Saturday, December 31, 2005


Cards Running Hot for Me Lately

The cards have been running hot for me lately over at Party Poker. Night before last I bought into a $30 + $3 multi table tourney with over 750 players and made it to 7th place, winning $690. Then last night I played 3 $30 + $3 SnG's and took 1st place in every single one of them. My bankroll was short before this run of good luck, but now it's over $1000.

What a great way to end the year.


Women in Poker 2005

Be sure to check out this post over at

Women in Poker 2005

He includes photos of some of the following women in poker:

These are some great photos of some beautiful and talented poker women. You deserve to go take a look. Also, speaking of women in poker, two of my favorites, who weren't included in the list above because their photos weren't in the feature article I'm pointing to, are Shirley Rosario and Jennicide. Both of their sites are worth checking out, but especially Shirley's, since it's so packed with content and photos.


Phil Hellmuth - Greatest Poker Tournament Player of All Time

GoBeRude has a neat post from last June explaining why Phil Hellmuth is the greatest poker tournament player of all time.

Here's a quick list of the 9 WSOP bracelets Phil Hellmuth has won:

The interesting thing about that list to me is the number of 1st place finishes in 1993. While I was graduating from college, Phil Hellmuth was winning THREE WSOP bracelets.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Minneapolis Jim Meehan at Wicked Chops Poker

This post made me laugh, so I'm posting a link to it here in spite of it being "yesterday's news". Minneapolis Jim Meehan, by the way, is my pick for big poker star of 2006. I think it's going to be Jim's year.

Minneapolis Jim and 5000 Stoned Idiots

Definitely read that post though - you'll thank me for it. Laughed out loud.


Phil Hellmuth - Statistics, Data, and Info

's's nickname: The Poker Brat

Date of Birth: July 16, 1964

Birthplace: Madison, WI

Lives: Palo Alto, CA

Marital Status: Married, with 2 Children

Bracelets: 9

First WSOP Championship: 1989, when he was just 24 years old.

Other Tournament Wins: Season 3 Champion of Late Night Poker and 2005 Inaugural Heads-up Championship Winner


Johnny Chan Versus Phil Hellmuth

I was paging through some copies of my old All In magazines, and I came across a little tidbit on the bottom of one of the pages where Johnny Chan was pretty critical of Phil Hellmuth and his demeanor at the poker table. They also presented a response from Phil Hellmuth, which I thought was a gentlemanly and well thought out reply. I'm going to reprint some of the more interesting snippets of what they each said here.

Johnny Chan: Phil Hellmuth is a good poker player, but when he loses, he cries like a little baby. He should learn how to take it like a man. He's not a man yet, but hopefully he'll grow up.

Phil Hellmuth: I'm disappointed that Johnny Chan doesn't see that I am a man, and that I have a passion for the game that sometimes makes me look bad...But my plan is to shut up and become the best poker player of all-time.

I had a "friend" once who told me that I didn't have any balls. My wife suggested that I send him a photo of them in the mail, which would have been a funny response, I think. For some reason, Hellmuth's exchange with Chan made me think of that little episode from my own life.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Phil Hellmuth and the English Psychic

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Phil Hellmuth. He was about 17 years old, and he was the oldest of 5 kids. Phil was socially inept, had acne, and didn't have many friends.

One day Phil Hellmuth's mom brought home an English psychic named Rose Gladden. (Phil's mom and Rose had become friends at a conference about seeing auras or something like that.) Phil and his brothers and sisters pestered poor Rose Gladden to read their palms until she finally relented.

Rose Gladden turned blue when she read Phil's palm, and she told him, "One day you're going to be very famous. Or infamous!"

She read the other kids' palms too, but didn't mention fame to anyone but Phil.

And of course, Phil Hellmuth grew up to become one of the greatest poker players of all time.

I read the above story (in a quite different form) in an interview with Phil Hellmuth from the December issue of Bluff magazine. I thought that one tale alone was enough for a standalone post in my series of Phil Hellmuth posts. Good stuff.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Is David Sklansky a Psychopath?

Of course I don't really think that David Sklansky is a psychopath, but I read an article recently called Is Warren Buffett a Psychopath?, and it was interesting to me how many of the points they made about Buffett's investing style also applied to poker, especially the type of excellent, emotionless, mathematicaly-precise poker that David Sklansky is well known for.

The entire thesis of the Buffett article I'm referring to above is that the people who often make the best investing decisions are what are referred to as "functional psychopaths". A functional psychopath's inability to feel the normal emotions that other investors might react to enable him to make more rational decisions about selling or buying.

My contention is that this is also true of playing poker. The game is about making correct decisions, and really there are a tremendous number of situations, but there are a limited number of decisions you can make:

If you make the wrong decisions, you lose EV (expected value), and if you make the right decisions, you gain EV. Many (most?) poker players make decisions based on their emotions rather than on what would give them the mathematical advantage. Some of the emotions that might cause a poker player to make an incorrect decision might include:

The study that talked about functional psychopaths as investors used a classic gambling situation that's been talked about endlessly in articles about how odds and probability work. The experiment had test subjects who were given $20 each. They were invited to bet $1 on a coin toss where they would win $2.50 if they won, and lose $1 if they lost. (Clearly a positive EV situation, and very much so.)

The rational decision would be to take the bet every single time, since it's a mathematically clear thing to do. But in the test, only 58% of the subjects took the bet. (I hope they all play poker, by the way, and I'm sure Sklansky does too.)

Furthermore, they conducted the same test with some brain damaged subjects who had difficulty feeling certain emotions. In the 2nd test, 84% of the subjects took the bet.

Anyway, I think it's an interesting parallel. Rational investing in the stock market involves determining a business's true worth and the likelihood that it will continue to generate profits over the long term. Then if you buy the business below the actual worth of the stock, then you're relatively guaranteed a profit. This approach made Buffett one of th 2 richest men in the world, and he's maintained a 25% return in the market over the last 38 years.

But people in the stock market buy and sell all the time based on emotions, not rational decision making. This creates opportunities for those who aren't fearful, and it creates losses for those who are fearful.

Poker's the same way. If you make rational, mathematically correct decisions over and over again, in the long run, you'll see a profit. ESPECIALLY if and when you start playing with emotional players who make decisions based on their emotions.

David Sklansky, from what I've read, NEVER makes poker decisions based on his emotions. That and my bankroll are two reasons I wouldn't play with him. (That and he might be mad at me for even questioning whether or not he's a functional psychopath. But even if he were mad at me, he'd probably just ignore me and give me dirty look. He never tilts.)


My Most Wondrous Creation

Saw this posted on a poker forum.

Watching Phil Hellmuth play poker is like looking into the face of God himself, and having God look smilingly back at you, and hearing him say, "YOU...are my most wondrous creation."

LOVE it!


Bad Beat Stories - $1

I got this bad beat stories idea from a buddy of mine who runs a poker strategy forum:

A guy sits at a lemonade stand with a sign on it and a jar in front of him. Similar to Lucy in the Peanuts cartoons. The sign says, "Bad beat stories, $1".

A poker player walks up to him, puts a dollar in the jar, and starts telling a long boring bad beat story.

When he finishes, "Bad Beat Guy" says to him, "Man! That's a BAAAAAAAD beat! Bummer!"

The poker player then says, "Then this other time..."

At which point, "Bad Beat Guy" interrupts him and says, "Hold on. That will be another dollar please."


Phil Hellmuth Article - LA Weekly

I wasn't kidding when I said I was going to post about Phil Hellmuth every day. I really am. I might even make multiple posts about Phil Hellmuth.

Today's Phil Hellmuth post is going to link to an article about Phil Hellmuth in LA Weekly.

It was a great article, and I'll summarize 9 things I learned about Phil Hellmuth from this article:

1- Phil Hellmuth is 6' 6" tall. Now, I'm I'm 6'3" myself, and I probably figured Hellmuth for a tall guy, but it sounds like he's just going to tower over me if and when I ever get to meet him.

2- One of Phil's nicknames is "The Madison Kid".

3- Phil Hellmuth was the youngest ever winner of the World Series of Poker in 1989 at age 24. He has 9 World Series of Poker bracelets, and there are only 2 people in the world ahead of him with 10 bracelets.

4- John Bonetti was quoted as saying, "Phil wants to win that 10th bracelet so bad because if he puts them all together they might fit around his swollen head."

5- Phil Hellmuth has an ownership stake in Cardplayer magazine. (I knew he wrote for them; I didn't know that he was a part-owner.)

6- Mike Sexton used to think Phil Hellmuth was the best no limit player in the world, but that he's so focused on the business side of things that his game is slipping.

7- According to "the Bad Boy of Poker", Phil's been married for 16 years and has never cheated on his wife.

8- One of the participants at Hellmuth's Fantasy Poker Camp called him the Tony Robbins of poker. Since Tony Robbins is abnormally tall and successful too, this is possibly pretty accurate.

9- Hellmuth's decision to drop out of college and become a professional poker player created a huge rift between him and his father, who is an intellectual and was at that time an associate dean at the university. His father first watched his son play when he won the WSOP, and when Hellmuth won, he immediately asked, "Where's my dad?"

Phil had promised to buy his dad a brand new car if he won the WSOP, and he did. His dad is still driving the car.

That's it for the Phil Hellmuth love today. I'm going to post about something else shortly.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Phil Hellmuth - A New Feature Here

Phil Hellmuth rules.

There. I said it. And I'm not ashamed of it. I'm a huge fan of Phil Hellmuth. I even like his book, Play Poker Like the Pro's.

(Whether it's because I'm just being a contrarian or not I'll leave for you to decide.)

(My comment about liking his poker book will earn me the derision of 100's of better poker players and bloggers all over the internet in almost no time, I'm sure.)

So here's a conversation I had today on Instant Messenger regarding Phil Hellmuth:

Me: I think I'm going to start including a daily post about Phil Hellmuth at my blog. Like every single day, for 2 or 3 months.

Friend: Why don't you pick someone most people like, instead of someone most people loathe?

Me: If I post about someone everyone likes, it won't get any attention.

Time passes.

Me: Did you know they're going to make a movie about Phil Hellmuth?

Friend: no.

Me: Yep. A dream come true for me. A Phil Hellmuth biopic. Starring Hayden Christensen.

Time passes. My friend changes the subject. I start to think about all the different cool posts a blogger could make about Phil Hellmuth and then press "Publish".


Comment Spam, Poker, and Save My Finger

So it's early morning and I just spent an hour deleting spam comments from my blog here. I take a kind of perverted pleasure in this, like I'm popping zits or something. Iggy laughed about that when I sent him that on instant messenger, so it must be worth posting here. (BTW, Iggy's blog is about poker, and it's funny, smart, and cool, everything this lameass poker blog I write has never been.) To quote one of the spam comments on my blog, I give Iggy's poker blog "an A+ with a Gold Star!"

F*ck comment spam, by the way.

I have Sirius satellite radio now, but I haven't noticed a poker station yet. They should have one, I think, and I'm predicting they will have one within 12 months unless the "poker boom" crashes. And I say that not because I've read somewhere that this is going to happen, but just because I really am predicting that this will happen.

My wife and I were talking about things that suck up time yesterday. We were at the video game store and some Mom with a 16 year old son was talking about how he spent all his time playing World of Warcraft or something like that, and how he was learning to drive but never wanted to practice, but he was still a straight A student, so she couldn't complain. I played City of Heroes for a few weeks, and it was a great game, but it sucked up so much time that I stopped playing poker, both live and online.

And if I'm going to spend time doing something thats going to take me away from working on websites and earning my family a living, it needs to be something useful, like playing poker online, or watching movies like the recent remake of Yours, Mine and Our with Rene Russo and Dennis Quaid. (The original starred Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda; I looked it up.)

Before I forget, I think Save My Finger is damn funny, and it's probably illustrative of something too, although God only knows what. Someday I'm going to come up with a viral marketing idea that won't cost me a lot of money and implement it, but I don't know when. So far all my viral marketing ideas would cost me more money than they would make.

Here's a list of books I bought myself for Christmas yesterday too:

I spent an hour or two browsing through the "reference" section of the bookstore yesterday in amazement at all the things you can buy books about. I've decided that I love books of lists and almanacs and obscure guides to odd facts and other BS like that. Maybe someday I'll be able to put all of that to use.

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