Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Tell Science

by , Jan 23, 2015 | 1:27 pm


Can you spot the liar?

The New York Times asked that question — recognizing right out the gate this is supposed to be a poker skill — and presented an interactive exercise featuring video clips of people answering seemingly innocuous questions, to see, essentially, if you can spot a simple bluff.

(Apparently the body-language-reading techniques being taught at the TSA aren’t quite preparing their security agents for the WSOP.)

Booyah, I got 9/10 … so don’t even think about it. Phil Hellmuth can read souls, pshaw!

The one I missed was where the girl talks about boys playing a game in the library where they tried to scream the word “penis” as loud as they could. And I suppose my answer was biased as I had actually won that game several times in 9th grade.

Online Poker on the Uptick?

by , Sep 13, 2014 | 6:08 pm

GSSS-partyBelieve it or not, I’m playing online poker again. I’ve bought in three times already, so yay, it works (and is super-easy to play for real money), but cannot yet report on the cash-out process, because you know … damn river.

But now that we have online poker in Nevada definitively running and here to stay, I’ve started paying a little more attention, and it seems a lotta eyes are on New Jersey right now. Not only do you have Gov. Chris Christie making an aggressive, courts- and DOJ-challenging push for fully legalized and legitimized sports betting inside his borders, but also you have poker-loving state senator Ray Lesniak committed to making the state a global leader in online gambling (sports betting included) and start welcoming international players into the virtual borders of the Garden State without having to show a passport. Sure, Atlantic City may be closing down casinos, but sometimes you gotta get rid of the chaff. And that’s kinda what we could be seeing as two big poker tournament main events in New Jersey — one live and one online — coincide with all the semi-related New Jersey casino-world buzz.

The live tournament is the WPT Borgata Poker Open — a poker-world stalwart that has been serving up big-time televised final tables since Season 2 of the World Poker Tour. (They’re now in Season 13.) This year’s main event is a $3,500 buy-in, with $3 million guaranteed. They expect a good turnout based on preliminary events and online qualifiers that have been running on partypoker in New Jersey as well as partypoker worldwide.

But also going on simultaneously is partypoker’s Garden State Super Series — an online event open to anyone within New Jersey borders that’s shaping up to be the largest online tournament series in New Jersey history, and for that matter US history of the licensed and regulated sort. Both main events kick off on Sunday, with the GSSS guaranteeing $250,000 in prize pool — it’s a $200 buy-in — and $50,000 minimum for the winner.


2013 WSOP Schedule is Here

by , Feb 14, 2013 | 11:55 am

Here’s the link to what you care about — the official schedule for the 44th World Series of Poker.

And here’s the link to the WSOP Command Center online, which the WSOP seems pretty intent on making sure doesn’t end up anywhere else.

We’ve got two One Drop events … the Little One for One Drop — for players thirsty for charity action in a small four-figure range … and the Medium One for One Drop, aka the High Rollers event for a $111,111 buy-in.

Other than that, on quick scan it seems to be a lot more big-field no-limit hold’em … maybe with a few gimmick Savage Tournament knock-off events (ante-only, re-entry, etc.) thrown in for good measure. But lest you accuse Caesars Interactive of not being able to jump on a trend du’jour … there’s also an Open Face Chinese Poker exhibition event.

62 bracelets (I can’t remember, is that a lot or a little?) over 48 days, May 29-June 15. Final nine resuming in November.

You can expect at least 50,000 poker players to end up with broken dreams … and probably a few dozen shattered marriages to boot! But hey, so long as Caesers keeps it fun, players keep coming back for more … and it’s like every year you have a whole new crop of 21-year-olds coming of age!

(Of course there the battle is with Zynga, which has a unique advantage of being able to market their soon-to-be gambling Texas Hold’em social poker game — and slot machines — to 13-year-olds. Seriously, give it 5 more years …? NGCB stamp of approval pending.)

You probably can also expect continued Cold War with PokerStars. Because for all the positive spin that goes along with an official tournament schedule announcement, and for all the hype of rags-to-riches jackpot dreams — they’re calling one $1,500 event “The Millionaire Maker” … the press release makes 0 (zero) mention of Chris Moneymaker on the 10th anniversary of his historic WSOP run. But hey, with or without the marketing power of PokerStars’ World Champion Everyday Joe Pro, the WSOP has done a good job over the years of keeping their brand at center of the poker universe burning bright — almost like a supernova! — particularly during the dead heat of Las Vegas summers.

NBC Heads-Up Championship Returns

by , Jan 24, 2013 | 5:41 pm

Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth arrive for the NBC Heads-Up draw party, even though Negreanu opted out to spend the weekend with friends.

Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth arrive for the NBC Heads-Up draw party, even though Negreanu opted out to spend the weekend with friends.

NBC’s $25,000 buy-in National Heads-Up Poker Championship invitational tournament is decidedly made-for-television .

The draw party Wednesday night felt like little more than a chance to hobnob with the who’s who of televised poker and online wunderkinds, from Brunson to Hellmuth to Jungleman and ZeeJustin.

But after a Black Friday-induced hiatus, some in the poker world say the return of the event to the Caesars Palace poker room signals a step forward for poker in the U.S.

Caesars Entertainment Interactive, which recently acquired a license to operate online poker in Nevada, presented its as part of the event for the  first time since the tournament began in 2005.

Mori Eskandani, the producer of the show, called it ‘good news’ for the industry that NBC wants poker back.

The matches start Thursday afternoon, and they’ll crown a champion on Saturday.

This year, Phil Hellmuth, who arrived to the party Wednesday night in his dictator coat, squares off against Mike Sexton in round one. Daniel Negreanu, meanwhile, has opted out to spend the weekend with friends. That made room for David “Doc” Sands, who put up something of a fit after he didn’t get a direct invite.

Anyway, here’s how the bracket shapes up for the first round. First place is $750,000. Anyone else got Jennifer Tilly going all the way?

2012 Players of the Year

by , Jan 4, 2013 | 10:56 am

The GPI has made tweaks to their ranking system for the new year — primarily by expanding the tournaments that count to include events with buy-ins as low as $1,000.

UPDATE: These changes will apply retroactively for the multiyear GPI, and they started on Jan 1 for the new 2013 POY.

Calling the Global Poker Index the Nate Silver of Poker is probably stretching a bit, but as CardPlayer, Bluff, and all the others release their final tallies of tournament prowess, GPI relies on arguably the most evolved algorithm … and with that, here’s a look at the 20 players who had the best 2012s, even if you didn’t see them on ESPN or FoxSports:

#1 Dan Smith 1158.27
#2 Marvin Guido Rettenmaier PartyPoker 1077.09
#3 Bertrand Grospellier Pokerstars 913.35
#4 Kyle Julius 906.02
#5 Andrew Lichtenberger 889.57
#6 Joseph Cheong 848.91
#7 Phil Hellmuth 846.83
#8 Jonathan Duhamel Pokerstars 812.46
#9 Jason Mercier Pokerstars 810.89
#10 Stephen O’Dwyer 800.00
#11 Justin Bonomo 798.34
#12 David Baker 790.71
#13 Mohsin Charania 788.15
#14 Daniel Negreanu Pokerstars 768.40
#15 Roberto Romanello 752.61
#16 Michael Watson 739.40
#17 David Sands 736.20
#18 Christopher Brammer 723.78
#19 John Juanda 714.42
#20 Phil Ivey Ivey Poker 713.44

Ana Marquez: Rising Estrella

by , Dec 3, 2012 | 5:12 am

Move over Carlos Mortenson … Ana Marquez is now the top Spanish player in the world. Playing for almost three years now, the 26-year-old PokerStars pro is the 227th-ranked player on the planet … with some $355k in live tournament winnings … good enough to make her #1 in Spain, and #2 for the 2012 Spanish Player of the Year. Makes for an interesting poker follow and potentially interesting end-of-year race … and she’s cute to boot (not that it should matter, but hey).

Like many of us, she cut her teeth in the American poker underground … and totally quirky, current WSOP Main Event champ Greg Merson who provided her first real-money online stake. Read her story here. And see below how new names emerge as notables on the poker landscape.


1. Vanessa Selbst 2390.65
2. Melanie Weisner 1546.48
3. Liv Boeree 1371.28
4. Ana Laura Marquez Esteban 1179.05
5. Maria Ho 1129.37

view more


1. Ana Laura Marquez Esteban 1179.05
2. Tomeu Gomila 1104.68
3. Carlos Mortensen 943.84
4. Juan Garcia Cid 941.67
5. Cesar Garcia 925.70

view more

Down to Three

by , Oct 30, 2012 | 2:50 pm

Greg Merson had a feeling one his five opponents would make a critical mistake.

On the 109th hand late Monday night of the World Series of Poker’s Main Event at the Rio’s Penn & Teller Theater, Andras Koroknai gave Merson an opening.

For much of the final table of the $10,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em World Championship, Merson, 24, of Laurel, Md., had been changing the chip lead with Jesse Sylvia, 24, who splits his time between Las Vegas and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Photo Gallery From the Review-Journal’s WSOP Blog:

Merson thought Koroknai was his target. Remembering that the 30-year-old Hungarian had made a strange move a few hands earlier, Merson eyed his target.

“I actually told Jesse five minutes before it happened that he (Koroknai) might try something,” Merson said. “Five minutes later, he blasted out.”

Merson scored a huge double-up on Koroknai, which surged the professional poker player into the chip lead that he will take into today’s three-handed action that will determine poker’s world champion.


WSOP Final Table Crowd

by , Oct 29, 2012 | 10:10 pm

It was 103 days ago that the 2012 WSOP Main Event saw its last hand. Final table fans piled into the Penn & Teller Theater hours before the action got underway, donning T-shirts for their favorite player and engaging in hallway chant challenges.

“Awesome Ausmus!” “Jess-eee!” “Es-Po-See-Tow!” “Sal-Ah-Boo-Roo!” “Run Good Russell!” They seemed to be under the impression that the louder they cheered, the bigger their cut of the cash might be. It’s hard to tell who has the most fans, but the competition for the loudest is between Salaburu and Sylvia.

Here’s a quick peak at the poker spectacle and pageantry that greeted me as I walked in to my first WSOP Main Event Final Table:


Weekly Player Ranking List

by , Aug 27, 2012 | 11:07 pm

gpi global poker indexOver in Europe, Spain’s economy might be regularly on the brink of collapse, but that doesn’t prevent poker players from all over Europe from hitting Casino Barcelona with a €10k EPT main event buy-in. Turns out a Belarusian won it for about a million euros, and a rising American star took home nearly the same for his performance in the €50,000 Super High Roller event.

Spanish poker players, of course, turned out to be gracious hosts. Here are the top Spanish players, according to the newly recharged Global Poker Index:


#270 (+1) 1. Carlos Mortensen 1109.51
2. Juan Manuel Pastor 1005.91
3. Adria Maria Balaguer 1002.25
4. Cesar Garcia 944.89
5. (+1) Ana Laura Marquez Esteban 873.62

See the rest on the list here.

I still couldn’t begin to explain how this point system works differently than others, really, nor the difference between the GPI Top 100 and the GPI POY. (The latter is just 2012, while the other factors in 2 or 3 years of results, maybe?) Either way, Cesar Garcia is #1 on that list, while Ms. Ana Laura Marquez Esteban is #5 in both places … so you should probably know that.


Global Poker Indices

by , Aug 20, 2012 | 11:59 am

Poker World reconstruction moves forward … not just off the felt, but on it, too. Taking a quick scan of the current GPI 300, the name that stood out to me as in a “holy heck he’s not just good he’s apparently really good” is Matt Marafioti.  Who knew?! A kid putting himself at the center of poker controversy while declaring cheating to be alive and well but chivalry to be definitively dead … presuming he doesn’t end up in a ditch or arctic fjord in the near future, @adzizzy’s presence on the Global Poker Index is a reminder that a new generation of poker players — top poker pros — really is upon us. (LOL those damn Millenials!) Remember the days when Phil Hellmuth’s whining and Mike Matusow’s psychological instabilities were enough to entertain us? They seem quaint by comparison.

Also interesting to see how few Full Tilt pros are on the list. So many players who we once believed were anything and everything maybe really weren’t? Or at least aren’t any longer, without your money to buy them into $20,000 televised sit-n-go’s.

Considering the number of pros here born in the 80s (and even 90s, soon) … a new era, new generation, new rules … welcome poker’s new wave?

GPI 300 TOP 20

1. Jason Mercier 2823.32
2. Bertrand Grospellier 2774.36
3. Dan Smith 2656.62
4. (+3) Marvin Guido Rettenmaier 2635.92
5. (-1) Stephen O’Dwyer 2607.66
6. Vanessa Selbst 2594.34
7. (+1) Eugene Katchalov 2443.91
8. (+1) Andrew Lichtenberger 2416.49
9. (+1) Mike McDonald 2409.86
10. (+1) Sorel Mizzi 2390.63
11. (+1) Matt Marafioti 2386.37
12. (+2) David Sands 2370.71
13. (+2) Jonathan Duhamel 2354.82
14. (+2) Emanuel Failla 2352.19
15. (-10) Erik Seidel 2348.22
16. (+1) Shawn Buchanan 2347.15
17. (+1) Michael Mizrachi 2323.62
18. (-5) Noah Schwartz 2272.78
19. Chris Klodnicki 2267.34
20. Shannon Shorr 2256.08

Who Advanced to Day 2?

by , Jul 9, 2012 | 3:31 pm

We’re still waiting for the magic number — as of press time registration is still open for another TK minutes — that will predictably show the WSOP on a continued growth path even without any non-Ironic Full Tilt gear in play, and PokerStars sending supposedly just eight qualifiers. I mean sure they have their pros and a big-time tennis guy, but eight is significantly down from previous Stars-WSOP numbers closer to 2,000. Must be because this year there Snoop Dogg was busy.

So yeah, the WSOP has a list of players advancing from their respective Day 1s onto a Day 2. If they’re on this list they made it. If they’re not, sorry. Bad beat.

Day 1A, Day 1B
Day 1C (coming soon!)

The following people are friends of ours or just pros we like who advanced and are currently being vetted to see if they could become eligible for the brand-new Pokerati patch overlay should they have enough chips once we get near the money.


Up a Million down a Million …

by , Jul 3, 2012 | 5:57 pm

How confident is Michael Mizrachi in his poker playing skills?

Moments after becoming the first two-time winner of the World Series of Poker’s Players Championship event Thursday night, Mizrachi went to the tournament’s cashier’s cage at the Rio and transferred $1 million from his $1.45 million winnings to pay his entry in Sunday’s “Big One for One Drop” No- Limit Hold’em event. It also helped that Mizrachi, 31, had secured some $900,000 in financial commitments from backers willing to wager that he could win the special event’s potential top prize of more than $18 million.

“I was already thinking about buying into the million dollar event a week ago,” Mizrachi said shortly after defeating Chris Klodnicki in heads-up play at the $50,000 buy-in Players Championship. “As a poker player, it’s something you want to compete in. I’m sure everybody wants a piece of me now. We’re sold-out.”

Mizrachi is no longer considered the heir apparent as poker’s next superstar.

He has arrived.


Re: The Ultimate Who’s Who of Poker

by , Jul 1, 2012 | 8:03 pm

We’ve gotta move on from all this talk of Black Friday, I know … it was nearly a year and a half ago, and we’ll be hearing about its cases moving forward in various capacities probably for another 2+ years.n But if the million-dollar buy-in tournament without certain people does indeed kick off a new era in poker — a hypothesis I’m currently formulating from the mothership — then consider this a farewell to economic powerhouses in the industry who suddenly aren’t, as you can tell by their absence.

The question’s in the subhed … Who would probably be playing in a million-dollar buy-in tournament (who currently is not) were this tournament being held in 2010? I’ll start off with whom I’d put on my list … we’re gonna presume the cap wouldn’t be at 48 either … 64 maybe, or 72 or even 96, but we can start there — on assumption without fact that the WSOP woulda made this thing a little bigger had they counted on the likes of:

Howard Lederer
Andy Bloch
Chris Ferguson
Full Tilt Qualifier and/or PokerStars Qualifier
Tony G
Doyle Brunson
Scott Tom (?)


One Drop Investor Edition: Volume Two

by , | 5:42 pm

The million dollar One Drop event has attracted its fair share of professional poker players. But it has also attracted some notable professionals from the investment world. In our One Drop Investor Edition: Volume One, we profiled David Einhorn. In Volume Two, we profile two more investors — with strong poker credentials.

Dan Shak after winning the 2010 Aussie Millions High-Roller event (picture via PokerNews)

Dan Shak
Investment Style: Go Big or Go Home

Dan Shak’s hedge fund SHK Asset Management doesn’t play small ball. According to the Wall Street Journal, at one point Shak owned gold futures contracts valued at $850 million or the equivalent to South Africa’s entire gold production for a year.

But in January 2011, the market turned on a dime, and Shak was forced to liquidate his position for a $7 million loss. Although lately, Shak has made the news for reasons other than investing and poker.

As Dan noted recently, Shak is now suing his ex-wife Beth over her million dollar shoe collection. Since he had no trouble coughing up the $1 million buy-in for One Drop, I suspect Shak’s lawsuit has more to do with publicizing Beth’s new shoe venture than getting a piece of her Christian Louboutins.

Of all the investors taking the One Drop field, Shak clearly has the most WSOP experience. He’s cashed 15 times in WSOP events, five of them occurring in this year’s series. He also took out Phil Ivey heads-up to win the 2010 High Roller event at the Aussie Millions.

Bob Bright during the 2006 WSOP $2000 NLHE event

Bob Bright
Investment Style: Small Ball

Day traders are the grinders of the investment world. They don’t swing for the fences. Instead, they try to reduce day-to-day market risk with trading techniques that let them advance just one base at a time. Pushing this baseball metaphor, Bob Bright is a day trading coach and manager.

Bright Trading has more than 40 locations where day traders are coached and mentored in proprietary risk reducing techniques. In the solitary world of trading, Bright Trading offers them a supportive community as they navigate their game of inches.

Bright Trading and Bob Bright are based in Las Vegas. And Bob Bright has always loved poker. His earliest cashes date back to 1990, when he cashed in both low ball and razz at the Hall of Fame Poker Classic. His biggest score was a third place finish in the 2006 WSOP $2,000 no limit event.

More Bright poker trivia: In 2008, Bright allowed professional poker player Brandon Adams to trade at Bright in exchange for poker coaching.  As this 2+2 thread details, Adams dropped a hefty bankroll on some speculative trades. Hopefully Bright got more out of the poker lessons.

The One Drop Investor Edition: Volume One

by , | 5:17 pm

The skill set required for poker and investing are similar. Success at either requires an ability to minimize losses, maximize gains and manage a bankroll. Trading firms and hedge funds often recruit from the professional poker ranks, as this LA Times article, featuring Chris Fargis, explains.

So it should be no surprise that a number of the players in this year’s WSOP million dollar buy-in One Drop Tournament hail from the investment world. Two of the most notable investors that may(?) play in this year’s One Drop are Andy Beal and David Einhorn.

2006 picture of Andy Beal at the Wynn (taken by Amy Calistri)

Andy Beal
Investment Style: Buy Low, Sell High

Dallas Banker Andy Beal was one of the first to sign up for the million dollar charity event. Although a recent post by Gary Wise suggests that Beal could be a no show.

Beal made his first fortune investing in multi-family residential properties, bought for a song at HUD auctions. Beal Bank made another fortune buying up distressed debt in the wake of the S&L crisis. In 2009, Beal moved up to #52 from #321 on the Forbes list of the 400 Richest Americans. He made roughly $4 billion buying up toxic assets after the financial meltdown.|

Beal is no stranger to the poker world. In 2001, Beal took on some of the world’s best poker players in a series of heads-up limit hold’em matches chronicled in Michael Craig’s book, “The Professor, The Banker and the Suicide King.” He reprised those matches in 2006, covered in this Bluff Magazine article.

Beal is a patient investor who always knows how to invest 1000 dollars to turn it into more. But he likes his poker like he likes his cars (Beal owns a number of race cars). He finds nine-handed play tedious. And he likes to push the stakes up into scared money territory. If Beal opts out of One Drop at the last minute, as Gary Wise reports, I blame the slow action of tournament play.

Einhorn at the 2006 WSOP

David Einhorn
Investment Style: Sell High, Buy Low

According to this Bloomberg article, the hedge fund manager David Einhorn is planning to ante up for One Drop.  The manager of Greenlight Capital has made a name for himself by shorting stocks — betting that their price will fall. In 2007, he shorted the investment bank Lehman Brothers. The 150-year old financial services company went bankrupt in September 2008. Lately, Einhorn is raking it in on his Green Mountain Coffee Roaster short.

Einhorn finished 18th in the 2006 WSOP Championship, donating his $600K+ to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. When it comes to poker charity events, Einhorn’s recent track record may be hard to beat. In May, he won the 7th annual Hillel Texas Hold’em Tournament and in March he won the 5th annual Michael J. Fox Foundation Poker Tournament. If you plan on playing against Einhorn, he discusses  his playing style here.