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Poking Around the Poker Players

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Lovinger_logoJackpot Jay Lovinger briefly turned Page 2 into Page Six today with his post over at ESPN.com. After discussing the spiritual bond between stiletto-wearing hos and card-playing pros, Jay, who’s been chronicling his year-long stint as a poker pro, drops the latest gossip at the 2005 WSOP:

"Another fascinating topic of these off-the-record talkfests is the star who the public believes is a no-worries millionaire, who is actually so deeply in debt he can't even see the desert sky anymore. (The big rumor floating around the WSOP from Day One was about the World Poker Tour supernova who is said to be $4 million in the red, despite TV winnings of millions during the past two seasons.)" click

After attempting to decipher Jay’s comments by scrutinizing word choices, then googling for info on which players have hit the “millions” mark in televised tournaments and finally having a half hour email discussion with Chops on who it could be, I came to the conclusion that . . .

. . . well, who gives a damn who it is. Seriously, poker is all about taking financial risks and I’m not the least bit surprised that a pro raking it in from TV winnings is also deep in the red. Go read Aces and Kings and see how many of the greats have dug financial and personal holes for themselves only to stand on mountain tops later in life. As I always say in business, you haven’t really risked anything to achieve financial greatness if you don't go bankrupt at least once trying to do so. (To be honest, I haven’t always said this and I have yet to go bankrupt, nor do I ever want to, but Donald Trump has and look at the piece of ass he ended up with).

Anyway, before I go off on a tangent (well, even more of one), let me get back to Jay’s post. The way I see it, yes, many poker players are now pop celebs and being such makes them fair game I suppose. But I won’t be paying much attention. Unlike movie stars who intentionally draw attention to their off-screen lives in order to make more money from their on-screen efforts (ahem, Tomkat and Bradgelina), poker players don’t need to drum up the hype off the felt to make money on the felt. Sure their lives are flawed and full of drama but that’s inconsequential and not part of the game. For movie stars it is the game.

In conclusion, as the great modern philosopher Sir Charles Barkley once said: “I’m not a role model”, and I guess I view poker players similarly, not as role models but to be judged only by how well they play the game the moment the cards are dealt.

If people want to go ahead and name names, that’s fine by me—that’s why it says “comment” down below. But I’ll refrain.

And besides, I’m too busy reading the celebrity gossip over at TheSuperficial.com

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Was staying at the Bellagio during the week of the WPT back in April of this year. Let me tell you the highlight....and it's not watching Ted Forrest take 100k in credit at a craps table at Paris and promptly losing 75k of it playing the most bizarre (and aggressive) don't pass/don't come strategy I've ever seen. No, it was playing at a $25 min craps table at Bellagio. Over stumbles TJ Cloutier who pulls a boatload of cash out of his pocket and dumps it on the table. The only problem was it was 5's and 1's and he announces to the dealer "give me $25 on the 4 and $25 on the 10." Two rolls later, of course a seven shows and TJ curses the table and walks off. Watching a guy you've seen win millions on t.v. do that is priceless. The dealer, who for the hour prior had been telling me stories about how these guys (the "pro" poker players who are seen on t.v. all the time) are more often than not degenerate gamblers, just shrugged his shoulders as if to say "I told you so." It was ridiculous, and I can affirm that TJ was not the only "pro" that night struggling at the craps tables that evening.

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