Thursday, May 11, 2006

"A WSOP seat is the ugliest, most uncomfortable $10,000 seat you'll ever sit in."
Phil Ivey

This is gonna be an uber, I hope. Best of intentions, anyway.

So much to blog about but what to tackle? It's funny cause I literally do come on here and just start babbling, beers in hand. I don't have the energy or time to edit or re-write so that's why this crap comes out like it does. It's simply a big old brain dump.

I don't have enough time sobriety for a proper poker preamble right now but I truly feel like I just came out of a dark tunnel. Or a deep malaise. It's taken quite awhile but I've dug myself out of that poker hole I was in. I can't even begin to tell you how good it feels. I'm still digesting what I learned (abridged version: my game fell apart + Variance + Tilt) so expect a post about this in the near future. And even though my earn rate is a joke compared to last year at this time, it's all good. The Worm has Turned and I'm back. Whew - I wasn't sure I was ever gonna climb out the other side.

Lemme give you the great Jesse May's take on this:

"All I can tell you is that it's lonely out there, real fuckin' lonely, and your play doesn't matter so much as how tough you are and whether or not you fall apart."


I better get this going. I've got alot of copying and pasting ahead of me here. Plus, I have to actually dust off and set my alarm clock for noon tomorrow so I can pick up the Good Doctor at the airport.

Anyone else miss Abdul writing about poker as much as I? I have a veritable plethora of old RGP threads to link up for a rainy day. Oodles of great stuff. Anyway, here's an incident that caused Mason Malmuth to ban The Ghost of Abdul from 2+2 in 2002 in a post from RGP. Abdul, how we miss thee.

Banned from 2+2
Posted By: Ghost of Abdul Jalib

Well, it looks like Mason has banned me from posting.
Here is why.

Last summer, Mason sat down in a 30-60 game next to me. I was there first. Someone at the table said, "Hi Mason." And Mason replied, "Hello." I didn't want there to be an awkward silence, so I said, "Hi Mason," without any tone in my voice. He said, "Hello creep. If I ever have any more trouble from you..." and then proceeded to ram into me with his elbow and forearm while still standing. He nearly knocked me off of my chair. I looked around and asked the table, "Is he kidding?" Mason resumed his attack, with every venemous word spitting in my face and continuing to ram me.

The look in his eyes was pure insanity. With the restrictions Bellagio places on conduct, I had little choice but to call the floorman to get Mason off of me. Unfortunately, we had a junior floorman as acting shift manager for the day, so Mason was not barred. To the best of my knowledge, everything I've ever posted about Mason is true.

While speaking of 2+2, noted poker authority and author, Ed Miller announced his latest TV appearance:

I posted a couple months ago that I was applying to be on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. They picked me to be on the show, and we just finished filming my episode. It was cool.

Nothing is set in stone, but the tentative air date is June 20th. I'll post again shortly before it airs to remind anyone who wants to tune in.

If I hadn't read the entire thread, I wouldn't have believed this post. That disclaimer in place, I'm still not vouching for the veracity of the following. Hell, I think Fast Eddie is sick for multitabling ten $215's all freaking night.

But if online poker is the kingdom of crazy, this guy is wearing the crown.

Subject: This Guy Plays Over 30 Tables On Pokerstars !! UNF!

Okay I'm playing 3 sit n go games, Going Crazy from screen to screen , I can hardly Handle 2 of them , I see that there's a Player on all three of my tables .... I know its impossible to follow someone in sit n gos , Because they cannot find you when you are on a waiting list ....

So i look his name up on search (RainKhan )....I Counted 31Tables !!!! Some of the tables this guy was allready in heads up .... I couldn't Understand This guy was Playing 31 Sit n Go Games !!!

How the Hell can someone do that ... I Emailed support not to snitch or anything , Just was sure 100% this had to be a machine ( bot ) whatever wasn't sure ... I emailed support and got this .....Thank you for your email.


We have recently observed this player's seemingly impossible play levels, and have completed a full review of his account. In this review, he cooperated fully the entire time, sending all program logs while insisting he was a human.

We were skeptical, until he literally sent us a video of himself playing 24 tournaments at one time; as hard as it is to believe, this is a human being who is actually playing all these tournaments.

If you have any further questions, please let us know.

Steve C
PokerStars Support Team

Being a huge Michael Craig fan, I'm gonna head over and listen to this in a bit.

Subject: Michael Craig Radio Interview

Amy Calistri and I have Michael Craig scheduled to be our guest on "Keep Flopping Aces" this week.

Michael, is the author of "The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King," a book that tells the story of Andy Beal's heads-up, incredibly high-stakes matches against the world's greatest poker players, including Ted Forrest, Howard Lederer, Barry Greenstein, Jennifer Harman, Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey and others.

Michael Craig will talk about this book, a new book he's working on now, take listener questions, and tell some stories about the Big Game that never found their way into the book.

You can listen in at www.holdemradio.com, this Thursday evening, May 11, at
9:00 PM EDT, 6:00 PM PST.

What kind of post would this be without a mentioning of online poker bots? That's right, a crappy one. I sure would like to read a treatise by Paul Phillips on said topic, due to his combined technical/poker knowledge. Anyway, here's the post and followup worthy comments:

Subject: Quote from a ChessMaster regarding PokerBots

From an article in the 11/27/2005 New York Times by Jennifer Shahade, the U.S. women's chess champion in 2002 and 2004:

"Further, Internet chess cheating, alreacy a problem because dishonest players can use sophisticated computer programs to decide their moves, would balloon out of control if money were at stake. (Online card rooms don't have the same problem because poker computers are still too weak to dominate human opponents.)"



Lou Krieger responds:

>>>>>>The operative word is "still." Sooner or later they won't be.

We'll find this out sooner or later. To me the difference is that poker is a game of incomplete information, while in chess all of the information is available to be deciphered. Although bots will undoubtedly get better, I have no idea whether they will reach a point of being able to beat excellent players on a regular basis. From my perspective, this is still a completely open question. Wouldn't you agree?


And a third opinion:

Disclaimer first: I am not a 'tech guy'.

I think that when the chess champ was defeated by that computer the media missed the real story. To me the real story was that scientists were compelled to create a machine that would beat the chess champ. It is my observation that some of the very best minds in the world, a great many of them, supported by virtually unlimited resources, are spending their entire lives in the pursuit of creating machines to mimic, or outperform, humans in every human endeavor.

I can hardly think of a human activity that will not someday be performed by machines. Combine that with advances in robotics and who knows what the future will look like. I read once that the average computer has the 'mental capacity' of a termite (remember my disclaimer). Pretty soon they'll work their way up to a frog. I expect they will learn and develop much as the human mind does. My point being that we are at the dawn of the age.

We know the potentialities. Then there're the usual observations: Tirelessness, total recall, instant computation, application of game theory and all the rest.

One last thing. They don't have to beat excellent players. After all, how many of them are there? They just have to beat me and my kind and we are legion.

Want to sort through some solid poker articles rather than the shilling crap spewed out by seemingly every "poker site" out there? Tommy Angelo's poker archive of all his columns are here, including this year's excellent post, called Folding.

The following is an insane post, but what the hell, it created a ton of discussion. I wouldn't have responded to him and I'm embarassed to even be posting it, but hey, this blog is all about silly ideas. For the record, I completely disagree with this tard.

Subject: Toking dealers? (Att: All - especially you dealers)

I want to hear everyone's opinon on the whole matter of toking dealers at casinos and if need be differentiate between poker dealers and other game's dealers:

Here's my rant and slant on it:

I am against toking dealers at casinos, not just poker dealers - but all dealers. I used to tip poker dealers, but never in any other game. I have discontinued doing so for both.

To me, I don't see dealers as being service workers and I see the added expectation of them receiving additional income from tips as being another way for the casino to pass the buck on an expense, to us, the consumers.

Give me a good reason to toke casino dealers? When did they become part of the SERVICE industry?? What service are they providing other than helping the casino take your money??

You'll say they work hard for their money? WHAT? I DON'T? They have bills to pay. I DON'T!? They have families. AGAIN, I DON'T?

Those are moot pts. In relation to the games they deal. Well, the casino games all have that casino edge. So, if you're playing blackjack or craps. You're gonna lose. So you want me to tip on a game I'm already gonna lose money at, too? I may be a SUCKER. But, I'm not that big a sucker.

OK. You say poker doesn't have a built in casino edge? No? What about the rake or time. You try beating that 1-2NL game or that $3-6 game. How many times do you say. Damn! I played well, but I only came out $20-30 ahead. Why? Cause the casino is funneling down upwards of $100 off the table each hour.

OK. Now for all you who think I'm just a scumbag and/or heartless individual. I am one who has worked actual SERVICE jobs.

I've worked as a waiter, a restaurant host, and a bellhop at a hotel. These are jobs where tips are expected to be a substantial part of your income and are the accepted norm. I understand tipping for these jobs. They're tough jobs and I see value in the service.

What's the value in flipping cards, pushing dice, and shoveling chips?? All so the casino can take your money?

To me, it's just another way the casinos are passing off the buck of one of their expenses on us - the SUCKERS.

I refuse to be that big a SUCKER. So I'm not toking. Call me a scumbag, call me an arse, call me what you will. But you won't call me a SUCKER. I'll call those of you who toke that.

If the casino decides one day to stop raking and taking time, then I'll start tipping you poker dealers.

Till then, just push the pot my way and don't expect a tip from me.

He was flamed pretty hard, as expected. Allow me to post one of the more lucid responses here:

The other posters are right. Casino's would probably close down the loss-leaders called poker rooms before they paid their dealers anywhere close to a living wage.

The only difference between lots of "service" employees and dealers is that dealers had to pay to go to school to learn what they do. As far as income, they are treated exactly the same as waiters/waitresses. Which means that here in NY, they only make $4.10 an hour, even though minimum wage is over $6, and the reason is because the state has decided that they make a substantial amount of their income from tips
(incidentally, they are taxed for much more than that).

I find your argument silly because the target is the casino/rake but you're only punishing the dealers, which is like blaming the drive-thu operator at McDonald's because you don't like the price of the burger. You could kill the damn operator; but the burger's going to cost the same, and you're going to jail. In this case, you can toke or not toke, but you're still a sucker because the casino makes just as much,
and you're just an asshole.

If you really want to "get" the casinos...stop playing there. In fact, you could try and start a movement, and have a cadre of players nationwide refusing to play until it costs them a bit less. Oh, wait, that won't work because everyone seems to do just fine with the way things are and are too busy playing cards than listen to you from

Dealers don't make much, at all. A substantial portion of their income comes from tokes, and it is an accepted norm (the two reasons you said it was ok for you to recieve tips). If you have enough money to play poker, you have enough to toke. But, given the intelligence of your last post, I doubt you get many opportunities anyway.


Subject: OT: The new gay icon, Vito Spatafore

Betmaker.com has a whole odds selection specifically for Vito Spatafore betting.

What will happen first to Vito now that he's been outed?

1. Gets whacked +250 (pays $250 for every $100 bet)
2. Gets arrested +150
3. Stays ahead of the family +1800
4. Retires from mob life +1200
5. A member of Vito's family dies +180
6. Everyone walks out on him -200
7. Him and Jim become partners at the dinner +280
8. Goes back to New Jersey and gets treatment +450

Then there is Paulie Walnuts, who like Vito has had a more juicy presence this season - well, maybe not as juicy as Vito.

1. Gets whacked +160
2. Gets arrested +450
3. Retires from mob life +900
4. A member of Paulie's family dies +275
5. Everyone walks out on him +700
6. Gets out of the closet and goes to live with Vito +2000


Geepers, I've spent my entire life reading and not watching TV. But now that I have cable TV for the first time ever, HBO has taken over my life. Sopranos, Deadwood, Curb, Extras, Big Love, 6 Feet Under and Entourage. I'm stunned with how good it all is.

Tying into my prior Queer Eye for the Straight Guy reference & Deadwood, I gotta celebrate Deadwood's single-handed responsibility for bringing back beards and mustaches and the manliest of manly men to the small screen. There is no metrosexuality going on in Deadwood. Queer Eye would not even be able to drive their SUV down the thoroughfare before they gave up and went home. The dialogue in Deadwood is virtually a modern day Shakespeare, a mix of profane and Victorian stylings. It's unbeleivable. I'm resisting a quote from Al Swearengen here.

I've been a fan of Andru Prock since the good old days of RGP, when poker debate was hot and heavy, with a focus on numbers and theory. He's got a fine post up in his poker blog entitled The cost of the rake.

By the end of 30K hands, the expert player was winning at a rate of 4.77 bb/100 in the unraked game. If the expert were playing a rake 2/4 game, his earn rate dropped down to 1.05 bb/100. The rake is taking over three-quarters of his winnings. In fact, players don’t being to escape the gravitational pull of the rake until they reach 5/10.

This goes a long way towards explaining why higher limit games are sometimes easier to beat than lower limit games.

I'm always on the lookout for gems of movies that I've not heard of. I just added this one to my Netflix que, thanks to this review on RGP.

Movie Review: "Fat City"

I'd never heard of this movie before someone recommended it to me recently. It was directed in 1972 by John Huston. It's the story of amateur boxers in Stockton, CA. Stacy Keach and Jeff Bridges star. The settings, dialog, and acting are natural and realistic. The boxing scenes were brutal and I admit I didn't focus on those, as I am
allergic to violence.

The bar scenes remind me of "Barfly." Susan Tyrell was nominated for best supporting actress in the part of an alcoholic woman.

This is a great movie that I never knew existed. This relates to poker
because the final scene was filmed in a coffee shop with two poker
games running in the background. An IMDB link is included above.

Got some time to watch Phil Helmuth get his head shaved at the WSOP? Here's a Windows Media file of it - enjoy.
Phil Shaves Head at 2002 WSOP

For those who missed it - In 2002 Phil Hellmuth was knocked out by eventual champion Robert Varkonyi with Q-10. As he exited the tournament area he stated loudly; "If this guy wins this, I'll shave my head!"

Heh. here is the video recorded of Phil being shaved by;

David "Devilfish" Ulliot
Becky Binion Behnen
Puggy Pearson
Robert Varkonyi
Andrea (Benny Binion Behnen's fiance)

..... and Andy N.S. Glazer

Others around are Mark from PokerPages.com, Gabe Kaplan, Matt Savage..and numerous others.

Damn, I gotta point out this podcast by Chris "Jesus" Ferguson on FullTilt.
Money Management

Chris Ferguson turned $1 into $20,000 at the online poker tables. He's talks about doing so in the above mp3. Damn.

I imagine some folks might find this next nugget interesting. I could care less.

Subject: Cardplayer now lists all players by lifetime winnings

Cardplayer online database now lists players by lifetime winnings. About 150 players have made at least 1 million playing tournament poker. To see how their really doing one should look at length of time to accumulate winnings. If it's over several years buy-ins will have eaten up most of the winnings as most players play many tournaments.

There is a perception and reality. Does the player play cash games. I know a few players high on the list have nothing. Some of the players are deceased. It is still fascinating to review how players are doing.

Poker Player Database

As with all "lifetime winnings" lists, it's worthless. What good is a list of lifetime winnings if you don't have lifetime losses to compare it to?

Here's a poker player selling himself on eBay for the WSOP. I wish him luck but his admission that he often plays with play money in online poker negates any credibility he may have. But hell, that's just me.
Poker PLayer for hire!

Good God, I'm done here. Thanks a ton for anyone who actually read this far.

This Guinness-fueled, tangential crappy post brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker. There's a reason why most serious players play there. Sweet fishy goodness.

You gonna eat that?

And allow me to leave you with perhaps the greatest poker poem ever written. I haven't posted this in forever.

By: Phil Cerasoli

'Twas past midnight, damp and dreary, I in bed awake but weary
Trying vainly to establish with sound slumber a rapport,
When I heard a sound so muffled, sounded like cards being shuffled
Coming from the other side of my sturdy bedroom door.

I tossed and turned and said, "It is the wind and nothing more".

But the sound it was remaining. With bravado in me draining
I donned my robe and tiptoed to my sturdy bedroom door.
I opened it a crack, peeked out and saw the back
Of a man who was just sitting, playing cards upon the floor.

"'Tis a nightmare of my mind," I said, "Just this and nothing more".

'Twas a cloak draped 'cross his back and a Raven, shiny black,
Was facing him and pacing in a circle on the floor.
My jaw dropped when I heard the soft voice of that huge bird
Saying, "Deal me in this card game for a couple hands or more".

And the man tossed four chips to him; four blue chips and nothing more.

Then I must have made a sound, for he slowly turned around
And his face was pale as misty, eerie fog that hugs the shore.
Then he whispered to me low, "I'm the ghost of Allen Poe
Who has come here to play poker as I did in days of yore.

'Tis a poker game I'm craving. Only this and nothing more".

"Won't you sit in for a while?" he asked me with a smile,
"It will make a better card game than it was an hour before".
And, not wanting to incite him, I slowly walked beside him
Meekly asking what the stakes were as I sat down on the floor.

"Penny-ante," said the stranger. Quoth the Raven, "Nothing more."

From the start I had a streak of luck that reached its peak
By my winning all the pennies that the two had owned before.
Then the man said, oh so slyly, (as the Raven grinned so wryly),
"This low stake game we're playing I'm beginning to abhor.

"Then by all means", said the Raven, 'we should surely play for more".

Then the man, with gesture bold, from his cloak withdrew some gold
In a bag that was so heavy that to move it was a chore.
His sly look I failed to heed for my soul was filled with greed
As I saw the golden coins from the sack begin to pour.

"Yes," I whispered weakly, "We should surely play for more".

Then he said in voice so solemn as he stacked coins in a column,
"The hour grows late; I'm weary, so we'll play but one hand more.
If you win, my gold you'll own. If I win then it's your home
That will be mine to have and keep...to keep forevermore".

Quoth the Raven: "Evermore".

I said, "That's fair, I feel." Then the man began to deal
And the cards I had were aces and the aces numbered four.
I said, "My hand is pat and I'm only sorry that
The pot has been established and that we can bet no more."

Quoth the Raven: "Bet some more!"

"He speaks true," I then was told, and the man pulled out more gold
And tossed it with the other coins that were strewn across the floor.
"But I cannot match your bet," I sadly said, "but, yet,
I must have something left; something you two would adore".

Said the Raven, "You in bondage. Only this and nothing more".

"He speaks wisely", said the man. "If you want to bet, you can.
But lose and you're our slave and servant now and evermore".
I stared at my four aces, smiled and looked at my guest's faces,
Sealed the bet and spread my aces down and out across the floor.

Said the Raven in a whisper, "I see aces numb'ring four!"

The face of Poe just glowered as his poker hand he lowered
'Til it covered my four aces that were resting on the floor.
Then amid a quiet hush, I saw his small straight flush
And knew that I was beaten and was doomed forevermore.

Said the Raven, "You in bondage here and now and evermore".

Now on dark nights, cold and dreary, my sore body grows so weary
As I dust and wash and clean and sweep the droppings on the floor.
While my master and his Raven live in comfort in their haven
With their slave who's held in bondage, held in bondage



Link of the Day:
Coming Up: Flying Squirrel

Richard Dudley: "This is both hilarous and sad. I pity the poor squirrel once I stop laughing. And then I want to build one ..."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sorry I've been remiss in posting but I've been damn busy. As busy as someone without a job can be, anyway.

It's been 15 months since my shoulder surgery and I can actually swing a golf culb so I've been taking full advantage of this superb weather we've been having. I'm also preparing for my home game this weekend and an extended fishing trip to the Great North the following week. I'm heading out to an excellent restaurant tonight for my birthday. On my plate will be: Scallops with caramelized Brussels sprouts and black truffles, frisee salad, foie gras anything, vitello tonnato, pumpkin ravioli, bistecca Fioren-boca, grilled caesar salad, & boca de negra. Tasting menus rule.

Damn, life is good.

Anyway, just saw this report on the AP wire and thought I'd pass it along. Mebbe I'll come back and uber it up tonight after dinner.


Report: Internet gamblers can afford it

CARSON CITY, Nevada (AP) -- A gambling industry survey shows that people who use the Internet to place their bets tend to be affluent and educated -- a finding that could help advocates of a federal law change to legalize such wagering.

Release of the American Gaming Association survey on Monday follows the Washington, D-C.-based casino trade group's recent call for a congressional study of Internet gambling now that other countries, including Great Britain, are moving to authorize online betting.

Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., AGA president, said the group has opposed legalization of Internet gambling in the past "because regulators were opposed to it, and we're the strongest supporters of tough regulation."

"But the technology has changed greatly, and now Great Britain is legalizing online gambling -- and we're saying that Congress ought to take a look at (online gambling)," Fahrenkopf said.

"A lot of the opponents have been saying that the people who gamble on the Internet are the ones who can least afford it," he added. "But look at this survey. It shows they tend to be more educated and have more money than other people."

The survey of 552 Internet gamblers, conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates Inc., showed 41 percent had incomes of more than $75,000 a year, while only 12 percent had incomes of less than $35,000.

More than two-thirds of the online gamblers were men, more than two thirds were under age 40, most had started such gambling only in the last two years, 61 percent had at least a college degree and nearly half of those responding said the biggest reason for Internet betting was convenience.

The survey also said 55 percent believe online gambling companies find ways to cheat, and fewer than one in five knew or would admit that online gambling currently is illegal in the United States.

On other subjects, the survey showed:

# The 455 commercial casinos in 11 states generated $30.29 billion in gross gambling revenue last year, for an increase of nearly 5 percent over the preceding year.

# Las Vegas revenues surpassed $6 billion and Atlantic City revenues surpassed $5 billion for the first time.

# A poker boom that started in 2004 is still going strong, with nearly one in five of those surveyed saying they played poker last year.

# The gambling industry employed more than 354,000 people and paid wages of more than $12.6 billion last year. The industry also paid $4.92 billion in taxes and fees to state and local governments.

Those who responded to the March 18-21 survey were screened to ensure they were 21 or older and had made an Internet bet within the past year.

Because it's what's known as a "convenience sample" of a specific group, there's no reported error margin as there would be in a random survey of the general public.

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

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