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Daniel - Poker Journal

High Stakes Poker

14 May 2007


This season on High Stakes Poker they went back to the original format of playing three eight hour days. I wasn't scheduled at all for day one, but I was given the opportunity to play all of day two. It was, without a doubt, the best game I'd ever been in on HSP, with loads of action, a $1200 straddle virtually all day, plus, a $2400 re-straddle for much of the night. The lineup was just incredible for action, and to ensure that the game would really take off, a couple of the right people got stuck and a little steamed up.

The session was pretty uneventful for me. During the entire session I had AK one time, and also was dealt 88 once, the best pair I had all day. I did make one interesting play early in the day:

Eli Elezra limped for 1200, I called, another three players called and Sammy raised from the blind another $7,000-$10,000, I'm not entirely sure. Everyone else folded but me.

The flop came 9s 9h 2c and Sammy bet $15,000. All the while Sammy and I were doing a little talking and he told me that he had me on a small pair. When the flop came out and he bet, I said something like, "Wait a minute hear, I might just have 9c 10c." Then I squeezed my cards. After squeezing the first card, I revealed it to Sammy. Remember now, this is REAL poker, with no interference from tournament directors that are trying to take the psychological aspect of the game away from us. Frankly, it's a tragedy what these tournament directors are doing. The players need to unite and get rid of this ridiculous rule that prevents players from showing their hole cards in heads up pots. I don't know of ANY professional player who thinks this rule has any value. Ask anyone from Phil Hellmuth to Howard Lederer and they will tell you that the right to show a card is part of the game.

Anyway, after I showed Sammy the 10c I paused for a moment, before raising the bet to $30,000. Sammy hesitated for a while, finally putting me on 10-10, he says, and folded his hand. What do YOU think I had in the hole? Interesting question no? Adds more to the game of poker, no? I think so. Well I'm not telling you all what I had just yet, but you'll will find out eventually when the show airs!

Taking this out if the game is so unnerving to me. What's next, no speaking at the table? No prodding for information? Then finally, no bluffing at all? It's absurd! I would happily challenge Matt Savage, Jack McLelland, and any other tournament director in favor of this rule to a public debate on the merits of it. The only reason I've ever heard them give is that it prevents people from "needling" their opponents. Give me a break! We are poker players here and don't need anyone out there to hold our hand. It's free information, and if the guy doesn't want to look, he doesn't have to.

Has anyone ever heard of a poker player getting upset, and thinking it was "unfair" that an opponent, in a heads up pot, showed him a card either during or after the hand? Are you kidding me? It's time that we rethink some of the rules and ask ourselves if they really make any sense at all. This one, the "show one show all" rule, clearly doesn't.



Today's lineup appears to be much tougher, with a special twist that I'm not sure I should mention in the blog. What this "twist" will do to the game remains to be seen, but it could potentially cause for some monster pots. I'm not scheduled to play the full day today, but I'm basically on call for an open seat as one becomes available.

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Outside of HSP I haven't played poker really, as I've been golfing again and also playing pool on my new table, as well as improving my Nintendo Wii skills. What a system that Wii is, just wow, incredible.

I think the golf game might actually be improving despite not having played for about six months. The last week or two I bought a training tool called the David Leadbetter Swing Setter and it's the greatest invention ever. If you've never heard of it, you should definitely check it out. It helps me make sure that I have a proper grip, that I break my wrists at the right time, that my tempo is good, and also that I finish my swing high. I would be happy to endorse the product and I'm not looking for any kickback.

Speaking of kickbacks and endorsing products, Phil Hellmuth played with me in HSP all of yesterday. He let us all know that he has a new wine label coming out, and also a new soap bar, a candy bar, a bottled water, Phil Hellmuth suspenders, the Phil Hellmuth fridge (be careful, if you tilt the fridge it will get red hot), the Phil Hellmuth Grill (much better than George Foreman's), and a few other products. He also informed us that he patented the "super quick call when you flop a set." If any of you out there call an all in bet quickly by sloppily pushing all of your chips to the middle, be weary, apparently you will owe Phil royalties.

In all seriousness, he was actually trying his absolute best and you could tell. I'm sure it helped that he didn't take a bad beat, but all in all, it was, in my opinion, his best performance in a cash game that I can remember. Of course, the real test would be to see what would have happened if he lost $100,000 to a gut shot straight! LOL.

Jamie Gold also "came to play" and made some bold moves as he's known to do. Luckily they weren't against me, because I swear to you, I sniffed out every one. Jamie is a talker, as am I, and much of what he said tipped off his hand in my opinion. I promised Jamie that I'd tell him how I knew he was bluffing this one hand and... oh wait, it's kind of a neat hand so let's go back a moment:

On the river Jamie was heads up with Eli Elezra. The final board read Qc Js 5c 7c Qh. Jamie bet about $10,000 and while Eli was thinking, he showed him the 4c. I love it! Who thinks this is bad for poker??? Seriously, does anyone think that showing cards in this situation makes the game any less entertaining, or for that matter, hurt the integrity of the game in any way?

No, instead, what it does is makes the game MORE interesting, and in this case Eli has to ask himself, "Why would he show me that card? Does he really have the flush? What else could he have.?"

Jamie, as usual was doing lots of talking, but there was one thing in particular that he said that completely gave his hand away, and both Jennifer and I looked at each other when he said it. Eli finally folded, and Jamie turned over... the Ah! A stone cold bluff, beautiful.

As for what Jamie said, again, watch the show and see if you can figure it out.

Man, I keep ranting about that stupid rule, but I'm pessimistic about any changes happening and that's just a crying shame for televised poker tournaments, as well as poker in general. The last thing we should be doing is putting rules in place that make the game less of a chess match, less entertaining, and discourages people from "coffee housing."

It's about 11:00am now and I'm going to jump in the shower in the hopes of getting into the game early. I just ordered my new bar of Phil Hellmuth soap and am dying to try it out!

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