Get It Quietly

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

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It's A Jungle Out There

You may have heard the latest gossip in the poker world ; how Phil Ivey took Marc Goodwin and Ram Vaswani for a lot of money on the golf course. The Hendon Mob thread is here, and it contains links to the 2+2 and blondepoker discussions. The main reason I wanted to post about it is to draw your attention, if you're interested, to Blair Rodman's take on it. Rodman has been around poker and golf for a long time and talks a lot of sense IMO.

Now I don't know a lot about golf and what's considered fair game and what isn't. Rodman makes an interesting distinction between organised competitions and private gambling games, a distinction which many people on the various fora don't make at all. However, the most illuminating comment IMO is buried deep in the blondepoker thread. Someone says that Marc Goodwin told him that Ivey told him [1] "The last person who took me for that kind of money is driving taxis in Vegas now".

My best guess is that Ivey, pissed off by the amount of money he had lost (and possibly by what was being said about him being a "golf fish"), pushed the limits further than most people would. Frankly only Ram comes out of it unscathed in terms of reputation. Personally, while I stress I don't know a lot about the ins and outs of golf betting, I would say the losers can curse Ivey in his eye, tell everyone what they think of him and refuse to place a bet with him ever again but, having done those things, they should cough up.

It's a jungle out there on the golf course and you have to be careful. I also can't help thinking that the best mark of all is the guy who thinks he's the one doing the hustling. Betting this kind of money has ended in tears before, and it surely will again.

[1] Yes I know but it's always going to be he said she said in this kind of thing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your additional points are quite
illuminating. I wonder how much Ram et al.
were up before the last match and how that
compares to the sum lost. Ego must be huge
at these levels of gambling and obviously
Ivey's got bruised at one point or another
leading to some shady dealing. I think they
got hustled but as gamblers that is the game, finding a "sucker" who will -ev gamble
with you. I wonder how the deal with FullTilt would survive if Ram refused to pay?

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Peter B said...

Ivey only did one thing wrong here. He played too well. The golden rule of hustling is not to let the hustlee think that he has been conned.

This leads me to think that Ivey was more concerned with rubbing their noses in it (after many months of being known as the golf fish) than doing some genuine hustling.

Or, perhaps more likely, Ivey is not an instinctive hustler. He wants people to think that he is good. On the poker table, this has +EV metagame implications (see your essay on how the presence of big names intimidates many at the table), but in golf, anonymity is king.

Now, if Ivey could have restrained himself to playing at less than his best ability, and had just won something like, say, 50K off each of his opponents, then they would have been back for more the next day, thinking that he had been lucky, and just shaving a couple of numbers from the handicap "give".

As it is, you have a full-blown scandal, accusations flying, and a chance that, not only will he not get paid by two of his three opponents (and only part-paid by the third), but now he won't even find an opponent willing to play him on a line where Ivey is likely to win.

Which kind of means that all of Ivey's hard training over three months has, in gambling terms, gone to waste.

BTW, fancy a game of golf? I'm useless, have never picked up a club before. But I'll accept 18 strokes....


10:21 PM  
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