“I waited all night, but I got even with that idiot!” Tony announced at about 5 a.m., as he was leaving the poker room.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, as we strode side by side toward the parking lot. It had been a great night for me, so I was in a tolerant mood, willing to play along with Tony’s peculiar and perpetual need to always share his poker exploits as if nobody else mattered.
“So, I start at noon,” Tony began. “and everything’s going fine. After about an hour, this guy I’ve never played with sits down and bluffs me three hands in a row! He shows the hands. And he’s gloating. I can hardly stand it.”
He paused and walked in silence for about 20 seconds, then continued.
by Wendeen H. Eolis
The bloom was still on the rose of the poker boom when James (Jimmy) Woods strolled into the Commerce Casino, just outside Los Angeles. We met up for coffee and then walked over to a no limit hold’em game with “open seating.”
Tobey Maguire was in the game. So were Leonardo (Leo) DiCaprio and David Schwimmer. The rest of the players were a mixture of local pros and other recognizable regulars. There was no fanfare--no handlers holding court, protectively, no velvet ropes to keep gawkers at bay, no caviar on the side tables for the celebrities.
Except for the cast of celebrities characters at the table, it was a typical, no limit hold' 'em game for the country's biggest card room The blinds ware relatively small. the buy-in was uncapped, and thousands—not hundreds of thousands--of dollars changed hands in the course of the night. . Like the rest of the players at the table, the Hollywood pack seemed to care mostly about how people were playing their chips and the odds of a reversal of fortune on the turn of a card.
Way before Before Molly’s Game
In the mid 80s poker players were accustomed to seeing the likes of Gabe Kaplan and Telly Savalas make regular appearances at the World Series of Poker--but otherwise movie stars were not generally aficionadaos of public poker rooms. The WSOP was the one tournament that meant something to any poker player worth his salt. Very few women had seats at the tables. During the three week Series, blue language and and vulgar comments was part of the game (as it was in every other public card room in America) —except when a lady was at the table. Benny Binion, had no patience for such bad manners! Neither did Jack Binion. And good old Texans jumped right in if a guy got out of line when the fairer sex was present.
Also in the the mid 80s, the Mayfair Club, in New York began its evolution into the hottest top- secret club for poker--anywhere in America. There was an egalitarian spirit at the table. The Mayfair attracted players from all walks of life, but far more men than women. There was one big No Limit game. Pros, Wall Street whales and a smattering of celebrities were part of the Club's regular ebb and flow.
Needling fellow players and “coffee-housing" (harmless trash talk) was part of the heat. Cursing was discouraged. The F bomb was never acceptable as a regular part of the conversation. Genuine abuse was verboten.
And, Molly Bloom the poker hostess with the mostest, and author of a new book about high stakes poker games in hotsy- totsy enclaves, was a toddler in Loveland, Colorado.
The 90s takes poker up a notch
In the 90s, screenplay writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien discovered New York’s Mayfair Club. The Mayfair inspired the 1998 film Rounders, starring Matt Damon, Ed Norton and John Malkovich. In the years that followed, increasingly, celebrities made their way into poker rooms. Damon took a fancy to the game. His close friend, Ben Affleck also got into poker; first at Foxwoods, in small no limit games, later in Atlantic City’s high stakes mixed limit games--with Jennifer Lopez at his side. Woods, caught the poker bug, independnently. He eagerly, made visits to tournaments and cash games on both coasts. Maguire, and DiCaprio were at home in the poker capital of the world, and Schwimmer played fearlessly at tough poker tables, too.
The movie stars generally behaved in poker rooms as they would in any other coed domain, where manners count and unwritten rules of basic decorum frown on being disrespectful or making fun of women for sport. Across America, poker players were as orderly as the card rooms required; few card rooms muzzled colorful commentary.
The Poker Boom Years
With the advent of online poker, the average age and social skills of poker players dropped dramatically. durng the next decade. As a small influx of younger women began to take their places at casino card room tables, they adapted to a new lexicon of acceptable curse words and more table chatter that portrayed women as nuts and sl---s.
Of course, some women in the poker world have never seen a poker table as a place to be a prim and proper lady! One time poker star and runner-up contestant on Celebrity Apprentice, Annie Duke was among them. At one Ante Up for Africa charity poker event, the outspoken Duke, came running to our table where Matt Damon was the center of the universe. Mugging for the cameras, she said to the well-heeled crowd in front of them, “You are such an attention w---re!”
The golden era of Molly Bloom’s poker games was on the horizon.
Molly’s Game: Beyond Imagination
The poker festivities described in the new blockbuster book, “Molly’s Game,” by Molly Bloom became the hottest tickets in town during the latter half of the “oughts.” Business titans mixed it up with movie stars and the occasional celebrity poker pro.
Dubbed the “Poker Princess,” of Hollywood and New York, Bloom operated private, exclusive, high-stakes poker games until the Government shut them down. Her game got hit by a sting operation t targeted big fish in sports betting businesses and organized crime. This spring Bloom resolved her case with one year of probation.
Ms. Bloom’s games were always carefully laced with celebrities the likes of Maguire, Schwimmer, Di Caprio, and Affleck. Movie icons attract billionaire businessmen into the fold, she explains. Bloom catered to Spiderman Maguire because he was a regular who encouraged other A-listers to join the fun. And for a good while, Maguire helped to keep Bloom's business a captivating affair.
According to Bloom, Maguire was a big winner, a poor tipper, and messed big-time with her sense of dignity. Showing him as a cad toward women, she cited an incident in which the Spiderman insisted she bark like a seal for the reward of a $1,000 tip. She found it in herself to decline. She got the tip anyway. It was not the first example of Maguire's penchant for humor at a woman's expense, in a poker room, nor his last.
Maguire is part of sizable demographic of men who push the boundaries of “arguably acceptable” conduct outside , brothels, male locker rooms, and bedrooms by mutual consent. .
“Mike the Mouth” Reflects a Popular Mindset
Calling Out Sexism in Poker — Beyond Maguire, Molly’s Game, and “The Mouth” - by Wendeen H. Eolis
Featured Strategy - Mike Caro: Today's Word is Revenge
World Series of Poker Events 53 to the Main Event (#65)
AND MUCH MORE, Download the new Issue PDF now!
by Joseph C. Smith Sr.
A poker tournament with a prize pool totaling $37,333,338. And that's after $111,111 from each of the 42 entrants $1 million buy-in which totals $4,666,662 is set aside for the One Drop Foundation. Arithmetically inclined readers will be quick to note when you add the prize pool and the One Drop donation you get exactly $42 million. So how much goes to the house? None! Harrah's WSOP is not taking any of the money.
This 3 Day event offered plenty of exciting and often humorous moments. Amazing how at this level of poker the players can be so casual about anything considering the amount of money at stake. The top eight finishers received at least $1,306,667 in cash. Even after deducting the original $1 million buy-in some serious money remains.
Day 3 saw the field of 42 cut to just 2 players with chips. A 23-year-old Daniel Colman from Holden, MA faced 5 WSOP bracelet veteran Daniel Negreanu. Going into the heads-up play Colman held the chip lead with 68 and a half million to Negreanu's 57 and a half million. Five hands later Negreanu had the chip lead with 73 and a half million to Colman's 52 and a half million. Nrgreanu continued to stretch his lead and was holding a 2 to 1 advantage then the momentum reversed and quickly colman was ahead.
Negreanu pulled ahead one more time then Colman pulled ahead and continue to pad his lead. He never looked back after that and finally Negreanu shoved his remaining chips into the pot holding Ace-4o and was called and covered by Colman tableing a K-Qo. The flop showed J-A-4 giving Negreanu two pair and the lead and Colman needing a 10 for a straight. The turn was a 10 giving Colman the lead and a straight and leaving Negreanu in desperate need of an Ace or 4. The river was a 7 and Colman was the owner of a very special WSOP bracelet and $15,306.668 in cash. He's also in the poker history book as the winner of the second largest cash prize in a poker tournament.
Daniel Negreanu received $8,288,001 for second.
By Wendeen H. Eolis
Until moments after the 2009 WSOP final table proceedings in the fall, Jeffrey Pollack was the public face of the WSOP. And then, suddenly, he announced his resignation and rushed off to take interviews that controlled the immediate spin on his departure. He said he was ready to survey opportunities in new pastures and pleased to have contributed to the growth of the WSOP brand.
Despite the happy state of affairs effectuated by the Pollack-Stewart collaboration, the collegiality between the two men had begun to wane at least a year earlier. A corporate reorganization of CIE was also afoot. Although Pollack had recommended a strong initiative in the online gaming market, and sought to add this responsibility to his portfolio, Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman was zooming in on Mitch Garber, the recently departed CEO of Party Gaming, to lead such an effort.
Mitch Garber Steps up to Bat
Pollack’s unveiled opposition to Garber as his potential boss made for an awkward situation once Garber was plainly in line to take the reins of CIE (initially Harrahs Interactive Entertainment), including Pollack's most treasured domain, the WSOP.
In the spring of 2009, Garber became CEO of CIE. With Garber's blessings, Pollack assumed the title of President of CIE, briefly. But, Garber was running the show and relying on others as he built his team. In the fall of 2009, Pollack resigned. Garber tapped Stewart as his replacement.
Stewart Shines Brighter under Garber
WSOP Branding Machine: The Players are the Stars - by Wendeen H. Eolis
The World Series of Poker: It's Our Woodstock! - by Shari Geller
World Series of Poker Events up to 52
AND MUCH MORE, Download the new Issue PDF now!
by Joseph Smith Sr.
I stated in the first 2014 World Series of Poker article that I believed Vanessa Selbst was well placed on my top five poker players list. And that's my all-time top five list. This 29-year-old young lady has demonstrated her abilities to play and win at any level of competitive poker. She backed up my top five list pick with a win in Event #2, $25,000 buy-in Mixed-Max No-Limit Hold'em, of the 2014 World Series of Poker.
This was an event filled with 130 entrants from the who's who of poker. The 4 day event saw Selbst come to the final table after overcoming a 7-1 chip deficiency. In a long, grueling heads-up session with pro Jason Mo Vanessa Selbst again came from behind to overtake Mo's 5-1 chip lead and win it all.
She collected here third WSOP bracelet and added $871,148 first place money to her bank account. Selbst is now tied with poker legend Barbara Enright for most bracelets won by a female. She is also within $75,000 of overtaking Annette Obrestad as the female with the most money won in WSOP events. In what appears to be a strong continuation of her journey through the WSOP record books she also grabbed another fist with the win, she is the first female to be in the lead in the WSOP Player of the Year race.
Vanessa Selbst is destined to win more WSOP bracelets and inscribe her name in the history of poker and the WSOP. Will this Yale Law School graduate take more bracelets back home to New Jersey from this 2014 World Series of Poker? That is very likely.
Our congratulations to Vanessa Selbst for her win and our thanks for her contributions to the game of poker.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
The world's oldest, biggest poker tournament is up and running starting today at noon. The Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino once again hosts the games where many millions of dollars are paid to the winners.
Today's event #1, the $500 buy-in Casino Industry tournament, is limited to employees working within the gaming industry. This 2 day event was added as a bracelet event in 2000 and pays tribute to all those employees dedicated to making your gaming experience the best it can be.
A field of 876 players was seated for the inaugural 2014 WSOP event #1. The winner will take down the $82,835 first place money and a gold WSOP bracelet. The top 90 players will receive prize money.
Tomorrows Day 2 of the WSOP will see the completion of the Casino Employee's event and the start of the Event #2, Mixed Match No-Limit Hold'em. This 4 day event has a $25,000 buy-in and is structured as follows – Day 1 plays 9-handed, Day 2 plays 6-handed, Day 3 plays 4-handed and Day 4 plays heads-up. The event is set to kick-off at 4PM.
by Joseph Smith Sr.
We are only days away from the opening of the 45th annual World Series of Poker at the Rio All Suite Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pinnacle and origin of tournament poker, the WSOP will run from May 27, 2014 through July 14, 2014 and offers 65 events with buy-ins ranging from $500 to $1,000,000.
Todays WSOP article will focus on the $1,000,000 buy-in event that not only offers a possible $20 million payout to the winner, but will fund sustainable clean water for people around the world through projects of the One Drop Organization. Event #57, aptly labeled 'The Big One for One Drop', is a charitable tournament limited to 56 players with each having posted the one million dollar buy-in for a seat in the June 29th – July 1 three day event.
The house will collect no rake or fees from the one million dollars and $111,111 from each buy-in will go directly to the One Drop organization that provides water resources for people worldwide. The remaining $888,889 goes into the prize pool and providing the field is completed the winner will receive in excess of $20,000,000. Click here for a structure sheet (PDF).
The unique weirdness has already begun with poker players entering the event. Well known professional poker player Jean-Robert Bellande strolled up to the WSOP cashier cage with a gym bag stuffed with bricks of hundred dollar bills and stacked $1 million on the counter to pay his buy-in.
The Big One for One Drop holds the record for the highest buy-in and may set a record for the largest winner's prize in a poker tournament. The winner will also receive a special edition diamond encrusted platinum WSOP bracelet. These nose bleed money levels attract the elite, deep pocketed players and characters from around the globe and has proven to be a fan favorite. Click here for a list of confirmed players.
Last year's winner, Antonio Esfandiari, will be defending his title. In the 2013 event he received more than $18 million dollars.
Another story coming from this event has highly regarded professional poker player, Vanessa Selbst, entering for her first effort at beating the boys and taking home the cash. Having followed her career at the WSOP, I would definitely say she is in the top five to take it all.
ESPN cameras will be present throughout the course of the event and will offer 6 hours of prime time TV coverage scheduled for July 15, 22, 29 at 9 PM – 11 PM ET. The first 2 hour show will cover days 1 and 2, the second show will be day 2 through the final table bubble and the third show will cover the final table to the winner. This promises to be some of the year's most exciting poker.
Poker Player Takes a Step Forward by Wendeen H. Eolis
Mike Caro - Today's Word is BURDENS by Mike Caro
Bryan Campanello Wins $175K at Harrah’s New Orleans Main Event
Eric Blair wins Lodge Casino WSOP-C Main Event
Kyle Bowker wins Harrah’s Philadelphia Main Event
AND MUCH MORE, Download the new Issue PDF now!