Archive for September 2016

Jim "Pocket Bullets" ParisJim “Pocket Bullets” Paris

What do you think? Should poker players stay out of politics?

If you’re like me, then you believe that poker players, just like actors, well-known athletes and others in the public eye, have just as much right to express their political opinions as any other citizens. Still, I have met Kid Poker and the Poker Brat on a few occasions at the WSOP over the last few years and neither  gave me the impression that they might be in the slightest bit interested in politics. But I was as wrong about that as I would be trying to beat either of them at their own game. In fact, DNegs has been very vocal, especially on Twitter, about his progressive leanings.

So I wasn’t surprised to see that Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu both have their opinions about the current race for the White House, and they are not shy about expressing them.

Daniel Negreanu and PoliticsDaniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu, a Clinton supporter, was quick to state “The key is, she has to hit him where it hurts so he gets off-track and reckless,” Negreanu said to Wired. “Then she can just sit back and say, ‘See?'” .

“The first debate should be a feeler debate, a chance for both candidates to see how it goes, look at the polling and pundits and adjust for the second debate,” Negreanu continued. “If you’re doing poorly after both of the first debates, then number three is the time to go all in.”

You can read the full article at Wired.com right here.

Phil Hellmuth PoliticsPhil “Poker Brat” Hellmuth gave both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump high grades in their first heads-up debate.

“Trump played the outsider card really well,” said Hellmuth to TheStreet. “He kept highlighting the fact that we made a lot of deals that cost us a lot of money. People are sensitive to money issues. It’s like their cousin who screwed them in a deal or their friend or the cable company.”

“I think she did a great job — attacking was smart for her. I think she highlighted Trump’s lack of experience and the temperament stuff was effective. She did a really good job of attacking those two things. Trump is going to attack her much more heavily in the next debate.

You can read the full article from TheStreet.com.

Now, while I believe that politics has no place at the poker tables, it’s refreshing to see that both of these Poker Superstars are paying attention to much more than the cards they’re dealt.

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Jim "Pocket Bullets" ParisJim “Pocket Bullets” Paris

There seems to be a slight dispute regarding the election of Chris Moneymaker into the Poker Hall of Fame. The argument is that in reality he never really achieved poker legend status, certainly not as a champion of the felt in the same league as Negreanu or Hellmuth.

Chris MoneymakerAfter all, Chris has pocketed only about 3.5 million dollars, and although that makes for a nice nest egg for most, it cannot be compared to the $30,600,000 in prize money that Negreanu has amassed, or Hellmuth’s 14 bracelets and winnings that exceed $20,900,000, to say nothing of their enormous contributions to the poker world.

I say, yeah so? Every Hall of Fame has had lots of inductees that might seem questionable to some, but for whatever reasons, they were inducted into their respective Halls of Fame. It might be timing, or a unique style or something that was revolutionary at the time, but there were reasons.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland has, for the most part, awarded their choices to the best of Rock and Roll, like the Beatles, the Stones and Stevie Wonder.  Yet they also inducted Joan Jett, who wrote only two hit songs, “I Hate Myself For Loving You” and “Little Liar.” Nevertheless,  while her over all sales have only amounted to 10 million records worldwide, she still got her name into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That’s a far cry from the 600,000,000 by the Beatles.

The Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Mike Piazza with an amazing 427 home runs, 396 of which were hit as catcher, along with a .308 batting average and 1,335 runs batted in (RBIs). But it has also had a few controversial choices, such as NY Yankees’ Phil Rizzuto, who only has 1,588 career hits and barely a .273 batting average and only 38 homers, again a far cry from the 427 homers by Piazza.

Poker Hall of FameAnd now we have this argument about Moneymaker. C’mon give me a break. If you can put people into national Halls of Fame for their respective contributions in their chosen fields, then I say that Chris Moneymaker, a 27-year-old who defied the odds and beat the pros at their own game, getting into the World Series of Poker Main Event through a $39 online satellite and winning it all has certainly, in my most humble opinion, earned his place into the Poker Hall of Fame. He certainly changed the face of poker and taught the world that anyone could cash in big resulting in thousands of new players trying to be Moneymakers.

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Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

The story: One of my favorite poker players is 23-year-old multimillionaire, Fedor Holz. His winnings, in 2016 alone, are more than $16 million! In other words, he’s been on a blazingly hot winning streak, both live and online, including his huge SHR WSOP win of $4.9m. Whether sitting serenely at a poker table at EPT Barcelona, staring down the likes of Phil Hellmuth at the WSOP, or standing in The Cube in LFedor Holzas Vegas laughingly trading barbs with his GPL opponent, Fedor just can’t help being lovable.

Which is why is seems so completely out-of-character that he would have called out owner/founder of The Global Poker League, Alexandre Dreyfus, over a late repayment of a loan of a few thousand dollars. One thing is for sure; it wasn’t about the money.

Alexandre DreyfusApparently, Dreyfus told Holz and two other (as yet unidentified) high stakes players that he’d reached his daily limits on transfers after he went through $50,000 in less than a week to hurriedly set up The Cube in the GPL’s Vegas studio. He asked the three players for a short-term transfer of $30,000 combined to get him through until his limits refreshed, at which point he’d transfer them back their money in euros. Clearly, he must have completely trusted Holz to be discrete.

All three players allegedly realized that Dreyfus hadn’t repaid the loan when they “sat down with their books” several weeks later, at which point Dreyfus acknowledged the delay, apologized to the players both publicly and in private, and repaid the loans with five percent interest. He also claimed that he had legitimate reasons for the delay in repaying the debt. As for Holz, he said he had no desire to “harm” Dreyfus when he chose to discuss this situation in a public forum.

So here are the really odd bits about this story:

  • Seriously? Fedor sits down with his books and does his own accounting? And even more surprising, amongst all his millions, he noticed he was short a few grand?
  • Why would Dreyfus say that he had legitimate reasons for the delay, when it would have been far better to say he forgot and was sorry? Legitimate reasons could stir up a whole lot of doubt among GPL backers.
  • Holz, while claiming not to want to harm Dreyfus, called the incident “questionable behavior as a serious entrepreneur and a show of missing integrity.” Those sound like harmful words to me, but maybe it’s just a bad translation, or a lack of maturity from a very rich but still young Fedor Holz.

L.A. SunsetI don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d like to know what’s really going on. There’s something awfully strange about this story. And, with League poker action returning on September 20th, will Fedor still be representing the LA Sunset for the GPL?

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Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

I hadn’t heard much about the Global Poker League lately. (And then, almost as if they knew I was about to publish this blog, there were GPL sightings TODAY on Facebook, plus updates to their website – finally!) I found the paucity of information somewhat surprising, considering the two-and- a-half-month break between their Summer Series and the second half of their season. I thought it would be an ideal time to fix some of the things Alex Dreyfus had said needed fixing.Global Poker League

In fact, in his wrap-up of the first half of the season, Dreyfus said that they needed to:

  • Revamp the website (I’ve been saying that for months)
  • Improve the mobile app
  • Create drama by increasing the “character dynamics” and focusing more on the players’ personalities and less on the game – create WWE-esque narratives
  • Connect more with casual fans and grass-roots players
  • Provide GPL branded merchandise
  • Consider possible partnerships with key online poker rooms (social, free-to-play and real money offers)

Dreyfus wrapped up his post by advising all GPL fans to get ready for some “transformative changes and risk taking.”

Nevertheless, although I kept checking, the only changes I was able to discover were the facts that the Playoffs, originally scheduled for TwitchCon in San Diego, as well as the Finals, originally set to be held at Wembley Arena in London, would instead take place in The Cube at the GPL Vegas-based TV studio.

Clearly, it seems that the entrepreneur, rather than taking big risks, has been focused on tamping down expectations for the remainder of this first year. But, as always, there is a method behind the madness/genius of Alex Dreyfus.

In a terrific podcast, our all-time favorite, Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu, interviewed Dreyfus, giving us all a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the entrepreneur from Malta.

In a nutshell, Dreyfus made it clear that his thinking has been long-term since he first bought the Global Poker Index (GPI). His vision, to establish a neutral and independent ranking system for poker, paid off.

As for his vision for the GPL, in the short-term Dreyfus is proud of the fact that they launched successfully and managed to get 72 of the best players in the world to play online for the new league. He’s proud of some of the innovations put in place, like the web-cams and The Cube.

But he’s not interested in short-term profits or putting on anything less than a great show. His long-term vision is a multi-continent league with four different conferences, and a predominantly digital platform to capture millennials. He seems certain that the game of poker HAS to change, has to engage new fans. Ultimately, predicts Dreyfus, although he will no longer own it, the GPL will grow in the hands of a leading sports marketing company. His goal is to do everything in his power to make the League last long enough for that to happen.

For now, I’m going to trust Alexandre Dreyfus and wish the GPL luck in their upcoming second season, beginning on September 20th!

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