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Doe's Vegas Morning

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  • Doe's Vegas Morning

    I drive by an armadillo belly-up by the side of the road, the consummate reminder that I am starting this journey from deep in the heart of Texas. It’s been a few weeks since I was last in Vegas. And as I sit here writing this, the WSOP’s big dance has concluded, with a fellow online poker junkie taking home this year’s bracelet.

    I am on the road again, and although I will be passing through Las Vegas, it is Las Vegas, NM, and my final destination is a remote town near Taos, NM. I am here to finally take a big bite out of that dissertation. I have no spouse, no TV, no cats, few neighbors, and, so far, no poker. To keep me from ending up like Nicholson in the Shining (ie “all work and no play”, etc), I have dedicated a few hours of slacking a day – which will most likely entail writing about poker and sneaking in the occasional B&M tourney.

    Today’s distraction has me reflecting back on a morning spent in Nevada’s Vegas.

    On my last trip to Vegas, I spent a lot of quality time on the Starbucks terrace across from Binions. My morning routine comprised of a tall latte, pen and paper, a smoke, and invariably a good, usually poker related, chat with a fellow caffeine addict.

    My New (Anonymous) Friend:
    On this day, a gentleman asks to share my table as he waits to hear from some friends. We are both smokers and the tables are pretty much all occupied. I don’t recognize his face, but when he introduces himself, I recognize the name as someone who’s seen their fair share of final tables. He is quick to volunteer that he has yet to bring home a bracelet. I surmise that this might be on his “to do” list for his Vegas trip. [Side note: although seeing the money this year, a bracelet still eludes my tablemate for another year]

    On the WPT:
    I start to relate my experience of watching the WPT final table at the Bellagio the night before. But before I get a chance to utter the “T” in WPT, he pounces on the topic. He blurts, “I turned on the TV, watched it for all of 15 seconds, and shut it off, cursing and sputtering. I mean it took me two years of painful research to know the kinds of hands Scotty Nguyen plays. And in two minutes ever idiot poker player in the world is going to know what I know. I thought, ‘this is the end of poker.’ But then I remembered that that’s what we all said when Doyle wrote his book. And poker survived that – and I suspect it will survive this as well.” Invited to the Costa Rica event, he passed for a number of reasons. One reason was that he would not be allowed to wear his sponsor’s logo – something he does to offset tournament entry costs. I guess Helmuth is lucky his sponsor is also a WPT sponsor.

    The Pitfalls of Tournament Life:
    We discuss the state of health, mentally and financially, of some of the big name, tournament players. He believes that the key to tournament poker, like many “vices” in life, is moderation. His moderating force is his family. He says there are many traps out there for tournament players and a balanced perspective is one of the best ways to safely traverse the all-too-many landmines of tournament life.

    We discuss the prevalence of the classic “Unger” syndrome. I mention a well known pro, professing my belief that he seems to be successfully dodging the obvious pitfalls of tournament life. He responds, “Yeah, it seems that way, but he’s got some real strong arms for backers. He’s under a lot of pressure, and even though he no longer needs the money, I’m not sure he will ever shake loose of their grasp.” He said, “It’s not just the drugs, alcohol and backers that’ll get you. After a big tourney win, there are a slew of players waiting to bait you into a big money ring game. You watch. Players like Devilfish know that they can get at that purse faster in a ring game than in the tournament.” Just like in the Watergate investigation, some players know that the best strategy is to “follow the money” after a tournament.

    On Homeland Security:
    Even as a B&M pro, my new friend is a big fan of internet poker. But he is pretty darned concerned about some of the security/privacy policies put in place after September 11th. One of the classic advantages that ring games have over tournaments is that ring games fly under the IRS radar screen. And of course one of the advantages of off-shore online poker has been it ability to dodge IRS scrutiny. My friend is very concerned that the government’s less fettered ability to pry into off-shore accounts may bring about potential US tax difficulties for online gamblers.

    A Lingering Question:
    A call from his friends sends my morning companion on his way. One of his friends is “Alaska” Bob Burke, a Binion-era old timer. My friend claims that Bob, no longer a player due to disability, taught him anything worth knowing about poker. This has been a banner morning, quelling my addictions for caffeine, nicotine, and best of all, poker chat. But I am left unsatisfied on one front. Being a poker-information junky, I would have loved to know more about “Alaska” Bob Burke. I mean with a name like that, there has to be some great stories. My challenge to the PSO community: Does anyone have any information about “Alaska” Bob Burke?

  • #2


    Good report on some of the facts of life "poker view."

    One important piece of information was left out.

    "Did you pick up the Armadillo." I hear they make good road kill stew. It's often served to dead money players at some of the larger buy-in tournaments. They sure had a bunch of DMP's at the WSOP main event with 839 entries. I'm surprised possum on the half-shell stayed out long enough for you to see it on a mid western road!


    • #3
      Great report doe!

      I have a few questions for you that you may have picked up in your chats.

      I'm curious about career poker players. How many people do you think actually make a living from playing ring games in US? How many people make a living from tournaments alone? Those who play both?

      About the backers. Why would it be hard to get out from under the backers? Bankroll issues or contracts? How would a normal backer situation work? What would be some extreme examples that backers take?

      Lots of questions I know but curiousity is overwhelming me 8O



      • #4
        Hello doe!...lived in Alaska for 18 years sorry never heard of Alaskan bruke...The perry brothers yes...daisy777...Oh! very nice post ...Oh! again whats are dmp's?


        • #5
          Err...Green brothers, Perry and Jim...daisy777



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