Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jack Tripper Stole My Dog - The Podcast and Trailer

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

Six months ago I recorded a podcast with my girlfriend and the lovely Change100 asked me questions about the origins of my first novel -- Jack Tripper Stole My Dog. I recently re-uploaded the original podcast to Sound Cloud. If you haven't heard the five minute podcast yet, well, here it is...

Jack Tripper Stole My Dog - Podcast Episode 1: The 10-Day Novel by taopauly

* * * *

If you haven't seen the trailer, here it is...

Jack Tripper Stole My Dog would be a great stocking stuffer. The novel and even a Kindle version are both available on

Thursday, November 24, 2011

No Mas Turkey Cup

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

Circa 1979

Turkey Cup is nevermore. The annual online tournament that I hosted every Thanksgiving will not happen this year as a result of Black Friday. If you were looking to get you're online poker fix, it's not going to happen. Blame the DOJ and the corrupt puppets in DC, who thrust this confusing situation upon poker-loving Americans.

It really pains me that we're not going to have Turkey Cup this year. The mighty contest spawned out of a tradition that I created with my brother. I taught him how to play hold'em one snowy Thanksgiving shortly after 9/11. We played heads-up in his apartment and he quickly picked up the nuances of the game.

When I joined the traveling circus and hit the road with the tournament circuit, I found myself spending less and less time in NYC and away from my brother and family. After I re-located to the West Coast, I wanted to keep the tradition of post-turkey poker. Luckily, PokerStars helped fill the void with a private tournament. Hence, Turkey Cup was born. The tournament grew in popularity, not just among Canadian and British friends, but among friends and readers whom were stuck/trapped in family situations and snuck away for an hour or so to donk it up with the rest of us.

Yeah, it saddens me that I won't be firing up PokerStars tonight to play poker with my brother and friends. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to play again next year on a new site -- pending legislation. Until that day comes when Big Brother allows us to play online poker... the Turkey Cup is on perpetual hiatus.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New "Insider" Column: NFL Week 11 Picks

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

It's a dawn of a new age. I'm now a contributor to Wicked Chops Insider and will be providing weekly picks in NFL games for the rest of the season.

Check out my Week 11 NFL picks for what teams I'm backing on Sunday, and it also includes my pick for tonight's Thursday Night Football match up between the NY Jets and the Denver Broncos.

Just a heads-up... if you didn't know, Wicked Chops Insider is a paywall site and you're going to have to sign-up for a monthly or yearly membership if you want to see my picks and gain access to all of Insider content.

For a mere $25 (annual) investment, signing up for Insider is a sweet deal to gain privy access to long-form articles on various topics in the poker world and gaming industry. Toss in my football picks, and you're getting tremendous value. You'll know in a couple of weeks whether I know my shit, or if I'm a mush. Either way, you'll know if you should tail my picks, or fade them!

Click here to register for an Insider account.

And you can catch a sneak preview of my first column... Pauly's Picks: NFL Week 11.

Good luck. Godspeed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tales of Online Poker Exiles

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

In May of this year, less than a month after the events of Black Friday, I considered moving to Vancouver with my girlfriend. She wanted to play online poker to pay the bills and I desperately wanted an account at Pinnacle sports book. We never pulled the trigger and after the WSOP, we ended up in San Francisco instead. Alas, every few weeks, we entertain the thought of moving abroad especially as our country plunges deeper and deeper into insanity.

Shaniac took the necessary steps to become an online poker exile and he left the comfort of sun-drenched Southern California and begrudgingly relocated in Vancouver, Canada. After a stint north of the border, he shipped a WCOOP event, then he headed south, waaaaaay south, and eventually settled into a routine in Rosarito Beach, Mexico.

Read about Shaniac's experiences in a three-parter...
Eastbound and Down Part 1: Hello/Goodbye, Canada
Eastbound and Down Part 2: No Place Like Home
Eastbound and Down Part 3: The Second Coming
Also read this post from Marty, a 20-something online grinder currently in exile in Mexico offering his perspective on things... Self-Assessment.

And lastly, check out what Matt Stout had to say about his sojourn to Costa Rica... Was Costa Rica the Right Move?

The trio of Shaniac, Stout, and Marty independently took matters into their own hands to pursue their passion and careers. It's obvious that each incurred a hidden cost, and I'm not talking about a "gringo tax" either, but rather an emotional/psychological hurdle that each were faced with. I encourage you to read their stories, especially if you're considering leaving the good ole US of A to join a community of online poker playing ex-pats.

* * *

In early 2010, after I completed Lost Vegas, a friend asked me what subject I was going to write about next. The War on Drugs was a topic that rattled around my brain since I was a little kid and watched then First Lady Nancy Reagan appear on Diff'rent Strokes to spread her anti-drug propaganda campaign -- "Just say No."

My creative mind always wandered south and I became fascinated with the effects of the drug war on the other side of the border. I wrote a thin outline of a book about the Mexican Drug War, but knew I had to re-locate to Mexico to write about it. I'm an all or nothing kind of person, which spills over into my writing. If I was going to write about the drug war, I wanted to see the horrors with my own eyes. Friends from El Paso warned me that I was muy loco.

"They kill journalists in Juarez," warned one friend, "And you don't want to know what they do to gringos."

I never followed through on my book proposal because I'm too much of a pussy and didn't want to get my head cut off by Los Zetas. Besides, I can't set foot for one minute in Central or South America without being accused of working with the CIA, so it's better off that I focus northward -- Canada and massive marijuana farms -- for material on the War on Drugs instead of the atrocities of the cocaine wars in chaotic/lawless towns all along the US/Mexican border.

Anyway, sorry for the tangent. There's certainly a great book out there that should be written about American online poker exiles. I hope Shaniac is the guy who writes it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Pius Heinz Wins 2011 WSOP Main Event

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

It's over. Shortly after Midnight, Pius Heinz became the first world champion from Germany. The 22-year old from Cologne faded a field of 6,865 players and won $8.7 million. Heinz stormed back from more than a 3-1 deficit in an epic six-hour long heads-up battle against Martin Staszko, in which the lead changed hands almost a dozen times. For his runner-up performance, Staszko will take $5.4 million back home to the Czech Republic. American Ben Lamb finished in third place after busting out on the fourth hand of the day. The 2011 Player of the Year collected over $4 million for his third place finish.
2011 WSOP November Nine Final Table Results:
1st - Pius Heinz (Germany) - $8,711,956
2nd - Martin Staszko (Czech Republic)- $5,430,928
3rd - Ben Lamb (USA) - $4,019,635
4th - Matt Giannetti (USA) - $3,011,661
5th - Phil Collins (USA) - $2,268,909
6th - Eoghan O'Dea (Ireland) - $1,720,396
7th - Badih “Bob” Bounahra (Belize) - $1,313,851
8th - Anton Makiievskyi (Lithuania) - $1,009,910
9th - Sam Holden (U.K.) - $782,115
For a recap of the action check out the Tao of Poker live blog for Sunday's November Nine action (from 9 to 3 players) and Tuesday's action (3 to a champion).

* * *

And here's the final episode of the Tao of Pokerati podcast...
Episode 11: Hooker Bar Farewell - It's the final episode of the WSOP. Pauly and Dan continue the tradition with a one last episode recorded at the infamous Hooker Bar.
Nov. Nine - WSOP Hooker Bar Farewell by taopokerati

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

2011 WSOP November Nine - Tuesday Live Blog

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

This is the moment you've been waiting for -- the conclusion of the November Nine. Who will become the next big swinging dick in the poker world? Tonight (or if it runs late, early tomorrow morning) the next WSOP Main Event champion will be declared. Just in case you're tuning in for the first time, we're down to three players. In previous years, the final table was stopped when two players remained but this year things are a little different with three players in the hunt for a bracelet, the world championship, and $8.7M in cash (for the two Europeans in the mix, that's roughly €6.3M.)

The WSOP Main Event bracelet

Here's some quick stats:

2011 Main Event Entrants: 6,865
Payouts: 693
First Place: $8,711,956
Prize Pool: $64,531,000

November Nine - Final Three Chip Counts:
Pius Hienz (Cologne, Germany) - 107.8M
Ben Lamb (Las Vegas, NV) - 55.4M
Martin Staszko (Trinec, Czech Republic) - 42.7M

November Nine Final Table Payouts and Results:
1st - ? - $8,711,956
2nd - ?? - $5,430,928
3rd - ??? - $4,019,635
4th - Matt Giannetti - $3,011,661
5th - Phil Collins - $2,268,909
6th - Eoghan O'Dea - $1,720,396
7th - Badih "Bob" Bounahra - $1,313,851
8th - Anton Makiievskyi - $1,009,910
9th - Sam Holden - $782,115
The last few Main Event champions have been 20-somethings -- Jon Duhamel, Joe Cada, and Peter Eastgate -- all of whom were groomed courtesy of online poker. Two out of three remaining players are 20-something (Pius Heinz is 22 and Ben Lamb is 26), while the "old guy" at the table is Martin Staszko at 35 years old.

Lamb already won WSOP Player of the Year honors and after a sensational run-good at the WSOP, and as long as he doesn't have any horrendous life leaks, he'll become a mainstay on the circuit.

Meanwhile, for the two Euros... Pius Heinz is striving to become the first-ever German world champion, and Martin Staszko is attempting to become the first-ever bracelet winner from the Czech Republic. If he wins, he'll be thrust into the upper echelons of "world famous Czechs" along with one of my favorite authors Milan Kundera, hockey pros Jaromir Jagr and goalie extraordinaire Dominik Hasek, tennis greats Ivan Lendl and Martina Navratilova, and film director Milos Forman (he won an Oscar for One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest).

The conclusion of the November Nine will be aired on ESPN at 9pm ET (or 6pm Vegas time). The broadcast will be on a fifteen minute delay, but you'll be able to see the hole cards. I'll be providing a live blog here on Tao of Poker along with random tweets from inside the Penn & Teller Theatre. Follow @taopauly if you wish. Oh, and Michalski and I will be recording a few podcasts along the way, which I'll post as the day/evening progresses.

Stay tuned...

* * *

4:05pm... 2011 Poker Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

The Poker Hall of Fame ceremony will include the inductions of Linda Johnson and Barry Greenstein. I'm one of the Hall of Fame voters and I voted for both. Their storied careers in additions to their contributions off the felt made them obvious choices for this year's class.

Linda will become only the second female to gain entrance into the hall (Barbara Enright, the only female to make a Main Event final table is the other).

* * *

4:25pm... Mike Sexton Introduces Linda Johnson

Ty Stewart kicked off the HOF ceremony. He made a joke about being old enough to be Pius Heinz's father. He handed off the mic to Sexton, who was supposed to introduce Linda Johnson.

They had a technical malfunction and the mic emitted a weird hum. It's the same kind of sound MP's blast at Gitmo to torture Jihadists. Once the tech issue was corrected, Sexton gave an eloquent speech on why Linda Johnson deserved a nod.

Here's some notes....

- Sexton revealed that Linda was the first online poker affiliate for Party Poker.

- Sexton cracked up a couple of time. Kinda touching.

- "Everyone in poker owes Linda debt of gratitude," said Sexton.

- Linda mentioned that most people thought she was a dealer when she said she was a poker pro.

- Linda said that there were no tournament clocks -- the TD wore a kitchen timer on his lapel.

- Some quotes: "I gotten so much more than I've given"... and... "Poker taught me to have a sense of humor."

* * *

4:50pm... Doyle Brunson Introduces Barry Greenstein

Texas Dolly gave a quick, but powerful speech. He mentioned that Barry might have won the most out of all of them in high stakes cash games.

- Upon his arrival to the Las Vegas poker scene... "He became a force immediately."

- "He's the man who never runs it twice," said Brunson.

- Barry wasn't wearing a tie. I don't think I've ever seen him in one. It would just look weird.

- "As a poker player, I'm not accustomed to having things handed to me."

- Barry mentioned that he was excited about the HOF nod because he saw what happened to Erik Seidel after he was inducted last year. "I'm looking forward to some of that Hall of Fame run good."

- Barry suggested some changes specifically about "playing for high stakes" and "no mention of tournaments in criteria."

- Barry took a well-deserved shot at an inept Congress, who have been bumbling about online poker. He also felt that young players should stay in college and earn their degree before entering the poker world.

- "Another neglected group are foreign players," said Barry, who was stumping for European pros like Thor Hansen and Chris Bjorn. He also mentioned foreign-born pros such as Chau Giang and Freddy Deeb should not be overlooked. He also gave a shout-out to Eric Drache.

- Barry cracked up when he wanted to show appreciation to his partner Alexandra.

- "No matter how long you play poker, you keep learning and modifying your game."

- Barry said his father watched him host a poker game in his basement when he was 13. His old man told him he played too many hands and needed to fold more. "apparently, I folded enough hands to make it into the Hall of Fame."

* * *

5:30pm... New Tao of Pokerati Episode - Hall of Fame Ceremony
Episode 7: 2011 Hall of Fame Ceremony - Dan and Pauly chat about the 2011 Poker Hall of Fame induction ceremony honoring the new class -- Lind Johnson and Barry Greenstein. They also revealed who exactly was on their ballots.
Nov. Nine - Poker Hall of Fame Ceremony (Ep 7) by taopokerati

* * *

5:40pm... Hallway Signs and the Dancing Lamb

I popped into the hallway in the break time before the action for the final three started. A slew of Germans congregated in the hallway. They had better signs than Sunday including one that said "Pius, will you marry me?" And another sign about "Percs." I have no fucking clue what than means in German, but Percs is slang for Percosett. Shit... I gotta party with the Germans tonight, regardless of how Pius finishes up.

And then back inside the theatre, the sound system kicked on and it sounded like Personal Jesus was played. Five flashdancers took the stage and went into their routine. The guy in the lamb suit rushed over and joined the dancers. The crowd went ape shit and cheered him on. One of the dancers was not thrilled with the lamb fucking up their routine, so she gave him a nice shove. Ty Stewart rushed over and yanked the lamb off the stage. It was one of those surreal things that you only see at the WSOP.

* * *

5:50pm... Bruce Buffer's Introductions

Bruce Buffer announced the final three players. I liked how he pronounced Martin Satszko's name... Staaaaa-zzzzzz-kooooo. The largest reaction happened when he uttered Ben lamb's name. The crowd is mostly filled with Ben Lamb supporters, sporting green t-shirts.

"It's time!" screamed Buffer as he completed "Shuffle up and deal" honors.

* * *

5:52pm... Cards in the Air

We're still on level 40. Blinds are 600K/1.2M with a 200K ante.

* * *

5:55pm... First Hand; Lamb Crippled by Staszko

All in pre-flop on the first hand. Ben Lamb was racing with Kh-Jd against Martin Staszko's 7h-7s. The board ran out 10h-9s-2d-3s-10c. Lamb's fans were silenced and he was crippled to under 13M. Martin jumped up to almost 85M.

* * *

5:59pm... New Tao of Pokerai Podcast - First Hand Fireworks
Episode 8: First Hand Fireworks - Dan and Pauly had just settled in to watch the final three when they witnessed fireworks on the first hand. Ben Lamb attempted to knock out Martin Staszko, but was crippled when he lost his race.

Tao of Pokerati: First Hand Fireworks FTW? by Pokerati

* * *

6:10pm... Ben Lamb Eliminated in 3rd Place ($4,019,635)

Pius Heinz and Ben Lamb

It didn't take long before Ben Lamb made a stand with his short stack. He got it all-in with Qs-6h, hoping to double up against Martin Staszko and the chips back. Alas Staszko picked up another pocket pair -- Jd-Jc. The board ran out 5h-5c-2s-2c-7s. Ben Lamb's magnificent run ended with a third place finish. He collected $4,019,635. Not too shabby. His fans were stunned, especially the guy in the lamb suit, who never thought they'd see their hero hit the rail on the 4th hand.

The Czech fans went nuts as the dealer pushed the pot to Staszko. It's down to two Europeans for the championship. Germany vs. Czech Republic.

Heinz is no longer the chip leader. He has 88.6M and trails Staszko's 117.3M big stack.

* * *

6:15pm... The Cash on the Table

Where's the guys with shotguns? Man, I miss Binions and their thick-necked goons with weapons keeping a keen eye on the cash. Action was paused while the winner's share was stacked on the table. Bricks of cash. That's what it's all about right? $3.3 million difference between first and second.

Here's what's at stake...
1st place - $8,711,956
2nd place- $5,430,928
And the chippies:
Pius Heinz - 88.6M
Martin Staszko - 117.3M

* * *

6:18pm... Lamb's Bustout Interview

Ben Lamb was all class in his post-elimination interview despite the crush of media thrusting microphones and recorders in his face.

"I don't want people to cry for me... I'll be okay," said the 2011 WSOP Player of the Year as he flashed a smile.

WSOP media director Nolan Dalla asked Ben Lamb who he thought would win the heads-up match between the two Euros. "Martin has the lead," said Lamb. "But Pius has more experience and is more aggressive."

Ah, Lamb likes the German to win it all.

When asked about busting out rather quickly, Lamb responded, "I didn't think I'd bust in five hands... but I wanted to come in (playing) aggressive."

* * *

6:34pm... Pius Back in the Lead

The room was rather quiet with most of Lamb's supporters filing out of the theatre after his elimination. But, just when things seemed sedate and calm, a massive pot developed.

The board read: 9d-8d-5c-Qd-10c. Approximately 34M was in the pot. Hienz checked. Staszko bet 14.5M. Hienz check-raised all-in. Staszko folded and relinquished the lead. Heinz improved to 123M, while Staszko slipped to 83M.

Heinz's German contingency sang his theme song -- a rendition of KC and the Sunshine Band's "Give It Up" with random German lyrics switched up to fit Pius' name.

Update: Thanks to Change100 watching ESPN in our hoel room, she informed me that Heinz held 9s-8s for two pair and Sraszko had only As-8c.

* * *

7:10pm... Level 41

Not much to report over the last half hour. I told writer Michael Kaplan that the Germans and Czech could be chanting curse words and dirty limericks and no one would know because I doubt anyone manning the censors at ESPN is fluent in German and Czech.

Blinds are up. 800K/1.6M with a 200K ante. Heinz is still ahead of Staszko... approximately 132M to 75M.

* * *

7:35pm... Staszko Snags Lead

The Czechs on the rail are rowdy once again now after Martin Staszko seized the lead.

Both players limped to see a rainbow flop of Q-9-2. Heinz bet out and Staszko called. The turn was the Ks (with two spades now on the flop) and Heinz bet 4.5M while Staszko insta-called. The river was the 7s. With a flush on the board, Heinz fired out 14M or so. Staszko called and tabled Q-7 for two pair -- Queens and sevens. It was good enough to win the pot. Heinz also rivered two pair, but his 7-2 was no good. Foiled with the Hammer.

After shipping that pot, the Czech cheering section grew louder and louder. Staszko opened up a 110M to 95M lead.

* * *

8:07pm... Heinz Wins Four-Bet Battle; Then Loses Lead

Puis Heinz looked like he was about to kick it up a notch. He opened to 3.4M. Staszko raised to 9.5M, but Heinz pushed right back with a 20M four-bet. Stazsko bailed. That hand pushed Heinz over 115M and he took a 25M lead over Staszko.

On the next hand, it was Staszko's time to push around Heinz. Staszko opened to 3.5M, Heinz aggro-raised to 10M and Staszko called. The flop was 10s-7d-2h. Heinz bet 9M and Staszko called. The turn was the Ac and Heinz fired out 21M. Staszko didn't blink and shoved all-in for his entire stack of 60M or so. Heinz folded and Staszko won the pot. The two flipped-flopped chip counts. Heinz slipped to 84M, while Staszko was back on top with 122M.

Update: I got the hands -- on the 10-7-2-A board, even though Heinz bet the turn, Staszko shoved with a gutshot and K-Q and Heinz folded J-9.

* * *

8:40pm... Staszko Takes 2-1 Lead

Quick snark... los hombres at Wicked Chops Poker are dubbing Staszko the "Czech Moneymaker."

Back to the poker action... before the hand, Staszko held a 115M-90M lead. But after the hand, he surged to over 140M and had twice many chips as Heinz.

The standard opening raise has been 3.4-3.5M. Heinz raised and Staszko called. The flop was Ah-9s-3d. Staszko check-called a 3.8M bet from Heinz. The turn was the As. Staszko checked, Heinz bet 8.5M, Staszko check-raised to 18.5M, and Heinz called. The 6d fell on the river and Staszko bet 20M. A frustrated Heinz folded.

After that hand, Heinz slipped to 64M, while Staszko chipped up to 141M.

Update: Staszko held 7-6 off while Staszko turned trip Aces with Ac-9c.

* * *

9:03pm... Even

Heinz picked up momentum as he stormed back to almost even in chips. Over the last 5 or 6 hands, Heinz's aggression paid off after Staszko coughed up a 2-1 edge. With about seven or eight minutes left in this level, it's almost as if Staszko needs the level to end and go on a break in order to put a momentary halt to Heinz's assault.

* * *

9:05pm... Heinz Back in Lead

Heinz trying to pull away. He's now holding 113M to Staszko's 92M.

* * *

9:15pm... New Tao of Pokerati Episode - Heads-Up Outfits
Episode 9: Heads-Up Outfits - It's been heads-up for almost three hours between Martin Staszko and Pius Heinz. Dan and Pauly discuss their outfits and lack of patches. They also decide to pick sides. Pauly is backing Heinz, while Dan is sticking with Staszko. Oh, and Dan is perplexed when he realizes that he is dressed identically to Pauly.

Nov. Nine - Heads-up Outfits (Ep 9) by taopokerati

* * *

9:33pm... Level 42

Blinds are up to 1M/2M with a 300K ante. Heinz has almost 117M to Staszko's 89M.

* * *

9:50pm... Staszko Back on Track

The break did wonders for Martin Staszko. He re-grouped and won 7 out of the first 9 hands after the break. He re-took the lead and now has a 125M to 80M advantage.

* * *

10:04pm... Staszko Steamrolling; Back to a 2-1 Lead

Chants from the stage echo into the back of the theatre. The Germans are screaming "Pius!" while the Czechs are belting out "Nartin!" Except where I'm sitting, it sounds like "penis" and "more meat."

Despite the "We will, we will Heinz you!" chants from the Germans, Staszko opened up more than a 2-1 lead again after winning a pot with a King-high straight. Staszko lead is now 143M to 62M.

* * *

10:15pm... 3-1

Pius Heinz is unable to stop Martin Staszko. The Czech now has almost a 3-1 lead with a 152M to 53M advantage.

One of the Germans is holding up the "Pius, will you marry me sign?" To which someone from the peanut gallery blurted out, "So gay!"

* * *

11:01pm... Frustrated Heinz

During one hand on a board of 8-8-6-6-3, Heinz looked totally perplexed -- he couldn't get a read on Staszko. Even though he banged away at small pots to get within 124M to 80M, he could induce any action when he woke up to wired Aces. Since then, Heinz lost multiple pots and slipped under 50M. Staszko is back to a commanding 3-1 lead.

Even though the Czech fans are outnumbered 2-1, they are louder than the Germans in white hoodies on the rail. So all the cheering is up on the stage. Meanwhile, out in the actual theatre, it's rather quiet and mellow. I dunno if anyone is hanging out in the upper deck. I haven't heard any cat calls from the peanut gallery in several hours.

* * *

11:40pm... Heinz Finishes Level Strong

Well, I can say one thing about Heinz... he wasn't going to roll over and give up so easily. He picked up several pots at the end of Level 42 to trim Staszko's lead.

* * *

11:45pm... Level 43

Blinds are up to 1.2M/2.4M and a 300K ante. Staszko holds a 124M to 81M lead.

* * *

11:55pm... Huge Double Up for Heinz

On the first hands back from the break, we had finally had some action. Heinz raised from his big blind and Staszko called. The flop was Ks-10c-7c. Heinz c-bet to 8.5M, Staszko raised to 17.5M, Heinz shoved all-in, and Staszko called. Heinz only had a gutshot with Ah-Qh vs. Staszko's flush draw and Qc-9c. The turn was the 3h, and the 6s fell on the river. Heinz faded the flush and his hand held up. He doubled up to 162M. Meanwhile, Staszko sunk to 43.5M.

According to Timtern, Heinz has the biggest lead of heads-up play. He's got well over a 3-1 advantage. And yes, the Germans on the rail erupted with jubilation and launched into their rendition of "Give It Up."

* * *

12:15am... Martin Saszko Eliminated in 2nd Place ($5,430,928); Pius Heinz Wins 2011 WSOP Main Event ($8,711,956)

The final hand... all-in preflop. Heinz went to battle with As-Kc against Staszko's 10c-7c. The board ran out 9s-5c-2d-Jh-4d. Heinz won the hand with Ace-high, thereby winning the 2011 Main Event and $8.7 million. He left into the crowd and nearly disappeared into a sea of white hoodies.

Europe is the home of a world championship once again, as Heinz becomes the first German WSOP Main Event champion. Czech Republic's Martin Staszko finished in second place, collecting $5,430,928 for his runner-up performance. Congrats to both gentlemen.
2011 November Nine Results:
1st - Pius Heinz - $8,711,956
2nd - Martin Staszko - $5,430,928
3rd - Ben Lamb - $4,019,635
4th - Matt Giannetti - $3,011,661
5th - Phil Collins - $2,268,909
6th - Eoghan O'Dea - $1,720,396
7th - Bob Bounahra - $1,313,851
8th - Anton Makiievskyi - $1,009,910
9th - Sam Holden - $782,115
* * *

12:22am... New Tao of Pokerati Podcast - The Final Hand

Episode 10: The Final Hand - Dan, Pauly, and Timtern commentate on the final hand as Pius Heinz defeats Martin Staszko to win the 2011 WSOP Main Event Championship.

Nov. Nine - The Final Hand by taopokerati

* * *

Pius Heinz - 2011 WSOP Main Event Champion

That's it for now! Thanks for following along with the Tao of Poker. I have no idea if this is my last WSOP. I'm sure it won't be, but if it is, it's been one wild ride.

Photo credit: (J. Boncek)

Monday, November 07, 2011

November Nine Down to Three; Germany's Pius Heinz = Chip Leader

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Photo courtesy of

The 2011 November Nine kicked off on Sunday and after a long day of action, we're down to three players. One of them will become the next WSOP Main Event Champion. Germany's Pius Heinz is the chip leader with over 107M. He has the other two players (Ben Lamb and Martin Staszko) covered. $8.7 million is on the line. Which one will take it down?
November Nine - Final Three Chip Counts:
Pius Hienz (Cologne, Germany) - 107.8M
Ben Lamb (Las Vegas, NV) - 55.4M
Martin Staszko (Trinec, Czech Republic) - 42.7M

November Nine Final Table Payouts and Results:
1st - ? - $8,711,956
2nd - ?? - $5,430,928
3rd - ??? - $4,019,635
4th - Matt Giannetti - $3,011,661
5th - Phil Collins - $2,268,909
6th - Eoghan O'Dea - $1,720,396
7th - Badih "Bob" Bounahra - $1,313,851
8th - Anton Makiievskyi - $1,009,910
9th - Sam Holden - $782,115
And here's a complete list of players who cashed in the 2011 WSOP Main Event.

I cranked out a live blog. If you haven't seen it yet, then check out... 2011 November Nine Live Blog.

I also recorded six new episodes of the Tao of Pokerati podcast with Michalski. We've migrated our podcasts to Sound Cloud. Listen to them here...
Tao of Pokerati Podcast - 2011 November Nine Edition
Episode 1: Evolution
Episode 2: Naming Names
Episode 3: Betting on Belize
Episode 4: Non-Silence of the Lambs
Episode 5: Giannetti Lives
Episode 6: Quad Lambs
Action resumes Tuesday just before 6pm PT. You'll be able to watch it live (with a 15-minute delay) with hole cards on ESPN. The Hall of Fame ceremony featuring new inductees Linda Johnson and Barry Greenstein, and that will take place around 4pm.

See you then.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

2011 WSOP November Nine - Sunday Live Blog

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Photo courtesy of Flipchip

For a seventh year in a row, I'm covering the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event Championship. I'm fortunate to have witnessed the last final table inside Benny's Bullpen inside historic Binion's in 2005 when Joe Hachem got the sugar passed his way amidst an omnipresent chant of "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oy! Oy! Oy!" Since then, I caught final tables played out inside the Amazon Ballroom and had ringside seats during the apex of the poker boom when Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang respectively won their championships. I have also been in the orchestra pit for each incarnation of the November Nine, and watched 20-something baby-faced wunderkinds -- Peter Eastgate, Joe Cada, and Jon Duhamel -- slip the winner's bracelet around their wrist and hug a mountain of cash.

Now you can add this year's November Nine to my resume. Technology is improving, demand is vacillating, and the world's financial system is in ruins. Who knows if the November Nine will continue to exist (check out Change100's stellar article on that very subject -- The Last November Nine?), or if the WSOP Main Event reverts back to how it used to be played out -- from start to finish -- without any layoffs. Call me a purist, but that's how the Main Event should be played out. I never liked the concept of the November Nine because it weakened the integrity of the Main Event. Big Business entities determined that the most prestigious poker tournament of the year should be a made-for-TV event like the Oscars or Presidential elections. But as far as fabricated events go -- the November Nine is still one of the best spectacles you'll ever see.

The lines between sports and entertainment have always been blurred since the inception of televised poker. But something happened this summer during the Main Event that revolutionized poker coverage -- the live feed. It became insanely popular so the same concept has been added to the November Nine (with only a 15-minute delay and ALL hole cards instead of a 30-minute delay and hole cards past the flop). For the first time, the WSOP Main Event felt like a real sport because it was being covered like one on ESPN and ESPN2.

Generally speaking, Americans want their entertainment and art spoon fed to them. Best example is the popularity of the juvenile Jersey Shore, or why Michael Bay makes gajillion-dollar mind-numbing blockbusters (I admit, I like seeing shit get blown up) and Woody Allen has been banished to Europe to do his artsy-fartsy existential films.

TV programs are only in existence to sell shit. Just look back to the first "soap operas" that dominated the airwaves after the introduction to the TV. Dramatic stories with tepid acting were only created to sell... soap. Fifty years later, the same concept applied to the poker industry. Televised poker was created to sell online poker, masked as the grandiose American Dream. Alas, Black Friday squashed the lucrative televised poker market. Without PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker fighting for the hearts and minds of online poker junkies, a vacuum was created. Even though Ty Stewart is a masterful salesmen, he's really been the only one to persuade non-gambling companies to join the WSOP as a major advertising partner. The bottom line is that most Fortune 500 companies don't care about poker, otherwise all of the November Niners would look like NASCAR drivers with ads peppering their entire accouterments.

Without the proverbial carrot stick in front of the donkey cart, it's been hard to sell "packaged" poker programs to the masses. But, rabid poker fans love everything that has to do with poker. They'll flock anywhere to get their poker fix. The ratings during the live stream of the Main Event proved that watching poker "now" (even though it's on a delayed feed to protect the integrity of the game) is a profitable product. Let's put it this way, if it wasn't, there's no way ESPN would dedicate an entire Sunday during football season to a poker tournament. Yet, that's what happened. If the live feed continues to be a smashing and profitable success, the November Nine's future is in jeopardy. Alas, the future of the November Nine will come down to the fate of so many projects in Hollywood -- ratings.

I will be tweeting from inside the Penn and Teller Theatre at @taopauly. I will be also be providing some updates here on Tao of Poker and if/when Michalski shows up, we'll record episodes of Tao of Pokerati podcast. I gotta be honest -- the November Nine scheduled on a Sunday is utter torture for a sports bettor and NFL fan like myself. It will be hard to focus on the final table while NFL games are in action. I can't promise I'll stay inside the Penn and Teller Theatre. It won't be surprising if you find me walking back and forth between the press box and the sports book. Besides, between Twitter and ESPN2, there's really no reason for me to add to the static and regurgitate information you already know about. But on a good note, that will allow me to float around and dig up the juicy dirt behind the scenes, in the hallways, and in the farthest corners of the Penn and Teller Theatre.

But the November Nine is always a wild ride so stay tuned for the hijinks. We're playing from 9 players to 3 tonight.

You can watch the final table on ESPN2 this afternoon on a 15-minute delay. You can stream it online on ESPN3 and if you live outside America, you'll find options at

* * *

9:45am... "It was a gloomy day."

It was a gloomy day as I gazed out the window of my hotel. The washed put grey skies covered the Las Vegas valley with a faint outline of the mountains in the distance. Sunday morning. Most God-fearing citizens were sitting in church, while sports fanatics were settling in for a long Sunday grind. I dressed quietly as to not wake up my girlfriend. I walked into the hallway and got dizzy at the erratic patterns on the carpet -- something like MC Escher and Kandinsky on mescaline. Three old ladies lumbered down the hallway. I squeezed by and sniffed a familiar aroma. Someone on my floor was waking n' baking. I was jealous. Even one of the old ladies made a crack about the "ciggaweed."

* * *

9:55am... Mayhem at the Book

The fucking elevator stopped at every floor. I got antsy. I needed to get to the sports book ASAP. Note to self... never go to a sports book ten minutes before kickoff. It was a zoo at the Gold Coast with four lines of disheveled gamblers in football jerseys at least fifty deep on each line. I popped down to see if any lines moved in my favor. The GC had the SF Niners at -5.5. I got it in at -4 at the Palms the night before. I also liked Kansas City against the hapless Miami Dolphins.

* * *

10:20am... The Hallway

The hallway connecting the Rio's gaming floor to the convention center was semi-crowded. Unlike previous years, I didn't see a vast array of costumes from contingency of fans related to the November Niners. In 2008, Dennis Phillip clones were everywhere it seemed and it felt like I was in a bizarre Charlie Kaufman film with beer-guzzling Midwesterners in red St. Louis Cardinals hats and white dress shirts. In 2009, it was yellow fever in the hallways with all of Joe Cada's crew decked out in yellow U of Michigan shirts. Last year, the French Canadians made their presence known by supporting Jon Duhamel with red Montreal Canadiens hockey sweaters.

This year is a little subdued. I ran into a small group of rowdy folks from Belize wearing all black with hats sporting the colors of the Belize flag. I've never been to Belize, but I hear it's lovely this time of year. Why the hell would anyone leave paradise to fly into dreary Vegas? Nationalistic pride. That's why. Belize is not what you call a heavy hitter on the international sporting scene, but the group of supporters are here to cheer on their native son -- Badih Bounahra. His nickname is "Bob" if you don't know. If he wins the Main Event, he'll become the next king of Belize.

* * *

10:30... The Calm

I snuck into the Penn and Teller a little early. Only Mickey and Julio were among my fellow media reps already inside. The theatre was quiet with production people dressed in black scrambling across the main stage. One guy was mopping an area for fifteen minutes. The "Mothership" that was parked inside the Amazon Ballroom appear on stage --well at least half of the saucer, which was arranged in a semi-circle.

Lance Bradley, my editor of Bluff walked inside and showed me a sports betting ticket -- the lines have moved. The chip leader Martin Staszko from the Czech Republic went from 4-1 to 8-1 at the Rio sportsbook. Wow, talk about a huge adjustment in the lines. It's safe to assume that very little money was placed on Staszko in Vegas. The bookies here are sweating hard. So, it made sense to run down to the sportsbook and drop a c-note on Martin Staszko, right?

* * *

11:15am... Gates Open

The crowd was allowed inside and the theatre quickly filled up with late-arriving media and supporters of the November Nine. A mixture of thunderous hiphop and selections personally picked by November Niners blasted on the sound system. The first wave of chanting started from the Belize crew. "Bob! Bob! Bob!" echoed inside. The green-shirt people filtered inside -- both Eoghan O'Dea and Ben Lamb's crew wore green t-shirts. Kinda tough to distinguish the two from afar. But up close, you can tell the Irish by their thick brogues and the rapid pace of their booze consumption. I know it's not even noon in Vegas, but there's already a bunch of sloppy drunks keeping things interesting.

The scantily clad girls with t-shirt guns made the rounds. The crowd soaked it up like starving pigeons. I had to look up every few seconds whenever I heard the "POP!" to make sure I wasn't pelted by a rolled-up schwag t-shirt.

* * *

11:30am... Updated Odds

I rushed over to the Rio's sportsbook. Here's the current odds...
Staszko 7/1
Odea 5/1
Giannetti 9/5
P Collins 3/1
Lamb 4/1
Heinz 7/2
Bounahra 6/1
Makievskyi 15/1
Holden 25/1
I think every citizen of Belize flew into Vegas to bet on Bob. His line dropped from 12/1 to 6/1. O'Dea shot up to 5/1 and I put down another bet on him. My McCatholic Irish-side of the family would be proud I'm backing Ireland's native son. Can he become the second ever player to win the Big One? Noel Furlong was the other. Andy Black came close in 2005. Ah, I miss my friends in the Irish press corp -- Tom Murphy and Mike Lacey -- they know how to cover a poker tournament -- with a bevy of f-bombs and pounding nonstop Coronas.

* * *

11:46am... Unleash the Freaks

One of Ben Lamb's crew is dressed up like... a lamb.

"In the Air Tonight" is now playing and the Mothership's lights are sparkling as the November Niners make their way through the tunnel. A rowdy applause was unleashed from the entire crowd. Dissonant shouting, cheering. Hard to make out exactly what is going on. Phil Collins crowd is singing along to Phildo's anthem.

* * *

12:20pm... Players Seated

Player introductions already happened. The circus is almost underway. We've gone through the arduous process of setting up everything. At this point, we're waiting for TD Jack Effel to officially kick everything off. Shuffle up and deal honors go to Norman Chad. as JC Alvarado mentioned to me on Twitter, he thinks Bruce Buffer isn't doing the honors because no more Full Tilt.
November Nine - Seating Assignments and Chip Counts:
Seat 1: Matt Giannetti (USA) - 24,750,000
Seat 2: Badih “Bob” Bounahra (Belize) - 19,700,000
Seat 3: Eoghan O'Dea (Ireland) - 33,925,000
Seat 4: Phil Collins (USA) - 23,875,000
Seat 5: Anton Makiievskyi (Ukraine) - 13,825,000
Seat 6: Sam Holden (U.K.) - 12,375,000
Seat 7: Pius Heinz (Germany) - 16,425,000
Seat 8: Ben Lamb (USA) - 20,875,000
Seat 9: Martin Staszko (Czech Republic) - 40,175,000

* * *

12:25pm... Phil Collins Wins First Pot

Collins won the first pot. One of Lamb's crew yelled "Get in the hole!" I love random shit like that blurted out, especially Caddyshack quotes. Collins crew busted into "I can feel it coming in the air tonight."

The crowd is rowdy, boisterous, and energetic. I wonder if they can keep up the frenzied pace? If you got extra Adderall on you to sell, you can make a killing slinging pharmaceutical grade speed in the hallways on the break.

* * *

12:30pm... Fear the Fro

Sam Holden's mates brought curly wigs. They're binge drinking and sitting right behind the Irish contingency. Wonder if the Brits and Irish will rumble? We haven't seen a brawl at the November Nine... yet. Sometimes the Penn and Teller Theatre resembles a European football stadium, so you wonder if any of the hooligan-type bravado takes over and two groups rumble in the aisles. Luckily the seats in the theatre are nailed down. If you have a significant amount of inebriated people around folding chairs, there's a high percentage than one irate drunk will hurl a chair during a fit on ire.

* * *

12:50pm... Back to the Sportsbook

My bet on KC shit the bed. I doubled down on Green Bay. I headed to the sportsbook. All eyes were fixated on the NFL games. One screen in the far left corner aired the November Nine. I noticed a bunch of Matt Gianetti supporters sweating games. They are hard to miss with their black bio hazard shirts.

By the way, I stopped by the bar inside the theatre on my way back inside and did a head count -- 90% of patrons waiting in line for drinks were Phil Collins supporters.

* * *

1:01pm... First Break; Lamb and O'Dea Up Tick

We're on the first TV break of the day. Ben Lamb and Eoghan O'Dea chipped up after the first spurt of play. Staszko still holds the lead with over 40M, but O'Dea inched a little closer and now has around 38M. Ben Lamb passed the 20M mark. Short stacks are Sam Holden and Puis Heinz with around 12M each.

* * *

1:20pm... "Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"

Happy 4:20 to my East Coast readers. The strange dichotomy of the November Nine -- the organizers want it to be a festive atmosphere like a football game, but when play is developing on the stage, they want the crowd to be as quiet as a library. TD Jack Effel had to shush the crowd on several occasions -- mostly Phil Collins' crew. And yes, they've been drinking since.... last week. They retaliated with a few "Shhhhhs" of their own, which get blurted out at random times.

One of the cool features inside the theatre is a big screen on the right side that shows the flop cam and running chip counts, which update during the hand. You always know who has what -- which is a clever innovation. There's three of those screens against the stage so the folks in the front rows can also see chip counts.

* * *

1:43pm... Rumba Shakers

Martin Staszko attempted to pass the 50M mark, before he dropped a pot to Belize Bob. His friends from Belize went berserk when he shipped the pot. They are by far the loudest group inside -- mainly because of the rumba shakers that someone is rattling whenever he wins a pot. The flags are a plenty -- small ones waved by fans and a few larger ones held up by two fans. The folks from Belize are a festive group for sure. Makes me wonder how insane the Penn & Teller would be if a Brazilian like Andre Akkari made the final table. The Rio would actually become the Rio North with every Brazilian in the northern hemisphere converging on Vegas to sweat their countrymen.

Regardless of how Belize Bob finishes, I have a feeling his crew is going to throw the best November Nine after-party. I gotta get chummy with some of them on the break, in order to secure myself an invite.

* * *

2:00pm... Ben's Lamb

TD Jack Effel pointed into the crowd and made fun of the guy in the lamb costume. "Is that a cow?" he wondered. The lamb jumped up. He has a sign on his chest "Ben's Lamb." Lamb's crew began chanting "Benba! Benba! Benba!" They eventually settled down and the lamb shouted out: "We're going to Sizzler!"

Lamb is up to 23M. Staszko is the leader with 42M.

* * *

2:30pm... Zee Germans Are Coming

Puis Heinz is making a run. He chipped up to almost 25M. meanwhile, O'Dea has slipped a bit and Staszko is back towards his march to a 50M stack.

Oh, and I found Michalski, who arrived only two hours late today. Stay tuned for an episode of Tao of Pokerati, as soon as we fix a minor technical glitch!

* * *

2:40pm... Heinz Surges; O'Dea Drowning

In one of the biggest hands of the final table, Puis Heinz emerged second in chips after he pushed O'Dea off a hand. On hand #38, the board read 8d-8c-4c-2c. With almost 20M in the pot, O'Dea fired out 8M. Heinz tanked for several moments before he announced all-in. O'Dea quickly bailed and the German contingency went nuts. I spotted a German flag up on the stage. Heinz's crew had been sporting rudimentary signs written with sharpies and cardboard.

Heinz chipped up to almost 46M, which was good enough to put him second in chips behind Staszko. O'Dea is the second shortest stack with 11M. Only Sam Holden has fewer chips with 9M.

Update: I had to wait 15 minutes to get the hand info... Heinz held pocket Queens (with Qc) on that decisive hand and O'Dea was trying to make a move with A-Q (no clubs).

* * *

2:51pm... Heinz = New Chip leader

Puis Heinz slipped past Martin Staszko and now leads 47M to 46M. Heinz chipped up over 30M since action began. It only took 43 hands before Staszko relinquished the lead. Meanwhile, O'Dea slipped from 33M to 10M. At one point earlier today, O'Dea was nipping at Stazko's lead and was over 40M, but he's bled over 3/4 of his stack since then.

The trio of Americans -- Lamb, Giannetti, and Collins -- have been quiet. Collins lost a few million in chips, but Lamb and Giannetti are hovering near their starting stacks.

* * *

3:15pm... New Tao of Pokerati Podcast! Episode 1 - Evolution

We're having some tech issues, so I'm gonna try Sound Cloud out to host our podcast and see if it works.
Episode 1: Evolution - We're back with a new episode of Tao of Pokerati live from the Rio in Las Vegas. Dan showed up late, but watched some of the live feed at home. The WSOP coverage is evolving and the we discuss the latest nuances in poker reporting.
Here's Episode 1 titled Evolution...

November Nine - Evolution (Ep 1) by taopokerati

* * *

3:20pm... New Tao of Pokerati Podcast - Episode 2 - Naming Names
Episode 2: Naming Names - Dan and I discuss the November Nine players, or rather, Dan's lack of knowledge of who made the final table. Dan has a cheat sheet -- the live chip count list -- that appears on a big screen adjacent to the stage.
Here's Episode 2...

November Nine - Naming Names (Ep 2) by taopokerati

* * *

3:33pm... Sam Holden Eliminated in 9th Place ($782,115)

On the first hand after the break, Sam Holden made a stand with As-Js. He was the second shortest stack at the table and hoped to double up, but he ran into Ben Lamb's Ah-Kc. The flop was A-9-8 all clubs. The turn was the Qc and Lamb improved to a nut flush. Holden was drawing dead and he hit the rail in ninth place. His loyal followers, decked out in curly wigs, silently filed out of the theatre.

I actually missed the hand. I was late getting back to the theatre after the break because I was sweating some of the GB-SD game in the sports book.

Down to 8. Heinz is still on top.
Updated Chippies:
Pius Heinz - 49.050M
Martin Staszko - 43.425M
Ben Lamb - 34.4M
Matt Giannetti - 26.425M
Phil Collins - 15.675M
Bob Bounahra - 13.925M
Eoghan O'Dea - 12.925M
Anton Makiievskyi - 10.1M
* * *

4:01pm... Anton Makiievskyi Eliminated in 8th Place ( $1,009,910)

Action is picking up. We had our second bustout in the last thirty minutes. Short-stacked Anton Makiievskyi was all-in for his tournament life with K-Q against Puis Heinz's 9-9. Ah, just another battle of Germany vs. Lithuania. The flop was K-J-J and Makiievskyi took the lead. When the 9 spiked on the turn, the room erupted. The Germans went bat shit crazy and everyone else was absolutely stunned. The river was a blank and Heinz's boat held up. Makiievskyi was knocked out in 8th place and became the first November Niner to cash in for at least $1 million.

Down to 7. Heinz is now over 60M in chips. Belize Bob is the short stack with under 7M. His crew is silent after being the rowdiest bunch all afternoon. Time for Belize Bob to double up with blinds at 400K/800K and a 100K ante, or he's gonna be the next to go...

* * *

4:12pm... Giannetti Making Moves

Matt Giannetti just dragged an 8M pot off of Puis Heinz. He made a boat with pocket deuces. Giannetti jumped up to second in chips with 47M. Meanwhile, Heinz's big stack took a slight hit and he slipped to 52M. The hand woke up Giannetti's Bio-hazard fans, many of whom had been quiet the last few hours.

* * *

4:20pm... Smoke Break!

Today's smoke break is sponsored by Lost Vegas. If you haven't bought my book about my experiences covering the WSOP during the poker boom, then what are you waiting for? There's even a Kindle version.

* * *

4:26pm... Belize Bob Eliminated in 7th Place ($1,313,851)

Super-shorty Belize Bob shoved with Ah-5c and Czech Republic's Martin Staszko called with As-10d. The flop was 7-6-2. The turn was a King, and the river was a 6. Belize Bob went busto in 7th place. I'm bummed out his fervent fans are leaving. I know one thing for sure -- I'm gonna party with the Belizeheads tonight. You know they are gonna rage it up, and who knows what kind of party favors they brought to Vegas.

Down to 6. Martin Staszko is in third in chips with almost 47M. O'Dea is the short-stack with a little over 11M.

* * *

4:40pm... Diamonds for Phildo

Phil Collins looked like he was about to get bounced in 6th place. He was all-in with Qh-Jd against Ben Lamb's Ac-Qc. The flop was Kd-5d-3s, but the 10d on the turn gave Collins a lot of outs. Alas, Lamb could not fade a diamond when the Qd hit. Collins doubled up to 28M and avoided elimination. Lamb slipped to 15M. O'Dea is the shorty with 13M. Collins' fans unleashed a furious celebration and belted out his theme song.

* * *

5:05pm... New Tao of Pokerati Podcast - Episode 3 - Betting on Belize
Episode 3: Betting on Belize: - Dan and Pauly chat about the first three eliminations at the final table, including Belize Bob. His 200 supporters kept the atmosphere festive. They also bet heavily on Bob at the Rio's sports book, which drove down his odds from 12/1 to 6/1.
Here's the new episode...

Nov. Nine - Betting on Belize (Ep 3) by taopokerati

* * *

5:20pm... Mind the Gap

With six to go, it looks like there's a division between three big stacks and three smaller ones. Pius Heinz is out in front with 62M. Matt Giannetti is second with almost 52M, and Martin Staszko has 40M. The small stacks (Ben Lamb, Phil Collins, Eoghan O'Dea) are all around 17M-18M.

* * *

5:34pm... O'Dea Crippled; Lamb Avoids Elimination

Two short-stacks went at it. All-in prelop. O'Dea went to battle with Ac-9d against Ben Lamb's Qd-8d. The flop was Jd-Js-6d and very favorable for Lamb who picked up a diamond draw. The turn was the 4c. O'Dea faded diamonds, but the 8h spiked on the river. Lamb won with a pair of eights and he avoided elimination to double up to almost 30M. O'Dea had him covered by only 2.6M. That's what he has left. The Irishman is on life support.

* * *

5:55pm... Eoghan O'Dea Eliminated in 6th Place ($1,720,396)

On the 99th hand of the final table, O'Dea made a stand with Q-6. Martin Staszko picked him off with pocket eights. The OCHOS held up and O'Dea hit the rail in 6th place. The contingency of Irish fans gave him a boisterous send off. Down to 5.

* * *

5:59pm... Phil Collins Eliminated in 5th Place ($2,268,909)

The paint wasn't even dry after the last hand and we had another all-in and a call on hand #100. This time, short-stacked Phil Collins made a stand. His Ad-7d was trailing Puis Heinz's pocket nines. The flop was 6-5-4 rainbow, but Collins picked up a straight draw. The turn was the 9d. Heinz improved to a set, but Collins had a flush redraw. The river was the 7s. Heinz's set of nines held up and Phil Collins was knocked out in 5th place. Down to 4.

Heinz's stack improved to almost 87M. Matt Giannetti was second with almost 50M. Staszko has around 41M. Ben Lamb is the unfortunate shorty with 28M.

* * *

6:45pm... Dinner Break

The final four players are heading on a 75-minute dinner break.
Dinner Break Chippies:
Pius Heinz - 85.5M
Matt Giannetti - 50.3M
Ben Lamb - 46.3M
Martin Staszko - 23.9M
Play resumes at 8:00pm PT.

* * *

8:15pm... Cards Back in the Air

Four remaining. We're playing until we lose one more player. The final three will return on Tuesday. We've only played 120 hands thus far. It took a while until someone busted, but once Sam Holden hit the rail in 9th place, the other eliminations quickly followed.

With four to go, we could be here five minutes or five hours. I still say we won't get out of here until Midnight, but then again, I'm a fatalist and prepare for the worst. I originally thought the night would end around 1:30ish. That's when I set the O/U. That's almost five hours from now. We'll see what happens.

Martin Staszko began the final table as the chip leader, but he's now the short stack -- and the hunted. Will the Czech succumb to the German big stack in Puis Heinz, or will one of the Americans (Ben Lamb or Matt Giannetti) take him out? Stay tuned...

* * *

9:01pm... The Slowdown

Obviously, nothing much has happened in the first 25 or so hands after the dinner break -- except Ben Lamb lost about 16M in chips. Heinz is now over 92M. Short-stacked Martin Staszko moved all-in a few times -- but did not find any callers. He's tredding water with around 21M or so.

On a weird note... the German contingency switched up the lyrics to KC and the Sunshine Band's Give It Up, which they sing whenever Pius Heinz wins a pot.

* * *

9:20pm... Double Czech

Shorty Martin Staszko shoved with As-8c. Puis Heinz tanked for a few minutes before he called with 6s-6h. He was ahead, but lost the lead on the flop of 8h-8s-5s. Trips for Staszko ended up holding up despite Heinz turning a gutshot draw. The Qc fell on the river, and Staszko doubled up to 44.6M. The few Czech fans went wild, including one of the Czech reporter who screamed wildly. He got a few evil glances from the other reporters and journalists in press row.

Meanwhile, after losing that hand Heinz slipped to under 75M. Ben Lamb is the shorty with a shade under 30M and Matt Giannetti has almost 57M.

* * *

9:51pm... Heinz at 90M

Pius Heinz took a pot off of Giannetti to improve to over 90M. He has at least 2x as much as the next guy -- Martin Staszko -- who moved up into second by default as Giannetti slipped down to third. Ben Lamb is still the shorty with 30M.

* * *

10:04pm... Martin Staszko Making a Run

Shortly after the dinner break, it looked like Martin Staszko's Main Event was going to be ending shortly. He barely kept his head above water with 20M, but after a timely double up, he sprang to life. He added more chips to his stack and is closing in on 60M. He took a sizable pot off of Puis Hienz, who is back under 80M. Just when Heinz tries to pull away, he gets jumped.

* * *

10:35pm... Giannetti Crippled

Both short stacks sparred. Ben Lamb was all-in with Ah-7h against Matt Giannetti's pocket Jacks. Two hearts on the flop gave Lamb a flush draw, and he promptly got there on the turn. Giannetti was crippled to under 7M. Blinds are 600K/1.2M with a 200K ante, so he's on life support

* * *

10:36pm... New Tao of Pokerati Podcast - Episode 4 - Non-Silence of the Lamb
Episode 4: Non-Silence of the Lamb - Dan was running his recorder during the hand Giannetti was crippled.
Here it is...

Tao of Pokerati: Non-Silence of the Lamb by Pokerati

* * *

10:40... "I'm not dead... yet"

Matt Giannetti doubled up on the very next hand. His Qd-10d held up against Martin Staszko's Q-2. He chipped up to 14.4M, but is still the short stack.

* * *

10:42pm... Tao of Pokerati Podcast - Episode 5 - Giannetti Lives
Episode 5: Giannetti Lives - Dan and Pauly are ringside for a decisive hand between Matt Giannetti and Martin Staszko. Giannetti was crippled on the previous hand and moved all-in. Staszko called with a dominated hand. Dan and Pauly call the action....

Nov. Nine - Giannetti Lives (Ep 5) by taopokerati

* * *

10:50pm... Matt Giannetti Eliminated in 4th Place ($3,011,661)

Man, it was brutal. Not only did Matt Giannetti run his Ad-10s into Ben Lamb's pocket Kings... Lamb had to flop quads to make his elimination hand even worse. Giannetti hit the rail in fourth place. With his bust out, play is suspended and will resume at 5:49PM PT on Tuesday.

* * *

10:55pm... New Tao of Pokerati Podcast - Episode 6 - Quad Lambs
Episode 6: Quad Lambs - Dan and Pauly record the events during the final hand of the day when Matt Giannetti busts out after running into Ben Lamb's quad Kings.
Tao of Pokerati: Quad Lambs by Pokerati

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11:08pm... Today's November Nine Payouts and Final Three Chip Counts:
November Nine Payouts:
1st - $8,711,956
2nd - $5,430,928
3rd - $4,019,635
4th - Matt Giannetti - $3,011,661
5th - Phil Collins - $2,268,909
6th - Eoghan O'Dea - $1,720,396
7th - Badih “Bob” Bounahra - $1,313,851
8th - Anton Makiievskyi - $1,009,910
9th - Sam Holden - $782,115

Final Three Chip Counts:
Pius Hienz - 107.8M
Ben Lamb - 55.4M
Martin Staszko - 42.7M
See ya Tuesday!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Betting Guide to the 2011 November Nine

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

In case you were wondering, and I know many of you degenerates are always looking for excuses to gamble, here's the latest odds for the 2011 WSOP Main Event final table, otherwise known as the November Nine...
2011 November Nine Odds
Martin Staszko 4/1
Eoghan Odea 9/2
Ben Lamb 5/1
Phil Collins 5/1
Matt Giannetti 13/2
Pius Heinz 10/1
Badih Bounahra 12/1
Anton Makievskyi 12/1
Samuel Holden 15/1

** Odds courtesy of The Camel and

2011 November Nine Seating Assignments:
Seat 1: Matt Giannetti
Seat 2: Badih Bounahra
Seat 3: Eoghan O'Dea
Seat 4: Phil Collins
Seat 5: Anton Makievskyi
Seat 6: Samuel Holden
Seat 7: Pius Heinz
Seat 8: Ben Lamb
Seat 9: Martin Staszko

November Nine Chip Counts:
1. Martin Staszko - 40,175,000
2. Eoghan O'Dea - 33,925,000
3. Matt Giannetti - 24,750,000
4. Phil Collins - 23,875,000
5. Ben Lamb - 20,875,000
6. Badih Bounahra - 19,700,000
7. Pius Heinz - 16,425,000
8. Anton Makievskyi - 13,825,000
9. Sam Holden - 12,375,000

November Nine - Final Table Payouts
1st - $8,711,956
2nd - $5,430,928
3rd - $4,019,635
4th - $3,011,661
5th - $2,268,909
6th - $1,720,396
7th - $1,313,851
8th - $1,009,910
9th - $782,115
This is the first year that Las Vegas casinos allow proposition wagering on the World Series of Poker. Sports betting on poker is not a precise science yet because oddmakers and gamblers have a very small set of numbers to worth with. This is not like professional football in which oddmakers have models and algorithms to consult in addition to the old fashioned "eye test" to see if a team can legitimately cover a point spread on both paper and in real life. Poker is not like MMA or boxing, and you can't just look at Puis Heinz and say he won't be able to handle Anton Makievskyi.

So what do you look for? Stack sizes? Betting the chip leader isn't always the best strategy. It's only panned out once in the last three final tables.

The luck factor adds difficulty into making a sound decision. You're essentially betting on the guy who puts himself in the best situation to get lucky -- and often times luck is not coming from behind to win a hand or hitting all your draws, but rather, avoiding misfortune by winning all of your coinflips and evading suckouts at advantageous moments.

You're also looking for value and a player who will pay off something close to what he's really worth if goes deep and wins it all.

Will the major betting syndicates get in on this racket? I doubt they'll make a major play because of the uncontrollable variables which makes it tough to minimize their risk. Rather, the majority of action will be wagered by hardcore poker fans and the curious tourist that happens to be in Vegas this weekend. He/she probably watched a few episodes of the WSOP on ESPN and decided to drop $25 on a player.

The WSOP Main Event is not like the Superbowl when amateur bettors flock to the windows to place bets on random things like the coinflip or the length of the national anthem. If the November Nine odds lures in a few drunks on The Strip, they'd probably place bets on a whim will go with familiar names like Phil Collins or Ben Lamb. It's a pick driven by psychology. The European names are just too weird for anyone to pronounce, especially with a few Irish car bombs pumping through their system. Based on that assumption (drunks don't like complicated names), if anyone wants to bet a longshot, it'll be Sam Holden due to the simplicity of his name.

Ben Lamb is overvalued because everyone and his mother who is easily swayed by "awards" will take into account his most-recent Player of the Year victory. Lamb and Phil Hellmuth were neck-and-neck going into the Main Event, but Lamb finally locked up the title with a deep run in the Main Event. Numbers/awards aside, Lamb certainly played well enough across the entire summer to deserve the POY honor, but he could have won a Nobel Prize and the Westminster Dog Show and it still wouldn't alter the randomness of the hands he'll see at the final table and how he'll choose to play them.

The chip leader and most popular guy have been historically overvalued. But, the long shots should be much higher in excess of +1500 and closer to +2000. That's why you have to analyze the guys in the middle. They have the potential for most value if they win the Main Event. With that said, I like Matt Giannetti at +575 and love him of the line moves northward of 600.

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2010 November Nine Odds:
Jonathan Duhamel +180
Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi +250
John Dolan +250
Joseph "subiime" Cheong +350
Matthew Jarvis +700
John Racener +700
Soi Nguyen +1200
Filippo Candio +1200
Jason Senti +2000
In 2010, the overall favorite and chip leader Jonathan Duhamel won the Main Event -- the only favorite to ever do so. His odds were listed at +180 and he beat John Racener (+700) heads-up. The bookies gave the popular "Grinder" the second favorite at +250.

The Grinder embarked on a remarkable run at the 2010 WSOP and edged out Frank Kasella as Player of the Year, which was anchored by his victory in the 50K Players' Championship. The Grinder eventually finished the Main Event in 5th place. His real odds were much higher, but don't forget the bookies adjust lines to accommodate their positions after the original lines are released. The +250 they set for the Grinder didn't equate to what place they thought he'd finish. The +250 line was in place protect themselves just in case the most popular guy won and they'd be on the hook for almost twice as much cash. Similar thing happened with Phil Ivey in 2009.

Last year, I bet on Joe "subiime" Cheong at +350. I felt that he offered the best value for his price. Cheong finished in a disappointing third place. If he didn't imploded on the infamous hand that sunk his Main Event dreams, who knows what could have happened.

John Racener at +700 ended up being a sound wager because the bubblegum chewing Racener lost to Duhamel heads-up. He was listed as the 6th favorite (or 4th longshot if you want to look at it in those terms). The year before, Joe Cada was in a similar spot and took down the Main Event.

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2009 November Nine Odds:
Darvin Moon +225
Eric Buchman +350
Phil Ivey +350
Happy Shulman +500
Steven Begleiter +500
Joe Cada +1000
Kevin Schaffel +1200
James Akenhead +1200
Antoine Saout +1500
Phil Ivey's numbers were tweaked because he's Phil Fucking Ivey and everyone with a pulse put down a bet on him. I bet on him at crappy odds because he's Phil Fucking Ivey. He should have been listed much higher, but so much money was put down on Ivey that the bookies wanted to minimize their losses just in case he pulled off a victory. Alas, the living legend never got any momentum going and despite the pro-Ivey crowd, he busted in 5th place. Seconds after his elimination, the majority of the Penn and Teller Theatre emptied and energy level fizzled out to a faint whimper.

The Luddite logger Darvin Moon was listed as 2/1 because he held an overwhelming chip lead and the poker gods seemed to have blessed him during his journey to the final table. Moon found himself pitted heads-up against the baby-faced kid from Michigan Joe Cada. Cada getting 10/1 odds would've paid off handsomely if you had the balls to pull the trigger on the unknown player. Alas, it wasn't one of the chip leaders like Moon or Buchman who prevailed. Nor was it the consummate professional in Phil Ivey. Nope, it was one of the random guys at the back of the pack.

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2008 November Nine Odds:
Dennis Phillips +425
Ivan Demidov +425
Scott Montgomery +475
Peter Eastgate +525
Ylon Schwartz +800
David Rheem +850
Darus Suharto +900
Craig Marquis +950
Kelly Kim +2500
In the inaugural November Nine the books erred on the side of caution because the November Nine has never happened before, so no one knew what to expect. The big question marks surrounded the layoff -- would it benefit some players more so than others? And more importantly, how would that affect the betting odds?

Dennis Phillips was the people's choice. He had the "aww shucks" attitude from the moment the spotlight got turned onto him, which is a rare form of charm mostly found in prairie statement politicians and door-to-door insurance salesmen. The fact that he was also the chip leader tweaked his numbers. Don't forget when someone who is not a savvy bettor wants action, they usually go with what is familiar to them. Hence, why the public loved betting on Phillips.

Chino Rheem was the "pro's favorite" that year and most of the people associated with the poker industry put their money on Chino because based on time logged at the live tables, he had the best chance to win. Besides, he also owed the most money to everyone else in poker, which is why everyone was rooting for him. The higher he finished, the better the chances all of his debt collectors would get paid.

The 4th highest favorite, Peter Eastgate, won the championship and became the youngest player to do so in the process -- smashing Phil Hellmuth's record. It's fitting that five years after the Moneymaker Effect, a Scandi who barely shaves, took down the WSOP Main Event.

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So what does all of this mean? Absolutely nothing.

But if you like small sample sizes.... since the inception of the November Nine, only one favorite (Jonathan Duhamel) won the Main Event. Your best bet is someone in the middle of the pack like Joe Cada (2009) or Peter Eastgate (2008). That's why I like Matt Gianetti at +575 or 13/2 at online sportsbooks according to The Camel. Besides, Giannetti won a WPT event on my birthday, so I take that as a positive sign.

I've already placed wagers on O'Dea (safe bet) and Gianetti (value play).

I know I haven't specifically spoken about Eoghan O'Dea, but I like the Irishman's style of play and more importantly, he's a second generation gambler. Poker is in his blood. His father is one of the godfathers of Irish poker Don O'Dea. It's hard to bet against royalty and someone who's been breathing poker since he popped out of his momma's womb.

That's it for now. Consult your local bookie, online sportsbook, or check the betting windows in Vegas for the latest odds. Get your bets in before Sunday! Good luck.

The November Nine kicks off semi-live with hole cards on ESPN2 at 3:30pm ET. You can also view it online at ESPN3.