Heads Up

2008 WSOP Update: $10k World Championship Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em, Event No. 25

Chris Lee is in this photo going heads-up at WSOP

Chris "Genius28" Lee was among the pros who made it to the second round of the Heads-Up event today at the 2008 WSOP

The $10k buy-in World Championship Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship of the World at the World Series of Poker is down to 64 from its original 256. Players will play one more heads-up match tonight.

Chipleaders include everyone still in the tournament.

The favorite after two rounds has to be Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, who took down the National Heads-Up Championship in April and has the most wins of any pro in the televised tournament's four-year history.

Others to look out for include Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, the spectacularly breasted JC Tran, Erick Lindgren, Sammy Farha, Brandon Adams, Kenny Tran, Alex Jacob, Theo Tran and Nam Le.

Chip counts here.

More shots of what you're looking at above (and Eric Liu railbirding?) below . . .

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WCP Goes Heads-Up With Paul Phillips

What happened to Paul Phillips?

Paul_phillips_2During the poker boom from '03-05, Phillips was one of the game's most recognizable personalities. With a WPT title and multiple WSOP final tables, Phillips was an accomplished mixed game player who amassed over $2.2M in career earnings.

As one of the first pros to embrace blogging, Phillips gained a following through his livejournal site, which is still popular to this day (although now void of poker-related content).

Phillips also built a rep for speaking out against what he saw as improprieties with the game, causing a few controversies along the way. Something we can certainly appreciate.

So what the hell has he been up to? Paul was kind enough to accept our interview request and discuss his latest passion (Scrabble), South Park, and of course, why he's no longer on the poker circuit.

WCP: You're no longer active on the tournament scene. What have you been up to the past couple of years?

PaulphillipsquoteredPP: Got married, had kid, moved to Colorado, moved to Oregon, had another kid, decided to go back to school and get masters in Computer Science, applying now.

WCP: How are Scrabble and poker tournaments similar/different?

PP: Similar: people who don't quite fit into society are overrepresented.

Different: most Scrabble players have taken a vow of poverty, while most poker players live large until they can no longer borrow money.

WCP: How lazy was the "dot-com" nickname you got? You got any other nicknames you go by?

PP: Hey, at the time I received it (1999) it was not so widely applicable. I would not say I ever "went by" that nickname, which implies active participation - other people called me that. My livejournal username is "extempore," but I don't go by that either. So in a nutshell: no.

WCP: For the most part, the poker media is very forgiving to the players, burying or glazing over a lot of the less appealing aspects or personalities in the game. Part of your popularity was due in part to speaking your mind and not being worried about throwing flames on message boards and forums. Did this cause any personal issues with you and guys on the circuit? If so, did that also play any part in you withdrawing from tournament play?

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The Dee Dozier Interview

DeedozierpokerlistingsShe was the belle of this year's WSOP Main Event. Winning over her table mates and the media with the kind of looks and charm that could melt an iceberg, or Canada, Dee Dozier was the pretty girl everyone was talking about during the early days of the tournament as she sat sweetly at her table in a dress more appropriate for a casual summertime date than poker's premier event.

But Dee Dozier wasn't there just to look pretty. This southern girl who spends her time between New York and LA as a singer/songwriter and actress was in Las Vegas to play poker. Taking out Jen Harman early on, Dozier accumulated a healthy stack quickly on Day 1 and made a run late into Day 2 until . . . well, you can watch her on ESPN tonight to find out what happened (hint: she won't be on next week).

We had the chance to catch up with Dozier a few weeks ago as she was heading into the studio in LA to record some new songs. We talked about her experience at the 2007 WSOP, what she thinks of Brandi Hawbaker, what poker pro she has a mad crush on and if we should expect to see her at more tournaments. We also asked about her roles in movies like Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, where she played a dead girl who gets peed on by Robert Downey Jr. Finally, we talked about Dee's main love and focus, music, and why such a happy girl sings such sad songs. Really, we cry when we hear them. But we're sensitive guys.

WCP: So we heard you were at last year's WSOP but didn't play. What were you doing there and how the hell did we not meet you then?

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Wicked Chops Poker Goes Heads-Up with Joe Sebok

Intro: Let's say you went through the rise and fall of the dot-com era. Four companies...four busts. You've taken some bad beats, and you're looking for something a little more stable.

Sebok1Logically, you pursue a career in poker.

Joe Sebok emerged as a rising star on the poker scene after making two final tables at the 2005 WSOP. While he's proven his wicked poker chops over the past two years, including over $250k in 2007 cashings, Sebok has established himself as one of poker's preeminent personalities, with a loaded schedule of radio, writing, and Internet TV gigs.

We caught up with Sebok to find out what it's like making the transition from the real world to the poker world, why he'd never want to be Corkin'd, and who he'd want commentating his day-to-day life. 

WCP: What's different from working a full-time job in the dot-com tech world to being a professional poker player? Anything?

JS: It's basically the same job aside from the money, the girls, the fame, the freedom, and the overall quality of life thing. Nah, to tell you the truth, I really enjoyed my time in San Francisco working at the dot-coms. I made a ton of friends and although ultimately we failed (and failed, and failed, and failed, and...), it was still a good time.

Obviously it doesn't compare to being a poker player though. I can't imagine doing anything else at this point. Well, maybe if I had some sort of forum to do stupid prop bets with a friend of mine, but that'll never happen...

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EXCLUSIVE: Jamie Gold Goes Heads-Up With Wicked Chops Poker

JamiegoldbuzzIt's possible over the past seven months or so we've said some harsh things about Jamie Gold.

Granted, he, along with his monkey-fucking-a-football handlers, have deserved a good share of it.

It all started days before Gold won the World Series of Poker Main Event. In an interview with ESPN.com's Steve Rosenbloom, Gold said he'd rather finish second than win the Main Event.

Then, within days of winning poker's biggest event in one of the most dominating performances ever (aided by some insanely fortuitous flops, turns and rivers), a lawsuit filed by premature ejaculating, gun-jumping Crispin Leyser brought on one of modern poker's ugliest chapters.

A series of misteps in the press followed, as well as some unfortunate personal hardships.

Now, Jamie Gold is ready for a new beginning.

FuckedupLast week after playing in the National Heads-Up Championship in Las Vegas and sharing on video what he thought of us, Jamie Gold sat with Wicked Chops Poker for a candid (and frankly, ballsy) interview on his rollercoaster year. Gold was honest, forthcoming and, as he put it, ready to step up as an ambassador for the game.

NOTE: After reading our WCP Heads-Up interview with Jamie Gold after the jump, visit Jamie Gold's Raw Perspective video on RawVegas.tv for more in-depth coverage.

WCP: What was your life like a year ago? 

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Shannon Shorr: Guy With Girl's Name is a Millionaire


Editor’s Note: The following Blogfiles + Heads-Up article was contributed by FOWCP, Jeff Sealey

So you’re sitting in your cube on a Tuesday morning surfing some poker sites. You just turned in your “TPS Report” and wrapped up your first useless conference call of the day. You check out Cardplayer.com and the Player of the Year standings. It’s filled with poker’s biggest names…Michael "the Grinder" Mizrachi…Phil Hellmuth…Nam Le...Shannon Shorr

Wait, who?

Shannon Shorr?

A woman is ranked in the top 5?! This can't be!

No my friends, Shannon Shorr is a dude, a poker blogger, and one of the best tournament players in the world today. He just won the Bellagio Cup II, a $10,000 buy-in event where he took home over $960k.

And believe it or not, his name has actually helped him score chicks. “They think the name is cute,” Shorr says. Hey, whatever it takes. But it probably doesn’t hurt that he has a million in the bank now too.

I consider Shannon Shorr a friend of mine, and did before he climbed to #3 (now #4) on Cardplayer’s rankings. Shannon is just a regular guy who loves poker, tells it like it is, and doesn’t take himself too seriously.

So then, who is Shannon Shorr?

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Heads-Up + Friday Night Parting Shot: Lacey Jones

Lacey_jones_6When Lacey Jones walks into a poker room, people are quick to notice.

So quick that a chiropractor could build an entire practice around poker players straining their necks to see Lacey the moment she walks into a room.

The girl is hot. Whiplash hot, if you will. And cool. Think Uma Thurman in "Beautiful Girls" but with wicked poker chops too.

LaceyjonesbikiniThe 5th generation Texan is much more than a perfectly pretty face who plays poker though. She's also a ridiculously busy model/actress who is incredibly smart, impossibly sweet, unbelievably down-to-earth, tremendously funny and makes anyone describing her burn through flattering adverbs and adjectives like they were Boyz II Men trying to convince some fine African-American woman to make love to them.

We last hung out with Ms. Jones when we were in Vegas this past May. We were in town to play a few of the WSOP Circuit events, among other things, and Lacey was there auditioning for a role on Entourage, playing one of the WSOP Circuit events, jet-setting between LA and Vegas like it was a cab ride down the Strip, and lighting up the Vegas club scene every night with the lovely Lynette Chan, all while dodging some crazed, obsessed stalker who thought "I'm not interested" meant to act like some crazed, obsessed stalker.

A few weeks later, we were supposed to meet up with Lacey in Manhattan Beach, the seaside city she now calls home, if she can truly call anywhere home considering her busy travel schedule. We were stupidly busy though, as was she, and that brief moment we weren't stupidly busy while in LA, Lacey was off to Toronto. Yes, blink and Lacey's gone. She's busy like that.

Lacey_jonesSince then, Lacey's been on a whirlwind tour of Asia (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Manila, among other places), then home to Manhattan Beach, then off to Vegas, then Miami, then LA and back to Vegas. She's been playing a number of events at the WSOP representing Absolute Poker, and most recently, she's been busy doing interviews around the clock with media outlets around the world for her latest endeavor: promoting Absolute Poker's new ladies only poker site, APLady.com.

We were able to catch up with Lacey this week to talk with her about APLady, the WSOP, crazed stalkers, sand dunes and threesomes with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

WCP: So we have to ask, how does APLady.com actually confirm you're a "lady" when you sign up?

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Heads-Up with Bernard Lee

You remember him.

The guy with the cool wife that let him play in the WSOP ME last year even though she was about to undergo some serious surgery.

The guy with the pictures of the kids.

Bl200150Bernard Lee.

You might've also seen Lee on ESPNews today in a 10 minute WSOP feature. Last year's WSOP ME 13th place finisher has parlayed his exposure from said finish into into a regular writing gig at ESPN and a sponsorship from Poker Syndicate, among other endeavors.

All because his wife let him play.

Not to stray off on a tangent, but gentlemen, remember this next time your wife/fiance/girlfriend complains about you taking off for the evening/week/year as you walk out the door to play a little cards.

Wicked Chops Poker caught up with Bernard Lee to see how life's been treating him since becoming one of last year's WSOP's big stories.

WCP: After getting so much air time on ESPN last year, are you pretty much recognized throughout the casino now?

BL: I would not say throughout the entire casino, but definitely in the poker room. Many people have stopped me to congratulate me on last year run. Overall, everyone has been extremely friendly and nice enough to ask about my family (which, by the way, my wife and kids are all doing great). Especially, when I sit down at the table and pull out the pictures of my wife and kids, that’s when the light bulb goes off for many people.

WCP: How many events you playing this year?

BL: I’m going to play in a total of five events: four preliminary events (three no limit hold’em and one seven stud event) and, of course, the main event.

WCP: Looks like the pros are cleaning up this year. Does it seem like there's more "dead money" playing this year?

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Heads-Up with Carmel Petresco

Intro: Really, it's just a matter of time.

With a killer combo of looks, style, smarts, and some seriously wicked poker chops, Carmel Petresco is in position to be one of poker's next big things.

Carmel broke through in May with her first big final table at the Heavenly Hold’em Event at Commerce. She's also got a cash to her credit in Event #5 at the WSOP ($2,500 short-handed shoot-out, won by Dutch Boyd).

Wicked Chops Poker caught up with Carmel recently to get the scoop on this young star on the rise.

111 WCP: What's your background? Where you from?

CP: I grew up in Eastern Europe and New York and traveled a lot with my parents, especially my father, as a kid. I think that this opportunity to experience different cultures at an early age helped me develop an ability to adapt, which is very useful in poker.

WCP: What got you into poker? When did you start playing?

CP: One of my friends was really big on online poker, so because he kept mentioning it, I wanted to see what it was about and watched him play a few times. It looked like fun- I've always liked games, so I started playing $5 and $10 SnGs on Party. I was obviously clueless at that point, but loved it, so I ran to Barnes and Noble and spent the day there with an armful of poker books. I took home a couple, the most important of which was SuperSystem, and began applying what I was reading.

I remember the first time I played live, a few months later, because I had just moved to LA from New York, and this guy I had just met, one of those cute actor/waiter types, told me that he and his friends had a tournament-style Wed. night home game and would I like to come. I was really excited, and nervous, and as the time to go came closer, I started making all these scenarios in my head that I was going to look like a total fish due to my lack of experience and that these great poker 'sharks' were going to take me to the cleaners. As a result, I ended up playing the super-solid style that is coincidentally the most effective against erm, 'recreational players', and I ended up winning it, which was a huge rush. It was sort of confirmation, to myself, that I 'had IT'. Plus it was really cool to kick the guys' butt.

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Heads-Up with 2006 WSOP Bracelet Winner Rafe Furst

Last week, we threw all journalistic integrity aside and said that we hoped Tiltboy Rafe Furst would win the $1,500 PLH event at the 2006 WSOP. And while this was an empty statement in the sense that we really didn't have any journalistic integrity to begin with, we were at least stating the truth in that we wanted Furst take the tourney.

And as further proof that God truly loves us, yet another wish was granted, as Furst won his first bracelet.

Wicked Chops Poker caught up with Furst to see what it's like being Tiltboy number two with a WSOP title.

Rafe_furst_winnerWCP: Congratulations! When the hell did you get *this* good?!

RF: Well, thank you for the implied compliment. I think we all know that it takes a combination of luck and skill to win a tournament and that any number of people could have won that event. I think my evolution as a poker player has been gradual, and I have learned from every tournament I have entered. I also have learned a tremendous amount over the past year or so working with Phil Gordon on a few of his teaching products, most notably the Final Table Poker DVD at Expert Insight. Teaching anything forces you to really think hard about what you know or think you know and stretches your mind to new possibilities. Further, it reminds you of the basics you already know but sometimes forget are so important, like the power of position, the importance of selective aggression, etc.

WCP: Are you concerned that rubes off the street will start asking you for advice now?

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Brian Balsbaugh: The King of Poker Royalty

Slick, fast-talking, and cut-throat.

Brian_balsbaugh1_3Brian Balsbaugh doesn’t fit the profile of your typical agent.

Not that he isn’t slick, fast-talking, or cut-throat (and we mean this is the nicest sense, seriously).  To be a successful agent, these characteristics are almost prerequisites. 

What distinguishes Balsbaugh from your stereotypical agent is that, if he wasn’t an agent, he could be one of us, another one of those Wicked Chops Poker guys (again, we mean this is the nicest sense, seriously).  And it’s not just because he looks like he could still be carded when ordering drinks at bars although he’s well into his 30’s. 

While snapping some pics of him for this interview, “Bbals,” as he’s known in some circles, shined a classic shyster smile and pointed both fingers at the snapping camera lens, saying, “Hey, don’t you want the classic agent pose?”

That self-effacing self-awareness and regular-guy appeal has helped propel Balsbaugh to become the preeminent poker agent, while launching his company, Poker Royalty, to be the absolute dominant force in the player representation field.  No one else comes close to matching his stable of clients.   

Wicked Chops Poker sat down with Balsbaugh recently to find out how this Midwestern mid-tier golf agent became a totally unique Sin City success story.

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The T.J. Cloutier Wicked Chops Poker Interview


Tj_cloutier1T.J. Cloutier has stature.

TV does not accurately convey just how big of a man T.J. Cloutier is.  The former football star takes up a lot space at a poker table. 

Which is good for him, since he often needs that space to place everyone else's chips. 

No poker player alive has T.J. Cloutier’s wicked tournament chopsCloutier has won more major tournaments (59 and counting) than any other player.  He has six gold bracelets to his credit.  Barring a bad beat, he’d have that WSOP Main Event championship as well. 

Wicked Chops Poker sat down with Cloutier at the Java Coast in Caesar’s Palace hours before he busted out of the WSOP Circuit Main Event on the first hand (typically, it was on another bad beat, as Cloutier’s flopped nut flush got beat by a turned boat).  Of course, Cloutier had gotten his money in the middle with the best of it.  He almost always does. 

We’re honored to bring you the Wicked Chops Poker Heads-Up Interview with T.J. Cloutier. 

WCP: T.J., thanks for taking the time to talk to us.  Even with the influx of new, young, hyper-aggressive players, you’re still posting major tournament wins.  Have you adapted your game at all the past few years, or have you just kept doing what you’ve always done?

T.J.: All you can control is the table you’re on.  If there’s 2,000 players in a tournament, all you should be concerned about is the other 9 players at your table. 

The only big difference now [with the increased tournament fields] is you have to get through so many more people.  You have to worry about getting outdrawn more.  In the old days you didn’t have to see so many situations where you could get outdrawn. 

But I don’t think overall that the players now are any better than the players back then, that’s for damn sure.

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The Blogfiles + Heads-Up with Jeff Sealey

Jeff Sealey is just like a lot of people reading this site.  He's got a good day job, he's kind of a smart-ass, and he plays a lot of poker.  The big difference is that Jeff Sealey is a REALLY good poker player.

Jeff_sealey_aussie4 Before you start scratching your heads and thinking, “How does a blind dude play poker?”, don’t confuse Jeff Sealey (at right) with blind rock-balladeer Jeff “Angel Eyes” Healey. You know you did.

After qualifying for the 2006 Crown Australian Poker Championship (aka, the Aussie Millions) on Paradise Poker, Sealey finished fifth against a ridiculously strong field. Next week, Sealey is off to the Bahamas to play in the Conquest of Paradise at the Atlantis. Sealey, who is never afraid to speak his mind, keeps it humming. So we present to you our next Blogfile/Head-Up interview…Jeff Sealey.

Jose_canseco_1 WCP: What got you into playing poker?

JS: I grew up in a neighborhood of degenerate gamblers (who somehow managed to grow up into productive members of society). 

When I was a kid we played street baseball, whiffle ball,  RBI baseball...and a lot of poker.  Gambling debts were often collected in the form of a 1984 Topps Don Mattingly or a 1985 Mark McGwire USA Team baseball card.  Remember the 1986 Jose Canseco Donruss "Rated Rookie" card?  I used to think that was the coolest card ever. 

Oh how the mighty have fallen...

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Heads-Up With PPA President Michael Bolcerek

“…that’s what gets me up in the morning, going out and stopping this.” – Michael Bolcerek, President of the Poker Player’s Alliance, regarding the latest US legislation to ban online poker

BolcerekTwo weeks ago, as Congressional leaders gathered to discuss the latest legislative efforts to ban online poker in the United States, Michael Bolcerek (at left) made his first major public appearance as the new president of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA).

Along with Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Howard Lederer, and Greg Raymer, Bolcerek began laying the foundation of a grassroots effort to keep online poker legal for us all.

In a series of emails and phone calls, Wicked Chops Poker discussed with Bolcerek, an avid poker player for the past five years, what the PPA is doing to keep online poker legal, and why we should all be concerned about Congress’s latest legislation.

Chops: First, what is some of your professional background?

Bolcerek: I have over 20 years of experience in the high-tech industry. I’ve run small businesses and have been the CFO for public companies [including Oracle and Nokia].

Chops: How’d you get hooked up with the PPA?

Ppa_120x240Bolcerek: I was introduced to the PPA by a friend from a weekly home poker game. The PPA was looking for someone with a track record of running small businesses and making them successful. My friend told me to submit a resume, so I submitted one to the [PPA Board of Directors] and they gave me a call back.

I’ve been in the role since February, and I’m loving it. We’re building good momentum and a strong membership base. We’re getting our voice heard. I think the last event we did in D.C. added a lot of visibility to our issues.

But still, we’ve gotta be more even aggressive on the issues. If not, you know, things will happen on Capitol Hill that most people won't even know about. Howard [Lederer] summed it up when he said at our Washington panel discussion, “One day we’ll wake up and it’ll be a like bad hangover. We’ll wake up and find out that we can’t play online poker anymore.”

Chops: To me, I think there are three major issues that should hold the most weight with Congress...

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Wicked Chops Poker Goes Heads-Up With Mark Seif

Chops here.

SeiffeatureAfter leaving the law profession years ago to become a respected and successful poker player, Mark Seif truly exploded on the green felted landscape last summer by winning back-to-back WSOP bracelets.  One of poker’s more engaging personalities, Mark has parlayed that success into entertainment projects on the small and big screen, and has a book and DVD in the works. 

Mark is somehow managing all of this while still finding time to play some cards (both live and through his sponsor, Absolute Poker)—and taking on the responsibilities of being the proud father of a healthy newborn baby girl. 

I can barely take care of my freaking puppy and play a SNG. 

I’ll never complain about distractions again. 

I spoke with Mark last week about all of his projects, his WSOP plans this year, and much more. 

Chops: First of all, congrats on the new baby!

MS: Thanks! 

Chops: I bet you haven’t had much opportunity to play the past two weeks...

MS: I actually haven’t played at all live.  We had already planned though on me taking a month off before and a month off after the birth.  I have been able to play on Absolute Poker though.  And I’ll be playing in Reno [the WPT World Poker Challenge] and I’m really excited about that. 

Chops:  One thing I’ve gotta address...this nickname I'm seeing of yours.  Now my name is Chops.  It’s a long story how I got that name, but it’s all I’ve gone by for about 15 years now. Recently I’ve seen you referenced as Mark “The Shark” Seif.  Where’d that come from?  An Absolute Poker creation?

MS:  [Laughing]  Mark “the Shark” has actually been around for seven or eight years and originally came from being a lawyer.  It translates well to poker for obvious reasons, but I hadn’t even heard anyone call me that for years until recently…maybe starting last year after I won the two WSOP events.  You see it in the papers, and then all of the sudden people started calling me it again. 

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Heads-Up with Steve Dannenmann

Dan1Ok, so our first impression of Steve Dannenmann was way off base. Wicked Chops will man up and admit that.  Not only is he a fun, honest guy, but he’s also got wicked poker chops.

Dannenmann is the subject of our latest Heads-Up. If you liked him while watching the WSOP Main Event, you’ll really enjoy his candor (yes, candor) when answering our questions. He covers it all, from his poker background, to how the WSOP barely cracks his personal top 10 list of things he’s most proud of, to that infamous Lederer-bluff-phone-call.  No holding back.

Here you go…

WCP:  First off, some softball background questions. How long have you been playing poker? Who got you started playing? And what made you decide to enter the WSOP ME this year?

SD: I’ve been playing for almost 2 years. I first saw it on TV and signed up on Party Poker…but I lost my ass and stopped playing online and started reading books and having a live tournament style game with my friends. I entered the WSOP on a whim...figured I would try it once to experience what it was like and bring that experience home to my buddies.

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WSOP Tomorrow + Heads-Up with Mike Kleinstub


ESPN continues its WSOP Main Event coverage tomorrow night at 8 (PM, EST).  Since they didn’t air it last week, we can bet that Phil Hellmuth’s featured table should make the first hour of coverage. 

And if so, you’ll meet a new face at that table: Mike Kleinstub (seen above, far right raking chips after one of many verbal/pot bouts with Hellmuth).  Mike was briefly shown last week winning the Phil Hellmuth arrival-time prop bet.  While he was knocked out along with Hellmuth during Day 1 of WSOP ME play, Kleinstub has been a veritable ATM machine in online tournaments lately (not Thunder Keller kind of cash, but not bad). 

Wicked Chops Poker caught up with Kleinstub to discuss his WSOP ME experience...

WCP: Poker's boom has brought many new faces to the WSOP ME.  How long have you been playing poker?

MK: I have been playing poker for about 4 years...but have only become serious for about 2 years.

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Heads-Up with Senator John Sabini

Tn_sabini03 Over the past two years, you’ve likely seen bars in your city hosting regular hold’em tournaments.  And these bars are packing ‘em in with  new (really bad) rounders vying for tabs, trips, and other assorted tchotchkes.

In most states (most recently Colorado), there's still some gray area as to the legality of these games.  But for bars finding the beauty of gray, poker has been a major boon for business.  Here in Atlanta, bars holding hold'em games during weeknights this year have been more than doubling revenue from comparative nights of year's past.

So for a place like New York City, where bars have lost business (and people are losing jobs) due to the smoking ban, finding a way to bring in more bank only makes sense.

Enter Senator John Sabini (Dem-NY).

In order to help generate revenue for bars in NYC, Senator Sabini introduced a bill late last year that would make small scale poker games legal.

Wicked Chops Poker talked to the state Senator about his poker proposition, why he introduced it, and where to find the best card room in the state these days.

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Esfandiari: "We tear it up."

Magician_1Antonio "the magician" Esfandiari paid a brief visit to the ESPN.com poker club for a chat yesterday.  Before he made himself disappear, he offered advice final table strategy, how he get reads on opponents, and if his crew, Rocks and Rings, could out-party the Tiltboys

Some highlights:

Chops (Wicked Chops Poker): Bigger partiers during their prime: Rocks & Rings or the Tiltboys?

Antonio Esfandiari: Rocks & Rings. Are you kidding me? It's not even close. Tilt-who? We tear it up.

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Heads-Up with the Tiltboys

The Tiltboys have cracked the code. 

Through common interests of poker, golfing, gambling, drinking, Roshambo, and constant angling to put each other on tilt, the Tiltboys (who include Phil Gordon, Perry Friedman, Rafe Furst, and Kim Scheinberg, among others) formed a unique bond that they somehow parlayed into a life consisting of nothing but: poker, golfing, gambling, drinking, Roshambo, and constant tilt angling.

Tales from the Tiltboys is part Ocean's 11, part Swingers, part "Signs you have a gambling problem" pamphlet from GA.  While you breeze through the chapters, the only thing you'll do more than laugh is wish you were at a casino with your buddies, saddled up at a poker table with a drink in one hand while the other is forming a circle that will catch one of their eyes. 

Wicked Chops Poker goes heads-up with the Tiltboys to discuss their book, their history, and how you can put Phil Hellmuth on instant tilt.

WCP:  First of all, let’s get this out of the way…

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Heads-Up With Doyle Brunson

Doyle Brunson stopped by ESPN.com for a chat today

Brunson_snake_copy_1Brunson gave a “no comment” on his proposed buy-out of the World Poker Tour (side note: WPT Enterprises again has posted great earnings…nice work if you invested in WPTE back in April like we suggested), discussed the WPT “shooting star” that allegedly lost $4 million at the Big Game, gave his thoughts on the greatest tournament player of all time, and answered the requisite Chops question.  Below are some of the highlights.  Check out ESPN.com for the full transcript.

Brent (SF): Did Gus Hanson get busted in the Big Game earliery (sic) this year?

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Not A. Dikshit

Sexton1_2_1While Mike Sexton's influence on poker's fulmination is somewhat underrated...he's no Dikshit

Sexton, best known as a commentator on the World Poker Tour, but also an instrumental player in the rise of PartyPoker (which recently made one of the site's founders--Anurag Dikshit--a multi-multi millionaire) and an accomplished pro, stopped by the ESPN.com poker room for a chat today. 

You will need an Insider account to view the full transcript, but Chops was able to get in two questions:

Chops (ATL): Mike...thanks for being a big reason for the poker explosion over the past few years. What exactly was/is your role with PartyPoker.com?

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HEADS UP with Aces and Kings Authors Brad Reagan and Michael Kaplan

Aces and KingsLong before the poker explosion ever ignited, writers Michael Kaplan and Brad Reagan were chronicling the extraordinary lives of card players who made their names hustling on the road and in the back rooms of casinos. Now, the two Brooklyn-based journalists have joined forces for a fascinating new book entitled Aces and Kings: Inside Stories and Million-Dollar Strategies from Poker's Greatest Players. Gaining unprecedented access to poker's top pros right where they play in the biggest games--from the 2004 World Series of Poker to Manhattan’s legendary underground rooms to Europe’s most exclusive gambling halls--Kaplan and Reagan deliver a must-read book for both the neophytes and masters of the game who are looking for unparalleled insight into the minds, lives and strategies of their favorite rounders.

Recently, Wicked Chops Poker was able to catch up with Kaplan and Reagan to talk about their new book and the players they’ve covered over the years. From Kaplan's exclusive sit down with Stu Ungar just before his passing in 1999, to golden nuggets about Doyle Brunson and the Big Game and why Puggy Pearson and Amarillo Slim would never want to be Phil Hellmuth, Reagan and Kaplan share with us their thoughts on poker's very best as well as where the game is today, where it’s been and where they see it going.

Wicked Chops Poker: There’s certainly no shortage of poker books on the market today. In what way do you see Aces and Kings as offering something unique to the poker reader?

Michael KaplanMichael Kaplan: We worked hard to get below the surface and show how these guys think. One of my all-time favorite books (gambling or otherwise) is Fast Company by Jon Bradshaw. It was written in the 1970s – and long out of print in the US - but it’s comprised of great profiles of guys like Puggy Pearson, Minnesota Fats, and Johnny Moss. It shows how professional gamblers operate and taps into their talent as well as their character. In a lot of ways, that book served as an inspiration for me. I think you can read our book and know how top poker pros handle money, how they handle stress, and what they do when they’re away from the table—all conveyed through entertaining narratives. I heard that the poker player Diego Cordovez likened Aces and Kings to the modern day version of Fast Company. That made me feel really good.Brad Reagan

Brad Reagan: I would add that it’s also just a good, juicy read. Positively Fifth Street showed you what’s like to be at the final table of a World Series and our book similarly gets behind the scenes like few other books have before.

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Girls on the Rail at 2008 WSOP


    Our photog at the 2008 WSOP is having a hard time focusing his lens on the pros at the table. We like him for that. Check out girls on the rail here.

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