"You're from Texas, do you know where I can get a gun?" I asked Michelle Lewis.
I said the same thing to Michalski. Last year, we were going to test shoot guns at a local gun store. We had a side trip planned during the WSOP that never materialized. Michalski gets plenty of half-baked ideas and I turned to the Texans to figure out how to arm myself.
For a 24-hour period, I was concerned about an all-out gang war between Tony G and The Shulman's at Cardplayer that would spill over onto the floor of the Rio. I wanted to be prepared and considered packing some heat, or strapping as the kids would call it today. Since I technically work for Tony G, I'm a target. I didn't want to get clipped in the parking lot during a drive-by shooting between the Shulman's personal security detail and Tony G's thugs or find myself getting shanked in the bathroom trying to piss next to Toto Leonidas during one of the breaks.
Poker is big business. However, there are essential elements of the billion dollar global business that have been spawned from the underground and in the dark and seedy shadows on Las Vegas. Fortunate 500 companies don't get gangbangers to take out their competition, that's what their legal teams are for... hired hitmen. However in poker, there's that old school element of "Let's meet in the parking lot and settle this like men."
Tony G wrote a post on his blog called Cardplayer Family Stealing from Me. Here's what Tony G said:
I have never tried to hide who I am. I am from the street. I have made many mistakes in my life, but I have always felt that I treated all people fairly and with respect. You may see me on TV giving someone the business, and feel it's unfair, but to me it's all part of the game. I think if you ask people if they think I am a fair person in business and in life most would say yes.The most interesting point that Tony G makes (aside from the fact that he reminds us from the streets - something that I have in common with The G since I grew up on the rough and tumble streets of the Bronx in the late 1970s when crime swept the city and early 1980s when crack was king) is that "I'll bet the Shulmans never thought they would be stealing from me two years ago when they were on top and PokerNews had three employees and was just getting by."
Away from poker, I have a successful business. I own a majority of the shares in PokerNews Limited. This company owns many websites, the biggest of which is PokerNews.com. We are having our best year ever and right now we should be enjoying the finest moment of our life as a company. We are at the WSOP and are supposed to have an agreement with Bluff to be the exclusive provider of updates and chip counts. But unfortunately over the last few days, we have been pirated and simply stolen from by many of our competitors - including Cardplayer. Cardplayer is hiding behind a legal fence that they were standing on top of just this time last year - kicking anyone who dared try to climb it in the teeth.
We put the chip counts up on PokerNews, and one minute later they are up on Cardplayer.com. Cardplayer has no one counting chips at the WSOP, and they know that counting chips is against the rules for them since we beat them to the rights for coverage this year. But they have the counts up on their site, stolen straight from the counts we are doing live in the room at the Rio. We have paid a lot of money for these rights and a lot of money to the 40 people we have hired to cover the series.
I am from the street and when you steal from me, you are playing with fire. This is no different than taking money out of my pocket when it was all I had, which wasn't that long ago. I'll bet the Shulmans never thought they would be stealing from me two years ago when they were on top and PokerNews had three employees and was just getting by. I urge the Shulmans to think about what they are doing to me now. They should think about how people feel when they are robbed.
I urge the Shulmans & all of the CardPlayer family to stop this unethical activity, right now, and all will be forgiven. I'm sure they feel bad about how things have gone for them over the past year, but that doesn't make this ok. They have fallen from their high horse, and there must be a lot of anger for them to do something like this. They must know others will not respect them and they must just not care.
This probably will have to go to lawyers for the final outcome. No one is talking about this now, but I tell the world the truth on this blog.
It's true. The rise of PokerNews has come out of nowhere and after the UIGEA rippled through the US poker industry, PokerNews was one of the few remaining entities that seemed marginally affected by the ruling. When I lost several clients and other clients asked me to take a pay cut, I turned to PokerNews for employment. Not only did John Caldwell hire me for writing opportunities, PokerNews (along with The G) paid me my highest rate. Plus they let me be me and have never censored anything I have written and never dared to censor anything I write on Tao of Poker. That's a recognition of respect for all the hard work I've put in the last two years. I'm glad they noticed and since then I've been rewarded with gigs in Australia and Monte Carlo along with getting tapped to be one of the leaders on the live coverage team at PokerNews.
Love him or hate him, Tony G has my utmost respect. I admire his business model at PokerNews.com and applaud him for shelling out big bucks to create a live tournament client and paying bigger bucks to hire the best reporters in the business, something Cardplayer failed to do last year when they secured exclusive rights.
I'm an extremely loyal person and I owe my place in poker over the last six or so months to Caldwell and The G. I could have declined their invite to work with them at the WSOP and took on much more easier assignments at the series where I could fuck around in the media room, play poker for five hours a day, drink for three hours straight at the Hooker Bar, and lounge around at the pool. I didn't take the easy road out a sense of loyalty and willingness to be a team player. I want to see PokerNews succeed (even though they managed to do that without my help over the last two years) and I am fortunate that I got selected to provide official updates for the partnership involving PokerNews with Bluff, Harrah's, and the WSOP.
I know that my work is open to criticism from the haters and rival media outlets and I took on the assignment anyway. Honestly, I don't care what those whiny bitches moan about. I listen to any points of constructive criticism and ignore the rest. Most of that contempt is rooted in jealousy and their utter laziness. They couldn't handle an hour in my position and would quit right away. As Lance from The Poker Biz pointed out, "They claim to be journalists yet they're more concerned about the rules than trying to write something good and find the stories."
Last year, I got cock blocked and I did what I could to find stories. The WSOP is filled with thousands of them. I also got shit from unappreciative readers who wanted more live updates and chip counts but my hands were tied. The more they bitched, the more I wanted to do things my way instead of pandering to a small percentage of malcontents. Instead, I sought out the stories and wrote about them for numerous outlets or took notes for a future book. From a writer's perspective, my overall content in 2006 (including work at 11 different worldwide media and online outlets) was better than 2005.
This year, I'm trying to out do myself. The live updates are over at PokerNews.com and the stories are posted here on the Tao of Poker or saved for future reference. After logging 15-16 hour days on the floor, I put in several hours at home writing up my notes, writing posts here, and other freelance work and columns. This is my reality for seven weeks and I've accepted my fate.
The bitter pill to swallow is knowing that my feed gets stolen and that the coverage I provide for PokerNews.com gets ripped off by rival outlets who are on site sitting in the media room or off site somewhere. I would never steal content from anyone because I have enough pride as a writer that I want to do my own work and the ego kicks in where I want to show everyone else that I cannot only do the job, but do it 100x times better than them.
The irony of the situation, as Wicked Chops Poker pointed out, is that a few months ago Cardplayer gloated and posted a video where a Bluff reporter allegedly cut and past information at a WPT final table from Cardplayer. Now, they got outed and caught red-handed by Harrah's and Tony G.
I personally know that Cardplayer (and other outlets as well - please note that they're not the only content thieves) stole chipcounts from us because we entered fake names into our chipcount list for almost every single event... and Cardplayer stole every one that we entered.
For example, my brother Derek was flying from Maine to NYC last Sunday, yet Cardplayer had him in their chipcounts. Harrah's and the FAA can verify that he was not at the Rio playing in that event. I used Derek as a bait and rival outlets fell for it. Of course, Derek got a big kick out of seeing his name on Cardplayer's chipcounts in between ZeeJustin and Burt Boutin.
I also made a list of people who stole from myself, LasVegasVegas, and from PokerNews. I could out you on Tao of Poker and post the screen caps, but I don't want to give you any publicity and I'm not one to gloat like Cardplayer did in their video about their Bluff incident. Just take note that I know who you are and if we cross paths in a dark parking lot after the WSOP ends, you are going to wish that you had a little more talent instead of being a lazy cut and paster. I'm not going to sue you or call in the media police. I do believe in karmic payback and hold faith that down the line cosmic retribution will be paid back ten fold. And if not, I will just have to kick your ass. I hope you have good health insurance.
For the record, I did not secure any firearms yesterday. By the end of the day, Tony G got a call from the Shulmans who offered up an apology and a promise that they would follow the guidelines set forth by Harrah's. Kudos to the Shulmans for doing the right thing after doing the wrong thing. I heard that Jeff Shulman was pulled out of the tournament he was playing in (on several instances) to meet with Harrah's officials to discuss the matter.
The G proclaimed that he was a "much happier Tony G." A happy Tony H means that I breathe a sigh of relief that the guy who signs my checks is in a good mood. He's digging our coverage and as long as The G approves of my work... in the end that's all that matters. He put his company's reputation and finances on the line to cover the WSOP and I'm busting my ass because I don't want to let him, the other shareholders, or Caldwell down.
The real issue deals with enforcement. Suits cut deals with other suits about exclusive coverage. It's not PokerNews' job to enforce the rules and it's not Bluff's job either. I guess that the enforcement issue becomes Harrah's job and in my estimation, it will have to take a drastic measure like revoking badges before anyone stops bending the rules. That's not my concern since it's out of my hands. I have a job to do and that's my focus. I've been on both sides of the exclusive coverage ropes and know that there are issues with both. But hey, it's not my party. I'm just a guest. My biggest gripe? Better food and more hookers.
there was plenty of poker going on at the WSOP. There were two final tables, two day twos, and two day ones. The ESPN featured table had Gavin Smith trying to win a bracelet in the Pot-Limit Hold'em event. The second final table featured top pros such as Jesus, David Benyamine, and Annie Duke trying to win a bracelet at Mixed Omaha/Stud. Pokerati's own Donkey Bomber aka Tom Schnieder took down the bracelet. I was covering a different event but caught a piece of a conversation between Annie Duke and her friend Erik Seidel. She was bitching and moaning about DonkeyBomber catching cards. Of course if Annie was the one who was the card rack, she would not have said that. She would have bragged about her massive chiplead. The duality of a pro's life. Congrats to Donkey Bomber for winning his first bracelet.
For the last two days, I had a tough yet fun assignment covering Event #7 Pot-Limit Omaha with Rebuys. I'm a PLO guy and action junkie and have learned a ton watching the best PLO players in the world slug it out for two straight days. It makes me want to get back into playing that game.
"No Limit is so boring these days," mentioned Steve Z. "Omaha is much more challenging. We all thought No Limit Hold'em was going to die out. But TV saved it."
145 players bought in with 421 rebuys. The prize pool changed twice during the course of the event which led to some confusion and fucked up some of the work I had been doing. Anyway, the final 18 players won prize money but I wonder if any of the guys who made the money did not break even with all the rebuys?
I kept an eye on Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan early on. They were seeking their 11th bracelet but both failed to make the money. Chip Reese rarely plays tournaments so it's always a pleasure to watch one of the best poker players of all time effortlessly play.
The big story involved Devilfish. His stack fluctuated most of the day before he eventually took over the chiplead and held onto it. He sat at Andy Black's table and the two jawed back and forth for most of the night before Black was eventually eliminated in 11th place.
At one point, Devlfish raised Black and he went into the tank. Devilfish started trash talking, I'll lay you 5 to 1 that you don't call."
Black objected to his prop bet and felt that it had no place in the tournament. That spat boiled over as the two jawed back and forth for most of the day.
Mike Sexton was short-stacked until his lucky charm showed up. As soon as his new wife showed up, he tripled up from 70K to 210K. Sexton eventually headed out in 15th place.
Humberto busted out the shark. He actually has two that he nicknamed 2006 and 2007, or 007 for short. I suspect that he'll bust it out for the ESPN cameras at the final table.
Event #2 PLO w/ Rebuys Money Winners:I will be live blogging the final table for PokerNews starting at 3pm local time. ESPN will be filming it as well. I can't wait.
10 Robert Williamson III $41,229
11 Andy Black $41,229
12 Chip Reese $41,229
13 Jeff Lisandro $35,732
14 Dustin "NeverWin" Woolf $35,732
15 Mike Sexton $35,732
16 Hoyt Corkins $30,325
17 Nenad Medic $30,325
18 Chau Giang $30,325
Here are the official chip counts for the final table of Event #7 ($5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha w/Rebuys):
Seat 1: Humberto Brenes - 275,000
Seat 2: John Juanda - 220,000
Seat 3: Larry Jonsson - 900,000
Seat 4: Minh Ly - 240,000
Seat 5: Burt Boutin - 460,000
Seat 6: Rob Keston - 335,000
Seat 7: Sirous Jamshieli - 865,000
Seat 8: Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott - 1,300,000
Seat 9: Erik Cajelais - 1,075,000
Here are the payouts for the final table:
1 - $825,956
2 - $483,755
3 - $332,582
4 - $230,883
5 - $174,537
6 - $134,682
7 - $107,196
8 - $79,710
9 - $57,721
Bouncin' Round the Room on Day 5
Otis wrote up a story about how Brandi Hawbacker bummed a smoke from him. He left out the POB part. By the way, she's much cuter in person and she was sweating David Sklanasky's table.
Benjo arrived from France and had a tough time getting a badge. He said he's working with different outlets and I hope he gets that mess cleared up.
Jennicide was hanging on the rail of the PLO event. I suspect she was railbirding NeverWin, unless she has a crush on Chau Giang. After all, what's more sexier that a short Asian man rubbing his nipples while saying, "I love poker?"
There was a massive windstorm in the Las Vegas valley and the Poker Sauna (aka Poker Tent) became a casualty. Doyle Brunson refused to play in there because he knows what those desert winds can do especially to a piss-poor tent that was used for spillover tables. One guy got his arm nearly sliced off by a piece of metal that fell down. As Otis said, "That's a lawsuit for Harrah's."
Robert Williamson III told me a story about being accosted by fans at the valet. He was late to Day 2 of the PLO event and trying to get inside but had issues dealing with a couple of unruly fans who failed to realize that the guy was going to work.
The PLO event had tons of pros left which meant my section was swarmed with tourists and railbirds. Every few minutes are so a flash would go off. The TD had to remind spectators of the no flash photography rule. If you are coming down to the WSOP, you can take photos, but please respect the players and the rules... no flash.
Otis and I made a $20 prop bet. He said he was trying to not eat the crappy pizza in the Poker Kitchen. I said that he couldn't do it. Otis will eat anything. Of course he'll lose this bet.
Shronk and I were throwing balled up paper into a trash can for $20 a pop. We broke even.
One guy had a copy of Naked Lunch at the table. He also had an issue with chips. The dealer fucked up his color up and play was halted until they figured out what happened. I heard that the dealer was fired.
Shirley Rosario played in her first event... Omaha 8. She's looking great after spending last year fighting cancer. It was good to see her back at the tables although she had to endure Hellmuth sitting two seats to her left.
I asked Andy Bloch what his assessment of the WSOP was and he said that the color-ups were a disaster. He felt that floor people (and anyone with a suit) should not be touching chips... only the dealers and players. He also thought that players should not be told to go on break during the color-ups, that way they can verify any mistakes. One guy had his entire stack taken by mistake during a color-up.
Best story I heard all day was one of the media reps was toking weed in the parking lot and Jeffrey Pollack came out of nowhere. Instead of acting suspicious the person actually engaged in a conversation which was a horrible idea. Anyway, Pollock asked what their biggest complaint at the WSOP was. That rep said, "The hamburgers." Pollack answered, "I'll see what I can do about getting you better hamburgers." Of course only a pothead with the munchies would bring up food to the WSOP commissioner.
Maudie would be proud. I ate a fruit salad yesterday during one of the breaks.
Shronk said I would be his #1 pick for Media Death Pools. He said since Flipchip survived two tours in Vietnam that he was invincible and that I was a solid choice due to my excessive travel to exotic places and plenty of plane trips. I guess Shronk thinks I'll perish in a plane crash. Hemingway survived two. Both in Africa.
Stella Beer Watch at the Tilted Kilt: 7
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next to...
1. Andy Bloch
2. Robert Mizrachi
3. Mike Sexton
4. David Sklansky
5. Humberto Brenes
Don't forget to check out LasVegasVegas for Flipchip's WSOP photos. And come back at the Tao of Poker for daily recaps and head over at PokerNews for live coverage and updates including chipcounts.
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