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An old poker friend from Boston noted in my journal how he and a few others got online during the PPV main event WSoP 2006 and watched it — commenting on hands and plays — until the sun came up while I tried to “live blog” it. It seems sometimes like the whole poker world has changed around me in the last year, and then I realize that it probably hasn't — mostly, I've changed and it makes the minor changes in the poker world seem more pronounced.

The slow decline of online poker (UIGEA impacting some and not others) still seems to cause some attrition, but I hear that NYC clubs keep reopening after busts and (even worse) robberies, and there is some good action around. I've lost the stomach for it after hearing a local from my home game recount his tale of hiding under the table with his hands up, emptying his pockets for a guy with a gun. I can live without that being a risk in my life.

I still want to run the home game, but I've been so engaged in my job that I can't easily commit the entire weekend day (the morning to set up and clean a bit, the rest of the day to play) at the moment. I'm hoping for September but October seems the more likely now.

At times, I miss poker. I miss the completely engrossing distraction, especially when I have challenges at work that require careful thought and concentration that I sometimes want a break from. I don't miss the beats, the struggling, the constant push of every edge and never being able to give up.

I made two brief casino trips this summer; my hope is I'll put time aside soon to do reviews of the places and post them here an on twoplustwo.

Televised poker is somewhat horrible now. I look forward to the return of High Stakes Poker, as the tournament clip shows are just too boring for anything but background noise while I work.

Oh, and back to where I started this post: I really enjoyed the final table this year. Watching Yang do his thing (and the downright goofy out-loud prayers at all-in moments) was a lot of fun. He's obviously inexperienced, but he has pretty reasonable poker instincts and he's clearly a kind and caring person (unlike the (frankly) downright slimy Mr. Gold). W.D. came over for about half the PPV airing and we had a good time.

Poker, in the end, if a fun hobby when I'm giving it only passing attention, but I don't want to “live” it. I'm pretty sure I can find better things to do.

[BTW, an odd thread sparked by an out-of-the-blue anonymous commentor on a year old post has started. Amazing how google-reachable old journal entries can bring out the crazies from time to time.]

Poker TV

Date: 2007-08-30 13:21 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I actually think Poker on TV has gotten much better. I agree High Stakes poker on Monday is the best poker show around. And now they run 3 shows back-to-back-to-back. Last year they sandwiched it between and before High Stakes Blackjack which was a useless show. Tuesdays there is The World Series of Poker for 2 hours, which is always entertaining because of it's grandness. This show is more about the personalities than the strategies but it gives good insights in how to play in early stages as well as late stages of a huge tourney. Then there is WPT on Wed. nights - I enjoy this show also - gives good insights to Final Table tourney play, the players here are usually good players - except when they do those stupid celebrity tourneys. I also enjoy how it takes place at different casinos around the world.

Re: Poker TV

Date: 2007-08-30 14:58 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Taking your last point first, I agree with you that showing casinos around the world was a nice aspect of the early World Poker Tour shows. If you look at the early seasons, they tried hard to make this a major component and actually fit the theme of their (soon to be old) home of the Travel Channel. It was awesome, for example, to see what the Aviation Club was like and be informed about it before a trip I took to Paris where I actually was able to play there thanks to knowing about it from the show.

However, I think that's less of a component of the show now. And, the structure has gotten so crazy that the final table of the WPT is mostly a preflop (or at most on the flop) game. This kind of poker is really simplistic. They've just dumbed down poker to be a spectacle, which I think is bad for TV and bad for poker.

I think the WSoP coverage isn't bad, and it's usually best when it chases stories in a Bryant Gumble sort of way and finds out about interesting paths people have made to find their way to the WSoP. The actual poker content, though, leaves much to be desired.

Watching the final table on PPV was excellent. You really got a sense of what was going on in the game. I wish they could show hole cards there; I'd even live with a 30 minute delay for it, but there is just too much risk of cheating to do that, I think.

Re: Poker TV

Date: 2007-08-30 16:02 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I agree with all your points. Monday night is by far my favorite - High Stakes Poker with player's REAL money... do you know how much they get paid to play? I heard the casino pays them $100 an hour - and then they must get royalties or something... not sure who benefits more, the players on GSN.

I would like to see some sort of skills challenge amongst the pros - say one of the top pros plays Hold 'em with one card exposed vs an amature... that might be corny but something that shows how much skill is involved in poker - not just luck. Maybe show more HORSE games where the variety of a pros skills are on display.

River Street Gang

Date: 2007-10-07 01:12 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Might I ask how you came up with this name? I am asking because rumor has it that my grandad was a member of THE River Street gang. Just curious.
Thanks - Danielle

Re: River Street Gang

Date: 2007-10-07 21:51 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
River Street, in this context, was the name of a home game in Cambridge, MA, USA circa 2002-2005.


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