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Chip Reese is dead

Chip Reese is dead at 56.

Chip Reese was bad -- bad as in really, really good. I'm of the opinion that yesterday, he was the best all-around (incorporating tournaments, ring games, heads-up, and mixed games) poker player alive. Now he's one of the better all-around poker players who are dead (Stu Ungar vs. Chip Reese, heads-up, HORSE. I'll kill myself now if it means I get to be a railbird).

Pauly has yet to comment, but Linda has, and there's a post at The Poker Prof (by, erm, Pauly) that highlights Reese's career.

I am an unabashed academicist, if that word means what I think it does. Chip Reese came out of Dayton, graduated (or did he? sources have debated that for some time now) in econ from Dartmouth, and used his game theory knowledge to crush cash games around the globe. His chapter on Seven-Card Stud in Super/System is still considered the exemplar tutorial, and his heads-up showdown with Andy Bloch in the 2006 $50,000 HORSE event is still my favorite moment (if one can call eight hours a moment) in poker history.

For more, check out Amy Calistri's blog, CardPlayer, or this really great essay from The Professor, The Banker, And The Suicide King author Michael Craig:

There has to be, to some degree, a recognition that behind the smile and the sunny manner was a man who devoted himself with every fiber of his being to separating you from your money. In fact, a memorial to Chip Reese must recognize the dichotomy in all gamblers: being nice is good business and good form but its goal is to strip other people of their money and leave them feeling alright about their loss. If you are a professional gambler, that's what you do, and if you have any reservations, your success will be foreclosed or limited.

That says a lot about poker and identity, doesn't it?

Wil Wheaton rocks

Congratulations to Wil Wheaton, a true embodied Protean whose flexibility in moving from poker semipro to writer to actor and back again has influenced my academic work considerably, and who actually remembered me the last time I saw him in person.

He's the newest addition to Numb3rs, a show that is far too good to be on Friday nights, yet has managed to survive for three seasons now in that slot.

I'm anxiously awaiting the airing of his episode, which I will inevitably download instead of watching live.

this is terrific news

Chinese poker, weddings, and blind dates

The leaves blow along the bricked sidewalk with a warmth entirely malapropos for November. The leaves blow eastward; they blow along with the traffic on Fifth Street that leisures by, unaware of the dramas happening amongst them.

The wedding ended without fanfare; there was no Pottery, nor any Crowing of any sort. Not that it matters. Chinese poker is like any game; you play the hand you're dealt. Sometimes it's a good hand, and sometimes it's a bad hand. Either way, you're looking to hit the heart, mind, and body.

The top is the heart, and you're faced with making that connection that can't be described. Maybe it's a nut flush or a full boat; a straight flush is even more solid. Yet the most volatile, the most important round is the middle: do you take two pair to the mind or hold one over to satisfy the body? You play the hand you're dealt, but you have myriad decisions along the way.

You play the hand you're dealt, as you consider your flight back to Florida on Sunday. The paired Aces could have made the trips on top a boat, but would they hold up? Would it sacrifice the mid and bottom? The mind and body?

She drives away and you'll replay the hand forever. You play the hand you're dealt, until it's played to your satisfaction. It's never to your satisfaction.

Totally missing the point of college | Aping Slashdot

I graduated from the fine institute of The Ohio University in a meager three years. (Technically, two, since I transferred there after one year at Heidelberg College.)

I knew at the time, and even moreso seven years out, that I shouldn't have done that. I missed out on a great year of college -- especially since when I graduated, I was only 20 years old, meaning my social life revolved around parties and bars where I knew the bouncer.

Then again, if I'd stayed at Ohio another year, I wouldn't have gone to EMU for grad school, finished in one year, taken the job at Muskingum, and made my way here to Florida. Then again, considering my current social life, maybe that would be a good alternate reality.

In any case, any regrets over missed college experiences are totally quashed by what I learned about David Banh today.

He finished his degree at Virginia in ONE YEAR.

Not only did he only get one year of the college experience, he was taking so many courses (37 hours his spring semester!) that he didn't even have time for socializing AT ALL. Well, he did join the bridge club. I suppose that's something.

Mark my words, kiddo. David Banh will be on a final table at a future WSOP main event. The dude double majored in math and physics IN ONE YEAR. Plus, he likes bridge, a game that has skills easily moved to tournament poker.

I respect the hell out of the guy, except the dude wants to be a patent attorney. What a waste... since we all know patent attorneys never get anywhere in life.

Unless you're 2004 WSOP Main Event champion Greg Raymer.

Home! And the WSOP

I'm home. Busy doing laundry and decompressing.

If you have a soul, you'll read Pauly's take on the cultural nature of this year's WSOP. He encapsulates everything about the sexual and corporate nature of this year's tournament perfectly.

WSOP... again

Live from the World Series of Poker Main Event, yet again. Today I'm standing at a table across from Adam, Dan, and Lenny from Pocket Fives. They're here covering the Main Event and, like me, do not have press passes. They've made their own little office next to the Doyle's Room suite, and next to the security guard who won't let them in the press room. It's where we sit and poach guys who do have passes, though the Pocket Fives guys are actual journalists compared to me.

There they are.

They just ended break. Poker Stars Blog has been covering a lot of the Poker Stars qualifiers, and wrote an article about Dave Matthews, the guy from Dayton I've been hanging out with all week.

You can read the article and see a picture of him here. It's an interesting case of mistaken identity -- though not in the way you'd expect.

I gotta run. Going to a baseball game tonight of all things.

More interesting things

I do not know how Pauly or Otis do it. They live this schedule for six weeks, and I am falling apart after four days. Half of my face comes off every time I wash it (it sort of resembles a piece of limestone right now) and I might lose a toe. I'm ready for my Stacy Adams shoes to be broken in; right now, all they're breaking are my feet. Even my daily workouts aren't helping my body recover from the poisoning it gets on a nightly basis. Here are a few more observations from the past few days that I found interesting. Also some pictures from the crappy camera I bought from Wal-Mart that I was warned sucked and does. Plus some camera phone pictures and video.

Here is a camera phone pic from the VooDoo Lounge where I was Thursday night, looking south:

And north:

Here is a video of Phil Hellmuth dancing at VooDoo Lounge. I don't know how I forgot about this, but I found the video in my phone and a note about it in my Moleskine.

The hallways are a fire hazard as there are thousands of spectators and players and they all want to be in the Amazon Room at the same time. Here is a video of the typical hallway outside:

Here is James Garner opening Day 1A of the Main Event with the "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" of the poker world, "Shuffle Up & Deal!"

He would probably appreciate if I stopped calling him Phil. Also, he's old. Very old. If you, like me, invest in deadpools, add Phil James to your list.

There is an enormous expo area with booths set up for major poker sites and other poker-related enterprises. One booth is a sports memorabilia store, and they brought in Pete Rose to sign (overpriced) autographs.

Except they brought him in when the Media/Celebrity tournament was scheduled.

So there I am, looking at Pete Rose, sitting forlornly by himself, wondering why nobody was around to talk to him. They were all inside the Amazon Room staring at Cindy Margolis' boobs or Shannon Elizabeth's makeup.

I've been hanging out with some Xavier grads, one of whom is playing tomorrow. He's a PokerStars qualifier and so we were lucky to get some early access to their suite and swag. I'm going to have to mail all this stuff home, unless some of you want it, I mean, I have all sorts of T-shirts, hats, gewgaws.

An Asian girl at VooDoo Lounge refused to believe that I am not myself Asian.

Johnny Chan cut in front of one of my Xavier friends at the Rio's fast food Chinese place. He got sweet and sour chicken, then ate it by himself in the Rio sports book. I meanwhile watched him eat and hit a 64:1 exacta.

Anna Benson hit on me. Well, if you call her walking up to me and saying "I just have to tell you, that's an awesome tie" hitting on me. I don't know why she's here, but she has a booth for her web site in the expo center.

Bodog has a booth where you can go into a "bedroom" and get into a pillow fight with promo models in lingerie. The line is very long and consists mostly of fat and pasty PokerStars qualifiers.

Johnny Chan later handed me a deck of cards, to which I responded, "Thanks, Champ." The world no longer comes to a stop when Johnny Chan is in the room. Then again, maybe it never did, and that's just a line in a movie. Nevertheless, Johnny Chan was the ugliest promo model in the expo center.

I met Louie Anderson as he was getting ready to take on Chris Moneymaker in sumo wrestling. Err, I mean, poker. Hachem and Raymer were there, too, for a PokerStars heads-up challenge on the computer. There is nothing more enticingly boring than watching the last two champions of the World Series of Poker Main Event play each other in computer poker.

Really, that's Joe Hachem and The Fossilman.

Louie Anderson is fantastically fat, moreso than nearly any person I have ever met. I don't know if they gave him a special chair or something for his seat in today's Main Event, because I haven't gone over there yet. He's not been busted yet, so I'll have my chance in an hour or so. He did get a ten minute penalty for dropping the f-bomb. There are only two things banned in the cardroom: smoking, the f-bomb, and dotcoms. Wait, that's three.

Chris Moneymaker is very quiet and not very attractive. He is fairly friendly, though, not as much as Raymer, but friendly.

She sat down next to me at the bar at the Scottish Pub, Tilted Kilt. "Where are you from?" I asked. She responded, "Uh, I'm from here." "That's not very interesting," I replied, and got up and left.

I found a VIP card for Club Rio on the ground the other day, so I stood in line for an hour (apparently not a big enough VIP to go to the front) and got in for free. I left after about 20 minutes because it was about the stupidest, worst club I'd ever been in. Maybe it gets better later, but at 1am on a Saturday night it sucked butt. There were, by a bouncer's estimate, five times the number of men in the room as women. The few girls that were there were fat and ugly. They looked nothing like the barely-dressed woman in the poster advertising Club Rio outside. If I'd paid $20 to get in I'd have to kick my own ass. I guess that's why VIP cards can be found abandoned on the ground. I left for the small lounge next to Club Rio. I saw the bartender flairing and flashed my L.A. Hangout VIP card.

"You know Alcohol Paul?" he asked.

"I'm his best customer," I lied. It's amazing how many people here that dude knows, and how many doors my L.A. Hangout VIP card opens. Greg knows Paul from his Kahunaville days.

I don't have much to say after that except I woke up this morning in my clothes on top of the bed and half a glass of Captain Morgan on the nightstand.

Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) knocked me over in a hallway. He was apologetic.
Ron Jeremy asked me the time
Cindy Margolis rubbed her magnificently fake breasts across my chest
Made out with a dental hygenist (sp?)
I name-dropped Alcohol Paul and drank for free at an amazing club... overlooking the Strip... my blood is 90% captain morgan now
I walked through Rio and was amazed at the number of people saying hi to me, until a few minutes
later I realized Phil Hellmuth was walking right behind me
I danced with Daniel Negreanu's press agent (maybe did more? can't remember)
I talked to James Garner
I talked to two women who did not know who James Garner was ("Maverick, Rockford Files?" "Not ringing a bell."
I bet on dogs at Tampa Greyhound with a real-life card cheat
Okay, I didn't bet, but I pretended to and drank every Miller Lite the cocktail waitress could bring
Doyle Brunson hit me with his crutch (on accident)
I talked to Wil Wheaton while he was fuming over losing a hand to a total jackoff jerk (whoops)
and I've had my fantastic seersucker suit and white bucks outfit complimented several times

back to the Rio... and after that, who knows.

Could I be so lucky? | Pinellas adventures

I have always been a fan of economics, particularly at the micro level, and read Levitt and Dubner's Freakonomics several times. It quickly became one of my favorite books, ever, and Steven Levitt became one of my heroes.

Imagine my surprise when Levitt posted in his blog the following:

I’m going to have a team of researchers in Las Vegas running some experiments on decision making by poker players. We are looking for serious poker players who (a) will be in Las Vegas between July 21 and July 27, (b) want to make a little money and get a signed copy of Freakonomics, (c) read about themselves in the sequel to Freakonomics, and (d) have about an hour to spare.

Are you kidding me? I arrive in Las Vegas to do MY work on poker the 26th. Could I possibly meet up with the man himself? Could I discuss a chapter of my dissertation with THE Dr. Steven Levitt? Stay tuned.

--

Wednesday night ventured out to explore the bars and taverns of my new neighborhood. Stopped in Norton's, only a block away, and found it pretty dead. A Select and round of bowling and I got out. I can't just walk into a place and walk out if it's dead -- I know some people can. I can't. I figure I owe them at least the amount of time it takes to guzzle a Select, which is about 90 seconds.

So I drove around downtown Dunedin, didn't see much going on, until on Alt19 I came across Eddie's. I popped into the place and found 2-for-1s to my liking, so I fired up a deuce of the Dunedin Brewery's Pale Ale. Chatted with three kids at the bar, teachers, and when their friends showed up we moved to the other room for some darts and air hockey. I have never, EVER, been so bad at darts as I was that night, but the crew didn't seem to mind, and my partner was on the phone with her fiance most of the time anyway. Two more Selects, more darts, and the crew (some of which had moved down from Chi-town three days prior) took to me okay, though the women were all taken. I skipped out on meeting them Thursday at the Roundup, as the country dance thing ain't my style.

Took my leave and found myself as open mic night was winding down at the Dunedin Brewery, which inexplicably was closing at 1. Hello? Pinellas already chokes itself with the inane 2am bar close, and you're going to cut things off even earlier? I lounged at the smoking patio with some hipsters and some guy who apparently gave me his business card... I think he wanted to hire me to do landscape work. Not sure. Rolled in, slept on the floor.

Thursday was a meetup with the old gang at the UA, though my night was somewhat interrupted when a cute blonde in a bright pink shirt asked if I had a quarter. I'm a poor ass, so I didn't have a dime on me, but I directed her to a change machine. She asked if I could break for her friends who were playing pool. Never one to back down from a challenge, I walked away from my crew and headed up to the tables. Pinky introduced me to her three friends, one a smokin' brunette in a soulful shade of blue. I can't remember sh*t for names lately, so it helped the initials in the order I was introduced made the memorable acronym of KAML. I chatted up the brunette who looked back with wide open eyes. They weren't USF students; in fact, they'd just moved here three weeks ago from Madison.

Why?

"We're on a one-year fellowship mission."

Oh.

I'm a good Catholic boy, but my brand of Jesus isn't the same as these gals, and I found myself torn between trading come-ons for Jesus' love and ended up settling on a topic we could all agree on: the evils of Scientology.

"They just haven't found the love of Jesus Christ yet."

I sank the Eight and headed back to my friends, not after accepting an offer to head to their apartment Sunday for spaghetti. I dunno if that's a euphemism, but a boy can dream.

A quick beer at the LA and a shot of Marnier and it was time to head home. Or not. Dropped in on the Chase Club for karaoke night, slow, but rocked the house with some New York State of Mind and rolled with some insurance salesmen. Male-Female was about infinity, so I stuck around for two Blues and rolled out.

It's Friday, and I'm a loss as to where I'm headed tonight.

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