Well I have received plenty of negative feedback from readers of column 14 about my presentation of the Greenstein-Trumper hand in the Omaha event at the WSOP. For those of you who might want Trumper's side of the story, check Steve Rosenbloom's column on ESPN.com from July 6th.
I had not read this story, nor the preceding one, nor even realized that this hand had been presented by any other journalist when I wrote the article.
Now let me be perfectly clear before talking further about this, I do not wish to change one word of what I wrote, nor does Simon's explanation ring true for me. I will be happy to tell you why. First of all I am unhappy, even disgusted, by Simon's acting on the river when he clearly understood that he had the nuts, but I do not advocate threatening him in any way. He acted within the letter of the law, which is why I am suggesting that the law needs to be changed. If you play only on the internet, or with a group of weak players frequently then this type of misdirection is certainly acceptable.
If someone thinks I have an American bias, or an anti-European bias they are clearly mistaken, and this is easy to dispelsimply ask the players that know me.
I have had no problem with Simon prior to this. I have set quietly at the table with him while he took more time than I thought acceptable several times and I have never brought it up before this moment.
I not only had not read about this hand, but was not told about it by Barry (I did ask him for his story before printing column 14). In fact I was told about the hand by a player who is very clear and careful and related it in detailincluding a five minute plus think on the turn and at least a six minute think on the river. I sought out a second player who was at the table and he also said that the river think was at least five minutes. Now I will ask at least two of the other players who were at the table (Peter Costa and Huck Seed, as I am comfortable with their answers) how long they put this famous think at, and how innocent they think all of this to be. I will print their replies at a future time.
Another reason I think this behavior is so unacceptable is that the whole idea of one table playing five, or more, hands while on another table one is played offends my sense of fair play. It is precisely long delays that have caused many changes in the rules of tournaments as they currently existincluding the 'hand-for-hand' phase that most are familiar with. If you play an event where someone is deliberately stalling to theoretically increase their chance of getting to the money then you know how unfair this is to those who wish to maximize the opportunity to display their skills on an even playing field.
Next Simon says that he cannot believe that Barry held the hand that Barry says he held. Wait a minute! Let us put Barry on trial here for a moment. Exactly when has he lied? I have yet to see it or hear about it, and I cannot say that about a lot of other (American) poker superstars. Oh, but because Simon explains how he would bet the hand, and how it felt to him, someone he has not played with before has bared their soul, and further cannot possibly have the hand they claim to have? You can check my gullibility at the door, but pardon me for believing someone who values telling the truth when they have had many opportunities to misrepresent themselves.
You can justify your own actions all you want, but attacking someone else's credibility as to what their hand was, as to how they played their hand, as to what the tournament situation was, as to how you would have acted if you held their hand, as to what the words he uttered meant, and how the letter of the law should be interpreted, does not sit well with me.
The second person that I heard about this hand from was the great Danish professional player Thor Hansen, who was chuckling about the fact that it took Barry 16 hours to get upset enough to say anything. He has played a lot with Barry and I am sure his opinion is of more value than my own.
Do you honestly think that it is okay for a player (I could care less what country he represents. This is not the Ryder Cup.) to sit on the river for 4 minutes with the nuts and take no action? Do you think that ten minutes is okay? Where do you want to draw the line? I draw the line at two minutes for any action myself and am going on the record for saying that every and any action that you might take should never ever take more than two minutes. More than that is insulting at worst and bad acting at best. I am calling for the rule to be put in place right now. Let us end this with something positive. Let us have a rule that applies to every situation.
Onwards and upwards! The third day of the WSOP 10,000 dollar buy-in day ones has now been played. Apparently there were 5,619 entrants, a new brick and mortar record. My day one was on Friday and I will have to wait an entire year to play this one again, I only outlasted 1100 players and was 200, or so, players short of advancing!
Firstly my impressions of my first two tables were vastly different than the one I got from my first table last year. Last year it felt to be over 80 degrees in the downstairs area at Binion's Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas and we were eleven handed and sardined into a position where it was very hard to move at all. They had announced that they were applying a 'hard' cap to the situation of 2,000 entrants but when they arrived at that number they could not bring themselves to turn away more 10,000 dollar packets and so we cracked on through the 2,500 runners barrier.
At my first table at the 2004 version of the WSOP nine of the eleven players professed to have never played poker in a brick and mortar location before! Six were internet qualifiers and three were men that owned their own tool companies in Arkansas and, having seen how cool poker was on television, flew in and put down 10,000 dollars! From the first hand it was common to have a bet of at least 1500 on the flop, of 2500 more on the turn, and at least 3500, with a caller, on the river! People tried to tell me what a great draw this was but I can tell you that it was only if you made the best hand several times. Bluffing was not an option, outplaying your opponents was not an option, and outthinking them was a total fantasy! If someone out there thinks they can read ten opponents who seldom know what they hold, and are willing to put all there chips into the pot with a draw, then more power to them!
I lasted about 12 hours in that one also and watched some hands that caused Phil Hellmuth to fall off his chair (he came to my table after about six hours of play). I will tell you one to make the picture clear and sharp! Mr. Arkansas raises it up front to 1200 (it is 100-200 with a quarter ante and his total stack is about 65,000) and is called by a midfield player and the little blind (also a novice). The flop comes As-8d-5h and the blind leads out for 2500 into a pot of 4050 from a stack of 39,000 and the pre-flop raiser now makes it 9000 to go, pass, and a shaking call by the blind. The turn comes a 4d and the blind checks, Mr. Arkansas now bets 12,000 and is called by the uncontrollably shaking novice in the blind. The river comes a 4s, check by blind, and an "all-in" by Mr. Tool, called by the man in the blind who I fear is going to have a coronary! The hands come over and they are AhQc for the caller, and KhQs by the fearlessly firing better! Phil Hellmuth's chair goes over backwards at this point and he stands up and proclaims this the biggest pot he has seen all day! Imagine firing all that ammunition into the pot with King high and no draw at all!
Okay, forward to this year's 2005 WSOP where we have three separate "day one's". My first assignment is delightful in that I am at Table 199, Seat 3 which places me as close to the door as possible. The table is strange however as over and over someone raises it to 150, 175, or 200 (over a big blind of 50) and gets a walk! Very few hands arrive at a flop and later when I ask around I find that last years wild play has been replaced by passive play at most tables! Whiplash!
Our table is the second one to break and I move to Table 121, Seat 5 which is much more to my liking as five to seven players limp into every flop. After some hours of play I have crept up to 15,000 in chips and the blinds are 100-200 with 25 antes. Two players leave the table with three minutes to go until dinner time and I look down at 9s9h and make it 575 to go. Win a walk. Next hand I pick up KhQs and make it 575 again. This time the big blind goes all-in for 3200 and as tight as he has been playing I muck my hand rather quickly. 17 seconds left until dinner, one last hand comes off, I look down at AhAd and make it 575 one more time. Only the cutoff calls. This is a player that, although he threw away the two previous hands, has probably only mucked six of the last 100 hands dealt, has bluffed big into small pots, has argued about who should win a certain situation, and who called an all-in with Ah-6c for 7200 not long before. I think you have a picture of him! It comes KhKd2c and I check and he checks. Now comes a 10 of clubs and I check again, he bets 2000 and I call, river is a Jh, I check and he bets 5,000 leaving himself with 2,000 more if he is called. I think for a moment but cannot imagine mucking against this player as he might have any two. I call. He does have any two. Ks5s. Ayah! I have taken a big hit and never fully recover as I peaked out at 12,000 later on.
My final hand is in the cutoff with AhJc and holding 4300 with blinds of 200-400 and 50 ante coming to an end (this is two levels after the dinner break) I move all-in (the pot holds 1100) and the button calls with AdKs and the big blind calls with 7s7d. The flop is 6s6h2d and the pair of 7's moves all-in for 6900 and the AK calls instantly! Leaving himself with only 3600 if he should lose the hand. He does not as the Kd comes on the turn and the 4c on the river and two of us are gone.
So play good...and get lucky!
Ed note: Party Poker have multiple tables available at every limit, 24 hours a day.