Saturday, September 11, 2004

Enough is Enough

I'm across the pond in New York for a week before having a crack at the WPT event at the Borgata in Atlantic City next week.

I managed to kip for the most of the flight over, so was wide awake when we arrived at JFK. Katharine fell asleep within 2 seconds of her head hitting the pillow when we got to our hotel and I was left with a room service pizza, an ice cold six pack of Bud and the remote control of the widescreen TV with seemingly hundreds of channels to surf.

Naturally, ESPN was the first port of call. And they had just commenced 3 hours of coverage of the WSOP main event. Joy.

The programme was, of course, excellent. It reinforced my belief how far behind in England with our poker shows (with the exception of live coverage) we are.

But one thing annoyed me beyond belief. Not for the first time, the players behaviour was, in a couple of cases, deplorable.

Now, I understand that there is pressure playing this event during the later stages far above and beyond what I've ever encountered. And some emotion is almost inevitable when a player wins a marginal hand, especially on the river.

But, on two occasions at least players overstepped the mark to such an extent, that something should have been done about it.

Mattias Andersson was one culprit. Every time he won even a medium sized pot he acted like a complete lunatic. He pumped his fists, ran around the table and screamed "YYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH" at the top of his voice. It didn't matter if he was a 1/4 favourite or 4/1 underdog when the cards were exposed. He did it every damn time. It was childish, pathetic and rude. Behaviour like this has no place at the poker table.

But, the other piece of behaviour was probably much more offensive. Andersson, at least, had the excuse of this being his first major tournament and it was possibly "learned behaviour" from seeing other's exploits in TV poker tournaments in the past. Josh Arieh has not got this excuse. He is an experienced pro with a WSOP bracelet. And his behaviour was astounding.

Now, I will attempt to recreate the hand. Apologies in advance if I get some of the technicalities incorrect, but here is the jist of what occurred.

There are 3 tables left. Blinds are (I think) 10,000 - 20,000. One of the chip leaders in the tournament opens for 60,000 with some raggy hand. Josh Arieh, with about 800,000 in chips, calls on the button with T9 hearts. Harry Demetriou calls in the SB with AJ. Flop comes over AKQ with KQ hearts. Harry checks. Raiser checks and Arieh bets about 300,000. Harry moves allin. Arieh calls. He rivers a flush.

Now, Arieh makes a stream of critical and abusive comments to the crowd about Harry's play. Something like "How can this idiot risk $5 million with AJ?". He called Harry several offensive names. Harry is sitting next to him has just been outdrawn in the biggest tournament the world, seeing his chance of victory almost certainly extinguished. How he maintain his sang froid I will never know. Many would say that Arieh deserved a slap. And many players I know would have given the punk the slap he deserved.

Enough is enough. If players can receive penalties for using moderately bad language, then I think they should get penalties for beviour such as that displayed by Andersson and Arieh. The threat of 20 minutes away from the table for ungemtlemanly conduct or whatever should be enough to stop the nonsense.

Meanwhile Harry Demetriou has gone up massively in my estimation.


Blogger Harry Demetriou said...

Just to put the record straight for now because I am sure that I will post a fuller explanation of my play and this incident on The Hendon Mob Forum when the episode is shown in the UK.

The betting went...Josh Arieh under the gun brought it in for I think 68k and John Murphy called and I called with AJ from the big blind for around 48k into a pot approx 190k in size.

Flop came AKQ with the KQ of hearts.

I check Josh Arieh bets 400k and John Murphy folds and then I check raise all in and Josh Arieh calls for remaining 500K (he was getting around 3/1)

The merits/non merits of my play will be discussed at a later date no doubt but then Josh Arieh behaved like a complete prick making derogatory comments and showing amazement that I could play an AJ against him.

I told him that despite the fact that he had gotten lucky by sucking out on me on the river when hitting the heart that he should show some class and humilty and that if I could accept the beat (it is after all part of poker) then it was inappropriate having just won a big hand for him to make such comments. (I could see the player in seat 1 shaking his head in disbelief at Josh Arieh's antics).

Yes I did want to hit him at the time but it wouldn't have changed the outcome of the hand and to tell the truth I was in a state of shock having just lost a 2 million dollar pot that would have made me one of the chip leaders with 17 or 18 players left in the biggest event the world has ever seen.

Mat Anderson was very young and easily excited as an internet player but Josh Arieh is an experienced bracelet winner and should know better.

He did apologise after knocking me out on the very next hand but still it is no excuse.

There has been an extensive heated debate about this on

However my philosophy in life has always been to first and foremost be a decent human being and everything else after that is secondary.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Harry Demetriou said...

Just to put the record straight.

As far as I recall Josh Arieh under the gun bet 68k and john murphy called and I in the big blind called for another 40k+ getting around 4/1 (it may have been 48k and the pot was around 190k).

on the flop I checked Josh Arieh bet 400k John Murphy folded and I check raised all in.

Josh Arieh then had an almost mandatory call at approx 3/1 odds for his remaning 500k

Anyway after wnning on the river Josh Arieh made some stupid derogatory comments and so I told him that if I could accept his river suckout (it's part of poker) the least he could do would be to show some class and humility as he had won the hand and refrain from commenting as it was impolite.

No excuse for his actions whtsoever he behaved VERY POORLY and the guy in seat 1 was shaking his head in disbelief as Josh Arieh should have known better.

A very heated debate/discussion of this has appeared on other forums and no doubt I shall go into great detail on how I made a mistake on this hand and why I played it the way I did at some later stage but shall wait until it is shown in the UK first.

I did feel like hitting Josh Arieh at the time but it wouldn't change the outcome.

1:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have just discovered your blog its a really good read. I agree with you that some of the behaviour as seen on TV by big time players is at best infantile but disagree with that UK players are that much better behaved than our American Cousins, we are just not as loud.

I inhabit the lower reaches of the poker pond and there are plenty of players that dish out a free rub down with every outdraw, bad mouth players and hector new players for not knowing the finer points of poker etiquitte. You mentioned one in your post on the Gutshot frankly if he sits down in cash game that I'm in I leave the table.

The only way this will improve is if card rooms bar persitent offenders which they do from time but only for the most extreme behaviour.

Good luck in Atlantic City


4:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post Keith but way too harsh on Andersson in my opinion. He's just a youngster, first big tournament, he wasn't even sure he was going to go so to win the prize money he did must of been very exciting to him. Rude? maybe, but he should be cut some slack and gently told how to behave, so long as he wasn't in anybody elses face or slagging off their play, I don't see the problem in celebrating.


10:34 AM  
Blogger Andy_Ward said...

Yes but if you watch that, and I am informed by people who saw it live, what Andersen did wasn't in any way spontaneous. He was doing it when he was in front pre-flop, flop, turn and river.


12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It means "yes" in Swedish.

1:18 PM  
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