Jovogaunch Goin Away Bash
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World Poker Tour to Allow Logos
It was only a matter of time when this was going to happen but it has finally happened. Who knows maybe the next time you flip on the television you will think you are staring at Jeff Gordon on the Nascar circuit or something. But, then you take a second look and its Mike "The Mouth" Matusow. I think its only fair that the players can make some additional funds. I mean the television networks are making a killing off of these guys so its about time the players get rewarded. Anyways, below is the press release from POker Web on this issue.
In a nearly midnight decision regarding the long-simmering issue of player logos on the World Poker Tour broadcasts, the Travel Channel and the World Poker Tour announced late on Tuesday evening that, beginning with the Borgota Poker Open in Atlantic City in September, players will be allowed to wear sponsorship logos in the preliminary and final table rounds of WPT broadcasts.
There had been much uproar from the players regarding the decisions of the WPT to not allow players to earn sponsorship monies and, thus, alleviate the stresses of world class, high priced tournament poker. The WPT pointed out, accurately, that the contract signed with the Travel Channel was the barrier that prevented the players from wearing their sponsorships.
It seems now all has come clean and the players will be permitted to wear logos that fall in line with the standards set forth by the WPT and available at worldpokertour.com/rules.
"This policy is a testament to the strength of the WPT's partnership with the Travel Channel," CEO and WPT founder Steve Lipscomb exclaimed. "We were the partnership that launched the current poker boom and this is a sign we are constantly trying to find new ways to foster and grow the market we helped to create."
Lipscomb was very quick to point out that the background of Pat Younge, the executive vice president and general manager of the Travel Channel. Younge's background with sports programming at the British Broadcasting Company and Channel 4 in England and "understands the significance of what we have done here - the transformation of poker into a televised sport. We have agreed that a player logo policy would solidify our relationship with players and help foster a climate in which mainstream sponsorship of poker players will become a reality," remarked Lipscomb.
The players response was nearly as quick. Brian Balsbaugh, President & CEO of Poker Royalty, a poker-specific marketing and representation agency, nearly shouted his acclaim for the landmark decision. "Kudos to the WPT and the Travel Channel for adopting this final table policy," said Balsbaugh, who represents poker professionals Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Jennifer Harman, among others. "This policy change will open the door for corporate sponsorship of the players on the WPT. I also applaud the WPT for establishing clear guidelines regarding logo wear. Sponsors want certainty and these guidelines provide just that."
It was an issue that has threatened to disrupt play on many of the televised events that we have all come to enjoy. With this decision, the WPT and the Travel Channel have extended the olive branch to the players and play can now commence unhindered by the threat of a serious player boycott or other fiasco that could affect tournament poker today. A rousing ovation for all involved and, now that this is out of the way, let's sound the "shuffle up and deal!" on the fourth season of the World Poker Tour!
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Recovering from a Long Night
Oh god, these are the days when you regret everything you did the night before. My head feels like it weighs about 100 pounds and it is so groggy that the television looks so blurry. Ahhh, why do I do this. Well I sure as hell enjoyed my night last night though i'll tell you that much. We had a boys night out at our buddy phril's house and we got absolutely shit faced. We were just sittin out in the backyard and we fired up a bbq and started playing mad drinking games. It was about two hours after we started and we were all incredibly gunned. At this point my buddy brought up the word "poker" and then all of a sudden everyone was ready to play. The only problem was that know one had their poker chips on them, and at this point there wasn't one person that was able to drive to go and pick them up. So that crushed the hopes of a solid home game and so at that point if you wanted to play poker it was time to wait in line and play some online poker at partypoker. The trouble was five guys wanted to play and we had one computer, so I decided I'd keep on drinking out in the backyard with the other dudes who weren't going to play. Probably a bad move on my part as I really didn't need that much more alcohol in my system. Oh well I had a fun night but i'm really paying for it now. I'll tell you that much.
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Future of the World Series of Poker
I was going through my most recent copy of CardPlayer magazine and I came across an article on the future of the World Series of Poker. I was beginning to ask myself the question on how does the World Series of Poker get any bigger and what is it gonna be like in say 2 years from now or even 5 years from now. I really have no idea how the size of this tournament continues to grow each and every year at the rates that it has been increasing from say three years ago. Anyways, here is the article that i got from Cardplayer magazine and Mike Sexton puts a pretty good spin on things.
by. Mike Sexton
Poker definitely has entered a new era. The game is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s now big business combined with massive media hoopla. The top players have become rock stars. There was a record number of players in the 2005 World Series of Poker main event — more than a 100 percent increase from a year ago! This raises two questions: “Is bigger better?” And, “Where do we go from here?”
Bigger is better only in terms of larger prize pools and more players wanting to participate in the game we love — and compete at the highest level. However, in terms of players being taken care of better today than yesteryear, I wouldn’t consider it an improvement. Give me Jack Binion’s hospitality, comps to the players, and the lavish buffets back in the ’80s any day.
You do have to say “Wow!” about the 2005 WSOP. With three “bracelet” tournaments going simultaneously on nearly a daily basis, satellites and supersatellites running continuously, cash games spread around-the-clock, big-time media hoopla, and spectators everywhere, you could have called the WSOP the “Barnum & Bailey of Poker” and not been too far off. Hats off to the entire staff at the Rio for doing a terrific job of running the 2005 WSOP. Special recognition goes to Johnny Grooms and the tournament directors, the dealers, the dealer coordinators, and Nolan Dalla and the media relations people.
I also would like to salute the people responsible for the poker lifestyle show in the adjoining ballroom during the WSOP. What a popular attraction that was! I can’t ever imagine another WSOP without it.
The biggest complaints I heard were targeted at the worthless $10 buffet coupons when you signed up to play a tournament, as it cost you another $8 even if you wanted to walk the long distance to the buffet and fight the crowd once you got there, and the lack of bathroom facilities.
These are very legitimate concerns.
I would like to see a “players buffet” set up in a ballroom adjacent to the poker area, with plenty of seating available. As anyone who played knows, it was difficult to find places to eat in the time allotted at the dinner break of the tournaments. And it’s totally crazy to expect 2,000 players to be able to get to a bathroom on a 15-minute break! Why not break half the room (and let the other half continue to play) for 15 minutes and the other half for the next 15 minutes?
Another complaint (and a pet peeve of mine) was that the payouts of the main event weren’t announced until late on the third day. All players want to know what they can win while they are still in the event and their dreams are still alive. Somewhere, there must have been accounting flaws if it took that long to announce the prize pool. They had to have a list of all those who paid $10,000 to enter the tournament. How tough is it to announce the payout structure when you know the number of paid entrants? I don’t buy the no-show, duplicate stack, death in the family, and medical cancellation theories once the tournament is under way. In my opinion, once the event starts, there should be no refunds. Here’s why: Suppose that Phil Ivey and Doyle Brunson played on day one and they each had $500,000 at the end of the day. I’m guessing there are those who would rather get their $10,000 buy-in back than play on days two or three.
As for the future of the WSOP, the growth factor is a major concern (or should be). Can you imagine a much larger venue than the Rio had this year? And staffing an event that could be twice as large next year will be very difficult, if not impossible.
So, what’s the solution to the growth problem? Well, many think it’s time to increase the buy-in of the championship event to $20,000-$25,000. That would eliminate the problem of a massive field. Here’s my suggestion: Set the WSOP up like the U.S. Open golf tournament. Make players qualify regionally to play in the championship event. Bring the top 2,000 players from these qualifying events into Las Vegas for the final event. Allow another 1,000-2,000 to qualify at the Rio. In other words, players would have to earn their way into the championship event.
I would set up regional qualifying in Europe and other places around the world, as well as in the East, North, South, Midwest, Southwest, and West here in the United States; $10,000 buy-in tournaments would be held at the qualifying sites, where players would have to make the money to play in the final event in Las Vegas. And to enable the championship event to continue to have record-breaking prize pools, a portion of all qualifying tournament money (say 20 percent-25 percent) would automatically go into the prize pool at the main event in Las Vegas.
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Look out Vegas
Today four of us booked our trip to Vegas. Holy shizzit am i pumped, i've never been to Vegas before and we are heading outta here on September 10th to the 13th. We've got ourselves booked in the Augustus Tower at Caesar's Palace. The place looks absolutely unbelievable. I am really intrigued by the party's that we are going to get hooked up into as well. We have booked a table at Pure Nightclub for the Saturday night when we arrive, and from all the pictures and the things that I have heard about this place is that it is the sickness. We'll have to find out.
Also, we've noticed there are a bunch of poker tournaments constantly going on so we will for sure be checkin into a couple of those. I haven't really played that many live poker events as I have been trying to hone my game online playing at partypoker. We'll see how I make out.
I am real pumped about this trip and I can't wait to let you guys in on what went down in the city of sin.
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Poker the latest craze in Reality TV
It was only a matter of time before somebody was going to announce a reality television program about poker. This is a pretty good idea with how hot poker is and it should definitely make for some interesting viewing. Here is an article about the new program.
Reality TV's American Poker Champion Challenge
The American Poker Champion Challenge (APC Challenge) will be filmed over 12 days and broadcast over the course of 7 weeks.
Contestants will hail from 9 different No-Limit Hold'em qualifying tournaments, which will be held at host locations. Twenty-seven players will advance from these qualifiers to participate in the challenge, where they will joined by a number of celebrity guest players.
A 'Survivor'-like series, contestants will be playing on teams but rooming with players from a different team. They will compete in weekly 'Pro-Challenges' where they will have the opportunity to win cash and knock fellow players out of the tournament: The first player to lose all of their chips at their weekly 'Pro-Challenges' table will be sent packing. However, players who win at their table one week (by amassing all of the chips) will be exempt from being knocked out the following week.
Celebrity guest players will be thrown into the poker playing mix each week in order to bring the challenge to another level. Indeed, the competition is set-up through a string of shifty alliances, with only 9 players making the final table. First place winner will be crowned the 'American Poker Champion' and awarded $1 million.
Please see www.americanpokerchampion.com for further details.
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Phil Hellmuth moves All-In
Here is an article from Cardplayer magazine that I thought would interest you. It's all about the Poker Brat; Mr. Phil Hellmuth
by. Phil Hellmuth
I’ll tell you the truth, right here and right now: I’m not sleeping well these days. I keep having nightmares about a guy who raised me or reraised me 14 times on the second day of the championship event of the World Poker Finals at Foxwoods, and won them all. What happened to the “three strikes, you’re out” rule?
Of course, I continued to smoothly run my stack up to $840,000 and second place in chips, and knew that I would get my opponent soon for a big number. Hoyt Corkins was acting out the role of “Mr. Move All In” during this tournament, and he was doing it rather well.
If it had stopped there, I wouldn’t have minded; after all, I did have $840,000 in chips, and I knew I would nail Hoyt for all or most of chips soon. Didn’t he know that I knew what he was doing? Didn’t he know that I knew he was making moves on me with weak hands?
Normally, I would say to someone using that strategy against me, “You keep messing with me, and I’ll bust you.” But that had happened so often in the past — I have busted so many players who overplayed their hands against me — that I didn’t want to tip Hoyt off to it. I would let him run me over, and then, “Bam,” it would be over for him and he would leave the tournament wondering what the heck had happened to him.
Protect his chips? Hoyt apparently didn’t know you were supposed to do that. This was OK with me, as sooner or later I was going to catch him; and then Mike Matusow would say, “Phil, why do they always give you their chips?! It’s so sick, dude … ”
How about this scenario: Hoyt raises Phil the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th time, and wins them all. Still, I didn’t mind. I knew what was coming, and Hoyt apparently didn’t know or care. Protect your chips? Ha!
I sat back and watched Hoyt reraise “Mo” Ibrahim with 3-3, making it $180,000 to go, and then watched as the flop came down A-J-9 and Hoyt announced, “I’m all in.” Mo almost fell off his chair while calling the $300,000-plus bet with his A-K. “Now it is over for Hoyt,” I thought.
I was calmly watching the hand end when I thought, “Hoyt will raise a bunch of pots in a row, and maybe give all of his chips away quickly.” Hoyt then raised the next three pots in a row, and I let him go. He was down to less than $900,000 and I was up to about $1.1 million when I looked down at a 9 in the small blind, and made up the $6,000 to complete the blind.
The flop came down 9-6-2 offsuit, and I thought, “I have looked at only one card, but I have a feeling of strength (I did have at least top pair, so far). I’ll bet out, and he will raise me, as usual, with nothing.”
I bet out $25,000, and Hoyt raised it $45,000 more. I then looked back at a jack kicker, and thought, “Now is the time for him to give me all of those chips.” So, I just called to trap him further. The next card was a 7, and I thought, “I’ll check this time and bet big on the last card.”
The last card was another 7, and I bet out $80,000, feeling like there was no way to lose for me here. He could have had a straight draw and made three sevens, but I didn’t think so. Hoyt then raised me $80,000, and I quickly called him. I had set him up, and now I was reaping the rewards.
He then flipped up J-7, and I shouted, “No!” I got up from the table in total shock and wandered over to the TV commentating booth. Did this hand really just happen? Did he just raise me when drawing dead to runner-runner sevens to make any money? (How much would he have won if it had come 8 and another straight card? Not much.) And what if merely one jack had hit the board instead of 7-7? How much would he have given me then?
What if, for example, a random card hit on the end, like a queen? I was betting $80,000 unless a straight card came off, and believe you me, he was calling with a pair of sevens.
He was supposed to go below $700,000 and I was supposed to go above $1.3 million. “Fine,” I tried to tell myself, “he hit the miracle, but he will still give you all of his chips, eventually.”
A little while later, I raised with the Khearts 9hearts, and Hoyt called me. This was a first; Hoyt just called me — with the Aclubs Jclubs. The flop was all his, Aspades Kclubs 10clubs. I checked, and he bet $80,000. I quickly called, and the turn card was the Kdiamonds. I checked, and then Hoyt checked. He did have some outs with an ace, the deuce through 8 of clubs, or a queen. The river was an ace, I checked, he bet $130,000, and I quickly called.
I do like the way Hoyt played this hand. He bet every street that he had the best hand, and checked when I hit the three kings. Still, it was pretty unlucky for me that a king and then an ace came up. Meanwhile, Hoyt had raised me close to 35 hands, and I’d won one stinking pot!
With the blinds at $15,000-$30,000, I watched Hoyt move all in on at least 50 percent of the hands, and Mo and I kept giving it up to him, folding until we could nail him once. Both Mo and I knew what Hoyt was doing, and I limped three consecutive times from the small blind, followed by Hoyt saying, “I’m all in.” Didn’t he know that I would limp in with any big hand I had and would call him soon?
Protecting chips? Ha! It is scary to watch someone get away with playing like this for 30 minutes, much less seven to eight hours. Finally, Hoyt had moved in on me 40-plus times, and the blinds were $25,000-$50,000. I took the first $50,000 big blind (three hours and one minute into the thing), and then Mo moved all in on me. I smelled weakness as I looked down at A-6. I asked for a chip count to get a feel for what I had to do and the strength of Mo’s hand.
Mo had raised $285,000, and I had only $265,000. If I folded, I’d need to make a move within the next two hands, or I could play what I believed was the best hand now. I announced, “I need to call you here, Mo,” and Mo flipped up J-10 offsuit. Here it was; I was a 3-to-2 favorite to get back in the ballgame — a 3-to-2 favorite to receive at least $560,000 for second place versus $280,000 for third.
Mo would have $20,000 left if I won, but this pot was effectively for third-place prize money. The flop came K-Q-4, and I was thinking, “Pair the board.” But the next card off was an ace, and Mo made the straight and I headed home with $280,000.
A week later, I was still feeling good about the way I played, which is rare for me. But I was having nightmares about what Hoyt got away with. How did he hit runner-runner sevens, or an ace after I hit three kings? How did he move in on me that many times and survive? Was he that good at reading me?
I believe the style he used won’t work very often — although I do see players accumulate chips when using this style — and it is very rare for it to win a big three-day event. Am I still bitter? Honestly, yes; when I play at this level, I expect to win. After all, I don’t play at this level very often.
Why couldn’t I have picked up one hand in all the time I waited for him to implode? Bitter, yes, but get over it, Philly boy — that’s poker!
I hope you enjoyed this Hand of the Week. Good luck playing your hands this week.
Do you see this type of action when you play online poker at partypoker.com
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Check out this Funny Video
Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel like taking your frustrations out on somebody. Recently I have had numerous days when I’m playing poker at partypoker and I get rivered by a meathead who should be out of the hand and just keeps on chasing and I eventually lose I’d like to do this to the guy that just rivered me (maybe not, but this is pretty funny stuff).
Video is called Kid Hits another Kid with Shovel
Here's a pretty interesting article for you to read courtesy of The Poker Web on the owners of party gaming which runs the biggest online poker room going today; Partypoker.
America's Poker Passion Creates Newest Desi Billionaires
Move over, Vinod Khosla (founder of Sun Microsystems) and Sabeer Bhatia (founder of hotmail).
Its time to meet the newest technology billionaires - Anurag Dikshit and his college pal Vikrant Bhargava -- who got there by 'helping people find ways to lose money.'
Dikshit is also the only Indian to be inducted into Red Herring magazine's top 20 technology entrepreneurs of 2005.
Dukshit and Bhargava are the Indian duo behind PartyGaming, an online poker/gambling company based in Gibraltar that went public in London with a valuation estimated at around $10 billion. Thus making them the first-known online gaming billionaires.
Known as The Gibraltar Gang of Four, they are estimated to be worth as follows: Anurag Dikshit (net worth: $3.4 billion), Vikrant Bhargava (net worth: $1 billion). And the two other founders of the company Ruth Parasol (net worth: $1.8 billion), Russell DeLeon (net worth: $1.8 billion).
Recent reports in the press note that 'billionaire status has rarely been achieved so young or so quickly.'
Bhargava hints at the way in which the ride has left them breathless. "When we left university in 1994 - and you have to remember that the Indian Institute of Technology was one of the best schools in all of India - quite a lot of people went off to the US and got involved with dotcoms," he says. "So many people wanted to do something big, but I don't think we ever thought it would be this big. But the motivation was not money. We have done well at something we enjoy doing."
According to one report, PartyGaming's pretax profit has gone from about $6-million (U.S.) three years ago to more than $370-million last year, and in the first quarter this year it made $128-million, or $1.4-million a day.
Parasol founded the precursor company in 1997 after reportedly running porn sites. She brought on Dikshit to develop proprietary software in 1998. Parasol and her husband DeLeon now consult, while Dikshit runs the group and Bhargava oversees marketing.
Bhargava, aged 32, and originally from Rajasthan, pursued a career in banking before joining the poker party in 2000, having been asked to come on board as marketing director of PartyGaming by his old college friend, Anurag Dikshit. Bhargava, an MBA from IIM (Kolkata) is a whizkid behind the raging success of PartyGaming. Bhargava's experience prior to joining the Group included positions as a credit officer at the Bank of America, where he was responsible for managing credit exposure and revenue for a portfolio of corporate clients, and a business analyst at British Gas in the business development division. Married with two children, he is the only shareholder in the company to be seen in public and is a regular face in the crowd at PartyGaming's live poker tournaments.
A recent article in The Guardian described Mr. Bhargava as a "shy, modest workaholic." The PartyGaming executive, who owns a 15-per-cent stake in the company, told the British newspaper: "I don't think we ever thought it would be this big. But the motivation was not money. We have done well at something we enjoy doing."
Very little is known about Anurag Dikshit, the 33-year-old computer whizzkid who created the technology behind online poker. He is a graduate of IIT Delhi, and has worked as a software developer in the US for various companies such as CMC, Websci and later as a consultant for AT&T before he hooked up with Ruth Parasol in 1998. He owns 40 per cent of the company.
Dikshit developed an innovative platform to facilitate gamblers playing against other online gamblers at individual tables or in large tournaments. The company launched the service in 2001, just as poker enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity in America. As television programs, new books and celebrities got involved with poker, online poker sky-rocketed in popularity. So much so that Dikshit's platform which allowed 20,000 simultaneous users was inadequate and new technology was adopted allowing 70,000 simultaneous users.
The appeal of Dikshit's offering was that poker players could play at any time from anywhere without having to organise a social group to play. Total revenues for online poker from all providers was already a healthy US$92 million in 2002, but it then exploded, surpassing US$1 billion two years later, according to Christiansen Capital Advisors, experts on the online gaming industry. Dikshit's company shrewdly hired a well-known poker player named Mike Sexton as a marketing consultant, and with his help it developed the "PartyPoker.com Million" tournament which was televised throughout the United States and Europe.
Dikshit is not very well known beyond the secretive online gambling industry, which is considered a criminal enterprise in the United States. He is believed to be married to a doctor, to have one child and lives in Gibraltar. He is a vegetarian, does not gamble, wears braces to hold his trousers and has a moustache. He is said to "smile a lot when he talks."
A colleague says that Dikshit's head has not been turned by the company's financial success. "For someone so key to a company that is making the amount of money PartyGaming is making he is very self-deprecating. For Anurag, it's a systems challenge. How do you write software that can handle so many players and how do you deliver the product to customers?"
Dikshit keeps a low profile. Colleagues are unwilling to talk about his home town in India, for fear of identifying his family and jeopardising their security.
But at work, he does not hold back. "He has an unerring habit of asking the best questions of all the founders," says the colleague. "There's also a core of 20 to 30 people in senior management that he recruited and who are clearly extremely loyal to him. He's also not ostentatious. I don't know what he would do with the money if he were to cash out but I'm sure you wouldn't see him buying a palace on an island and a big yacht. He's just not like that."
There is one big caveat to this tale of good fortune. The legality of internet gambling in the US is a point on which the operators and the US department of justice cannot agree. So before Bhargava, Dikshit and their colleagues can turn any part of their theoretical fortunes into cash, the investment community has to be convinced that the business is not vulnerable to being closed down overnight in the US, its biggest market.
Observers say the signs are good. Sportingbet, a quoted British company, paid £169m last year for one of PartyGaming's rivals, Paradise Poker, and has seen its share price surge 150% since then, as investors wake up to the global online poker revolution.
Bhargava says more than 70,000 people play on Party Poker simultaneously at peak hours; two years ago, the figure was fewer than 2,000. Party Poker makes its money by taking a small slice from each pot - the rake, in the jargon.
Describing the way the game is played in cyberspace, a company spokesman said: “Party Poker is a website and 10 people can gather round a virtual table. Party Poker makes its money by taking a small slice from each pot - the rake, in the jargon."
One of the ironies of PartyGaming is that due to government rules, Indians in India are not allowed to play even though ninety per cent of its employees, totalling about 1,000, are based in Hyderabad.
For tax reasons, Dikshit and Bhargava live in Gibraltar where, according to one report, 'the weather is pleasantly Mediterranean but there cannot be too many distractions on which to squander their easily acquired fortunes.'
The two Indians keep a relatively low profile. The best that the Financial Times could muster up in a recent profile is the revelation that Dikshit 'always smiles a lot when he talks'.
Company executives include Nitin Jain [CIO - PEC, Chandigarh & IIM Kolkata] and Manish Grover [Director Customer Services, IIT Delhi, IIM Kolkata].
Due to concerns about the legality of online gambling in the United States, the company is incorporated in Gibraltar and has no assets in the United States. Nonetheless, U.S. consumers provide around 90% of PartyGaming's revenues.
Globally, about $200m has been wagered in tournaments over the past 24 hours alone, according to the online poker monitoring service, Pokerpulse.com.
Gamblers Anonymous, the gambling counselling service, said it had seen a dramatic rise in the number of calls it receives from people blaming the internet for their addiction.
"Gambling on the internet is like pornography on the internet. Clicking a screen on a computer is much easier for many people than going in to a sex shop and buying the goods face to face. People who are too scared or embarrassed to go in to a betting shop will bet online, and they can also bet unnoticed," said a Gambling Anonymous spokesman.
"As well as removing some of the social constraints around gambling, the internet also removes the physical constraints of having to hand over your cash to gamble. You don't have to keep going to the cash machine. It all happens electronically, which means you keep gambling without it seeming like a real loss. It gives you no time to think and consider your actions."
Celebrities such as Ben Affleck, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matt Damon and Tobey Maguire are all regulars at televised poker matches, and have also helped give the game a cult appeal. And so big is the potential for companies to make millions from the business that there is now a rush of other online gambling companies listing in the stock market.
To their credit, the founders are recognising the efforts of their employees to a degree many other billionaires might not. Some 5.6% of PartyGaming, worth $560m or about £300m at the top end of the flotation price range, will be gifted to an employee trust. All staff, from call centre staff in Hyderabad to London techies, will get the chance to earn two or three times their salary in free share options over the next four years.
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The Kid in Montreal playing in a Golf Tournament
For those that don’t know “the Kid” my first profession is that of a professional golfer. I have been a pro golfer for ten years now and I have been traveling across the U.S. playing various mini tours and tournaments. This past week I was in Montreal, Quebec trying to qualify for a Canadian Tour event “The Montreal Open”. The qualifier was on Monday and I had played a couple of practice rounds on the Saturday and Sunday to get ready for the big show. Monday comes and I’m up real early to get ready for my 7:45 tee time.
The time comes for the kid to hit his first tee shot of the qualifier. The nerves were pretty good just a few butterflies goin through my stomach as per usual on the first tee of a pretty big tourney. I stepped up and hit it right down the pipe. The weather was pretty nice temperature wise but the wind was gusting and this golf course was a pure links course with fescue everywhere, so the wind would definitely play a factor in the scores. Back to the round I started off like a house on fire with three birdies right out of the gate, to get to three under. On the fourth hole I ripped a driver right down the middle but when I got to my ball I hit a little further than I thought and I was in a goddamn pot bunker. I tried to be a hero and go for it instead of laying up and that cost me. I made a quick double bogey and now I’ve fallen back to one under par. I made the turn (after nine holes) I was one over par. Not happy at all at this point since where I was after three holes but I knew there was plenty of time left to get going. I was playing real solid on the back nine and gave myself numerous opportunities to make birdies, but like so many before me and after me the putts just didn’t want to go in the hole. I’m one over par through sixteen holes and playing real well, I ripped my tee shot on 17 to where I thought would be perfect and again I found myself in a pot bunker. Real pissed when I got up there and saw the ball in the goddamn bunker. I proceed to lay up this time and I would eventually make a bogey to go to two over par for the round with one hole to go. I knew by the way the course was playing and the conditions that if I par 18 I’m in the tournament. I hit a great drive on 18, but then I hit a freakin horrible golf shot for my second and left myself in a little bit of a predicament to getting up and down to save my par. Needless to say I didn’t get up and down and I finished with a three over par 75. Not too Brad but not that great either. I was on the bubble of getting into the event.
Eventually I would be on the alternate list for the event and I would go to a playoff to determine which number alternate I would be. For those that don’t know about alternates its basically a designation you are given and you show up on the first day of the event and hope somebody doesn’t make it. So I would win the playoff and I was the second alternate for the tournament. The first alternate shot 74 so he wasn’t included in the playoff.
My buddy Cobster (who was my caddy) and I show up Thursday morning for the first round. We got there at 6:30 to get ready for the first tee time just in case. The first alternate eventually got in at around 9:30 and I was next on the list. I’m getting pretty pumped because I can feel that I’ve got a pretty good chance of getting in and right now my game is feeling really good. The tee times go until two thirty so there is plenty of time left. We waited and waited and waited until the very last tee time and my name was not called. I was so pissed at this point that I just freakin bolted to the parking lot and threw my shit in the car and got the hell out of there. What a disappointment so close but yet so far. The worst thing was that I worked my ass off all week to get ready and I really felt if I got in I was gonna put together a special week. As a professional golfer I know when my game is peaking and if I’m ready or not, and this week I had the most confidence as I’ve ever had on a golf course. Its unfortunate that I didn’t get to put my skills to the test this week but there will be other times down the road.
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A Chat Session with Phil Hellmuth
Here is some interesting stuff from the ESPN chat with Phil Hellmuth. I thought you might enjoy checking some stuff out on what the Poker Brat had to say.
Phil Hellmuth: (2:36 PM ET ) Hello!
brad ( salisbury): do you think a pro is gonna win the world series next year?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:37 PM ET ) I doubt it. I have an ESPN.com article saying how difficult it is for a pro to win now and the reasons why. Just give that a read. It will be posted today.
David ( Fredericton): How do you feel about Paul Phillips constantly bashing you?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:38 PM ET ) I like Paul Phillips. He's a pretty good guy. I don't think Paul hates me. I just think he gets joy out of teasing me. That's OK with me. Look, if I weren't the big media guy in poker, if I hadn't accomplished so much, he'd be picking on someone else. It's a sign of respect.
dshane ( rockville): which player do you respect the most at the tables as far as no limit hold em goes?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:39 PM ET ) Johnny Chan.
Glen ( Rochester, NY): Have you ever been in "The Zone" like the current one Ivey is experincing (4 straight final tables in $10k buy-in events)?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:41 PM ET ) By the way.. Antonio and I bet $2500 on what time the PPT starts today. I said 2pm because that is in the literature and what I was told by the floor staff. Antonio called and they said Noon. So we bet $2500. Because I was expecting to start at 2, I'm caught in the awkward position of having to brush my teeth during this chat. Just thought I'd let you know. That's just a sample of what is happening in the high limit world every minute!
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:42 PM ET ) Also, that means I will be chatting on ESPN.com for the first 15 minutes of the tournament .. LOL .. if it is at noon, I hope they start late!
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:43 PM ET ) Phil Ivey is a great player. Of course I get in the zone. In 2001 at the WSOP events I had 8 top 15s. But I wasn't happy with that because I only won 1 tournament. Then again, that was also the year that I lost a $1.2 million pot with my 9s against Phil Gordon's 6s. So I have bad memories. But I was definitely in the zone. If Gordon doesn't hit a 6, I probably win that tournament and broke every record in poker.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:44 PM ET ) Normally I'm depressed for 4-5 hours after a tournament, sometimes less, but I was depressed for about 12 days after that.
Dave (NYC): Pokerwire.com says PPT starts at 2
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:46 PM ET ) LOL ... I'm getting dressed as we speak just in case. I've never seen so much confusion. I asked in front of Lyle Berman and Steve Lipscomb what time it started. They said noon. It was later that actor James Woods called me over and asked if I had been dropping acid. I told him no. He said it started at two and dragged me over to the tournament staffers who said no way it starts before noon. Still Antonio calls me back trying to bet more money. That's why I'm getting dressed.
doug ( detroit): how many wsop events are you playing in?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:48 PM ET ) I was offered a lot of events during the WSOP time frame. I passed on all. I may get roped into a June 15 event in Toronto for the World Online Something or Another. They want me to do the key note. Otherwise, I'm planning on spending most of my time in Vegas and playing most of the hold 'em tournaements. I NEED bracelet No. 10! (and 11) .. (and 12) .. this year.
Matt (River Grove): What do you enjoy doing more - PLaying online or playing live?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:50 PM ET ) Here's the thing, I probably enjoy online more these days. When I play live I play 4/8, maybe 6/12. But I don't like losing and you have to be willing to lose some big pots in live games. I love playing the 8160 games at ultimatebet.com. I'm supposed to be one of the best head up Hold 'Em players in the world, but I usually don't play the hold 'em games at ultimatebet. It's fun to win, I just don't like to lose big numbers. In that sense, ultimatebet is safe. Although I did lose $14,000 the other night.
Tim ( Muncie, IN): Howard Lederer just got done saying some of your antics may get into your own head and hinder your play - your thoughts?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:52 PM ET ) Howard is right. Sometimes I'm so embarrassed by how I act. Esp. in the old days. It might affect me. Getting really negative just isn't good for my game. But my antics are never intentional. When someone does something they are not supposed to do, it just pisses me off. For them to get lucky and hit, it just makes me erupt.
Andrew (CT): Phil - checked out your fantasy camp - http://www.camphellmuth.com/espn/ and think it looks great. Got anything special in store for anyone that goes there? How much will you be playing with the participants?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:54 PM ET ) I'll be playing a lot. The fantasy camp will be a huge success. We have 500 spots and I think we will sell out. I'll be playing quite a bit.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:55 PM ET ) I'm going to be at a lot of different tables. I might not play with all 500 players but everyone will have contact with me. I'll be speaking in front of the group as well. By the way, The Pure is an amazing club and that is where the opening party will be. The camp starts Aug. 18. You can go to www.camphellmuth.com.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:56 PM ET ) By the way, Antonio just called me. He said 100 percent it is at noon. That sucks.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:57 PM ET ) I'm heading down now just to be in the vicinity.. I'll see if they let me walk away in between hands.
SportsNation Andrew Feldman: (2:57 PM ET ) Be sure to keep an eye out for the Camp Hellmuth promotion being run in the ESPN Poker Club where FOUR lucky winners will be sent to the camp! Promotion starts May 23rd and ends June 26th!
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:57 PM ET ) I just put my hat and sunglasses on and I'm leaving my room.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (2:58 PM ET ) I only have $6625 in chips left. I think the average stack now is around $37-40,000. I have my work cut out for me.
Jimmy F ( Philadelphia): Phil, what do you think about "The Crew". They come off as a bunch of wise guys but are they any good?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:00 PM ET ) It's too early to tell. When people come out of nowhere like that, you have to wait about 5 years to really judge them. But it does seem like Fishman is a nice guy. He seems to have good talent. I like him.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:01 PM ET ) I'm walking towards the Mirage Sports Book right now where the tournament is being held. Hopefully I won't have to hang up and they will start late.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:01 PM ET ) There is a rumor around Las Vegas that there is something wrong with the lighting at the Mirage and Bellagio because all the women look so beautiful.
james ( dallas): have you ever played in "the big game" at the bellagio, and if so, what was it like playing for that much money at one time?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:03 PM ET ) I played 2 and 4 thousand about 7 years ago. At that time it was the biggest game. I had just sold a house in Madison, Wis. I was stuck one house in the game. I got a check for $160,000 and it was the scariest moment in my poker life. I had 100 percent of my cash at risk. I got down to my last $20,000 and my focus sharpened. I realized it was do or die. It's like my very existance was on the line.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:03 PM ET ) James Woods is standing right here and just said he can't believe we are starting at noon ..
SportsNation James Woods: (3:04 PM ET ) I'm not complaining though!
Darren ( Boston): Is there a hand you always avoid playing?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:05 PM ET ) I used to hate AQ. I was even misplaying the hand I hated it so much. I just frikin' hated it. I just lost a lot of key pots with that hand.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:06 PM ET ) Hold on, I'm being asked for autographs and pictures ..
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:06 PM ET ) But later I won some pots because of AQ... you will see one on TV here soon as the tournament advances. So I guess I'm biased against the hand. But sometimes you have to play it.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:07 PM ET ) This is great .. they haven't started the tournament yet.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:07 PM ET ) I love the World Poker Tour and Professional Poker Tour .. but this situatin was not handled right. I've heard announcements both ways about when this starts. And I lost $2500!
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:08 PM ET ) Hold on, Andy Roddick is calling me.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:11 PM ET ) By the way, he asked me if I was doing an ESPN.com chat and said his coaches are watching the chat .. he also told me that Andre Agassi owns Pure. Roddick was in Italy last weekend and a point came up where he had triple match point and the ump was out of the chair .. but Roddick called the point in. He lost the next two match points, the set and the match! I called him to tell him how proud I was of him being so honest. He told me he knew I was going to call!
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:12 PM ET ) We need more guys like Andy (by the way, he's a pretty nice guy and someday I will tell you about the bet we made where I get to play with a tennis racket but he has to play with a frying pan from Sears.) Of the 50 people I asked, they all picked Roddick.
SportsNation Buzzmaster: (3:12 PM ET ) I'm with them, Phil!
pat (nyc): is it possible that there has ever been a more professional name dropper than you?
SportsNation Buzzmaster: (3:14 PM ET ) Lane Flack just walked by and wanted me to talk to somebody on his cell phone. I can't help it is Andy Roddick just called me! I can't help it if James Woods comes up to me during the chat! But yes, I admit, I'm a good namedropper.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:15 PM ET ) Lane Flack just walked by and wanted me to talk to somebody on his cell phone. I can't help it is Andy Roddick just called me! I can't help it if James Woods comes up to me during the chat! But yes, I admit, I'm a good namedropper.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:15 PM ET ) Also, Michael Jordan wanted to play poker with me on Thursday. I met a ton of celebrities at the Kentucky Derby. I haven't even begun to start dropping names.
Jeff ( Toronto): Is Andy Roddick going to be at your fantasy camp?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:17 PM ET ) No. Andy is not coming. But we do have some surprises that will remain surprises. I will NOT drop their names ; )
Joe (Philly): Phil, Jordan wants to play poker against you? Isn't that like the deer running right towards the hunter?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:19 PM ET ) I met him Thursday night. I didn't want to go up to him because he was mobbed. This was in Lousiville. The hostess said Phil, do you want to meet Michael. I wasn't sure if he had even heard of me. He said he watches me on TV all the time. We talked about 5 minutes .. mostly about Oakley because we both have deals with them. He has his own line and I might be getting mine. He asked if I had any money. If I did, he said he would play poker all night. I had $3000 in my pocket. I said I didn't have any money. I should have mentioned I had money. I would have loved to play with him. I feel like he and I both like to gamble (like the $2500 I just lost to Antonio)
Victor (NY): Phil, tell us about the hot groupies that you see on the poker tour
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:22 PM ET ) Oh yeah. It's just weird. Last nigth was a new experience for me. People always want autographs and pictures. I've hung out with Ben Affleck (there I go again) and how he gets mobbed. I experienced it last night at Pure. Everyone was shouting my name. All of a sudden, all these beautiful women are everywhere. It was a bit surreal.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:23 PM ET ) I'm still faithful to my wife .. but it gets tougher and tougher everyday LOL .. I still love her after 17 years. We had a great time at the Derby. She looked incredibly hot all weekend.
Brian ( Michigan): will you ever play Daniel over at the Wynn heads up?
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:24 PM ET ) The Wynn started slowly so far. But would I play him heads up? Yes. At the stakes he wants to play? No. But you have to give respect where respect is due. Give him credit. If I'm not going to play some internet players heads up at UltimateBet, doesn't seem like it would be very smart for me to play Daniel heads up. Great players play great players because of ego.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:25 PM ET ) I just found out I'm at the feature table today .. which probably means no walkmen. Yes, no walkman. They just told me. I'm with James Woods, Dan Harrington, and a couple other guys. James has over $20,000 in chips. Tommy Franklin has $70,000!
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:26 PM ET ) They are also taking my hat off my head .. I guess I can't wear my ulimatebet hat. I think I knew that already.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:27 PM ET ) Hold on, just saw Antonio. He has a comment.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:27 PM ET ) He said they aren't starting yet because half the people aren't here yet.
SportsNation Antonio: (3:28 PM ET ) The bet was what time the event starts. But if we don't start here, I think this is probably a wash.
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:30 PM ET ) A wash just doesn't seem right. It's already 12:30. I knew people would be late. That was part of my bet! No one is here! Antonio, I'll let you out for $500!
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:30 PM ET ) Antonio is paying me right now! He's knows he's done!
SportsNation Phil Hellmuth: (3:31 PM ET ) Well, it's been a crazy chat! But I've enjoyed it tremendously. I forgot to be obnoxious and hype my products. We'll talk again soon!
Phil Hellmuth is definitely a character he always has something to say and I enjoy watching him as he gives me some good laughs.
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