Post WSOP 2007 Blog Round Up
As we all know by now Jerry Yang is the new World Champion of poker, or something like that. We all also know that he is a devout Christian and there were several reports of him down on his knees praying to God in the bogs at the Rio. Pauly at the Tao of Poker (yes, I know I mention it every week) overheard Jerry’s interview with ESPN’s Norman Chad:
"Do you think this is the most poker that the Lord has ever watched over?" joked Chad.
"The Lord was watching over me," replied Yang. "When I had 4-4 and I was all in I prayed, ‘Lord, give me a set.’ Then the flop had a 4 and I survived that hand. I have seen the miracles of God at the World Series of Poker."
Hmmm, so I guess the Lord didn’t hear the 6,000 or so other prayers from all the other desperadoes as the tournament went on? Obviously this is a rather easy joke to make at the new Champ’s expense. Joking aside Pauly notes that Yang winning the WSOP could be a good thing for poker in general:
"We live in a time in America when the religious right has infiltrated our government and backed certain politicians who stiff-armed online poker. A devout Christian and religious man like Jerry Yang can help draw positive attention to the poker community. Poker can be a conduit for goodwill. Sure it’s a form of gambling, but so is beating the stock market. Heck, praying for an imaginary being (aka God) is the ultimate gamble. What’s the difference between shoving all in with a Big Slick vs. a middle pair and believing in God? There is none. Both are coinflip situations. God either exists or doesn’t. That’s a race situation that church goers gamble with every single Sunday."
I wonder how many Christians agree with Pauly that believing in a divine higher omniscient power is akin to going all in with Big Slick v a small pocket pair?
On my own blog (yes, you can all read it and slag it off/take the piss etc) I wrote something about being worried that e-poker tables would become popular. It turns out that I need not really worry about it as Matt Maroon at the Poker Chronicles has actually played on one of these e-tables and has written a savage review completely trashing them. He played on one called a PokerPro table and according to Maroon:
"The problems with PokerPro are numerous…"
Amongst these are that the touch screens are tricky to use, the hole cards are tiny, it’s easy for your neighbours or people behind you to see your cards. Also:
"The table has the same sounds an online poker room does for the most part, shuffling cards, dealt cards, chips clacking, etc., and they come out of a small speaker on your touch screen. One very noticeable missing noise, however, was an indicator that it is your turn to act… If you, like me, get annoyed at how often players aren’t paying attention and don’t know when to act in a casino, and dealers who don’t do their job and keep the game flowing (which is most of them) you’ll hate PokerPro. It somehow manages to be worse."
Finally, and this must be beyond irritating:
"…players have 30 seconds to act. This would be fine, except that the machine has no way of telling the player it’s their turn, or for that matter knowing if they’re even in their seat. If someone goes to get a coffee, there’s no dealer there to muck their hand, so the whole table waits for half a minute."
Well it seems that playing poker in your underwear at home and going to your local casino and using real cards and chips are in no real danger yet.
Talking of computerised poker Terrence Chan has been watching some of the Polaris v Phil Laak match. This is the poker version of Deep Blue and it is not only taking on Phil Laak, but another pro named Ali Eslami. The format is limit holdem which Chan is a specialist at. Chan has been chatting to Darse Billings, one of the humans behind Polaris, who claims that…
"…the instanteous actions and the inhuman-ness of bots have been an advantage against top human players in chess, checkers, Othello and other games."
Chan makes the observation that poker players are different though:
"For as much poker pros do go on tilt, I’m sure they have better emotional control than say, chess players (I don’t know much about chess, but I hear the best players are basically maladjusted basketcases)."
Excellent! Let’s hear it for us poker players. Finally there’s a group of people more dysfunctional. On a more serious note Chan is very confident that Limit Holdem will one day be beaten by computers:
"Of course, it’s totally obvious that one day limit hold’em will be solved by a computer. I have no real good guesses as to when that will happen, or when they will overtake the best humans as the best players in the world (we don’t know how close to optimal the best players in the world play). It’s also very far from obvious to me that Polaris is the best poker playing computer program out there. It seems very probable that there are people out there with programs which play better but would rather just play online poker and make money than be known as a modern-day Edward Thorp. But in any case, computers will obviously overtake people some time in the next few years. I just like to hope that it won’t be a while so I can continue making money off the game."
There’s a newish site called alwaybluff.com which contains plenty of readable blogs by various players including Antonio Esfandiari and Jared “TheWacoKid” Hamby. If you dig around there are some interesting blogs by Brandon Adams about some of the big cash games at the Bellagio during the WSOP. Here’s a sample from July 2nd:
"I was a big winner last night in a 300-600 nl/plo game at Bellagio. Bobby Baldwin and I started the game at around 9pm. Brian Townsend joined at about 10.40pm. At 11.30, Rick Salomon (star of the Paris Hilton sex tape) joined for a couple of hours. Zigmund from Full Tilt (Ilari) joined at about 1pm… I don’t know how many drinks deep he was but it seemed like a huge amount. He played extremely aggressively the whole night and apparently he went totally crazy after I left (at 9am). I’m guessing he was a half million winner on the night.
"Late joiners to the table included Nenad Medic, Ralph Perry, John Hanson (2nd in 50k HORSE), and Kenny Tran. When players are tired or drunk, they become easier to read based on body language and the like…The reads that Kenny makes on a day in, day out basis are simply unbelievable. I have never played with anyone who reads players better than Kenny and picking up a read on him is impossible (Jason Strasser once said something like, ‘In my next life, I hope I’m as calm as Kenny Tran‘.)"
A more recent posting dated 25 July and titled ‘The Nit, The Hustler and The Mark’ is by Beanie and makes for good reading. Quite often one reads these blogs and the overall tone tends to be about how so many other players are donkeys and idiots. Beanie actually addresses the fact that we are all capable of being those things ourselves and that far too much emphasis is on making losing players feel ashamed:
"Too often poker websites become all about winning and actually, in my opinion, shame losers into leaving the game. In my world I know a lot of very successful people that don’t need to win at poker and so it isn’t as important to them. Even in my case I gamble on things I don’t have an edge in and I don’t think that makes me a bad person and certainly I wouldn’t like to be taunted as I was doing it. Really, do you ever see that? After someone deals a Blackjack against your 20 you might rip their fuckin throat out if they did a rain dance afterwards."
Perhaps the best point Beanie makes is this:
"…if you are a winner you should shut the fuck up and count your money at the end of the year."
This has always been true; a bad loser is a bore yet understandable, but there’s no excuse for being a bad winner. Beanie goes on to relate how he witnessed a gambling type of playing refusing to play with a nit online:
"…when you play short handed a gambler actually is playing pretty close to right. Not a lot of nits want to play against a gambler in this situation. But hustlers will. Next time you talk shit to a fish think about what that makes you and maybe you will never do it again.
Somebody who will never take this advice on board is Tony G. Once again the G-man has posted up a load of youtube clips of him in action off the telly. Most of these are from Poker Den: The Big Game, a cash game which also featured Roland De Wolfe, the Devilfish and Phil Hellmuth.
At least three of the clips are of Tony administering Phil a beating, both verbally and with his cards. There’s a hilarious clip where a new player joins the game and before this guy has even sat down Tony is saying to him, “What are you doing here? Do you think you belong here? You’re stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I’m gonna take all your money”.
Hugo Martin aka ‘Chimney Sweep’ is a blogger and writer for www.pokerverdict.com, a site for the European online poker community. The site features an online tournament search engine, player blogs and online poker news.