Posts Tagged ‘gambling-lore’

Colorful Character Jimmy Chagra Dead at 63

by , Sep 5, 2008 | 9:20 am

The story of Jimmy Chagra’s life is a colorful one, to say the least. His early years included a heavy investment in the drug business, high-stakes gambling, which included poker with the likes of Doyle Brunson and Chip Reese, and crime.

It was the drug trade that seemed to make Jimmy’s word go ’round. By all accounts, he took his drug profits to the casinos and lost large sums of money at the poker and gaming tables, then made it all back with drugs – living on the edge in a whirlwind of activity that finally took him to prison. He plead guilty to charges of heading up an assassination attempt on the Assistant US Attorney in 1978, and he was alleged to have set up another hit – this one successful – on Judge Wood, the man who handed down his first prison sentence. The story gained great publicity because the hit man supposedly hired by Jimmy was Charles Harrelson, father of actor Woody Harrelson.

Jimmy’s prison stint was finally ended in 2003 for health reasons, and he was placed in the Federal Witness Protection Program. But living in hiding didn’t sit well with the notorious criminal/gambler because he showed up at the 2007 WSOP to play a little and conduct a few interviews.

His sister reported that Jimmy died on August 19 at the age of 63 after a battle with cancer.


Bad Bet(s)

by , Aug 10, 2008 | 12:39 am

You’ve probably seen this already, but in case you haven’t … lots of dumb gamblers* these days:

Like the guy who tried to bet a different kind of greenies:

And then there was this guy, who called 911 with a claim that a slot machine stole his money.

* “gamblers” is a term we can expect to see/hear more and more in the (non-poker) media as the election nears, generally referring pejoratively to a class of citizens who are presumed to be bad people.


Remember These Non-Poker Gambling Scandals?

Organizations Rebound While Individuals Pay the Price

by , Aug 4, 2008 | 9:55 pm

With all the attention on the UB/Absolute scandal today, I thought I’d offer some perspective on non-poker scandals. And since poker is a “sport”

Sports Illustrated/CNN have compiled a photo gallery representing the 13 biggest “Gambling Scandals in Sports.” (No, UB and Absolute didn’t make the list.)

The scandals date from the Black Sox of 1919 (when the Chicago White Sox famously threw the World Series) to the NBA referee (Tim Donaghy) who pleaded guilty to accepting money from a gambler. Basketball was the most offending sport, with six of the 13 spots on the list (46%). Boston College has the dubious honor of being listed twice (for basketball in the late ’70s and football in the mid ’90s).

The last item on the list (which appears to be in no particular order) is about former NHL player Rick Tocchet, who has played in a major poker tournament or two.

Check out the full list here. (Keep in mind that this list only includes gambling scandals, and not cheating scandals in general.)

I find it interesting that while individual players must live with the consequences for decades (Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson, etc.), the organizations that allowed such cheating to take place usually pay only a short-term penalty before returning to full respectability.

It’s not a perfect parallel to the UB/Absolute scandal, but I think it’s relevant. It’s possible that after a few years, this scandal may be nothing more than a footnote to those two companies. What do you think?

If you find sports scandals boring, you can always check out SI’s second-most popular gallery (at the moment): “The Best 1980s Swimsuits,” with a vintage Christie Brinkley SI cover in the leadoff spot. In middle school, I claimed that my initials stood for “Billy Joel,” and he was my uncle. He married Christie later that year, and my popularity soared. Wait … swimsuit photos? Am I blogging for Pokerati or Wicked Chops?


What’s the meaning of 4-4-7-7-A?

by , Jul 3, 2008 | 5:25 am

Good thing Michael DeMichele didn’t win, or the inscription “Standing the Test of Time” might seem a little presumptuous.

Chuck in Fort Worth writes in with some kudos and a question about the Chip Reese HORSE trophy. I do not know the answer, but I am betting somebody Kevmath does.

Hey Dan,

As like all your other Texas poker god-children I have enjoyed following the WSOP on Pokerati along with your interesting and lively commentary. I have a question that I am sure you can answer for me. I am some what of a trivia buff and enjoy storing meaningful but otherwise useless information in my brain. What is the significance of the hand on the Chip Reese H.O.R.S.E. Trophy, 4 4 7 7 A. Is that the hand that won the tournament for Chip Reese in 2006? Just curious. Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks for writing in, Chuck. From what I understand the intent of the trophy is to make it sort of a Stanley Cup of Poker. We’ll see if that works — frankly I think that will be difficult because it has too many sharp edges, looks to be awkwardly weighted, and is made of metal that is more likely to break than bend. The Stanley Cup is the Stanley Cup, after all, not only because it is hoisted/passed around by full teams — hey, I suppose that’s another issue altogether if, say, Full Tilt had it one year, Ultimate Bet another — but also because it can be dented when taken to a party with Pantera thrown off a balcony into a pool. Those sorts of legends will be hard to create with this award … but still, it’s a good to have, I can only presume.


Ever think about making a movie with your poker winnings? Jim did

by , May 6, 2008 | 4:26 pm

My poker pal Jim Killeen first parlayed his poker winnings into a successful chair massage business at the Commerce Casino and now has gone big time and made a movie. Always breaking the mold, Jim’s movie is available to watch for free on YouTube. Tom and I watched it recently on the drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas and both enjoyed it. Angry Julie, not so much. If you happen to watch it, let me know what you think.


Instapoker/Vegas

by , Mar 31, 2008 | 12:28 pm

Sorry for the lack of personal postage last week and presumably this one … I have gotten caught up in the housing crisis and am moving again over the next couple days … even though I don’t know where yet. Seriously, housing crisis is very real here — our friends at The Poker Atlas were forced to relocate due to the house they were renting going into foreclosure; Rounder Club West got evicted from their digs a couple weeks ago because their landlord decided to desperately sell. When this sorta thing happens to three homes in an isolated niche, it can’t just be coincidental.

Anyhow, so yes, content … sorry for the lack thereof and sorry for the blog-cliche post about being sorry. There’s still plenty going on out there that the poker-minded populace shouldmaybe care about, regardless of my personal battle against homelessness.

As we know, the US is currently trying to figure out how to enforce the UIGEA — the AMERICAN BANKS say they can’t really do it — so now, instead of rewriting our own bad laws, we are pressuring the UK to change theirs.


And here’s an article about EL PASO’S rich gambling history
– underground or not — over the past 100+ years, starting with a mayor in 1895 known as “Poker Bob” Campbell.

A NEW BLOG (to me) I am now following semi-regularly: David Matthews’ Gambling in Space.

Through him, I learned about FRANK GAGLIARDI, a California Lottery winner who also likes to gamble and recently won his very relevant (to me and you) court case vs. the IRS:

If this case stands, then it could effectively rewrite tax law and make it easier for gamblers to report losses and more difficult for the IRS to go after gamblers.

BALLY TECHNOLOGY also won a pretty big case in court — against SHUFFLE MASTER, which up to this point has maintained an expensive stranglehold on the automatic shufflers you see in poker tables.

And CALIFORNIA JEN may have loved the poker mockumentary THE GRAND, but not everybody did.

Crap, that’s hardly everything, but I have to run …


TJ Cloutier on Old School Economics

by , Dec 19, 2007 | 6:19 am

TJ Cloutier’s latest column … an interesting if not prescient tale of some poker southern-circuit old-timers that include a game-runner who takes an extra rake right under someone’s nose ($100 a pop); a bookie sent to jail and kicked out of Dallas, Hazzard County-style; and legendary players with a not-so-unique philosophy on credit and debt.

Considering that TJ has been running good of late — and they don’t have craps in Oklahoma — I can’t help but give some thought to the road-gambler ethos he extols, and wonder where it fits in today’s contemporary poker economy:

“I’ve still got 30 days to pay that off,” Jack said, “so quit bothering me.” And the guy left. As the first man was going down the stairs, a second man was walking up them. The door was still open, so Jack let him in.

“I’m down on my luck,” the man cries to Jack. “Could you loan me $10,000 till I get back on my feet?” And Jack peeled the ten grand right out of his pocket and gave it to him! I couldn’t explain Jack Straus any better than telling this story.

One time when we were on the golf course, Straus told me that he liked me because I was like him. “I’m broke one day and have a fortune the next day,” he said, “and I don’t give a damn.”


Texas Hold’em To Be Legalized Recognized in Texas!

by , May 24, 2007 | 7:31 am

One poker-related legislative measure that did make it out of the House and seems likely to be passed by the Senate is HCR 109 — a “concurrent resolution” officially recognizing Robstown, Texas (near Corpus Christi) as the birthplace of Texas Hold’em.

Not sure what the role of these resolutions really are — but I think any that get this far pretty much pass with zero debate since they don’t grant any sorta additional rule-making authority nor relegate funds in any way. So assuming this feel-good-for-Robstown declaration passes — along with resolutions to designate the bolo as the official state tie, and the boot as the official state shoe (scroll down to the bottom) — well … nothing changes.

At least not right now.

But I gotta think any future efforts to legalize poker in Texas stand to benefit from Abel Herrero’s political warm-fuzzy to get some gung-ho Texas poker pride written into the books.

a successful hold’em player relies on reason, intuition, and bravado, and these same qualities have served many notable Texans well throughout the proud history of the Lone Star State

Click below to read the whole resolution. It paints quite the interesting story — and could have a hypermajority of representatives from both parties technically saying “Yay!” to charity poker, online play, and $10,000 events while also acknowledging the “game of skill” concept.

(Has to be, right? If not, why are so many Texans so good yeee-haw!)

More…


Bad bet

by , May 10, 2007 | 3:19 pm

Has anyone seen this? For those of you who don’t have the INHD channel (which, sadly, doesn’t feature any Robert Wilsonky programming), Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak have a new show oh-so-cleverly called I Bet You.

The premise is exactly what you’d expect: They walk around betting thousands of dollars on completely inane bullshit. They bet on how much a shirt costs. They bet on whether a girl they meet on the street is wearing a thong or “regular panties.” They bet on who can be the best bartender and, later, who can get drunk and blow closest to .08 on a breathalyzer. All of which should provide for fun, rollicking scenes complete with plenty of spontaneous comedy. Instead, sitting through the half-hour show is like listening to Jamie Gold—it’s painful, and you don’t really want to do it, but you’re sure it’ll get better eventually so you stick it out. But it doesn’t get better. Trust me.

More…


Phil Ivey vs. Phil Hellmuth

by , Apr 10, 2007 | 6:50 am

Semi-related … Click here to read Hellmuth’s firsthand account of losing $500,000 to Ivey in Chinese poker.


Rumorati: Phil Ivey vs. Michael Jordan

by , | 5:05 am

Phil Ivey may be kicking poker-player butt on the golf course, but not so against everyone all the time. Just last week he was supposedly playing a rematch against NBA legend Michael Jordan (aka the Doyle Brunson of Basketball). Not sure where or who won how much this time, but just two weeks prior, the twosome were at it on a golf course in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico — according to a presumably reliable secondhand source — and Ivey lost $250,000.

One possibility is that Ivey sees golf-gambling with Jordan as a win-win … even if he loses on the links, Ivey’s having a good time with MJ while bilking him for all the knowledge, wisdom, and marketing genius that “the greatest” in a far-bigger-than-poker game might have to offer. That could be worth millions.

The other possibility, of course, is that Ivey is simply running the classic hustle on even richer guys who are more likely to pay up. (Also potentially worth millions.)


Re: Phil Ivey shakes down the Hendon Mob

by , Apr 9, 2007 | 1:43 pm

Negreanu’s take on the golfing event.

Phil Ivey Shakes Down the Hendon Mob 3/16/07


WPT RENO – ESP for 2 Hands, then Pissing on the Craps Table

by , Apr 2, 2007 | 8:53 pm

Do you ever have times when you are 100 percent sure of something that you shouldn’t possibly know? I had two instances like this in Reno.

For the first few hours of the tournament my radar was working extremely well. This particular hand I was not involved in; however, I made a ridiculous read that was right on the money. Player A made a 3x raise in 4th position. Player B and C, the small and big blinds both called. The flop was Q, 8, 3 rainbow. Check, check check. The turn was a Q. B-checked, C-checked, A-bet 1/3 of the pot, B-folded and C-called. The river was a blank. C-checked and player A bet 1/3rd of the pot, Player B called, and before A turned up his cards, I said, “Quads, no doubt”. Everyone else at the table looked stunned. Sure it was one of the possible hands that he had, but I was 100 percent sure. I wish I knew why.

More…


Phil Ivey Shakes Down the Hendon Mob

by , Mar 16, 2007 | 4:51 pm

In golf … not poker. Anyone watching semi-live poker on TV is aware that the pros have been joshing [tag]Phil Ivey[/tag] about his emerging prowess on the links. The snickers usually attached to the props now make a little more sense …

Here’s a seemingly reliable thread (and well-written recount by Blair Rodman) about a recent outing he had in Las Vegas with Hendon Mobster Ram Vaswani, phenom internet kid Eric Sagstrom (aka Eric 123), and Marc Goodwin, an accomplished poker Brit. Apparently Ivey ran a classic hustle on these guys, and as the story goes, Goodwin and Sagstrom stormed off the course, stuck $450k each … while Vaswani, a fellow Full Tilter, stuck out the beating for 18 holes, even though he knew way before then that he would end up owing Phil $900k.

Supposedly Ram didn’t have the cash readily available, so he worked out some sort of payment plan. No word on whether or not he’s being charged interest.

Now the debate on the forums is whether or not Ivey “cheated” by misreporting his golf abilities before the round started … or if gambling is simply gambling and Vaswani is the only guy who honorably handled his mistake of placing a big bet without doing proper research.

Here’s a story about Ivey running a similar golf-course hustle on Mike Sexton almost a year-and-a-half ago …

ALT HED: Ram Vaswani = Phil Ivey’s Beyotch?