Friday, May 30, 2008

So it's sorta social, demented and sad, but social. Right?

I have so much I want to write about some of the business stuff. I've taken a lot of meetings with execs from Casinos, online folk, and some Mag people, and all is lining up like a big grapefruit coming out of the pitchers hand and making its way to the plate just begging to be crushed. But its not an appropriate time to give the details, so like a bitch, I tease...

I have been running amok lately taking those meetings, the kids are all over the goddman place with basketball, karate, dance, school trips, school plays, and of course studying. The last weekend didnt help with a pile of parties, and of course, the kitchen ceiling decided to fall down because a seal broke in the drain of the tub in the kids bathroom. That was fun, but fixed and we move on.

I'm not (don't) sleeping much at all, and with the active schedule, I am getting run down. I've had this stupid cold for like 3 years, and my basketball game is very sluggish on Sunday nights.

I figure its time to get back into shape... for real this time. So I did some research.

I have a plan on a spreadsheet already typed up. What to eat, when to eat, and when and how to exercise. The workout will consist mainly of plyometric type stuff, lots of pushups, situps, and a simple weight routine. I will also start practicing juijitsu again, but nothing too extreme. Really just to get some cardio in and gain some flexibility back.

A friend has a full gym in his house and he wants to learn juijitsu, so we will train together, and I will be able to us his gym whenever I need to.

On the diet front, I have to make some drastic changes. I'm not one for diets at all, but it has gotten way out of hand. Fast food has become a staple, because, well, its easy. and fast. So its time to soldier up and get her done...

For one, I'm a coke fiend (pop, not blow). I went through some sites and these are the changes I will be making....

No more coffee... Instead green tea. Why? Because I drink my coffe with half and half, no sugar. But I also believe they call it half and half, because thats how you use it. Half coffee, half half and half. That oughta cut out some calories.

No more sugar... This is mainly going to effect my coke problem. Any soft drinks or ice tea will now be sugar free... That oughta cut like 2,000 calories a day.

Starting yesterday, I am going to try at least 100 pushups/ situps a day. probably 5 sets of 10 in the morning and again at night. Pull ups are just impossible at this point. In the Marine corps I did 37 pullups in a row. Yesterday I couldnt do 2. My fat ass weighs in at a cool 256 right now.

I plan to be at around 230 by August first (210 is the overall goal). I know, a lofty goal, but according to the spreadsheet and some advice from a personal trainer/nutritionist friend it should be completely doable.

I'm a very disciplined person when I focus, but the toughest part will be meetings, poker games, and just the regular dinners with the kids and such. I"m a big fan of comfort food, so cutting that loose is going to be rough. The new diet will now consist of lean meats, veggies and fruits, fish, chicken. Cutting bread out will be hard. Not completely, but I love me some good Italian bread.

Breakfast will consist of cottage cheese and a piece of fruit.
Lunch will mainly be a salad of some type with maybe a piece of meat
Dinner will be extremely small variation of lunch with maybe some starches like potatoes or something, but the biggest change will be the timing of dinner. It will have to be eaten before 6pm. Thats a crazy number for me since we normally eat very late. Plus I can see midnight rolling around and wanting to eat the ass out of a horse.

Went out in the mook and the RC in 18th place the last two nights... Big game is the last chance for the final TOC seat. Hope to see all there...

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not to go after criminals because they might try to harm you is really not a policy of the FBI. See, we try not to say uncle. We try.

Scene 1: Corner of an old crusty bar somewhere in Phoenoxville, two cynical, yet happy gentlemen drinking under the premise of work

hippy: I think I'm going to the shore Memorial Day weekend
good looking, intelligent, awesome dude: What? you can't!

Hippy: What the fuck does that mean? Who are you my father?
GLIAD: No, I mean Bam is coming to town.. (FAAAAAWK!) mistake one

Hippy: He is? How do you know, I didn't see anything on his blog, and he certainly didn't call me.
GLIAD: Ahhhhh Fuck, it was supposed to be a surprise! Lets pimp him.

{backround bar noises while the two hover over a laptop devising a plan. Hippy looks confused and amazed, while the GLIAD speaks}

Hippy: Genius, this is all a great plan, save for one aspect.
GLIAD: Whats that?

Hippy: I met him in person already. He knows what I look like, and he knows that I know what he looks like... Remember? In Toronto? Strip club, poker room, Casino, hotel? NO? not recalling any of that?

Ok, so I fucked it up. Bam was coming down ninja style and had asked me to make sure everyone was going to be there. He wanted to surprise a couple of people. Being it a holiday weekend I knew it would be trouble to get people around, but Al and Donkette were def going to be around. the trouble was a slip of the tongue to Al some two weeks before the actual event.

So I tried to turn it around. Of course I had no shot of helping out because of the fact that I would be watching he tribe all weekend because the wife would be working. She was scheduled to work until about 10:30 getting home around 11 and I was going to head over to the Pub to meet up with my northern friends with Al and BigMike. Hell, maybe JDub would be there as well.. always a bonus.

Wifey decided to stop for a drink herself on the way home with a neighbor who just happened to be near the Old Navy she was working at when it was quittin' time. And since I was out til about 6 am that morning playing poker, I guess she figured she didn't need permission. It has taken her about 15 years of marriage to learn, understand, and utilize the credo that I have used constantly since the beginning of our relationship, which is... "It's easier to get forgiveness than it is permission"

I dont mind really, but the difference is whatever she asks of me would always be a resounding "yes".. "hey, I"m going to stop for a glass of wine" - sure dear... "Hey, Kim wants to head to New Hope for some shopping on Friday night" - No problem, whatever...

See thats the easy part with me. Just ask.

With her, it usually goes like this... "Hey, um, I was thinking of heading down to the baseball game with Miller and Snakster" - WHAT???!?!! WHEN?!?!?! AGAIN!?!?!!

So I don't ask anymore... I just go, then say I'm sorry when I return home... although that seems to be needed less these days, cause I think she finally gets it. Seems to work better that way :)

Sucks I missed Bam and Pebs but I know within the next three months he'll/ they'll be here again, at the bash, and the way things are going these days, 3 months is like a week.

So being at home, all by myself, kids asleep, I decided to catch up on some work. But I got bored fast. So I watched a movie. The Kingdom, starring Jamie Fox, Chris Cooper, and Jen Gardner. This was a really good movie. What starts out as a movie trying to make a political statement, turns quickly into a Tom Clancy type military, shoot 'em up flick. Right up my alley!

Go see it if you wish.. very cool movie. I can't get over how good of an actor Jamie fox is. Really. Everything he does is done really well. Chris Cooper does a good job as well as always, but I can never get the thought out of my mind of him turning queer and then killing Spacey in American Beauty. Jen Gardner does a remake of Sydney from that spy show she did on one of the networks, and Justin Bateman plays the goofy smart kid, always telling jokes. Reminded me of the side kick he played in Dodgeball sans the stupidity.

Overall it is a very entertaining movie, and well done.

Big week on the business side, and I will have updates on some of that in the next few days.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jules, you give that nimrod $1500 and I'll shoot him on general principal!

BBT stuff...

First, I can't even begin to think how bad the BBT has been for me. For one, I have played like a retard throughout. Internet Poker has been something that I have used just as fun, and not really ever put on my competition hat. And this isn't just specific events. This is all of them. Just retarded, stupid, dumbass play throughout. I am usually busy doing something else, and just don't put the concentration into it. Sometimes I'm on the radio, or working, or just plain conversing in like 10 different IM boxes with some of you and don't pay attention to position, stacks, or betting patterns anymore. It really is just about the worst thing anyone can do when competing for the crazy prizes that are up there, at the cost involved. Shame on me.

Last night I tried to hunker down and really play. That lasted about as long as the first half hour when I got a phone call from a potential suiter for the Radio Show. I ended up working about 3 spreadsheets and Power Points all while playing (and drinking, which doesn't help).

When I got down to 13th, I saw 55 in the small. I had a little less than average stack. UTG, (I forget who) had bet out about 1500 (4700 behind). I thought for about half a second, (had them covered by about 500) and just heard the voice in my head about having to win races. So I shoved. I wasn't completely sure about getting a snap call as this player had played extremely tight. Maybe He/She would be able to fold the likes of AQ, and I didn't mind going up against AK. I wasn't worried about cashing, I just wanted chips to make a run at a win. They had Jacks, and although thought about it for a while, (maybe 6 seconds), I was called and sent home. It was a horrible shove on my part. I don't think many hands raised like that utg are going to fold with the stack they had. Just another play where I wasn't paying attention, and decided to gamble on the bad end. I don't know what I beat there, or what I hold up to either, so another lesson re-learned. I just have to really start to pay attention more, if I want to take this seriously.

I am back into the top 18 in the Bodog with two Final tables the last two weeks, taking a 5th and 4th. I have decided to really pay attention in that one being that i can afford to be stupid the first couple of rounds being the structure is so slow and blinds are really low. I still need to make sure I point out in the last two to be sure that I stay in the top 18. I'm not sure how much I like or dislike that site yet. There are too many things missing that I am used to such as a time request button, and just the over all look of the site is confusing. You can't, (at least I can't find) a leaderboard, where it lists the chip leaders without having to find them at each table, and so on. Last week I was trying to call an All in against Don and someone else with AK. Everytime I hit call, I got a message that said the software is experiencing problems, please shut down and restart. It eventually worked and Don was upset about the perceived slow roll. Everytime I get moved to a new table it seems I have to shut down and retart as well. Just weird. Maybe its because I run Shitsta on my laptop, and there are compatibility problems, who knows. But Shitsta has been out for a while and you would think they would have a patch for it to work well with their software...

To follow up on the last few posts, I have spoken to more folks in the industry about the GSN situation. High Stakes Poker is actually the highest rated show on GSN and for them to outright cancel it just makes no business sense. Unless you believe that the advertisers will not continue to support it. It could be the only show on TV with 80 billion viewers, but if know one wants to pay for it, then it goes away. I have heard some things about the online sites scaling back their TV ad budgets in hopes of getting some support from the TV lobbyists on getting the UIGEA overturned. Sounds like a plan, but how much pull can the networks have in congress over this one particular issue?

I believe poker after dark is actually owned by a company owned or controlled by FTP, so that obviously would be treated a little differently. But who knows. Time will tell.

Good luck to everyone who still needs a seat in the TOC. Fischman asked me when the TOC was and I told him the wrong date. Hopefully he doesn't figure it out! One less player for all to avoid! :) My gift to all who made, and make the TOC!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Poker, cont...

Casinos have spent millions on poker rooms in the last 5-8 years because of the demand to stay competitive. Everyone else was, so we need to as well to attract people for what they want to play. Obviously poker does not make a ton of money compared to other casino games. But its what the players wanted, and those players brought friends and family. This past December was the first month in 5 years where the industry actually saw not only a slow down in growth, but an actual decline in growth. Worse than the previous month. It has slowed.

So what do they do now? The fields in tournament poker have dwindled over the last year. 10k events are gertting smaller and smaller , and I spoke to several pro players who gave me some insight on what they think. For one, they feel that people are just going broke. They can't recoup the money they spent for travel, expense, and buy-in fees without at least a win AND a few cashes somewhere along the tourney schedule. Payout structure in those 10K events tend to pay less than you're buy-in in the first stages of cashes, and midway through you'll be lucky to break even after your expenses are paid to even get there.

The brains in the industry tend to think that the smaller buy-ins, like the $2000 and $2,500 buy-ins will be the wave of the future. A little less easier on the wallet, and almost as much value. The Borgata showed that when they had their recent 500k guarantee and had to turn people away. Over 1,000 wanted to play, and they handled 775. That turned into a 1.6mm prize pool. Not bad for three days work if you can avoid running KK into Aces, and catch your 14 out draw when you bluff into a set.

These lower buy-ins with huge prize pools will also attract those who play recreationally and those who play more seriously, but not seriously enough to want to plop down 10k to show that they can do well.

Internet quals have also subsided a little. Two years ago, the WSOP ME had 8500 players. 65% of those players qualified online. I expect some qualified for as little as $10, but the issue at hand here is the drop off they had last year. Now I don't know for sure how many actually qualified via online sites, but I do know that when they did qualify, they had cash, instead of a voucher deposited into their account. And obviously more decided to keep the money then dust off in the WSOP. For some, doing so would just be irresponsible. Pretty wide assumption there, but you have to agree that for most, winning 10k should be put towards household expenses and not a 1 in 6000 chance of winning huge money, especially if you play recreationally. The bottom line here is if you usually play $10-$24 tournies, you don't have the bankroll for playing a huge event. Furthermore you would be going for the experience, and maybe get lucky enough to cash. Lets not be dillusional here. Lucko played, and ran KK into top pair and the noob caught trips after the money was in. It happens. But guys like him, who are financially responsible, and win consistently online, aren't who we are talking about.

We are talking about the Snaksters of the world, the Skidoos of the world*, who have families, or are just starting out. I think 3-4 years ago there would be some justification. The poker world was just really coming into its (dare I say?) prime with the unknown of pros positioning for big scores in mainstream ad money and sponsorship. Something that hasn't come about at all. Back then when it was assumed that stuff like that would pop, maybe the lure of hitting some other jackpot from playing in the WSOP with all the media coverage would make it worth it. Plus, you didn't have the option to cash out either. The sat was the sat, and you had to take the seat. Which was known going in beforehand so who cared. You wanted the seat. You wanted to take your shot.

The question now becomes, how does the revision of the UIGEA, if it does become legal, effect the popularity of poker? Does it BOOOOOM again? Does it matter if the law changes or not? Will it happen anyway? When that law went into effect, 80% of the online market came from the US. Yet it lost only 15% of the market after the law took effect in the first year. Obv, Americans are still playing, but did the international community pick up that much slack? Or did US players just not go away like expected. Does the US gov see this and use it to push the revision through, or are we just to retarded as a country to ignore the potential tax revenue over morality? (like that has anything to do with it)

In 2006, "poker" was a top 5 search word. (I think it may have been the #1, just dont feel like fact finding), and in 2007 it fell below the top 10. Kids are playing more and more poker these days, but does it, and will it burn them out? How many will continue on to play almost full time when they finally figure out what they want to do with their lives? I know guys who played almost every single day, as you all do, who now hardly play once a month, if that, because of puchback from wives, families, and work or other obligations.

The point is, was this huge proliferation of poker over the last 4 or 5 years fabricated by the hype? Is it like any other hobby? When "A river runs through it" came out, it seemed everyone and their brother went out and purchased $3k worth of fly fishing equipment and took trips to all the major locales for the best the country had to offer. Now I'm lucky to see 5 guys on my local rivers with a flyrod in their hands.

Time will tell I guess, but I fathom that the overturning of the UIGEA will have a huge impact. Or in the very least, give us some sort of indication of what that impact will be.

*obviously I'm not advocating anyone NOT playing in the WSOP if they feel they want to. And I truly hope whoever wins the TOC does play. I think in this instance this is found money provided to us by Full Tilt because we show our loyalty, and I think there may be some sort of obligation to the comunnity to play (my opinion only). I only use Snakster and Skidoos names because I know both of them have families, (and I felt like pimping them). Both may have gazillions of dollars and choose to play. I hope you get my point.

...the pleasure's all on this side of the table, trust me.

What is going to happened to poker? GSN announces, or doesn't announce that they will not be renewing High Stakes Poker, and that leads into the assumption, with some articles written about it, that they won't be renewing the WPT either. This after the WPT just got picked up by GSN.

The question is, how does this effect poker? At all? Huge? Negatively? Certainly not positively, but how far will this reach?

Does the influx of new players then subside? If it does, at what rate? Has it already? As a business owner in this industry, especially one that specializes in introducing the new players, I can tell you that there has been a slow down of sorts. We still see new growth, and we still see the good attendance, without much of a drop, but players are certainly starting to cycle out.

This year has been somewhat different. The Winner of the WSOP ME basically went underground after his win. There have been a few stories about his philanthropy, but absolutely no real stories about him at all. He was not the spokesman that I think a winner of that size of an event needs to be. Maybe its because he wasn't really that much of a player. Maybe it was because he didn't want to , or didnt care.

Hachem was great, Moneymaker was great, Raymer was great, and Gold, was well notable. 3 of the 4 mentioned above all became ambassadors of the game. They were inlvolved in poker. They played, they got involved in business ventures within the industry, they helped out things like the PPA, and most of all , they were visible. People could identify with why they were famous. And more importantly, they understood what made them famous. Yang did nothing of the sort. The guy up and dissappeared like a fart in the wind.

Without that story, that person to tell his story over and over again, and show people how he won one the richest prizes in all of sports/ entertainment, there really is no bait for the public to follow. And this comes at a bad time as well. General folk know that there is a law banning online poker, but have no idea what it really entails. They just know it exists, and therefore, poker must be dead. Then the guy who wins the biggest prize just vanishes. And no talk about the WSOP after that. What gives? Maybe poker is dead. Of course not. Not in the least. But there is something to be said about the average guy or gal who aren't informed to hear snippets and just assume. When I tell people I'm going ot play poker in a real casino, I still get, "isn't that illegal?" In the very least things like that will take their interest away from even pursuing a foray into the poker world.

I will follow this up tomorrow with another post delving deeper into this whole thing. Obviously I'm not blaming Jerry Yang for the destruction of the whole poker world, but I think his non-involvement has something to do with the lack of interest from the non-poker playing public. Even if you didnt play, you still watched. Now thats not happening anymore.

I've had some good conversations with some industry folk over this and will follow up with an online piece and a live piece tomorrow, and what some of their thoughts are and what some others plan on doing about it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

come look at this turd! It looks like Klinger from M.A.S.H.!

If you didn't hear last night, is hosting a contest on a new logo.

Break out your photosho, start those creative juices, and enter your design. Send it to and you could be part of history! Well, maybe not history, but at least you'll get a cool looking jacket and a nice hat with the embroidered logo that you designed.

Things are moving quickly with this new venture and we are close to getting some really cool opportunities cracked. Stay tuned for more info on upcoming events, more coverage of your favorite online games, and other promotions that will no doubt entertain you to know end.

Thanks to everyone that has helped to this point, and to all of you who listen in night in and night out.

Mookie last night blew dick balls and I can't ever seem to get anything going in that damned thing. 2 second place finishes, one third, and one final table with the chip lead that I blew when I fell asleep. What a cooler!

Congrats to JD and Evy for getting heads up and to Jd for taking down his eventual 2cnd seat in the TOC.

Riverchasers tonight and god knows what the format is this time. NL O/8 anyone? I just don't feel like checking right now! Either way, sign up and have a blast. And may the best cards win!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Are we certain that you want the gamin' control board eyeballing your record and your gangster pals like Nicky Santoro?

What a great weekend... really. I mean, could I have asked for a better one? Let's recap, shall we??

Friday -

Friday night was basketball practice. My daughters Birthday as well, and since they went to the pool for a party, the girls weren't quite up to going to a basketball clinic. They weren't even finished the party by the time I had to leave, so , no girls. Except one. One which I had to pick up because her parents were still working. So I did. When we got there, the boys (about 20), where all over the place, being their non-disciplined selves, running around doing nothing. Their coach, who helps me run the clinic came up to me and suggested that he was going to take the 10 boys on his team, go to the other gym, and just hold a formal practice because their season was starting on Monday. I told him no way, because this was after all and open clinic, and there were at least another 12 bouys, and by that time another 5 girls who showed up to participate. I told him if he wanted to have a formal practice that the gym would be available after the clinic. I start the clinic and he says that there are some drills he wants to do. Specific drills including some rebounding techniques and such.... So I say sure, no problem.

He explains the drills to the kids, and puts the lines where they are suppposed to be. It was actually a good drill, but the problem was he was teaching the technique incorrectly. I corrected him, and not personally, but rather instructing the kids. These are 10-11 year old kids, and to learn something wrong at this age just sets them back eons, and is doing the kid, and the parents a disservice. So he gets a little excited, and steps in and says, "no, thats not the way I want them to do it".

So I asked another parent to set them up in some shooting drills and I asked him to go outside. There is no way that two coaches should be airing out differences in technique in front of the kids, and parents for that matter. It just wreaks of incompetence and no one wins. So we go outside the gym and I say to him... "you can't teach something you don't understand"

Now let that sink in for a second. How would you repond, regardless of the situation? You can't tell a kid to leave his man unattended when the ball goes up and just rush the basket. Especially if you are already underneath it. There are boxing out techniques and other things that they have to learn. Must haves at that age really. These are fundamentals of all players that must be learned in order to build upon as the progress in their careers. He didnt even know what boxing out meant. Anyway he starts getting all hurtful and loud, and I just stood there looking at him letting him vent. I finally asked him if he was finished, to which he said he was, I looked at him and said, just follow my lead, and started to walk back into the gym. He asked "who the hell do oyu think you are?", and I stated, the guy who is going to teach these kids the right thing to do for them, and not for me. He asked if I was serious, and I simply stated , dont't be ridiculous, I'm always serious.

We go back into the gym and the little bitch sits down like a two year old in the bleachers with the rest of the parents. I run out the clinic, and afterwards had some good comments from some of the parents with thanks, and well wishes, and some of the others just acknowledged with a goodbye and a head nod. I tell you, its really hard to deal with things like that on the level that we are coaching on. Parents, volunteer coaches, etc. all pose issues that are normally dealable, but things like this suck the fun out of all of it. So I go home, play the donkament, bubble, and go to bed.

Saturday -

Saturday was golf with the brothers in the am, and then a huge party at my parents for my nephew (1) and my daughter (10), as well as other family being in town. I sucked on the course, although I did drive a par 4 (323yds) and birdied it. There was a group in front of us who was comprised of 2 women (30's) and their boyfriends. Neither woman had ever picked up a club before. They would stand in the fairway and take lessons from their boyfriends and hit the ball 10 yards, and then laugh like children, throwing their arms around like some in the audience at the apollo when a funny joke was made.

It started getting old. The ranger had said a few things and then it was just time to take action. they were up the fairway a bit on the 12th hole. I got up and let fired one off. I didnt' think it would reach them, but it did. The one girl jumped a little as it rolled between her legs. They all looked back, and and eventually went on their way. When I got to the ball, it was obviously stamped into the ground. and I laughed a little. These fuckers no the 'ole custom of stepping on someone's ball if they hit into you, but they have no idea when it comes to course etiquette?!?
They were hitting two and three balls, and just being douches. The next several holes, they visibly were intentionally holding us up. Gathering in the fairway and just standing there, looking up at us. On the green they would huddle aroung the pin and just grab ass. So I decided to have more fun.

On the 16th hole the teebox is elevated and there are trees on either side. One group was in the their cart facing away from us in the middle of the fairway. The other two dolts walked over into the trees. As they walked, they looked back at us, and I had already tee'd up and addressed the ball. They walked into the woods ever so slowly and as they entered I took a swing. Now, I wasn't hitting the ball, but from a distance it looked like I was. One of my brothers let out a resounding "FORE", and the two in the cart just about dove out of it, and the other two in the woods ran for cover near a bigger tree. We laughed and giggled and just basically had fun with it. Of course it cost us about 30 minutes to finish the last two holes, but I didnt care. They had left a pitching wedge on the 17th green. (GOLD!) I picked it up and they wouldn't come down to get it. We waved it at them, letting them know we had it, but they wouldn't come. My brother turned it in to the clubhouse, and we left. Along with the birdie and some pars I also had a couple of doubles, so my brother took the round by 2 strokes, and we headed to the party.

Party was the party, but near the end we started playing poker. The game of choice was heart, hand, diamond. Everyone antes into 3 pots. One each for Heart, Hand, and Diamond.
Then you are dealt 3 cards, with an extra deck hand dealt as well. utg gets to choose first...

He can state that he wants to play for one two or three pots, or he can fold. If anyone else chooses the same pot, those two go against each other, and the loser pays the winner the equivalent of whats in the corresponding pot. So I get KdKhx dealt to me. I say all three. I get called by Dad, who just so happens to be holding AhAcQd. So I win the diamond pot, but lose the other two. Just a cooler.

This is how insane the game gets. Every round you re-ante. We were playing with quarters. There was a hand pot with $40 dollars in it at one point, and the other pots were as big as $15 at least two times. Just gold. If you state that you are going to play for Hearts, and no one challenges you then you go against the deck hand. If you beat the deck hand, you win the pot and it empties back to zero until everyone antes again.

Sick game, and I lost about $20 bucks. But I can see it shortly becoming a favorite for when we just want to gamble around.

Sunday -

Nothing of interest really. Oh wait, it was Mothers Day :) One of the kids had a bunch of school work to do, and we had to run out and buy thing for a science project. Her project is about building an electric generator. Really simple stuff. Just making nothing more than a stator really and producing an electrical current strong enough to light a lamp bulb. I look forwad to the calls home from school about how she blew up the class room. I hope you all had a lovely Mothers Day, and I look forward to Fathers Day! :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Chop Chop!!

I promised you the story of the chop, so here it is:

First, when they got to 7 handed, they asked the floor to pause the blind clock to discuss. The B does not do that, however, because of the prize and so forth, one of the players had asked for a consensus for a bathroom break, and they were granted that. They all adjourned to the table directly next to where we were broadcasting from and started their negotiations.

*on a side note, it always makes me laugh that the shortest guy at the table ALWAYS manages these negotiations. ALWAYS!

At any rate, they jawed for about an hour, and couldn't get anything done. The floor called the clock on them and they went back to play, with the some of the players looking frustrated that nothing could be agreed to when they seemed so close. Seven way chops usually seem to go like that though. Obviously the more people involved, the more chances you have of one guy saying, no, I'm done, let's go.

Play continued, and they got down to 5 when, with about 4 minutes left on the blind clock, and heading to the dinner break, Schuyler Twaddle broached the possibility again. He had a sheet in front of him with all of the payouts and some notes scribbled on it and started to say, "so lets look at this guys". John Racener then looked at him (he was the shortest guy at the table, but really, IMO, the best player there) and said, "buddy, don't waste your time, I'm not interested."

At this point, the average chip stack was $3.3million, and the blinds were $20k antes with 80k/160k blinds and going to 100k/200k after the break.

Mark Reynolds had over 12 million in chips, Racener was lucky to have 1.5 million, Twaddle had just about 2.5 million, Alan "BodogAri" Engel was sitting on about 4 million, and Weiwen Liang had maybe 500k more than Ari.

When you look at these stacks it makes very little sense for Mark to even consider a chop, but he told me that with his tax bracket, if he took second place money, and could sign for less than 4th place, he would actually net another $10-$15k in earnings. When they discussed the chop 7 handed, his demand was second place money, keeping the Bracelet, and signing for 7th place. Seventh place was only $58k so his request was pretty much huge, but rightfully so. He had most of the players over a barrel after taking out the last three players and raking their chips.

Within the two minutes before the dinner break, Racener went out when he picked up AQ in the small blind. Reynolds limped with KT from the button, and Racener went all in for his last 1.5million or so. Twaddle folded, and Reynolds called. The flop brought an Ace, the turn gave Racener Aces up with a Q, but of course 3 outs for Reynolds, and as happened many times before, the J filled his broadway ending Raceners run. The last hand before the break saw everyone fold to Weiwen Liang and the players went to dinner, which lasted 50 minutes.

At this time, everyone went their separate ways for some chow and a little relaxation. I heard nothing of a chop even being considered, and I saw no one until about 2 minutes left in the break when they started coming back and hitting their seats.

Before the first card was dealt, Twaddle posed another propostion that he had obviously been thinking about during the break. He asked for the clock to be paused, and the Borgata refused. They had a tournament to run, and they have nothing to do with deals, nor do they want to so the Tournament Director said that they would continue the clock and deal cards. If they didn't finish before the next break, the cards would be mucked, the blinds would shift, and another set of cards would be dealt.

Twaddle said that he would sign for first place, and take $190k. That would leave Mark taking second place money, about 260k and signing for 4th. That left Ari and Weiwen deciding who would sign for second and third, and who would take what money. It was decided that Ari would sign for second and take 210k and Weiwen would sign for third and take 185k. The difference in money between Weiwen and Twaddle would be because of the taxes Twaddle would have to pay on $395k. At this point Mark had the most chips, Weiwen and Ari were pretty close, but Weiwen swore up and down that he had more, and Twaddle was the shorty.

Weiwen consulted a friend, as did Ari, and Twaddle said he had to make one phone call before he was sure. He got off the phone, the other two came back from the rail, and the deal was agreed to. Mark then said, well wait, I gotta have the bracelet. The bracelet was something the Borgata put together from a jeweler and had a valule of about $2,500. Twaddle objected as if to say, "C'mon man, throw me a bone", but Mark would not relent. He stated that without the bracelet, there was no deal. Twaddle agreed and they started to stand up. The staff at the Borg told them that it had to be played out. They were not part of any deal, nor were allowed to be, and said whoever went out in whichever place was where that player would sign for.

Mark had to be the next player out, and with all of his chips, he had to do a lot of dusting. So when the cards were dealt, he raised just about a million less than what Twaddle had, Twaddle would move all in, and then Reynolds would fold. Once Reynolds was covered, he moved all-in, Twaddle called, and Reynolds, who didn't expose his cards, would muck once the board came out. They did this all the way until Ari went out in third. And this is where the problem arose.

Ari was supposed to go out in Second, but he went out in third. Weiwen noticed this, and took opposition to it. They started quibling over that fact, until Weiwen took the sheet that they had written the deal on and tossed it in the air saying that there was in fact no deal now, and that he was going to play it out. Reynolds laughed, having already signed out for 4th and hence being credited for a $104k win, and told everyone that they had better figure it out. Ari made mention that he would give Weiwen another 5k or so to help cover the taxes and Weiwen kept saying "no, no deal, I had more chips than you."

They argued a bit more, and Twaddle suggested that they just switch places, where Ari would receive the cash that Weiwen was supposed to receive and vice versa. But Ari wanted Mark to help pay for the deal, getting another 5k from him in order to get it done. The Borgata staff was determined to continue the play, and deal cards, and after another 15 minutes or so, they had to bring security in to move the spectators (mostly friends of the players who kept adding their two cents) away from the area. Imagineably so, it got pretty heated but cooler heads prevailed, and the deal was sealed. Ari and Mark went back and forth a while about the 5k and Mark negotiated his way down to about $2500 back to Ari as a compromise. I didn't understand the full issue as they went in a different direction to discuss.

Really, when it all happened after Mark and Ari went out, I thought Weiwen was pulling a fast one, or working an angle. After all, he did stand to make second place money if he was adamant about not chopping. In the end it turned out just to be a miscommunication with Weiwen not really speaking a lot of english.

The players signed their chits, went to the cage where they were paid in cash. Weiwen asked for a check, and the other three came back to the tourney room and divided it up. There was close to 800k there with guards helping out with security. Because Twaddle was the official winner, I took a picture of him with the bracelet. He then gave it back to Mark and everyone said their good byes. Everyone was a class act, and it worked out in the end. I guess if Mark had a different circumstance with his tax bracket, things would have been different. I'm pretty sure that Twaddle had more interest in being credited for first place than the amount of money he was going to win. He was already guaranteed $104k and after that the win would be better for him and his stats as someone who is determined to be a pro.

He is a young kid, and actually lives about 10 minutes from me, although we've never met before, even though our conversations hinted that we both have played at some of the same local underground poker rooms.

I was pretty fried at that point, and really couldn't form an opinion on the value of that chop. I guess looking at it now it makes sense when you figure in the tax implications. There was another guy there talking about a federal form that he stated he usually carried with him that everyone could sign, get copies, and that would be the amounts they would be taxed on, regardless of the Casino reports. However, as Mark pointed out, he would have been unwilling to do so because there is a stipulation in there that if any of those guys didn't pay up, each of the others would be liable, and he wasn't ready to lay that trust out there. Mark was a pretty astute business person, probably in his 50's and said that he owned a couple of businesses.

I know him as a cash player at the Borg, but he had disappeared over the last year, which he stated was because of his business ventures taking time away from being able to play.

Well, thats the story as best as I can remember it. I recall being very disappointed in the posibility of a chop when they first agreed 4 handed. We had provided some really good coverage to that point, and I was looking forward to a big exciting finish. I decided that it was better off, after a request, to not report the chop on the live blog as to protect the client. But I also knew that the story was to interesting to not report it at all. So here it is. Leave your comments and questions, and if you think it was a fair deal or not.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

People who talk in Metaphors oughta shampoo my crotch

Back to the office and it actually feels like a vacation. The last three days spent covering the Borgata Guarantee was fun, no doubt. It was interesting, intriguing, compelling and exciting all at the same time. It was also however, a grind.

The worst thing was that I was in a poker room for three days and never actually played one hand of poker myself. Very Surreal, as most days we didn't finish up until well after 3 or 4. Then I had to go do my own stuff from other ventures and by the time I slept it was 5-6am. Then up again by 9 to get ready for the next days broadcast.

Live blogging was fun but difficult. To even do it was a last minute revelation, and I was going in blind and not really sure what or how to post it. I didn't have a feel for how much detail people wanted, or really, if I could even get it, of course until it got down to the final tables.

Overall, I think we did a good job for our first time. Logistically I had some concerns about content provisions, access, both to technology and to players, and just the overall protocol of getting what was needed back to the boys in the bunker. As a business person, I tend to think of things in terms of things that need to be done, just getting done. You know, Do it.

I was amazed at the complexities of getting interviews and commercials, and just the access to the show itself and how difficult it would be to be in sinc with everyone else. All of that aside I think we pulled it off, it was a good show, with very few issues, and we pulled it off. I would give us about a B+.

Some highlights while we were there...

-The sheer amount of numbers that showed up to play this event was purely retarded. 775 played and they turned away 150. Just stupid numbers really. This was a $500k guarantee, so only 250 would be needed to cover the guarantee, and I think they only expected about 400. To see the poker room in such a frenzy was just amazing. I can't say enough about the Borgata Staff and how they managed it. Completely and undoubtedly the best staff in the business. Some guys were really getting salty and they were handled with the utmost professionalism, and courtesy.

-The amount of players that come by representing themselves as "pros". It really is funny. A pokerpages profile does not make one a pro. Especially if your only cash is from 2007 for $1900. I've won (and lost) cash pots bigger than that.

-The amount of real pros that made this event. I believe the count was 75 players from Vegas that had showed up. Most being very succesful online and live players with total lifetime earnings of 900k +

-Cheryl Hines!!!! mmmmmmm

- How funny Steve Danneman is and how relaxed he is as a person. I mean he took second in one of the largest purses ever, had all sorts of media attention, went through a divorce, and still manages to stay centered, and continues to play a game he loves and does well at. I know him from the other business, and he has never changed

-The stalkers at these things. I mean, some of these guys are very good players, but also not very well known as in relation to other players who you would think would have a following of fans. But people from nowhere were stalking guys like John Racener, and BodogAri like they were Tom Cruise, or Will Ferrel. They had their friends there of course, but other nobodies... Very wierd

-The listenership we recieved from the players family and friends alone. In retrospect it makes sense, as we were the only media outlet that covered the event live, but for all who came over and asked how to get to us, it was really cool to hear the questions and requests from players to let their families know how they were doing.

-The inquiries I got from other folk about the next event we were covering, and the interest in following the show. I had some comments from people like.. "oh yeah, I listen to you guys all the time!"... Uh, no you don't, but I hope you will

-The retarded amount of suckouts during the tournament seemed just more than normal. It really was amazing to see so many people get it in so bad, even within the first hour of day one, in a deepstack tourny for such a huge prize. Live poker is sooo rigged.

-The fact that there was no issues with players getting into fights or altercations. I mean honestly, with that much going on, that much up for grabs, and that many players, I expected to see at least one fight, yet there were zero. Not one player got into it with another to the extent that someone was issued a penalty or escorted from the building.

As a team, we have a big week ahead of us. Perticelli will be uploading certain interviews into podcasts so that they can be downloadable from the site and others, Buddy will be editing the show for rebroadcast or future broadcastings, and working on the site, and other stuff, Sean will have more interviews to conduct as follow up and just more show conent for future shows, and I will be chasing down leads and setting up our next gig with other live events to bring you more coverage of the larger tournaments...

Time will tell how big this will get, but I think our coverage is unique, and entertaining enough to bring a more pleasurable, and less boring experience to the listener.

Thanks to all who listened in and supported the show! It was much appreciated!

Tomorrow I will write a detailed post about the chop that took place. It really was a wierd situation, and I think deserves discussion or at least analysis from some of you regular live MTT players. Your thoughts would be appreciated. I have chopped the last 3 MTT's I played in and the deal was always down to 4 players and settled in a matter of 14 seconds. This one lasted close to 2 hours with very complicated issues... Look for it tomorrow and leave your comments

Monday, May 5, 2008


Start of today has gone smooth. I am live blogging the action until we get on air, and things are going good. I am moving our table up in to the middle of the action as they condense the tables into one section of the poker room. You can read update here at

I have also put up a bunch of pictures in the photo album as well and they include a lot of shots of the poker room and how it is laid out... Check it out

Sunday, May 4, 2008

walking zombie

48 hours on 2 hours of sleep... Gotta stop playing poker until 5am on fridays when I know I am getting no sleep on Saturday... Even so - The tourny is going well, and I am live blogging here.

Here is a picture of Cheryl Hines as she interviews live with us...

And so it begins

Sunday Morning here at the Borg, its about 8:30am and Pert and I have been here since 4am. I don't sleep anyway so I figured to get down here early just to make sure that if there was any problems we could get them squared away early.

We sat in the Metro, (24 hour cafe), and drank coffee, and made fun of all of the girls that were half dressed. You east coasters know exactly what I'm referring to as well. Its the look of the chic that got all dressed up to party, and then just falls apart come 12 bells. Dresses all torn, makeup all smeared, and shoes off... and that's if they haven't been drinking. Shove some booze in them, and it gets even more interesting.

The poker room was pretty heavy with $5/$10 tables (about 6 that I saw) in the areas where there would normally be $2/$5 and $1/$2 rings.

I have heard so far that my estimation of over 600 participants is falling way below the line with only about 440 or so registering for the event, which now starts in about 2 hours. We'll know by then. but the line is getting longer and longer. Listen in on the show and you'll get live updates.

We are set up in the room at our little desk. I will be interviewing players before the start of the tourney, and will most likely be taking some pictures as well to put on the blog here, and the BDR site and wherever else they end up.

We got some realyl good interviews already taped, and some more interesting ones coming so listen in at any time. I'll post another update this afternoon....

Friday, May 2, 2008


Show is creeping up and I have come down with something the likes of nothingI have ever experienced.

Its sort of a cocktail of the flu, your common cold, strep throat, and maybe a touch of the HIV. Who knows.

I'm trying to get myself better for the weekend to help do my part in putting on a spectacular show for the Borgata. Good Luck to all who are playing and we will see you there.

We should have a show schedule put up on either of the blogs or the BDR website for you follow when you want to listen in.

I cant help but think about missing the Mookie as I was really looking forward to going and partying down with those blokes, but it is what it is, and the show should suffice. Assuming I'm not dead by then.

Enjoy your weekend and I hope you all listen in!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

To my fellow Canadians:

From Roy MacGregor, national sports columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail:

"There was no need of the scoreboard announcer welcoming 'the most intimidating fans in hockey' to the Wachovia Center. They know who they are - a crowd that would have made the lions wet themselves in Nero's Rome."


lead the series 3-1... BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! makes the lions go ROOOAR with fear!

I think it's safe to say that this party is about to become a historical fact

For those of you out there who are aspiring drummers, or just getting back in the game after having 4 or 5 thousand kids, may I be so hummble to suggest this guy... Mike Johnston.

I saw one of his videos on youtube, and just couldn't believe how complete his library is. From very basic to more than advanced. Check it out, if you are so inclined, its super sick, and easy to follow. Really a top notch job.


I will have some more news about the radio show coming up this weekend and some sort of a schedule so that you can choose your listening times.

Should be a great time as the Borg is gearing up for a sick sick tourny. They also have sats tomorrow and sat to earn your way in on the cheap. $400 entry gets about the top 100 in.

Get there early to register, as they had to turn away 150 during last Sundays sat.