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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

October 26, 2005

Camera awareness and the Steve Dannenmann response

by Otis

They call them lav mics. It's short for lavalier mic. A lavalier is a small stone or pendant worn like a necklace. A lac miv is a tiny little microphone you wear clipped to your short, tie, or lapel that is so easily forgotten that you can walk in the bathroom, sing "Strangers in the Night," take a quick pee, and walk back before ever considering there is a room full of people listening in.

I should know. I spent nearly a decade wearing one.

(Spoiler alert--do not read any further if you have't seen the most recent WSOP coverage and want to go in fresh. Further, if you have been under a rock and don't know who made the final table of the 2005 WSOP and don't want to know, don't read).

After last night's very unfortunate airing of WSOP second-place finisher Steven Dannenmann's in-game phone call, the bloggers and forums went nuts, berating Dannenmann for his his hubris and firmly asserting the writers would never be so stupid.

If you missed it, Dannenmann ran a successful bluff with rags against Howard Lederer. Lederer had the better hand, but it was a hand he could easily get away from. In short, it was no great poker coup and certainly not a defining hand of the Series. At the same time, at that moment, Dannenman must have been thinking, "I just bluffed a poker god."

And who could blame him? Imagine yourself having made Day 2 of the World Series of Poker, having been at the featured table with Howard Lederer, and having run a bluff on the Professor. What would you want to do? Well, of course, you'd want to tell your poker buddies.

Now, I am not going to be a Dannenmann apologist. If memory serves, there was a time when people were referring to him as Bloody Mary Man, in reference to his non-stop pounding of the drinks late during one day of play (if I'm wrong about this, I'm sure someone will correct me...I don't have it in my notes, but that's what my worn out memory remembers). At the same time, consider a couple of things before you go all "Damn, that Josh-Aireh-Mike-Matusow-Steve-Dannenmann-is a-complete-ass" on him.

First, you WOULD tell your buddies about it bluffing Lederer. You'd be dying to. But, you, as a smart person, would wait until you were out of earshot and off camera. Right?

Consider this...Dannenmann probably thought he wasn't on camera. He'd stepped away from the table, covered his mouth, and whispered into his phone. He can be forgiven for forgetting the lav mic was still on him. I've done it countless times. Also, while the ESPN edit made it look like Dannenmann jumped right up and made the phone call, in fairness, that could've happened any time afterward. I mean, really...the amount of stuff that has to be cut out of these televised tournaments is amazing. What you've seen of the main event so far accounts for four 12-13 hour days of play. There's no telling when Dannenmann made the phone call.

So, be honest with yourself and don't get all silly on Dannenmann. Sure, it was a bonehead move. Sure, he should've waited until he was somewhere in a quiet room before bragging to his buddies. As my producer/wife always told me, "If you're wearing a mic, treat it like you're live on TV, even if you aren't"

But give Dannenmann a break. I've known of a lot of people who accidentally said naughty words on TV because they forget their mic was open.

All of that said, if you want to hate on Dannenmen, here's the way to do it:

During the final table of the WSOP, the weary press began getting a little loopy. During one of the late night hours, someone who will remain nameless (only because I was too tired to remember it later) mentioned Steve Dannenmann and Jeffrey Jones ("Ed Rooney" from Ferris Bueller's Day Off) had to have been separated at birth.

I did a little photo archive research this morning. I'll let you be the judge.

I won't even mention where Jones is today...

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