Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Monday, June 21, 2004

No TV until you've done your homework

OK this is my last word on the Poker Million. Most people seem to have seen through this junk by now anyway. I'm not really interested in any of the players left in so they can get on with it. Just one, in the style of Columbo, just one more thing. What's with these players who qualify online and turn up to play three months later having still never played a live tournament ?

It's like showing up for your driving test, knocking over four pedestrians and then saying "Well I thought I did OK seeing as I've never actually driven a car before".

Monday, June 07, 2004

Who let the dogs out ?

I'm not a great one for watching poker ; I have to do enough of it in between folding hands. If I can't see any cards at all I'd usually rather watch paint dry. It's just not a spectator sport. Unless ... you can get some audience participation going !

The $3,000 Pot Limit Hold-em final brought together Phil Hellmuth, Ram Vaswani and Garry Bush. This proved to be very entertaining viewing for a couple of hours, although I have to admit that most of the time we were making our own entertainment. A section of about a dozen English players, on and off, was later described as "rabid" in an official report. The beers were starting to flow and the ESPN guys were giving us a nod and a wink any time they could, they loved it ! Every time Bushy scooped a pot the cries of "Go on the Whacker !" were a little louder. Even Matt Savage (who is a top guy by the way) announced him as "The Whacker" at one point. Highlights included The Camel calling rather loudly for a club on the river which duly arrived to cripple Hellmuth, who shot a fierce look or two in our direction on his exit - it probably didn't help that Dave Colclough was sitting right in the middle grinning back at him :-). Bushy picking up Aces after Ram reraising with Kings - and giving just the slightest little slow roll, you had to look hard to see it, but Ram saw it :-). And after I left the stands to play the second chance, a fine rendition of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" which was led by, of all people, Professor Jeff Duvall. It's always the quiet ones you have to watch.

And at the top of the poker ladder Barny ...

I'll keep this one brief because you did have to be there. A few of us were in the bar, casting our eye around Binion's, when a woman hit five 7s on a slot machine. She didn't have the maximum on so obviously we were caning her for this gross blunder. At this point Hugo, apropos of nothing at all, drawled "Vicky got five armadillos the other day". If you know Hugo, it was just the way he said it, we were in fits. Well you did have to be there.

The Nippers' Express

Of course when word got back to the Vic that Bushy had picked up 130 large, the nippers sprang into action. Off they went to Heathrow to hide in packing crates, clutch onto wings and fly their own bicycle-propelled aircraft like those films where they all jump off the pier and get about 3 yards. Customs was no problem at all. If you go through customs and say something like "Well I'm on holiday mostly but I might play a bit of poker", they say "oh yeah do you know the Devilfish ?", you lie and say "Yes" and you're through no more questions (this is true BTW). When the nippers got there it was "well I'm on holiday mostly but I might do a bit of nipping" - "Oh yeah do you know Willy Tann" - "Yes I do" - "OK sir have a nice trip" - "Cheers can you lend me $20 pay you on the way back ?"

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Top of the World Ma !

Well now the dust has just about settled on WSOP 2004 and so the first thing to do is congratulate my best mate buddy pal Greg Raymer on his win. Like that we are ! (holds fingers on top of each other). Well not really :-). I used to post on 2+2 a few years ago and enjoyed discussing poker stuff with Greg. I learned a hell of a lot from him so I'm really pleased he's got the cake of all cakes. Well done Greg !

In the mean time, having left it so long, a great deal of my gossip is already out in the open. Beans have been spilled, thunder has been stolen, which is a mixed metaphor - or is it ? Oh never mind, let's do it anyway.

Nipping in the Last Chance Saloon

Thursday night and I was in the $225 Super (one bullet - that is I had no intention of rebuying) and this was my last shot at the Big One. I was given some hands and some double ups and at one point hit 15,000 in chips. Due to some brain freeze on my part I had the idea that 10K chips would be par for a seat, but because $200 bought 500 chips, that wasn't the case, par was 25K. Looking back I don't think this misconception changed any of my plays, and in any case the blinds shot up and I ran into AK to bust out around 30th (14 seats being awarded).

That being it for the week I found some of the boys in the bar and started making up for the professional abstinence of the trip up to that point. And then some. We hooked up with a couple of the Irish guys (always a bad sign) and I eventually reeled back to bed around 6am. Next day round about 4 we're by the pool in the Golden Nugget and I am just starting to feel human again, when who should roll up but The Aggressor. "Aye aye boys - you didn't have enough of a share of me last night Andy !". Eh ? After some explanation and vague recollections in my unhappy brain it turns out that The Aggressor has only tried to nip me for $100 the previous night to play a single table, and much to his disbelief, managed to score $200. He chopped it and now hands me $800, result ! $300 of which I am promptly nipped for. And so the cycle begins.

Game Selection (1)

As I said I didn’t enter any of the main events while I was there. I could have played the last $3,000 No Limit but decided against. Now I’m back home I think this was the right decision. I would have been close to dead money in this event – not because of being a particularly bad player compared to the field, but from a stamina point of view. I watched Bushy for a couple of hours in the PL $3000 final. During that time I didn’t see anyone give away a single chip. Garry had to play something like 14 hours on Day One and 10 on Day Two. I can hardly play for 3 hours without getting massive brain freeze and doing something really stupid. It’s no wonder I do best on single tables online (and in Vegas as it happens) because you only have to play for an hour or so. I’m reasonably fit physically, in fact I’m a marathon runner compared to most poker players, but mental and emotional stamina is something else entirely. If I want to take a shot next year, that’s what I have to work on in the meantime. As it happened, the $3000 NL was the first WSOP non-big-one tournament to be played over 3 days. Unlikely as I was to last that long, if you can’t go the full distance, don’t bother, and so I didn’t.

Charity begins (and ends) at home

Did anyone else think it was a bit off that the winner of the Media Event gave the prize to his daughter’s school ? Not the most selfless gesture I’ve ever heard of ! Not knowing the details I’m loath to say any more, but it seemed strange to me.

Little and Large

I did promise to relate the story of DY managing to confront Phil Hellmuth. Having talked to the man himself though (guess which one) the truth, as ever, is not quite as entertaining as the myth. The story going round the bar in Vegas was that DY managed to buttonhole Hellmuth with “Excuse me, do you represent Ultimate Bet ?”. Walking around in the current style of Vegas professionals, that is as a walking sandwich board of Ultimate Bet hats, shirts, trousers and probably jockstraps, PH was unable to deny this. “Well I’m having problems cashing out” followed up the indefatigable Youngster. At this point Hellmuth, where lesser men would have looked for the exit, pretended to phone Annie Duke because “She deals with that side of things” and then made his excuses because she was busy. Consensus in the bar was “yeah right and Devilfish does the registrations”.

The truth of the matter though is that neither party used those exact words, and in fact David tells me that Hellmuth was courteous and fully aware of his responsibility to represent the site. It’s still a great picture though, if you didn’t know, Phil is about 6’5” and David, er, isn’t. He admitted to me that “eye contact was difficult”.

The fact remains, and this is the point I wanted to make, that if you do take the shilling then you ought to make an effort to represent your sponsors. It’s the least I would expect if I was paying these guys just to wear a few shirts. I can think of a few English players who have taken a shilling or two who barely know how to turn a PC on !

Finally you can find DY’s own Vegas diary on, and also a very amusing piece by David Lloyd about logos not being allowed, check it out.

Game Selection (2)

After one trip to the WSOP in which I didn't play any main events at all and cleared about $400, I am surely in a position to tell everyone how to win there :-). Or not, but I'm going to anyway. To my mind it doesn't make so much difference what game you're in (main event, super, single table, cash) as who you're playing against. OK if you're in the top 10% of the entire poker population inside Binions at any given moment, then you want to be in the game with the "best" structure and the most play. If, however, you're around half-way or even below then the most important thing is to find the games where the players are worse than you, and play them. These happened to be the single table satellites. Almost everyone I asked said, yeah, I've done really well in the single tables, I should have played more of them.

But why ? The first answer that springs to mind is “they just were”. When you find a money-making opportunity, don’t waste time analyzing it to death, get in there and fill your boots. In hindsight though, there were several reasons. Many of the top players get put in the big tournaments one way or another, and don't need to play the satellites. They don't like the fast structure (rightly or wrongly, I'm not sure). And, as Jesse May points out, when the fish are knocked out of the big comps they don't go into the cash games on tilt any more - they go into the single tables instead. Many of the "new generation" of players aren't interested in cash, and I don't blame them, nor am I. Cash games are for Nazis. So while the single tables could be quite tricky of an evening, depending on who happened to sit down, in the mornings they were absolutely marshmallow soft. I cleared $3000, at least $200 an hour, and most of that was in $100 satellites. I should have played more of them :-)

Footnote : After writing this last week, it appears that there is a televised tournament currently running at the Plaza. $10K entry - no satellites, no online qualifiers, no logos. In other words no riff-raff. Just us, the proper players. Yeah right. Just you the ego-maniacs more like. John Juanda apparently told them where to shove it if he couldn't wear a logo, and has consequently shot up in my estimation. Well done that man. I'll probably have more to say about this when I've given it more thought - in the mean time have a look at the list of entries and work out which "faces" aren't playing. They'll be the ones with more sense than ego.