Monday, October 25, 2004

Time for the Bellagio to step in?

On the Hendon Mob Forum there is a couple of posts in a thread called "WSOP 2005" from Tom Gibson and Felicia Lee.

They paint a very worrying picture of the shape the WSOP will be in next year.

To summarise their posts, here are the main changes:

1. Juice will up to 9% per event.
2. Nothing will be taken from pools for dealer tokes, leaving players to sort that out themselves. Indeed, Felicia claims tournament staff will be paid exactly nothing by Harrahs!
3. The excellent team of staff currently in place will be dumped in favour of in house floorpeople.
4. Room rates at the Rio (where the event is due to be held) will be an amazing $250/night.
5. Matt Savage is unlikely to be tournament director.
6. Online sites might not run satellites for the WSOP.
7. Logos will not be allowed on players shirts.

It is a very bleak picture with players suffering a severe decline is level of service and value for money.

Let's hope the Bellagio steps in and runs a tournament to rival the WSOP.

It is an incredible hotel with the facilities to cater for huge fields. The comps they give are generous and the room rates for players are great value ($100 per night during the week for a 5 star hoel, which compares favourably with the rates for the Quality Hotel Walsall. 'Nuff said). The staff, led by the inimitable Jack Mcclelland are the best anywhere.

I am quite sure all the players would support a rival tournament at the Bellagio.

I would love to win a WSOP bracelet. But, not at all costs. If Harrahs are intent on killing the WSOP, I wouldn't play it. Poker players should vote with their feet.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I knew him when he wasn't famous...

Now Neil "BadBeat" Channing has become famous after his stunning victory of a heat of the "European Open" on prime time tv he will probably forget his roots.

You see, whatever he might say, I was the one who christened him with his nickname.

When I was gainfully employed by the renowned bookmakers I came up with the idea to run books on European poker tournaments.

To make a "fun" market, at the marketing departments prompting, I added nicknames to various players on the website. such as Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott and Garry "The Whacker" Bush.

When I had compiled the book, I passed it to my boss to peruse. He was happy with the whopping overround (I notice BlueSq have kept up the tradition of massive overrounds on poker with a ridiculously lopsided book for the EPT in Dublin) but was a bit perturbed about the fact that Neil, with whom he has a somewhat strained relationship (If you're interested I'm sure either Neil or Mr Tucker will fill you in), didn't have a nickname.

Due to his propensity for telling bad beat stories at the time, and the fact he always seemed to have had a bad beat to talk about with some horse or football team. I decided to price him up as Neil "BadBeat" Channing 100/1.

So, now he is famous. We will probably have as a skin of Party. There will be a children's game called "Bad Beat!". Probably packets of biscuits will bear the moniker. He will become rich and famous.

And will the inventor of the nickname profit in any way for setting him on the road to stardom? Not on your nelly! I'll be lucky if he even acknowledges my presence now he will be mixing with the glitterati...

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


I registered for three tournaments at Masterclassics in Amsterdam about 2 weeks ago.

It is a terrible palava trying to buyin. You can't just send the money through the internet like a million gambling sites. You have to either post or fax your credit card details to the casino.

A pain in the neck but I did it.

Yesterday they actually took the money from my account so I am officially in.

But, when I checked they had taken significantly more than I had authorised.

I phoned the casino to query this.

They took an extra 4% on top of my entry fees for "administration".

Now, I have searched their site high and low and I can find no sign of this fee mentioned. Perhaps it is there ,but it is certainly well hidden.

It is certainly cheeky to charge this in my opinion when their juice on tournaments is pretty high anyways...

Friday, October 15, 2004

If you're reading this Christopher, I must apologise..

A pedantic commenter (my money's on Bob Pigg) pulls me up that I incorrectly spelt Superman's name in my post "A Fitting Tribute?".

His name was, of course, Christoper Reeve. I purely copied it from the 'Stars site and clean forgot.

But, the comment reminded me of an incicident involving the bumbling buffoon who played briefly upfront for the superhoops, Alan Brazil, when he was employed with Mike Parry on the breakfast show of Talksport.

It went something like this..

Brazil: "I've just been given some very sad news, actor John Shaw, who starred as Inspector Morse in the long running tv series, has sadly died today"

Parry: "Alan, Alan, Alan, it's John THAW not John SHAW"

Brazil: "Oh my God! I'm so sorry. John, if you're listening I really apologise..."

Russian Result...

It seems that film stars (Affleck, Maguire, Woods et al) aren't the only famous people who are making a noise in the world of poker at the moment.

Look at this result from Moscow:

Former world number one tennis player wins a decent sized tournament.

Perhaps sometime in the future we won't be subjected to the sycophantic tribute to Phil Ivey: "Tiger Woods of poker" because Tiger Woods may one day be Tiger Woods of Poker.

It could happen....

Monday, October 11, 2004

A fitting tribute?

Idly flicking through the bizarre and weird private tournaments that are going to run on Pokerstars tonight I found this gem:


Two players are registered.

Now, I certainly haven't got anything against Mr Reeves but is a $11 PLO8 really a fitting tribute?

Was Superman a hi/lo addict? And is Pokerstars making $2 out of this event just a wee bit sick?

I just think it is a wee bit tawdry to run a poker tournament in memory of an actor who as far as I know had absolutely nothing to do with the game. That's all.

Random Vic festival thoughts...

First dibs must go to John Shipley for winning the big event. He is that very rare beast, a very, very good player and a really good bloke. He took a ridiculous amount of flak after making the final table of the WSOP a couple of years ago, almost all of it from poker players who could never have made the final and were jealous. And the hand he got most abuse about anyway was probably only a marginal mistake anyway. He was up against a complete idiot, who had already several times gone allin with very weak holdings and John could easily have the dominating hand when he called Robert Varkonyi's bet with AJ.

Who cares anyway now? John has got the lot and I'm chuffed for him.

There is a monster row going on right now on the Mob forum about the length of the levels in the big event. Personally I would have preferred hour levels, but 45 minutes should have been ok.

I say "should" have been ok because a worrying trend seemed to be establishing itself during the event. Players were dwelling up to a ridiculous extent seemingly on every hand.

One hand particularly springs to mind. With about 6 tables left and blinds of 500-1000 I limped under the gun. Paul Zimbler with about 25,000 made it 5,000 to play. Noah Boeken called (He had about 70,000). Passed back to me and I reraised 10,000 (leaving myself another 10,000). Now we had the think-a-thons. I never know what people think about for ages, when raised with a preflop raise. Surely you know within 5 seconds what you are going to do. Paul must have thought for about 4 minutes. Which is ok in itself I suppose, but after he passed Noah then spent 5 more minutes dwelling up. Now come on! Surely while Paul was thinking Noah could have decided what he was going to do afterwards. Paul passing was hardly a surprise. All in all I guess about 15% of the complete level was pent on that hand. Ridiculous.

Noah is clearly going to be some player. He is very young and is already a fearsome opponent. But, he is going to get up alot of people's noses with his behaviour unless he tones it down. When he is in a big pot he reacts very noisily and ungeltlemanly to his fortune whether good or bad. I hope he grows up soon.

The tournament itself was a case of "so near so far" for me. I felt like I played ok. I had a very nice starting table including a journo from Time Out, and at least four very soft spots and two total rocks. I got moved to a couple of much more testing tables but fared ok. I reached over 50 grand with 4 tables left, but made a couple of bad plays on the blinds with a Norwegian guy and then lost a huge pot with QQ v KK. Still, it was pleasing to play at something approaching my best for such a long time.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Seconds Out.... Round One!

In last months Poker Europa Nic Szeremeta wrote the following in his editorial section:

"Europe will soon have a new poker magazine, Card Player Europe - published by the American based Shulman Media, publishers of Card Player.

"Here at Poker Europa we welcome the competition - it will keep us on our toes, make us seek new ideas, maintain our quality and generally do as good a job as possible. Competition between professional publishers always has this effect - I should know since I was the ultra competetive newspaper publishing business for a decade.

"However I am not convinced though that Shulman Media takes this view. Their idea is to put Poker Europa out of business and establish a monopoly for themselves in Europe. Look at what Trey Aldridge, advertising manager at Card Player wrote to a potential European advertiser. He said: "When Nic goes down you will need us"!

"And look at what happened in the USA. Shulman Media bought Poker Digest - a far better magazine - and immediately closed it! Well two small things:

"1) We are not going anywhere but up - and only by improving the quality of our magazine and our service.

"2) We would not sell out to Shulman Media at any price. We are not convinced it has the interests of the game at heart".

Hmmm. Interesting stuff.

I am firmly of the belief Card Player Europe is a superior magazine (I would say that, of course, wouldn't I?). Card Player is an altogther better read, with writers of the quality of Hellmuth, Negreanu, Rokach (where and when she acquired the nickname "Golden Ovaries" I don't know), Parkinson, Sexton, Ciaffone, Jones and Chan.

I was extremely flattered when Jesse May asked me to write for the publication and I'm proud to have my ramblings published by Card Player.

But, I would be very surprised and disappointed if it was Shulman Media's intention to buy out and close down Poker Europa.

There is certainly room for the two magazines to co-exist in my opinion. Poker Europa is more of a parish magazine for the poker community in Europe, performing the valuable services of informing its readership of results, upcoming competition information and player rankings. Also, the tournament revue section is very useful.

I certainly would be interested to hear what Nic means by this: "We are not convinced it has the interests of the game at heart".

I hope and believe both magazines thrive and improve by the competition. The readership will the only winner if that is the case.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The Racing Post continues its decline

Just when I thought the Post could sink no lower, the last two weeks have proved me sadly wrong.

Two bookmakers have rather cheekily started each way betting on first goalscorer markets. First goalscorer market has long been a cash cow for the bookies, who bet to huge overrounds (Blue Square must be embarrassed by the amount they make on the market because they return stakes when the game finishes 0-0! Giving the punters approximately 12% back). Hills and Tote are the guilty firms (although it must be admitted their each way terms have improved to 1/2 odds for the first three goals, but this was not the case last week when it was 1/3 odds). Now, in roughly 50% of matches there are 2 goals or less and in about 20% of matches there is 1 or 0. Hence, you can see that betting each way is absolutely stupid, as much as half the time you bet all the places won't be filled.

Yet, almost unbelieveably, last week in the Post one of their football experts (sic) tipped Sami Hyppia each way to score be first goalscorer for Liverpool against Norwich.

I nearly choked on my Shreddies when I read that.

Could it get any worse this week?

Well, maybe not. But, in his awful column "Get it Ready!" Richard Birch advises his readers to back Stke to beat QPR at Evs. Now, I would certainly disagree with the selection, but everyone has opinion. Fair enough.

But, included in his reasoning for opposing the R's was this gem, "They'll also be weighed down by the curse of the 'manager of the month' award boss Ian Holloway received the Coca-Cola Championship honour this week."

I had to read that sentence about five times before I believed my own eyes. He gives three reasons why his readers should back Stoke. One is that QPR will be affected by some sort of "jinx". Completely and utterly amazing.

I have bought the Racing Post virtually every day for the last 17 years.

The standard of journalism and tipping is now so low, I am seriously thinking of giving up. It really has sunk to rock bottom now.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Interesting Article

It seems like tournament reporter Andy Glazer killed himself earlier this year.

A very interesting and thought provoking article by Steve Badger, one of the most under-rated poker writers/theorists about.
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