Posts Tagged ‘Annie Duke’

Instapoker

@UltimatePoker launches real money games, Blair @Blur5f6 Hinkle wins 2nd ring

by , Apr 30, 2013 | 1:00 pm

Blair Hinkle Photo: WSOP.com

Blair Hinkle
Photo: WSOP.com


Today’s Boxscore

Blair Hinkle $121,177 – WSOP-C Council Bluffs Main Event
Roger Campbell $131,681 – Heartland Poker Tour St. Louis
Terry Fan HK$1,771,000 – Red Dragon Main Event
Daniel Pidun €880,000 – EPT Berlin Main Event


A historic day here in the States for online poker with the live launch of the Station Casinos/UFC backed Ultimate Poker. The client was opened to the public this morning and the first hand was dealt shortly after 9am Vegas time. Which prompted someone to immediately complain about a bad beat after busting on that very same hand. Welcome back online poker to the States!

Some questions have been answered about the process involved with the Nevada based site. Players do not need to be located within the state to signup and create an account, thus preventing another unprofitable hack from stealing the AlCantHang username. Players can deposit on the site from outside Nevada, which will allow them to load up on the site before traveling and play as soon as they are within the state lines. Deposit options include MasterCard, echeck, real check, bank wire, and the option to walk up to the main cage in any of the 16 Station Casinos in Nevada.

It seems the only downside so far, besides the small player base currently offered, is the system judging a player’s geographic location based on their cell phone signal. Verizon customers are unable to access the site and word is coming out about other smaller carriers being blocked as well. I can only assume these issues are being dealt with to allow everyone access.

All things considered, it’s a pretty big day for online poker back in the US. The first step in the process which includes interstate compacts and hopefully Federal regulations as quickly as possible. WSOP grinders can start loading up their accounts because they now have a legal online solution for playing away from the Rio.

~~~~~

In non-online poker news, poker good guy Blair Hinkle won his 2nd career WSOP Circuit ring at the Council Bluffs Main Event. He became the first player to win the same Circuit event twice with the first ring coming there in the summer of 2010. This 2nd ring will go along nicely with his WSOP bracelet for 2008, setting him nicely for a big run at the 2013 WSOP.

Link Dump

Tweet of the Day – Ultimate Poker pro Antonio Esfandiari tweets a screencap of the first hand played on the site. For the record, I want to play every one of these min-raising (redacted) online players.

Nate Silver: The man who correctly predicted US elections – The man just keeps getting interviewed. This time around it’s the BBC who sat Nat Silver down for a talk about statistics, the election, and some poker in the mix.

Two California men get prison terms in pro poker ‘sextortion’ scheme – Opening the door for bottom feeders all over the forums, the Joe Sebok extortion trial was finally wrapped up last week with the two men receiving time in the big house. Hopefully this closes a sad chapter in poker and Micon can go back to shilling his BitCoins.

Duke on Decisions – Seems my former Epic Poker boss has been making her rounds on the corporate speech circuit. Short-stack Shamus has a run down of a recent article about Annie Duke’s latest appearance.

PokerStars Blog turns eight years old – I remember running off to the Bahamas years ago to provide a little moral support to Otis during the PCA (and cause myself severe liver damage) and now the PokerStars blog has turned 8 years old. The site has long been a strong supporter of the poker writing community and deserves all the kudos they receive.

Phil Ivey is God – A deleted scene from the upcoming BET RAISE FOLD documentary, this one all about Phil Ivey. It’s good to see a flashback to Gloria Balding on camera along with Dr. Pauly and Jesse May.


Rio’s Bottle Package
Get The Party Started!
Two Night Min./ Rates Vary
www.riolasvegas.com



Howard Lederer Re-emerges Just in Time for Fall Classics

@RandomPoker around Las Vegas

by , Oct 11, 2012 | 1:00 pm

Ah, the Las Vegas fall. It’s that time of year when the high temperatures finally drop into the 90s, pool season ends, barbecues begin and we enjoy a brief respite from the melting cars.

But the live poker scene around Las Vegas is starting to heat up again, after the summer break from the WSOP. Three of the big four rooms — Venetian, Bellagio, Caesars — are hosting fall tournaments. And the WSOP Main Event final table returns to the Rio later this month.

Even Howard Lederer made a ballyhooed return to high stakes cash games at Aria and Bellagio this week. He played in Bobby’s Room on Monday, the Ivey Room on Tuesday, and found his way back to Bellagio on Wednesday with a nosebleed crew that included Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, Chau Giang, and Nick Schulman. Lederer’s given no indication where he’s headed next, but I imagine he’s a little more than a DOJ seizure away from the .50/$1 game at Bill’s.

I wanted to snap a picture of Lederer when I saw him at Aria, but security threatened to ban anyone who did, and Dan’s not paying me enough to risk arrest or deportation, so … this twitpic posted to 2+2 will have to be good enough.

More…


Negreanu Bets Legitimize Annie Duke’s Player Ranking System

@GlobalPokerIndex numbers matter to @RealKidPoker

by , Oct 1, 2012 | 8:22 am

Gary Wise has an interesting piece about some action going down on the Global Poker Index.
It involves Pokerati non-fave Daniel Negreanu and some bets he’s making on where he’ll end the poker year (i.e. right before the start of th 2013 WSOP).

Check it out: http://www.globalpokerindex.com/negreanu-bets-on-gpi/

Forget bracelet bets — though we all can wonder if the Pokerstars pro woulda given these numbers any such validity were it still a product of Epic Poker. You gotta figure Negreanu has crunched and recrunched the numbers to believe he’s good — algorithmically, at least. The bet he’s offering is that he will move up 11 spots (he’s currently ranked 31st in the GPI 300) to crack the Top 20 by the end of May. Likewise, he’s giving 3.5:1 saying he’ll finish in the Top 10.

All fine and dandy on-the-felt … ooh, excitement, he’s all in with two cards to come, Vince! … and I know for poker pros it’s all about the money. But you can’t help but feel the needling undercurrents if any wagers related to Negreanu’s GPI rank becomes a story — or at least a subplot — moving toward the WSOP. Because, boy, can’t you imagine the chaff to Annie Duke’s hide if Negreanu (of all people) proves capable of profiting off the pride-and-joy player ranking system she created.

(The GPI, of course, no longer has anything to do with Annie since being salvaged from the Epic Poker rubble heap.)


What’s in a Name

Does Federated Gaming's domain obsession reveal "wicked" intent?

by , Apr 9, 2012 | 5:54 pm

URL-envy? FS+G apparently wanted to own all things epic, wicked and otherwise on the web.

Lawsuits and bankruptcies are a corporate voyeur’s dream. Legal disclosures offer an upskirt peak at a company’s financial panties. In the case of Federated Sports & Gaming, parent of the troubled Epic Poker League, bankruptcy filings reveal a full-fledged internet domain-name fetish. Literally hundreds of domain names were listed among Federated’s personal property … and in that list, perhaps, lies a bigger story about Epic’s intent.

Companies often buy variants of their own domain names to foil malicious cyber squatters and aid surfers prone to typos and spelling errors. This explains why Federated bought epicpoker.us, epicpoker.xxx, eepicpoker.com and eapicpoker.com along with its primary domain name, epicpoker.com. 

Perhaps proving Federated was more psychic than solvent, epicpokerfail.com and epicpokerfailure.com were among the company’s portfolio of web properties. Of course my favorite was fuckepicpoker.com.

And why epicpokerstars.com but no epicfulltiltpoker.com?

It’s hard to know whether names like epicbridge.com, epiccasino.com, epiccheckers.com and epicsportsbook.com represent Federated’s expansion plans, reveal a business model dependent on online gambling legalization, or was just the results of a bad case of domain-name OCD. 

The list goes on and on — everything from palmspoker.eu, .net, and .co.uk to epicscotch/rum/tequila.com — and you can only wonder what market verticals Epic was thinking about when they locked down ticklemedanny.com.

But particularly curious are dozens of web addresses starting with “wicked” — wickedpoker.com, wickedchess.com, wickedbasketball.com, etc. Since Federated isn’t based in Boston, this presumably has something to do with the talented boys over at Wicked Chops Poker. No wonder their coverage of the #EpicFail has been so … well … I hear they had to take last week off just to search for the near-NSFW pics to pair with their story of who ultimately got who’s what in the end.

Read the relevant bankruptcy court document here.

UPDATE: Wicked Chops apparently has more to say on this matter — and they’re naming names! Not just domain names, but real human ones too.


Day-after Cyber Monday Poker Player Gift Guide

Meteorite poker chips, wooly mammoth dice, Micros T-shirt, Euro-plaques, Annie Duke fantasy

by , Nov 29, 2011 | 6:50 am

It was the other Black Friday … I mean Cyber-Monday … er, Merry Christmas / Happy Hannukah! Whatever the day, here’s Pokerati’s guide to some rather unique poker player shopping specials that we are pretty sure are still valid … though the last readily available but still legally questionable space chips will probably be in the hands of an Asian whale before the end of the day.


CHIP UP: Plaque Attack

poker plaquesAmerican players don’t only miss out on online play, but they seldom get to use the larger, squared “plaques” used for extra-high-denomination chips. But now they can play like a Euro-shark in their home games while taking their chip-shuffling skills to a new level.

Use promo code “pokeratigo” at Outplay Poker for a discount on your purchase.


RUN-GOOD: The Micros, Clothiers

micros poker cartoon t-shirtIt’s becoming common knowledge that players showing up to tournaments big and small have been going deep while dressed as their favorite online poker cartoon character. Just recently poker media yeoman Jay Newnum took down a double-stack turbo tournament at the Commerce Hold’em Series, and then followed that up by winning a table share of the progressive bad beat jackpot Live at The Bike (seat 6) … while wearing his now-lucky shirt. New Micros designs are a sure-hit with the kids, too!

Get yours from The Micros Online Store.


WTF? Burmese Wooly Space Chips

diamond meteorite chip setMade from slices of solid meteorite that fell to Earth some 800,000 WSOP’s ago, these poker chips are so hot they’re illegal in the US, and expected to fetch HK$1 million at auction later today. (No prob with the gold, diamonds, or emeralds that encircle each chip, but because the rubies come from Burma, importing the set would be a crime.) The case is hand-stitched Swedish calf skin with reindeer suede lining and 18K white gold hinges and locks. But even more outrageous, included is a set of ivory dice made from … we shit you not … wooly mammoth tusks. Apparently a species can’t be endangered when it’s already extinct — but auctioneers do warn that some customs agents in some countries might not have Googled around enough to realize that prehistoric pachyderm is real, and all the rage.

More details at JamesList about the auction at Christie’s later today.


SELL-OFF: Full Tilt Swag

If diamond-crusted Kryptonite tournament chips are a bit out of your range, head over to eBay for what may or may not become collectible memorabilia from a defunct poker site. For sale are plenty of poker chips, a steel watch ($1.01 minimum bid, $3.99 to buy-it-now), a black velour bathrobe (new, never worn), travel mugs, keychain bottle openers and more. Whether it’s general distaste for FTP or out-of-work red pros trying to scratch up some cash, a lot of great junk promotional gear branded with the ubiquitous red triangle of Full Tilt Poker is on eBay these days at bargain-basement prices.

Get the most Full Tilt stock you can at eBay.


PLUS EV: Annie Duke Fantasy Camp

Annie Duke is offering her fans a taste of high-stakes professional poker with a fantasy camp connected to the upcoming Epic Poker event at the Palms Casino Resort on December 10. More than just the usual boot camp, this package includes hands-on training and entry into an Epic Super Satellite. Attendees also get a signed copy of her book, Decide to Play Great Poker, two nights at the Palms (with buffet) and sundry Epic Poker gear, including a hoodie and hat, none of which, by the way, is up for sale yet on Ebay.

Escape for a poker weekend with Annie Duke; better than half price with Living Social.



LUCKY US: More Poker Documentaries

New teaser for ALL IN (The Poker Movie)

by , Sep 22, 2011 | 4:58 pm

I can already call it … 2012 will be the year of poker documentaries. The desire to tell true-life tales about the rise and fall of online poker in the USA should reach fever pitch as a classic story of crime and punishment plays out on Court TV. Ooh, that’s just in theory, of course, as we don’t yet know what’s on the docket for 2012 in the Southern District of New York nor Court TV’s programming schedule for next year. But it’s almost enough to get my conspiracy bells ringing over WSOP-Europe’s move to Cannes and/or the trend of using ALL CAPS in titles.

A lot of you already know about BOOM: The Incredible True Story of Online Poker, produced by Cardrunners icons Taylor Caby and Jay Rosenkrantz. Now, also coming soon, we have ALL IN: The Poker Movie, produced by the relatively big-time 4th Row Films.

Apparently both Boom and All In were all (or almost) ready to go right before Black Friday … which kinda caused a narrative breakdown in their endings.

I sat for both these films (as a talking head) … but have no idea whether or not my parts ended up on the cutting room floor. Kinda bummed I didn’t end up in the teaser below for All In … but hey, I guess I can understand appearing lower in the credits than Howard Lederer and Annie Duke.

(Can only imagine how excited producers must have gotten over Bernie Madoff-level allegations against one of their “stars”!)

Release date (and New York premiere party?) scheduled for February 2012. I really can’t wait to see how it all ends … on the big screen as well as in real life.


Annie Duke Issues 10% Challenge to Women Players

Future of poker T-shirts at stake?

by , Sep 9, 2011 | 7:22 pm

Global Poker Index:
Women in the Top 300

(as of Sep 5)

20. Vanessa Selbst
164. Vanessa Rousso
175. Annette Obrestad
188. Melanie Weisner
262. Kathy Liebert

According to Team Pokerati local femme fave @LasVegasPokers, today is “girls day” in Las Vegas. Currently running is the Ladies event in the Caesars Palace Kickoff Classic (a $130 NL event) … and then at 7pm is a $105 Pink Ladies $1000 guarantee at the new Tropicana poker room. (Yay?)

Today is also the final table of the Epic Poker League’s 8-handed NL event. No woman has yet to cash in an Epic event, save for maybe in a satellite to a $1,500 pro-am. In fact, only one woman two women entered this week’s $20k Epic event (J.J. Liu and Vanessa Selbst) … and only one woman cracks the Global Poker Index’s ranking of the top 150 players in the world (Vanessa Selbst #20). Not sure what that says about the only poker league run by a woman save for maybe Pink Ladies … but listen to Epic Commish Annie Duke’s keynote address last week at the Women in Poker Hall of Fame ceremony, where she speaks to essentially the Vegas-to-LA power poker sister set — a potentially hostile audience considering Annie’s public opposition to Ladies Events in the past.

CORRECTION: Vanessa Selbst also entered Epic’s 8-handed event; she was one of the first players eliminated. ALSO: LIPS and HHPT are poker tours or leagues run by women.

MORE CORRECTIONS: Vanessa Selbst also cashed in the first Epic Pro-Am, making Epic a little less women-dry than suggested above.

(Sexist to say rrreow?)

1. Annie Duke: Women in Poker Hall of Fame ceremony, 2011 – 15:50
2. Jan Fisher, emcee follow-up – 1:50

[audio: http://pokerati.com/podcast/pokerati-raw/AnnieDuke_wiphof.mp3, http://pokerati.com/podcast/pokerati-raw/JanFisher_wiphof.mp3]

More…


Annie Duke appears on Craig Ferguson show

Says online poker is illegal

by , Sep 7, 2011 | 11:08 am

Annie Duke appeared on the Craig Ferguson show earlier this week to promote the Epic Poker League coming to CBS later this year.

When asked by the late-late night host (around the 1:30 mark) if poker was illegal, Duke responded: “Only online.”

Watch the entire interview here:


(Way Outside) the Epic Poker League – Main Event Day 2

by , Aug 11, 2011 | 6:52 am

Day 2 of the $20,000 Epic Poker League Main Event concluded with Sam Trickett leading the remaining 18 players, all guaranteed $43,190. Trickett is the only player with a seven-figure chip stack as the field will now be playing for a $1,000,000 first prize as the players agreed to move money from 2nd place to the winner.

Day 2 started with 63 players as Eugene Katchalov, Ben Lamb and Brian Rast held the top three spots. Only Katchalov survived the day with chips as the early action was dominated with several eliminations as Vanessa Selbst, Dwyte Pilgrim, and Phil Laak were among the familiar faces hitting the felt.

Some players complained about the fast structure; leading Commissioner Annie Duke and Tournament Director Matt Savage agreeing to review the structure, among other aspects of the EPL, before their second tournament in September.

The remaining 29 players reached the dinner break with an average stack of about 80 big blinds, with the objective of finishing the day after bursting the money bubble. Antonio Esfandiari, Brandon Cantu, Nam Le, Tom Marchese and Frank Kassela all fell short of earning their first EPL cash when 19 players remained, one from the money. A prolonged bubble period gave Trickett the opportunity to add to his stack, becoming the first EPL player to hold over 1,000,000 in chips.

Two hours into hand-for-hand play, Matt Graham added his name to the long list of EPL firsts as his pocket jacks were cracked by Chino Rheem when he turned a flush to become the EPL’s first bubble boy.

The remaining 18 players return Thursday at 12pm to play down to the final table of six. The field consists of 20 WSOP bracelets, 3 WPT titles and almost $80,000,000 in tournament winnings. Two players who qualified through the Pro/Am over the weekend, Brandon Meyers and Dan Fleyshman, become EPL-eligible for the rest of the season if either player wins the tournament on Friday. Here’s how the Day 3 field will be seated with play resuming with blinds at 2,500/5,000 with a 500 ante (the average stack having ~76 big blinds):

Table 1:

Seat 1: Adam Levy – 587,000
Seat 2: Dan Fleyshman – 82,500
Seat 3: Hafiz Khan – 144,000
Seat 4: Hoyt Corkins – 252,500
Seat 5: Brandon Meyers – 109,500
Seat 6: Isaac Baron – 637,500

Table 2:

Seat 1: Noah Schwartz – 259,500
Seat 2: Matt Glantz – 453,000
Seat 3: Ted Lawson – 210,000
Seat 4: Huck Seed – 93,500
Seat 5: Chino Rheem – 408,000
Seat 6: Gavin Smith – 357,500

Table 3:

Seat 1: Hasan Habib – 646,000
Seat 2: Eugene Katchalov – 418,000
Seat 3: Sam Trickett – 1,032,000
Seat 4: Jason Mercier – 535,500
Seat 5: Justin Bonomo – 42,000
Seat 6: Erik Seidel – 609,000

Live updates and more available at www.epicpoker.com


DonkDown Radio 07/06/11

by , Jul 6, 2011 | 10:52 pm

Annie Duke is one of two special guests on this episode, as we hear about her new poker league and hit her with the tough questions about UB and Russ Hamilton.  We talk about the situation with Johnathan Epstein final tabling the Ladies’ WSOP Event with veteran poker reporter Michele Lewis.  Brandon airs his beef with WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel, who blocked him on Twitter!  We catch up with Dustin “neverwin” Woolf, one of the original founders of this site, and learn about his life in downtown Las Vegas.[audio:http://www.donkdown.com/components/com_podcast/itunes/DDRadio-2011_07_06_18_59_57.mp3|titles=DonkDown Radio 07/06/11|autostart=no]


Epicurean Poker?

Federated group gives new pro league (+ pro-am tourneys) a name

by , Jun 27, 2011 | 5:48 pm

The Federated-Sports-plus-Gaming-and-Semi-Nebulous-Professional-Poker-League-now-with-more-Heartland-Poker-Tour got itself a Twitter-friendly name today — the Epic Poker League … just in time for their upcoming $1,500 Pro-Am at the Palms (no longer a Maloof Casino Resort).

logo epic poker league

EpicPoker.com … and @EpicPokerLeague.

OK … Epic.

dan michalski palms

Dude, where’s my card? The Pokerati in chief wins a satellite into Epic’s $1,500 pro-am. “It was easy. Now I’m a pro.”

I happen to get a near-front row seat, as everything leading up to their first event — a 3-day $1,500 pro-am, August 5-8 — takes place at the Palms, a place where the Pokerati Game, you all know, has found a delightfully raucous, if not cozy home for our brand of “high-stakes action for low-stakes players” in the form of 1/2 NLH/PLO.

It should be an up-close look at one of the more interesting side stories of the 2011 WSOP — the birthing of Jeffrey Pollack and Annie Duke’s poker lovechild emergence of a new professional poker league … a difficult labor to be sure!

Meanwhile, in my initial exploration of Epic (before I even understood how “Epic” it would be) … I happened to win a satellite this weekend into the first $1,500 event. So now I’m a pro, obv! I’ll get an even closer look — behind the rails with actual chips in play — at how this league is really taking shape, what it means for players looking at it as a vehicle for future poker success, and even though I never wanted to be a real poker pro … a chance to more legitimately claim status as a card-carrying pro at stake.


Pro No-Limit Half of Pokerati Game Tourney Satellite, Guaranteed!

Huh? Will explain later; just don't be @PalmsPokerRm tonite at 7pm

by , Jun 11, 2011 | 6:12 pm

federated satellite palms

A fancy Pokerati sign inside @PalmsPokerRm had me feeling like a big swingin' dick until Annie Duke had to show me hers was bigger than mine.

I’ll be playing in a satellite for Annie Duke’s and Jeffrey Pollack’s $20k pro-am event tonight, at the Palms, starting at 7pm. I hope you are busy and can’t show up. Come by later for 1/2 NLH/PLO, sure … the Pokerati action @PalmsPokerRm has been bumpin’ all summer … but at 7 is the Federated satellite, and I probably like my chances better without you there.

Official qualifier info here.

It’s a $340 buy-in, with 20 percent of the field winning seats into a Federated 1500 later this month (or next?), with that event putting players into the Federated $20k Pro-Am. I think that’s how it works … I dunno, you better stay away until I make sure.

Federated’s first attempt for qualifiers didn’t go so well, as our good friends at Wicked Chops pointed out — only three people showed! Not necessarily surprising for a still forming league; it’s kinda hard to draw people to a qualifier for something that hasn’t ever happened before — no matter how big the names are behind it. The WSOP ran for I think like 11 years before they started filling satellites.

But tonight, our other good friends at the Palms Poker Room are guaranteeing not only 1 seat for every 5 players, but also 1 minimum no matter how few buy-in. That, of course, is why I’m playing tonight. By my math, if no one else is there tonight, I win!

The grand prize, of course is that $20k seat, where I’ll be able to play against big-name pros and hardcore grinders for $10 million!!! a six-figure payout and/or a chance to tell many of them en masse once and for all to suck-it!

Ahh, getting ahead of myself here … it’s supposed to be a professional league encouraging fair play, proper behavior, and golf etiquette … so have to wait for the right moment to make my made-for-TV scene.

First I gotta win tonight’s event, where my best shot, frankly, comes by just showing up.


The BCS of Poker?

Upstart FS+G pro league announces first-season qualifiers, unquotable selection criteria

by , May 3, 2011 | 7:39 am

The Federated Pro Poker League had taken a decidedly neutral stance on online poker. They weren’t gonna let online powerhouses Tilt and Stars muck up their game, it seemed, but at the same time they weren’t ready — at least prior to April 15 — to kick the online sites to the curb. Now it seems clear the FPPL will be moving forward with the indicted online poker operations — whatever that may or may not mean. Regardless, @JeffreyPollack is apparently committed, as he confirmed his recent resignation as Executive Chairman of PBR to focus on Federated Sports+Gaming, which has its first pro poker event in just barely 90 days.

The plan for seating players involves a complex algorithm awarding 2-, 3-, and 5-year cards based on some sorta formula that takes into account tournament wins and possibly shoe size? 218 mad the cut for 2011. Click here to see who gets to play in their non-open overlay events at the Palms … which, btw, now happens to be home of the Pokerati Game. The pro league’s schedule of exclusive, not-yet-televised events is below, along with the details on what it takes to get your card.

(Pokerati’s version of 1/2 NLH/PLO, of course, is open to all players seeking a good time for a $100-min $400 max, and will be playing again this Thursday, starting at 7p. No card necessary — though you do need a players card to qualify for comps or collect any bonuses.)

More…


Pokerati Mincast: Zynga Poker Girl FTW!

Zynga Pokercon Vegas Weekend

by , Mar 18, 2011 | 12:30 pm

The Zynga Pokercon is underway at the Palms. Right now some 500 people are packed in to an upstairs ballroom attending “Zynga U” — a mini poker boot camp for Zynga players — with Annie Duke as the lead professor. I think they’re at the part where she teaches them why Q4 is a bad starting hand against a raise and a re-raise in early position.

Perfect time for me to “work the hallways” … also perfect time to kick off my experimental “Pokerati Mincast” — a super-short audio and/or video taste of what this weekend is all about.

Sure enough, I found this lovely lady (I thought she was selling cigarettes) who was kind enough to explain to me one of the “games” they have here for players this weekend.



Winners, Losers, Coinflips: Feburary 1-28, 2011

Or: Distilling every Poker Story into Bullet Form

by , Feb 28, 2011 | 9:00 am

February is not a huge month for tournaments, but that doesn’t mean there was a shortage of news. In fact, a very large part of the news this month was of the drama bomb variety, which provides easy cannon fodder for people such as myself and helps greatly in determining who came out ahead and who fell far, far behind. Given the sheer volume of stuff that happened, I have been forced agreed to do two of these a month, one for the first half and one for the second. If you want a weekly version of this, well, there is always my podcast, Rabbit Hunt (it’s a shameless plug but it was my excuse for not doing this every week…for the moment anyway). But enough rambling, let’s get going:

Winners

  • Jared Huggins (1) and Pokerstars (1): Thanks for the bait-and-switch Pokerstars! We thought you were a mean, faceless corporation that turned down a homeless poker player just cause and then you say “just kidding!” and he ends up on the show anyway. Jared Huggins is a huge hit over on 2+2, and he is scheduled to appear in the Big Game in the near future. Here’s hoping he not only wins, but wins big. That NAPT Passport (or whatever it is they are going to offer this year) is gonna be huge.
  • Matt Savage (1): Another LAPC, another huge Savage-tournament success. Sure the LAPC numbers aren’t where they were yesterday but it’s still pretty good considering there were a number of poker players that essentially said they wouldn’t give the Commerce business until they changed their stance on i-gambling. Although…I’m sure an exception was made for a $10k WPT tournament.
  • Donkdown Radio (1): They won this month for getting someone whom we are 99.44% certain is Travis Makar. These guys definitely are at the forefront of the “UB Sucks” crowd, and so getting someone that could blow a new hole in the current UB leadership is bound to be the best thing to happen to the show since…well…the last time something happened that was bad for UB I suppose. Of course, swords like this can be double-edged…and I would have simultaneously made these guys losers of the month too. Their saving grace is that it’s too early to tell what is going on in Makar’s head, and we have gotten a few nuggets out of the deal so far, so we will see what develops in the coming weeks. Certainly a good get though.
  • @pkrgssp (1): It’s not too often that someone comes out of nowhere, has a simple mission of just reviewing other people’s work, and gets a ton of attention in a short span of time. His blog is 100% worth adding to your list of things to read in a given day, and he has received props from various folks within the industry, so I think I will add my props by making him one of the winners of the month. Did he actually win anything poker-wise? No, but it might be a twitter/blog that many people will follow in the future (and quite possibly could become the critic version of Kevmath).

Losers

  • Sorel Mizzi (-1): SHOCKING NEWS ALERT! Sorel has been accused of cheating, this time in a live poker setting, and not because he managed to copy himself, though I think he would have made headlines sooner if he did. No, he loses out this time for being accused of dealing from the bottom of the deck by John Racener (as relayed through Shaun Deeb onto 2+2) which set off a firestorm of angry posts in Sorel’s general direction. Still, it’s he-said…he-said, and who would you believe more, the man perma-banned recently unbanned from Full Tilt for cheating or the 3-time Florida DUI champion?
  • The Bellagio Robber (-1: Plus -1 for every year served in prison): You pull off an Oceans 11 style robbery, then completely screw up everything after that. Oh, and he’s the son of a judge. Oh, and he tried selling chips that the Bellagio had changed out months ago. Genius!
  • Joe Sebok/Paul Leggett/UB (-1): No matter what the motives are, however, UB is again in the crosshairs, and whenever that happens, Joe Sebok is forced to pick up his cross and defend the site…again. Seriously I hope they are paying him Phil Hellmuth-levels of money, because otherwise Joe has got to be wondering wtf he’s still doing there. As for Paul Leggett, one cannot say “I never offered a bribe” and then have a leaked email that says “I’m offering a bribe.” Yea…context is probably important, but it certain doesnt look good.
  • Mer “PeachyMer” Brit (-1) and Pokerstars (0): Speaking of 2+2 controversies, the sleuths over at 2+2 felt like Mer Brit’s Team Pokerstars Pro deal was a little too good to be true…and well it probably was. Even Pokerstars admits that there are occasions that her account was used when she was not in the one operating it, including one where she took 2nd in a WCOOP event. There are enough holes and inconsistencies to make most people wonder what vetting process Pokerstars seems to have. Because I personally think I need to get a pro to take over my account if that’s what it takes to get a deal signed these days.

Coinflips

  • Federated Sports + Gaming League (0): Until I see a list of players, I’m not willing to give this league the chance some may say it deserves. They’ve inked a deal with CBS and have a schedule out, but as of right now no one is invited to play and the pro-am idea, while great, is not likely designed to actually get amateurs into their big events (honestly, how many amateurs would/should take their temporary tour cards and drop $20k of their own money into a shark tank?)
  • Peter Eastgate’s Retirement (0): On the one hand, I’m not particularly surprised that a young poker player that “retired” from the game has come back. On the other, Peter seemed like one of those people that would have stuck through it.
  • Haseeb Qurashi/Ashton Griffin/70-mile runs (0): Personally, I hated the amount of coverage this story got…which is why I spent over 10 minutes out of a 45 minute podcast talking about it, because I’m a hypocrite. Still, I think that while we got a fairly uncensored and in-depth look at some of the insane prop-betting that goes on these days in the poker world, I can’t help but thing we simultaneously saw some darker elements that just gives some ammunition to those that would like to see talk of online poker go away, and quickly.
  • Travis Makar (0): Jury is still out on this guy…or at least my jury is. If he has the information he is claiming, this completely longer than necessary leaking of incriminating evidence just feels like a squeeze. Who is he squeezing? No idea, but really if I would in Travis’ shoes, and I was broke, accused of cheating people of millions, and knew of people that had up to this point gotta away with it, maybe I’d do this too. OK…maybe not, but there is something deeper here that we might, as the media, be overlooking for the sake of the initial “ZOMG UB SCANDAL 3.0!” story.

The “Eff You, Sir/Madam” Award


Obviously there were enough stories to go around this month, but there is one particular entity that wins special mention, even if, at the moment, we don’t have a confirmation of additional shenanigans:

  • UB (-3…because fortunately for them my rules allow for a maximum penalty of -3): I joined the poker media unofficially in early 2010, and have been forced to repeatedly cover the UB scandal in all its various forms, from minute amounts of new evidence to the prior scandal to the encryption  bullshit to Donkdown Radio’s repeated calls for the sites demolition to this. And honestly, I’m sick of it. I’m sick of talking about UB in the present tense, and I’m sick of constantly having to listen to people preach that “THIS IS ONLY THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG! THE AVALANCHE IS COMING!” Personally, I hope they do find something huge, and that they find it fast. I hope they find that every non-poker pro employee of UB is guilty of being involved, and that they owe $100 million more to players, or whatever number it will take for the site to go under. Not third-tier site under, under-under. And it’s not even because of any personal hatred toward UB (though I have plenty of that), but because it’s because of their continued existence that we keep having to bring up a shining example of what’s wrong with the poker industry not as a historical lesson, but as a current issue. That said, if all this Makar stuff turns into smoke and mirrors, then UB will be able to continue it’s existence….at least until the next minor change in evidence brings all of this up again. (Writer Note: I’m just tired of covering this, so until UB folds or is found innocent, or whatever, I will likely continue to have this vitriol. If they do go under eventually though, maybe this can be called the “UB-Memorial Eff You, Sir/Madam” award.)

Entity of the Month

A bit short on players this month, so the trophy has been changed to the “Entity of the Month” trophy (you’ll note it looks the same). I’ve done a fair job of limiting myself with those in the winner’s box this month, but I think if you have to have a negative for the story you have to show the positive.

  • Donkdown Radio (3): Sorry, this is easily the potentially biggest story of the month at a time where poker pros didn’t even manage to grace the winner’s circle. It’s certainly a case of “right place, right time”, but this could change the face of a scandal that has up to this point just seen a couple people come up with vague suggestions about what “really” happened. If things happen in the exact why the folks at Donkdown hope to see happen, there could be some very hard choices for the pros that are sponsored by the beleaguered site. Not really the site itself…I can’t see them making any “hard” choices necessarily. Either way, you can bet that they will get to the bottom of…whatever bottom they will get to with this.

I know that I didn’t talk about Norm McDonald’s premiere episode of High Stakes Poker, but I feel like everyone needs to see more than one episode of a new host before passing judgment. Come March 15th though…I should definitely have something to say…if there is anything worth saying anyway. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to prep for another UB scandal related interview (no joke, unfortunately).