Mean Gene
Mean Gene
Pittsburgh's most decorated poker blogger, which I admit is like being the best shortstop in Greenland

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My Articles

Presto, the Arlo, & the Hammer
An Online Code of Conduct
The Ethics of Ratholing
"The Professor, the Banker..."
"Ace on the River"

My Columns

Lose the Shades
If You Can't Say Something Nice
Whither the Kicker
The Lady is a Champ?
Covering the WSOP (or not)
Statistics, Luck, and Poker
Poker and New Orleans
Managing a Bankroll
How To Tell A Bad Beat Story
Telling Lies
The Power of Poker Tracker
Advanced Card-Handling

My Greatest Hits

5 Things To Do Before I Die
Cafeteria Nostalgia
Mean Gene's Dubious Dating Tips
Poker and Business?
There's No Such Thing As Luck?
Isabelle, Je t'adore
No Shirt No Shoes No Service
Well, The Food Was Good
Good Morning, Mr. Matusow!
The Weekend of our Discontent, I
The Weekend of our Discontent, II
Books That Left Their Mark
Ode to a Fish Sandwich
Bill Simmons Ain't the Poker Guy
The Sports Guy Still Ain't the Poker Guy
Again, The Media Tackles Poker
Five Years After 9/11
Hitting Pretty Girls in the Face
Sixth-Graders Suck

Fellow Poker Bloggers

Guinness and Poker
Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Up for Poker
Boy Genius
Chris Halverson
Poker Grub
The Fat Guy
Todd Commish
Poker Works
Bill Rini
Bad Blood
Love and Casino War
Double As
Lion Tales
Paul Phillips
Daniel Negreanu
Poker Nerd
Poker Nation
Poker in Arrears
Human Head
Sound of a Suckout
Chicks With Chips
TP's Table Talk
Royal Poker
This is Not A Poker Blog
Chick and a Chair
Go Be Rude
Poker Cheapskate
Poker & Other Stuff
Seven Two
Musical Poker
WPBT Online
Isabelle Mercier
Cardschat Blog
Amy Calistri
BJ Nemeth
Annie's Blog

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    Wednesday, August 04, 2004

    When are the nuts not the nuts?

    When you're watching the feature called "The Nuts" during ESPN's World Series of Poker coverage. At first I was enthused about these 60-second interludes that showed something quirky or weird about poker. A chance to see something different, something that might make you pause and say, "Hmm". No such luck.

    Last year we saw Chris "Jesus" Ferguson slice a banana by throwing a playing card. Impressive. Then this year we saw him slice a carrot. OK. Then on another episode we saw him slice a pickle. "Am I watching the goddam Food Channel?" I asked, punching the buttons on my remote control. Why do I need to see Ferguson dicing vegetables with playing cards show after show? Why would the producers think that a man chopping through a carrot, and then through a pickle, with ANY impliment would be interesting?

    Then again, why would the producers think that watching Ferguson throw cards past a hockey goaltender into the net would be interesting. That's what we saw last night, and it was beyond stupid. I would think that a hugely intelligent person like Ferguson would have said to the producers, "You know, this has gone far enough. We need to stop this right now". Perhaps the bright lights of TV blinded Jesus. One can only hope that at least next week we won't see Ferguson filling a salad bar using only a 52-card deck.

    The other feature that's been featured several times is the no-peek championship, which is almost as stupid as Ferguson's Ginsu impersonation. As a one-time little blurb, it was funny, plus it put Clonie Gowan on the screen for a wee bit. But it looks like this lunacy will also be a recurring irritation for the rest of the tourament. And there was something annoying and cliquely about the whole thing, like only the coolest kids in the class were invited to play and everyone else can watch. Or maybe I'm just being too sensitive.

    All in all I think ESPN's coverage has been pretty good. Lon McEachren isn't as good as Mike Sexton, but he's mostly a straight man for Norman Chad who, unfortunately, isn't as funny as he thinks he is. I'm not an automatic Vince Van Patten-basher, but I think Chad has the edge because he is, on occasion, willing to criticize players who either make bad plays or whose behavior falls outside the lines.

    As he did during this week's shows. I hope that Iggy watched last night, or gets the chance to see them very soon, because they would hopefully have cheered him up after the loss of his cat supreme, Monty, who passed away yesterday. I mean, last night shows had everything to make a Guinness-fueled ranter smile--a Phil Hellmuth meltdown, and his hero T.J. Cloutier sticking it royally to Dutch Boyd. Christmas in August.

    Let's talk about Phil a bit. They had a little sidebar featuring Phil and his mom, very sweet. She tells us that no one has a bigger heart than her son, and to illustrate this Phil tells us that he's given away all but one of his 9 WSOP bracelets. Uh, so to show that you're a generous sort, you tell us that you've given away an item you already have 9 of? Seems more like a garage sale than largesse.

    OK, that's a bit over the top, even for me. But even though this was obviously a puff piece, don't you think someone from ESPN (even Chad) might have asked Mrs. Hellmuth, "We hear you say that your son is a wonderful person, and we believe you, really, but don't you get a bit concerned that he's closing in on 40 and still acts like he's six? I'm talking about the pouting and whining and general brattishness".

    That question was not asked. I guess its asking a bit much to put Phil's mom on the hot seat like that. Still, when Phil was knocked out and whined to his sister something along the lines of "If there wasn't any luck at all I guess I'd win all these things", Chad repeated Hellmuth's statement with palpable disgust in his voice. Kudos to Norm for that one.

    One player at the table, Frank Sinopoli, nearly became my new poker hero. Hellmuth said something like, "You cashed five times so far?", Phil lowering himself to praise another player, and Sinopoli just stared back like, "Yeah?". Phil gave him a big smile and said, "Yeah, so have I, buddy," and leaned across the table to touch fists with Sinopoli, the way the kids do these days. Frank would have become my favorite player had he just kept his seat and stared back like, "The fuck I care what you think?". But Frank returned the gesture, I guess not lowering himself to Hellmuth's poor behavior. Ah well.

    The razz finale was fun just to see Howard Lederer going nuts. We're used to the impeturbable Howard, but last night we saw him frustrated, petulent, even whiny. Great stuff. I have to say I can't blame Howard at all for acting up a bit, as he has some hands that would get the Dalai Lama shrieking, "How could get three goddam pair again?? How??".

    I can't give you an exact recap of the hand that pretty much put Dutch Boyd in the trash bin, but Cloutier had him utterly skunked and for some reason Boyd kept throwing chips in, even as the board showed that he almost certainly couldn't win the hand. He even raised a few times, and when it was all over, well. it was all over.

    ESPN again showed Boyd and his "Crew" strutting around like the baddest Little League team on the block. They're had a great showing at the WSOP, to be sure, but this "Crew" thing is just silly. What isn't silly is the controversy that surrounds Boyd. Just search under his name to get a whole lotta people talking about the online poker room Boyd opened that quickly went under, taking with it about $400K of investors' money. Boyd blames...well, he blames a whole bunch of people, and his story seemed to change depending on who he was speaking to. The ESPN coverage has portrayed Boyd as this genius who happens to play poker, and he's become famous for it. I learned this myself when, after posting a bit about Boyd I suddenly saw a bunch of referrals to this site by people searching under "Dutch Boyd" and "The Crew".

    I don't know if those same people also read about the controversial side of Boyd, and I wonder if ESPN will touch the story with a 10-foot-pole. What am I saying, of course they won't. I think I may have to do some research and write a post about this, I have something in mind, but it's gonna end up being another fairly monstrous one.

    Brief interlude--I just watched a bit of "Celebrity Poker Showdown", and are Gail O'Grady's eyes really that green? She had one of the great topless-from-the-side scenes in TV history when she appeared on NYPD Blue, tho her Noo Yawk accent was so horrid you nearly had to leer at her with the mute button pressed. Lovely woman--but why was she wearing her drapes? Did I miss something there, why was she covered by what looked to be 72 yards of fabric?

    I think that's enough for now. Yes, that's quite enough. get this widget Please visit Pokernews site for more poker news, poker strategy articles or poker rules.

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