Ego and Arrogance

October 29, 2008

Episode 17 of 20 of the WSOP 2008 ME coverage on ESPN illustrates the power of the ego.

Tiffany Michelle is the most glaring example.  Suddenly, after a few good days, and a few two outters, she’s the best poker player on the planet.  Saying stuff like “keep that up, buddy.” after being semi bluffed on turn and folding the best hand which was K hi.  One of the highlights had to have been when she calls the clock on a 12MM pot, when she is sitting there with 50bb’s, oh yeah…and not even in the f.cking hand. Craig Marquis was right to call her out.  Sure she has the ability to call the clock, but really…keep your dumb trap shut while you aren’t involved in the spot.  The players involved in the pot weren’t stalling…they were thinking.  

I understand the pressure these players are under going deep in the biggest tournament in the world, but because you luck boxed your way there you are suddenly ‘fooled by randomness’ and think your the best thing since sliced bread.  Newsflash: THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND HOT CHIPS MICHELLE.

Nam Le is probably one of the best poker players in the world.  One of the things that makes him so dangerous is that he is not afraid to play a short stack.  He has said on several occasions that he tries to enter every day without an ego.  He can make big lay downs because he’s not worried about his ‘image’, he’s concerned with survival, and preserving chips.  Someone playing on pure ego has a greater tendancy to think ‘he’s bluffing me’ or ‘too much money in pot, I have to call.’ – this logic can be a disaster during a tournament, unless you can run hot and steam roll.  

Whether it’s ego, arrogance, or naivete all these traits lend themselves to having too much gamble in marginal spots.  Craig Marquis made an insane all in shove, 10 handed, on the November 9 bubble – perhaps the biggest bubble in history with AQ from sb?  vs a standard open and flat call against two players who have him covered and no real reason to be playing garbage hands.  I don’t think this was ego, it was more likely lack of experience, impatience, and being naive to what making the 9 really means.  Dean Hambrick who was the victim of this play with QQ falling to runner runner four flush, lost half his stack on the play.  Now, another spot where it was either inexperience, tilt, or being naive – he dusts all his chips off shipping allin with AJo with lots of players behind.  He can fold, raise/fold, limp – but shoving guarantees you will get called by nothing less than a flip, most likely dominated.

Next time you are playing and start feeling like you’re the man because you got some chips in front of you try to check your ego, preserve your chips, and see how things work out for you, let the game come to you. 

Tournament poker is sick.  Variance is incredible.  Often late in tourneys players with some major leaks (ego, cocky, naive, or inexperience) leads to highly questionable plays, flipping at every opportunity, becoming overly aggressive raising marginal A/x type hands from early position, etc.  Because of these tendancies you make plays that a ‘wiser’ player might avoid because they are just too marginal…sometimes these plays work out, and you can steam roll your way to the final table or through it (a la jerry yang) so I’m a little conflicted in saying these characteristics are always bad.

I guess it is more about being confident, rather than cocky.  There is a clear distinction in life and in poker in someone who is confident vs. cocky.  You are not entitled to your chips, you are not owed anything, your superior skill does not mandate you win this next hand, or the tournament.

Play it cool.  Keep your confidence to yourself.  And ask yourself “What would Nam do?”


Buffalo Kid Leads Main Event – Jeremy Joseph

July 11, 2008

Jeremy Joseph, who goes by “Buttercup” around the Niagara Falls Fallsview Casino in the Western New York area, is currently the chip leader of the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event with 2.8M in chips and second place is at 1.8M…GL!! GOGOGOGO.

Still 215 people left, and a long way to go before the final table, he needs to get to 13-15M chips to have final table stack, and fight for the $9,000,000 first prize.  GL kid, b-lo needs a new hero.


WSOP Recap

July 10, 2008

The 2008 World Series of Poker can be summed up with one word:


It was an expensive few weeks, with very few highs for the PROP team.  I’ve seen a bunch of blogs already go into detail about their bad beats and monkey punches.  So, blah blah blah, ditto.  On a positive note: one team member had a decent cash game series winning 5 figures.

We played a bunch of Venetian Deep Stack events with 3/8 shallow cashes for minimum wage paydays.  These tournies are the greatest thing ever invented and I am going to try and play every event next year.  Start with 12k chips @ 25/50 w/40min levels, and monkeys abound with buyins ranging from $330 to $5k and first places upwards from $40k.  Screw the $1500 bracelet events…3k chips…bah humbug.

The team spent most of our time @ the Wynn.  Highly recommend Okada for tepanyaki (sp?).  It’s like Benihana only better (bout $120/ea).  Also ate at Wing Lei, really good chinese food, but pricey (paying for convenience and great service).  SW – good times for steak, but service can be streaky.  One time we were there they got the filet temperatures all mixed up at the table…still a cool restaurant.  Tryst – cool, as long as you don’t have to wait in line.  So either know someone, pay a ‘host’ some cash, get there early, or eat at Okada b4 hand.  Table service is recommended but if you’re a dance dance revolutionary, probably not necessary.  European Pool is chill, gets a little crowded and greasy watered on weekends.  Terrace Point Cafe – good for breakfast/lunch b4 poolside or late night after clubs/poker.

Rio: Gaming Expo – dumb.  If you weren’t there, you didn’t miss anything imho.  Same stuff as previous years, except a few less booths, and a little less money being spent on the show.  Poker recession in full effect there.  Harrah’s did do an excellent re-design on the floorplan.  The satellite room being separate was great.  The color coded stuff made things easier to find.  Better, albeit not great, food.  Overall improvement.  Looking forward to seeing how the final table delay works out…

Bracelet Highlights: Can’t wait to watch the 50k horse on TV.  Scotty Nguyen, Lindgren, and DeMichelle will be really fun to see the cards in play and hear the table chatter.  Phil Ivey lost all his bracelet bets, bought out of most early it appears.  He’s still the man – and if rumors are true – the Full Tilt Gravy train is producing enough monthly scrilla that even a degen like him can’t gamble it all away.  Negreanu got a bracelet in a 2k limit holdem event – another good tv event, as he has one of the best on camera personalities in the biz.  Lindgren also got his monkey off the back and had a monster series, bringing his wsop cashes to almost $7M lifetime.

Notable Prop bet recap:  Biggest bets obviously belong to Mr. Ivey giving 1.8 to 2.2 to 1 to many said to have exceeded 2.2M and 200k on individual bracelet bets with a few.  Matusow wins 100k from Forrest for losing 50lbs, then goes on to win a bracelet and have a few other nice cashes.  Fitness apparently pays. Bball…Anyone else lose money on the Lakers?  Still nothing tops Lindgren’s 200k bet from last year – walk 4 rounds of golf in Summerlin, and break 100 in all four rounds…in 110′ heat. Brutal.

WSOP 2008 ME Final Table Delay

May 7, 2008

If you haven’t already heard, the world series of poker main event final table for 2008 will be delayed until November 9-10, 2008.  Yikes…

It certainly is an interesting concept.  The days leading up to the final table will be played the first week of July.  Is this a buzz kill?

Many of the top pros are supporting this decision by Harrah’s, and while initially I thought this was a pretty gary move I am starting to come around on the idea.  It will certainly be a buzz kill for those in Vegas during July.  But having been there the past few years myself, I can attest to the fact that the cash games dry up during the main event (especially the final few days/final table day) and people are generally on their way out of vegas. 

This leaves us to the shotty updates of the likes of cardplayer, pokernews, et al. to learn who the winner is.  There was a pay-per-view type live coverage of the final table, but that isn’t a perfect solution either since final tables take foooorreeevvveerrr in the live setting.  Then ESPN edits it down and plays it a few months later, when the poker community has long since forgotten about the wsop and cares more about who won the sunday million last week.

So the final table excitement has always been a little anti-climatic, and now this new change in format provides an opportunity for people within and outside of the poker community to discuss who will possibly win – and watch it together in a more real time setting.

Also of note – anyone making the final table in July will be paid 9th place money before they go home to practice sng’s for the rest of the summer.  Last year that was in the 9th place finisher received a little over $500k.  I’ll take it.  They will also be paid airfare and accomodations for two to come back in November.

It will be funny to watch all the degenerate scrubs who make the final table come back with a whole new swagger in November – look out new shiny shirts, shoes, and suits…papa’s got a brand new bag!

You can read the official press release here.