Tuesday, February 07, 2006

"Poker is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you could find outside an advertising agency."
Raymond Chandler

No wonder I've spent the majority of my adult life either working at ad agencies or now playing poker. If the shoe fits...

Spent six hours on the slopes yesterday in preparation for a week long skiing trip to Beavercreek, Colorado. I used to ski a ton back in the old, old days, and thankfully, it's a skill much akin to riding a bike.

I haven't hit my boat for poker since my last writeup of the session from hell. It's pretty ironic for me to sit here and type that I'm a little gunshy after all this time of playing poker, but it is what it is. And so, I've been getting my ass kicked online.

When I'm running bad I generally have the propensity to step back a bit and catch my breath, gain some perspective. Not so much anymore. 16 straight months of nothing but poker has worn the sharpness of the pain of losing down to a dull scratch. I'm much more willing to claw and fight my way back these days.

I think I'm slowly building an immunity to the emotional effects of Variance.

But not to poor poker play, however. As I check my hand histories and see awful play after awful play on my part, I'm much more pissed at that than the money I've lost. But sometimes I wonder what the hell I'm doing this for. Sometimes I wonder about that a lot. Losing at gambling, even poker, is an immensely complex and sensitive subject - especially for a pro. I could truly rant about this but it's too late to work myself into a lather right now.

I actually DID rant and rave but I deleted it. Felt cathartically good to write, though. Is cathartically a word?

Anyway, let's catch up on some poker content, shall we?
I've got a ton for you, gentle reader.

This Guinness-fueled post sponsored by, well, sponsored by nobody.
All the more reason for you to sign up on Party Poker with Bonus Code IGGY damnit.

First off, fuck the SuperBowl. The REAL big game was going on this past weekend in Vegas with the Corporation once again battling against Andy Beal. $50,000/$100,000 limit hold'em - the blinds are $25,000/$50,000. I'm a huge fan of the book, The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King, that documents the biggest poker game on Earth and the underlying stories behind it. Fascinating stuff.

And so Andy came back to Vegas this past week. Here's the recent tidbits I've gathered for ya'll.

Cardplayer has an article documenting play.
Andy Beal Is Back to Wynn: The Weekend
The "Amateur" With the Deep Pockets Returns to Play

Annie Duke was doing another live chat about poker on ESPN and I caught this question and answer:


Adam Boston, MA: Any insights on the big match going on right now with Andy Beal? Why isn't your brother in the corporation this time?

SportsNation Annie Duke: (5:22 PM ET ) I assume my brother will play. There are a bunch of players that are going to play him, Todd Brunson, Ivey, Harmon, etc. I'm pretty sure the first day, Andy won. It's an interesting thing because people look at that and say that Andy has lost a lot to them. Interestingly enough, it's probably not as true as people think it is.

Andy has spent a lot of years learning the game. He's improving and obviously he's a smart guy. It's the nature of limit holdem heads up and there is a lot of variance heads up. They are playing 50/100K with $10 mil bankrolls. Anyone who has played that knows that you can have 100 big bet swings at any time. The results will be very interesting. If it were a situation where it were a $10 mil bankroll with blinds at 25/50K, then I would be more likely to declare that the group would not lose. But this situations makes it much tougher for the group.


Bluff Magazine sent a reporter in to give live updates and he did a pretty good job, imho, considering he was sending in reports through his phone.
Beal -vs- The Corporation

Be forewarned that it's a 28 page thread.
Worse, you have to endure wading through a bunch of goofs discussing the "trickle down" economic poker theory. Oh the humanity. So I'm grabbing some of the updates here for you:


feb 2
ok...dinner break over. unofficial count going into evening session: Beal up 500k. jennifer seems to be done for the evening as she is standing behind the action. I can't confirm but it looks like it is david grey stepping up to the plate....


I just had a little chat minh ly. he seemed to be in good spirits. he doesn't know what the tally is today...but he said yesterday that the 2 day total was about 1.7 down. he verified that Jennifer won...and Ted lost what she won back to andy. David grey had a tough run and losy about 600 k in the 15 minutes he played. I asked Minh if he was going to play and he said he didn't kniw but he was ready if needed. He has played Andy a few times 30k 60k but never this high. when I asked him if he would be nervous he said the stakes don't make him uncomfortable at all...

just spoke to andy at the break. things are going well. he said he is down a little for the day. this was confirmed by my new friend minh ly...who had a chance to check out the action. according to ly the group is stuck about 1.3 for the 3 days. meaning they are up about 300 to 400k for the day.


feb 4th
ok. I don't have much but what I do have should keep you happy. It wass overheard tonight at the Palm charity poker event that we were correct that ted was winning. Ted went on an absolute heater and erased all of the loss. he then proceeded to put the corporation up in the win column for the first time. our unofficial total is: +2.2 million for the 3 days. the mood of the pros was naturally up beat. Jennifer Harman was seen beaming throughout the evening


okay...in the room. Tired, and worn down. Like i last said. Ted Forrest did play the entire session today, and the corporation is no longer stuck...they are anywhere from 2.2 to 2.3 million in the plus range. That said, Ted Forrest had one hell of a session. If my math is correct Ted about a 4 million dollar session.

PLay will continue tomorrow, however i have no details. Ill get there probably around the same time i did today. I am curious as to who will be playing...

To answer some of Band Aid's questions...David Grey played yesterday, because Ted wasnt bck from dinner to my knowledge. There is no recording of the match. No one is certain of any details regarding players, and members of the group. I think we will see a fresh face tomorrow. Just not sure who. Very few rail birds today pro wise...I only saw Ming Li, Jennifer, and David Oppenheim.

I read most of the discussion regarding who people are rooting for and such....I am pretty impartial. Andy Beal, seems like a gentleman to the tenth degree. You have to admire the fact that this man is willing to take on the poker superstars of the world. He has played every hand of every session, and that must be tough. As for the pro's, you have to respect them as well. They are putting a substantial amount of money at stake to play in this game. We should just be thankful that both sides agreed to play...and that in itself is positive for poker.

I understand why there are some who are unhappy with our coverage. However, If i wasn't providing updates for you all I would still be there all day, because I think this game is historical. I love the game of poker, and i have the utmost respect for the game and players. I admire each and everyone who is involved in the game. I am posting updates, because I know there are thousands of people who love poker as much as I do, and they too if they had the chance would drop everything and camp out at the Wynn in hopes of hearing a tidbit or 2 of information....


the cards are in the air...its quiet here at the wynn but action is a plenty in this 50k 100k holdem match. playing for the corporation....none other than Ted Forrest once again.


ok they just had a quick break. spoke with Andy...and he is upbeat this morning. He says so far he is winning today. how much I'm not sure. also got a quick word from Ted...he says that things are pretty even today. he did tell me that we were correct with our number yesterday...he won 4.5 during the session.

The following info comes to me from our friend and contributor Gary Wise. when I was talking to Barry G (context; we talked while Jen H was playing), he told me the following. Thought you might find some of this useful: - Beal is not choosing opponents. Todd was the Corporation's choice and they'll continue to choose, though Andy has limited right of refusal. - The primary reason they play him is unlimited earning potential.

They don't feel like their edge is broad enough to justify it otherwise. - Beal's shown difficulty in the past walking away with a loss. The longer a session goes, the better for the pros. It's doubtful sessions where Beale starts up will last too long, making comebacks difficult. - He confirmed the $1.6M number. - Early reports were that Andy's game has improved.


feb 5th

the game is on. andy is playing Todd brunson this morning. this is the first day that andy is not wearing his all white shirt...maybe he is trying to throw the group off with his attire


And that's all I got.

Err wait, I've saved the snark for last.
See, Daniel Negreanu talked about the game in his blog:
Daniel Negreanu Poker Journal

And who else but Gary Carson took Daniel to task for his blog post?

Here's what I read in Dannyboy's blog:

"What I find interesting, is that Andy feels as though raising the stakes may take the corp. out of their comfort zone. What he fails to realize, is that the corp. isn't really playing that high at all. No one is risking more than $500,000 which is less than they would be risking playing $4000-$8000 on their own."

Does Danny really think Beal doesn't realize this?

It's why Beal wants to keep raising the stakes for christ's sake.

I don't know what's wrong with that boy.

Where would anybody get the idea that a billionaire banker doesn't understand how stuff that banks have been doing forever? It's called loan participation in the banking world, when many banks get together and fund a large loan -- exactly what the corporation participants are doing.

I think it's an interesting question to wonder how a good big money poker player can fail to understand that bankers tend to have a pretty good understanding of risk reduction techniques. I bet Annie Duke wouldn't make such a silly mistake, but if she did I'd make fun of her for doing so.

I actually enjoy Josh Arieh's poker journal. But remind me to never listen to his football picks. Thankfully, I didn't.

Go with me on this one...... play Seattle +4 and here is a cool parlay that might come in. Play a 2 team parlay, Seattle on the money line parlayed with the over.

There was some awful officiating in the game, even though it worked out well for me.
Here's a take on that from FOXSports:
Refs were far from Super in this one

A hoist of the Guinness to Joaquin for this superb bad beat story on ESPN. I sure hope it's true.
The ultimate bad beat

From Sports Illustrated we have this poker story:
Star quarterbacks humbled at celebrity poker tourney

Interview with poker author, Jim McManus, at the NY Magazine, The Word, about his new non-poker book.
Impatient Patient: James McManus

Enjoyed this video interview, and others, with David Williams from CardPlayer.

Noted poker author, Lou Kreiger, asks: Is WPT's new "Events Division" taking Aim at Matt Savage?

I took my wife out to an excellent dinner for her birthday at one of the finer establishments here in town. As I perused the wide-ranging menu, I suddenly wondered why noone offers dolphin to eat? Outside of the protected species thing, I mean.

I, for one, would love to sample a tasty dolphin taco.

Anyone interested in a review of the new poker room at Hooters? Your wish is my command:

Subject: Hooters Casino Review (with quick Poker Room review)

Okay, I just stopped by and played about an hour's worth of poker and typed up a very quick review, and included some pictures.

If you are interested in the new Hooters Casino, this should give you a rough idea.

For all you SNG'rs (or even if not), you need to read this 2+2 post ASAP. Some amazing stats. Again, I hope it's true.
7837 SNG tournaments played - I think I'm overdue for an update (long)

The new TwoPlusTwo February online poker zine is out.
Worthy stuff, of course.

I actually saw this Moneymaker thingy and concur with the following assesments.

Subject: Interesting Chris Moneymaker Interview

This may be old news to some of you but I saw a television interview with Chris Moneymaker last night, that I had not seen before. It was on a show called "Inside Poker". Couple of points/observations:

1. He has gotten much better at doing interviews over the past couple of years. He seemed very calm and confident and came off as a genuinely nice guy.

2. He said that when he and Sammy Farhah (sp?) got heads-up at the final table, he offered Sammy a deal to split the first and second place money 50-50. Sammy turned him down even though Moneymaker was the chip leader at that time. He said, "clearly Sammy thought he could out play me even though I had more chips and that was a little irritating."

3. When Moneymaker was in his online satellite they were down to four players. The top three got WSOP seats and the 4th player got $8K. He said he was trying to dump chips to get the $8K because he wanted the money more than the seat. He said a friend called him and offered to put up $5K to cover travel expenses, etc. in exchange for 50% of Chris' WSOP winnings.

5. After Chris won the WSOP seat, and before they left for Las Vegas, the guy said he couldn't come up with the $5K. So Chris went to his dad and another friend who each put up $2.5K.

6. He gave 1% of his winnings ($25k) to charity. It was a cancer charity headed-up by one of the other big name poker pros but I can't remember which one.

7. They asked him about the rumor that he is now broke. His response was, "You must be reading the internet." He said he is not broke, is doing very well financially but that he does not live a "fancy, rich life style."

8. Asked why he does not play more tournaments, he said he just chooses not to. He said his promotions, appearances, the charity work he does and the new company he started take up most of his time. He also wants to spend more time with his family, as opposed to spending his life on the poker tournament circuit.

Sometimes i have thoughts like this. Wondering how this all came about.

Subject: Tales from the Odd

So I am sitting here multitabling at HoldemPoker/Pokerroom in the 2/4 limit game listening to Saigon Kick (Channel 23 Hair Nation) on Sirius drinking a bourbon and soda and I realize how different my world has become over the last few years.

In January of 04, I deposited and quickly lost $51.40. I got pissed that my KT limp lost to a better King so I read Lee Jones. Lee Jones turned into Gary Carson who turned into Harrington who made me decide I better figure out my own way to play holdem limit and no limit poker.

After happly grinding out hunderds of hours of poker I now spend 3 hours a night after my wife goes to bed playing this game as my once meager bankroll is nearing
$10k. In December of 03 I had no idea that online poker was viable and Sirius existed. Who would have thought?

A friend wrote this about Las Vegas:


Vegas, Baby

Here’s the thing about Las Vegas: I can’t take it for too long. It’s an overwhelming mass of nearly everything all at once, everywhere, forever. The unending incoming tide of light and sound and people swarms over you as you’re lying there on the hot sand of its sidewalks, or standing motionless on its ugly casino carpets, or even when you’re back in your suite, “the biggest suite on the strip,” looking out the wide, clean windows at this oasis of gleaming metal and curved neon and thinking you should probably be somewhere else doing something else than this (nothing) but you’re too overwhelmed to make a decision.

I’m not a gambler in any sense. I don’t enjoy the feeling of the unknown, or the idea of chance because I know that chance is playing against me, and not with me. The idea of winning is certainly appealing, but the reality occurs so infrequently that I am left feeling duped and foolish.

That said, I enjoy video poker. I also enjoy watching other people losing their money. I like the looks on their faces, the determination and concentration as they watch the cards play out, or the wheels turn, or the ball clacking along the roulette. They have hope, and it’s dark and evil and mean, it’s not the hope of fulfilling love or the hope that someone on their death bed won’t actually die, it’s the hope that they’ll beat the fucking odds and show this fucking town who’s boss. The hope of vengeance and shoving a finger in someone’s face and laughing, ha ha, I showed you, motherfucker!

The people watching is unsurpassed in Las Vegas, if you’re into freaks. And I am. Sure, you can go to Barcelona or Istanbul or Paris if all you want to see is beautiful people dressed in beautiful clothes doing beautiful things. But come to Vegas if what you hunger for is outlandish, huge, balloon people dressed like Rosa Parade floats downing giant, grotesque portions of food and drink while being loud, loutish and incredibly, amazingly rude. It is, in some ways, the most American of American cities.


As I've often said, speaking from my own experience, "Vegas is a great place to visit, you just don't want to live there."

Someday, I'll tell my story about moving there on my 25th birthday. It involves several felonies.

Let's move on, shall we? I'm truly getting tangential today.

Here's an interesting article from the LA Times that I forgot to link up a few weeks ago. Here's some tidbits:

Bill Lee’s father was sold as a boy to cover a gambling debt.

In the early 1900s, Lee’s grandfather lost a wager during a gambling binge in China. With no money to settle up, his only son had to go.

The failed bet unloosed a legacy of problem gambling for Lee’s family. His father became an obsessive gambler who never mentioned being raised by a man who won him in a card game. “I saw how gambling destroyed my dad,” Lee said. “Part of me also learned, ‘Oh, that’s how you deal with conflict; that’s how you escape.’ ”

Nobody really knows how deeply problem gambling reaches into Asian communities because Asians have not been broken out as a group in national or California studies on the issue.

But a 1999 poll in San Francisco’s Chinatown, commissioned by a social services agency, found that 70% of 1,808 respondents ranked gambling as their community’s No. 1 problem. In a follow-up poll, 21% of respondents considered themselves pathological gamblers and 16% more called themselves problem gamblers — rates significantly higher than in the overall population.

Current data suggest that 1.6% of Americans can be classified as pathological gamblers, a condition recognized as a psychiatric disorder. About 3% more are considered problem gamblers.

Gambling has become America’s adult pastime of choice. Each year, more money is spent in the nation’s $75-billion gaming industry than on movies, concerts, sporting events and amusement parks combined.

And nowhere is gambling on a bigger roll than in California, with nearly 60 Indian casinos, scores of card rooms, racetracks and Internet gambling sites as well as one of the nation’s most lucrative state lotteries. By 2010, annual gaming proceeds will top $10 billion dollars, carrying California past Nevada as the No. 1 gambling destination in the world, gaming experts say.

Asian gamblers play a key role in that success. Though few statistics on their contribution to the state’s gambling pot exist, some casinos and card rooms near Los Angeles and San Francisco estimate that Asians often account for 80% of their customers.

Some interesting reading.
Gambling Seen as No-Win Situation for Some Asians

Here's the kind of dillholes yer playing against on Party Poker. I'm not surprised by anything anymore.

Subject: Is card counting possible in Texas Hold'em?

I've been wondering if card counting is possible in Texas Hold'em and if so...would this be technically illegal? And if card counting IS possible in Texas Hold'em...what could be done to discourage this or make it very difficult to accomplish? Thanks.

When I read questions like the above, I suddenly realize why I don't have to hold a regular job.

Here's some new poker TV news. Just what we need - more poker on TV.

Subject: Professional Poker Tour comes to the Travel Channel

After five months of negotiations that survived the filing of a lawsuit, World Poker Tour Enterprises (WPTE) and the Travel Channel have come to terms with an agreement that will bring WPTE's new show, the Professional Poker Tour (PPT), to the Travel Channel.

The Travel Channel is the home to the widely watched World Poker Tour (WPT).

The PPT will feature a series of invitation-only tournaments that are limited to the highest-ranked players in the world. The PPT is expected to begin airing in the third quarter of 2006 on Wednesday nights from 9-11 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time, following the completion of the fourth season of the WPT.

After finalizing the deal, both organizations issued the following statement: "WPT Enterprises and the Travel Channel are pleased to announce that they have resolved their differences amicably and terminated the litigation between them. Both parties look forward to continuing their mutually prosperous relationship."

"This deal allows Travel Channel to feature 44 weeks of premiere episodes of WPT and PPT programming each year, which is great for poker fans who have asked for additional premieres, and really bolsters our 'Wednesday Night is Poker Night on the Travel Channel' platform," said Pat Younge, the executive vice president and general manager of Travel Channel.

In September, WPTE filed suit against the Travel Channel accusing it of interfering with a developmental deal with a third-party network to air the PPT.

The suit alleged that after WPTE entered discussions with a third party for the PPT, the Travel Channel sent letters to the third party and WPTE offices warning each of them that WPTE broke the broadcasting contract by entering negotiations with a party besides the Travel Channel.

The suit, filed in California Superior Court, sought to keep the Travel Channel from interfering with negotiations with the other broadcaster.

The PPT will pit the top 200 poker players in the world against each other week after week. Like the PGA, players will have to qualify for a tour card in the PPT - through success on the WPT, the World Series of Poker main event, or other distinctions, including membership in the Poker Hall of Fame. The players will be fighting for a prize pool of $2.5 million dollars each season.

The five tournaments that will make up season one of the PPT have already been filmed. The show is hosted by poker pro Mark Seif and actor-poker enthusiast Matt Corboy.

Here's the latest WSOP news:

Subject: News about new WSOP tournament director

- New TD Robert Daily is a former CIA contract pilot during Vietnam War

- staggered restroom breaks and portable restrooms

- no smoking in hallways at the Rio Pavilion, separate smoking area

- players' lounge

- one restaurant at the Rio open at least 20 hours a day

- possible theater-style setting for spectators during last two days of 2006
main event, subject to ESPN approval

- 2007 WSOP to be moved to late spring/early summer to accomodate ESPN

Criminy, I still have a ton of stuff to blog but I'm dying to play some cards, so alas, gentle reader, I must let you go.

Couple of quick notes before I leave. First off, Dr. Pauly had a great idea in helping BoyGenius and his medical bills. Save BG. Help one of our very best writers and people, if you can.

I just talked to BG on the phone and he's surprisingly cogent. He's doing pretty well despite the fact he soiled himself earlier. Hopefully he'll write all about it.

Secondly, I owe my ad agency ex-colleague and good friend, Kev, a shout-out for his new blog Bad Pitch - a blog about bad pitches in the public relations/marketing world. Hell, it's so good they even got pimped by Gawker last week. Kudos.

Damnit, I'm still waiting to announce a WPBT tournament. Stay tuned.
Thanks for reading this drivel.

Link of the Day:
When Canadians Attack

A Canadian bicycle courier was trying to help Woodsy spread the word, thoughtfully returning a discarded half-eaten hamburger and wrapper to its rightful owner in his car, when the hoser went nuts, a hockey fight broke out, and he became as red-faced as one of the docile, pallid-complected Northern people are capable of becoming.

Yikes, it seems that the SEC is going after Doyle Brunson's webmaster, of all things.


Poker icon's employee subpoenaed

The Fort Worth office of the Securities and Exchange Commission isn't bluffing when it says it wants to talk to several parties related to the agency's investigation of poker legend Doyle Brunson's July buyout offer for the company that produces television's popular World Poker Tour.

On Wednesday, SEC lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Terry Means to enforce the agency's subpoenas issued to Wallace Nakano. According to the filing, the SEC says Nakano operated Brunson's personal Web site, which publicized the July 8 buyout offer for World Poker Tour Enterprises.

Brunson offered $700 million for WPT, roughly twice the California company's market value at the time. The stock's value shot up in frenzied trading, then quickly slid when the offer expired four days later without further action.

Leonard Sharenow, a Los Angeles lawyer representing Nakano, said Thursday that he is contesting the SEC's subpoena because it wasn't properly served and instead went to the home of Nakano's brother. Sharenow also said "we really don't understand why they think" Nakano has any useful information regarding the case.

The SEC has already asked Means to compel two of Brunson's attorneys to answer more questions about the offer, said Katherine Addleman, head of enforcement at the Fort Worth SEC office. She said a response to that request was due soon.

The SEC's investigation came to light Dec. 14, when the agency sued the two attorneys, David Chesnoff and Chaka Henry, in Fort Worth federal court. Neither could be reached for comment Thursday.

In its suit, the SEC said Brunson's offer "caused WPT's stock price to rise sharply. But, soon after publicizing the offer, Brunson and his attorneys abruptly backed off the offer, refusing even to respond to WPT's requests for more information. This caused WPT's stock to nose-dive, costing investors tens of millions of dollars in lost market value."

"On its face," the suit alleges, "this conduct implicates possible violations of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws." The lawsuit says the agency will seek to discover why Brunson made the buyout offer and "whether anyone connected to Brunson or the offer improperly traded WPT's stock."

Brunson's offer for WPT (ticker: WPTE), which had gone public in August 2004 at $8 a share, was valued at about $34 a share. The stock jumped from $17.75 on the day before the offer to as high as $29.50 before closing at $26.50 on July 8. It then started sliding, falling below $10 a share by September. Thursday the stock closed at $7.09.

According to the SEC suit, when the agency subpoenaed Brunson's testimony in the matter, "He invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination."

Brunson, who now lives in Las Vegas, could not be reached for comment.

Chesnoff and Henry "provided the Commission voluntary sworn testimony on a limited number of topics" in September, the SEC's suit says, but asserted attorney-client privilege in refusing to answer further questions about the buyout offer.

Brunson, 72, is a Sweetwater native and former Fort Worth resident who in a 2004 interview with the Star-Telegram said he learned to play poker in the notorious gambling parlors of Jacksboro Highway in the 1950s and '60s and in the Fort Worth Stockyards. "Texas Dolly," as he is known, became an icon of professional poker.

According to the World Poker Tour Web site, he has won more than $1.3 million on the show.

"On its face, this conduct implicates possible violations of the ... federal securities laws."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Weeee. I finally won a SuperBowl wager. Amazing.
It's the only thing I've won in the last damn week, so hell, I've got that going for me.

Gambling aside, I'm one of those pathetic people who actually watch the SuperBowl for the ads as well as the game. Sad, I know, especially since I'm continually disappointed even though I'm only rooting for a rare gem or two.

This year wasn't much different.

And because I'm a blogging fool, I found a couple of great blogs that live blogged the SuperBowl commercials (and the halftime show) for 2006 - most complete with video links to said SuperBowl ads.

Here's some good reading, if you care about such things.
If not, I'll be back with a proper poker post when I sober up.

AdRants liveblogs the SuperBowls commercials
Josh Hallett

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