Get It Quietly

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

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Off And Staggering

Ever since the WSOP really "exploded", the first couple of days have been noted for a few "teething troubles". However, instead of having fewer problems year on year as Harrah's gain more experience running the thing, it seems to be a little worse each time around. Until now, when by all accounts it's a lot worse.

Check out 2+2 for a litany of complaints, but cliff notes are as follows. Many problems pre-registering online ; "new and improved" cards that attracted the derision of absolutely everyone [1] and were withdrawn tout suite ; registration lines up to "4 to 6 hours" long, and worse than that people who "pre-registered" still had to wait ; hour-long waits to play satellites, despite legions of dealers sitting at empty tables flicking their plums [2] ; and so on.

Then if you have the patience and/or stubbornness to overcome these obstacles and play poker, you might end up next to Hellmuth, betting 1/6 of the pot on the river, being called by Ace high, mucking and kicking his chair over. Is he going to do this every time he loses a pot for 6 weeks ?

If they haven't improved the situation by the time I arrive, I'll be playing elsewhere, just coming back in for the ME. And if everywhere else sucks too, I can either do something else or come home. The bottom line is that you have to vote with your feet if you want situations like these to improve.

Still could be worse. Against my better judgement, I picked up "Bigger Deal" the other day and now I'm slogging through it. I shouldn't be critical because I knew what to expect from the prequel, so I'll just say that it's much the same except without the hope that he'll do his bollocks because he's being freerolled everywhere, mostly by Pokerstars. What strikes me though is how all the gimmicky things he goes to, and seems to quite enjoy, sound like hell on earth to me. Poker cruises with dealers throwing up on players through seasickness and comedy nights where the highlight is some bloke streaking. Twice. A boot camp where you pay $3K to get shouted at by Annie Duke (insert own joke here, I don't need to repeat myself). The "World Cup of Poker" where you have to play like a total weak-tight rock (not that Holden finds this difficult generally) under instructions from your "captain" (some egg off the Internet). The one plus point is that it reinforces my conviction that all this shite is for people who can't actually play, be they organisers, celebrity figureheads or suckers, I mean customers.

On the credit side, there are a couple of interesting quotes, my favourite being Barry Hearn's "A light bulb flashed over my head ... Wow, here's a sport where the players pay the prize money ! Well, I just had to get into that." Ex. Fucking. Xactly.

[1] Except for one guy who said "I like them. Anything that pisses off all my opponents so much is good for me".

[2] One player who queried exactly why he had been sitting at a table waiting for a setup for an hour was told "Where's your rush to get to ? The Bellagio and Wynn are full".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you enjoy Big Deal then you'll enjoy Bigger Deal as it's just more of the same with different names to drop. I did hope that he'd learned something about tournament poker in the intervening 15 years but no, he's still there eyeing the monster stacks of those Internet maniacs while getting blinded away and duly recording the inevitable "bad beat" of his exit and mournful remark that he finished in the top X% but didn't make the money. At one point he doubles up then wins another pot in the WSOP Main Event and gets back to 10,000 chips with 3/4 of the field gone. That means he must be have been playing on with about 1/10th of the average stack. I just wanted to shout in his face Annie Duke style to double up or bust when he falls below 1/2 the average. The only real change from Big Deal is that he's now deeply depressed about The Moll leaving him and feels compelled to tell the reader ever few pages or so. Holden also has no concept of odds whatsoever declaring in an AK v AJ allin he's a 15-1 shot (as only 3 cards save him). Errr. Ditto people hit "10-1 gutshots" on river when the action was allin pre-flop or on the flop.


8:01 PM  

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