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Views: 476
Date Posted: Jul. 4, 1:15am, 0 Comments
Three times in my first 24 hours in Las Vegas I've had that same feeling.  Each year, I pop back in the poker scene.  The rest of the year I am far removed from my pro poker friends.  I don't normally travel to any tournaments other than the WSOP.  It's not that I don't try to keep up with their happenings.  With blogs, forums, emails and tweets, I can keep abreast of their lives.  But then when I meet them, It can take a minute or two to distinguish that while I maybe be aware of aspects of their lives, I haven't spent any time with them in a year.  I feel this familiarity with them that no one who hasn't actually lived those moments with them should feel.
 
When I met Krantz's girlfriend at the DeucesCracked party, I felt a familiarity with her despite never having met her.  I had seen her on the 2 Months, 2 Million poker show.  I had seen pictures of her in Krantz's room, and heard her mentioned by Krantz in our conversations and in his blogs.
 
When I spoke to David 'Gaucho2121' Paredes tonight, I had the similar sense from following his tweets that I already knew how his summer at the WSOP was going, before he even had to tell me. We've been casual friends over the years, but I haven't really spoken to him much online in the past year.
 
When I met up with Lee Childs today, I knew about how he had become a father through adoption this year and how it had changed his life.  I knew him from his WSOP Main Event final table run from several years ago, but I had only seen him twice since, both at the WSOP.  And yet, following his tweets, I felt like I knew of his life.  Interestingly enough, he expressed some familiarity with my world from having read my blog.
 
In each case, I have physically interacted with each person in previous years.  So there is a direct connection to them, but despite the lack of interaction throughout the year, I still get a sense of familiarity with their lives through the various forms of social networking.  I suppose you can call it a virtual familiarity.  So can I say I know them, or can that only happen if my knowledge of their world comes from direct contact?
Views: 472
Date Posted: Jul. 3, 5:07pm, 1 Comment
The numbers for the WSOP through the first 55 events were just released.  According to Harrahs, participation stands at 63,706 entrants, up 20% from last year.  For the sixth year in a row, the overall prize pool generated has topped $100 million.  Harrah's feels quite positive about the overall results in the face of the weak performance of numerous global currencies and strong international attention on the FIFA World Cup.
 
Among the highlights of the 41st annual World Series of Poker through Event 55:
·        Three of the Top 10 largest events in live poker history have been held at the 2010 WSOP; seven of the largest 15 tournaments also have been held this year
·        Largest event, Event #3 ($1,000 No-Limit Hold’em): 4,345 players
·        Smallest event, Event #19 ($10,000 Deuce to Seven No-Limit Championship): 101 players
·        Largest event prize pool, Event #2 ($50,000 Poker Players Championship): $5,568,000
·        Largest first place prize, Event #2 ($50,000 Poker Players Championship): $1,559,046
·        Average event participation: 1128 (vs. 2009 average of 961)
·        Total prize money thus far: $113,948,265 (vs. $107,260,976)
·        Youngest winner: Steven Kelly, 21, who won Event #39 ($1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Shootout)
·        Oldest winner: Harold Angle, 78, who won the largest-ever Seniors tournament (3,142 players)
 
Having watched the proceedings online and my first couple days in Vegas, the numbers can be a bit deceiving.  Some events grew, while other significant big buy in events were down.  The new layout of tournament rooms and tables makes it more challenging to compare the crowds playing and watching from previous years.  It will be interesting to see how many turn out for the marquis Main Event.
Views: 456
Date Posted: Jul. 3, 1:43pm, 0 Comments
Once a year, I get transported to an alternate universe.  It has few if any similarities to the world I regularly inhabit. The characters in this world may look like you and me, but they act in unworldly ways.  Here are 15 observations of these people we call WSOP poker players.
  • Many of them I've watched on TV or online.
  • They carry thousands of dollars around in cash or chips.
  • The biggest stars in this world stand next to me at the next urinal or walk the halls with everyone.
  • They will show up late for their job knowing that the blinds aren't significant yet or they just want to be noticed.
  • They plan their days around rest and eating breaks imposed upon them.
  • If they bust, there is always another event to come later that day. 
  • They can recall minute details of hands played hours earlier, and they always have bad beat story ready.
  • Their nervous energy is disappated by constantly riffling chips throughout the room.
  • No two players stack their chips the same way.
  • They will debate the most arcane situations and rules with great fervor.
  • Dressing down is the accepted norm.
  • They like to conceal their identity with hats, hoodies and sunglasses.
  • They will stare you down in an attept to read your soul.
  • Extreme patience is a necessity due to the galacial pace of action in some hands.
  • They will look to deceive their playing neighbor then tweet the truth to the whole world.
These poker players may have started out like you and me, but somewhere along the poker way they became something else.
Views: 378
Date Posted: Jul. 2, 11:17pm, 0 Comments

One of the great things about coming to the World Series every year is your access to all the most famous players.  Take seven minutes from my day today. I walked down the long hallway from the Rio, passed through the press room, and wandered into the Amazon room.

World Series Main Event champions I passed:
 
2007 - Jerry Yang
2006 - Jamie Gold
2005 - Joseph Hachem
2003 - Chris Moneymaker
2000 - Chris Ferguson
1989 - Phil Hellmuth
1977 - Doyle Brunson
 
Tack on another seven minutes and I saw seven more great young players who might join them:
 
Tom Dwan
Annette Obrestad
Jonathan Little
Daniel Kelly
Brian Rast
Vivek Rajkumer
David Benefield
Views: 363
Date Posted: Jul. 2, 3:41pm, 0 Comments
The craggly parched landscape beckoned to us.  The 104 degrees indicating that it was just another typical day in Las Vegas.  Only it wasn’t.  Zimba was landing.
 
After a shuttle ride to the hotel, unpacking and establishing internet again, it was time for a delicious dinner at the NoodleExchange; pepper and onion pork with noodles.  Then I was invited to join a bowling DeucesCracked get together at the Gold Coast.  I threw down a few beers while talking to Jay Rosenkrantz begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting, Rob ‘Entity’ Cole, Ariel ‘Foxwoodsfiend’ Schneller and Joe Tall.   I only watched the ragged bowling, content to ease into my stay.  Then it was back to the room to unwind and hit the sack.  My first official day being today.
 
After a buffet breakfast, I headed to the Rio.  Those 100 yards are always more than enough to warm my casino cooled bones.  Walking down the long walkway, it was obvious that this year the layout is completely different.  I located the media room and picked up my media credentials.  The media room was empty, as 10:30 am is like 5 am in the work world.  Too damn early to be going when your work day will often run til after 2 am.  I picked a spot by the big screen TV’s so I could watch the Ghana vs. Paraguay game that would be on later.   This year the internet access seems to be working smoothly and quickly.
 
One thing I wanted to get set up early was an interview with a European Everest LiveTheDream winner of the $3k HORSE event - Sigurd Eskeland.  He represents that dream of an amateur hitting his big score on the world stage.  So I hope to have that interview in the next few days.   I also headed over to the Everest poker room to pick up some passes to their big July 4th bash they have at Pure.  It is catered with live music on the roof of Pure at Caesars while the fireworks go off above your head and was amazing last year.  I picked up three other passes, so some lucky friends can join me in the fun and frivolity.  Now it’s time to do the media grind.  Working, blogging, writing and reporting.  More to come from the land of hope and dreams, both those crushed and those realized.
Views: 327
Date Posted: Jul. 1, 9:51am, 1 Comment

I'm heading off to Las Vegas today for my annual WSOP trip around the Main Event.  This past week I was visiting family outside of New York City.  It's been a great week filled with a lot of family fun.  The last couple days have been packed with activity as we went to a Yankee game at their new stadium.  They were playing the Seattle Mariners, and their ace Cliff Lee, who outpitched Phil Hughes for the 7-4 win.  It's a shame that they will be trading him this summer, as he's a very strong pitcher.  Yesterday, we packed a full day in the city, visiting Central Park, the New York Zoo, FAO Schwartz, Rockefeller Center, going to Mary Poppins with the kids at the charming Amsterdam theater, and Times Square. 

 

As always, I'm looking forward to this year's Vegas trip.  I'll be in Vegas until the evening of the 9th.  I have a lot of work to catch up on and with a press pass, my access will be much better than the last couple years.  I'll be blogging, reporting on a couple players for a couple sites I work with, and writing articles or setting up some interviews.  Seeing poker friends and hitting up a few parties along the way (e.g. CardRunners, P5's, and some poker room hosted ones) is a big bonus.

Views: 1179
Date Posted: Jun. 25, 12:08pm, 3 Comments

The other day, I was out to dinner with my wife.  I was trying to explain the difference from her perspective to mine on some issue and I said that she's too results oriented while I am EV oriented.  I chuckled to myself, as I have introduced many other poker euphemisms and sayings from my time in poker. 

 

Then I saw someone predict the Mexico-Uruguay World Cup match by saying..."I wonder if in the third group stage match, if Mexico and Uruguay will check it down?"

 

I was inspired to do some research and share some other humorous and serious answers to "You know you play too much poker when..."

 

You buy something at the store and you think of it in terms of how many big blinds/bets it's going to cost you.

You are playing too much poker when the word two has been replaced in your vocabulary by the word duece.

When your buddy calls and asks you if you want to head to the bar tonight and you tell him "you're all in"

When the kids hope you get knocked out soon, so you will cook dinner!

When you pass up sex with your girlfriend because you're the chip leader in a $10 MTT.

You ask the bouncer what the "buy-in" is when you go to a club.

When someone asks you a question and u ask for a time bank.

When you're looking for a pair of socks and you think to yourself that any 2 suited will do.

When everything in your life is a level.

When your monitors are bigger than your tv.

When you sit there and narrate your play like you're making your own video.

When you constantly say you run bad when things aren't going your way or blame it on variance.

When you prove to your friends u CAN count to 20 with no problems... 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 jack...

You've taken your laptop into the John so you don't have to sit out any hands.

When you use "everything is fishy", "everyone is nitty", "that's sick", that "puts me on tilt", that's "standard", "he's a donkey", or "such a donk", "ship it, luckbox!"

When you avoid shopping for certain household items or gifts, because you want to "win" them for "free" in the full tilt store.

When you don't laugh anymore, you just say LOL or when you say "ty" after somebody holds the door open for you at the store.

When all bottles are full.

When you can't remember the last time you went to a dinner and when the bill arrived you weren't sweating a nice game of credit card roulette.

 

When you can't enjoy watching sports as much as you used to because it's just variance.

 

 When your bankroll is bigger than your checking account.

 

When you can get everything else you need to get done for the day accomplished during 5 minute tournament breaks.

 

When you yell real loud to the pizza guy "the door is open and the money is on the counter."

 

 

Feel free to add your own in the comments....Have a nice weekend. 

Views: 995
Date Posted: Jun. 23, 12:12pm, 0 Comments

In the 91st minute, three minutes from elimination, Landon Donovan scores a follow up goal to beat Algeria. In his interview afterwards, Landon essentially said "we embody the American ideal, we face hardships, we could whine, but instead we choose to fight on and keep competing." Despite having another goal disallowed, an earlier red card for an elbow to Clint Dempsey's face not given, and numerous chances nearly missing, the US found a way to win.

Nothing about this World Cup has gone easily. The US team isn't pretty or polished, but they are gritty and have tremendous heart. They came back in every game they were down. In qualifying play, leading up to the World Cup, they scored 9 goals in the last 10 minutes of games, more than twice of any team in the world. Somehow they find a way when things look bleak. Today, they snatched victory from defeat, going from elimination to being group leaders in stoppage time.

Are they the best soccer team out there? No way. But they certainly have tremendous mental toughness and a will to compete. Sometimes in life, that's what really matters.

Views: 1091
Date Posted: Jun. 21, 5:13pm, 0 Comments

Ernest Hemingway was a Nobel Prize winning author for books like The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, and The Old Man and the Sea. He was known for his terse minimalism and understatement combined with his sense for adventure. At the end of the movie Se7en, the Morgan Freeman character narrates a Earnest Hemingway quote "the world is a fine place and worth fighting for." and then adds..."I agree with the second part!"

Every day we can look around for reasons to not like the world we live in. There are plenty of opportunities to disparage the world around us. And yet, within most of us, there is the capacity and desire to see something of value. Something worth fighting for. Every day we wake to face a new day. We have hopes and aspirations that things will improve. We have hopes that we can carve out some sanity form the insanity that surrounds us. Some days, many days in fact, are not much more than treading water. And yet, there we are the next day, ready to take on that challenge again. Without that goal to prevail, we would soon perish.


With my "luck" at low stakes poker, I often feel the same way towards it, as well...LOL


One final quote from Hemingway, in a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald, caught my eye. Not being a natural writer, and yet thrust into the role of regular blogger, I could relate to his sentiment.


"Write me at the Hotel Quintana, Pamplona, Spain. Or don't you like to write letters (*blog). I do because it's such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you've done something."

Views: 564
Date Posted: Jun. 18, 3:01pm, 2 Comments

I was noticing the last couple days that whenever David Benefield, the CardRunners pro, tweeted about the struggles in his various WSOP tournament runs he repeatedly said "head down, inch towards daylight." I liked the ring of it as it resonated with my blog sentiments lately. So I googled it and realized it is a survival mantra issued by the lead character Caine in a series of fantasy-science fiction books by Matthew Woodring Stover, The Acts of Caine.

"Keep your head down and inch towards daylight." That is how I feel most days. Nothing improves instantly. You just have to keep grinding towards your goal. Have a plan, put in the work, keep out of excess trouble, and hope for the best.

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