Phil Gordon, Please Shut Up
Here I am working on my next column about the difference between no-limit and limit poker and that BASTARD Phil Gordon posts a column
about that very subject. And since he knows a wee bit more about it than I do I'm now pretty much SOL and have to come up with something new. I don't need this kind of pressure. Between Gordon and Jim McManus's NYT columns I'm rapidly getting boxed in by big-media types grabbing all the good ideas. And since they have "knowledge" and "name-recognition" and "thousands and thousands of readers" you just know that I'd be the one labeled the plagiarist. Especially if they get it in print first.
I like reading Steve Rosenbloom's stuff on ESPN, but the Mailbag columns he runs have gotta go. He runs questions like, "How do I get recognized at tournaments?" (um, win a couple, maybe, moron) and "When does the kicker come into play?". I know that not everyone out there is steeped in poker knowledge, but sheesh.
Watching the WSOP coverage last night...how long could you last before the urge to punch Phil Laak in the throat became overwhelming? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Laak's antics, I like it when he's at a final table. I'd just like to punch him in the throat after a certain, rather finite amount of time. Espcially if he beat me in a hand, the throat-punching desire would become exquisite.
The prop bet competition between Forrest, Williamson, Matusow and Lindgren wasn't as interesting as I thought it'd be. Well, it wasn't long enough to be as interesting as I'd like it. Let me pitch an idea to ESPN--have a weekly show dedicated just to poker players and their prop bets. Forget this cards-and-chips nonsense--I wanna see Howard Lederer eat that cheeseburger. I wanna see Erick Lindgren playing one-on-one basketball with Daniel Negreanu with a six-hoop handicap. I wanna see Ted Forrest drink those 10 Heinekens in 30 minutes. I wanna see wads of Benjamins passing between friends because a guy who thought he could climb a flight of stairs on his hands, couldn't climb a flight of stairs on his hands. Make this happen, people.
Anyway. What does it say about Matusow that he got disqualified from this contest during the activity he picked?
I sat there watching and thinking, "You know, I'd like a piece of this action". I'm definitely a better ping-pong player than any they showed (I'm no Danny Seemiller, but I wield a mean paddle). I'm also formidable at the air-hockey table, especially with my lethal forehand inside-out short-side blaster. Card tossing I'd need to practice a bit, but I was an English major and I'm pretty sure I could outspell them left-handed.
Aha, but Mean Gene, surely you would choke with thousands of dollars on the line! Perhaps. But it'd have to be a 2004 Yankees-caliber choke for me to go down at Ping-Pong, let me tell you that. I got skillz.
As I watched Johnny Chan win his 10th bracelet I sorta felt bad for the guys at the other table who barely made an appearance on TV. You play some great poker, make the final table...and the whole of your face time is a quick Lon McEachren "...finished in 7th place!" before you get quick-cutted into oblivion.
I think the stat that shook me the most last night was the news that Robert Williamson III once weighed over 400 pounds. Wow. WOW. I think I read that Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, and Howard Lederer have all had the gastric-bypass surgery that turned Williamson into, as he put it, "half the man I used to be". I think it was in A. Alvarez's classic The Biggest Game in Town
where he describes Brunson drinking milkshakes topped with whipped cream at the table and, before the 1982 Main Event started, a nervous Brunson sneaking into the buffet line to grab a double-wide wedge of chocolate cake.
God knows I drink and eat like a garbage disposal when I play. I don't think I'm going to play in the free tournament at the bar tonight, but when I did last week I drank me like four beers in an hour and looked longingly at the calzone the guy next to me was dissecting. My dad is having a game next week and we always have a variety of chips and dips at the table along with many, many beers and a bubbling crock pot filled with hot sausage. Plus a Boston Cream pie--can't have a Bromberg poker game without Boston Cream pie. It's always bad news, gasterointestinally, the day after I play poker with my family. I'll leave it at that.