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April 30, 2004

How a Poker Raid Goes Down

Meanwhile, back in the legally questionable poker arena, Rustin in Dallas writes in with some info on what happened in Addison last week. Here's what he says about how things shook down there and elsewhere:

[The police came in with] guns drawn. Or at least until they realized nobody in there was a threat, then they put them away. Don't know about the Addison bust, but at the ones in Austin and Corpus they took the tables, chips, cards and cash. Normally around $3,000 in cash but for some reason the Corpus club had more than $17,000 on premises. I am told there was drug dealing involved, which may explain not only the excess of cash but also the reason to bust the game in the first place.

Another club here in town had the TABC inspectors show up one night. The dude who answered the door said "ok you can come in, just hold on a minute" to which TABC replied "we ain't waiting no minute" and barged on in. Hey, they have a right I guess. TABC looked around to make sure nobody was underage and that the alcohol was not being retailed (giving it away free is legal), then left without incident. Funny.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 05:23 PM
Legal Amateur Poker

As Pokerati readers know, I like to run an occasional no-money tourney at a neighborhood tavern (topless variety). Apparently I am not the only one who does this sorta thing. Now there is a guy who is trying to organize all these types of games around the country into the Amateur Poker League -- where players pony up no cash but still compete for some respectable prizes.

Could Olympic Poker be next?

Posted by Dan Michalski at 05:17 PM
PW: Texas Ho 'Hum

We went from half-naked women to half-naked men, as the home game this week returned to the Bent Tree locker room. Randy, perhaps assuming he would be in his element last night, left me a voicemail while he was en route to the game. Have a listen.

Ha ha. Very funny, TBR. Or at least it would've been -- had he done as promised and sent me home having cashed in a scant amount of chips. (He would get his chance.)

But the game didn't go his way. It didn't really go the other way either. In fact, I think much to everyone's surprise, it was a relatively uneventful night of cards. Not particularly tight, nor particularly loosey. A little drinky -- but not enough to make a difference. In fact, the most exciting thing happened when a guy at a different table (playing gin) tossed the 9 of diamonds into the air and it landed perfectly on a light fixture some 12 feet above. The card dangled precariously -- half-on half-off -- and we all applauded.

With the Mavericks getting eliminated from the playoffs on a big-screen in my peripheral vision, I played very few hands. My night came down to two I played poorly and three I played well.

The last of these came right before closing time. I had basically been down a little all night (but not desperately so) when I was dealt QJ and the flop hit my queen with a board that was open to all sorts of crazy possibilities for everyone in the hand. Straight and flush and two-pair possibilities abounded. First to act, I was in a perfect spot -- so I sacked up and made a $43 raise that chased both Eric and Randy away from a $43 pot. Randy woulda ended up hitting his straight-draw on the river to beat me. Again, ha ha.

Buy-in: $90
Cash out: $113
Net: +$23

Bankroll: $350

Posted by Dan Michalski at 12:40 PM

April 29, 2004

The Poker Apprentice?

Donald Trump may have been proposing marriage yesterday, but that didn't mean he wasn't thinking about poker. In fact, though I'm not sure which new partnership he sealed first, on Wednesday Trump signed a 5-year deal with ESPN to broadcast Trump's U.S. Poker Championship. No word on whether or not Omarosa will be competing.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 04:39 PM
Tournament Excellence?

While Randy prepares us for several weeks’ worth of his WSOP commentary, I'm a little sore that he hasn't chosen to write about my own tournament winnings. You see, I finished 2nd out of a ridiculously horrible group of 13 players at a free event at The Lodge. My winnings? Four hours of limo service.

What on earth can I do with four hours in a limousine?

Well, I won't supply all the details, but let's just say it involves midgets, lederhosen, a Scritti Politti CD, and a Dallas Cowboys Football Helmet.

Yep, that should do the trick.

Posted by Shane Keller at 03:11 PM
A-Holes at the Table

In general, I don't like people. However, I like people who play poker...for the most part. Still, the most interesting people I've met at the card table are inevitably the people I hate the most. Case in point is the jackass I met two days ago. Perhaps you've played against someone like this guy? I affectionately call him The Perv.

I met The Perv playing a free tournament held at an aforementioned boobie bungalowand hosted by our own Pokerati-in-Chief. If you ever happen to play poker in a strip club, chances are high that you will meet someone like The Perv. He knows nothing about poker and even less about anything else.


1. Appearance. The Perv is one of those people who always has a stupid grin on his face -- the kind of grin that tells you all his neurons ain't exactly firing on cue.

2. His mouth. Granted, we were playing at strip club...and our dealer was good looking, even though she was off-duty from her other job flashing her mammaries for cash. Still, The Perv accomplished the impossible by embarrassing everyone (dancers, patrons, cocktail waitresses, et al.) when, mid-deal, he demanded that our dealer stand up so he could get a better look at her package. He then then asked everyone at the table, "Don't you guys think she has a great body?". (Insert joke about holding "the nuts" here).

3. His focus. Again, I know we were in a topless bar, so asking a dancer to sit in your lap while you play cards may not be unreasonable. However, it is not in the best of card play etiquette to shout "I guess I just like pussy more than I like playing cards" after losing a hand.

4. His repulsiveness. The dancer sitting in the Perv's lap was ready to make a quick exit because: (a) The Perv kept groping her; (b) he wasn't paying for the privilege, and (c) he was sporting a raging boner. Dan would later describe The Perv as being "way too horny."

5. Extremely creepy. After being eliminated from the tournament, The Perv announced he was leaving to go to another teat-bar, where he undoubtedly chased away scores of naked breast exhibitors with his erect member. Then, he probably went home (to his mother's house) to torment the kidnapped, bound and gagged 14-year-old boy he keeps in the basement.

Fucking Perv.

Next Up: The Gas-Man

Posted by Shane Keller at 02:10 PM

April 28, 2004

The Journey Begins...

With the start of the WSOP, and an incredible 834 runners in the first open-to-public event, we are sure to be inundated with news from the Horseshoe for the next month. Goodie. Even ESPN.com is offering up some semblance of poker commentary on its Page 2. (He’s no Sports Guy, but it will be interesting to see how it unfolds.)

And all of this makes me ache, seriously ache to go out there, take it all in and maybe, just maybe, saddle up and take a shot at one of the preliminary events, or at least a few satellites. Originally, I’d planned to go out there for this Friday’s $1,500 NL event, arriving late Wednesday for a full day of satellites and what not on Thursday. Alas, work schedules and the schedule of my partner-in-crime, Todd, conspired against me. So, now I’m stuck here, while it seems like everyone on the planet is on Freemont street, dancing with Shana Hiatt and sipping champagne with the poker elite. Hell, even my own two-your-old has started to kick into her impression of Howard Lederer without my prodding.

With desperation looming (who am I kidding it’s set in and taken root), I have decided to give it my best shot at winning my way into the big one online. As a general proposition, I am not a big fan of the online tournaments, because I really feel I play better in person (and others play worse), especially when it gets down to a few players (my showing in Houston to the contrary). That being said, you really can’t argue with taking a shot with as little as $22 (the price of a satellite to a super satellite), particularly if you can win the entry fee to that in a few minutes playing a cash game. Now I’m no online pro or anything, but even I can usually win $22 playing a conservative little game on some of the wilder sites.

With this new goal in mind, I played my first single table satellite last night, finishing 4th when my short-stacked AQ suited ran into Cowboys (that made quads on the turn!). Not exactly a welcoming start, but I’ll keep updating my progress.

Posted by The Big Randy at 06:57 PM
Take It Down, Todd

Todd in Dallas writes in to explain how he cleaned me out last night. Most basically, he played better cards than I did.

From: dan
To: todd
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 10:56 AM
Subject: Re: hand recall

ahh, right. so would you have done the same thing with AJ? maybe even laid
it down sooner? i laid down an A8 a few weeks ago to comstock's A2. woulda
taken a nice $30+ pot. perhaps the bigger than normal bet is the key to
identifying the weak ace?

i had you on queens or tens or jacks. something like that. i figured you would've slow-played a set and knew you didn't have A9 or Ax. i was slightly prepared to be beaten by AQs, but didn't consider big slick.

----- Original Message -----
From: todd
To: dan
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 10:46 AM
Subject: Re: hand recall

No. Shane ran you out of that hand with his A2 with several large bets.

From: dan
To: todd
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 10:26 AM
Subject: Re: hand recall

by the way, this was not the hand where i was on the phone, right? i seem to recall laying down AJ on that hand to like an A2 or something. dammit, i am so vulnerable to Ace with the low kicker when i have Ace with anything but a king or another pair ... gotta figure out how to get a better read on the quality of one's ace.

----- Original Message -----
From: todd
To: dan
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 9:42 AM
Subject: Re: hand recall

I was big blind, which means you were dealing....everyone calls around
to me and I raise pot - $2.50 and you are the only caller. I assume you
put me on a decent pair. The flop is A-9-x rainbow. I bet $6, you call,
the turn is a blank, I bet $15, you raise me all in which is another $10 or so and I call at this point thinking I'm beat by A9 or even Ax that made
two pair, but I have to call. If you had more money and raised me $40
there, I would have probably laid down the winner like I had earlier against Scott.

I had AK, you had AJ...Todd wins all of Dan's money after the river
pairs the board.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 06:36 PM
Clonie Watch: Poker for Breakfast

Assuming nothing apocalyptic happens overnight in Iraq, Pokerati's favorite poker chick Clonie Gowen will be on Good Morning America tomorrow. I suspect she'll do better than Scotty Nguyen on Conan O'Brien.

UPDATE: She got bumped. Somehow got canoozled into giving one of the on-air people poker lessons, too. Look for her segment in the coming week or two.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 06:14 PM
Fat Poker

The winner of last night's free-money tourney has posted his hazy recollection of the evening. He seems to have great respect for Todd, a fondness for Shane, fear of "Big Bob Wilonsky," and pity for me.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 05:56 PM
More balls than brains, part II

Dan told me I should have played in his poker school tourney last night, but did I listen? No. (In my defense, I rarely listen to Dan, so my refusal wasn't the result of weighing my options so much as it was the result of conditioning.) This time, though, Dan got it right. He had a good time playing cards while I had a very bad time playing basketball.

On my end, I very nearly cracked some guy in the jaw for mouthing me. The worst part? He was on my team. But I didn't hit him, which I suppose means I'm maturing.

The poker lesson: Always listen to Dan. (At least when he's trying to get you to play cards and drink beer.)

Posted by Gonz at 11:09 AM
How Todd Busted Me for All My Chips

Ended up in an impromptu post-tourney cash game last night -- against some home-game regulars, a stranger, and The Fat Guy. At one point in the night, Todd ended up taking every last chip from my stack -- just as I accused Randy of plotting to do.

Would love to tell you where the hand went awry for me, but I have no recollection of it -- which might have been part of the problem. Guard was down and Todd pounced, as he is prone to do.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 10:17 AM

April 27, 2004

Book It

Any writer knows what a pain "rewrites" can be. But at the same time, they can also be quite rewarding -- because in the end the story is significantly improved. Such is the case for Matt Matros, a 26-year-old student who thought he had completed his forthcoming book, The Making of a Poker Player. Turns out he needs to make a few changes to the ending after buying into a $100 "Trip to Vegas" satellite on PartyPoker and parlaying that into a 3rd Place finish at the WPT Finals last week. Knocked out Howard Lederer en route to taking home a very unwriterly $700k.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 12:34 PM
It's getting hot in here...

As was anticipated, the WSOP is crowded this year. So much so that they are already discussing the possibility of holding next year's event(s) at multiple casinos. The Harrah's folks don't want to disassociate from the Horseshoe name, but are thinking they either need to move some of the action to Rio ... or perhaps open a new Horseshoe on the Strip.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 12:23 PM
Project Green-chips

I suppose we should expect more of this in the coming year ... potentially bad movies about poker. MGM has just greenlighted a film by Don Rhymer (of Big Momma's House fame) about three men trying to "scheme" their way into the WSOP without their wives finding out. Oooh, can't wait. No word yet from Ben Affleck or Gabe Kaplan as to whether or not they want the roles.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 09:00 AM

April 26, 2004

Tales from TBR

With this being my inaugural foray into the world of weblogging or web-blogging or blogging or whatever the hell you geeks are calling it these days, I approach this post with cautious trepidation and the humbleness of a saint that mirrors my usual demeanor amongst our weekly group of rounders.

Let me kick things off with what I hope will become a weekly, at least, rant/analysis of a couple of interesting hands with the view of hindsight that only common sense and sobriety can capture. I’ll affectionately refer to this segment as “Tales from TBR." So let’s jump right in with a few hands from last week’s pokerpalooza at the Lodge ...

A6--the delicious bitch

I’m on the button and three limp in to me. This game’s seen at least 4-5 calls to standard pre-flop raising all night, but I still think I can command respect with a raise if I follow it on the flop (read: rationalizing). So I make it $2 to go (BB is $.50) with A6o (I know, yuck). 3 callers, including the fearless Eric “the Freeze” Pfeifle. Flop comes J-6-6 rainbow. It’s checked to me and I make a ½ pot bet. It’s folded to Eric who calls. (Now let me stop here and say that it is almost impossible to put Eric on any two cards. I could eliminate absolute garbage, but it’s possible he could play any suited 6, even J6. It’s also very likely he’d call here with any J.)

Turn is a Q.

Eric bets out $15 (1/2 pot) and I raise it $30, thinking that’s going to pretty much chase all but the 6s or some kind of draw or good read on me with a J. Eric quickly calls, which made me certain he was holding a J. (Why not a 6? I think he would have re-raised here with anything but J6s or Q6s, which he just might try and slow play, and if he has one of those hands, so be it). River is a Q. I bet out another $30, and, with some rather Hollywoodish hesitation, Eric raises his last $28.

Now, of course, I know he has Q. And, of course, I am compelled to call for the slight chance that he has a big J or a 6. He turns over QJo. Hurty. Violent berrating ensues.

But this isn't really a "bad beat," at least, as I understand it to be. A true bad beat involves not only a slim draw out on somebody, but it also, in my opinion, has to involve the suckor's being either (a) too ignorant to recognize the bad call; or worse (b) just hoping to get lucky. Eric was neither of these, he simply assumed I didn't have a 6 and was going to call me all the way down with two pair (I know, I could have had Qs or Ks or even As, but I'm giving Eric credit for going with his gut that I didn't have those, either.)

So why is this relevant, beyond revealing that some "bad beats" aren't really "bad beats"? I think for the somewhat significant implication it has on the garbage hands like A6o you may take a flier on from time to time. While most realize the obvious problem of hitting top pair and being dominated, another problem (albeit less significant) is the fact that people won't fold to you when you do hit. Again, I know, why is this a problem? Well, it's not usually, given you like people drawing slim to you. But realize that you're ability to bluff someone out or even push someone out who's drawing live to a big pot go way down, if not out altogher. And you should adjust your thinking accordingly.

So back to the hand. I "knew" that Eric had put me on a J, or at least not a 6. I was probably 95% sure he did not have 6 and almost as sure he had a J. So why on earth would he raise another $30 into the pot on the end? The running Qs should have been obvious. Even obvious enough to lay down the possibility of a relatively large pot to such a raise. Had I stopped to think about why Eric might be holding a Q, as oppossed to just thinking "surely he's not holding Q here, because that would be horrendous!" I may have saved myself some money. Said another way, playing garbage hands that hit, gives better players the opportunity to make bad calls that you might not be willing to believe they hit on.

Another example, ironically with the same A6, this time suited in spades.

I'm in middle position with A6s. I called the BB and a small raise from a late position bettor. Four of us saw a flop of A-5-A, two diamonds. Now we have the first problem with garbage hands referenced above, only this time, it's a dominated three-of-a-kind I'm faced with. I check. (Normally, I would bet here to try and define another ace, or throw a little fear at a big pair that got trumped, but since I was cursing myself for calling the pre-flop raise, I got distracted and checked. It checked around. Damn, now I might have to bet this garbage (thus likely losing more money), and as I'm beating myself up further, the turn is the 6c. Oh, sweet Lord Criminy, I've hit the nuts. Plus, it's completely disguised because it's garbage. I bet $10 into a $15 pot, looking to represent an ace or a flush draw and intice a better ace to come over the top. Eric "Tulsa" Celeste doesn't disappoint, coming over the top for a pot-sized re-raise of $45.50.

One of the (several) flaws in my game is my inability to get maximum value from big hands. I tend to exhibit all the physical tells that normally accompany a rank amateur like myself, and in addition, I tend to just shove my chips in the pot in hopes that it might look like a foolish bluff. Or, I'll start talking. I'm ALWAYS holding the nuts when I start talking (well, at least some of the time). In effort to throw some useless information towards Eric, I ask, for the second time in three hands, whether he would fold to a pot-sized re-raise. He says, or rather, slurs "no." (Eric is what we affectionately refer to as a "lush or a "drunk" or a "fool" just kidding). Anyways, I come back over him for $121.50 more, a sizeable bet in our humble little game, and one I'm sure he'll fold to the moment I make it.

As I'm cursing myself for the second time in this hand, Eric re-raises his last $28!?!!? Helpy. Mother of all helpies. I assume he has AK, as he may think I'm making this move with a flush draw or a strong ace, or perhaps even A5, as Eric plays almost exclusively garbage himself. Alas, he rolls ATo. No help on the river, and I take it down.

After the game, I kept thinking about how Eric could have possibly called there. I mean, he's not that shitty a card player, so what gives? But then thinking about the A6o hand above, it hit me. Justs like the Freeze wouldn't give me credit for holding a garbage hand like A6, neither could Eric. And it might have been that doubt that gave him enough value to call (er... raise (yikes!)). Or maybe he was just hammered.

Stay tuned for next week's column, subtitled, "How I busted Dan for all his chips".

Posted by The Big Randy at 01:46 PM
More balls than brains?

Got a frantic call from Danny Boy on Sunday telling me that he had gotten a tip advising all of us to avoid a local Legally Questionable Game because it might be raided at any minute. That was distressing, mainly because I was en route to said LQG for a $35 no-limit hold ‘em tourney.

After talking it over with my boss, who assured me he wouldn’t bail me out if the joint got busted, I decided to nut-up and head out there anyway. (No one ever accused me of being bright). The good news: I didn’t get nabbed in a sting. The bad news: the tourney wasn’t $35 as advertised but rather a hefty $125. Plus, I got bounced well before the money. But I’ve learned from my mistakes. Next time I’ll skip playing altogether. Instead, I’ll pretend to be a cop, empty everyone’s wallet and cavity search the women. That’s what you call switching up your play.

Posted by Gonz at 11:20 AM

April 25, 2004

Fantasy Poker

You knew it was only a matter of time ... if you can spend countless hours on the internet studying statistical minutae for fantasy baseball and football and NASCAR and golf, why not poker? Pokersavvy.com has launched a WSOP fantasy league.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 03:37 PM
Poker Crackdown Continues:
Raid in Dallas Suburb

A legally questionable game in Addison just got busted. No news story to link to yet -- Pokerati's got it first. Reliable sources also tell me that another not-so-underground club here in Dallas is preparing for the hammer to drop on them as well.

For what it's worth, this Addison game was just waiting to get busted. I found out about it on the internet, sent an email to the proprietor, he responded and told me to come on down -- and bring friends! No phone call, no asking what I do for a living ... no "security" check whatsoever. Just good, clean, illegal poker. What a shame -- especially since this game was supposedly filled with inexperienced college guys who are prone to go all in on things like King-6 offsuit.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 12:47 PM

April 24, 2004

What Have They Got Against the Indians?

A second Red Men's club was raided for legally questionable poker activity last week -- this one in Corpus Christi. (Jeremy at Love and Casino War is on top of it.) It seems like the state might be in the midst of a crackdown on untaxed poker. Don't they realize that the game is called Texas hold 'em?

Posted by Dan Michalski at 01:23 PM

April 23, 2004

PW: Coed Naked Poker

As you may already know, some of my poker friends' wives have coined the phrase "poker fags" to describe the guys in our little card-playing circle. With that in mind, we showed the misseses just how straighty we can be last night by taking the home game to The Lodge. That's right ... it was a manly scrum of half-drunken hold 'em 'til 2 am -- with tits 'n' aces flying all over the place.

The Lodge was kind enough to open its VIP "Casablanca" poker room to us. Classy set-up -- with an old wooden octagonal table and large, comfy chairs. I took an early chip lead, but three scotches later I noticed my stacks growing in a negative direction. (And it wasn't even 9:30 yet.) Was still up -- but not much -- so it was time to get my game back on. This entailed switching to beer and throwing away hand after hand after hand for the next three hours. I was tempted to try to make a play with the likes of 97s or A8o, but in the end I knew I should wait until I saw something I liked better.

Just outside the wrought-iron window, a long-nippled redhead was gyrating fiercely on the soft, bosomy wife of a man in well-pressed slacks. Very interesting. Suddenly I was looking at 44 in the hole. They both smelled so pretty ...

From middle position I bet the small pot. But then I was raised and re-raised, so I folded. Simple enough; no hard feelings. That's how it went for most of the night. The redheaded dancer's g-string was so low-cut she had plumber's crack; I would make my way to a table in the corner, where hot quesadillas and spicy chicken wings were waiting to be eaten. Mmm, soo good.

A6? Folded it with ease. King-jack? Not for $3. Don't get me wrong, I fed the pot here and there chasing some straights and flushes past the flop. But never for a lot of chips and very few times did I showdown a losing hand. Though I threw away a few winners and sometimes got a little too clever for my own good, I managed to avoid getting sucked into hands that would've proved far more costly. I tried to stay focused on the big picture. In the semi-private room next to us a man was cuddling -- really, just cuddling -- with two bouncy little 20something girls in their underpants.

Meanwhile, I was dealt a cute, perky Queen-3 suited ...

It was late and I really wanted to make a play, you know, just for fun. But nope, not tonight. I was up and wanted to stay that way. No sense in blowing my chipload here. Sometimes in poker it's best to just sit back and watch; and some nights that's easier to do than others.

Buy-in: $40
Cash out: $173
Net: +$133
Current bankroll: $340

Posted by Dan Michalski at 04:05 PM
Be Careful of This Guy

Meaty game last night. I may have fared OK, but Randy was the one who ended up building a Great Wall of Chips that could probably be seen from outer space. And not on lucky suck-outs, mind you -- he did most of his big raking with creative, skillful plays.

Don't think I don't see what you are doing, TBR. You were in a bit of a "slump" for a while, but really, you are going around the table, systematically, figuring out what it takes for each one of us to surrender all our chips on a single hand. Excellent long-term strategy. You've nailed Todd, and now Eric. But I see the game you're playing here and can say ... you won't get me.

(Unless you're lucky.)

Posted by Dan Michalski at 10:10 AM
Sucker Bets?

Worried that you missed the window of opportunity for opening up your own online poker room? There's one for sale on eBay. (Now where'd I put that spare $250,000?)

Posted by Dan Michalski at 07:14 AM
Ahh, I see you've met Gonzalez

Nice first impression, John. For the new readers out there (which, I suppose, means all of you, this being our first week open for business and all), Gonz is what you might call a little "rough around the edges." I think what he meant to say was that he was tending to his "horse." Cock-certainty aside, he does know a thing or two about poker.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 07:08 AM

April 22, 2004

Mouthy Moutherstein

I didn't see all of last night's WPT event -- mainly because I was busy tending to my whore -- but I did catch enough of it to be thorougly annoyed and disappointed. There was one guy with a big mouth who wouldn't shut up -- I don't remember his name, only that they called him "the dream killer." (Sure, I could look it up, but I rarely do so for my column, and someone pays me for that, so you're on your own here.)

So the Mouth admitted to the TV audience that being a dick was part of his plan, that it put people on tilt, which inevitably helped build his bankroll. All that's fine with me -- it's his application that was loathesome.

The Mouth kept needling the old guy -- who looked like he might die at any minute -- and he was condescending and superscilious. Which mad me mad. Mad enough to punch him. And that's when I got annoyed: because no one hit him. (Bunch of pussies if you ask me.) Someone should have hit him. Hard. For a long time.

This is the kind of expert advice you'll be getting from me, friends ... You can't get this stuff from the so-called "pros."

Posted by Gonz at 10:17 AM
Oh, Wait, Don't Go in There

What you've stumbled into is just our "pre-launch" -- plenty of this site is still under construction. We'll have it all looking pretty soon enogh.

When? That's hard to say.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 12:33 AM
Welcome to the Table

Hello? Is this thing on?

Hi, yes, this is Pokerati.com -- a poker blog to usher in the New Poker Era. We've assembled some top-notch poker-playing writers and cultural commentators to banter electronically about the game, our game, your game, and big-time professional games.

Are you thinking about poker? We are too. Click around, and enjoy.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 12:24 AM

April 21, 2004


It seems like everyone and their grandmother is opening up an online poker room these days. And why not? Each imaginary table that pops open in the cyberether forms a little vortex of constant pecuniary intake (no matter what's happening in the game itself). But is the market at a saturation point?

Probably so, but that didn't stop Full Tilt Poker from going online this week. Despite the competition, I suspect this site -- a venture put together by a bunch of top pros (Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer, Phil Gordon, et al.) -- will fare well. Haven't played it yet, but at first glance they've upped the graphical interface significantly. And the ability to give your avatar facial expressions ... very cool. Could change the online game when you think about it.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 09:20 AM

April 15, 2004

Books Page


Posted by Dan Michalski at 07:20 AM

April 09, 2004

Advertise with Pokerati.com

Poker players are prone to throw their money around. You should try to sell them something.

If you want in on the action, send us an email to say hello. Premium sponsorship packages available for those who ask nicely.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 09:26 AM

Welcome to Pokerati
-- an electronic conversation about poker among a stack of semi-educated writer-types who spend too much time thinking about the game.

Dan Michalski
Dan is a longtime freelance journalist, contributing editor for All In magazine, and odd-hours blogger whose poker achievements include winning a 14-man tourney in a low-stakes underground game, finishing 8th in an 80-player charity tournament, and splitting the pot in DSOP 4. His strength at the table comes from getting his opponents to underestimate him, which he accomplishes by playing "poorly" two out of every three sittings. He played in his first WSOP in 2004, entering the media charity event, where he finished a curious 157th out of 171.

Eric Celeste
Eric is associate editor of the Dallas Observer who has been writing about poker since before writing about poker was cool. He is an incredibly gifted card player. He has a wife, a daughter, a dog, two cats, and a fish. He loves wired nines and Dewar's. He has no vertical leap, but he does have several nicknames, including: Tulsa, Chaka, Turbo, and Lover -- one of which is the defending T'n'Aces champion.

UPDATE: Eric now also dabbles in non-poker blogging, because he's Super Awesome Good.

The Big Randy
TBR is a self-proclaimed "elite" poker player. While he's privy to the intracies of pot-limit holdem, he's also been known to dabble in no-limit, limit, and on occasion, a little Omaha. By day he moonlights as a husband, father, and reputable Dallas attorney and salt miner. By night, you'll find him surfing the online poker rooms or stumbling into the least bustable illicit home game. Having won the coveted Dallas Series of Poker in 2002 and fresh off a ranking of #1 amongst his loser peers, T.B.Randy finds himself at the top of his game, comfortably looking down upon the filthy masses.

John Gonzalez
Gonz, as he's affectionately known (or, in the longform, Gonzilla), earns his bankroll by posing as a sports columnist. He has been known to tilt at times, or even storm out of a card game in a hail of expletives when the cards don't fall to his liking. It's part of his charm. But he's getting better with that -- he hasn't hit any of the regulars in ... in ... must be weeks now. Also, the ladies really love him (scroll down to the bottom). He's won two casino tournaments (including one that came with a $7,800 payout in Atlantic City) and finished 10th out of 220 in a tourney where the top 8 got $1,000 seats into a WSOP satellite.

Shane Keller
Shane is a terrible poker player. He has a real job in sales but is always under his quota, perhaps because he loathes people. He holds a special place in his bile for everyone he's ever played against in a casino, especially the miscreant who sat next to him in the Harrah's Casino in New Orleans and farted noxiously for six straight hours. Shane's poker strategy involves suited connectors and self-anestheticization.

Todd Phillips
"Big Todd" Phillips – nicknamed "Tiny Box" after the place in which he keeps his heart and his sense of humor – hones his game in the high-stakes world of commercial real estate. This manifests itself in Phillips' game style: stone-faced early, aggressive at the closing. He greatly enjoys going over-the-top, whether it be on a bid, a put-down, or Dan's check-raise. He loves puppies, strippers, and pocket nines. He hates donkey calls, powdered donuts, and you. His handicaps are 1 on the golf course and his temper at the table. He is a dynamic tournament player and, when drunk, a legend. Despite and because of all these things, he is better than you will ever be. Just ask him.

Matt Sommer
Matt spends time between poker games as the principle scientist for a brainy search-engine company. Matt has placed in the money or at least damn-near close in several recent local tournaments, and has earned the nickname “Guns” clearly due to the relative flabbiness of the rest of the poker circle. While a firm believer and student of game-theory aspects of poker, Matt is continually amazed at how his opponents are rarely smart enough to fold against his bluffs. He has a reputation for being quiet while waiting to drop the subtle and sarcastic bomb at the table, but he is firmly convinced this is because no one gets the other 90 percent of his jokes.

Austin bureau

Austin Pete
Pete is the hairiest poker player in Central Texas. While his recent accomplishments include online multitable tournament wins in both Omaha and Hold'em, he will be forever known as the champion of the inaugural DSOP. Pete's a trial lawyer by trade, but plans on turning pro sometime over the next 50 yrs. He fashions himself as the best player at any table he sits down at. He will play with anything, and especially likes 2-jack off, har-har. You can find him most nights on PartyPoker (playing under the moniker "Cassdog"), but you will not be able to hear the background noise of his wife griping that he spends too much time being a poker dork.

Jimmy Stewart
Austin radio guru “Sweet Texas” Jimmy, after hundreds of thousands of online poker hands, and a few dozen live ones, has become a dangerous force at the table – evident by his impressive money-finishes at tournaments in the gambling mecca of Riudoso, NM. He is a tight but aggressive player, but unafraid to push all his chips in the middle when he smells weakness. He is also a “player” in more ways then one – finding time away from the table to date all types of women, typically between the ages of 18 and…18 ½. Oh yeah, and he’s a complete trip and has a tendency to get really bit. He is skeptical that the rest of the Pokerati really like him, because last time he played at Randy’s house his car window was suspiciously busted out.

Posted by Dan Michalski at 08:41 AM

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