Monthly Archives: August 2008

David Cain's Attempt at the Crazy Poker Endurance Record

Most poker players make their mark on the game through winning a significantly huge event or by consistently placing near the top of live tournaments.  After all, success is definitely a good precursor for poker popularity. 

But there are some people who make their mark on the game by doing the occasional crazy, random thing that makes others just shake their heads.  US player Larry Olmsted was one such person as he set the Guinness World Record for the longest poker session ever by playing 72 hours and 2 minutes straight.  Olmsted set his record by playing at Foxwoods Casino and played low limits over the time building his stack from $100 to $1,000 (not exactly the best hourly rate).  He was so tired by the end that he couldn’t even read the cards he was dealt.

Apparently, David Cain isn’t impressed though and thinks that Oldsted’s record of 72+ hours is nothing.  Cain believes that it is actually possible to play over 100 hours of poker straight which seems pretty crazy given the condition of Olmsted at the end of his session.  Nevertheless, Cain will try to break the record by playing heads-up, deep stack poker with people being rotated in to give him fresh opponents. 

The event will all go down at a bar in Lincoln of the United Kingdom and will happen from September 14th to September 18th.  In my opinion, I don’t see Cain being able to play for 100 hours straight but I do wish him luck on his way to surpassing 72 hours and 2 minutes.  It’s not going to be easy since he’ll be playing heads-up which could certainly be harder than just playing a cash game.  I’ll admit that I definitely know I couldn’t last that long.  Let’s see if he does.

Is Brian Townsend's Multiaccounting Excuse Legit?

Brian Townsend is a player whose name is quite well known in the big cash game circles.  He plays a lot at the “Big Game” in Bobby’s Room and has made a pretty good living taking money off of those who have sat at his tables over the years.  He’s also a frequent online player too.  In fact, he plays so much he thought that he needed a second account at Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.

Recently, Brian admitted to the practice of multiaccounting at both Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.  This is a big no-no at both rooms as multiaccounting often leads to collusion since a player could use both accounts in the same room or tournament.  In fact it’s happened many times in the past which has led many rooms to ban the practice. 

Townsend made his reason for engaging in multiaccounting rather innocent as he said the reason he did it was because he likes to remain anonymous sometimes when playing.  He also went on to say that he never tried to collude with his extra two accounts.  This apology came after Full Tilt and PokerStars received complaints that Townsend was multiaccounting.

This all makes me wonder whether Townsend, or anyone else for that matter, could truly avoid the temptation to engage in collusion when they are multiaccounting.  After all, the temptation to cheat would be pretty great if one has gotten away with the practice before.  And why would one want to risk public embarrassment at such a major room just so they could play under the radar?

Obviously I don’t have video evidence of Townsend secretly colluding with his two accounts at either room but it’s hard for me to believe this same reasoning that’s been used by others caught multiaccounting.  Especially when such a huge advantage could be gained when multiaccounting.

The World of Poker Frowns on Scotty Nguyen

For years now Scotty Nguyen has been one of the highlights of professional poker.  Known as a guy who could not only impress a crowd with his incredible play but also with his humorous and talkative nature, Nguyen was one of the guys who people could consistently root for in poker… or so it seemed.

The truth may be that Nguyen’s likeable demeanor has an uglier side to it – especially when he’s got some beer in him!  ESPN’s re-showing of 2008 WSOP events showed Nguyen’s vulgar (but really entertaining) behavior during the $50K H.O.R.S.E. event in which he was consistently getting under other players’ skin through his drunken tirade and cuss words he kept spitting out. 

One point of the ESPN coverage showed Nguyen revealing his hole cards to the audience behind him while taunting fellow player Michael DeMichele.  Later on, he yelled, “Where the F*** is my cocktail” because the waiter was late getting it to him.

He definitely succeeded in making DeMichele angry and he also infuriated Erick Lindgren even more so as Lindgren admonished him when Soctty eliminated him in 3rd place.  The announcers also admonished Nguyen for dishonoring the memory of Chip Reese who the 2008 WSOP $50K H.O.R.S.E. tournament was supposed to celebrate.

Scotty did deliver an apology though some wonder how heart felt it really could be and it is as follows:

I would like to apologize to all my fans for the disappointment I have caused in the H.O.R.S.E. Event.  For that I would like to express my sincerest apology. 

I would like to ask for understanding of what really took place.  Keep in mind this was a five day event, with an almost fourteen hour final table that was reduced to two hours of air time including all the commercial breaks.  With that being said, as you can imagine, more took place than what made the final cut for t.v. 

Last year’s Main Event I made the mistake of letting someone get under my skin, of which overtook my mental focus of the game, and cost me my tournament along with a lot of disappointment amongst my fans and peers. (…) This year, I needed redemption of my own 2007 Main Event demons to prove to myself that no one would get to me again. 

This tournament was too important for me, the trophy, the fifth bracelet, and history, my head was zoned in for this event, and for that time, I forgot the fans were watching me.  I said things I shouldn’t have said that have disappointed you, and I apologize for my actions. 

This tournament I played the players game.  They wanted to play a drinking game, and they couldn’t win, they say they can’t even beat a drunk, how can you beat a drunk if I’m not drunk. (…) I gave it right back to them and got underneath their skin, and they couldn’t win.  When it came down to playing a poker game, the best will win. 

And all I have to say, I hope all you fans understand what I’m trying to say.  And watch the tape again.  I was not the one to start anything, not even drinking or talking, they wanted to start it with me, and they got beat by me fair and square on all levels they wanted to play. 

All I would ever be sorry, is how the fans feel about me, I would never be sorry to beat those players.  If they can’t accept defeat, then stay home, crawl under their loved ones arms, don’t bad mouth because you got beat by the best poker player. 

Another thing, I always bring joy and excitement to the poker game every time I’m on tv, and all of you know, when Scotty Nguyen is on tv, your eyes are glued on the screen.  Why?  Because I make it fun so you guys don’t switch the channel. 

Bottom line, I only ask for you to please understand and remember that I, Scotty Nguyen, the Prince of Poker is still a human being, just like all of you.  I too have good times, bad times, sad times and angry times, just like everyone else in this world, and I hope you can understand that.  I do promise to all the fans that no matter what, from now, I would never disappoint you again any which way.  I forgot about the fans, and only focused on me.  I am sorry.

Yes, the ESPN clips may have shown a lot more of Nguyen than the other players in these altercations but neither Lindgren nor DeMichele seemed drunk so where did the drinking game take place?  With a bunch of Nguyen’s buddies who where already out of the tourney?  Plus, his apology doesn’t really to be much of an apology either. 

How to Determine who is the Best Texas Hold'em Player

When it comes to poker’s most popular form in Texas Hold’em, you’ll have many people spouting off about which is the best way to find out who’s the best player.  A lot of people believe that the best measure of who’s the top Texas player in a group is the No-Limit variation.  And their argument….because this is the version of Texas Hold’em that most people are playing. 

Another argument resides in people saying that Pot-Limit Hold’em is the best form of Texas Hold’em to use in order to find out who’s the best player.  They say it’s a good mixture of both Limit and No-Limit and best measures the overall skill of players.  Not as many people believe Limit Hold’em to be the best way to settle who’s a great Texas player but there are some who think its more mathematical approach to the game makes it a true measure of a player’s skill.

Now I’m not sure there is really a true way to settle the debate over which form of Texas Hold’em could be used as a measure of who’s the top player but I’ll do my best to give my opinion on the matter.  First off, I know that Limit Hold’em does do a good job of making players use a lot of odds to determine their next play but this version pretty much excludes the usage of other great poker skills such as protecting one’s hand and bluffing (for the most part).

No-Limit Hold’em definitely creates the most drama with all-in bets and is shown on TV the most.  Bluffing is certainly a skill here as is excellent post-flop play.  However, the ability of players to go all-in pre-flop and the ridiculous amount of loose, maniac play in this variation is definitely a drawback to using No-Limit as the chief measuring stick. 

Pot-Limit Hold’em sees quite a few hands go to the flop and players are also able to protect their hands better since the structure allows for much larger bets than in Limit.  In my opinion, there really aren’t any major drawbacks to using Pot-Limit as the best overall measure of a player’s skill in Texas Hold’em.  The only thing I can really think of is that Pot-Limit doesn’t normally draw the top players in the game due to its lack of popularity in the tournament world. 



What's with People Stealing WSOP bracelets?

One of the biggest status symbols in the poker world are the World Series of Poker bracelets.  These gold bracelets are pinnacles of the game and represent a champion on poker’s biggest stage.  And it is often these golden rings that define a live tournament player’s career.  Phil Hellmuth is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, poker stars on the planet due to his record 11 WSOP bracelets.  And Hellmuth is lucky that he’s never had any of them stolen as this seems to be a popular thing as of late in the world of poker.

That’s because Hoyt Corkins recently had both of his hard earned gold bracelets stolen when his Las Vegas home was recently burglarized.  Apparently, the burglars cut a huge hole in the garage drywall and not only stole his two WSOP bracelets but also his Harley Davidson, 2005 Jeep, Yukon Denali, his personal safe, and other poker-related stuff. 

This certainly has to ruin Hoyt’s vacation as he is currently in Florida right now.  He’ll no doubt be unable to relax now and said through the media, “I am clearly devastated by this. My hope is that the poker community will help me try and recover the irreplaceable items that were taken.  I truly appreciate the outpouring of love and support I have received.”

This truly gutless act by the burglars in which they stole two symbols of Hoyt’s best ever poker memories reminds me of when similar cowards also stole three bracelets from Ted Forrest.  The first three WSOP bracelets that Forrest ever won were taken from his home leaving him with just one as he gave the other to his daughter.  Actually, Forrest has two because he bought one off of Hamid Dastmalchi who was complaining that the WSOP weren’t even worth $1,500.  Forrest then gave him three $500 chips for the gold bracelet. 

Getting back to the original story, hopefully this is the last we will hear of WSOP bracelet thefts though.  They bring great memories to the players who have won them (except for maybe Dastmalchi) and have little value to the burglars who steal them making it senseless. 


Moving from Limit to No-Limit Texas Hold'em

I, like a lot of people out there, started off playing the game of poker at the limit levels – especially Texas Hold’em.  Unlike those who jump into the game of Texas Hold’em at the no-limit level because that’s what their idols on TV do, I found comfort in the fact that people couldn’t just jump all-in at pretty much any point against me.  Plus I didn’t have to go all-in either (except for when my chip stack was next to nothing).

But eventually the game of limit Hold’em can get a little tedious and one finds them self wanting to step out of the limit Hold’em boundaries and into the world of no-limit.  I have recently begun undertaking this task too in an effort to see if I can win any money on the no-limit side.  Along the way, I’ve also begun finding out some differences between the two versions of Texas Hold’em as well. 

While the games remain quite similar, one thing I’ve noticed is that top pair is a dangerous hand in no-limit Hold’em.  I used to go to the showdown quite often with top pair in limit Hold’em, however, a lot of hands that go to the showdown in no-limit are better than a top pair.  It especially becomes dangerous when one has to commit their whole stack in order to face off against a showdown opponent.  The only time I take top pair to the showdown now is if I can do it as cheaply as possible.

I’ve also noticed that implied odds rule over pot odds in no-limit Hold’em.  In limit Hold’em I was using pot odds exclusively but now, I’ve noticed that a small bet early on can be worth breaking the pot odds rule as bets often get bigger and bigger into the later rounds.  If I’m able to catch something along the way, these small bets can definitely pay off.

The last thing that I’ve really taken note of as of late is that the size of one’s stack really plays a big part in no-limit as opposed to limit Hold’em.  In limit, I wasn’t really too conscious of what my stacked looked like in comparison to others at the table.  But in no-limit, looking at your stack in comparison to others stacks at the table is crucial.  The way that you play a hand can be affected totally by your stack compared to another person.  In a small stack vs. big stack, medium stack vs. small stack, and a medium stack vs. big stack setting, chip amounts are sometimes everything.

These are a few of the things I’ve learned so far and I know that there’s still quite a ways to go but hopefully I will pick up some more knowledge as I go on.

Record Setting Olympian Michael Phelps wants to Play in WSOP

For those living in America, and in a lot of other countries, the coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics highlighted the buildup and efforts of swimmer Michael Phelps to do the unthinkable and capture eight gold medals in a single Olympics games.  And yes, some people got sick of the nonstop coverage of Phelps in his bid to break Mark Sptiz record but even they can’t deny how incredible the feat was when he won number eight.

For some, the Games aren’t quite over yet but for Phelps, his journey to break a 36 year old record is done with and he will no doubt be looking for something to do while he waits until beginning serious swimming training again in January.  Some of the plans he’s discussed so far include chilling out with Tiger Woods and Michael Jordon and he even mentioned that it might be cool to hang with his favorite rapper Young Jeezy too.

More important than all of this though is that Phelps also stated that he was interested in playing in the WSOP.  He was recently quoted as saying, “I think it would be cool to play in the World Series of Poker.  My game is a little off right now, so I’ll have to start improving it a little bit. But I think that would be cool, and it would be cool to meet some of those poker guys.”

I’m sure that some of the poker guys would be glad to meet him as well.  I’m also sure that the WSOP would be extremely glad to add another star into its mix and who knows, someone may even pay for his buy-in to one of the events. 

But for those who doubt that Phelps is really serious about poker consider this: fellow Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard, who is a good friend of Phelps, said in an interview, “He sits on his computer for like ten hours a day playing online poker.  That’s all he does.”  Now this may be a slight exaggeration as he wouldn’t have time to train six hours a day or keep up with his 12,000 calorie diet but it does show that Phelps is serious about the game and, luckily, we may really see him in the WSOP in the future.

Over Confidence in Online Texas Hold’em

Online Texas hold’em is a great game for poker players of all kinds. Due to the variety of online poker software available on the Internet, you can usually find one at a level that is appropriate for you. At some point, you may find yourself playing above the level of your opposition. This is great and can be profitable. However, you must be careful to guard against overconfidence when you play online poker, as this can turn out to be extremely costly.

When Online Texas Hold’em Players May Become Overconfident

The most common time an online Texas hold’em player may become overconfident is when he is on a lucky streak, either within a particular session or over a series of sessions. When you are getting lucky, especially if you have been playing well, you may feel that you can do no wrong, that your play is strong enough to defeat all opposition. This can be quite a dangerous attitude, you should always strive to improve your game.

Dangers of Overconfidence in Online Texas Hold’em

The problem with this kind of attitude is that the luck will eventually catch up with you, and if your overconfidence is causing you to play recklessly, you may lose all you have gained as a result. You may be playing too many hands or bluffing too often, and savvy opponents will quickly take advantage of this.

Avoiding Overconfidence in Online Texas Hold’em

Try to play your same game whether you are up or down. After each hand do a quick self-analysis to see if you are making the right plays. If you find yourself making a few reckless plays in a row, it may be time to take a break from the game.

Anxious to hear about The Real Deal

There have been several poker TV shows that have came out in the past few years and, so far, I think they’ve all been fairly good.  However, the only catch is that most of them don’t really offer poker fans much besides the chance to see their favorite pros battle each other.  And to me, just watching the game of poker isn’t always the funnest thing in the world to do – even with top players involved.  It’s a lot more fun to actually be doing it.

Well the Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino apparently agrees and has developed a pretty cool concept in the form of a live show that they will be hosting.  It’s going to be called The Real Deal and will be a poker show staged in front of a live audience.  There are no plans so far to film it for television as, instead, people will pay admission to get into the show.

Once inside the show, people will not only get to see a 90 minute poker tournament with some of the top players in the game taking part, but they will also get to actually participate in the tournament themselves.  The way that this will be done is by audience members getting a wireless device which will enable them to be the ninth player at the table of pros.  Everyone will start with 100,000 points and whoever gets the top score out of the audience members near the end of the tournament gets to play against the last remaining pro. 

What I really like about this idea is that it’s something that a lot of people can enjoy.  I could see casual visitors of Las Vegas wanting to take part in this live show and I could also possibly see it becoming one of THE Vegas shows people like to talk about.  Obviously it will take some time before that happens but with top pros being involved, there will definitely be the chance for The Real Deal to be huge. 

Will Online Events One Day Equal the WSOP?

Without a doubt, the WSOP is the biggest poker event on the planet.  This year’s WSOP alone saw over 58,000 people participate in the 55 events and over $160 million was dished out in prize money.  And there doesn’t appear to be a successor anytime soon on the horizon….or is there?

The world of online poker had very humble beginnings back in 1998 when the first room in Poker Planet started allowing people to play there for real money.  The Internet poker game increased moderately after that until the much discussed big boom of 2003 after people saw Chris Moneymaker win $2.5 million in the WSOP after making it there through a $39 satellite. 

And online poker has grown to the point it is at now where rooms are running multi-million dollar tournaments and events.  It seems like every month I see another offer from a room that has at least ‘1 million guaranteed’ somewhere in the title.

Then came today where I saw an article ran on the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker.  A full $30,000,000 is going to be up for grabs and the 17 day event has me wondering to myself, “Just how far is online poker going to go?”

Obviously a $30 million event is not going to upstage the WSOP but it does show how far online poker has come in terms of cash tournaments and also shows that poker rooms can organize huge money events that, 6 years ago, many would have thought were impossible.

I’m sure the online world isn’t at its peak either as I do believe the record of $30 million for an online tourney will be broken.  But it will be interesting to wait and see if any poker rooms will ever rival the WSOP in terms of such a huge event.