Some Super-Quick Random Thoughts

Saturday, September 4th, 2004, 1:46 am

I’m in the middle of writing a long-postponed post about poker jumping the shark, but I’ve painted myself into a rhetorical corner and I don’t yet know how to extricate myself. It’ll come to me, I’m sure. It always does, at least to my satisfaction. Whether it will to you will have to be seen.

I was going to play a little tonight, but writing got in the way. Read some blogs (do you realize there are like 1500 poker blogs now?), and went to Card Player magazine to see what they have new there. Uh, I looked at the lists of articles, and I saw Jeff Shulman’s latest article, and, uh…

Here’s the link to it. Check it out first, then read on:

It isn’t the article that caught my eye–it’s pretty innocuous. No, it’s Jeff’s picture. Um, I don’t know how to phrase this, I don’t mean to offend anyone, but…is Jeff in drag? I mean, I looked at the magazine’s table of contents and saw the small thumbnail picture, and I really didn’t think it was him. I mean, Shulman’s old mug shot showed him with a scowl and some stubble and sunglasses on. This picture…I mean, as the publisher of the magazine, or the CEO, or whatever title he holds, wouldn’t he have say about what picture was used? And he picked that one?

During this week’s WSOP coverage we got to hear the music of Mike Matusow. Can you imagine being at a poker table with Matusow, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Laak, and Tony G? If you can, then you can imagine Hell as vividly as Dante did in his Inferno. Matusow’s reaction when he was brutally rivered and knocked out of the World Series was reality TV at its very best–by which I mean it was appalling. Matusow is aboslutely insufferable, and I’m sure that’s exactly his intent. Watching a group of large men beating him with sticks would probaby be great fun.

But it wasn’t much fun watching him dissolve into tears after getting knocked out. I didn’t feel sorry for him, exactly, though losing on the river to a 3-outer is painful no matter the circumstances. I was surprised that I felt some pity for him, as he flopped on the ground and his face in his hands and sobbed. But pity wasn’t the dominant emotion. It wasn’t disgust…it wasn’t empathy…I think perhaps it was relief, that no matter how poorly I’ve handled some reverses in my life, I’ve never burst into tears on national TV. And now that I know how it looks, I know how vital it would be to control myself if every put in that situation. Kill yourself after the cameras have stopped rolling, that’s what I learned.

Another priceless moment from Tuesday’s episodes–Phil Hellmuth coming over to congratulate Doyle Brunson for still being in the running, and Brunson looking like he wanted Phil to evaporate. I wonder if Hellmuth realizes how awful he’s come across during this year’s coverage. Got knocked out of the limit Hold-em event and went on a pathetic rant than ended, “Well, if there was no luck involved I guess I’d win every one of these things”. He dragged ESPN’s cameras over to show them he had pocket kings, and then ostentaciously folded them saying, “This is only the fourth time I’ve ever folded this hand in the World Series”. According to a post on Paul Phillips’ blog, Phil’s opponent only had a pair of tens to his name, making Hellmuth’s laydown with kings rather a serious blunder. Of course we’re not told that, leaving us to think that Phil indeed has the sixth sense.

It’s odd, you read Phil’s columns, you see him on TV, and he’s constantly bragging about the incredible laydowns he makes. Not his bluffs, or the bluffs he calls down, or the monsters he flops, but hands he voluntarily surrenders. Now, to be sure, you can’t win in poker without the courage to fold a big hand on occasion, but that seems to be how Phil wants to define himself, as the guy who lays down the hands no one else dares give up. There’s a saying in business, that you can’t shrink your way to greatness. Can you fold yourself to a tournament victory?

OK, I’m tired. Gotta get up early, do a lot of work around the house, then our last night of beach volleyball and beer. The summer, she’s slipped away already. Alas.

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3 Responses to “Some Super-Quick Random Thoughts”

  1. Uwannabet? Says:

    Great post, but I thought Greenland’s team underacheived this year. anywho…

    About Shulman’s picture
    Lawrence Hill=Barbara Yoon, I sense a trend.

    Great to see “mouth” get drilled, but not so great to see him show emotion like that. I too felt sorry for him, not for getting busted on that hand but for letting the world see how much he regrets pissing away the money he once had.

  2. Gordon Davis Says:

    That picture reminds me of Dustin Hoffman as “Tootsie”. What was he thinkin??

    I really enjoy your blog Gene. I found it a week ago and I just now finished reading up to date. Great stuff. I’m curious where your bankroll is at now. At first you started w/$50, fluctuated, then after you got up to a certain point you stopped mentioning how much it is. I understand it’s personal business, but I’m curious none the less. Also curious how much money you won for finishing first in the poker blog tourney, as well as your 2nd and 3rd place finishes in other tourneys. Thanks for writing/updating this blog on a consistent basis. I find it a very entertaining read. Oh yeah, and GO CHIEFS!!

  3. neil Says:

    I have to disagree with the sympathy being dished out for the Mouth Matusow. That is beautiful karma at it’s best. Someone acts like a complete ass trying to humiliate the Fossil Man and bully the rest of the table, then ends up crying in a corner alone. That’s great.

    The only other things better than that: Joe Nedney seriously embellishes contact made by Dewayne Washington after his missed FG, which costs the Steelers a playoff game. Next year Nedney is injured week one and is out for the year.
    Also, obnoxious Michael Irving hearing cheers as he lies injured on the turf at the Vet. All those “rub-it-in-your-face” first down and TD dances earned him the cheers for when he got his comeuppance.
    Can’t wait til Deion Sanders get his too. Hope I don’t come off as a terrible person, but what goes around, at some point does come around.

    FYI there was a party for Tara’s brother this past weekend and I had the pleasure of winning the Hold ‘Em game with small $5 entry fee. I came back to win after being seriously short stacked. It was fun but I will miss the action at the lake now that summer has gone.

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