Posts Tagged ‘mel-judah’

Mel Judah Cashing out, Gavin Smith Paying Forward

Vegas Poker Beat

by , Oct 6, 2010 | 8:53 pm

Check it out … caught my eye the other night … Cashout tourneys. Though I’m not sure if they’ll be a regular thing, they made their debut this past weekend @AriaPoker. Interesting concept — essentially tournaments with pre-established guaranteed chops, allowing players to cash out at any point (and go home) … you know, should they not like their chip situation, have somewhere else to be, be on tilt from incessant angry wife texts … whatever … backer with a gun? Apparently they also can cash out and keep playing, too.

Full Tilt began offering these online a while back, but no clue how they worked out. According to the sign, these were the first ever in a land-based casino. I ventured over to see how it was playing, but they were down to three and it seemed at this point it was just straight poker. Mel Judah sat at the final table but wasn’t playing. I assumed he was sweating, or at least trying to woo, the lovely middle-age Asian lady still with chips. That may or may not have been true, but turns out primarily Judah was there because it was his game — supposedly his creation.

See for yourself what Mel is up to at

UPDATE: Oops, turns out the lovely lady was JJ Liu. One of these days I will learn actual players.

Hard Rock charity knocks

Upon his own early elimination, Gavin Smith took over as charity photog, no-flash rules be damned!

Also stopped by the Hard Rock this weekend … first time since Detox and the shuttering of their room (and operations) that made @hardrockpoker the Pokerati game’s home for most of 2010. No new-resto construct has begun — just a bunch of tables stuffed in the back of the old room, with their previously decorative orange-luxe highback leather chairs lined up in front of the TVs that used to entertain 1/2 players. With football on and one viewer lounging per screen, It was both awesome and sad.

Anyhow, the new smaller spot is still called the “Poker Lounge” … nice-ish, but looks unsettled in. And though it seemed clear from a matter of simple square footage that the Hard Rock’s days as a red-carpet poker venue are gone, none of that seemed to stop the good times at Gavin Smith’s Darius Goes West charity tourney (with Bryan Devonshire) … which was kinda a birthday party for the namesake beneficiary, Darius Weems, the kid with an extra-funky form of muscular dystrophy that Smith says inspired him to a WSOP bracelet this summer. Darius had just turned 21 (he wasn’t supposed to live past 16 I think?) … and really, can you think of a better host to welcome those coming of age into the glorious world of degenerate gambling?

Here’s video from the final table, with Layne Flack, David Plastik, and at least one semi-awkward kiss:

BTW, fwiw, the Hard Rock has changed their basic game to 1/3 NL, with a $500 max buy-in.

Elsewhere in Vegas …

Unvetted, unconfirmed word has it that Fiesta Henderson has closed their poker room. Supposedly they lost their players to the Club Fortune casino, which began holding a $40 bounty tourney ($10 for each knockout) and taking a better-for-locals high hand jackpot drop. (You’ll have to pardon Pokerati for not digging into this plausibly controversial game-shift.)

And here’s a globally funny poker picture … from power Vegas player Eric Baldwin at EPT-London:

The 2007 WSOP Main Event Has Started

by , Jul 6, 2007 | 4:38 pm

Day 1A is underway at the 2007 WSOP and it’s a madhouse. Mel Judah, Liz Lieu, Johnny Chan, Tobey Maguire, Jeff Gibralter (Dallas player) and Pokerati’s Tom Schneider are playing today. Vinnie Vinh did an infamous no-show and received a refund thanks to Houston’s Jimmy Tran. “The Poker Biz” has the story on Vinnie Vinh’s stack here.

Three more days make up the first round and the growing field has rumors of a sold out Monday.

Afternoon’s Latest of the Greatest

by , Jun 14, 2007 | 10:18 pm

LAS VEGAS – The Pot Limit Omaha Event started today at high noon. Notable players in the Amazon room – Devilfish, James Van Alstyne, Chris Ferguson, Freddie Deeb and Jeff Madsen. Fellow Houstonian and a Pot Limit Omaha fan, Sammy Farha, lost his chance at another bracelet in this event after an early elimination. Brandi Hawbaker was also eliminated early but not before her presence created a buzz.

The 5pm Stud Hi/Lo event has more pros at every table than Seattle has coffee (not per capita). Marcel Luske, Mel Judah, Todd Brunson, Annie Duke, Bill Chen, Mike Sexton, Steve Wong, Barney Boatman and Chip Reese are just a few pros. And I mean few in the sense that I only named a few because there are really more than a few. And did I mention TOM SCHNEIDER?

More on Pokernews.

More Fresh P TV
JJ Liu in the Hot Seat

by , Jun 7, 2007 | 3:13 pm

LAS VEGAS–Dude, Michele, maybe I’m biased … but you’re a pretty good hallway reporter. I’m sure, as usual, our readers will let everyone know if I am wrong.

Here’s Michele interviewing Mel Judah, who has more to say about the diversity of WSOP events and the actual fear evoked by Tuesday’s windstorm:

And this interview, with J.J. Liu, I found particularly fascinating. Not just because Michele shows her Sam Donaldson chops, but because of some hubbub I heard from presumably reliable sources just a couple days earlier … about Liu’s scandalous past. First, the video (watch for tells):

According to Oliver Tse, who was previously J.J. Liu’s agent, he had to “fire” his first client in his quest to become the Brian Balsbaugh of Asia because “her reputation [in Taiwan] is worse than O.J. Simpson’s.” Yeow, Oliver, how do you really feel? Apparently, she fled Taiwan some 20-plus years ago and came to the U.S. to escape some big bank-fraud scandal, Tse says, and then when that statute of limitations expired, she was able to come back from exile after her lawyer went on to become president of the country. Or something like that … I was eating a terrible $7 cheeseburger when he was dressed in coat-and-tie and giving me the critical skinny.

Either way, aren’t full-time poker characters great?

Beyond the Ropes at the WsOP

by , | 2:12 am

LAS VEGAS–It’s official, I’m important. Or at least all the people without badges in the Amazon room think I’m important. Even though Dan seems to think he needs a better one, my press credential seems to work very well at the table since now the players either think I must know something about poker if I’m working the WSOP, or they think they can get on my good side and I will put them on the internet. Bottom line…they no longer think I’m a bored housewife who’s husband stuck me in a tournament to keep me out of the Forum Shops.

High Noon marked the starting time for the $2k NL Hold’em Event, while yesterday’s $1k NL Hold’em (with rebuys) is down to 20ish players. I watched Amir Vahedi make an amazing call with a Qc-Qh-9c board. Amir held pocket sixes against the short stack with A-4. Amir is rocking in Day 2.

Across the ropes is the $5k Stud event started this afternoon and it is another super pro field. Jen Harman, Doyle Brunson, David Williams, Mel Judah, Thor Hansen & Brandon Cantu. It’s no secret the WSOP added many more events this year to allow the old-school players some real time with the “other” poker games including Razz, Omaha, Stud & more limit games with bigger buy-ins. Many pros feel the large field/small buy-in NL Holdem events are “crap shoots” and not only is there a better chance at a bracelet (Tom) in the other events but they are actually more fun since you don’t have to push all your chips in on one hand with a bunch of little newbie players that are afraid of getting out played on the turn and river. Yes, that’s right, I said afraid. And if you are not afraid…you will be. You will be.

Event #3 NL Holdem $1500

by , Jun 2, 2007 | 3:05 pm

LAS VEGAS–All their tables are full, including the tables outside in a tent and regular poker room. There are rumors of 800 alternates for today’s event. And to top it off there is still a long line for today’s event. Note to self (again) next year sign up online in advance.

Two pros I know who will not being playing today are Mel Judah and Steve Wong. Mel is not playing because he is focusing on games that will give him an edge such as Omaha, Stud and six-handed NL events. Steve Wong like many others decided he didn’t want to wait in line (as of last night). Perhaps he arrived early and became an alternate.

Nonetheless, today’s event was moved from the traditional high noon to 1pm because it’s so crazy down there. has some great live updates here.

Jew Poker

by , Mar 22, 2007 | 5:25 am

I’ve got a fun little speaking gig this weekend — visiting the Beth Torah men’s club to talk poker.

Last year’s appearance
went well — in fact, click here if you’ve got 90 minutes to kill listening to some questionable audio — but while regaling the breakfast crowd with poker-boom lore, home-game theory, and tales from the WSOP, I did stumble on one question … “Are there any Jewish poker pros?”

“Absolutely,” I said. “A lot of them. Like, um … uh … um … oh! Barry Greenstein! He’s Jewish, right? Wait, is it GreenSTEEN or GreenSTINE? I never remember.”