Is there better poker television than GSN's High Stakes Poker? If there is, I haven't seen it. While it may lack some of the flashy production value of ESPN's WSOP or the various incarnations of the WPT, it's still better than them all.
Here are 5 reasons why High Stakes Poker is the best poker show on television:More in this Poker Blog! -->
1. We don't know the outcome. When it comes to the WSOP and the WPT, we know who wins these events long before it ever reaches our television screen. Even with the November Nine experiment, I knew the winner a day before it was televised. There's something to be said for actual drama. Poker After Dark is the only other high-profile poker show where the result isn't always known beforehand, but it's no match for HSP.
2. It's real money, and it's big money. I know the WSOP Main Event offers the largest prize in poker, but it's not the same. It's just not the same as watching Barry Greenstein toss a $100,000 brick of cash into the pot. In fact, check out this hand:
It's a million dollar pot between Sam Farha and Patrik Antonius... and they run it FOUR times after getting all in. You just can't get this anywhere else.
3. It's full of big guns. Sure, the other shows and the tournaments get their taste of the top names, but High Stakes Poker features poker royalty: Doyle Brunson, Barry Greenstein, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu. These are the people who regularly throw around hundreds of thousands of dollars in the world's biggest games, and they're ready to do it for the poker-viewing public. It's fabulous theatre.
4. It's got the best personalities. It's not just about the old guard, it's about the new guard, too. This season features guys like 2008 WSOP champ Peter Eastgate and internet poker and high stakes phenom Tom "Durrrrr" Dwan. In fact, Short-Stacked Shamus has a great post about a fascinating hand involving those two players and Barry Greenstein. No other show gives us a look at both the established pros and the top up-and-coming hot shots.
5. More poker, less other stuff. Very little time is spent doing anything other than showing us hands. It's all action, all the time. Plus, we get to hear an awful lot of the conversation between the players, talking about the hands, or talking about whatever. The announcers are there, but not nearly as intrusive as Norm Chad. Plus, Gabe Kaplan is about as good as they come, in my opinion. He knows the game and he's got a great sense of humor.<-- Hide More
I'm not sure why--because, I haven't in years--but I have watched every episode of ESPN's 2008 WSOP poker coverage this year. Last night's $5,000 Mixed Hold'em event was, for obvious reasons, the best yet.
I am not here, however, to applaud ESPN for good coverage. I'm here to applaud ESPN for finally presenting the game in a somewhat more journalistic fashion.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I nearly fell out of my chair (and it's a really comfortable chair) when the commentators offered full disclosure on the ZeeJustin cheating scandal. I nearly fell unconcious when the cheating scandal was given the harsh treatment it deserved.
You will remember, back in 2006 when Amy and Tim uncovered the $2 million chip conspiracy, ESPN treated it as an insignificant math error. I don't remember the exact quote, but it was something to the effect of "If you're good at math, you might notice a difference in the number of chips on the table--hey, look, it's Elvis! Hey, King!"
I am among the people who believe Justin Bonomo has paid his due penance and deserves another chance. He has always been a talented poker player. I think he has proven he has a newly mature respect for the game. I liked him before the scandal, I was disappointed when it happened, and I have since come to believe that ZeeJustin (unlike others who continued to flout the rules) doesn't deserve a lifetime ban.
This, however, is not about Bonomo. It's about ESPN.
Two years ago, Bonomo would've been described in nothing but glowing terms. Nothing negative about his past would've been mentioned. How can I be so sure of this? Because Dutch Boyd made a final table in 2006 inthe $2,500 short-handed no limit hold 'em event. Not a single word was ever uttered about Boyd's scandalous past at Poker Spot.
Another example from last night.
During a profile of Howard Lederer, it was fully disclosed that The Professor has spent less time working on his game because he is one of the founding members of Full Tilt Poker.
The farthest ESPN would go in the past when referring to something like FTP would be to say, "an online poker site." Now, it is outing Lederer for being one of the faces behind Full Tilt. It's not a secret. I know it. You know it. The government knows it. Lederer is an online poker operator.
ESPN, however, must have made a decision to change its policy when referring to poker site's by name. Why, exactly, is something I don't know. I do find it interesting.
I don't know how long it will be before poker is given the kind of legitimacy it deserves. These apparent changes in ESPN's stylebook, however, are a fine step toward putting poker on the same level with other televised games and sporting events. Obviously, there is still a long way to go and ESPN could easily drop the ball.
For now, however, I'm comfortable saying that I am impressed.<-- Hide More
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.More in this Poker Blog! -->
(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...<-- Hide More
Mini Blood Schools Father in Home Game
FILM AT 11
There's a "video" box on the left side. Click there to watch.
Things to watch for :
Note the brand of beer next to the Computer.
Note the site in use ( you're welcome fellow blogger )
Note the use of the storied home "table" manufactured by BadBlood Inc.
Note the non-appearance by fellow blogger Otis. He never looked good on TV
Here's the good news: Poker blogger extraordinaire wil wheaton was on the World Poker Tour Hollywood Home Game last night and got to sit beside the stunning Evelyn Ng who acted as table boss.
Here's the bad news: wil didn't see many good cards and one hand really ended his night. It was clear to me he was one of the better, if not the best, players at the table, but he wasn't blessed with the kind of luck other players fell into.
For those who missed it, here's a breakdown of wil's play with a little analysis from me.More in this Poker Blog! -->
The hands are numbered in the order wil played them, but these obviously are not the only hands played by all players at the table.
Hand 1 wil is dealt pocket 7's. He makes a minimum raise. It's good he didn't limp, but I might have encouraged a bigger raise in a shorthanded game, especially with blinds so low compared to stack size. As other poker bloggers say, min raises make baby Jesus cry.
Levar Burton (of Roots and Star Trek TNG fame) calls out of the big blind with overcards. The flop pairs Levar's 8, putting him ahead of wil. I think there was a small bet and call there. The turn brings an Ace. Levar checks and wil shows perfect poker instincts by throwing 50K into the pot. It was a great play on the scare card, and Levar lays down his hand. Well done!
Hand 2 wil calls a small raise out of the BB with K4o. It's a marginal call and when the flop completely misses him, wil folds out.
Hand 3 wil limps with K8o, his loosest call so far. When Levar raises with pocket 7's, wil rightly throws his hand away.
Amazingly, Levar flops quad 7's and slow plays them perfectly until some guy from Nip/Tuck catches the "nut" flush. Levar pushes and the other guy uses his red card to ask Daniel Negreanu and Paul Darden for advice. They both say push and Levar takes down a huge pot.
Hand 4 wil gets Big Slick and rightly raises. Levar is the only caller with pocket 3's. The flop comes A-Q-8. will bets out for 50K and Levar remarkably calls. The turn is a 9 and wil bets out for 50K again. This time, Levar threatens to put wil all in and says something about wil losing and getting knocked out. wil responds by saying, "And if I win, I'll double through you." Must have been enough, because Levar folded and wil took down the pot.
Hand 5 wil is 2nd in chips at this point, up about 60K from his initial 250K. This is the hand that did him in.
wil is dealt KJo and he raises from 16K to 35K. You may remember that KJo is one of the danger hands I wrote about a while back. Some actress named Andrea Parker calls with AJo. wil doesn't know it, but he's way behind.
The flop comes A-6-8. Andrea bets out and wil thinks for a moment before calling. Perhaps he didn't believe she had an Ace. Since we don't get to see every hand, we don't know what kind of a read wil had on Andrea. The turn brings a 2. Andrea bets another 25K and, sadly, wil calls again. If he was waiting for a winning card on the turn, now was the tim to lay down the cards.
The river brings a J, a clear danger card for wil. If he put Andrea on 2nd pair or bottom pair, or even a pocket pair, he might actually think he's ahead now. Obviously, he's waaaaay behind Andrea's two pair. In fact, wil was drawing dead after the turn. Andrea bets out 50K. wil asks her if she has the Ace, but she just smiles. He calls the 50K and she flips the winning the hand. wil mucks.
wil may have been better served by raising after the flop. That might have given him an indication of the strength of Andrea's hand. Cold calling is dangerous because you get no information out of your opponent.
A common mistake all players made in this game, in my opinion, is not betting the appropriate amount. Too often, the bets were very small relative to the size of the pot. It's easy online to make an appropriate sized bet because you know how large the pot is and how large every one's stack is, but in a live game, you have to work harder to keep track of that info.
Hand 6 Suddenly, wil is in 4th place out of the 5 remaining players with just 169K. It's the very next hand and wil gets 10-2 of clubs. It's raised in front of him and wil says he'd really, really like to play those cards, but rightly decides to fold. Had he called, he'd been facing a raise behind him and a re-raise behind that. Then he would have caught a flush draw on the flop, but never another club. Folding was the right call.
Hand 7 wil calls with K8 of spades on the button. Another marginal call, but the pot was unraised and since all 4 players remaining called, it was an okay play. Unfortunately, the flop of 10-9-3, two clubs, doesn't hit wil at all and after Levar bets out, wil has to fold.
Hand 8 We're down to just 3 players, but wil has just 125K and blinds are at 20/40K. At this point, wil will have to pick a hand and push with it. He's dealt K2 of diamonds on the button, but he just calls instead of pushing. When Mekhi Phifer raises wil all-in with AQ of clubs, wil calls. I guess Mekhi would have called wil's push anyway, so the difference between calling and pushing didn't matter.
The flop is 8-6-3 with two clubs. It's yet another flop that missed wil completely. When the 9 of clubs falls on the turn, wil is out in 3rd place.
In the post interview, wil said he might have made the wrong play at the wrong time, but in three-handed play, K2 of diamonds on the short stack might be the best he was going to get. The next hand, he would have been the BB of 40K, a third of his stack. And then he'd have been the SB of 20K, a quarter of his remaining stack. He had to pick a hand and move with it. He was just unlucky to run into a hand that had him killed.
wil's instincts were good on almost every hand he played, except that KJo. I'd like to hear what kind of read he had on Andrea. It's one of those unlucky circumstances where you run into a hand that has you dominated.
wil didn't have much luck with the cards at all. In fact, of all the hands we saw him play, the flop hit him just once. Had wil had the luck of Mekhi, maybe things would have turned out differently!
Oh, and in case you're wondering, we never saw wil dealt the HAMMER, so he wasn't able to drop it. That would have been fun! Maybe next time...<-- Hide More
How popular has poker become? Just how mainstream is our beloved game? Here, on December 1st, it makes its debut as a "hot gift for your Christmas list" on the Matt and Katie flower hour. Much like our favorite music, the mainstream is not a fun place to wade.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Here's the exchange between our beloved, boot-wearing, leg-baring, pixie Katie Couric (KC) and some anonymous ,vapid, condescending brunette (AB).
KC : ...and now we have poker chips..poker is really hot
AB : and if you have a teenage boy on your list i am telling you this is what he wants for the holidays
KC : how about a teenage girl?
AB: that too but you know what? teenage boys who don't date this is what they do...
KC: as long as they don't play strip poker right...
BOTH : HAR HAR HAR!
Now that hurts. Granted, I don't date. But that's because the backyard playset is the only "swing" at my house. What's more? It was a really nice set of poker chips, the kind I still don't have. The kind Otis thinks he's pretty darn special for breaking out every 6 months or so when he actually hosts a game. Yikes!
That settles it...I'm getting drunk in Las Vegas. I can't handle the shame. Strip poker anyone?<-- Hide More
He probably hit his pop-culture high when he cut off a police officer's ear in one of the most gruesome scenes in film history. Of course, just this year, he was burying Uma Thurman alive.
And in the fine tradition of "The Professor," "Fossilman" and "Devilfish," Madsen will be playing Don "The Matador" Everest. Hmmm... not the best poker nickname I've ever heard...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Madsen joins Chris Bauer who was great in season #2 of HBO's The Wire. But it doesn't bode well that Bauer's next role is "White Cop #1" in an upcoming TV movie called The Exonerated.
Also in the cast is Eddie Cibrian. This guy I couldn't pick out of a line up. He's apparently best known for his role in Third Watch, but I never watched the show so I couldn't tell you if he's any good.
The show debuts January 13th at 9 PM ET. The pilot was written and directed by the two men who wrote Rounders, so it's got that going for it.
Will it be any good? Who knows. I think many of us have become concerned that the avalanche of poker on television could actually hurt the game. I know those who are making money off of televised poker are concerned about that avalanche. In fact, the people behind the World Poker Tour sent warning letters to affiliates who were considering showing the syndicated series Ultimate Poker Challenge. (I guess it's that whole, "You stole my idea" thing.)
And now we have poker's answer to Playmakers. Perhaps you remember the ESPN series that showed the darker side of professional football. The NFL was so upset about its portrayal that it basically bullied ESPN into dropping the series. That's despite it's strong performance in the ratings.
Now ESPN wants to give us an inside look at the fast-paced, high-stakes world of poker. Will Tilt also bring us the struggle of a gay poker player or efforts to beat a drug test? Okay, probably not... but I'm sure the fine folks at ESPN are coming up with wonderful storylines that are destined to make us groan.<-- Hide More
WARNING: ESPN Tournament of Champions spoilers below. Do not expand the entry if you haven't yet seen the show and want to be surprised.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Just a few thoughts on tonight's show.
1) ESPN's Tournament of Champions broadcast was among the most entertaining televised poker shows I've seen yet. The three hour format with a limited number of players allowed for a great variety of hands and some fairly well-produced sidebars.
2) For the first time ever, I cheered out loud for a poker broadcast.
3) Raymer confuses me a little bit. I don't want to criticize his play at the end, but I would like it explained to me.
4) For the first time ever, my wife couldn't pry herself away from the television.
5) I have more respect, admiration, and funky puppy love for Annie Duke than I could possibly express.
6) I, perhaps, have a little more respect for Hellmuth as a poker player than I did before. The laydown he made with top pair against Duke was fairly inspired. However, I have even less respect for him as a person than I did before, and I didn't think that was possible.
That's all for now.<-- Hide More
I'm sure all of you caught the debut of the latest "poker on TV" series over this past weekend, right? You know, the Ultimate Poker Challenge! You mean you missed it? Well, sure, the Cleveland market saw it on Friday at 1am while the Waco market had the poker-friendly Saturday 2am time slot.
I did manage to see the debut at 1am this morning when I should have been in bed. Looking back, I wish I had been in bed. Okay, maybe I'm being a little too rough here. It's actually not a bad idea for a poker tourney, but the production seems a little amatuer.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Here's the deal: The UPC consists of 23 separate tournaments with a buy-in of $1000+60 [Ed. Note: One zero missing in original, thanks to the Quiet Lion for noticing] to be played from August 21st to October 28th. Each tournament gives players an opportunity to accumulate points. The 23 winners and the top 100 points finishers qualify for the two semi-final tourneys. There is no way to buy-in to those tourneys. The finalists then play for the big prize which may be about $600,000.
It's interesting to watch how this format plays out. It should give us an indication of which players have staying power. Those who commit to playing a lot of these will accumlate more points. Those that win know they'll already qualify.
The biggest problem with week #1 is that I didn't recognize a single player. A 21-year old kid named Nicholas Bouyea won the tourney. They called him "Nick the Kid," but I doubt he's played enough to really earn a nickname. The "Kid" played well, however, making the right lay down and right call every time.
The standings page, at least, gives us hope of more high-profile players as the season continues. Eric Seidel, Mel Judah, Cyndy Violette, Thor Hansen and, Chip and Karina Jett are just some of the familiar names.
It might be best to watch this on mute, though, because the "play-by-play" man is former "Another World" actor and current poker player Chad Brown. You may recognize him from a 2004 WSOP final table (I think it was Stud). Chad was terrible. And his "analyst" week #1 was Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. Ferguson seemed clearly out of his element, especially after hearing Howard Lederer during Fox Sports Net's live tourney.
If you are addicted to televised poker, like I am, this one will give you a minor fix, but leave you wanting something more and better. Just check out the television schedule for the weird time when it's playing near you!<-- Hide More
Well, as you guys may have, or will, notice, I did not live blog the first two episodes of the Main Event. I was occupied at the time (while watching, thankfully) and could not do the blog thing at the same time.
In the end, I'm glad I didn't try to because these episodes did not have the same kind of storyline the previous final tables have. It's difficult, however, because ESPN was attempting to put an entire day's worth of play into one hour. That's not an easy thing to do.
So, here are some thoughts from Day's 1 and 2...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Because of the 2500 entries, the WSOP was forced to split the opening session of play into two days. Half played day 1 and half played day 2. That's what made up the two one-hour episodes we saw tonight.
Only a fraction of the time was actually spent at the "featured" table. Much of the time was spent checking in on some of the most familiar faces in poker.
It didn't take long for Chris Moneymaker to bust out. I almost felt bad for him. He had a tremendous amount of pressure on him. He's been the face of poker for a year, although he's obviously parlayed that into a lucrative celebrity career. The hand he went out on was bizzare. He bluffed a K-K-x flop with AT off. His opponent had the K and Moneymaker was dead.
I felt real bad for Men the Master. He was the first superstar we saw get knocked out. He had Pocket Rockets against KQ of hearts. The flop brought two hearts and Men went all-in and got called. The heart on the river knocked out the Master.
Daniel Negreanu went home early. I like watching him play and was sorry to see him go. The problem with his play is that he apparently decided to play the players instead of playing the cards. He took stabs at pots he had no business being involved in. You can rarely bluff bad players off marginal hands. When Negreanu's KQ went up against AQ after a Q hit the turn, it was all over.
I don't think we got to see it, but Phil Ivey went home very early as well. Scotty Nguyen joined him on the rail, but I'm not sure how. Sam Farha also hit a run of bad luck and his 99's lost to quad Aces. I guess if you're going out might as well go out to that! I also saw John Juanda go down, but I don't remember how.
Even with those names going home, plenty are left. Howard Lederer, Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Annie Duke, Paul Phillips, Dutch Boyd and Scott Fischman. There's plenty more and I anticipate the coverage getting better and better as we approach the final table.
ESPN had to give us a taste of these huge names because if they didn't, we'd all wonder why we never saw them. With that expectation, there was no way for ESPN to develop any kind of cohesion in the coverage. As we whittle down the players, we'll start to see some of the poker we want to see.<-- Hide More
Welcome back. Tonight I'm live-blogging from my couch with my laptop computer and wireless internet. It's much more comfortable than my office!
And tonight, ESPN features the $5000 Limit Hold 'Em Championship and the $5000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship. I'm looking forward to both because I enjoy playing both. I just wish I could play as well as them...
So without further ado, here's this week's WSOP.More in this Poker Blog! -->
8:00 pm CT The players at the final table for the $5000 LHE are: T.J. Cloutier, David Chiu, James McManus, Ellix Powers, John Hennigan, Danny Dang, Patty Gallagher, Jan Sjavik, and An Tran.
8:02 pm CT McManus looks at Big Slick and bets. Powers raises with pocket 9's. Hennigan re-raises with his Hilton Sisters. McManus calls, as does Powers. Big first hand. The flop is 9-2-T and Powers shakes his head. Those bluffs likely won't mean much. He checks, Hennigan bets, McManus folds and Powers raises. Hennigan calls. The turn is a K. Powers bets and Hennigan calls. The river is another K. Powers bets and wins the pot. McManus is probably glad he folded before the turn, and he tells the table how happy he is.
8:04 pm CT Dang bets with AJ. Cloutier is short-stacked and calls with AJs. Chiu calls with his pocket 8's. The flop is 2-6-T. Chiu probably figures he's in good shape. It's checked to Cloutier who bets. Chiu calls and Dang folds. The turn is a 9. Chiu is way out in front and this time he bets. Cloutier raises all-in. Chiu has to call with his pair and gutshot straight draw. The river is a 5 and, unfortunately, we lose the table legend. Cloutier is out in 9th.
8:07 pm CT Commercial. In case you're wondering, my Phils are tied at 2-2 with the Rockies going to the 8th.
8:09 pm CT Powers has Q6s, and he actually raises. Wow, that's a unique play. Dang, in the BB raises with AKs. Powers calls. Dang bets in the dark. The flop is 9-5-3, and Powers picks up his club draw. He raises and tells Dang to put the rest of his chips in, which he does, all-in. The turn is the 9 of clubs and Dang is out. Powers is a little rude about it. I don't like him. Dang is out in 8th.
8:11 pm CT It's time for the Powers profile and he talks like he's Johnny Chan. I doubt he's that good, in fact, I'm sure of it. We learn Powers lived much of his life on the street. He says he's never had a job, except playing poker. He's the reason I'll never go pro!
8:12 pm CT Powers now raises in the dark before the hand. Hennigan calls for the floorman, but I'm not sure why, it's Power's turn to act. Chiu calls with his pocket 6's. Everyone else folds and Powers looks at Q7s and actually raises. I don't think he'll be around long. Chiu calls. The flop is 3-A-5 and Powers has another club draw. He bets. Chiu calls. The turn is a Q, giving Powers a pair. Powers bets and Chiu calls. Then Powers bets in the dark. The river is an A and Chiu should probably lay down. Powers sure does talk a big game. I can't wait to see him get knocked out. Powers takes the pot. McManus tells Powers he's disrespecting the game. I like McManus, loved his book.
8:14 pm CT Commercial. I'm glad McManus spoke up. It's one thing to try and shake up a table, but I prefer people to respect the game. However, with money on the line, you do what you have to to win. I'm sure Powers realizes he's outclassed, so his best bet is to shake up the competition.
8:17 pm CT Suddenly Powers is the short stack. I think we missed a few hands in there. McManus bets with QTs. Powers calls with K8s. Could be a fun showdown. The flop is 7-3-4 rainbow. Both check. The turn is a 7, giving McManus a spade draw. Powers bets and McManus calls. The river is a 5 of diamonds. Powers bets and McManus just calls. Hmmm... should have been a fold or a raise. Can't call with a Q high. And Powers is letting him hear about it.
8:19 pm CT Hennigan tells everyone Powers is "good for poker." Maybe he's been reading our blog about villains. Now Powers is out in the hall talking with spectators. Funny. Powers is now out on the sidewalk telling his stories. Amazing. Meantime Hennigan and McManus are discussing the merits of Power's game. It's like Otis' blog post on ESPN! Powers love the camera.
8:21 pm CT Powers is on his way back after getting off the phone. It's folded to Powers who raises with A4s. Chiu re-raises with K9. Powers re-raises and Chiu calls. The flop is 6-3-J. Powers checks and Chiu bets. Powers calls. The turn is a T giving Chiu a straight draw. Chiu bets and Powers calls. The river is a 4. Chiu bets and Powers calls. It's another pot and Powers strategy is clearly paying off. The table is not playing well. At least ESPN is making them seem like bad players.
8:23 pm CT Commercial. My Phils are still tied. They've got a runner on 2nd with 2 out in the 8th.
8:26 pm CT McManus bets his pocket 6's. Powers will likely bet. He's got Q7s again. And they're clubs again. Powers calls. The flop is 9-7-6. Powers checks and McManus bets. Powers raises and McManus re-raises. Powers raises again. McManus just calls. Powers is in trouble. The turn is a 4 and McManus can't be beat. Powers bets and McManus raises. Powers calls. The river is a deuce. Powers checks. Hey, what slowed him down? McManus bets and Powers calls. Not smart play by Powers, but it was bound to happen.
8:28 pm CT It's time for the John Hennigan profile. He's called "Johnny World." Cool nickname. He's also a top-notch pool player. I hope I don't run into him in a bar. He's an action junkie. I can relate.
8:29 pm CT Sjavik looks at Q8s, and it's the first time we see him play. Powers is all-in with J9s. I think we're about to say goodbye to Mr. Powers. Hennigan calls with K4s. McManus calls with 62 from the SB. Tran is also in with 64. The flop is 7-4-Q. Powers likely can't beat 4 other players. Hennigan bets his pair of 4's. McManus folds. Tran calls with his pair of 4's. Sjavik actually folds top pair. Wow. The turn is an 8 and Powers picks up a big draw. It's checked around and the river is an A. Powers is done. It's check-check and Hennigan gets the pot. Powers is out in 7th. I'm glad he's done, his act wore thin.
8:32 pm CT Commercial. My Phils actually knocked that run in from 2nd and lead going to the top of the 9th. Tim Worrell is on the mound for the save with Billy Wagner injured, and he promptly gives up a lead-off double. Typical. Hold on a sec! The next batter hits into a fielder's choice, and the runner is out at third. That's better!
8:35 pm CT We peak at the outer tables at the $3000 NLHE tourney. We get a peak at Johnny Chan, Annie Duck and Daniel Negreanu. Oh, look... Ben Affleck is also playing.
8:36 pm CT Gallagher raises with the Hilton Sisters. Sjavik calls with A4. Chiu also calls with KJ. The flop is 8-7-T. Gallagher bets all-in. Sjavik calls with his A. Chiu calls with his gutshot straight draw. The turn is a 5. It's checked. The river is a deuce and Gallagher wins the pot. She's still alive.
8:38 pm CT It's time for the Patty Gallagher profile and she tells us she's a bitch. Okay. If she says so. We also learn she talks like a sailor. Guess she has to fit in somehow...
8:39 pm CT Joined in progress... Sjavik is all-in and I bet he's on his way out. The river gives Hennigan a win and Sjavik is out in 6th.
8:40 pm CT Chiu sees J9s and moves all-in. Gallagher sees pocket 7s and calls from the SB. McManus has Q4s and he calls from the BB. The flop is 4-5-7. Gallagher is in great shape and she checks. McManus also checks. The turn is an 8 and Chiu has a straight and flush draw. Gallagher bets and McManus has to fold bottom pair. The river is the A of spades and Chiu is out in 5th. That's another dangerous player gone.
8:41 pm CT Commercial. And I find my optimism was misplaced. After the fielder's choice, the Phils gave up a walk, a double, an error and a walk. It's 1st and 3rd with the Rockies up 4-3 and just one out. Phils suck.
8:44 pm CT We're down to 4. McManus bets A5. Gallagher calls from the BB with T9s. The flop is 8-T-T. Great flop for Gallagher. She checks, hoping to trap McManus again. McManus bets, Gallagher cold calls. The turn is a 5 and that's bad news for McManus even though he gets his 5. Gallagher checks again. McManus bets again and Gallagher raises. Alarm!! Alarm!! McManus calls all-in, knowing he's in trouble. When the hands are flipped, he sees he's drawing dead and goes out in 4th. Gallagher is on a roll!
8:46 pm CT It's a check on the outer tables and Ben Affleck is busted out. Maybe we'll see him at a final table some day. He's being taught by Annie Duke, that can't be all bad! It's time for "The Nuts." Phil Hellmuth is telling us how to sniff out a bluff. This is fun. It's a lie detector test with Norm Chad. We learn amazing facts about Norm Chad and the fact Phil can't tell what's true and what's not. Eventually, Phil gives up. I think he's better reading at the poker table!
8:48 pm CT Tran bets JT. Gallagher calls from the BB with 75s. The flop is 8-9-A. Two straight draws but Tran is in much better shape. Tran bets, Gallagher raises, Tran re-raises, Gallagher calls. A couple of pot stealers. The turn is a 7 and Tran gets his straight. Tran bets and Gallagher calls. The river is a 5 and Gallgher gets two pair. That's bad luck. Gallagher bets, Tran raises and Gallagher calls. Big pot for Tran.
8:50 pm CT Commercial. The Phils get out of the inning without any more damage on a fly out double play that ESPN.com lists as: L Gonzalez flied into double play, left to center to pitcher to second, V Castilla doubled off third. That's weird. Left fielder caught it and threw it to the center fielder? The pitcher, then second and he's doubled off third? Guess I'll have to see the replay. [Ed. Note: Should have recognized the typical ESPN.com mistake. There was no double play. It was a sac fly and Castilla scored. It ended up being the winning run.]
8:53 pm CT Gallagher is short-stacked and bets KQ. Tran calls with 65s. The flop is 2-3-4 and Tran has four leaf clovers coming out of his ears. Tran checks, to trap Gallagher and she bets. Tran calls. The turn is a T. Tran checks again and Gallagher bets. Tran raises and Gallagher has to go all-in. When the cards are flipped she realizes she's drawing dead and out in 3rd. Trapped twice by Tran. She leaves by giving everyone the double-bird. That's gotta be a first for a WSOP final table.
8:55 pm CT It's heads up time, Hennigan and Tran both looking for bracelet #2. Hennigan bets A9. Tran raises with KQ, figuring he's got the better hand. Hennigan calls. The flop 2-7-2. Where's the HAMMER when you need it!?! Tran bets and Hennigan calls. The turn is an 8. Both players now have a strong spade draw, but Hennigan's is better. Tran bets and Hennigan raises. Good play. Great read. Tran calls, hoping for a spade. The river is the 4 of spades and Tran is in big, big trouble. Tran bets and Hennigan raises. Tran re-raises figuring his K is a winner. Now Hennigan is worried about the boat and just calls. Big pot for Hennigan. Tough break for Tran.
8:57 pm CT Tran is seriously short-stacked now. Hennigan is about to win this one. Tran is in the BB and goes all-in in the dark. Hennigan calls in the dark. And here we go. Hennigan looks at J8 and Tran Q7. The flop is 7-6-J and Hennigan is way out in front. The turn is a 6 and the river is a T. Tran is out and Hennigan wins the title. Well played.
9:00 pm CT It's time for Omaha. But instead of live-blogging it, I'm going to go play some poker of my own. Enjoy watching! It should be fun because Daniel Negreanu is facing Howard Lederer. I hope they make it to the end!<-- Hide More
For a long time, I called myself a traditionalist. In one extreme period, I referred to myself as a Luddite. Eventually, I coined then settled on the best description of my philosophy on sport, gaming, and life in general:
I'm a neo-purist.
That means I don't like artificial turf. That means I think the addition of the three-point line, while deviating from tradition, added an element to the game that now is indispensible.
That means I think we should dance with who brought us. If for some reason said dancing partner wants to learn a new dance step, then so be it, but it better be a good dance move and not some silly cabbage patch dance.
That is a long way of saying the following:
Manufacturing poker villain personalities for the sake of better TV is a road that will do nothing but eventually make the game as enjoyable to watch as most of the reality shows on TV now.More in this Poker Blog! -->
For an abbreviated discussion of the topic, make sure to take a look at the comments section of CJ's live blog of the most recent WSOP ESPN broadcast. There is decided dissention about the place poker villians hold in the game of poker, and by extension, televised poker.
Witness: Steve Fishman, after a lengthy round of high-fiving, after-thought handshakes, and declaring his "Crew" the ring-leaders of a poker coup d'etat, takes the Nestea Plunge onto the felt.
Witness: Poker Brat, Phil Hellmuth, declares that if it weren't for luck, he'd win every game of poker he played.
Witness: Phil "The Unabomber" Laak runs behind the dealer in mid-hand to get a glimpse of the river card before his opponent.
Witness: Every point-and-poke, fist-pumping, suckout scream that you see on almost every televised broadcast.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the current trend in professional sports. You know the one. It's the belief among certain "superstar" players that their talent, and more importantly, their personality should be respected more than the game itself. From sock-Sharpie autograph signings to end-zone cell phone calls, there are players out there who honestly believe the game is more about them than it is about...the game.
Sure, it's no new thing. There was the Ickey Shuffle. There was the Superbowl Shuffle. Shoot, the Babe even called his dinger in the days before reality television created characters ad naseum.
But, here we are, on the cusp of a poker revolution. It's a players revolution. It's an Internet revolution. It's a television revolution.
Here we stand on the summit. We can go down either side of the mountain. It is here that players and television producers will be forced to make a decision. Do we go down the road of Survivor, The Mole, The Casino, and Big Brother? Or do we treat poker with the respect that we treat other legitimate sport?
Now, it's not an easy prospect to grasp. First, there is the argument that even legitimate sport has personalities. The media cover those personalities. Players create those personalities.
That said, the following fact must be recognized: Television has been covering legitimized sport as long as TV has existed. It has already established tried and true ways to cover sports in a way that offers respect that games deserve. That is...it's already established.
Poker, however, while already established as a game, is maturing to TV in the environment that gave us some of the worst reality television ever created. And that's a dangerous place if poker hopes to legitimize itself in the public eye.
Intelligent viewers realize that, despite lacking actors, more than 50% of reality television is manufactured. Storylines are devined with clever editing. Non-actors or their producers mold personalities that aren't necessarily true. In the end, it's entertainment, however false and misleading it may be.
And it is in this environment that poker and reality TV clash and beg the question: Do we cover poker as sport or do we cover it as reality TV?
I suspect it is no secret that I believe the media should cover poker just like the networks cover sporting events. That doesn't mean the media has to ignore personality. That doesn't mean it can't be well-produced and interesting. However, I suspect there is a tacit agreement among some players and some TV producers: You play the role of a villain, and we'll make you famous.
Further, I believe poker has its real personalities and its manufactured personalities.
Personality-creation does not mean the people themselves can't actually play poker. Most of them are World Class Players. It just means they are paying as much attention to being a celebrity as they are being a poker player.
Here are some comparisons of some of the more pronounced personalities of the game (and I invite anybody who actually KNOWS these people to affirm or deny the following is true):
REAL: Scotty Nguyen--> Odds that Scotty would still be using the word "baby" and tossing back bottles of beer if the cameras were turned off. 100:1. Total WSOP Bracelets: 4
MANUFACTURED: Phil "The Unabomber" Laak--> Somebody tell me that Laak always wore that damned hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses before he got on TV, and I'll take back my manufactured label. Otherwise, it sticks. (Note: I find Laak likable and would probably want to party with the guy, but when he's playing poker, I'd rather watch him...just...play...poker). Total WSOP Bracelets: I think the number is zero. Correct me if I'm wrong.
REAL: Men "The Master" Nguyen--> "The Master" seems to never shut up when he's playing on TV. I bet if you ask any rounder in Vegas, they'll tell you Men doesn't need a lav mike to talk. Total WSOP Bracelets: 6
MANUFACTURED: The Crew--> These guys are a reality TV producers wet dream. Brash, well-bankrolled, and bawdy. They know the more they act out, the more famous they become. Total WSOP Bracelets: I believe the number is a collective three.
REAL: Daniel Negreanu--> It seems Daniel plays the role of villain more off-camera than he does on. His recent public blow-up with Howard Lederer and Annie Duke seems in stark contrast to Daniel's on-camera performance. Total WSOP Bracelets: 3
MANUFACTURED: Chris Vogl--> The anti-personality. I delcare him manufactured because I believe his "I'm a dignified, non-gambling, only-in-it-for-the-money Brit" to be a load of BS. Total WSOP Bracelets: 1
REAL: Chris Ferguson --> Sure, Chris has gotten his fair share of ESPN attention for his card-throwing ability, but if James McManus is to believd in Positively Fifth Street Ferguson was a quite a character even before television. Total WSOP Bracelets: 5
MANUFACTURED: Phil Hellmuth--> This was a tough one, because Hellmuth was obviously a World Class Player and World Class Personality before TV poker. Nonetheless, he's been doing nothing but playing to the cameras for two years. "Hey ESPN, I'm about to fold pocket kings pre-flop!" Stll, not to be ignored...Total WSOP Bracelets: 9
Please feel free to add your REAL and MANUFACTURED in the comment section.
Don't get me wrong. There is a role for personality in poker, perhaps even more so than in traditional sport. Amarillo Slim had it locked up two decades ago.
But--at the risk of using a painfully trite phrase--let's keep it real.<-- Hide More
Tonight on ESPN's coverage of the 2004 World Series of Poker, we get the $3000 Pot Limit Texas Hold 'Em championship and the $1500 Razz championship.
Coverage of the PLHE final table likely won't be able to convey to the viewers the slight difference this game has from NL. That's because the final table coverage often shows nothing more than a series of all-in bets. I hope we get to see more than that!
Razz, on the other hand, should be very interesting. It's a version of 7-Card Stud where the low hand wins. Anyone who's played it knows it's a fascinating game. It's also very difficult to play well, in my opinion. Unfortunately, I know too little about Razz to truly live-blog it, so you'll have to settle for just PLHE.
Enjoy...More in this Poker Blog! -->
8:00 pm CT The players tonight are Phil Hellmuth, Gavin Griffen, Gabriel Thaier, Phi Nguyen, Frank Sinopoli, Ram Vaswani, Tom Lee, Gary Bush and Jerry Reed.
8:02 pm CT It's going to be Hellmuth's night on ESPN. We've already heard how great he is (final tables, bracelets, winnings, etc.).
8:03 pm CT Sinopoli raises with his Presto. Vaswani raises with Big Slick and Sinopoli calls, and he's got the smaller stack. We're about to lose our first player, I'm guessing. The flop is 7-2-9. The turn is an 8. The river is a 3 and Sinopoli is alive and well, and telling everyone about it.
8:05 pm CT Hellmuth is talking it up. What's new? Tom Lee raises with A4s. Hellmuth has the Hilton Sisters and he re-raises. It's back to Lee and he goes all-in. I think we're definitely losing our first player now. The flop is 8-2-J. The turn is a 9 and Lee has his club draw. The river is a club. Amazing!!! Hellmuth gets beat by runner-runner club. That doesn't bode well for the bad boy of poker.
8:07 pm CT First commercial break. I've got nothing to watch and the Phils don't start until 9:05 CT.
8:09 pm CT Jerry Reed out in 9th. Phi Nguyen out in 8th. I'd call that uncerimonious. We didn't get to see their hands! Thaler bets with Big Slick. Hellmuth calls with his pocket 10's and then decides to check in the dark. The flop is Q-8-K. Bad news for Hellmuth and Thaler bets. Hellmuth talks directly to the camera and throws his cards away. He had to, but he makes it sound like it's brilliant.
8:11 pm CT More Hellmuth talking to the crowd. He does tend to whine a bit. Now it's time for a profile and we get to hear from his mom. Awwwww. We learn Phil has given away 8 of his 9 bracelets. That's nice... but it's not like he would need all 9. It's amusing to watch his family playing poker. That's like my family.
8:13 pm CT Second commercial break. Prediction time. Hellmuth is about to bust out. We've already done the profile and heard an awful lot from him. His time is drawing to a close.
8:15 pm CT Griffin plays his KQs. He has a chance to be the youngest bracelet winner ever. Vaswani has pocket 4's and is considering a play. He calls. The flop is 2-6-5. No help for Griffen and Vaswani has a gutshot straight draw. Check. Check. The turn is a 3 and Vaswani has his straight. Vaswani calls and Griffin should definitely fold. Why stay in the hand? He actually raised big. Uh oh. I'd call that a bad read. Vaswani goes all-in, now Griffen has to fold. Bad bluff.
8:17 pm CT It's time for a Vaswani profile. We find out he's part of a London version of Dutch Boyd's "Crew." Maybe we'll get an old fashioned rumble some time. Features like these make me crave an Olympic version of poker. But I guess that's what the WSOP is already!
8:18 pm CT Hellmuth looks down at 69o and calls from the small blind. Griffin checks his K5s. The flop is 5-6-J. Hellmuth is in better shape and they've both got a pair. Griffin bets enough to force Hellmuth all in and Hellmuth calls. I sense a suck out. The turn is a 9 and Griffin has a flush draw. I don't sense that two pair holding up. And the river is the 5th spade... Hellmuth goes out to another runner-runner flush. You can't exactly say he played poorly there. Hellmuth is out in 7th. And we lose the most interesting player at the table. And it's time for a little whining... maybe he's entitled. "If there weren't luck involved, I guess I'd win every one," Phil says as we go to break.
8:21 pm CT Commercial.
8:24 pm CT We're down to 6 and we get another Phil interview. We hear he played perfect again, but still lost. Phil, better than anyone should know that that's the way poker goes.
8:25 pm CT Sinopoli looks at KJs and bets. Griffin has Snowmen and raises enough to force Sinopoli all in. That's a tough call, especially without an Ace, but Sinopoli calls. The flop is 6-J-8 and although Sinopoli gets his pair, Griffen gets his set. The turn is a 6. Only a J saves Sinopoli and only a 7 comes on the river. Sinopoli is out in 6th. Griffin is on a role since his bad bluff earlier.
8:26 pm CT Bush bets with pocket Rockets. Vaswani is in HUGE trouble with Cowboys. He raises enough to force Bush all in and, naturally, he calls. I feel bad for Vaswani. The flop is 2-J-Q. Those face cards must have been scary. The turn is a 4 and the river is a J. Bush doubles up.
8:28 pm CT We get a peak at the outer tables and the game of Razz. Dutch Boyd is playing there, and we get a flashback to 2003. Then we hear more about the "Crew." Zzzzzzzz.
8:29 pm CT Commercial.
8:31 pm CT Thaler gets Crabs. That sounds bad. He's got pocket 3's and bets. Lee raises with pocket Rockets. Thaler calls and he's in trouble. The flop is K-4-5, no help. The turn is a 3!!! Wow! Thaler is alive. The river doesn't help Lee. What a brutal beat!
8:34 pm CT Griffin has AQ and bets. Vaswani is in the big blind with JTs. He says all-in, but actually can't go all-in yet. It's just Pot Limit. That's a tough call for Griffin who has Vaswani well out-chipped. Griffin bets to force Vaswani all-in. Good read. Vaswani calls and needs help. The flop is 2-7-5, no help at all for Vaswani. The turn is a 3, still no help. The river is just a 6, and Griffin knocks out Vaswani in 5th.
8:36 pm CT It's time for the Griffin profile. We find out he's 12 years old. Okay... that's an exaggeration. He's 22 and has been playing poker online for a couple of years. He says he's been "playing good recently." Guess that means Otis has to go to the WSOP next year!
8:37 pm CT Lee bets his pocket 8's. Griffin raises with A8s even though he's well behind in the hand (but obviously doesn't know that). Lee calls all-in, great read by him. The flop is A-7-3. Wow, another lucky draw by Griffin. Lee has just one out. The turn is a K. The river is just a 5. Griffin actually gets a flush and Lee is gone in 4th.
8:39 pm CT Commercial.
8:42 pm CT Thaler calls the BB with A6. Bush calls from the SB with 56. Griffin just checks with 75. The flop is 6-4-4. Pairs for Thaler and Bush, a straight draw for Griffin. Griffin bets and Thaler raises. Bush is worried now, thinking he had the best hand. He throws his away. Probably the right move. Griffin will probably call with his open ended draw. No reason to raise... but he does anyway, and raises big. Thaler is talking like he wasn't respected. Sounds like Thaler doesn't have a read and throws them away. Griffin wins the pot. Nice bet. I wouldn't have made the same play.
8:44 pm CT It's time for the "Nuts" again and the next installment of "Blind Man's Bluff." We're down to just 3 players, so thankfully it's almost over. Suddenly, Moneymaker shows up and buys in. Guess this game has different rules. Looks like Vahidi is about to knock out Scotty Nguyen. I suppose we'll see more next episode.
8:46 pm CT Some chatting gone on now. Thaler likes to talk. Makes me miss Phil a little. Griffin calls with 89 and the other players are shocked he didn't raise. Thaler calls with 76. Bush also calls with J8s. Flop comes 6-A-K. Thaler gets his pair. And everyone sticks around for the turn and it's a J. Tough to bet those 6's now. Griffin bets with absolutely nothing and Bush has his J's. Bush is torturing himself now and throws it away. Everyone thinks Griffin has a great hand, but he's got nothing. Another great play.
8:50 pm CT Thaler suggest they all go in in the dark, but Thaler is the small stack, he might as well suggest it. Griffin looks at pocket 7's and bets. Thaler gets the Hilton Sisters and has to raise all in. Griffin will likely call, figuring it might just be overcards. He's well behind and needs a miracle. The flop is 6-8-4 and Griffin actually has an inside straight draw. The turn is a 9 and now it's double gutshot. The river is a 5 and Griffin sucks out again. Amazing!!!! Thaler is crushed in 3rd. What a tough beat!
8:52 pm CT Commercial.
8:55 pm CT It's heads up time. The internet kid vs. the veteran tournament player. Griffin raises with K5 and Bush calls with J7. The flop is 6-T-8 and it's a straight draw for Bush. Bush checks and Griffin will likely bet... nope he checks! The turn is a K and Griffin is in great shape. Bush checks and Griffin bets strong. Bush has a gutshot straight draw and nothing more. It's time to throw them away, and he does. The rabbit cam shows Bush would have made the straight. Ouch. It was still the right play.
8:57 pm CT Bush raises with 7's. Griffin has Cowboys and he's practically got this won. He re-raises hoping Bush will call all-in. He does and finds out he's waaaay behind. The flop is T-6-J and Griffin is even farther ahead. The turn is just a 5. The river is a J and Griffin is the youngest bracelet winner in WSOP history. Congrats!
9:00 pm CT Time for Razz. Hope you enjoy it. I know I will. And wow! What a table. We've got TJ Cloutier. John Juanda. Dutch Boyd. Howard Lederer. This is going to be fun!<-- Hide More
The broadcast networks have wisely decided to forgo any Democratic National Convention coverage tonight. After all, with the World Series of Poker on ESPN, who's gonna watch Teresa Heinz Kerry?
If you want to watch some impressive women, tonight's your chance. ESPN kicks off with the $1000 Ladies Limit Hold 'Em championship followed by the $5000 7 Card Stud event.More in this Poker Blog! -->
8:00 pm CT It's all women around the final table. Of course, only women were allowed to enter, so it stands to reason. Featured tonight are Tracy Phan, Susie Isaacs, Sarah Casey, Renee Wexler, Millie Shiu, Karina Jett, Jeena T. Burnett, Crystal Doan, and Bonnie McHugh.
8:01 pm CT Wexler is already all-in with A8. Burnett calls with QJ. Casey calls with 62 from the SB. Phan also plays with her 62. The flop is 3-7-6, three hearts. Amazingly, both 62 players have a pair. The other two have flush draws. Burnett folds her flush draw and Casey folds her pair. It's heads up. The turn is another 6 and Phan is in great shape. Wexler needs a heart on the river. But it's a club and Wexler is out in 9th.
8:05 pm CT Annie Duke tells us she doesn't play the women's event because she can beat the men. She's probably right.
8:06 pm CT Burnett goes all-in now with K3s. I hope she doesn't lose... she's kinda hot. Shiu calls with A6. Hmmm... Burnett is married to a former NFL player. The flop is Q93 all hearts. Burnett is ahead, but Shiu has the flush draw. The turn is a 5 of diamonds and the river is a 9 of spades. Burnett is still alive.
8:08 pm CT Commercial. Howard Dean is speaking at the DNC. Wonder if he'll scream? He's still got the craziest eyes in the Democratic party... except maybe Nancy Pelosi.
8:11 pm CT Burnett is all in again with QT. This is limit poker, so we must have missed her losing some hands. Phan calls with KJ. Burnett is probably gone this time. The flop is J38. Burnett is now looking for a 9 or Q. The turn is a 3, no help. The river, just a T, and Burnett goes out 8th.
8:12 pm CT We get a glance at the outer tables where they're playing Omaha Hi/Lo. We're getting our second peek at Annie, and a profile. I guess that means there's no way she makes a final table down the line because why waste the profile here? I think the opinion of Annie Duke is split out there in the poker world, but I like her. Except I just learned she's teaching Ben Affleck to play... so it's her fault.
8:15 pm CT Doan raises with A3s and gets called by McHugh with A8s. The flop is 9-T-6. A bet and a call. The turn is a K and Doan gets a flush draw. She moves all in. McHugh calls. The river is the 7 of hearts and Doan doubles up.
8:16 pm CT Commercial. Dean is still talking. That's good, that means his head hasn't exploded yet. Oh... and now he's done. Walking off the stage as "We Are Family" plays in the background and a lot of old, unattractive women clap and sway to the beat. This is supposed to make someone vote for John Kerry?
8:18 pm CT Casey is all in with AQ, Shiu has 4's. And we just get to see that Casey didn't pair the river so she's out. That's an unceremonious exit for our 7th place finisher.
8:19 pm CT Doan bets her QT. McHugh looks down at A3s and calls. The flop is J-A-K. Doan flops the nut straight and McHugh is about to go all out with top pair. Only a runner-runner saves McHugh. The turn is a T. Now a Q will split the pot... but it's just a 7, and McHugh is out in 6th.
8:20 pm CT Another peek at Annie Duke and we learn she's alive with just 27 players left. I guess they have to show her because a lot of people might have tuned in tonight to see her.
8:21 pm CT Jett (the hottest player remaining) bets with QJs. Isaacs has at least an Ace and raises. We don't see her other card. Jett calls. Isaacs bets before the flop. The flop is 7-K-J. Isaacs bets again before the turn, going all in. Jett is calling with her pair of Jacks. The turn is a 2 and the river a 4. Isaacs is out in 5th.
8:23 pm CT It's time to learn abou the Jett family. Chip Jett (Karina's husband) is also a poker regular. They've got a kid and they split parental duties depending on who's in a tourney at the time. What a weird way to grow up for that kid.
8:24 pm CT Commercial. CNN's talking heads are breaking down something or other. I caught a glance of Mo Rocca from The Daily Show. Is this what legitimate news coverage has come to?
8:27 pm CT Four left, and they were all born in Vietnam we learn. Phan calls with K6s. Jett raises with A7. Phan calls. The flop is 7-9-5. Jett has a pair and Phan a straight draw. Jett bets, Phan raises, Jett re-raises, Phan calls. The turn is a 3 of diamonds. Phan has a flush draw as well. Jett bets and Phan calls. The river is a diamond and Phan gets her flush. Jett is pissed about losing the hand, and it's true, Phan did chase a little, but that's limit poker.
8:29 pm CT It's an Annie Duke update and she's still alive. We also learn that Eric Seidel and Doyle Brunson's son are in this tourney.
8:30 pm CT Shiu looks down at pocket T's and raises. Phan has K8s and calls. Jett has 4's and calls from the BB. The flop is T-4-3. Shiu has trip T's. Jett has trip 4's and Phan has her straight draw. Everyone is in the pot with lots of raising. This one is capped. All the women decide to stand. It's a big pot! The turn is a K now Phan has a pair. She's gotta stick around with the draw no matter what. Jett's in terrible shape and goes all-in. Only the case 4 saves her. Phan needs a spade. The river is a 5 of hearts. Shiu wins the hand. It's funny watching the women interact (was that a sexist comment?).
8:33 pm CT Commercial. More pontificating on CNN. Booo-ring. Time to check on the Phils and, of course, they're losing to the Phish. That's the way it always works. I'm not sure why I even care about baseball season.
8:36 pm CT Quick tourney update and we learn Scott Fischman (of the Crew) has won two bracelets now.
8:37 pm CT It's time for the Jennifer Harmon profile. She's not playing either, but it's because she needs a kidney transplant. She was born with the condition. That's really sad. Harmon is one of the brightest personalities in the poker world. She's still playing, just not as much as she'd like. I can't imagine playing in tourneys with a medical condition like that. She's scheduled for a transplant... lets hope she doubles up!
8:39 pm CT Annie Duke update. She's up against Eric Seidel now. She takes the pot and seems to be doing well.
8:40 pm CT Phan is all in with Q5s. Shiu calls with K9. Doan has AQ and raises. Shiu is disappointed, she wanted to be heads up, but she calls. The flop is K-K-3. Phan can say goodbye and Doan probably should get out of the way, but she bets anyway. Shiu just calls. The turn is another 3 and Doan can't win the pot, but bets anyway. Shiu calls. The river is a 3 putting a boat on the board. Doan checks, Shiu bets and Doan calls. Shiu flips the K and takes a big pot. Phan is out in 3rd.
8:42 pm CT Phan tells us her money is on the more-experience Shiu.
8:43 pm CT Commercial. Obama bin Laden is speaking at the DNC now. What's that? Oh, he's name is Barack Obama. Yeah... I know... you've never heard of him. Get used the name, the Democrats plan on shoving him down our throats.
8:45 pm CT It's time for the "Nuts" again, and it's another edition of Blind Man's Bluff. We've got 5 great players at the table. I'm rooting for Clonie for obvious reasons. Clonie eliminates Layne Flack and Mike "The Mouth" Matusow.
8:47 pm CT The money is on the table, and we're heads up. Doan has a big chip lead at this point. Doan has T8 and bets. Shiu calls with her pair of 4's. The flop is 8-4-6. Shiu could hardly ask for a better flop. Shiu checks, Doan bets, Shiu raises. That should set off alarms, but instead, Doan re-reaises. Shiu re-raises and Doan calls. Terrible play heads up. Shiu goes all-in in the dark before the turn. The K on the turn means Shiu can't be beat, but Doan calls anyway. Huge pot for Shiu.
8:50 pm CT Time to check the final table of Omaha Hi/Lo and Annie is there, in the final three. Why wasn't this event featured by ESPN? Eric Seidel is there, too. What a great match up! Annie knocks out Seidel and Annie is one player from her first bracelet!
8:51 pm CT Doan looks at 76 and calls the BB. Shiu checks with THE HAMMER. The flop is 7-3-6. Doan gets two pair and Shiu has top pair. Shiu bets and Doan raises. Shiu calls. The turn is a T. Shiu should get out of this pot. Shiu checks and Doan bets. Shiu calls? Why? The river is an 8 and Shiu should run. Doan bets and they start talking. Doan promises she got her on the flop and Shiu doesn't believe her. Shiu folds and Doan shows her the 76. It's getting ugly. Cat fight?
8:53 pm CT Commercial time and I care more about Annie Duke's final table than the ladies event. Is that irony? Obama is taking, and because he's black, we get a cutaway of Jesse Jackson. Hey CNN, find a little creativity!
8:55 pm CT The two final tables are going at once, and Annie Duke's final table clearly has the bigger crowd, but we're checking in on the ladies table. Shiu is in trouble again. Doan bets her 85s. Shiu goes all in with 65. Guess that's what you call dominated. The flop is Q-7-3. Shiu has a gutshot straight draw. The turn is a 9 and Shiu now has a flush draw, too. The river is a 7 of clubs, however, and Doan is the ladies champ. Good, now that that's over, let's get over to the Omaha final!
8:57 pm CT Annie is killing whatever no-name guy she's playing. Guess Annie made the right choice on event. She's probably going to make 5 times what she could have made in the ladies event. It's all-in time and Annie's got a good Hi/Lo hand. The chump has next to nothing. Annie is way ahead on the flop. The turn clinches it. Annie Duke has her first bracelet! And she gives brother Howard Lederer a big hug.
9:00 pm CT It's time for the Stud event, so my live blogging has ended. I'm just going to sit back and enjoy.<-- Hide More
Here we go again...
After dabbling in 7 Card Stud and Omaha Hold 'Em the past two weeks, ESPN will stick to just the classic card game tonight. We've got the $1500 NLHE final table followed by the $5000 NLHE final table.
While last week's events featured familiar faces like Paul Phillips, Mike Matusow and John Juanda, this week's events don't seem to have any top pros. Some have made it to some big final tables, but there's no Phil Iveys in this bunch.
That doesn't matter much, though, because poker is poker, and I love watching. As usual, go here and listen to "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.", and then head back here.More in this Poker Blog! -->
8:00 pm CT First up, it's the $1500 NLHE featuring Tonio Scali, Scott Fischman, Scott Epstein, Rollo Johnson, Mike Magazu, Kent Washington, Jason Vriyayuthakorn, Gaya Awada, and Blair Rodman.
8:01 pm CT 813 entrants in this one. We learn three dealers are among those playing for this title. Jason V. is first all in with pocket 8's. Fischman comes all-in next with rockets. Reminds me of Moneymaker's 8's last year, when an 8 on the turn knocked out Aces. The flop is K-K-3. The turn is an Ace, and that's it. Jason V. is out in 9th. Good... that's one long last name.
8:04 pm CT Washington bets with his pocket 8's. Scali, with his short stack and Yankees hat, moves all in with K-8 suited. Ouch. The flop is 6-T-5, all hearts, but Scali needed spades. The river is a 7, and Scali is out in 8th place. This one is moving fast.
8:06 pm CT Awada bets iwth his pocket 10's (Jackpot hand!), and then Washington comes over the top all in with the Hilton Sisters. Decision time for Awada. He's gotta figure Washington for a bigger pair, and that means fold. Washington had a big enough stack that he didn't have to go all-in unless he had something big. Awada throws his hand away. Right play. Washington shows his Q's. Why'd he show?
8:09 pm CT First commercial break. There's no All Star game to distract me, but a check on the Phils shows they're trailing Atlanta 2-1. Bah.
8:12 pm CT Two dealers are in front right now. That includes Fischman (a former dealer) and his Hookers (J's). Washington looks at Big Slick, unsuited, and moves all in. This time, I think he'll get called. Fischman has a big stack. Of course, he might be thinking about those Q's from above. Does Fischman risk a big part of his stack pre-flop? Some consider J's a medium pair. If that's the case, maybe you fold. Fischman does... showing his J's. Washington doesn't show this time. Dutch Boyd doesn't approve of showing. Now Fischman is chatting with Boyd and friends on the rail.
8:15 pm CT It's time to learn about "The Crew." Fischman is a member, along with Dutch and some unknowns. They say they're taking the world by storm. We even get a slow motion walk down the road. Cheesy.
8:16 pm CT Johnson moves all-in with pocket 6's. He's an amatuer and short-stacked (I'm not saying he's short-stacked because he's an amatuer). Awada calls with A3o. Why? Guess it's because he sensed that A-K-Q on the flop. The turn is a Q. The river a 7, and Johnson goes home in 7th. Tough beat. Bad call by Awada, but sometimes you get lucky.
8:17 pm CT Second commercial break. Denzel Washington in a remake of The Manchurian Candidate. Yeah, that's brilliant. Remake what's considered one of the greatest movies of all time. No chance of a bomb there! Or is Hollywood making another political statement? But I digress...
8:20 pm CT It's the government mandated Chris Moneymaker interview. But we also get a taste of poker blogger Paul Phillips. Now there's a player! Daniel Negreanu has become an ESPN favorite as well. He's got a squeaky voice. But he sure knows how to play.
8:21 pm CT We're down to 6 when Washington looks down at AJ. He raises. Rodman looks down at Get Smart and moves all in. He's a bit short stacked, so it's a good move, although he must have hated to see the raise in front of him. With 9's, he's probably hoping for a bunch of folds. Washington has a decision to make, and he calls. It's a coin toss. J-2-K on the flop, and Washington is way ahead. The turn is an 8. The river is a 7. Rodman is out in 6th. So far, pocket pairs have had trouble against over cards.
8:23 pm CT It's time to learn about Kent Washington. He's known as "Raiseitis." Apparently he moves all-in a lot. What a terrible nickname.
8:24 pm CT Magazu moves all in with K-?. The pocket cam didn't pick up the other card. Washington has A8. It's only a few chips to call, so he does. Magazu hadn't looked at his other card, either. It's just a 5, and he's in big trouble. The flop is T-9-4. The turn is a 3. The river brings a Q, and Magazu is out in 5th. Perhaps it pays to look at both cards before moving all in. Washington has a huge chip lead now.
8:26 pm CT Third commercial break. My Phils now trail 3-1. They suck. I don't know why I care so much. Wait... they've got two men on and no one out in the 8th. Why do they tease me so?
8:28 pm CT It's another glance at the outer tables. We see Men the Master and Jesus. It's time for the "Nuts." Week 1, Ferguson cut a pickle with a card. This tim it's a carrot. Boring. I want more chip tricks.
8:29 pm CT Epstein (WSOP rookie) moves all in with K5. Didn't he remember what happened last time with this hand? He's in the small blind at least. Fischman has K7s. He's got a HUGE advantage in this hand. That's what they call dominance. Fischman calls. It didn't cost him much. The flop is 5-2-9. It's a miracle! The turn is a 7. It's another miracle! The river is a Q, and Epstein is out in 4th. Imagine going from ecstasy to agony in just two cards.
8:32 pm CT We're down to just 3 (all dealers), and we're getting a feature on how dealers play poker. Apparently they're more aggressive than most players. I'll have to remember that. I guess they watch a lot more poker than I do! Norm Chad says dealers lose more than they win.
8:33 pm CT Washington plays his Q9. Awada has Get Smart and moves all in. He's the short stack. Can Washington really call? No way. He calls anyway. Horrible move with that hand. The flop is J-3-J. The turn is a 2. Suddenly they're each on flush draws, but Washington's heart is bigger. The river is the A of diamonds, and Awada doubles up. What was Washington thinking?
8:34 pm CT Fourth commercial break. Phils are within a run with a runner on and 2 outs in the 8th. They'll still lose. ESPN.com says the count to Burrell is 5 Balls and no Strikes. That's a little unusual.
8:37 pm CT Washington's lead isn't so big anymore. Awada looks down at Cowboys. He simply calls the big blind. Slow player. Washington has A5s. He raises. Awada now gets to decide how to best take Washington's money. Awada moves all in. Can Washington call again? I doubt it. Fischman heads over to Dutch Boyd and says he wants to play heads up with Washington ("He's a sitting duck.") Washington actually calls. The flop is 5-J-T. The turn is a Q. Now he needs a K, a 5 or an A. The river is just a T, and Washington doubles Awada up again. I don't think Fischman will get his wish.
8:39 pm CT We get to learn about Joe Awada now. He's an immigrant who started with the circus. He became a juggler and that brought him to Vegas. Then a car wreck ended his juggling career. Quite a story. Now he's a Casino game inventor. Is that one of the coolest jobs ever?!?!?
8:41 pm CT Fischman looks at 87 in the SB and calls. Awada looks at K8s, and checks. The flop is 8-3-4. Fischman could be in trouble. Fischman checks. Awada bets out. Fischman immediately raises. He must have thought he had a read on Awada, but that read is wrong. Decision time for Awada, and he moves all-in. I'm sure the "Crew" member wasn't expecting that! He has to lay it down. Awada could have had anything from the BB, Fischman has to fold (how many times have I said that?). Fischman thinks Awada is on a draw. He's wrong. Fischman folds. The raise was clearly a mistake. Thanks to the rabbit cam, we learn the turn would have been a K and the river a 3. Fischman would have been killed in the hand.
8:44 pm CT Fifth commercial break. Let's see if the Phils lost again. Whoa!!! It's tied in the top of the 9th. We'll see...
8:46 pm CT Washington looks down at Crabs. Pocket 3's aren't great, but he's short stacked and it's short handed. He moves all in. Fischman calls with AQ. It's another coin flip. So far, pocket pairs have been dead. The flop is A-6-8. Washington is dead like the rest. The turn is a 4. The river is a K, and Washington is out in 3rd.
8:48 pm CT Well, I think like many, I'm rooting for the casino game inventor over the "Crew" member. Fischman seems like too much of a punk for his own good. It's the upstart vs. the veteran. Fischman says he might be the best player there is. Um... sure. Awada shows the proper respect. And you have to respect that. Go Joe!
8:49 pm CT Awada plays his 85. Interesting. Fischman sees a flop for free with his T9. The flop is 5-9-8. Jackpot for Awada. Fischman bets. Awada raises. Does that worry Fischman? Remember how he played top pair earlier. Fischman calls. The turn is a deuce. If Fischman thought he was ahead before, he's gotta think he's ahead. Fischman goes all-in!! Decision time for Awada, the shorter stack. Awada knows the 2 didn't help him. Awada calls. Fischman is in trouble. The river is a 5, giving Awada a boat. That loose call with 8-5 became a huge hand. The "Crew" is crying.
8:52 pm CT Sixth commercial break. Phils didn't score in the top of the 9th and Braves have a man on with two outs in the bottom of the 9th.
8:54 pm CT Awada is the chip leader now, and he's got Presto. He raises. Fischman looks at Big Slick and he re-raises. Awada thinks about it, and looks very concerned. Is that a tell? He calls. The flop is 9-7-4. With rags on the flop, Awada has to be happy. Fischman goes all-in, apparently representing a bigger pair. If I'm Awada and my read was two big cards, I have to call. Awada does. He's been reading his opponents like a book. The turn is another 9. The river is a miracle 7. Wow. Awada was a 4-1 favorite, but the two pair on the board gives Fischman the best kicker. Sometimes the better play doesn't always win the hand.
8:57 pm CT Fischman is the overwhelming chip leader now. The "Crew" just might get their bracelet. Fischman goes all-in with A6s and Awada calls with K7s. The flop is A-K-4. Fischman is a big favorite. The turn is an 8. The river is just a J, and Fischman is the winner. Lucky bastard. It happens.
9:00 pm CT Next up, it's the $5000 NLHE with Young Phan, Thomas Keller, Salim Batshon, Martin De Knijff, Lee Watkinson, James Edward Sousa, Frank Sinopoli, Phillip Marmorstein, and Eskimo Clark.
9:01 pm CT Sousa looks down at my exact Jackpot hand, TsTh. De Knijff calls with pocket 9's. Phan is short stacked with the Hilton Sisters, and he moves all in. Decision time for Sousa. He's asking for the count, and calls. Can De Knijff call? Not likely. He folds. Heads up Q's vs. T's. Phan is a big favorite. The flop is 2-J-3. The turn is an A. The river is another Q, and Phan doubles up.
9:05 pm CT Sousa has AQs this time. Now he raises big, announcing he's on tilt. I doubt anyone believes him, it's not something you usually announce. Clark goes all in with Big Slick. Everyone else folds. Sousa is in big trouble, but calls anyway. The flop is 4-2-Q, but Clark has a flush draw. The turn is a T, now Clark has a straight draw. The river is a K, giving Clark a better pair. He had quite a few outs, but was behind going to the river. Tough beat for Sousa this time, of course he was way behind before the flop, so maybe things evened out.
9:07 pm CT First commercial break. The Phils are in extra innings. Guaranteed disappointment.
9:10 pm CT Clark calls with 65s. Keller (a newlywed) raises with Cowboys. Sinopoli has to make a decision with Get Smart. He calls. It's back to Clark, and he has to fold. Keller and Sinopoli see the flop of 6-2-7. Keller checks his K's and Sinopoli bets. It was a great example of slow playing by Keller, but the exaggerated sigh might have been too much. Keller raises. Sinopoli might think he's beat, but he has to go all in with his short stack. Sinopoli is way behind. The turn is a 3. The river is an A, and Sinopoli is out in 9th.
9:13 pm CT Marmorstien goes all in with AQ. He's short stacked. De Knijff calls with pocket 8's. Heads up. Let's see if pocket pairs fare better this episode. The flop is 5-3-6. The turn is a 4. The river is a 4, and Marmorstein goes out in 8th. Good, he was wearing the dumbest hat I've ever seen.
9:15 pm CT Time to learn about De Knijff. We learn he's one of the top players in the world. Pretend I didn't write that thing about to top pros up above. (And no, I don't know how to pronounce it).
9:16 pm CT Batshon raises with AK. Sousa goes all in with AQ. Batshon calls immediately. It's the exact same situation Sousa lost with last time. The flop is A-9-4. Sousa is in trouble. The turn is a T. The river is a miracle Q, and Sousa doubles up.
9:18 pm CT Second commercial break. It's an annoying Toyota commercial with Kenny Maybe yelling. Is Kenny Mayne's 15 minutes up yet? Stop the presses!!! Phils lead 4-3 in the top of the 10th. Bobby Abreau comes through again! I guess it's Billy Wagner time!
9:20 pm CT We get an "all-in" montage of Sousa here. Apparently Sousa plays a little loose. He's now a chip leader again after that series of plays. Whatever works.
9:21 pm CT Keller (nicknamed Thunder) raises with his pocket Q's. Sousa calls with 45. Huh? The flop is K-2-K. Sousa immediately goes all in. That has to make Keller pause, but Keller has to figure he's the leader, right? These are the two big stacks. Keller suggest Sousa might be on a draw. The problem with the call is that in 2nd place, it might be better to wait until later to get your money in the pot. It's a good bluff. Keller lays it down. Sousa shows 45 off. Keller is slightly stunned. That's okay, he's still got a big stack.
9:23 pm CT We get a peak at the Stud Hi/Lo tables and get introduced to some ladies like Annie Duke and Cindy Violette (who won a bracelet in that Stud Hi/Lo this year, and was in Playboy years ago).
9:26 pm CT Third commercial break. Runner on first, none out for the Braves, still 4-3 Phils. Come on, Wagner!
9:28 pm CT Keller gets pocket J's and raises. Phan gets Big Slick. We've seen a lot of big hand showdowns at this table. Phan re-raises. Clark has a pocket pair of his own, 8's. He's gotta fold though with two raises in front of him. Keller has another decision to make. What's his read? Over cards? Bigger pocket pair? Smaller pocket pair? Whatever it is, he figures his ahead when he moves all in. Phan has to make a decision now, and calls. Someone will have a huge stack and someone will be in trouble. The flop is T-2-5. The turn is another T. And the river brings a 7. Keller doubles up and Phan is in big trouble now with just 4K.
9:31 pm CT We learn a little more about Thunder now. We learn he's really, really smart. And he come to Vegas straight from his Honeymoon. I wonder how he got the nickname Thunder? Perhaps his size? He's a big man.
9:33 pm CT Phan is forced all in with 62 against someone's pocket 8's, and Phan is out in 7th.
9:34 pm CT Fourth commercial break. One out in the 9th, Andruw Jones is still on first (who spells it Andruw!?!?).
9:36 pm CT Guess what, it's a Moneymaker-mention. Can't go a show without that!
9:37 pm CT Sousa raises with AJs. Clark goes all-in with his very short stack on AT. Sousa rudely asks, "Do I have you covered?" Guess he thought he was being funny. The flop is Q-K-9. Both have straight draw. The turn is a 6. The river is just a 5, and Clark is out in 6th, and leaves without shaking Sousa's hand. Clark seems like a sore loser.
9:38 pm CT It's time to learn about Mr. Sousa. He says poker legend Johnny Moss taught him to play and says Moss called him "one of the greatest poker players." Um... okay.
9:39 pm CT Bashon gets A8, and has to go all in with his tiny stack. Sousa calls with J8s. He's got a huge stack, so why not? The flop is 9-J-3. Sousa is now way ahead. The turn is an 8, which doesn't help Bashon. The river is just a 7, and Bashon is out in 5th. He does shake everyone's hand.
9:41 pm CT Fifth commercial break, and I learn that Billy Wagner loaded the bases with just one out. But Marcus Giles grounded to third and Jones was out at home. Then J.D. Drew (one of the most hated athletes in Philadelphia history) lined out to first. Phils win and move back into a first place tie! Go Phils! I never lost faith!
9:43 pm CT Suddenly Keller is playing classical piano. Never woulda guessed. De Knijff best with his A9. Watkinson has Ducks. He started this table in 3rd, and now he's in last. He moves all in. Interesting call. De Knijff calls immediately. It's a coin flip. The flop is 5-8-7, giving De Kniff a straight draw. The turn is an 8 giving De Knijff even more outs. The river is a 6, filling the straight, and Watkinson is out in 4th.
9:45 pm CT It's time for the "Nuts." It's Blind Man's Bluff. That's amusing. It's a table full of famous faces. Amir Vahidi knocks out both Phil Gordon and Mike Matusow. I'll be interesting to see how that "tournament" winds up.
9:48 pm CT Keller calls from the SB with J6. Sousa has T5 and sees the flop for free. It comes J-T-J. De Knijff would have flopped a boat. Sousa moves all in even though he's drawing dead. Keller has to call with J6. Sousa says, "Make this real quick," and Keller does saying, "I'll call." The turn is a T, and Sousa thinks he's alive if another T comes, but De Knijff folded that other T. The river is a 6, and Keller knocks out Sousa in 3rd.
9:50 pm CT Sixth commercial break. Dammit. It's another stupid Toyota/Kenny Maybe commercial. Where's the mute button?
9:53 pm CT Keller vs. De Knijff (who we learn is nicknamed "The Knife"). Now I know the both have cool nicknames. De Knijff is apparently coming off a WPT title. Tall order for Thunder.
9:54 pm CT Keller has a 3 to 1 chip lead. De Knijff best with J8s. Keller raises with AQ. De Knijff calls. The flop is 9-4-K, including two diamonds he needs. The "Knife" goes all in, and Keller has to fold. The flop didn't hit him at all.
9:55 pm CT Keller bets with his 64s. De Knijff calls with K9s. The flop is 2-9-3. Keller bets, wrong time to bluff. De Knijff raises all in. Again, Keller must fold. It probably hurts to get pushed around. Keller is still the chip leader, though. He's been smart not to double up the "Knife".
9:56 pm CT Keller bets out with Jackpot. De Knijff calls with K2s. The pocket 10's are way ahead. The flop is 9-4-2. De Knijff is on a flush draw and has the decues, but he checks. Keller bets out and De Knijff goes all in again, figuring he'll push "Thunder" around. But this time, Keller calls. The "Knife" needs a club, a K, or a deuce. It's a coin flip. The turn is a 9 of spades. The river is another 9, and Keller wins the bracelet with his boat. Well played. The last couple lay downs were very important. Don't underestimate the value of folding.<-- Hide More
Right now on Fox Sports Net, you can watch the LIVE broadcast of the final table of the American Poker Championship. It's delayed 5 minutes to lessen the chance of cheating.
I suppose it's still possible for someone to jack into the feed before it goes out live and then transmit that info to a player at the table. It's just very unlikely.
One of the biggest problems with live poker is the potential to be very, very boring. I'll say this, though... so far so good!
Tonight, we get the $1,000 No Limit Hold 'Em final table and the $2,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hold 'Em final table. The NLHE event shouldn't be anything special, although I'm hoping for more than a series of all-in bets. The Omaha event, on the other hand, is highly anticipated!
As usual, before reading on, I suggest you go here and listen to "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy." That'll get you fired up!More in this Poker Blog! -->
8:00 pm CT
(Clemens has already giving up 2 dingers. 6-0 AL)
The players for the 1K NLHE are: Daniel Negreanu, Mike Matusow, John Juanda, Paul Phillips, Lee Markholt, Ram Vaswani, Gerry Drehobl and Reggie Cardiel.
8:01 pm CT Negreanu comes in with 56s, Markholt comes all in with AQo, followed by Vaswani's all in with Cowboys. Negreanu naturally folds. Vaswani flops a boat and turns quads. Ouch. Markholt is out in 8th.
8:03 pm CT We're learning how to play again.
8:04 pm CT Juanda gets A9o and makes a bet. Negreanu gets one of my favorite hands, JTs, and he calls. Everyone else gets out. The flop is T-J-4. Negreanu checks to Juanda who makes a stab at it. Negreanu comes way over the top and Juanda has to fold. Nice play.
8:05 pm CT First commercial break... checking in on the All Star game, and the NL has a runner on second with Scott Rolen at the plate and two outs. Rolen gets plunked and Sosa comes up with 2 on and 2 out. Sosa shatters his bat, but singles knocking in one.
8:09 pm CT We're back. About $366,000 will go to the winner. Negreanu is the chip leader and gets pocket 10's ("Long Distance?"). Vaswani comes all-in behind him with pocket 3's ("Crabs"). Negreanu calls and the crabs are in trouble. The flop is 2-2-8. The turn is another 8 and the river is a 6. Vaswani is out in 7th.
8:11 pm CT It's time to meet the Negreanu family. His mom packs a lot of food apparently. (The NL only got that one run, 6-1 AL after one inning.) And apparently Negreanu's friends only win because his mom is cooking.
8:12 pm CT Phillips gets pocket 7's ("Sunset Strip"?) and he moves all-in. It's a shame he didn't have pocket 6's for Phillips 66, right!?! Matusow is considering a call. We don't know his cards yet. He calls with AJs. Everyone else folds. It's a pocket pair vs. sutied overcards. The Flop is Q-6-T, the turn is a 9 for the diamond draw and a straght draw. The river is a 5... no help for Matusow despite about 27 outs. Poker blogger Paul Phillips doubles up. Mike and Paul chat it up. Definitely better characters at this table than last week!
8:14 pm CT Second commercial break... the AL hasn't scored again, but The Rocket is on the bench. Big Ben Sheets is tossing out there now, and Randy Johnson is in the bullpen. AL's got a runner on now with one out.
8:16 pm CT We're glancing at the other tables now as they play Omaha and Moneymaker is apparently trying his luck at this game.
8:17 pm CT Cardiel gets AJo and makes a bet. Juanda has 85s, and decides to play it. Hmmm... interesting. In fact, he moves all-in. Why? Does he have a read? Looks like he's trying to push around an amatuer. It doesn't work. Cardiel calls. The flop is 9-3-6, two diamonds and Juanda has a flush and straight draw. The turn is another 9, no help. The river is an 8 and Juanda amazingly doubles up. Lucky bastard, right?
8:20 pm CT Matusow looks at A4o. He moves all in. The "Mouth" makes a play, he's pretty short-stacked. Juanda has AK, and you gotta play Big Slick. He calls. Juanda is a huge favorite. The flop is 4-5-T, and Matusow takes the lead. It's getting crazy at this table! The turn is a 3. The river is a T and Matusow doubles up. I guess it's only fair after Juanda's last play. Matusow is living it up now... what a character. Negreanu is giving it back.
8:22 pm CT It's time to learn a little more about the "Mouth." He tells us he loves to talk. And then he proves it. Quite a few players have rolled their eyes. That's fun though, I love it. At least he respects the game... unlike Vogl, last week's winner. Matusow promises no "blow ups."
8:23 pm CT Third commercial break and the NL hasn't made up any ground. Still 6-1 AL and Mulder seems to be doing just fine. Damn that Mulder is good, isn't he? Ooooh, it's time for Barry Larkin's swan song. Was he good enough to warrant a "final season pity appearance?" Maybe his last seven injured seasons have soured me on him.
8:25 pm CT Back to poker. We've still got 6 players. Cardiel (an Ultimate Fighter) bets with "Long Distance." Negreanu looks down at QJo, and as the small blind, figures he'll take a stab at the flop. It comes Q-Q-3. Negreanu is one lucky guy, huh? Negreanu slow plays with his check, and Cardiel bets big, figuring there's no Q over there. Negreanu calls, and Cardiel wonders if Negreanu has the Q. The turn is a 5 and Negreanu checks and Cardiel bets again. Now Negreanu is fooling around with the amatuer and he smooth calls. The river is a 7. Negreanu goes all-in. More great play. Cardiel moves all in, showing he's an amatuer. He's out in 6th. Negreanu is a huge chip leader.
8:28 pm CT Matusow gets KTo and just calls the BB. Juanda gets A8s in the SB and he decides to just call. Phillips in the BB looks at K6s and he just checks. Three see a flop of T-7-7 and Phillips gets a flush draw. Matusow bets on his tens. Phillips considers a call. Matusow sings the Jeopardy theme. Phillips calls. The turn is the 4 of hearts and Phillips gets his flush. He bets out 20K and Matusow asks for a chip count. Mike can't call. He has to know the turn was the flush. Matusow goes all in anyway and knows he's dead. The river has to be a T or 7, but it's just a 2 of hearts. The "Mouth" is out in 5th and poker blogger Phillips gets more chips.
8:31 pm CT Going into the fourth commercial break, Matusow says what we're all thinking, "I'm not sure what made me do that." It was a terrible call. Phillips bet guaranteed he had the flush. Why else would he just call after the flop? The Big Unit is on the mound now and the AL has two more runners on base. Looks like the Yankees will have home field in the World Series.
8:34 pm CT Moneymaker busts out in Omaha long before the final table. What a name he's made for himself. The biggest in televised poker? It's a shame guys like Johnny Chan and Eric Seidel aren't more famous (at least they were in Rounders). Of course, my guy is The Professor.
8:36 pm CT Four left. Three pros and a fish. Negreanu gets "Long Distance." It's a popular hand tonight. Drehobl calls with J-8o. The flop is 2-J-8 and the both check. Drehobl is slow playing. The turn is a 3 and Negreanu bets out. Drehobl is playing this well and calls. Negreanu is shocked. The river is an Ace and Negreanu certainly can't bet. He just checks. Drehobl bets 50K and Negreanu thinks he's got him read with Ax suited on a flush draw. He's wrong, but he's a loser either way. Negreanu calls knowing it's a loser, but he wanted information and it cost him a little.
8:39 pm CT "Dead money" Gerry Drehobl gets a profile. Quite a coup for an amatuer. He came to Vegas in an RV. Wow. He's been playing for just 6 months and this is a family vacation. That's like a dream of mine (except the RV part).
8:40 pm CT Drehobl looks down at pocket Q's ("The Hilton Sisters") and he bets out. Juanda's got AJo and he's probably remembering the J8o Drehobl played earlier. Phillips gets pocket 8's ("Snowmen") and he moves all in. Phillips likes medium pocket pairs. Drehobl has to call and that means Juanda will get out of the way. Phillips is way behind. The flop is 6-A-T, no help for the poker blogger. The turn is another T. The river is a 5 and Phillips is out in 4th. The amatuer, Drehobl, actually becomes the chip leader. What's going on!?!?
8:42 pm CT The fifth commercial break starts with an ad for the DVD of Rounders. The NL is still getting its ass kicked, 6-1. Boooo-ring... they should all be watching poker.
8:44 pm CT We get to see some chip tricks now in the weird feature "Nuts." Of course, I'll watch Evelyn Ng do anything. I gotta say, the chip tricks beats last week's "cut a pickle with a card." I've been working on my shuffle, it's not bad.
8:45 pm CT Juanda gets AQo in the SB and just calls the BB. Hmmm, why not raise? Negreanu has 89s and the flop is 3-A-K putting Negreanu on a flush draw. They both bet. The turn is a 9 giving Negreanu a pair, but he's still behind. Juanda makes a big bet and Negreanu really must consider folding. He's wondering why Juanda would have just called the BB if he had an Ace. And if he doesn't have an Ace, why is he betting now? Negreanu calls. Amazingly, Juana moves all in in the dark... before the river. I've never seen that in televised poker. The 5 of clubs on the river doesn't help Negreanu, and he folds. That was fun, but if the heart would have come, Juanda was out. Weird move.
8:48 pm CT Juanda looks at A9o and bets. Negreanu gets KQs and moves all in. Drehobl must love watching this. Then he looks down at "The Hilton Sisters" again and moves all in. Juanda has to fold. And Negreanu knows he's in big trouble. The flop is 8-3-3, only one diamond. The turn is a 5. Negreanu needs a K. The river is a 7 and Negreanu is out. Lo, how the mighty have fallen. Drehobl is slaying the dragons. Negreanu says what we're all thinking as well... this amateur may actually outlast the pros at the final table. We'll see.
8:51 pm CT Sixth commerical break and the All Star game is in a commercial as well. The game is back, and it's still 6-1 AL.
8:54 pm CT The money is on the table... not quite as impressive as the money from the Big Event. We're heads up: amatuer vs. pro. It's final thought time from the final two. The only advantage of the amatuer is that he might be hard to read because amatuers are usually unpredictable. Juanda still has to be the favorite, right?
8:55 pm CT Juanda gets T5s and calls the BB. Drehobl has 82o. The flop is 4-K-3 rainbow, no help for anyone. Juanda bets 20K and Drehobl has to fold. Why full with your chips when you've got nothing? He does fold. Good lay down.
8:56 pm CT Drehobl looks at Cowboys. It's easy to play when you get the cards sometimes. He bets 48K. Juanda looks at ATo and might actually raise. He just calls. The flop is 7-Q-7. That should give Drehobl pause. He checks and so does Juanda. The turn is a 6 of clubs and they both have a flush draw, but Juanda's is better. Drehobl checks and Juanda bets. Drehobl raises. Nice play. Juanda re-raises all in. That's a shock. Drehobl calls and flips his Kings. The river is 4... of spades. Juanda is out and the amatuer wins his bracelet. Wow. It's not like some duffer wins on the PGA tour. Makes me wanna head right to Vegas for the next WSOP!
9:00 pm CT
(The AL is now up 7-1.)
It's time for PLOHE. The players are: Chris Ferguson ("Jesus"), Robert Williamson, Chau Giang, Ming La, Jeffrey Lisandro, Paul Maxfield, Mike Wattel, Dave Colclough, Karsten Johansen.
9:01 pm CT I'm a fan of Omaha. It's my second favorite game. Ferguson plays the first hand with AK85. Williamson has KK44, double flush draw and calls. Lisandro plays A965. The flop is 6-Q-6 and Lisandro has trip 6's. Ferguson checks and Williamson bets his flush draw. Lisandro moves all in. "Jesus" gets out of the hand. Williamson asks for a count. He's gotta figure Lisandro for a 6. With his first bet, he almost has to call, and does. The turn is a 9, giving Lisandro a full house and Williamson's flush draw is irrelevant. The river is another 9 and Lisandro doubles up.
9:05 pm CT It's time to learn Omaha, and I'm guessing a lot of people are watching this a little more closely than the Texas Hold 'Em explainer. Giang gets KQT7, double flush draw and he bets. La calls with JT97. Ferguson calls with AJ55, double flush draw. The flop is Q-3-2 rainbow. It's checked all around the turn is a deuce of clubs. Giang has two pair and the club flush draw and bets. La folds, he was already dead. Ferguson doesn't have much and probably has to fold. He does. The rabbit cam shows us Ferguson made the right play because the Q wouldn't have helped him at all.
9:08 pm CT First commercial break. The NL is still down 7-1 with a runner on first in the 4th. Now there's two on.
9:11 pm CT It's time for the "Jesus" profile. The NL just scored to make it 7-2 with runners on 2nd and 3rd. We're learning that Ferguson has a photographic memory.
9:12 pm CT La gets AA99 rainbow and bets enough that Ferguson would have to move all in. Ferguson is so short stacked he has to call all in with 9542 rainbow. Ouch. The flop is 7-Q-T, no help at all. The turn is a 3 giving Ferguson a straight draw. Only a 6 will help, but instead it's an Ace. Ferguson is out in 9th. "Jesus" is crucified. (Hmm, that was pretty blasphamous.)
9:14 pm CT Giang raises with AK87, double flush draw. Maxfield calls with 8765. Connectors are good cards. The flop is 8-4-2 giving Maxfield a lot of draws including flushes and straights. Maxfield bets all in. Giang is considering the call while the table chats about geography. Giang calls. He's ahead but now, but an underdog in the hand. The turn is an A, putting Giang ahead in the hand. The river is a K, and Maxfield goes out in 8th.
9:17 pm CT Second commercial break. We've got some interview with The Rocket going on. I'm not sure why. He's getting a bunch of awards. Now it's in commercial. Oh well.
9:19 pm CT Wattel gets AQT8 rainbow and he bets. Williamson gets KK97 and he bets even bigger. It's folded around and Wattel has to decide whether to go all in. He does. Williamson is a 3-2 favorite. The flop is 5-K-A, putting Williamson way ahead. Wattel needs a J. The turn is a deuce. The river is a 6 and Wattel is out in 7th.
9:21 pm CT We get a comparison between American poker and European poker. The wimpy Euros prefer Omaha. It's clearly a wimpier game, wouldn't you all agree? We learn table talk is banned in Europe. How boring. From both sides of the pond, they agree the Americans are bolder and brasher and the Euros are fancier and more passive.
9:22 pm CT Karsten Johansen goes out in 6th, we never see the hand.
9:23 pm CT La plays AQJ8. Williamson calls with 7654. The flop is A-6-5 and Williamson has a big hand with two pair a flush draw and an open ended straight draw. La has the Aces but probably needs to fold. Williamson likes to talk and I like watching him. Especially since he said he'll bring the gold to America. Now a Euro is complaining about Williamson talking. Screw the Euros!!! (No offense to any of my European readers.) La calls. Williamson is an 83% favorite. The turn is a T giving La a few more outs. The river is a Q of hearts and Williamson's flush knocks out La in 5th.
9:26 pm CT Third commercial break and the NL is actually making a run. It's now 7-4 going to the bottom of the fifth.
9:29 pm CT Williamson gets AA64, single flush draw and he bets big. Colclough bets big with QJT7, double flush draw. Williamson raises and Colclough has to go all in. The flop is AJ8, giving Colclough a flush and straight draw. The turn is another Ace and it's all over for Colclough in 4th place.
9:33 pm CT Williamson looks at AJT8, all hearts. Too bad he can't use them all. Williamson bets. Giang plays QT42 from the SB. Lisandro raises with AQ76 and Williamson calls. The flop is 5-J-7. Lisandro has his flush draw, Williamson has his pair. Lisandro bets and Williamson moves all in. Lisandro calls, he's actually ahead in the hand. The turn is a 6 giving Lisandro two pair. The river is an 8 giving Williamson a better two pair, and Lisandro is out in 3rd.
9:36 pm CT Fourth commercial break and the baseball game is also in commercial. I'm guessing the AL is still ahead. It's back and Thome is in the game. All right! It's still 7-4 AL. Just put a few men on base in front of Thome and he'll get the NL right back in this one!
9:38 pm CT Heads up action for $188,000. Two pros battling for this bracelet. We're now learning more about Williamson. It seems he'll gamble on anything, including kicking a ball on a roof. It's a bet he lost, twice.
9:40 pm CT Giang looks at KQQ9 and bets. Williamson has QJ98. Both are looking at a club draw. The flop is 8-6-Q. Giang's got a set, Williamson two pair. Giang bets big and Williamson raises. I'm sure he thinks top two pair is the best hand. It's not. Giang is an 84% favorite and he moves all in. If Williamson calls, he could be eliminated. He calls. Looks like we're about to see a suckout. The turn is a 5 giving Williamson two straight draws. The river is a T and Williamson doubles up. Yep, I'd call that a suckout. Giang is getting bleeped. Williamson is explaining his hand to the crowd. It probably wasn't the best decision, but sometimes you get lucky.
9:43 pm CT Fifth commercial break. Uh oh. The AL got a couple more and it's a 9-4 lead. Now a Thome grand slam doesn't even tie it. The NL sucks.
9:45 pm CT Giang has Q866, double flush draw. Williamson's got KT97 and calls. The flop is 3-6-5 and Giang has a set of 6's and a diamond draw. Williamson's got a worse diamond draw and a straight draw and bets. Giang moves all in and Williamson calls. The turn is a J. Williamson can only win with an 8. The river is another J and Giang wins with a full boat.
9:47 pm CT It's time for the Giang profile. Guys like Howard Lederer are singing his praises, he must be pretty good.
9:49 pm CT Giang plays 7542. Not a great hand. Williamson raises with K864. Giang calls. The flop is 8-6-2. Williamson flops top two pair, but he's actually an underdog because of all of the draws. Giang moves all in and Williamson calls. The turn is a T. Giang has 5 cards that bring him a straight. The 9 comes on the river and Giang doubles up again. Williamson got his money in with the best hand, but he was still a dog. That's Omaha!
9:51 pm CT Sixth commercial break and the NL has two on, 1 out and they're down 5 runs. Jack Wilson (who?) is at the plate. He flies out weakly. What did you expect, it was Jack Wilson. Thome is up. A homer here and it's a two run game. Come on, Jim!!! Some guy from Tampa Bay just struck him out. Like I said, the NL sucks.
9:53 pm CT Williamson bets with K854, three spades. Giang checks his BB with A962, two clubs. The flop is 3-6-9, two spades. Giang bets with his top two pair, Williamson has a straight draw and a flush draw. The turn is an A. Giang's top two pair just got better. Giang bets enough to force Williamson all in. Giang is a 3-1 favorite, Williamson should fold, can't risk it all on a one card draw. Williamson calls for the rabbit cam and folds. The river card wouldn't have helped him, so he made the right play.
9:57 pm CT Williamson is in big trouble now. Giang looks at KT86. Williamson has AA72 and raises. Giang calls. The flop is 9-3-7 giving Giang a straight and a flush draw. Williamson moves all in and Giang calls. It's Rockets vs. the draws. Giang is a huge favorite. The turn is a 4. Now Giang is just a slight favorite. The river is the K of diamonds and that's the flush Giang was looking for. He's the champ of Omaha. Williamson finishes in 2nd. Now that was fun to watch!<-- Hide More
On some Tuesday nights, I plan to live-blog the WSOP telecast on ESPN, as long as Texas Hold 'Em is being played. Enjoy.
I think we've all waited for tonight with anxious anticipation. Well, except, perhaps, for PokerProf who was there when it happened. For most of the rest of us, this will be our first chance to see the 2004 World Series of Poker. Before reading on, I suggest you go here and listen to "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy." It's the catchy song you've been hearing on the ESPN promos.
Okay, now that you're ready... read on...More in this Poker Blog! -->
7:00 pm CT I'll be back from dinner in an hour and ready to shuffle up and deal!
7:55 pm CT ESPN has extensive coverage on its website. As expected, we'll get to see more than just the $10,000 NLHE tourney. Tonight, it's the final table of the $2000 NLHE tourney featuring: David Chiu, Carl Frommer, Brian Haveson, Anthony Lellouche, Tuan Nguyen, Shawn Rice, Charlie Shoten, J.C. Tran, and James Vogl. In fact, the first 12 episodes will feature alternate events, followed by 10 episodes of the main event.
8:00 pm CT It's time!
8:01 pm CT There's already been a half dozen Moneymaker references.
8:02 pm CT Lon and Norm are back. Good, I think they do a nice job. Our first televised hand features rockets for James Vogl, the chip leader at the final table. Haveson, in the next seat, gets the unfortunate Cowboys. What terrible luck. A pot size graphic has been added? I don't remember it from last time. Could Haveson have laid it down? It was a re-raise from the chip leader, maybe you fold. I wouldn't have, he had to call. 24-year old Vogl has a HUGE chip lead and Haveson finishes in 9th.
8:05 pm CT We're learning how to play Texas Hold 'Em now. Thousands of more fishes just decided to lose their money online.
8:06 pm CT Lellouche attempts a blind steal with J4o, and runs into KK in the small blind. Chiu moves all in and Lellouche calls. Chiu was the tiny stack at the table. Chiu doubles up. He's the only braclet winner at the table, it's not a good idea to give him chips like that.
8:08 pm CT First commercial break.
8:10 pm CT J.C. Tran gets unceremoniously dismissed in 8th place, we only get to see the river card. Must have been one boring hand.
8:11 pm CT Vogl gets Big Slick suited. Lellouche goes all in behind Vogl with the Hilton sisters. Vogl's gotta call, and he does. It's the classic showdown, Lellouche is a slight favorite. But the flop brings the Ace and Vogl just gets richer. Lellouche goes out in 7th when the Hilton sisters don't put out.
8:13 pm CT It's the first profile, and it's of Vogl... think that means he'll win? He's a backgammon player first... wonder why there's a correlation between the two "sports?" He's crediting the cards like any good modest player will... but it takes more than cards to win.
8:14 pm CT Vogl gets a lowly A6o, and Chiu looks down at Big Slick. He has to move all-in. Nguyen (not Men or Scotty) has to go all-in with pocket 7's. That means Vogl has to fold. No reason to give away part of his huge stack. It's another classic confrontation. No help on the flop, or turn, or river. Nguyen doubles up and Chiu is in serious trouble. Big Slick is 1-1 so far.
8:16 pm CT
Second commercial, and the first thing we see is
an anti-gambling a responsible gambling commercial.
8:19 pm CT We're getting a taste of some of the other familiar players in other events: Jennifer Harmon, Daniel Negreau, Dutch Boyd, Men "The Master," Minh Ngyuen, and Phil Ivey.
8:21 pm CT Shoten is short-stacked and goes all-in with KTo. Vogl has to call with JTo because he has such a huge stack. Rice gets AJo and amazingly goes all-in behind them both. Vogl rightly folds. It's KT vs AJ. The A hits the flop and Shoten is on his way out in 6th.
8:23 pm CT Vogl moves in with KJs. Chiu and his short-stack look at ATo and calls the bet. The flop is K-9-4. They both check, and Vogl watches an Ace come on the turn. It was a bad play by Vogl because Chiu moves all-in with his Aces. Vogl has to fold, but he calls, why? It's bet on the flop and fold on the turn. When a 6 falls on the river, Chiu doubles up again. Vogl's inexperience shows.
8:26 pm CT Third commercial break.
8:29 pm CT Vogl gets K9s and gets in the hand. Chiu looks at KQo, and it's a tough hand to play. Does he think Vogl has the A? The flop is Q-9-7. Chiu gets top pair and Vogl gets second pair. Vogl goes all-in putting Chiu in a tough spot. Now Vogl is goading Chiu into a call. Why? Chiu calls and Vogl is giving more chips away. More inexperience. No help on the turn or river. Vogl mumbles that he thought he was suited. The river club would have been a flush then, but I'm not sure I believe him. Chiu doubles up again.
8:31 pm CT It's time for the Chiu profile. Don't tell me Vogl blows his huge chip lead! If he does, at least it's to a bracelet holder.
8:32 pm CT Rice gets pocket 9's, one of my favorite hands. I'm still looking for a nickname. Chiu gets Q3s and, as the big blind, he decides to call Rice's raise. Rice flops quad 9's. Wow. I told you those 9's were go. I think we'll see Rice checking a whole lot. Chiu takes a shot at the pot and Rice cold calls. On the turn, Chiu catches 3's. He's gotta figure Rice for over cards. They both check. The river is an A. Chiu definitely can't bet now. He checks and Rice bets... Chiu has to fold, but he calls!?!?!? Rice flips the 9's, how's that feel? Suddenly, Rice is the chip leader.
8:35 pm CT Fourth commercial break, and it's Levitra. Can you say "target audience?"
8:38 pm CT Rice looks at AQo, and raises. Frommer gets Hookers and has to move all-in with his short stack. Rice and the big stack has to call, and it's yet another classic confrontation. AQ vs. JJ. Will overcards win this time? Probably, the Q-5-4 puts Rice at a huge advantage. When the Q comes on the turn, it's almost over. The 8 on the river doesn't help Frommer and he finishes in 5th.
8:39 pm CT Is the Rice profile now and we find out he learned the game watching Amarillo Slim. Not a bad teacher at all. And he gets Slim's seal of approval. Rice says he's not scared of anyone, but he respects them. That's the right attitude.
8:41 pm CT Vogl looks at Presto. We haven't heard much since he donated his chips to Chiu. Nyguen calls with J9s. It's another coin flip, but no one is all-in yet. The flop is A-T-6 and Nyguen gets a club draw. Nyguen checks and Vogl forces him all-in. Nyguen calls. The turn is another T. But the Q is no help and Vogl finally wins another hand. Nyguen goes out in 4th.
8:42 pm CT Fifth commercial break.
8:45 pm CT We're introduced to Chris Ferguson (or "Jesus"). And now it's time for a feature called "The Nuts." Hmmm... show me poker. We get to watch Ferguson chop a pickle in half by throwing a card. Pretty lame.
8:46 pm CT With just three left, Rice raises on the button with A6o. Chiu gets K8s, and has to play from the SB. Vogl sees KTs, and he has to call from the BB. It's a family pot. The flop is Q-5-4 rainbow, and Rice is still in the lead. Everyone checks and we see the 7 on the turn. It's ugly, but Chui bets out big. It's a semi-bluff, he's got a bit of a straigth draw. Vogl is on the best draw (a flush) and he raises big. Chiu throws his hand away. Oooooh... the rabbit cam shows us the river would have been a 9 of spades. Rice would have won the pot. Chui is lukcy he folded.
8:48 pm CT Chiu is short stacked with AJs, and he moves all-in. For the first time, we get the "How much do you have?" question from Vogl. He's got just K3o, and he has to fold. Rice gets pocket 4's and has to call with his big stack. The flop is 8-9-5, the turn is another 9, and the river is a 10. Chiu is out in 3rd, and Vogl and Rice breathe a HUGE sigh of relief.
8:50 pm CT The $40,000 top prize is carried out to the table, and we move to the sixth commercial break.
8:53 pm CT We get a "polar opposites" feature. Rice vs. Vogl, quite a contrast in style. Vogl starts to sound more like an idiot, going on and on about luck.
8:54 pm CT Rice is at about 900,000 vs. Vogl's 70,000. Rice bets out with ATo. Vogl calls with K9o. Both playable hands heads-up. K-Q-T of spades on the flop. Rice moves all in, because he's go the A of spades and bottom pair. Vogl has top pair and a straight draw, but it's a tough call. And Vogl folds. Where's the rabbit cam!?!? Guess we only get that on the river.
8:56 pm CT Rice gets pocket 4's again. He raises to 30K. Vogl has pocket 7's and a HUGE advantage. Vogl raises to 100K. Rice moves all-in, and Vogl calls. Rice is kicking himself. The turn is 8-T-7, and Rice is dead. The turn is an 8 and Vogl is now a big leader at 1.3 million. Rice is down to 275K.
8:57 pm CT Vogl bets 30K on AQo. Rice moves all-in with KQo and moves all-in. Vogl calls, and Rice is in bad shape. The flop is 9-8-4. The turn is an 8. And the river is (look at the clock and guess), not a K. It's a T and Vogl wins event #1.
8:59 pm CT Rice tells us he's disappointed to win $200,000 and we all know how he feels. Non-poker players probably think it was a stupid thing to say. Vogl says with those cards, his Mom could have won in an hour and a half. I don't like Vogl.
9:00 pm CT It's time for $1500 7 Card Stud with Men "The Master" Nguyen, Minh Nguyen, Ted Forrest, Jim Wheatley, Chad Brown, Michael Mueller, David Feder, and Peter Brownstein.
9:14 pm CT I don't know enough about 7 Card Stud to really blog about it, but it's not bad to watch. Let's just say I'll never play this game for a lot of money!<-- Hide More
Is it better when you get sucked out by a woman? And yes, I mean at the poker table.
I'm sure it hurts just as bad, but at this point, my newest obsession is leading me to think it might not.
That obsession is Nicole Sullivan.
She became the first Celebrity Poker Showdown champion defeating seven men and Mo Gaffney (you decide). And this win involved one of the worst suckouts I've ever seen.More in this Poker Blog! -->
To be fair, I think she was playing pretty good poker. She threw away a lot more bad hands than the other players, and she wasn't getting the cards that Paul Rudd has. Maybe it's only fair that he became the victim of that suckout.
We're down to just three players: Nicole, Paul and David Gross. David is the big stack at 21,000. Nicole is sitting with 14,000. Paul is at 10,000. Here are your hands:
Nicole: Jc, 7h
David: Ks, 4h
Paul: 6h, 6d
Amazingly, everyone pays to see the flop even after Paul raises.
Jackpot for Paul. He goes all-in. Nicole is convinced he's bluffing and makes the call. Then she tries to convince David to call as well, he rightly folds. At this point, Paul is a whopping 97% favorite. It's about as close to drawing dead as you can get.
Now Paul can worry, but just a little. He's still a 93% favorite. Going in, Nicole needed running something (8-9 or Q-K UPDATE: NOT 7-7 or J-J), now she's half way there. With just four outs left...
Unbelievable. I've seen a lot of poker on TV and I've never seen a suckout like that. I've played a lot of poker online, and I don't think I've seen many suckouts like that.
At least Nicole took the pot she stole and wound up winning the whole thing. I'd play at a table with her any time!<-- Hide More
What most television networks don't understand is that occasionally a lemming will sprout wings and fly.
It happened last year when the Travel Channel started its World Poker Tour Series. It's ending in a little network lemming bloodbath below the summit of Poker Mountain.More in this Poker Blog! -->
To be fair, it was not the producers of the World Poker Tour that developed the beauty of televised poker. The people who began producing the World Series of Poker for Discovery and ESPN deserve that credit. The problem there was a lack of marketability and the one-time a year format. Thanks to The Travel Channel for letting the rest of the world in on the game with the weekly series.
The Travel Channel was our wonderful little mutant lemming. It flies today and it will fly again in season #2. But like many good ideas gone before it, the marketability of televised poker is spawning some unfortunately suicidal productions.
I had seen a couple of bad poker productions leading up to last night, but I let them go. Silly lemmings.
But then I accidentally stumbled on the Celebrity Poker Showdown on Bravo. I'm not sure what bothered me more. It was either that the entire show was based on celebrity coffehousing, or that the poker was so, so bad.
I'll admit, I'm no fan of making celebrities into athletes/gamers/actors/etc or vice versa. People should stay in their damned place and stop pretending they can replicate Brian Bosworth's storied success jumping from football to acting (wait, maybe that didn't really happen).
But, seriously, the lineup last night was pathetic and the poker was pathetic. The only thing I took away from the show was pride in turning it off before it was over.
It's a shame, too, because it incorporated a lot of things I like. I like Kevin Pollack. I like Phil Gordon (if not for poker, for his ability to be a gazillionaire at such an early age and do something good with his life). I like televised poker. Somehow, though, the show came off as forced pablum. And David Schwimmer is about as boring a person as they come. Had he not suffered such a horribly bad beat (a set of rockets beat by a suckout straight), I would've hated him as much as I hate Ross on Friends.
By the time my remote was trying to find a re-run of Law and order: SVU, the poor little celebrity lemming had hit the bottom of the canyon with enough force to rattle my chips off the table.
I will admit, though, FOX Sports Net may have something. Its Showdown at the Sands was an ambitious production, airing just a few hours after the tournament was complete. The closer we get to live poker, the closer I'll be to heaven. The Showdown's biggest problem was I had to watch it with the sound turned off. The unfortunate choice in commentators (my worship of Howard Lederer notwithstanding) made it unbearable to listen to.
Eventually, producers will learn what Michael Keaton's blockbuster Multiplicty taught us so well: If you copy a copy of a copy, eventually you're going to end up with something really ugly.
In this case that ugly mess is lemming guts all over Bravo Canyon.<-- Hide More
I guess first and foremost, my post here means that I can impress people at parties by telling them that I am in fact, a published author. Actually, I'm not sure if internet blogs count as "being published". If it does, well hell, I guess at this point most people are published authors. Oh well, in true poker player form, always looking for that edge, no matter how slight.
Anyhoo, in the comments for CJ's "Television Explosion" post, Wil (Yes THE Wil) brought up the "hole-card" cam and the impact it may have on the pros whose cards we all get to see.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I had pondered that question for some time.
On the one hand, you'd think it a veritable gold mine of information for one's opponents to study. But apparently, this is not the case for a couple of reasons.
I posed the hole-card cam question question on a forum that I visit regularly, 2+2 Forum, and wanted to post an excerpt from one of the regulars that was particularly interesting... to wit:
I asked Phil Hellmuth about this, and he said it made no difference to him. He explained that the top players all scout each other regardless, and that the comparatively few hands you see in a WPT or WSOP broadcast don't make all that much difference in their scouting.
I then asked him if the extensive scouting gave an advantage to newer players -- e.g.: Chris Moneymaker, Phil Ivey when he first started, etc. -- and he said that was very much the case. He was able to win the WSOP main event early in his career by playing extremely aggressively and taking lots of chances to build his stack. Of course, once everyone figured that out, they began calling him down, and he had to start playing solid hands.
Thanks to CrisBrown for the response. By the way, you should check out the 2+2 forum if you haven't already. Great group of regulars with some great advice and insights.
Cris also brings up another very interesting point, that being the obvious advantage of having SEEN your opponents play when YOU are the unknown.
So... just in case... someday... when I'm at the final table at a WPT event or WSOP, I'm gonna be glad I spent all those hours watching poker on television.<-- Hide More
As James mentioned in the comments to Television Explosion Part 1, Fox Sports Net is in the poker game.
Tomorrow, they air the most ambitious televised poker event of all-time. While most of the poker we see on TV is played weeks, sometimes months in advance, the Showdown at the Sands will be televised less than 24 hours after the winner is crowned!More in this Poker Blog! -->
The roster for this $10,000 entry fee event is impressive: WSOP defending champ Chris Moneymaker, two-time WSOP winners Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, poker bad boy Phil Hellmuth, and top pros Howard Lederer and Phil Ivey.
Fox Sports Net will utilize 21 cameras, 21 tape machines, 12 instant replay machines, 3 continuous running editing computers and a special event NFL broadcast truck.
The network says it will also feature a first-of-its-kind "Rabbit Hunting" camera, "In the event of a fold, viewers get to see the cards the dealer never flipped over and only they will know if folding was a good idea or if it cost the player thousands of dollars."
I'm not sure how this is different from the hole card cameras used by the Travel Channel and ESPN, but I guess I'll have to wait and see.
The event is set to air from 12:30pm to 6:30pm local time. Check your local listings because many affiliates will not show the entire event. My affiliate will air the last 4 hours. There is also a scheduled replay of the final at 8pm.
Nothing says "Happy Thanksgiving" like 6 hours of poker!<-- Hide More
ESPN has been in the game for years. The poker movie, Rounders, features Matt Damon watching the classic World Series of Poker showdown between Johnny Chan and Eric Seidel.
Despite years of experience, however, ESPN has become the short stack at the table thanks to the Travel Channel and its hugely popular World Poker Tour.
Now... even more players are coming to the table, hoping to win big.More in this Poker Blog! -->
We'll start at the beginning with the granddaddy of poker, the World Series of Poker at Binion's Horseshow casino. ESPN has shown the final table for more than a decade. It was packaged into a single show, and it drew a small audience.
Then came the World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel. It was our first chance to see the hole cards as the game was played. It revolutionized the way we watched poker on TV, and America responded. It quickly became the highest rated show in the small cable network's history.
ESPN quickly responded, giving us the most-highly produced WSOP event ever. We saw the tournament from beginning to end. We saw hole cards at the feature table. We learned about the players away from the table. We met the masters and the dead money. And we watched an online amateur win it all.
The rest of the television world is taking notice. Starting December 2nd, Bravo will air Celebrity Poker Showdown. The lineup for game 1 is Ben Affleck, Don Cheadle, Willie Garson (gay friend on Sex in the City), Emily Proctor (hot blonde on CSI: Miami), and David Schwimmer. My money is on Don Cheadle... he was in Ocean's Eleven so I think that makes him the favorite.
On December 9th, you'll see Timothy Busfield, Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Martin Sheen, and John Spencer, all from NBC's West Wing. Bravo and NBC are television partners (maybe GE owns both, I'm not sure). I predict this series will be a huge success.
NBC is certainly taking note, and will gamble on a poker special of its own. Air date? Try Super Bowl Sunday! The peacock network believes the non-Super Bowl watchers might stop by for a little poker action. I'll have to set my VCR... I'll be watching the big game. (UPDATE: Commenter Liquid Swords is right, the special will air from 4pm-6pm before the start of the big game. Now I can watch both.)
The Game Show Network doesn't have poker, but it will have its own world series of cards. The World Series of Blackjack. As a blackjack fan myself, I'll certainly give this a try. However, I suspect it will lack the drama of the WSOP because blackjack doesn't have the same player-to-player interaction.
Soon, there will be a cable network for gambling. The Casino and Gaming Television Network will offer a show of poker advice, tours of casinos and more. Its biggest roadblock will be finding advertisers. Family groups have already begun their campaigns against the network.
In the end, the big winner will be you and me, the poker players. I say the more poker on TV the better. It's helped lead to an explosion of poker online, and the more players, the more fish. And I'm sure we can all agree that's a good thing.<-- Hide More
With the overwhelming popularity of the World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel, and the continued success of the World Series of Poker on ESPN, there will soon be another poker TV series.
This time, the stars are lining up to flop the nut flush.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Bravo is developing a series entitled Celebrity Poker Showdown. It will be hosted by funny-man Kevin Pollack.
The stars have already begun lining up! Jack Black, Coolio, Martin Sheen, Sarah Silverman and Hank Azaria are on the list, among others. Wil Wheaton blogged today that he'd love to join in. If you know a way to help him, drop him a line!
Can you imagine the tension at the table as Coolio holds a pair of aces and Martin Sheen tries to bluff with nothing?
On the other hand, maybe we'll just see a lot of bad poker. Nevertheless, any poker on TV is a good thing!<-- Hide More