Get It Quietly
Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.
- Name: Andy_Ward
- Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom
Friday, January 28, 2005
Make Your Choice
I have little doubt that legally, according to the small print, the online site in question is within its rights to pocket it / spend it on hookers. The last thing they want to do is start refunding people. Clearly anyone who enters a satellite without being able to play in the tournament they're trying to qualify for, for whatever reason, hasn't thought it through (and it's hard to have much sympathy for them). If online sites start refunding people, they know that half of their feckless qualifiers are suddenly going to think "hang on, I could pay off my credit card with that" and phone the site up to say their granny died and they have to go to the funeral, ever so sorry, really wanted to play, a cheque will be fine thanks. So they have to do something else with it. Seeing as they're completely unregulated, they can do pretty much what they like. Caveat emptor, and don't sit down to qualify for something you can't play in, just send the money to me instead.
God only knows what actually happened in the case in question, the recent tournament in Melbourne. It's all he said she said as usual, so I can't comment. Well, maybe just a little. One apparently innocuous remark from someone on the establishment side is actually bang out of order in my book :
"All that these sort of posts do is is grow the negative and not the positives. Does everyone want the tournament scene to grow in Australia or to go backwards beacuse that is what continuing negative posts will eventually do."
Look, a lot of dodgy shit happens in poker. And I'm not just talking about players, I'm also talking about organisers and basically anyone with access to the till. Many people want to "legitimise" poker. Well, at this point you have 3 options.
1) Behave honestly and professionally yourself. If you are in a position to do it, throw the book at anyone in the game who is at it. Be transparent about what you do, which means any time you're thinking "I wouldn't want this to come out", don't do it. Answer criticism in a professional manner. If your hands are clean, it's easy to do.
2) Accept things as they really are. Poker is dodgy and maybe that's the way it should be, it's all one game and it's all about getting the sucker's money one way or the other. Just don't pretend it's anything different.
3) Sweep everything under the carpet, big smiles for the sponsors, shut up shut up shut up do you want tournament poker to grow or not ?
Either 1 or 2 is fine. Yes 2 is OK by me, at least then we know where we stand. But of course what actually happens is 3. Which is bollocks. Do I want tournament poker to grow ? Don't really mind. What I want is people to stop being hypocrites.
Alright I've got a few things off my chest this week and I consider my piece to be said, for now, I'll try to accentuate the positive but that doesn't include saying black is white and it never will.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
The Last Word ?
"There's more of an urge to pull an upset win because it makes for better television, [Steve] Lipscomb [creator of the WPT] says. But does better TV does necessarily better poker? [sic]
'My answer to you would be, 'Who cares?' ' Lipscomb says."
I'm not quite sure what the question means, but the answer's clear enough. I care, Mr Lipscomb. I care that the game I play is being dumbed down, primarily because you and your bean-counters saw a quick buck. Nonetheless there are upsides too. I am going to take my own advice and make the best of it, and try not to whinge too much about TV and poker for a while.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
I Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident
- What goes around comes around
- You'll be alright
- QPR are the greatest
Taking the Shilling
"Were these icons of the old west sponsored to the tune of thousands by a large corporate organisation? Did they ceaselessly promote themselves via the internet and trad press? Did they build what is essentially a promotions business - as opposed to a gambling enterprise - as (what I would assume is) their key source of income?
I suppose I'd take the six-gun swinging riverboat image a bit more seriously if the corporate whore stuff wasn't quite so obvious."
Spot on IMO. Choose your path and then live with it, because you can't have it both ways.
Playing poker with someone else's money just isn't as cool. I take people on their individual merits but in general I have more respect for someone in poker if he's paying his own way. Tournament poker is a hard way to make an easy living, that's for sure. There are various ways you can deal with this :
1) Dig in, play within your bankroll and build it up as best you can. When the buy-in is $10,000, how big does your bankroll need to be ? Let's just say bigger than the tanks that 90% of these players have, especially now these comps are regularly attracting 500+ runners
2) Tournaments aren't everything. There are plenty of other poker games to play, live and online. Why don't you play those instead ? I can but speculate. I suspect that many tournament players (particularly NL "specialists") don't have the discipline and/or all-round poker skills to do well in other games.
3) Get a job and take your shot on the side.
4) Take the shilling and wear the logo
I've gone for 3). And I don't think I'd swap it, even for 4). I don't want to spend half my time schmoozing with Internet qualifiers (or hiding from them on planes) and doing endless PR. Or doing as little as I possibly can but taking the money anyway. That can't be good for your self-esteem.
Am I ruling out taking sponsorship in future ? Every man has his price. It would have to be a damn good deal, probably better than I would ever get. Sour grapes then ? Your call, make your choice.
They do say that what you love should be your hobby, not your job. My next trip to the US is in April and I can't wait. If I was doing it all the time, how soon would it become routine ? Especially with the knowledge that, while I'm being kept afloat, it's that much harder to make the really big score when you have to give the sponsor his cut.
So ... make your choice, and live with it. Whichever choice you make, accept the downside and get on with it. As for us, don't be intimidated when you see these guys in their sponsored shirts. All you need to think is "If you're so good, how come you're not playing with your own money ?"
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Let's Go Surfing Now, Everybody's Learning How
"A young player in late position makes it 150 to go, the button calls and I call from the small blind with Q-4 of hearts and the big blind also calls. The flop comes down 7-4-4 with two spades. I check, the big blind checks and the original raiser bets 200. The button calls and I make it 500. The big blind folds and the first raiser says, “I’m all in.”
“Huh? Are you serious?” I thought to myself, “Do you really have pocket sevens?” I thought for a few seconds and finally asked him a question, “Do you play on the internet?”
“Yes, unfortunately I do.” he replied. I shot all my chips to the center after hearing that and doubled up against his 9-9." "
This reminds me of the scene in Ghostbusters where he says "Ray, when someone asks if you're a God, you say - YES". When you're trying to knock Daniel Negreanu off the best hand, and he asks if you play on the Internet, you say - NO .
Speaking of God, there's some sport on Paul Phillips' blog at the moment, where a couple of creationists are getting the intellectual kicking they deserve. You could almost respect the effort these people put in to shaping everything around them to match their own subjective beliefs, if they weren't deliberately trying to mislead so often (or parroting misleading arguments that they haven't questioned). There's something about their tone that's familiar. The core assumption is that I'm right and you're wrong. All facts are either interpreted to match this assumption or ignored. All supporting arguments are accepted without question, while all contradictory arguments are cross-examined ruthlessly. The slightest problem with a contradictory argument is then held up as proof of their own beliefs in entirety. Hmmm. Does sound like someone I know, I'm sure. I just can't put my finger on it ...
And today on the Mob Forum there was more blasphemy as the highest of highest was questioned about a diary entry - Barny ! This is one of those threads I'm glad I didn't get involved with in the end, because I could see both sides of it. IMO it is unprofessional to drink to excess during a poker festival, because it does affect your mental strength for days afterwards. Unless you're already an alcoholic :-). Then again I'm not the professional police and much worse liberties have been taken with sponsors' money. I do think Barny would have been better off saying either "So What" or "Yes but it didn't affect my performance" than trying to make out his comments were jocular, because they clearly weren't. Although I do have a history of missing the joke on there.
As usual, I derive my own entertainment from wherever I can. I find it amusing that if you want to criticise Barny's play, you have to be there, but if you want to kiss his arse, you can do that from anywhere :-). Sounds like the creationists again. Shaun Hayes once said to me "You talk a lot of shit on that forum, but at least you're objective". I still think that's quite a compliment.
Saturday, January 22, 2005
Keeping an Eye on the Ball
Meanwhile two very welcome wins for QPR have sent the Hoops back up to 9th and we can still think about sneaking up through the playoffs and being whopped every week in the Premiership. The stuff of dreams indeed.
Having said that though, you have to wonder about the overall standard of The Greatest League In The World (TM) sometimes. Everton still have a 7 point cushion in 4th. Losing Gravesen was a blow, but it gives me an excuse if it all goes wrong, and I'm not sure about Beattie either. Nonetheless, Liverpool suck, Middlesboro blew a 4-1 lead at Norwich today and while Charlton are a tidy outfit, if they're all we have to worry about I'm still confident that the excellent David Moyes can keep his team in 4th and help me win what is a sizeable bet for me, I must have been feeling unwell that day I think :-). If you don't fancy the Blues, Charlton are available at 15-1 (to finish top betting without Chelsea, United and Arsenal). Level on points with Liverpool, they represent slightly better value than the hapless Scousers at 7-4.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Up and Down Like A ...
Also note to self : if I'm ever so bored with playing poker that I find myself counting how often people leave the table, it'll be time for something else.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Taking Malicious Pleasure in the Misfortune of Others
Heisenberg Strikes Again
I have been checking out the reports from Tunica as I know a few people out there. Commiserations to Jo who finished 9th in the $1500 NL which is a great result but it must be disappointing to make a final, wait for a day and then bust out first. I'm sure it won't be the last big final for Jo though.
I wasn't very happy, however, to read Mike Paulle's extended diatribe about the previous day's Limit Hold-Em event. You took the shilling to do the job, so like it or lump it. Moan about it off-line if that makes you feel better, but don't moan about it as part of the actual job you're doing. I think I can dub this Alan Green syndrome :-). Limit Hold-em probably isn't very interesting to watch. So what ? Many people find it interesting to play, and it certainly makes a change. This is the way tournament poker could be heading, and I think that would be a shame. The event in question wasn't televised, so wtf difference does it make if limit poker is not TV-friendly ? It might not be poker-reporter friendly either, but that's your problem, not ours. I am reminded of the WPT championship final last year when Linda Johnson announced that it was "boring". Presumably this was because no one was lumping all their chips in on middle pairs, doing wardances while all-ins were being dealt or generally showboating with no respect for their opponents, because the actual poker was as good as you'll ever see, especially from DeKnijff. If I had been playing I would probably have copped 20 minutes for saying that anyone who is bored knows where the fucking door is.
Anyway, MP redeemed himself slightly the next day with his moderately amusing account of the $1500 NL event in question. Had I been in Jo's position I would at least have taken some small consolation from the fact that I wouldn't have to listen to Jac Arama and Davood Mehrmand all day (although I could probably have stuck it out for $130K). Poor old Jac can't even win $70K without losing his dignity it seems :-). I could speculate as to why a sponsored player, who no doubt had also swapped a lot of percentages, was so keen to cut a deal but in the words of Sklansky I will leave that as an exercise for the reader.
Going back to Paulle, he still has to spoil it with a totally asinine comment at the end. Leaving aside for the moment the fact that this event also wasn't televised, if (like most poker shows) you are showing edited highlights, it is completely irrelevant how long the actual event takes. There's no reason why you can't still give the players a decent structure. This is the point Barry Hearn spectacularly missed (probably on purpose) in his defence of the Poker Million in Poker Europa. Look, if an event is televised, then I suppose we can accept changes being made for that reason (though it would be nice if there was actually some tangible benefit for the players). But when someone with such a large reading audience makes these ridiculous statements that non-televised events should be shaped according to the demands of television, well I just don't know what else to say. It's ludicrous.
Saturday, January 15, 2005
Take It Like A Man
I'm not one to wish ill on others just for the sake of it, but 3 teams are going to be relegated this year whatever happens, and I'd rather it was Southampton than any of the others. Redknapp is a serial liar and the club treated Paul Sturrock, a man I have a great deal of respect for after he took Plymouth from nowhere to beat us to the title fair and square last season, appallingly. What goes around comes around, and it could come around to St. Mary's quicker than usual.
Friday, January 14, 2005
Worst Call Ever ?
The flop comes a fairly harmless looking T55 rainbow. He bets 600, bringing the pot up to about 4000. I think about going 2000 but there's not really much point so I just go all in. He calls fairly quickly and shows QJs. That is one hell of a call. Even if I show him 99/AT/AK or something he's live against he still doesn't have odds to call. In the event, against the hand I am clearly representing, he is 6% to win if he has a backdoor flush draw, which I don't know if he had or not, so shocked was I at the time. Without the flush draw he's 2%.
So thank you very much and do you play here every day, but the funny thing is the turn came a King and the river an Ace so he made a straight, which lost to my house. Had this happened on a flop of T54 I would have been talking to myself all day. Every now and then someone comes up with a hand like this where the hopeless caller wins, and cites it as "proof" of some kind of cheating. How could he call if he didn't know the straight was coming ? Well, I still don't know, to be honest, but here's someone who made just such a call who wasn't cheating. Sometimes you just have to accept that bad players make much worse plays than a sensible person can imagine.
Friday, January 07, 2005
Never say Never
I will probably regret pitching in to 1808-gang and tournament-structure threads on there just now, two topics which excite people much more than they should (even more than normal). But I'm bored, having had a tactical power-nap this afternoon before going out to play (works wonders I do recommend it) there'll be no sleep for me before 1am so I'm pretty much stuck here.
Coaches Leaving the Car Park
Anyway, the trip report took me longer to write than the time I actually spent in the tournament, so check it out.
Football Football Football
I'm not one to be critical of referees. Alright, I booed Andy d'Urso off the park last Saturday but on the day it's all part of the fun of the fair, and he had made a dreadful decision to send off Rangers' main man Paul Furlong (a decision which has just been overturned on appeal). By and large though their job is made extremely difficult by players who cheat at every opportunity and the media, especially the type who wait until they've seen slow-motion replays from four different angles and then slam the poor sod who has one chance from one angle in real time. On my way to the game last weekend I was in the car listening to the woeful Alan Green, who spent most of the game being extremely sarcastic about referee Dermot Gallagher only to break off and complain that he [Green] didn't have a TV monitor for slow-motion replays. Incidentally the main point of contention in that game, Tiago's handball, looked like a good decision to me as the forward clearly fouled him first.
Anyway where was I. Predictably this has lead to more calls for video replays. You could use them for goal-line decisions I suppose, but it seems to me that it would be cheaper and easier to have an extra official on each goal line on the opposite side to the linesman, to assist with goal-line and penalty decisions. In the end I have to give credit to Tottenham (man it was hard to type that) for taking it like men and getting on with the game, although as a Spurs fan replied today to a suggestion to replay the game "No thanks, we're happy with a point". Sensible chap. Incidentally some of the more whingebag managers ought to think twice about calling for video replays. If they couldn't slate the officials all the time, they might have to take some responsibility themselves.
Another thing that struck me while I'm here. You keep hearing how relegation can cost a club "£20 million". West Ham and Leeds are just two clubs who have had to clear out virtually all their players after relegation. But if this is the case, how come established Premiership clubs don't seem to have a pot to piss in ? How come David O'Leary is saying today he has no money to spend ? How come Southampton have to sell James Beattie to be able to bring in anyone at all ? How come Manchester City are reportedly £40 million in debt ? They must be paying the earth in wages. The final notice is in the post, it might be a few years, but it's coming, the whole thing's going to go pop. What goes up ...
Sunday, January 02, 2005
That's using up most of my holiday, all of it if I blag an extra week at either, but it would be nice to squeeze another one in somewhere. Three months till then seems like an age !