10,000 hands by July 23.

Woohoo - easy as pie for a slacker such as myself.

And then I got this strange but compelling announcement from Noble Poker.

First of all, if you haven't tried Noble Poker, it's actually a great place to bonus whore.

And NOW - if you sign up through my damn banner or text links, you get a special deal. $800 Signup Bonus! That's pretty damn generous and worth doing. So please sign up thru this humble poker blog for this offer.

But here's that promotion I mentioned earlier:


One skillful player will scoop a $1,000,000 payout in Noble Poker's latest, most unique promotion to date.

All it will take to walk away with the $1,000,000 is for one champion player to win seven consecutive $10 Sit 'n' Go tournaments - easy!

The $1,000,000 challenge will begin on August 1st 2005 - so the countdown to $1,000,000 is ticking.

In addition, Noble Poker will give a $75,000 prize to any player who wins six consecutive Sit 'n' Go tournaments and a $25,000 prize to any player who wins five consecutive Sit 'N' Go tournaments.

The Million Dollar Challenge is Noble Poker's newest promotion, and there is no other online poker venue offering anything like it.

Please visit the Noble Poker site for further details about this amazing promotion:
Noble Poker Challenge

Crazy. A million dollars?
I'm thinking I should bankroll SNG Specialist PokerNerd for this one.

And I'm not bitter about this news, trust me.
One of my blogging heroes just made the announcement that he's hit the big-time per blogging. Congrats and it's a perfect damn fit.

Paul Phillips has a great link to a CardPlayer video interview with a clearly insane yet blessed Phil Helmuth. Pure comedy.

Today is the Day!
The Big One, the Championship Main Event, begins in just a bit. I'm gonna have to do a few uber-posts just to keep up.
Here's a couple WSOP stories to help you pass the time.


Subject: Is Vinny Vinh an incredible pussy?

According to Pokerwire, he called the TD over and got Rafi Amit a penalty when they were heads up for the bracelet because Amit used profanity during/before a hand that basically crippled Vinh. That seems like the biggest pussy move of all time, if it went down as described below. He seemed like a real asshole when I saw him play on
the WPT, but this leaves no doubt. Thankfully he lost anyway, but if he had won, that would have been sick.

2005 WSOP
[Event 35]$10,000
Pot Limit Omaha
05:23:47 EDT

Wait, there's more...
In a previous hand, Amit was heard by Vinh using foul language at the table. When Jack Effel asked the dealer if Amit had, in fact, used profanity, the dealer couldn't be sure.

After losing the hand that crippled him, Vinh again brought up the issue that the hand shouldn't have happened because Amit should have gotten a ten minute penalty. Jack, the tournament director, again asked the dealer to verify whether or not profanity had been used. The dealer admitted that it had. After pushing Amit his stack, Jack gave Amit a 10 minute penalty.

There was confusion among the crowd and security had to be called. Amit pleaded with the tournament director to substain from penalizing him. Amit mentioned previous situations which involved Vinny Vinh using profanity and threating comments, to no avail. Jack Effel was firm and Amit was escorted from the table.

The hands will continue to be dealt at this limit for the next ten minutes without Amit's participation.

And here is the latest in the bumping of heads between Barry Greenstein and Simon Trumper. This is quite a tale....


Barry Greenstein is peeved. He probably would show signs of anger if this wasn't
about 12 hours after an episode that occurred early Sunday morning in the
$10,000 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha tournament.

"I'm fourth in chips with about $45,000 or so,'' Greenstein begins. "I hadn't
been raising that many hands before the flop, and I picked up K-K-J-10, spades
and clubs. A couple people limped in and I raised the pot to make it $1,650. Two
people called, so the pot was a little over $5,000. I got a good flop: Q-J-6
with two spades, so I had an overpair, straight draw and the second-nut flush
draw. I bet $4,500, almost the size of the pot. One guy called, Simon Trumper.
Now the pot is a little under $15,000.

"The turn is the ace of clubs, which gives me the nuts and the second-nut flush
draw. I don't know if he's flopped a set. He checked to me on the button, and I
bet $12,000. He thought for 10 seconds and called. So, at this point, he's
supposed to have either the nut-flush draw or some straight draws. He doesn't
know I have the absolute nuts, so he might think his straight draws are good. He
probably thinks I have a set of aces or queens, unless he somehow has them.

"Whatever his call is, he's probably not getting the right odds. He doesn't know
I have the nuts. If he has a spade draw, I have two spades out of the deck. If
he has a set, I've got one of the cards. He's probably not getting full odds for
his call.

"I'm hoping for a small red card that doesn't pair. But a spade comes off (on
the river). Now I'm afraid he's going to bet into me if he has the nut-flush
draw. But he checks. Now, my question is, should I turn over the second nuts or
should I bet it? It might be right to turn it over. It's a real big pot. At this
point there's $39,000 in the pot, and I've only got about $27,000 left. So, I
said I'll make a big enough bet so that if he raises, he'd almost have to have
the nuts. So, I grabbed some chips and bet $17,500.

"And he went in the tank - this is with less than a half-hour to go in the
tournament (for the night) - for way more than five minutes. People are thinking
of calling the clock on him. It's the end of the night and people want to play.
But he's just sitting there, sitting there, sitting there. I'm being courteous
in not calling the clock on him. He's looking at me, he's looking at people.
Everyone's waiting for him to act. People want him to do something.

"Finally, after 10 minutes, he says, "OK, I raise.'' My last $8,000 or $9,000.
At this point, I'm saying the raise only makes sense if he's got the nuts,
because I've represented a strong hand. I thought I was beat, but I looked at
what I had left and it wouldn't be much if I fold, and it's going to be a pot of
$90,000 or so.''

At this point. Greenstein says he's pretty sure he beaten, but he has a specific
reason for not wanting to fold: He wanted to confirm that Trumper would sit
there for that long - look, three minutes of indecision at a poker table seems
like forever --and waste everyone's time when he was holding the nuts all along
and not trying to run a bluff with, say, a lower flush than Greenstein held.

"I said I would hate to condemn someone to be a (naughty word) for taking 10
minutes of everyone's time at the end of the night and somehow be mistaken,''
Greenstein said. "So, I called. Of course he had the nuts.

"That's something that real poker players would never do, because then you get
everyone doing stuff like that. It's kind of an accepted thing that you don't
cheat, you don't certain things, because if some people do it, then everyone now
feels they're forced to combat it by doing the same type of thing. You don't
slow-roll because then everyone else slow-rolls.

"But when you play in tournaments, you play with people who really don't have a
concept of this. I'm not saying everyone, but a lot of these people. These
people should be, frankly, eliminated from the sport, so we would have a cleaner
sport. People like this shouldn't be allowed to play. That's how severe it is.
These are the same types of people who, when they go to a new table and see it's
their big blind, they walk to a different table so they don't have to take the
big blind. It's this type of behavior that, frankly, shouldn't be allowed. These
people aren't real poker players, is all I can say about it. Very irritating to
deal with people like that.

"I got up and left. Everyone at the table looked at me like they knew what a
jerk he was. Now, when I talk to people - I'm letting people know this is what
this guy does; it's important to get the word out when people do stuff like this
- and what I've gotten from people is, 'Everyone knows he's a (naughty word).
You just didn't know.' His name is Simon 'Aces' Trumper and apparently he has a

"Ten minutes isn't what was necessary. He could've taken 15 seconds to give a
hint of doubt to me about whether he did have the nuts. There's poker; I
understand it. But there's a certain amount of time that's right and certain
amount of time that's wrong. No good players would ever do anything like this.''

But wait. It gets worse.

"Even when he turned his hand over,'' Greenstein said, "he turned over the 8 of
spades, and then the ace of spades. He slow-rolled his hand.''

Greenstein was so worked up a day later, poker pro Thor Hansen said, that he
marched over the to area where Trumper was playing the in the Pot Limit Omaha
event and told him to his face that he should be thrown out.

"I've known Barry 11 years,'' Hansen said, "and I've never seen him like that.''


Simon's reply

Now it's Simon "Aces' Trumper's turn to tell his side of the story.

In a hand I detailed in a blog a couple days ago, Trumper busted Barry Greenstein in the $10,000 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha tournament, prompting Greenstein to claim Trumper took as much as 10 minutes to raise with the nuts and then slow-rolled the best hand, and ultimately said people who act like that should not be allowed in tournaments.

My using only Greenstein's side of the story was unfair. I should've had Trumper respond in the same piece, especially after it stirred up a ruckus on poker forums, websites and generated talk among players. So now, pretty much unplugged, here's what Simon says.

"People were writing to me on my site, 'How dare you do that to Greenstein?' 'If you I see you at the table, I'm going to kick your teeth in.'

"Let me tell you what happened. But forget the hand for a minute. This is what happened since the hand. Bruno Fituossi, a tournament director who watched the hand, said to me (Tuesday), 'How come he never said anything when he got up?' He never said a word. I turned the hand over - and I'll explain what happened there - he got up from the table, he looked down at the hand, never showed his hand - so don't get too confident that he had what he said he had; no one ever saw his hand - and off he walked.

"The next thing I know is the next day, and (tournament director) Johnny Grooms comes up to me. He said, 'Are you Mr. Trumper?' I said yeah. He said, 'I have a complaint that you took 10 minutes to reraise with the nuts yesterday.' I said, 'I'll tell you what, Johnny, I don't even need to answer it. Sitting around this table are the players who were here yesterday evening; there's Huck Seed, there's Barny Boatman, there's Tommy Grimes and there's Peter Costa. Ask them. I won't say a word.'

"Now think about it. If I was an American who wants to try to protect myself, I'd say (to those players at the table), 'It couldn't have been more than three minutes; you agree, don't you?' Not me. I said, 'I'm not saying anything.' Huck Seed said, 'Two, three minutes at the most.' Barny Boatman: 'Couldn't have been that long.' Tommy Grimes, 'Well, I didn't think it was longer than two minutes.' Peter Costa: 'Yeah, I would say 2-21/2 tops.' There's four people who could verify it at the table. That was that.

"Twenty minutes later, in comes Barry. He comes straight over to the table, points at me in front of everyone and says, 'Players like you who take 10 minutes to re-raise with the nuts should be banned from poker.' Those were his exact words. And he walked off. Huck Seed and I were like, 'What the hell was that?' The players at the table were gobsmacked. So, off he goes. As far as I was concerned, that was finished. I went up and saw Johnny. I said, 'Listen, you've already verified from the table that that wasn't what happened. He's now come and said this, you need to say something to this guy.' He said, 'OK, I will.' He came up to me 15-20 minutes later and said, 'I saw him at the break and look, you can't do that, Barry. Blah, blah, blah.' As far as I was concerned, that was it. Sour grapes. No problem.

"Then I get home last night about 11:30, 12 o'clock, and I read on the Hendon Mob site somebody said, 'Has anyone see this (ESPN Poker Club) article?' So, I read your article, and I said, 'What the hell is that?' People are on the site saying, 'He's this, he's that.' Whatever. Then someone said, 'Have a look at this forum,' and if you go to the 2+2 forum, there's a whole massive thread on it. And Barry has replied, and in one of the replies, he admitted that he came in to try to upset me. He said 'I tried to rile him.'

"None of this bothered me until I read the whole article. Someone on the Hendon Mob (site) said, 'If you read the whole thing, it sounds to me like Simon did nothing wrong. If you forget the 10-minutes thing that could be wrong, I can't believe he slow-rolled him and it sounds like Barry played like an idiot and is very unhappy with himself, so he's taking it out on Simon.'

"So I read your whole article. Let me put you right on a few things. This is exactly what happened.

"Now, let's put things in perspective. I'm chip leader in the tournament. I've been moved to the worst possible table; they're all good players. I'm not going to be able to dominate with my stack. I've got the second-chip leader on my left, Peter Costa. I've got third- or fourth-chip leader, Barry Greenstein. I'd say he had about $48,000 when the average was probably about $25,000. I had a lot more, probably $70,000. We're in the last level.

"Now, I do know what I'm doing in tournament poker. I am No. 1 in Europe in Omaha. So, I know what I'm doing. So, in the last level, I've got absolutely no need to get involved. I'm just passing, passing, passing. Barry is pretty much in control of the table. He's not interested in just cashing. Barry's making lots of small raises preflop and picking up pots. He's positionally raising and stealing a lot of pots.

"So, this pot comes up. I've limped in for the first time in about half an hour with A-A-8-8-10, double suited -- 8-10 of diamonds, A-8 of spades. Barry raises on the button. I think Tommy Grimes called and I called. The flop comes rag-J-Q, two spades. So, as far as I'm concerned, I'm drawing to a 9 for a straight - obviously the wrong end of the straight, but a straight - a king for the straight or the nut flush. That's my hand.

"Tommy checks. I check. Barry leads out. I think he bet about $4,000. Tommy passes. I'm calling, and the reason I'm calling - two reasons: One is the outs I've got, but the second reason is I'm playing a guy with a lot of chips, therefore if I hit my hand, I might get paid and further increase my chip lead.

"So I call. The turn comes ace of clubs. I check. Now he bets $12,000. Although I'm No. 1 in Omaha, I'm actually better known for No Limit. I've got 29 major No Limit finals. The reason I'm good at No Limit is I have a gut feeling for putting people on hands. Now he says, according to your article, he has K-K-J-10, which means that on the turn he had the nut straight. Maybe he's telling the truth, but that's not what I put him on. I put him on something like A-K-K-something or K-K-spade.

"I'll tell you why: If he had the nuts on the turn with the king flush draw, why is he betting the pot? He wants to keep me in. He's sitting there with the nuts with the backup of the second-nut flush draw. If I had flopped two pair or whatever, why would he want to bet me out of the pot? So, when he bet the $12,000, I thought about it, and in the end, I put him on kings with a king flush draw, and I would've made exactly the same play if I had the blockers with his king flush draw. I could represent the straight and I've got the king flush for backup. That's the hand I put him on.

"If I'm right, then I'm winning with aces. If I'm also right, the 9 is going to be good for me; the king, if I'm wrong, would give me the same straight; and if a spade comes, I'm certain he has the king of spades and I could win a big pot. So, on implied odds, I call.

"The river is a deuce of spades. I check. I did not hesitate. I just checked. He sits there for 30 seconds to a minute. He starts counting his chips down. I'm not looking at him. I'm looking at the pot. He finally bets $17,500. The pot was about $36,000. He had about $11,000-$12,000 left. I'm sitting there thinking to myself, 'I can't believe he bet this.' I'm certain he's got the king flush and I'm certain what's happened here is he did have the straight on the turn and he did make the king flush, he thinks that I also had the straight on the turn and I called because I'm scared of the flush, and on the end I've checked into him and now he can bet into me and I might be stupid enough to call with the straight, hoping he's on a bluff with the bare king. This is why I think he bet. Why would you bet if you think I've called on the turn with the nut flush draw and the worst card comes? Why would you bet when at that stage of the tournament, you've got average chips for the following day? Why would you risk another $17,500 of your chips?

"So, how do I get a world-class player to give me the other $11,000? First, I've checked into him. Secondly, I have to make him think that I think that he's got it and I have only got the straight. So, I separated $17,500 from my stack. I've still got like $60,000. I'm making him think I'm going to call. At this point, he's thinking, 'Great, he's going to call; I'm going to get paid off here with the king flush.' I then count the rest of my chips as if to say, 'If I'm wrong, if he has the flush, at least I've still got $50,000.' This was my process. And then I did what you don't know about in your article: I raised double.

"Now, any professional player should know that when someone re-raises you double, you are in big trouble, especially if you've only got $11,000 or $12,000 left. He now starts thinking and thinking and thinking. His first comment to me was, 'Were you thinking that long with the nuts?' It was about two or three minutes I was thinking. It might've seemed like 10 minutes to him because he was the one sitting there with the second nuts.

"If it was possible to trap a world-class player, would you not check into the guy and if he's dumb enough to bet into you, would you immediately say, 'I raise''? He falls straight into the trap and the guy's got an enormous ego. He feels like an idiot. Don't forget, he hasn't just given me all his chips when he could've checked the hand and come out the next day with an average chip count. How many people would've been thrilled not to have put their last $30,000 in in the last level and done it in front of his peers?

"Now, he thinks and thinks and thinks, and he finally says, 'Nuts is good.' Those were his words. 'Nuts is good.' I said yeah, and turned over my cards. So, obviously he's saying, "I have the king flush.' He pushed his last $12,000 in. Before I've actually re-raised, because we can all make mistakes, I've double-checked my hand. At the bottom I have the 10-8 of diamonds, at the top I have the A-8 of spades, but I couldn't remember which order they were in. I knew they were the top two cards - at which time, by the way, we've got people five-deep around the table - I'm not showboating or anything. I turn the top two cards over. It just so happens, the 8 was the first card. It goes 8-A. I didn't go 'nah-nah-nah-nah' or slow-rolled it or any of that rubbish. I went 8-A. And he just got up and shrugged and didn't say a word.

"So, this morning. Bruno Fituossi says to me, 'If he had a problem, surely he would've said, "I can't believe you did that. How dare you do that?''' He never said a word. Bruno said, 'You didn't slow-roll him.'

"Now, in your article, he says, 'I have the nuts on the turn. I wanted the deuce of hearts to come, but the deuce of spades comes. When he checked to me, I was worried that he might have the nut flush, and really I should've checked it down because I had the king flush and it was a big pot anyway. But I decided to bet $17,500 of my remaining chips, and if he raises me, I know he's got the nuts.'

"Yeah, that's intelligent. Like somebody said, I trapped him beautifully, and obviously, he doesn't like it. Then he said in your article, 'I didn't know who this guy was' and someone said, 'Didn't you know he was some naughty word?' Subsequently, he said, 'People like him shouldn't be allowed to play' and 'Did you know he's got a website?'

"What the hell is he talking about my website for? He's done me a huge favor. The hits have gone through the roof. I normally get 100 a day; I'm getting 500 a day. Unfortunately, I'm also getting people threatening to kick my head in. So, now it's been blown out of all proportion. Two things have been picked up: the slow-roll and the 10 minutes. Neither happened. As a result, I'm getting all these threats. It's disgusting.''

"One other thing: He said in your article, 'When I left the table, all the other players looked at Trumper as if he was a jerk.' You know what actually happened? Tommy Grimes and Barny Boatman said, 'Fantastic play.' They tapped the table and said, 'Great play.' They didn't call me a jerk at all. They thought he was an idiot. Barney couldn't believe the guy called me.

"He said in your article that the reason he called was to prove to the rest of the table that I would think so long with the nut flush. Wow. That's an intelligent reason for calling.

Trumper's version of the events was backed up by Seed and Grooms. As for the time that Trumper took to raise at the end, Seed said it was 2-5 minutes, as did all the other players whom Trumper asked the tournament director to survey.

"It was verified by players that it wasn't 10 minutes,'' Grooms said.

Overall, Seed said, "I didn't think he did anything wrong. It might've been kind of a slow-roll, but I've done it by accident before going through my cards.''

And here's proof enough: On the 2+2 forum, Greenstein himself posted this Tuesday afternoon: "I talked to Huck Seed (who was at the table) and he said it was between two and five minutes.''

And this: "I didn't think Simon should have been barred, but I didn't like what he did and I decided to rile him up.''

Later Tuesday, Trumper approached Greenstein at the table, and Greenstein said they had to talk, Trumper said. Trumper said Greenstein reconsidered how long he believed Trumper waited to re-raise -- five minutes now -- and they eventually agreed to end any kind of festering ill will and carry on playing poker.

Link of the Day:
Driving on the Intercourse
From this point forward, the deer-in-the-headlights look should be renamed the contortionist Japanese couple in the compact car photographed by surprise while having sex look.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

As a cable-less loser, I was excited to see this press release.



CONTACTS: Melisa Richter, Richter Strategic Communications,
416-652-5592, melisa@richterpr.com
Sandra C. John, ESPN, 212-515-1207, sandra.c.john@espn3.com

ESPN Original Entertainment’s 2004 World Series of Poker
Now Available on DVD

NEW YORK (June 28, 2005) -- The poker phenomenon is still raging and so
is its highest stakes game, No-Limit Texas Hold’Em. To the delight of
poker fans nationwide, ESPN Original Entertainment and DVD Marketing
Inc. have compiled the complete 2004 World Series of Poker’s Main Event,
a six-day shoot-out between the crème de la crème of the poker world
and wildcard amateurs to capture the multi-million dollar cash prize,
onto an ultimate must-have three-disc DVD set.

The DVD set, packed with bonus features and more than 11 hours of poker
action, will be available for online purchase as of today at
www.espnshop.com and www.championshipdvd.com with a suggested retail price of $19.95. Availability in retail outlets will follow.

"Our fans will really enjoy the 2004 WSOP DVD collection because we’ve
loaded it with four hours of bonus content," said Victoria Stevens,
vice president, ESPN. "It’s great for people who enjoy poker and dream of
someday making it to the final table at the game’s biggest stage."

A record-breaking 2,576 players, more than triple the number from last
year, came to Las Vegas for the 2004 World Series of Poker. Once
again, it was a virtual unknown in the poker world that would beat the poker
masters and garner the top prize. Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, a patent
attorney from Connecticut, parlayed a $160 online entry fee into $5
million in winnings and the coveted WSOP title.

This DVD set contains ESPN Original Entertainment’s final 10 programs
from the telecast of the 2004 World Series of Poker, which earned a 1.7
rating for more than 1.5 million viewing households. Hosted by ESPN
commentators and poker aficionados, Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, the
DVD is presented in fullscreen (1.33:1) digital video without commercial
interruption, and includes revealing interviews of star players, basic
rules of No-Limit Texas Hold’Em and four hours of bonus features.
Chapter points set at the key rounds allow the viewer to jump directly to
the action putting them in control of every frame of video as ESPN
captures the emotion, strategy and luck in route to crowning the champion of
the World Series of Poker.

The unprecedented four hours of bonus features include:

* Top-10 moments from the 2004 tournament
* A Greg Raymer commentary
* A Greg Raymer All Access
* Greg Raymer’s Bio
* A Stu Unger feature
* Beyond the Felt: Poker Talk segment
* Coverage of the $1,000 Buy-In No-Limit Texas Hold’Em
* Coverage of the $2,000 Buy-In Pot Limit Omaha
* Tournament of Champions feature
* Coverage of the Kansas City Lowball event, exclusive only to the DVD
Review copies and interviews with Greg Raymer are available upon
Distributor: DVD Marketing Inc., 1-888-383-1200,

I guess the over/under on the job attempt was a push.
I made it a week.

I quit. Errr, was terminated. Well, let's just say we had a meeting of the minds and agreed that it wasn't working out.

The fact that I skipped yesterday to play poker surely didn't help.

Nor was telling my uber vegan officemate on Friday that everything was OK because, "I only eat the gay animals."

He was not amused.

If I don't head out to the cardroom in a few, I'll tackle an uberpost for you - I've got a ton of stuff to blog.

Monday, July 04, 2005

"In a 4-8 game this afternoon, someone said they never win when they raise with AK so they don't raise with it. I said, everytime I sleep with a woman she ends up dumping me but I still sleep with women."
Gary Carson

I can't recommend enough the new poker book, "The Professor, The Banker, and the Suicide King" by Michael Craig. I almost finished it in one sitting.

If you want the inside skinny on the biggest poker game on the planet - Andy Beal versus The Corporation - go buy it now. Fascinating anecdotes and stories about all your favorite pro poker players and how they manage to walk that tightrope between their business sense, relationships among peers, and their passion - gambling.

Ted Forrest stories rule.

Put it this way. At one point in the story, Andy Beal has played - and defeated - in succession Jennifer Harmon, Todd Brunson, John Hennigan, Ted Forrest, Chau Giang and Doyle Brunson for 5.5 million over a week of heads up poker play.

Anyway, I liked it a lot.

I have a ton to blog but I'm still exhausted from my weekend trip to the new poker room at the Belterra, in Indiana. Very nice room, colour me impressed. Thanks to my bankrolling HuggyBear, I ended up a winner. Thanks to TeeDub for driving and thanks to GMoney for drinking and playing poker with me till 5am.

Apparently, the line of the evening was delivered late-night, by yours truly, at a fun, low-limit table with my buddies.

"Even if Michael Jackson DID molest those kids, he did so in a loving way."

Lots of folks had plenty to say about my sheer drunken idiocy.

Mitigating point: I successfully showed down the Hammer for a nice pot.
Was really a fun time.

Damn, I'm supposed to work tommorrow. God forbid.
I showed up 3 1/2 days out of 5 last week. Not too shabby.

But I realized that it's good, emotionally and intellectually, to get the hell out of the house.

It was my niece's death that really spurred me on - to do SOMETHING; ANYTHING. Climbing into a bottle rarely solves anything. Hence, the impulse decision to head back to an office.

Missourians sometimes speak of a place called Hacklebarney: a non-existent town you try to get to that is forever just around the next curve or just over the next hill, a town you believe in but never get to. Maybe that's enlightenment - always a little ahead of perception.

And that's how it's been with poker. I'm tired of waiting.

Anyway, I saw a thread about someone struggling with playing poker professionally and grappling about going back to work. And Dr. Al, resident 2+2 psychologist had this to say:


As usual, I agree with you. More importantly, so did Freud.

He was once asked: What do people need to be happy?

He replied, "To love and to work."

We need to relate to people with affection and to the world with meaningful work.




Well said.

Aw hell, let's throw up a few posts for ya'll. I'm exhausted (this tasty Guinness isn't helping) but I think I can copy and paste a bit for you, gentle reader.



Subject: The Women were TOTALLY Disrespected in Their 2005 WSOP event.
Author: Debbie in Ohio

I have to say I was very disappointed on how the Rio/Harrah's/WSOP people treated the ladies at the 2005 WSOP Ladies Only event.

We had 601 women in our event, and I busted out in the first 20 min when I misread a tell on someone who'd been pushing our table around (She'd been flinging her chips and glaring as if she was bluffing), when she had a better kicker than myself.

However, I stuck around for the whole thing, and watched.

I think if the WSOP people are going to HAVE a Ladies Only event, then they should treat the event equal to all the other events.

It's sad really, that it took a Movie star with a chip lead to get them to even NOTICE us.

Now, how you ask did they disrespect the Ladies and their event?

1) This should of been from the start, a two day event. When asked why it wasn't, several ladies were told, by the staff even from FEMALE staff:

"Well, this is the first time we've done it no limit ... and hey we figured the ladies wouldn't know how to play it as well, so they'd bust out faster than a mixed event"

and also:

"We didn't think we'd get this many women to show up"

Like, gee, didn't they learn their lessons from Tunica and New Orleans, where women showed up in DROVES. In Tunica they had more women in the Ladies event, then the WHOLE turnout for the MAIN event there!

In New Orleans, they would of had TWICE as many as they did (there were 300 women there), had they not played fast and loose with the schedule and changed the event a few months before hand.

In New Orleans, the other events were put up on the stage on the TV tables, where the women were shoved off in a corner ... and we didn't get an announcer either then.

In New Orleans, the table I was at, between when we lost one player and the 3rd player a whole 20 min elapsed, and then when we refused to play more, and ONLY then (and started yelling in unison for the floor), did the tournament directors tear themselves away from WATCHING other satellite tables play to come over and do their jobs and fill the seats.

2) Back to Las Vegas WSOP event ... When they came to get their seat assignments ... they told women registered in the 2005 Ladies WSOP event, THREE, count them, THREE different times that the event would start at.

11:00 am PST, 12 noon PST, and 2pm PST (the correct starting time was at 11:00 am PST)

3) When it got down into the money, and Jennifer Tilley had a MASSIVE chip lead (the women was luckier than snot I have to say. I think she must of had poker genies, one on each of her shoulders, based on the number of times she called with the worst hand, and sucked out the better player on the turn or the river), all of a sudden, the WSOP people and ESPN 'discovered' that there was a Women's WSOP tournament happening, simply because the Movie star was in the chip lead.

It was then and ONLY then, that they (TPTB and ESPN) proposed that play stop, and the women come back again the next day.

Problem was, most women had planes to catch the next morning (because they had been told it was ONLY a 1 day event), and in one case that I know of, a single parent had small children and had to get back again because she'd have no child care, and couldn't find someone else to care for them.

Again, all because of piss poor planning on the part of the WSOP people.

4) Finally, the final table. I don't care if the event had NOT been planned to be filmed or not, or if people agree if there should or should NOT be a Ladies ONLY event in the first place. If there is an WSOP event, it should be respected just as much as the other events. The other events, when they got down to the final table(s), the final 9 if you will, each had their final tables announced.

Well, when the Ladies got down to the final table, we had to BEG and CHANT for an announcer.

When realized that NO final table would be announced, crowd began:

"Respect the women! We want an announcer for the Women" and also simply "Announcer, Announcer!"

over and over again.

Well, about this time Phil L. (the Unibomber) showed up (again, as he'd been coming over every now and then to check on Jennifer's progress) and began talking to the women spectators. Several of the ladies started talking to him how totally disrespectful that the women were being treated (BTW ... Phil L. Is a VERY nice young man). He agreed, and then was talked into going to the officials to speak to them, and use his pull with them, about getting an announcer for them.

It's only because of Phil and when the ESPN film crew came over to check on Jennifer's progress again, and began filming, the crowd chanting, then and ONLY then did suddenly an announcer appear.

This was AFTER as well, the 9th lady was knocked out, and as such, SHE never got announced AT all!

5) Phil also pointed out to the powers that be, that there was a TV camera final table available, as Phil was convinced by the crowd watching the ladies (which BTW the crowd there watching the Ladies event towards the end .... was 4 times as many as were watching the Omaha Final table that was happening at the same time), to use his pull with the WSOP and the ESPN people, and thus on the next break, the remaining 6 ladies were moved over to a TV table, but NOT the stage where normally final tables were filmed and played at.

6) When after 17 hours of playing (the ladies played from 11am on Sunday until 4am on Monday Morning), they were down to the final 4, then and only then ... when Jennifer had a MONSTER chip lead (she had about 1/2 of the chips when she first sat down at a camera table, which grew to 3/4ths of the chips when she knocked out the 2nd chip leader, by getting lucky on the river and getting her belly buster straight draw filled there), that ESPN rejoiced when the ladies decided to then come back the next day, so they could film the 'final table' on the stage. This all because Jennifer Tilley the Movie star, and girlfriend of the Unibomber had such a huge chip lead.

There were other things going on as well.

They had to institute a penalty rule towards the end, because some of the professional poker player husbands, boyfriends and significant others were going into the playing area ... DURING the event and coaching their wives and so on.

Phil L. was NOT one of them, and had been getting a sandwich for Jennifer and came back into the area to give it to her, almost giving her 15 min in the penalty box, all because he was NOT aware of the rule when it was announced.

Carlos Mortenson and his wife were the WORST offenders.

Mrs. Mortenson was going to Carlos or Carlos to her after EVERY hand she was/had been in at one point, asking his advice or getting coached ... right there ... in the middle ... DURING THE EVENT that is!

It got several of the women and spectators upset, as most of these women didn't have such an advantage (having professional poker players coaching them in the middle of the event). Thus because it was sooo bad and sooo obvious ... TPTB instituted the rule where the spectators had to stay behind the ropes and not give advice to the players during the event.

There is something good though about Jennifer winning ... perhaps it might draw more women into the sport, and make TPTB sit up, take notice, and take women in Poker more seriously.

You'd think with the fact that most men who are of age who would go into Poker are pretty much there, that TPTB might realize that their 'growth industry' for Poker, is NOW getting Women into playing.

This is where the 'fresh money' is, if TPTB would simply stop and think about it.

There is money to be had by getting more women into the sport, and if the TPTB would simply realize this, they just might treat the women with more respect than the disrespect they showed them at the 2005 WSOP Ladies only event.

Lastly, be it where you are one that agrees that Ladies only events should or shouldn't be, I think that everyone should agree that if you HAVE the event, then it should have the SAME respect given to it, that the other events are given.



Yuppers, lots of comments and flames. All the misogynists came out to take cheap shots like this:

You've cemented my position in that all women will find something to nag or bitch about and can't just enjoy the moment.


Per my whining and current job situation above, this seems an apropos post along with comments. It's a breath of fresh air to read thoughtful, contemplative posts on playing poker as an online pro.

One year as a "pro"

When I quit my job last June I did not intend on playing poker for a living, but it seems to have turned out this way. I remember making a post on one of these forums responding to someone else about a year ago advising against playing poker for a living - and here I am doing just that.

My intention at the time was to take a short break from work and return to the job market in the fall when I returned from a trip to Aruba to play in the UB WPT event. I did not like the job I had at the time and wanted to take some time to reevaluate my career path and consider a career change. I worked as a Project Manager for a general contractor, had been working in the contracting business for about ten years and was considering trying something new. I had enough money saved to get by for about six months without working.

I had been playing poker for about two years and had found moderate success at the tables and had just started dabbling in online play and was finding it to be somewhat profitable – though not to the extent that many claim on these forums. So I concluded I could make a little money on the side playing poker while I sorted out my career choices.

I started out by going down to Bellagio every day to play live $15/30 and then maybe play an hour or two online at home. My online play consisted of one or two tables of $5/10. The live action was very good. The game had a lot of action and there were a lot of players playing over their head in that game. I think when people come to Vegas from other places they tend to take a shot at a bigger game than they are used to at home and tend to gamble a little bit more. This made for pretty games despite a fair number of very good local players who populate the game. I was pleasantly surprised how much I was able to make the first couple of months as my income from poker surpassed my income from my previous job – and I made a good living.

Online I was not as successful. I scuffled around for a few months making almost 1 BB per 100 playing one or two tables. After reviewing these forums some I found a rake back deal on Empire and decided to put more effort into my online play as I was getting bored with my routine and hoped I could approach the success many players claimed to be having. I moved down in limits and expanded to four tables of $2/4 and then quickly moved up to $3/6. My win rate stayed at about 1 BB per 100, but with more tables and the rake back deal, it was a little better than my previous online results, but not as good as my live play results. As my Aruba trip approached I was still planning on seriously looking for a job when I returned.

The Aruba trip was a turning point for me. Besides cashing in the main event, I made a final table of a side tourney, made good money in side cash games – and most importantly met someone who turned me on to the idea of propping online. He had been doing it for about a year and explained the how the deals worked. It sounded intriguing and I looked into it when I returned home.

As most of you know, propping involves starting new tables, playing heads-up, and playing short-handed. As soon as a table fills up and the game gets good, you have to leave the table. This was a major concern for me, as I was unsure of my ability to beat these games. But I decided to give it a shot. I had a tough go of it the first couple of weeks getting used to short-handed games and without the prop payments I could not have continued. But I stuck to it, researched short-handed play more and improved my game enough to learn to beat these games for a little bit. I bought a second monitor and eventually worked my way up to playing 6-8 tables at once and I now play any limit from $3/6 to $15/30. Since my rake back affiliate was flaking out on me and not paying as quickly anymore I quit playing Empire altogether and just focused my attention on the prop sites I was working for.

As I was working on my online game, I all but quit playing live. I found that I now did not have the patience required to play live anymore. The hands were too slow and it seemed like the variance was too much to handle. If I had a bad hour playing online it would only take an hour or two to recover. A bad hour of live play can take a day or two recover from. I now only play live poker if it is in a tournament or if I am out drinking and goofing around at lower limits with friends.

The income was enough that I had to strongly consider not returning to work. I did not think I could find a job that would pay me what I was now making but I was concerned about the effects my lifestyle was having on both my physical and mental health. My weight ballooned by 20+ pounds and I was not exercising at all. More worrisome to me was that I was shut in my house all day and had very little social interaction. The lack of social outlets led to feelings of isolation and at times moderate depression. Despite these negatives, I decided the money was enough to overcome these misgivings about my new “career”.

So here I am, one year into playing poker “professionally”. I do not think I am a particularly good player. I am just good enough to beat the games I play in and with the extra prop income I can make a solid living. I still struggle with my health concerns, especially the occasional depression I experience. I used to get a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment from my job and I do not get that from poker. Despite the potential income, I still would not recommend anyone do this and somewhat regret going down this road myself. I wonder if and when I choose to return to the real world how I will explain my hiatus from the working world. I wonder if I can still muster up the discipline required to be successful working professional. Sorry the post is so long, but hopefully it was worth wading through.

Dr. Al Schoonmaker, again, gives his feedback on the above post.

Thank you for an excellent post, and thanks also to the people who have contributed to this thread. As I have often said, without this forum I would have run out of ideas for columns and books.

Five years ago "Don't quit your day job" was an appendix in my "The Psychology of Poker." Among my reasons for that recommendation were some of the points you raised here.

Today playing professionally is immeasurably better than it was just a five years ago. The money is better. Some pros are acting more sensibly about their finances.

Soon I will publish in our internet magazine a revision of my appendix. I still have some reservations about playing pro, but the situation has changed enough to update my position.



And long-time 2+2'r, Andyfox, chimed in with some common-sense:

Terrific post, thanks.

"I do not think I am a particularly good player. I am just good enough to beat the games I play in and with the extra prop income I can make a solid living. I still struggle with my health concerns, especially the occasional depression I experience. I used to get a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment from my job and I do not get that from poker. Despite the potential income, I still would not recommend anyone do this and somewhat regret going down this road myself."

At least your are realistic about your playing abilities. As for the health concerns, you could certainly find time to get in some exercise: first thing in the morning, or make it a routine to go for a walk or whatever at the same time every day.

The depression, and the feeling that your job is not worthwhile, is another thing. A few other 2+2ers and myself have talked about this peril of being a pro. Especially as an internet pro, it can be a solitary, unrewarding (psychologically speaking) life and lifestyle. It seems I see a lot of pros who are maladjusted, whereas there are a lot of non-pros who make a nice auxiliary income and are very tough players, without the pro-induced malaise. The fact that you have regrets and wouldn't, from your experience, recommend going pro, confirms my thoughts and observations about this.

But you seems like you're very aware of things and that's a good place to start from. Good luck to you.

Hell, the entire thread is here. Go read it for yourself.
One year as a "pro"

A couple other interesting threads are:
Poker now, education... later

People who won't accept that they are losing players

And last, but not least, a different take on the above point of view.

All these college kids who want to go pro

I work with students every day on a college campus, and it alarms me to see the number of posts on the 2+2 psychology forums from college students, whose only career plan seems to be playing poker for a living. At first there were only a few, but lately there's been a flood of "Should I drop out/Yes I'm dropping out/My grades are in the tank cause I play poker instead of studying but who cares I'm making 20K online/I'm going pro so I don't need college anyway" type of posts.

I think this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. College students are one of the biggest reasons for the current poker boom. I have no doubt that online poker is creating many, many addicted gamblers on college campuses across the country. Many of these players are giving no thought to their future, other than plotting their carreer as a professional poker player when they graduate (or flunk out).

I think that the many winning college players on this board who are contemplating a pro career, need to be honest with themselves and examine their priorities. Some things to think about for all the "future pros" out there...

1. 20k or 30k a year might seem awesome in college when you have no expenses - but in the real world it's nothing. Just because you can make that much playing lower-limit games after classes, does not mean you'll still be able to win when you move up in limits and try to make enough money to live on or support a family.

2. You might not be as good as you think. Do you honestly think all these wannabe pros are really good enough to make poker their livelihood? It's like every college basketball player thinking they'll just quit school and join the NBA. Most of the winning college players will never be good enough to earn a decent living from the game.

3. The games will probably never be easier than they are right now. They will almost certainly get harder in the future, when the poker fad dies down and the fish aren't so plentiful. Just because you can win now, doesn't mean you will continue to win indefinitely. When the games tighten up and you're no longer winning, you're faced with the prospect of finding a "real" job, with no employment history and perhaps no degree.

4. Work is (hopefully) more than a paycheck. Poker as a career is not particularly useful to society. It doesn't help anyone, and it is not necessarily the best use of your unique talents. I know from experience that it's hard to convince college students of this point. They may have friends who recently graduated, who are now working lousy entry-level jobs for low pay. The transition from the fun, comparatively carefree life of a college student, to the full-time workforce is a tough one. So of course, playing poker might sound like a good alternative. But there are many people who absolutely love their jobs - even if they had to suffer through a few years on the bottom rung of the career ladder before they got there. Playing poker is not the only route out of wage-slave hell. A fulfilling career, with poker a profitable hobby on the side, is probably the ideal situation for most people. If you cannot think of another career that could even remotely interest you besides playing poker, you probably need to spend some time examining yourself and what you really want out of life.

5. Playing a gambling game for a living is not an easy life, physically or psychologically. I'd guess there aren't many who are really equipped to handle it. Something that might seem easy when you are playing for extra spending money in college can seem a lot tougher when you are playing to pay for your kid's braces or next month's mortgage payment.

Yes, there are some who may possibly have the rare combination of psychological makeup and poker skills to make a go of a pro career. But many, many more will not. Before the WPT and the current television poker boom, you never heard young college students planning to play poker for a living. Instead they planned to become doctors, architects, schoolteachers, or whatever else they felt passionate about. I worry that today, many college students are ignoring their god-given talents in favor of what they mistakenly perceive as an easy life of big money. This is not only harmful to the individual, but it hurts society as a whole. It robs the rest of us of their contributions, while they sit in front of an LCD screen pushing virtual chips around a table.

That will have to suffice for now.

Thanks for stopping by. My deepest apologies for the navel-gazing. I'll be back with tons of great content in a day or two.

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