When John Wayne died June 11th, 1979, the Tokyo newspaper headline proclaimed, "Mr. America passes on". Ronald Reagan said of his friend, "He gave the whole world the image of what an American should be."
From a B-movie actor, he grew to become an American legend and cultural icon. In his movies and in his heart, John Wayne represented, reflected and rejoiced in the spirit and values of America.
You remember the old gangster movies- where the lead mug would threaten to throw the hero into the river with cement shoes? As a kid, in love with these old flicks, I used to imagine what that would be like - sinking fast in a body of water with "concrete galoshes". It's the feeling I still get sometimes at the poker table when the game is weighed down with rocks - the living and breathing kind. I had such an experience in Las Vegas on Memorial Day weekend.
In the natural ebb and flow of tournament poker, you routinely see a tightening of play as people get within shouting distance of the money. Those with short stacks cast nervous eyes about, looking for other short stacks and measuring the distance of approaching blinds. "Can I make it?" players wonder. "Can I make it to the money without taking a chance, or must my money move in order for me to cash?" These players are looking for an excuse not to play. They're looking to make good laydowns.
Since profit is the main motivating force for most serious poker players, today let's discuss where that profit comes from. It's obvious that it needs to come from your opponents. Forgetting for a moment the rake, poker is a zero sum game. What you win is what your opponents lose. We've all heard the old adage that most of your profit comes not from the brilliance of your own play but from the mistakes made by your opponents.
It was a genuine eyeopener Ted Forrest remembers, discovering there were people who - get this now - actually made a living playing poker.
This was before he hit Las Vegas for the first time, maybe 16 years ago, back before he joined the fraternity of people who support themselves, and quite nicely, thank you, with hours spent at poker tables.
"I had made, ooooh, small change in college playing poker and then I come to Las Vegas and find out there are people doing this for a living. It was, like unbelievable."
If you know how to read, you won't have many surprises. This is true in life as well as at the poker table. I was recently working with a 15-year-old young man and his family. He was getting into trouble daily at home, but not at school. It was obvious that he was setting himself up to be "kicked." He was genuinely surprised when they got upset with him. The social skills he lacked at home were his not knowing how to read his parents and how to "grease the wheels." When he would say "No," he'd be sarcastic or do it in front of his parents' friends.
Today I will further analyze my decision to continue to play [Qd] [Qs] [6h] [9d] after a flop of [Jd] [6c] [9d] while my opponent was holding [Js] [2h] [4c] [7d]. Last time we determined I made the correct decision to play if I put my opponent on a pair of jacks and a back door low draw.
"Joe, guess what?"
"C'mon, Hobby. I don't like guessing games. Why don't you just say what you have in mind."
"Okay. It's about my friend Bailey Mack, the TV producer I fixed you up with to sell one of your poker stories (Payback, Poker Player Magazine, Jan. 24, 2005).
"I remember that mess. I told him to take his job and shove it. Is he looking for more advice?"
"You won't believe it, but he is. He's looking for a writer and technical advisor for a game show about Texas Hold 'Em."
Mike Matusow was the last remaining well known professional at the 2005 WSOP Main Event final table. Earlier today I predicted that Mike should win the tournament based on his chip position and more big time tournament experience than the other players combined. Mike also has two WSOP gold champion's bracelet from past wins. He has been playing poker professionally for more than a decade and proven himself to be capable and highly skilled at separating players from their chips. I placed a qualifier on my pick saying that the all-in win/lose ratio had to be equally matched.
Joe Hachem of Sydney, Australia outlasted the largest field ever in the history of the World Series of Poker to win his first World Championship. He survived 5,618 other players and earned his first bracelet after a week of grueling poker against the best players in the world. After over fourteen hours of play at 6:40 A.M. local time, int he longest final table in the history of the WSOP, Joe Hachem won a record $7.5 million first place prize. Without a doubt he will become an instant international celebrity over night.
Today's 2005 WSOP Main Event Final Table players: