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

March 15, 2009

Poker's frequently asked questions on Google

by Otis

Remember that time you four-bet pre-flop with aces, flopped your set, and got your opponent to get it all in? Remember when he shoved his chips in and then asked, "Do you have the ace?"

You probably thought, "What is this guy doing playing poker?"

We sometimes think the same thing about the search referrals we get here on the Up For Poker Blog.

Here are just a few recent questions that Google has thrown our way.

More in this Poker Blog! -->

March 14, 2009

Old news: Annie Duke's boytoy boinks boozy Judas

by Otis

The man sat at the bar under a cloud of tight curly hair. It was as if the hair thunderhead had sprung a storm and the downpour produced a guy with bad pickup lines. Beside him sat a pretty woman. She wasn't drinking for fun. Her order--shots and beer--had purpose. The drunker she got, the more she wanted to run naked in the hair storm.

I'll be honest, Joe Reitman's hair has always freaked me out.

More in this Poker Blog! -->

November 2, 2008

Giving it up for the Godfather

by Otis

The poker room of the Fiesta Casino in the Ramada Herradura just outside of San Jose, Costa Rica is a six or seven table area that is just big enough to fit the players, a couple of aimless cocktail waitresses, and Humberto Brenes.

When the men get massages, they do it with their shirts off and buxom, camel-toed therapists kneading away elbow-deep at their fat-backs. Out of simplicity and in the face of a 540-1 colones to dollar exchange rate, the poker games are played with dollar-value chips. Against all better judgment, the first seat I took in the room was at a 5/10 half No-Limit Hold'em and half Pot-Limit Omaha game.

More in this Poker Blog! -->

August 22, 2008

Scotty Nguyen: Same as he ever was

by Otis

I've received a lot of good feedback about an observation I made a couple of weeks ago regarding the change in WSOP coverage at ESPN. That observation became even more pronounced when we saw Scotty Nguyen's performace at this year's HORSE event.

As Amy pointed out today, people were actually surprised at Nguyen being the bad boy. The surprised people are the people who don't get out much and know poker only from TV.

Let's all agree on something. At least half of the poker community is made up of people you wouldn't want to share a beer with. At least 75% of the poker community is made up of people you wouldn't want to bring home to Mom. In the poker world, the really good folks are the minority. TV can make anybody look good. It made Mike Tyson look like a bootstrapping Horatio Alger story until the whole cannibalism thing. It made Michael Vick out to be one of the best quarterbacks of his time until the whole animal massacre thing. TV can make people what it wants. It made Scotty Nguyen into the Prince of Poker and now it's made him the town drunk.

Amy wrote a great piece a few years ago titled The Death Wish that gives you some decent insight into Nguyen before televised poker made him royalty. Everyone should read it. Especially those people who don't get to hang out in the Amazon Room and see poker people as they are for real.


June 4, 2008

Rizen goes to Ultimate Bet

by Otis

I've been on record for the past couple of years.

I think Eric "Rizen" Lynch is one of the best people in poker. He knows the game, he's a great person, and he has a respect for his role in the poker community.

I subscribe to Eric's RSS feed, despite my disdain for truncated traffic generation summaries. Today, I read the headline "My personal comments about the UB signing" and I was sure Eric would be weighing in on Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy's signing with the oft-maligned online poker site.

Imagine my surprise when I learned one of my favorite poker players is signing with the site everybody loves to hate.

More in this Poker Blog! -->

May 15, 2008

2003 World Series of Poker: Where are they now?

by Otis

You know Sammmy Farha. You've seen him on TV. You've probably seen him in Vegas. Hell, I'd say there's more than a couple of you who have played against him. He's poker's version of famous. So are Dan Harrington, Jason Lester, Amir Vahedi, David Grey, and David Singer.

Each one of them will celebrate an anniversary next week. It's one we should all celebrate, in fact.

Five years ago next week, Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 World Series of Poker.

More in this Poker Blog! -->

April 30, 2008

George Danzer's journey

by Otis

It was a mildly chilly night in Monte Carlo, but the northern Europeans and those who live on wind-slapped islands were smelling summer. We, a large and eclectic group of poker players, writers, and marketers, sat at a cafe table overlooking a croaking frog pond and man-made wetlands area.

At the table were two Germans. One, Jan Heitmann, was making the guys jealous and the girls swimmy with an impromptu magic act. Beside him sat Geoge Danzer. His is a familiar face on the European Poker Circuit. In fact, I thought that (and the fact he was sitting right beside me) was the only reason I knew who he was.

I'd forgotten about Dmitri Nobles.

More in this Poker Blog! -->

April 27, 2008

The Tuff Fish Appreciation Society

by Otis

We at the Up For Poker blog don't tell bad beat stories. There is actually a clause in our partnership contract that reqires the teller of a bad beat story to play five uninterupted hours of Razz on Full Tilt. If said player doesn't finish up for the session, he has to start over.

Because we don't tell bad beat stories, our group insurance has a variety of plans to help with our therapy. Our wives frown on the local Stress Away Spa Plan (something about them actually not being happy with the happy ending) and the Whack-a-Nun program at the local covent was discontinued after one of the sisters became obsessed with G-Rob's hair and whacking skill.

That's why our internal therapists have created The Tuff Fish Appreciation Society.

More in this Poker Blog! -->

April 24, 2008

Lee starts again

by Otis

I've never told this story in its entirety. I never will. Even if I someday abandon my 80% rule, some things about my entry into the world of the poker media will never see print. Discretion may or may not have anything to do with valor, but it certainly plays a role in the friends you make and the friends you keep.

Nonetheless, there is somebody who played a huge role in my new life who needs mentioned today. He played one of the major roles in getting me where I am--wherever that is. Sometimes I don't know whether to thank him or curse him for that, but I know I can always count on his as a friend.

More in this Poker Blog! -->

April 18, 2007

The Sweetest Criminal

by Otis

It wasn't a mutter that raised the eyebrows. It was spoken in full voice and with no small amount of disgust.

"What the fuck?"

For a moment, we bristled, looked at the six-seat, and waited for a reaction. There was none, because Vera, apparently, had heard it all before.

Someone said maybe we should tone it down out of respect for the lady. The gentlemen among us--myself not necessarily included--nodded. We weren't raised to use words like "fuck" and "douchebag" around ladies. Further, we weren't sure why we felt like the poker table gave us an excuse to break away from our manners.

As if to allay our concerns, Vera tittered. Yes, I'm sure it was a titter. And then she said, "In my life, I've heard it all."

More in this Poker Blog! -->

February 12, 2007

Deconstructing Doyle

by Staff

In silence, there is fear.

As players and veterans of the news business, we've never been ones to accept the old adage, "No news is good news." In the current online poker climate, players and industry types spend inordinate amounts of their waking hours waiting for something--anything!--that will lead them to some conclusion about what's really happening out there. What are the sites doing? What is the government doing? Something has to be happening.

We once had a boss who said, "There is no such thing as good news or bad news. There's just news."

And that's what everybody needs right now. They need something to think about. They need something to get their minds off the fact that they have way too much money tied up in NETeller. They need something to distract them from the possibility that their online games are going to dry up. They need something to make them feel like if they wait just long enough, everything will go back to normal and the bad dream will be over.

And thus began the rampant rumor that poker's godfather, Doyle Brunson, had been arrested.

More in this Poker Blog! -->

October 26, 2006

People I meet at the poker table

by Otis

There is no plot. It's like life. The game waxes and wanes despite my playing, sleeping, winning, or losing. It's all underground. It's all in a couple of illegal poker rooms within a 30-minute drive of my house. Online poker gives us the freedom to see thousands more hand per year. Live games, especially the ones in the illegal rooms, give us the chance to see people--nay, characters--that serve as a nucleus to a confounding human drama that surrounds the underground poker community. If it were one long story, I would write it. Instead, it's just people.

More in this Poker Blog! -->

June 4, 2006

High-Stakes Chinese Poker

by Otis

I don't understand it, I tell myself. My kind of gamble is a semi-bluff with twelve outs twice. My kind of gamble is eating the pizza that's been sitting in the box overnight. My kind of gamble is not equipped for what's happening in the room around me.

More in this Poker Blog! -->

April 1, 2006

April Fools!

by Luckbox

Naughty girls have more fun!

It's on my T-shirt and as good of a credo to live by as any. Of course, when you're going to class all week and spending the rest of your time in front of a computer pokering, you don't get too much time to be naughty. But I try!

I just got another "A", this time in my Advanced Concepts of Adult Health course. Now as long as I can score that A in my Molecular Biology of the Cell, I'll have a 4.0 for the semester.

Dammit! I knew he hit that flush on the river. But I can't really lay down top set. Grinding out my bonus on Absolute Poker is tough.

Maybe I shouldn't be playing poker, blogging and completing an online test all at the same time. I think SK worries I spend too much time in front of a computer, but when we get to celebrate all of my outstanding grades, she doesn't mind so much.

Ooooh, I just flopped the nut straight. Now if these boys just stick around long enough, I should get back up for the day. I suppose focusing on this test would be a better idea, but this one is pretty easy. I made a 100 on the last test in this course, so I'm not worried so much. Besides how hard is it to bet the nuts? (I just wish I had the nuts more often.)

Uh oh, SK is here. I guess I should finish this test and get moving. We're celebrating my A in Anatomy and Physiology. I'm wearing the nurse outfit I just bought, I think SK likes it.

Sorry boys, told you naughty girls have more fun!


August 6, 2005

Knowing him when...

by Otis


It's fun to say you knew somebody when. As it happens, the poker pro who just won the WPT event in Paris is also a writer from the UK. I met Roland De Wolfe covering the EPT last year and had the pleasure of playing several single table satellites with him. I wonder how long it takes him to strip off the media badge and throw it in the trash.

Nice job, Roland.


June 23, 2005

Blogger makes the big time

by Otis

I love good news.


June 14, 2005

Pauly's Favorite Player

by Luckbox

Marcel Luske is The Man.


January 8, 2005

2004's Most Impressive Win

by Luckbox

There is no questiong that 2004 was the biggest year in poker history. The winner of the WSOP took home a cool $5 million. There have never been prize pools like this. In fact, I'm not sure there is a competitive endeavour in the world that gave away more money at a single event.

And the year was full of amazing performances by some truly great poker players. "The Kid" Daniel Negreanu won 2004's Pro Player of the Year award from Card Player Magazine. He made 11 final tables and pocketed more than $4 million. Third in the player of the year standings is, perhaps, the poker world's most under appreciated player, John Juanda. He made a whopping 15 final tables.

But neither had the most impressive performance of the year. And both would probably agree that that award should go to Gerry Drehobl.


More in this Poker Blog! -->

September 16, 2004

The World's Best Poker Player

by Luckbox

Talk to world-class poker players, and I'm sure most of them would tell you that they are the best in the world. Confidence is a pretty big part of being a great player, so I can't blame them for holding that opinion. Most of them, however, would be wrong.

Measuring the game's greatest isn't easy. Should "Fossilman" Greg Raymer be considered the world's best until he gets knocked out in next year's WSOP? I don't think so. After all, the poker world hardly considered Chris Moneymaker the world's best during his 12-month reign.

More in this Poker Blog! -->