Anyone who watched Jamie Gold's disgusting behavior during the 2006 WSOP knows that on at least two occasions, he violated sacred tournament poker rules.
On one occasion, Gold told an opponent whom he was friends with that he had "top-top" while the action was still open. You can watch that video here. On another occasion, while at the final table, Gold flipped one of his hole cards while the action was still open. Both are rules violations that should have resulted in at least a 10-minute penalty had anyone complained. Unfortunately, no one did.
Today, the World Series of Poker released a statement which says, in part, "The WSOP officials determined from the video review and the discussions with Gold that he did not deliberately attempt to violate the rules and that no penalties would be invoked retroactively for the incidents."More in this Poker Blog! -->
Gold's action was embarrassing, but there's not a whole lot they can do about that now. WSOP commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said, "Not only were we impressed with Jamieâ€™s candor and contrition, but we also recognized that tournament officials didnâ€™t witness the incidents or take appropriate action at the time of the rules infractions. We share culpability in this case and are satisfied that the actions in question were inadvertent mistakes. We look forward to Jamieâ€™s participation in the 2007 WSOP."
He's right. Someone with the tournament should have stepped in immediately. To this day, I'm not sure why that didn't happen. The infractions were obvious, and the rules do not require an opponent to lodge a complaint.
Pollack also said, â€œI do want to stress, however, that we do not condone any violations of the rules and will make every effort to enforce them in every WSOP event."
We can only hope. The poker world doesn't need another Jamie Gold. One is more than enough.
Photo by FlipChip at the fabulous LasVegasVegas.com... is there a better poker photog out there?<-- Hide More
A thank you to Amy Calistri & Tim Lavalli for taking the time to apparently figure out where all the extra chips in the WSOP came from. While we will never see definitive proof of the muck-up, Amy and Tim provide the best explanation yet, and it ain't pretty for Harrahs or Jeff Pollack.
Okay, so it's not like I busted Jesus or something...
But ESPN found it in their collective hearts to include me in tonight's WSOP coverage nonetheless. As many of you know, I closely followed Dmitri Nobles during my time with Team PokerStars Blog (picture from PokerStars Blog). Well, with him on the TV table, I got a little TV time myself.
The first time, Dmitri had just dumped more than 2/3rds of his massive stack on some tough beats and some admittedly bad plays. He took a break to call a friend and steam. I tried to help calm him down and he told me, "I'm tightening up... Next hand I play will be Aces, Kings or Queens."
Well, he lied to me, but he's a poker player, so I forgive him. His next hand was A8, and he ended up massively sucking out on KK after an 8-high flop. And it was after that hand that Dmitri called out, "CJ!!!" and came over to give me a hug. I wasn't sure ESPN would include it, but they did. And it brought a smile to my face.
That's the Dmitri I remember. The fun-loving guy. The guy who wanted the rest of the table to have fun even if he was taking their chips. I feel like ESPN decided to set him up as a bit of a jackass donkey. That wasn't Dmitri. He certainly didn't play like he read Harrington on Hold 'Em, but he played really good big stack poker and he was a really nice guy. I won't forget that no matter what ESPN decided to edit.
The girl had piercings where momma wouldn't have liked them. She sucked on vodka and Red Bulls and stacked ceramic poker chips in front of her. She had seven blue Palms chips and an absent button on the table's racetrack. And she looked like she wanted to ride the spikey-haired kid beside her until the sun rose over the Nevada desert.
"I don't know about you," Wil said to the kid, "but if she were looking at me the way she's looking at you, I wouldn't be playing poker right now."
I played very little serious poker during my six-week Vegas stay. I played maybe 20 hours of $2/$5 no-limit hold'em, two hours of $20/$40 limit, five or six satellites ranging from $175 to $525, five tournaments that ranged from $110 to $225, and one $1,500 WSOP event. All in all, it was not a profitable trip. Among my friends, I had the distinction of making two final tables and having exactly no money to show for it.
In fact, I only had fun playing cards four times in six weeks. One time was a $2/$5 game that had nearly $40,000 on the table (that may be a story for another day). The other three times were playing low-limit ($3/$6) mixed games with my fellow writers and PokerStars employees.
"She's a Keno player," Spikey said, eying the young lady. He might have been serious.
I couldn't figure the guy out. When he sat down, he pretended like he'd never played HORSE before. It's the same thing I've heard from lots of players who consider themselves experts. They think they are hustlers and plan to roll the table for all it is worth. This guy was an exception. He really had no idea what he was doing. And not just in poker. This girl wanted to lick every part of his barely post-pubscent body and make him beg for her to stop.
He wanted to play poker with us.
To be fair, at first, I thought she was a hooker. She had more of a hustler's eye than her beau. She had a look that said, "I'm going to take your money and you're going to enjoy it."
However, as the hours passed and her man ran out of money, she stayed. It was evident that she was caught up in the poker player's circle. It's the tilt-a-whirl ride that goes with being a poker player's woman. Her man wants to play, and figuring it means more money or better sex for her, she waits. Most of these women are either gold-diggers or hopeless slatterns who have little chance of finding a man who will love them outside of poker circles.
This girl was just as stuck as Spikey. When she walked away to have a cigarette, her guy went bust. Just to keep the game going, Blue Rabbit and Dan each gave the kid $50 to keep the game going. By the time the girl came back, Spikey was sucking so hard on the poker pipe, he'd completely forgotten he could've gotten laid in a way that would shock most of the sex workers in Las Vegas.
Sharon said, "Excuse me," and elbowed Wil out of the way. My better hand had just held up, and despite her desperate attempts to suck out on me, she had come up with the loser. A half-second later, my towers of chips lay in a giant pile of semi-ruin. Sharon's swat had done a wrecking-ball's work and everybody was laughing.
I took it in stride. Sharon is a friend and a damned good poker player. HORSE at the $3/$6 level is no fun for her unless she is playing every hand and sucking out. I could understand. I'm much the same way.
The only problem was that she started a bit of a trend. Anything I did to piss off another player ended with my towers turning into a pile. Suck out on my boss? Pile. Suck out on Wil? Pile. Have a real hand for once? Yeah, pile.
Eventually, the novelty wore off for my opponents. As the hour grew late and the drinks started to take hold, the effort of standing and swatting became too much.
From the end of the table came a request for Spikey's woman. "I'll give you five dollars to knock his chips over."
As she already had seven unexplained chips sitting in front of her, I knew what was coming. As she leaned in, I could smell her. As she swatted my tower, I wondered how Spikey could be having more fun burying himself in a losing session than burying himself in her.
To keep myself occupied, I started building my stacks in uneven towers. They were monuments to one last good time, one ultimate winning session, and the unexplainable relationship between Spikey and his non-courtesan.
I don't even remember what I did to deserve it, but, once again, the other end of the table was offering the lady $10 to knock over my stack again.
"Ten bucks," someone said. "That's worth it."
The girl was looking at the $12 blue ceramic chips in front of her. In slow motion, her head came up, her dark hair a haphazard frame for her young face. The smell of free poker room doughnuts mixed with her inexpensive perfume. Her eyes swam with well-controlled vodka and Red Bull. She didn't slur when she mused, "Worth it?"
She turned her stare toward me and said, "What's it worth to you for me not to do it?"
That's how I left Las Vegas. As Wil drove me back to my hotel, the sunrise glinted off the Bellagio and I thought about how Vegas will turn anyone into a hustler. It's the desperation that goes along with going broke or loving someone who is about to. It's the sunrises that, instead of waking up to see, you find at the end of your night. It's the need for affection or the ability to give it. It's the yearning for human touch and the supply and demand nature of the Vegas economy.
Several nights later, I woke up from a dream thinking one thing: Sex is the only form of contortion that requires rigidity.
After six sexless weeks in Las Vegas, I finally made it home, as rigid as necessary. Spikey still sits in the back of my mind. I wonder if his lady used her $12 to buy a new sex toy to keep her occupied or to tip the room service guy after he brought the whipped cream. Spikey was barely 21 and already he is ignoring what is certainly good lovin' for the rush that comes from raking in piles of chips. It's amazing what a stack of meaningless ceramic discs can do to one's perspective.
"What's it worth to you for me not to do it?" she had asked.
I never gave her a real answer. Why? Because I would've given her the ten bucks to knock over my chips and make sure I never stacked them up again.<-- Hide More
Lessie shall we. Where did I leave off? You know, I'm checking online now for some supersavers to Oslo. Does Delta go there? Is it a connection in Atlanta? I could live in Norway for 18 months (that's exactly 1 winter) and then retire in my 30s.
Glory!More in this Poker Blog! -->
By now our friend in the 4 seat is pushing with every hand. Preflop. He's rebought for another $500 and is getting cocky about the $3-$12 he's scooping up each time.
I found AKo and decided to call. Actually, that's a pretty scary statistical edge against whatever he's holding and, to make the drama worse, he refused to show his cards until after the river is dealt.
Luckily, his 39o didn't improve and my ace high was good. Another $1000 pot comes my way.
He's rebought again.
So Blood and I have now been at this tabe for a good 90 minutes. The entire floor staff is watching in a semi-circle around our table. Players at the other tables have stood up to watch the carnage and, while there are open seats at the same limit, there's a waitlist for our game.
Most of the Norweigians are now totally broke. Their money stacked in cool pyramids of chips in front of seats 6-10. All of us have, at the very least, doubled up. Only 2 Norweigians are left. The guy in the 2 seat, who has decided to actually play poker, and DENVER! in the 4.
It was clear 2-seat was starting to come to grips with what had happened. Now, when DENVER! pushed all in, he'd say, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING???" then fold decent hands face up.
Then, it happened.
Folks, there is one sure sign that you're the worst player at the table. There's one ironclad way to tell that it's time to get up and leave. DENVER! is about to hear it.
He tried to push again, under the gun this time, but after mumbling all in he flicked his cards toward the muck and the dealer grabbed them. His action was dead. DENVER! was furious.
He grabbed the brand-new $500 he had in front, cradled in his arms because he was too drunk to ask for a tray, and started to walk away.
The sign he was right to leave? The table went NUTS!
"Noooooooo! Stay... Pleeeease!"
People stood up and begged. I asked how much we should all pitch in to make him sit again. We all agreed to fold around, to make the hand instandly dead for EVERYONE, and let him push all in right away.
"I can push all in?" he asked, seriously wounded by the previous aborted attempt.
"Yup," we said in unison, "Do it right now."
He sat down, and put his chips in the center, before the dealer was finished shuffling the cards.
The Chinese guy stacked him with a pair of Jacks.
THE ATM... at the ATM
It was bound to happen. DENVER! ran out of money. Here's another lesson he can teach us all. If you're drunk and losing, badly, do NOT go to the ATM. DENVER! did just that.
He locked up his seat with what looked like a Norweigian drivers license and stumbled out the door.
It was weird having to play poker in his absence. I got up for a bathroom break.
When I returned, so did he.
He had another $1000. He lost it in 20 minutes.
I love this guy.
Shortly after DENVER! busted for the night, Blood and I cashed out and headed to breakfast. It was the 2 of 4 nights on which I'd have breakfast at about 7AM. We'd cleaned out the Norwegians for several grand in about 2 hours.
DENVER! was standing in the sportsbook as we passed.
"Are you guys staying here?" he asked.
"No," we said, "we're at the Rio. What about you?"
"I'm staying here. I need to win back some money. Will you be playing here tomorrow?"
"DENVER!" I said, "You tell us where and when... we'll send a limo."<-- Hide More
For part one of our very silly tale, check out BadBlood on Poker.
I was already having a pretty good trip and had just added a fairly nice buzz. I'd done OK at the $500max NL game that afternoon, then busted in a tourney, then bought in for $1000 at the $2/$5NL table. The one good thing about Caesars, the players are just as bad but the buyins are bigger. It's good vibes all around.
I was up about $400 at that table when a very excited Otis sidled up to my left. You can tell when Otis is excited because his eyes go wide. Really wide. At the moment, I had a full 3d panorama of his entire eye sphere. Very good or very bad news coming...More in this Poker Blog! -->
"Blood's table is getting silly," he mumbled in typical Otis understatement, "5 very drunk Norweigans just sat down with gigantic piles of money."
I was off in a shot to get a table change.
"I need to move to table 1," I said to the man with the mic. He was obviously perterbed by my request because, for the length of my sentance he was unable to hear the sound of his own voice.
"That game's only 1/2," he said.
"Yeah, I know, and I don't want to play 1/2 UNLESS it's AT THAT TABLE!" I yelled, not meaning to scream but too excited to care.
By then I'd already cased Blood's game.
There was a short, almost childlike Norweigian in the 1 seat. He had long uncombed blonde hair and about $1000 in chips. He called every preflop raise but never raised. He saw every flop and hit almost none.
The 2 seat was a much larger man, who once quizzed me on the great cities of Norway. It slowed him down when I named the country's capital, but he was on fire again when he asked, "What's the largest industrial city?"
I guessed Manchester. The guy was apopleptic. On the bright side, he had about $850.
The 3 seat was a Norweigain so drunk he never said a word. He'd mumble occasionally. He kept showing his cards to the drunks on either side and then mucked in anger. I only saw him play 2 hands. He lost them both and lost $1000 in the process.
The 4 seat.
Oh GOD the 4 seat. He was about 6 feet tall and had tight curly hair. His chips, about $2000, weren't stacked but were in a pool of red and green. No matter who was in the pot, no matter his position, he raised. If someone had already raised, he pushed. I saw him push all in 4 times before I sat down. He kept it up later.
The 5 seat, Norweigian again, had just $500. He'd already paid off his countrymen on a few hands before I arrived.
The 6 seat was some sort of degenrate monkey who kept asking me for money. He didn't want to win it in a pot. He wanted to BORROW it. "I'm good for it," he said, "just ask anyone!"
I didn't ask.
The 7 seat was BadBlood. He had about $150
The 8 seat was some American type who couldn't seem to win. Even against these guys. It made me sad.
The 9 seat was a very friendly Chineese guy. During the night he gave me a full lesson in the rising ascendancy of the Chinese economy. I politely pretended to listen.
The 10 seat, thank God, was me.
When I sat down I was wearing sunglasses and an iPod. I kept it on during the bigger game because I was getting drunk and needed focus. The 4 seat immediately started in.
"Where are you from that you wear sunglasses inside," he screamed.
"I'm from Dover, Delaware," I answered, "I run a chartered deep sea fishing company."
"You go FISHING in DENVER!" he replied. "There are fucking MOUNTAINS in Denver! Take off those damn glasses."
"I think you're flirting with me, you want to see my eyes," I said.
"Every man has a price DENVER! I'll let you fist my ass for $500,000!"
"What if I take it to the elbow?"
A FEW HANDS HERE AND THERE
From the beginning it was clear exactly what we were up against. A few people on our end, the reasonable end, of the table would limp into a pot and one of the Norweigians would bump it to $30.
Then, the 4s would push all in.
Sometimes another Norweigian would call. Most times people folded. It was clear we'd see no flops.
So our end of the table made it explicitly clear. We'd stay out of each other's way and take the Nordic ATMs for everything they had.
On my third hand, I found pocket 6s.
I looked to the dealer, just to my left, and said, "If you flop a 6, I'll give you $10."
The Norweigians were first to act and I was only $30 when I came to me. I called.
The dealer flopped 6, 5, 9.
I gave hime $10, then pushed all in... for $1400.
(The casino let me bring my ENTIRE $1400 from the $2/$5 game to this one, despite the max buyin. It's because I was changing tables. It's unfair, but none of the reasonable players cared.)
The Norwegian in the 2 seat called for his $850. The one in the 5 seat called for another $530.
The 2 seat had a gutshot draw with 28o. The 5 seat had air.
We chopped the pot 3 ways.
TWO HANDS LATER
I have pocket 9s and call the $40 preflop raise with 2 others to see a flop.
I tell the dealer, "Flop a 9 and I'll give you $20."
The flop is 9, 5, 2. I have top set and push all in for $1400.
The Norweigian in the 2 seat goes deep in the tank and then finally folds.
The 5 seat calls. He has 9-10 offsuit.
I win the pot... which would be the third biggest I'd win at this table tonight.
THIS GAME ONLY GOT BETTER!
Read Part 3 of "Busting Fehljiglop" on BadBlood on Poker. I've got part 4 after that.
You won't believe this game.<-- Hide More
Two lucky Vegas vacationers had a chance to skip their flight home, if they felt like driving instead. Absolute Poker capped off their WSOP 2006 Expo experience by giving away a Dodge Truck and a Dodge Charger. It was simple, apparently. You get your hands on a ping pong ball and they let you try to open the door and start the car. The person with the right key wins. They gathered quite a crowd.
To kick things off, Absolute sent some random guy and a hottie in the back of the truck. I just wish I had gotten a better picture.
Things nearly erupted into a riot, however, when random guy announced there were six no shows and the hottie would toss ping pong balls into the crowd. I thought someone was going to die (I'd like to formally apologize to the elderly woman with the walker).
I wasn't able to stick around until the end, but Jen promised she'd let me know how it turned out. Either way, someone won some new wheels. I think I'd have fought a little harder for the ping pong ball if the hottie would have been part of the prize.
I'm not sure why Phil decides it's a good idea to miss the first two hours of play, but that's exactly what he did again this year. Perhaps he enjoys the attention more than the chance to chip up early against some terrible dead money players.
When Phil finally arrived at 2:13pm, he had lost a tenth of his stack. The first hand he played he ran his pocket J's into Randy Jensen's pocket Q's. The second hand he played he ran his pocket K's into pocket A's. And at 2:23pm, we got our first, "You've got to be kidding me!!"
He still had chips and started to build back up, until he ran into a few more hands and found himself short stacked right before the second break. In fact, it was the last hand before they stretched their legs for 20 minutes.
Phil got himself all in with AQ and ran into 77. The board never got higher than an 8 and Phil busted. He seemed as calm as can be expected as he shook the hands of the player who busted him and the others at his table. Unfortunately, some jackass in the crowd chose that point to heckle him.
"You got real class, buddy," Phil told him, as he walked toward the bleachers. There he shook more hands before walking out of the room. I guess there's irony in Phil saying that to someone in the crowd, but this WSOP featured a kinder, gentler Phil. Too bad he showed up so late, otherwise he might still be alive.
It's day #1 for the Main Event, and it's predictably crazy. The total number of entrants has topped 8500 and it continues to climb. In fact, you'll be able to enter yourself all the way up until the first level on Monday.
I've been doing floor work today for the PokerStars blog. It's been fun. I've found some good stories of players who are a lot like you and me. They were just fortunate enough to win their seat. One table I've been sweating has 5 PokerStars qualifiers in a row. They've developed a bit of a bond. Of course, that doesn't mean they won't felt them if they have a chance.
I don't think there's a whole lot of other "fun" stuff on the schedule tonight, but once I get a chance, I'll do a picture tour of the ladies at all the WSOP expo booths. You're welcome in advance, Drizz.
URGENT!!!: Otis makes the final table!!!!!!
This is a complete violation of the WSOP rules and could result in my dismissal from the event entirely.
But I've always been known to challenge authority, so here it goes.
Thanks to my untimely exit from the Media Event, you'll get "live" updates of the remaining last-longer participants. Here's how we stand:
Tuscaoosa Johnny: 1900
Live updates below....More in this Poker Blog! -->
9:26pm: Alas, it is over. Otis tried a steal from the small blind with T3o but the BB called in a shot with just K9s. Otis had more than enough chips to cripple the guy, but it didn't seem to matter to him. Well played, Otis!
9:18pm: Otis is at the final table meaning he's won at least $100 for a charity of his choice and could win up to $10K for his charity. He's got 30K, which is slightly above average with 9 left, but his M is terrible, meaning everyone's M is terrible. He's actually sitting about 4th in chips or so.
By the way, in the memory of our good friend, Chris Gulfman, Otis' donation will go to the American Cancer Society.
8:55pm: Otis skillfully draws two people all in preflop while in the Big Blind holding Q's. That takes real skill folks. Like Harrington-skill. They hold up against Denny Crum's KQ and some guy's 77 and Otis is now the chipleader at about 50K, that's more than a 5th of the chips in play with 13 left.
8:35pm: Quick gallery:
8:31pm: We're down to 18 players and on break. I just witnessed a three-way all-in: AJ vs. TT vs. QT. Any guesses on what won? A Queen on the river sent two packing. Otis has about 19K and his M is about 4 when we get back (blinds are 1000/2000/300). There are three short stacks alive and a number of players close to Otis.
8:10pm: Cindy is out, thanks, in part, to Otis. She got in with AJs vs. a shorty's JT and Otis called with 66. A 10 on the turn gave the shorty the main pot but the side pot went to Otis and Cindy was out. The plan was to have her tilt Otis by saying, "I kissed Isabelle Mercier last night," but Otis never really gave her the chance. Otis is still at about 20K.
7:55pm: Otis is HUGE! He crippled the lovely Cindy Margolis when he caught trip K's and she had Aces up. But she fought back a few hands later, A6 vs. A9. Flop came down 6-high, but I said, "Dealer, she needs a 9." And guess what? Otis is at about 20K or so.
7:29pm: Tragedy strikes. Change100's AJ ran into QQ and she's down to T350. Blinds are somewhere around 1000000/2000000 or something. Needless to say, she's all in as soon as the break's over. Otis is still looking strong, although I think I'm going to give Cindy Margolis some ammunition to tilt him.
7:24pm: URGENT NEWS!!! Otis, now holding the Luckbox, has more than doubled up and now has more than 6K. Change100 is holding steady at 4500. They'll be a lot easier to follow now that they're at the same table. In fact, only Cindy Margolis separates them. It's like a Cindy Margolis threesome there. Sorry, Drizz. In other news, Change100 now has the Luckbox.
7:18pm: The Luckbox lives!! Well, at least in someone else's hands. I let Change100 borrow it and her A2 tripled up against KT and QJ with a flop of Q22. She's up over 5K now. Otis needs help, and is currently in possession of said Luckbox.
7:10pm: Otis falls. His A5s from the SB runs into pocket 8's and only a 5 on the turn is not enough. He's back down to about 1500. Change100 has 1650. And that "Hollywood Blonde" I mentioned? Well, I got a better look and it's Cindy Margolis, the most downloaded woman on the internet. Drizz, pictures forthcoming.
7:00pm: URGENT!!! Otis doubles up with a pair of 6's on the river and takes a commanding lead over Change100. In other, non-last-longer related news, the uber-hottie Shannon Elizabeth (sporting her new Full Tilt gear) is alive with a big stack. I'd give you a smokin' hot picture, but I don't have the time. Sorry, Drizz.
6:54pm: We have a casaulty. Tuscaloosa Johnny is out. Not only that, Change100 ran her pocket T's smack dab into some Hollywood Blonde's pocket J's (is there irony there?). She's down to 2000 and Otis is at 1975. It's gonna be tight for the last longer!
6:50pm: I'm in the media room which is a long way from the tournament room. By the time I get there and back, we'll jump 6 levels in tournament and everyone will likely be out. But here goes... be back in a minute...<-- Hide More
Let me start by saying that Change100 is a bit of a wimp. Here was the challenge:
She grabs Phil Gordon's ass (and we were within grabbing distance) and I'll get punched by Jose Canseco.
Her part of the deal was easy, mine would take a little work. The plan was to go up to Jose and say, "Ozzie? Ozzie Canseco??? Man, you must be back on the juice, you look great!" Ozzie is Jose's significantly less talented doppleganger. And that says a lot consider Jose doesn't have much more talent than where to stick the needle.
It never happened. Instead, we got a great show from the Pussycat Dolls. That's right, Drizz, I'm sorry, we saw the Pussycat Dolls without you. And, yes, they were spectacular. Unfortunately, I left my camera in my room, so hopefully I'll get to steal one from Change100.
In case you're wondering, this was all happening at the Full Tilt Poker WSOP Gala at Pure at Ceaser's Palace. I was lucky enough to be the lovely Jen Leo's "+1". The most interesting hello from the evening was a Gavin Smith middle finger 6 inches from my face while having a conversation with Howard Lederer's stepmother. Yesh, he didn't know who it was.
Today is the Media Event and maybe an Absolute Poker party tonight, courtesy of the lovely Jen Tidwell and the great people at Absolute. I've got my Luckbox with me and I'm feeling pretty lucky. More to come...