Forums like TwoPlusTwo and PocketFives can be scary. If you’re a first-time visitor, it’s hard to process all of the threads, and if you post you could be flamed. Badly. Posters have no mercy. So, if you’re afraid to lurk, or you’re just looking for the best threads at the moment, we thought we would lend a helping hand — and add our input.
Let the trolling begin.
So a gentleman named Mike McNeil sends a Facebook message to Chris Moneymaker, and rather than wait it out, Moneymaker immediately posts it on TwoPlusTwo. This is very smart and respectable because transparency is key in situations like these. Moneymaker admits that Whitis is his best friend, but Whitis also owes him $24,000, and he’s no longer associated with him. Moneymaker added a warning to the end of his post: “After April 15th Dave lost his income and turned super sleezy [sic] so I would heed the warning below if you run across him. This is the 3rd guy approaching me since April 15th complaining about Dave. I hope he turns things around and pays what he owes.”
Are you compiling you poker tournament bucket list? Don't fill it with [insert casino name here] 7 p.m. nightly. Yes, those are fun, but come on, you should have the best of the best on your list. The PokerNews Team has come up with its top 10 can't miss poker tournaments. And yes, there are even online tournaments in the mix. Check out this list, and start building your bankroll — playing these doesn't come cheap.
Off the Felt is interviewing your favorite people in the poker industry to find out more about their lives — you've got it — off the felt. We recently sat down with Dennis Phillips to talk a little poker, sky diving, and watching water drops down a window panel.
How did you start playing poker?
I started playing poker back in college. I ran a little game out of my room and pretty much paid my tuition through my earnings. That was back in the 70s and I’ve played ever since.
What does your poker schedule look like for the next few months?
I’ll be in Vegas for most of the rest of February. In March I’ll be traveling 25 of the 30 days. I’ll be going to Oklahoma, St. Louis, and up into Iowa, Indiana, and Chicago. I’ll be going a whole variety of places. I may be going down to Latin America in May and then in June I’ll be back in Vegas for the entire World Series of Poker.
What is your favorite tournament stop?
Wow. There are a ton of places that are just so much fun. The historic stop that was in London, we played there at the Vic. Monte Carlo is awesome to go there. Puerto de Este in Uruguay is fabulous. I had never even heard of the town before and I was able to go down there through PokerStars to play poker in the Southern part of South America and it was just amazing.
Nineteen players owe Groupe Bernard Tapie $16.5 million, Daniel Negreanu calls for old-school Vegas punishment for Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson, a former Zynga engineer is spilling some secrets over on reddit.com, and the Super Bowl was yet another super fail for the Pigskin Diaries.
Let’s get to it.
When I was in high school, a good friend of mine, Tim, suggested I start reading Bill Simmons’ column on ESPN. I obliged and soon became fascinated with his Friday columns because he picked every National Football League game against the spread. It was during that same time period that Tim, I, and a handful of our closest friends began playing poker. We were thirsty for action, even if it was only for five or ten dollars.
Enter sports gambling.
The first game I ever wagered on was the 2006 BCS National Championship Game. Tim had the University of Southern California (-7.5), and I was on the University of Texas Longhorns (+7.5). Texas won outright in a thrilling game, and I shipped a crisp $20 bill. Time to party.
Nearly a month later, the Pittsburgh Steelers were set to take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. Pittsburgh, the sixth seeded team in the AFC, was favored by four points, and Tim and I decided that Seattle was the right side. It’s a good thing neither of us knew how to bet online (yet), because the Steelers won 21-10, covering with ease.
Over the next six years, I, like Mr. Simmons, picked every single NFL game against the spread. During the first few seasons, I would select a side in each game and simply list my picks on AOL Instant Messenger or in a Facebook note. I then graduated to my own blog, where I elaborated on the picks, and now, because the editors here at PokerNews are apparently crazy, you can read my picks on one of the most popular poker websites in the world.
Unfortunately, despite never finishing a season under .500 ATS, I have never picked the Super Bowl correctly.
On Wednesday, Jennifer "Jennicide" Leigh began a two-day red wine cleanse diet. She posted five videos on her YouTube channel documenting her drunken journey, which began with a glass of wine as soon as she woke up — not something we recommend. In fact, by the end of the day, Jennicide ends up not recommending this diet for pretty much anyone. Here are her revelations from the end of Day 1 of her diet.
Will she continue on with Day 2? Follow her on Twitter to find out.
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Off the Felt is interviewing your favorite people in the poker industry to find out more about their lives — you've got it — off the felt. We recently sat down with Kenna James to talk a little poker, radio shows, and a rodeo team.
How did you get started playing poker?
I got a job in the poker industry as a dealer at Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angeles in 1996. From there I got into directing tournaments and gradually developed myself as a player. I had a fascination and love for the competition of the game and an aversion to working a regular 9-to-5 job. So I pursued it with a passion and in five years I was playing it professionally.
What is your tournament schedule like for the next couple of months?
I just returned from the Aussie Millions and I’m in L.A. right now for the LAPC. I don’t tour full time anymore, though, so this may be it until the WSOP. My cats miss me and I enjoy being home. In the past, I would follow up the LAPC with the Bay 101 tourney, then on to Europe before heading home to the WSOP.
Phil Ivey boycotted the 2011 World Series of Poker after Black Friday, citing that, "I do not believe it is fair that I compete when others cannot. I am doing everything I can to seek a solution to the problem as quickly as possible."
Now, after binking a huge score Down Under, it appears as if Ivey's fans, who still can't compete, are boycotting him.
1. Ivey, Ivey, Ivey?
Over the weekend, Phil Ivey won the second annual Aussie Millions $250,000 Super High Roller, defeating a field of 16 players and banking a cool AUD$2 million. Earlier that same day (doesn’t that sound absurd?), Ivey finished 12th in the Aussie Millions Main Event, earning AUD$100,000. A year ago, Ivey would’ve been glorified for what he did in Melbourne — it’s extremely difficult to finish in the top 12 of a Main Event, let alone win a Super High Roller in the same day — but because Full Tilt Poker has yet to pay back it’s players, the Ivey bandwagon carries significantly less weight these days.
Remember when Ivey reached the World Series of Poker Main Event final table in 2009? The poker community exploded with excitement. I was sitting behind the media risers in the Amazon Room next to the then Commissioner of the WSOP Jeffrey Pollack when Jordan Smith was eliminated, and the November Nine was set. Every eyeball in the room was on Ivey, who begrudgingly stayed for group photographs and a brief meeting. During the latter part of the WSOP, there was a wealthy businessman playing the big game in Bobby’s Room over at the Bellagio. Ivey was itching to take his seat in the game — he had been double dipping all throughout the Main Event.
Now, instead of praising him, poker fans are quick to jab Ivey.
From the PokerNews write-up:
“Mr. Ivey, Please your money in to new full tilt operating funds…” – narucy
From Andrew Feldman’s write-up on ESPN:
“Where’s my FTP money Ivey?!?!?! I could give a $@%! about how much he wins until I get my FTP cash back!!!!” – TaurenForTheWin
“Wasn’t Mr. Ivey one of the guys that profited heavily from the ponzi scheme at Full Tilt poker? Why is he even allowed to play in these poker tournies?” – ringworm218
From the sweat thread on TwoPlusTwo:
“Two millionaires playing heads up for money that won’t really make a difference to them. It’s a good thing us FTP players paid for this heads up match. Fu Ivey hope your ex takes as much as you have taken from us.” – joeyrulesall
Ivey has become the most polarizing figure in poker. He’s our Tim Tebow, except that Tebow's success has been in a vacuum, and Ivey is one of the greatest poker players of all time.
The nonstop, 24/7 news cycle certainly plays a role in all of this. Although there isn’t a CNN for poker, Twitter, Facebook, and TwoPlusTwo do a fine job of spreading information like wildfire. Five years ago, Ivey’s divorce from his wife Lucietta wouldn’t have been news. In fact, I bet you didn’t know that Daniel Negreanu divorced his now ex-wife in 2007. Is Negreanu a bad person? Of course not. However, his image would be drastically different had he divorced on the other side of 2010.
We will learn more about Ivey in the coming years, but for right now we’re arguing over things we don’t know. We don’t know how big a role, if any, Ivey played in the mismanagement of Full Tilt. We don’t know when he first learned about the events of Black Friday. We don’t know if he was sincere when he skipped to the 2011 WSOP. We don’t know any of these things, and to assume otherwise is nothing short of asinine.
Let’s not get into a shouting match with one another to see who’s the loudest. Let’s wait for some facts to come out before we judge for or against Mr. Ivey.
2. Balancing your life
On Monday, Phil Galfond sent out a tweet about a blog post he had just published on his personal website. Before retiring to bed, I pulled it up on my iPhone, thinking I would skim it for some wizardry and then fall asleep, but instead I read all 2,000 words. Galfond prefaced the post with a warning: “I’ve been sleeping very poorly, and I’m currently failing at trying to fall asleep. If this post is a bit rambly and weird…no complaining…you’ve been warned. I wrote this without thinking or editing much.”
Galfond proceeded to talk about balancing life and poker, which is neither rambly nor weird. It’s necessary. If a player has no escape from poker, then the game can consume them. Conversely, if a player doesn’t study or put in the hours, then they won’t be as successful on the felt. There needs to be a give and take, and right now, Galfond feels like his life is out of balance. Here's my favorite part of the post:
“See, normally, I have a lot of things going on in my life…a lot of things that make me happy. If poker was going badly, I had my friends, my activities. I truly was leading two lives. Phil-the-poker-player was losing and stressed, but Phil-the-regular-person had a full life outside of poker that even a $1.5m downswing couldn’t put a scratch on.
So now, I’m in Vancouver on a downswing. A somewhat rough one, though no worse than I’ve experienced many times before. But this time, it’s different. I step away from my computer and what do I have?”
Galfond, who is considered one of the best players in the world, peels back the curtain and bravely discusses the treachery of his downswing. It is a must-read for all aspiring poker players, so that they know how difficult it can be to play the game professionally. I respect Galfond so much for publishing this for the world to see, and I hope that the positive feedback motivates him to re-balance his life so he can come back stronger than ever.
My advice: take an impromptu vacation with some of your closest friends, Mr. Galfond. Leave the continent, turn off your electronic devices and enjoy yourself. Let nonpoker Phil breathe a little bit.
The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure just ended, but January is still jam-packed with poker tournaments all over the world — from Melbourne, Australia, for the Aussie Millions to Deauville, France, for the European Poker Tour at the end of the month, and everything in between. Because of the abundance of tournaments, we felt like it was our duty to get you pumped up to play your A-game — or try at least. After polling Team PokerNews, we've come up with 10 songs to add to your "get-pumped-up-for-the-tournament-I'm-going-to-crush" playlist. Good luck at the tables.
1. Eye of the Tiger — Survivor
This Rocky video is way more convincing than the official video that features the members of Survivor stomping their way into a warehouse to jam in front of a gold lamé sheet.
2. All I do is Win — DJ Khaled
"All I do is win, win, win, no matter what. Got money on mind, I can never get enough." Are there any other lyrics out there that are more pertinent to a poker player?
3. Taking Care of Business — Bachman Turner Overdrive
Poker players don't get up in the morning, they don't take a train to their grind station/local brick-and-mortar, nor do they get to work by nine, but they're certainly self-employed, and they take care of business. Minus the whole "working overtime" part, because, let's be honest, poker players have a hard time showing up, let alone staying for overtime.
4. Killing in the Name — Rage Against the Machine
The song is about racism in politics. We don't care. It gets the blood pumping. Just don't take the song title too literally if you suffer a bad beat while it's playing.
5. Public Service Announcement — Jay-Z
If you aren't nodding your head after "Allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is HOV," then something is wrong with you. And you don't "check cheddar like a food inspector" either.
Off the Felt is interviewing your favorite people in the poker industry to find out more about their lives — you've got it — off the felt. We recently sat down with Allen Bari to talk a little poker, smashing laptops, and mixed martial arts.
How did you start playing poker?
I grew up playing high-low stud games with my friends from home. Two of my best friends' dads had a weekly game and we would have our own game. I eventually started playing low-stakes no-limit online my freshmen year of college, and in underground cash games in New Brunswick.
What does your poker schedule look like for the next few months?
I don't plan on traveling very much in 2012. I am working on some businesses outside of poker and in the meantime will travel to Borgata to play cash and tournaments. I plan on going to San Jose for Bay 101 in March, but don't plan on going anywhere else really over the next few months poker wise.
Where is your favorite tournament stop to play?
I love playing at Borgata because it is close to home and that is where I normally play anyway. The tournament staff is great there and the rooms are nice. It's cool to be close to friends knowing if you make a final table they can make short trip and sweat you.
Who do you think will win the Super Bowl?
I'll just jump on the bandwagon and pick the Green Bay Packers since they're beasts and I don't see who is going to beat them if they play their A-game.
What is the most ridiculous prop bet you’ve been involved in?
I don't really prop bet much, but my friend Adam from Hoboken and I make stupid bets all the time and he once laid me 10,000 to 1 that I couldn't rip a small tree out of the ground on the streets of Hoboken. I took the bet and didn't move the tree. If I had won, he would have owed me $200K.
Do you have any hidden talents?
During an outrage after you bust from a tournament, what’s the most destructive thing you’ve done?
I have smashed a laptop after a terrible Sunday and broken it before.
You won your first WSOP bracelet this summer, congrats! What did you do to celebrate?
Went to Oyshi to celebrate with friends.
Team Jacob or Team Edward?
Allie, my girlfriend, is making me say Edward.
You versus Jason Mercier in an MMA bout, everything allowed, who would win?
It would be a close fight, but if he didn't instantly kill me, I would tear him apart because I would never give up until he stopped breathing.
What is your favorite thing about Las Vegas?
I don't really even like Vegas, which is one of the reasons why it's gonna be so easy to cut down on traveling. I guess the only thing I like about Vegas is having a lot of my poker friends living there.
If you were to open a restaurant, what professional poker players would you hire to help you run it?
Dan O'Brien cause he likes to eat a lot, and is extremely organized and would be a really good business partner. He is hardworking and would definitely be a huge part of our success.
If you were able to sing a duet with anyone and star in his or her music video who would it be?
Michael Buble. He has a great voice and I think my voice would compliment his.
What is your favorite club in Las Vegas?
Tryst. Love the waterfall inside.
What is your dream car?
What would you be doing if you weren’t playing poker?
Building custom furniture, running my own business, or fixing up houses.
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2006 World Series of Poker Main Event winner Jamie Gold becomes latest player to auction off championship bracelet.
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