Jamie Gold and Bodog part company

In news that I'm sure is going to upset legions of Jamie Gold fans (almost hard to say that with a straight face), Bodog has ended their endorsement deal with the 2006 Main Event winner. According to Haley at PokerNews, an email from Susan Mainzer, the Senior Media Relations Manager at Bodog marketing company Riptown.com Media states that:

"...the decision is placed squarely within the context of Bodog's other market choices surrounding online poker in the United States, including Bodog's recent decision to terminate all non-Internet related advertising within the States.

Nothing has been mentioned about Josh Arieh, David Williams, or Evelyn Ng, who are also members of Team Bodog.

To view the entire article, follow the "read" link below.

Ultimate Blackjack Tour

The Ultimate Blackjack Tour recently held the Battle of the Superstars, a competition where some of the world's best blackjack and poker players competed for $100,000 in prize money. The winner was Robert Williamson III, beating Kenny Einiger, Hollywood Dave (who is well known throughout the blackjack world and hosts a number of card events on television) and Annie Duke, who placed fourth in the event.

The final six players competed in elimination blackjack, followed by No Limit Hold'em poker. The event will be broadcast as part of the second season of the Ultimate Blackjack Tour.

Bill Chen on High Stakes Poker Premiere Tonight

I spent a lot of time this weekend watching classic WSOP final tables on the appropriately named ESPN Classics. It was stunning to see how much things have changed, from the obvious things like the size of the field and quality of the productions, to the things that haven't changed at all, like Scotty Nguyen's mullet and, uh, fashion.

I also had my opinion that Gabe Kaplan is the best commentator in the history of the universe reaffirmed, especially when compared to Dick van Patten, who preceded him, and frequently offered insights like, "Hey, what does he have there? Two pair? I think he has two pair. Oh. Wait. Maybe he has 7-4 and turned a straight."

There's no denying that the hole card camera has added drama and tension and excitement to the game on television, but there's also a certain magic and a different brand of excitement that builds up when we don't know what the hole cards are, especially when it's something like Stu Ungar pulling a massive bluff with complete bullshit cards on his way to the 1997 championship.

Anyway, I mention all of this because Gabe Kaplan provides the commentary for High Stakes Poker (which I've come to enjoy much more than when I first watched it) and on tonight's episode, my Team PokerStars teammate, fellow BARGEr, and not-quite-friend-but-I-still-really-like-him-a-lot double 2006 WSOP Bracelet winner (and three-time final tabler) Bill Chen is on the show tonight. Bill couldn't give us any details on how he played or if he won or lost, but he told the BARGE list earlier today, "I am anxious to watch myself to see what hands they show."

High Stakes Poker airs at 9pm Eastern, on the Game Show Network.

WSOP Academy Vegas Dates Announced

Further to my post the other day regarding the World Series of Poker Academy (formerly Camp Hellmuth), they have now announced the dates of Event #3, the Main Event Primer. This 3-day session will be held between July 3rd - July 5th, 2007 (rather than June as originally stated) at Caesars Palace. Details are as follows:

Event 3: Main Event Primer
3-Day
July 3-5, 2007
Las Vegas, NV.
Caesars Palace
Instructors: Phil Hellmuth, Greg Raymer, Scott Fischman, Joe Navarro, Alex Outhred, more
Cost: $2199.00

If you are interested in booking any of the camps, full details are available on their website or by phone at 1-800- 989-9767.

Girls, Girls. You're BOTH Pretty.

A few months ago, I played in a FPP satellite for the huge PokerStars Sunday tournament. I didn't win a ticket, but I did make a new acquaintance in Ed Brayton, a hell of a poker player, and a freelance writer who pens the absolutely brilliant Dispatches from the Culture Wars blog.

Ed mostly writes about science, religion, and where they intersect (and when they shouldn't) but he also writes about poker, leading to this gem from last week.

For those of you who aren't up to speed on this: Daniel Negreanu loudly (and, in my opinion, quite ignorantly) criticized Greg Raymer and other players who brought a lawsuit against the World Poker Tour last year, and the resulting kerfuffle took on a life of its own on 2+2, Daniel's Full Contact Poker Forum, and on a small yacht in the Indian Ocean, where two brothers randomly chose the topic as the one thing they were going to fight to the death about to settle the question, once and for all, "Whose is bigger?"

Things seemed to settle down until recently, after Joe Hachem crushered Daniel at Bellagio, and Daniel praised Joe for being a real good tournament player (duh) but also took a pretty nasty swipe at Greg, comparing him to Jamie Gold and Chris Moneymaker as guys who just got lucky. Oh, you di-int!

Yeah, he did, apparently ignoring Greg's impressive tournament record after he won the 2004 WSOP Main Event, which included finishing 19th in 2005, against a field of over 6000 nearly 6000 players.

Now, Daniel has always been a good guy to me, and I genuinely like him, but this is just silly. I don't think he really believes it either; he's talking about Main Event champions who didn't repeat or do much after winning their bracelet, and Varkonyi is conspicuously absent.

Click over to Ed's blog, and take a look at Greg's response to Daniel's barb. It's classic.

2007 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure

The 2007 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure begins this weekend at the gorgeous Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, and Brad "Otis" Willis of the official PokerStars Blog is there covering the event live. He already has some amazing pictures up of the resort and surrounding area, which is a nice change of pace (yes, I get sick of looking at pictures of poker players all the time) so go check them out when you get a chance.

The event itself is an $8000 buy-in No Limit Hold'em World Poker Tour championship. Last year's winner, Steve Paul-Ambrose, took down the title when he beat Brook Lyter in heads up play, collecting $1,363,100 and a $25,000 entry into the $25,000 WPT Championship. Lyter won $681,500 for finishing in second place.

PokerStars has also brought along the 27 finalists of the The Moneymaker Millionaire challenge to the Bahamas, so we will be watching for results of that as well. Should be a very exciting weekend of poker.

(image: PokerStars.com)

Card Player People's Choice Awards

CardPlayer.com has opened the polls for the Reader's Choice portion of the 2006 Player of the Year Awards.

You can vote at their website in the following three categories:

Most entertaining player of 2006
Favorite tournament poker player from 2006
Favorite poker television show from 2006

To vote you must add your comments to the appropriate thread in their forums, and explain why you think that player/show should be the winner. After skimming through it appears that Daniel Negreanu has the majority of the votes as Most Entertaining Player so far, though some people definitely have their own opinions: (copied verbatim from the forum)

How can it NOT be ERIC MOLINA????
He chucked the ALL IN chip at that jerk Gold, He called a guy with a good chip stack BLIND. He ended that guys chances of winning the event without even looking at HIS CARDS. He got a penalty. He bluffed all his money in a horrible spot.
That kid is awesome. If he works out some we might see him punch a guy. He might steal an old guys chips when that guy isnt looking. He could throw the all in chip at a dealer after a bad beat.
Matusow is just annoying, he always says how good he is yet he is really low on money, he sucks at the WPT, where better players like grinder and DN do very well.
Hellmuths act is pathetic, he says hes gonna stop being the poker brat, and lose the shades, but he is ON CONTRACT TO ALWAYS WEAR THE SHADES when he is on tv. Thats lame. He isnt so entertaining hosting celebrity poker.
Could you imagine molina hosting that? That guy should be picked up by full tilt.
Plus he gives validity to the theory that all Nova students are ******.
Vote Eric Molina


Alrighty. Moving on.

Though I haven't counted, it appears that Negreanu also has the lead in Favorite Tournament Player of 2006. Hellmuth, Ivey, Cunningham, and Hachem have also received a lot of votes, and JC Tran and Matusow have been mentioned repeatedly.

As far as Favorite Poker Television Show - really is there any question? High Stakes Poker has garnered almost every single vote so far.

Last year's winners at the POY Gala were as follows:

Breakthrough Player
Michael Gracz

Best Cash Game Player

Chip Reese

Poker Ambassador
Mike Sexton

Best No-Limit Player
Phil Ivey

Best Heads-up Player
Phil Ivey

Best Mixed Game Player
Chip Reese

Most Underrated Player
Allen Cunningham

Most Feared Player
Phil Ivey

Best Female Player
Jennifer Harman

Most Entertaining Player
Mike "The Mouth" Matusow

People's Choice Award-Best Celebrity Poker Player
Jennifer Tilly

People's Choice Award-Favorite Overall Player
Daniel Negreanu

Lifetime Achievement Award
Doyle Brunson

Card Player of The Year
Men Nguyen

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Hachem Wins Five Diamond

The WWdN started around the same time on Tuesday as the final table of the Five Diamond Classic, so I kept PokerWire open in Firefox and sweated Joe Hachem the entire time I was playing.

I don't know Joe as well as I know Greg, but in the little time we've spent together, I've grown incredibly fond of him. He is truly a great guy, a wonderful ambassador for the game, and a very, very good poker player. He would have certainly picked up another bracelet in the 2006 WSOP if he hadn't gotten insanely unlucky, and I know from personal experience how important it can be to Prove To Everyone that one victory wasn't a fluke. Though I've learned not to get emotionally invested in a player (poker tourneys are cruel that way) I couldn't help it. I wanted Joe to win even more than I wanted to win the damn tourney I was playing in myself.

It was fantastic to watch Joe take down pots here and there, while Daniel Negreanu slowly bled his chip lead away. Now, the thing is, I personally like Daniel, but Joe and I are Teammates (he's like Joe Dimaggio and I'm Jimmy the retarded kid who gets to dump a pail of water on this one patch of grass every game, but we get to wear the same uniform, dammit!) so I was cheering for Joe the whole way. My cheering was made even more fun because my fellow writer (and good poker player, I will grudgingly admit) CarolP was cheering for her FCP BFF Daniel.

Ah, the trash talking was something to behold, especially when Joe eliminated Daniel to get heads up, but it was nothing compared to how awesome it was to see the update come across Pokerwire that Joe had won.

He picks up over two million dollars with the victory, but he should also pick up the respect of his peers (well, the last few holdouts, anyway) and that's something that you can't put a price tag on.

Well, maybe you can. How about $2.1 million?

Bad Beat on Cancer Tournament Tonight


If you are looking for a game of poker this evening, you may want to check out Phil Gordon's Bad Beat on Cancer tournament running over at Full Tilt Poker at 9pm EST. The buy-in is $5 for the prize pool and $5 for the charity. Really, is there a better way to get your game on while contributing to a very worthwhile cause?

As of this writing, there are 32 people registered. Undoubtedly that number will increase dramatically over the next 6 hours. I'm going to try and play it myself if the flu I have caught permits me to be awake for the event.

Full Details are as follows:

When: Sunday, December 17th at 9pm EST (6pm PT)
Where: www.fulltiltpoker.com
Tournament Name: Bad Beat on Cancer (under Private tourney tab)
Password: badbeat
Buy in: $5 plus $5

(original banner designed by Katitude - date modified)

Daniel's New Protege

Daniel Negreanu & Full Contact Poker have named their second Poker Protege. Taking the crown from the first Protege Brian Fidler is Anthony Mak, a 23-year old player who, according to Daniel Negreanu, is a play money player and qualified through the .net portion of FCP. Daniel goes on to describe Mak as "a young John Juanda incarnate", an extremely capable player with a very bright future in poker.

As per the FCP website, Mak's prize package includes:
- 4 months of personal instruction with Negreanu
- 4 entries into $10,000 buy-in major tournaments with all expenses paid
- An engraved TAG watch
Plus invites to attend functions with Daniel, entry to the FCP Hall of Fame, etc etc.

Daniel's first Protege, Brian Fidler, placed second in the Lake Tahoe World Series of Poker Circuit Event, taking home $206,800 for his efforts.

(Image: FCP)

Doyle's Room takes over Pamela Poker

The eleven people in the world who were shocked and stunned when Pamela Anderson withdrew her endorsement of Pamelapoker.com last week can rest a little bit easier today: According to Online Casino News, Doyle Brunson's poker site, Doyle's Room, has stepped in to take over.

For those of you who really need to have your online poker experience associated with a nearly-naked woman of questionable intelligence, don't worry: Cindy Margolis has just signed a deal to endorse Tropical Poker.

And here's something I managed to miss during the 2006 WSOP: There was apparently a staged "wedding" between Pam and Doyle, which, according to Michael Craig, wasn't pretty: Two people who attended, both respected journalists, told me it was a fiasco. Pam looked ridiculous flouncing around in a bridal veil. Doyle Brunson was there and looked stricken. Neither journalist had ever spoken to Doyle, so neither was up to speed on his involvement in online poker - the commitment, the financial opportunity, the competition, etc. - but both had the same message for me: What on earth was Doyle Brunson doing this for?

I love Michael's writing not just because he always gets right to the heart of a story, but because he writes about the absurd aspects of the poker world with a dry, ironic humor that I wish I could match on my own. Witness Michael's reaction to Pam's, uh, thoughts, in her online diary:

1. Pamela Anderson writes like a fourth grader.

2. Pam has a pattern, from what I can tell from reading her diary, of getting into businesses and then disavowing her involvement in them.

3. Anderson disclosed in her diary that she is now, for the first time, applying her own make-up. From September 2: "The most liberating thing I've done lately is learn to do my own makeup. "

4. She talks about her new (third) husband, Kid Rock, with the same enthusiasm she talked about poker a few months ago. Rock, you might want to keep your bags packed.

You really need to go read the rest in Michael's entire post titled, "The Short, Brief Life of Pamela Anderson's Poker Site."

(Trashy picture of Pamela Anderson found on Google Images, and included for Bad Blood, per his request.)

Lou Krieger Playing in Dick Van Patten Charity Tourney

Lou Krieger, notable poker author and all-around really good guy, posted on his blog that he'll be playing in the charity tournament I wrote about yesterday. Lou's books helped my game a lot when I was a noob, and he's always been kind and generous toward me when I've pestered him about poker. He's also been a valuable source of news, analysis and commentary on the various poker prohibition bills, via always-informative posts on his blog. He's also a fan of Dr. Pauly, but we won't hold that against him.

Regarding this tournament, Lou writes, "The tournament, now in its second year, raises money to underwrite a holiday party for children of US Marines stationed at nearby Twenty-nine Palms."

So if you go to play, you're supporting the troops and you're helping the children. Let's watch the anti-poker nuts try to spin this one.

Annie Duke: Physical Fitness Matters at the Poker Table

People who don't know very much about poker frequently repeat the following two myths:
  1. Poker is not a game of skill.
  2. Poker is not physically demanding.
After five weeks at he 2006 WSOP, and after making it very deep in a few online and B&M tournaments in the last year, I can confidently say that those people don't have a clue.

We all know that poker is a game of skill, but what about that physical fitness thing? Is it really so important?

Yeah, it turns out that it is, and Annie Duke agrees. She tells Florida Sports Magazine, "In poker, I really step up my physical training right before the World Series. People think that you're just sitting when you're playing poker. Yes, there's a lot of sitting, but there's a lot of concentration. That level of concentration requires a high level of endurance, along with core fitness for the sitting. The Pilates is great for my core, but the really intense spinning and hiking is very important for me to give me not only a physical, but also a mental edge."

Of course, there are always going to be guys who are ironically called "Tiny" at a poker table, but physical fitness can help support mental fitness, too, which is extremely important, especially since poker is a game of skill. Annie lists a few of the top pros she knows, who are all ing good physical shape: Phil Ivey, Ted Forrest, Phil Hellmuth, John Juanda, and Erik Seidel.

I'd say those guys know a thing or two about poker. Wouldn't you?

Late Night Poker Coming to NBC

Our sister site, TV Squad (where I occasionally write long-winded looks back at Star Trek: The Next Generation) revealed earlier today that NBC has announced a new late night poker program, called Poker After Dark (anyone remember Playboy After Dark? It was on before I was old enough to see it, but I always figured it must have been filled with the naked ladies my fellow middle schoolers talked about all the time.)

The show will feature a group of top-name pros, who will compete for a $120,000 top prize. Names announced include Daniel Negreanu, Howard Lederer, Jennifer Harman, Gus Hansen, Erick Lindgren, Chris Ferguson, Doyle Brunson, and Phil Ivey. NBC must have come up with a release form that's more player-friendly than the WPT's, because Howard and Jesus are involved in this show, so that's a positive step for televised poker, especially for viewers who miss seeing those guys on TV.

The show will be hosted by Shana Hiatt, formerly of the World Poker Tour, which initially tried to prevent her from taking the job, and will air every night of the week at 2:05am on the coasts. The show has the potential to be really cool, because they will spend an entire week on one table, as it plays down to one winner. On Saturday night, that winner will join Shana for what NBC lamely calls "the director's cut," which will be an hour-long program after SNL, where the winning player will look back on the week's programming, and discuss their winning strategies.

The Saturday night show is where I think this show could truly break out and shine. I guess the audience for poker shows breaks down into two categories: the casual viewer who wants to be entertained, and the poker player who hopes to learn something by watching the masters at work.

Congratulations to Shana for successfully booking this job, a fart in the general direction of the World Poker Tour for trying to prevent her from doing it, and a thank you to NBC for bringing late night poker -- a longtime staple of UK programming -- to the USA.

Doyle's Room 50th Bounty Tournament

Doyle's Room will be hosting a special tourney tomorrow night (Thursday, September 28th) in honor of it being their 50th Bounty Tournament. Mike Caro, Doyle, and Todd Brunson will have bounties on their heads as usual, but Nicky Hilton, Cyndi Violette, and Hoyt Corkins are also scheduled to make an appearance. They will also be awarding the tournament winner a gold ring, as pictured.

As always, if you knock out one of the aforementioned pros/celebrities, you will win $500. If you knock out two, it is $15,000. Knock out all three, and you will win $50,000.

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