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April 9, 2006 - April 15, 2006

Friday Night Parting Shot: Erica


Tell this dark-haired, poker-lovin', 28-year-old Southern Californian that blondes have more fun, and we bet she'd stick her tongue out at you.

Not that you'd mind.

We first introduced you to Erica here a few weeks ago when we announced our little venture onto MySpace, and when we asked her about poker, she declared, "I LOVE poker! I've been debating quiting my job to become a poker dealer. How funny is that?"

Uh, not as funny as the photo where your sitting next to celeb card tosser Dave Navarro, in which he's apparently either doing some sort of yoga pose or has been waxed.

Ericadaven_1Still waiting for an explanation on that one.

So besides Erica's rocker girl good looks, striking black hair and penchant for posing with her tongue out, what else is it that we like about her? Well, she's got a pretty good ear for music--she counts Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Jeff Buckley, Portishead and Arcade Fire among her favorites--and she says she never gets sick of watching True Romance or Heathers. Ditto that.

And did we already mention she loves poker?

By the way, Erica now joins Lauren, Marissa and our hometown girl Savannah in this Parting Shot series of ours, and based on the response so far, we're thinking we may have to keep this up. Girls, if you're interested in being featured here, drop us an email, and guys, if you know a girl who fits the bill, definitely give us a heads up. Thanks.

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Poker Player DJ AM Wins Back Nicole

File this under "there's no reason we should be reporting this but we have this photo we took at last year's WSOP of Nicole Richie where it looks like she's sitting there bare nekkid, and we want to purge ourselves of it."

Poker player Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein, who moonlights/makes money in the PM as a DJ, and Nicole Richie, who was once famous for being on the plus side of size and doing nothing and now is famous for being on the give-her-a-sammich side of size and doing nothing, have reportedly mended ways and are "unofficially engaged," again.

OK, we're done with this story.

Below is the one photo, and next to it is Nicole railbirding (with emphasis on "rail") her beau poker player DJ AM at the 2005 WSOP.


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Yo, BoDawg, Rat Pack Bit Started A Little Pitchy


We've been biting our tongues on this one all week, this whole Bodog "Rat Pack" photo shoot, as reported and photographed firsthand by Gambling 911.

So much to comment on, but in simplest terms, as Randy Jackson might say, "BoDawg, you know dude, we just ain't feeling it, yo."

Who knows, perhaps they'll "work it out" by the time this campaign actually runs.

But we're not holding our breaths and biting our tongues at the same time. While we have much love for DW, Evy and Josh, trying to package them as Dean, Sammy and Frank just seems, in Randy Jackson terms, a little "pitchy."  Plus, Josh is happily hitched, David is a good kid, and Evy, well, she's a broad.  We want our Rat Pack boozin', fightin', and pullin' more tail than a two-year-old at a puppy farm.

Be sure to check out all of the behind the scene shots at Gambling 911 and marvel at DW's dapper white shoes and poorly hemmed slacks, appreciate that Josh would rather be at a Falcons game than in a suit on Hollywood Hills (although, to his credit, he's looking more svelte than recently), and understand why we love our women better with their hair down in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt than dressed to the nines.

Also, stay tuned soon for more of our Wicked Chops 'take' on this Rat Pack shoot. You won't want to miss it.

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Puggy Pearson: 1929 - 2006

PuggypearsonWalter Clyde "Puggy" Pearson died on Wednesday at the age of 77

One of the old-school colorful characters of the game, Puggy is credited for first introducing the "Freeze-Out" style of tournament play.  He brought the idea to Nick the Greek, who brought it to Benny Binion.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Puggy, who got the nickname from a childhood accident that fucked up his nose, was one of the seven people invited by Benny Binion to participate in the first World Series of Poker.  Puggy won the Main Event in 1973, has three total WSOP bracelets, and was elected into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1987.

There's a great chapter in Aces & Kings about Pearson, detailing his rise from poverty in Tennessee to being one of the recognized poker great.  Wicked Chops Poker interviewed the authors of the book last year, when they told us that Puggy:

"...ruled Las Vegas when it was just emerging as the poker mecca."

"Puggy made millions the old-fashioned way - at the tables. He probably never collected a dime that he didn’t have to hustle out of someone who was trying to hustle him right back, but I don’t think he would want it any other way. Sure, Puggy now plays “cheap poker,” as he calls it, but there’s no shame in that for a man in his late 70s. Puggy owns a couple of Johnny Moss’s old World Series bracelets, so he’s seen first-hand the cost of letting pride get the better of common sense."

Get a copy of the book and give it a read

Rest in peace, Puggy.

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'Story' We Missed: Eva Longoria Is Big

EvafromspaceFile this under "this isn't a poker story but somehow relates to poker, albeit tenuously, yet it does involve Eva Longoria, and by all standards, she's hot" kind of story. Wicked Chops Poker came across a news bit (via dogpile.com) about Maxim magazine celebrating its 100th issue of soft core porn, sports, gear and stuff with a 75-by-110-foot desert display of Eva Longoria. The Maxim cover girl is seen bikini clad and above her it reads, "THE ONLY MAGAZINE BIG ENOUGH TO BE SEEN FROM SPACE — AND ONLY IN VEGAS!"*

Apparently you can zoom in on this via Google Earth (as seen in the photo). For those unfamiliar with Google Earth, well, Google is now the title sponsor for the planet we inhabit; kind of like the FedEx Orange Bowl, but bigger.

And to get to the poker part, Maxim also celebrated its 100th issue with some poker "tournament" at Steve's new hotel/casino, the Wynn.

And speaking of Maxim, be sure to check out FOWCP and our favorite Hometown Hottie Jen Graham. She's a young actress you'll be hearing more about, both here at Wicked Chops Poker and, if there's any justice in the world, everywhere else.

The actual Eva Longoria Maxim photo without the satellite strain after the jump...

* Also 'Only in Vegas' will be a few WCPers this May 5 thru 9; more on that another time.

Continue reading "'Story' We Missed: Eva Longoria Is Big" »

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Review: ESPNRadio's The Poker Edge

Pokeredge134x75 Ok, maybe it's no Mike & Mike yet, but it's got potential.

ESPNRadio debuted The Poker Edge this past Monday.  Hosted by Phil Gordon and Andrew Feldman, the show covered the week that was in poker, as well as some strategy and insight from Gordon and special guest Phil Hellmuth

Informationally, the show hit the big stories of the week, from Victor Ramdin's WPT Foxwood's win, to the push on Capital Hill to keep online poker legal.  Gordon provided some "expert insight" into both topics. 

Gordo2For the WPT Foxwoods event, he mentioned how, "Victor [Ramdin] is one of those guys that's fallen below the radar," and how Ramdin reminds him of "John Juanda, as far as approach to the game." 

On the inside-the-beltway buzz concerning new legislation to outlaw online poker, Phil commented how these types of bills "come up every single year." and that he does believe that, "the bill will be defeated."  Feldman chimed in with some solid info on how there are "23 million online poker players" in the U.S, "yet there's still concerns these bills will go through."  Gordon believes, "99 out of 100 people are playing [online poker] for social reasons, not a living." and that, "the government does not need to protect us from social poker."

While it's great to continue raising awareness on the topic of poker legalization, an opportunity to discuss alternative solutions, like the Government legalizing, regulating, and taxing online poker in the States, was missed. 

From there, it was on to a lengthy discussion on the art of bluffing.  Phil Hellmuth dropped in to throw his two cents in on the topic (Hellmuth is known for his ability to read bluffs).  He also discussed how the taping of Celebrity Poker Showdown is going (there's "really high level poker from some people here," he says) and the new book by Blair Rodman, Kill Phil

While informationally the show covered all of the key, timely topics, there are clearly some format improvements that could be made.  The show does come off more "interviewy" than interactive at times.  To keep the flow and momentum moving along, more topics, and particularly, more guests (or listener feedback) could add new life and dimension to segments.

FeldmanchanHowever, Feldman (seen here with Johnny Chan) and Gordon do interact well.  Gordon is about as trusted of a "brand name" you can have hosting a poker show, and he comes across consistently solid as usual.  Feldman also seems like a natural at this, more than holding his own.  With these two at the helm, the "cheese factor" common with some poker shows is non-existent.  The elements are in place for the show to grow into more of a cool and edgy format...something that truly stands out and is still surprisingly lacking in the poker entertainment arena.

If you haven't already, listen to (or download) The Poker Edge on ESPNRadio.  And hit up ESPN.com today at 1pm for a chat with both Gordon and Feldman

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Bill v. Phil: the 'Worldwide' Champ takes on the FORMER World Champ

BillvphilpicFORMER World Champion Phil Hellmuth and his arch-ego-nemesis Bill Fillmaff are set to battle it out in what is being billed by UltimateBet.com as "the greatest competition in the history of everything."

If you aren't familiar with Fillmaff, he's the hilarious Phil Hellmuth parody and one-time, undisputed Worldwide Poker Champion (although it was a year all the players were on strike in a league that doesn't exist). Apparently, Hellmuth has had enough of Fillmaff's claims of being the world's greatest, or at the least, saw the chance to pimp his UltimateBet.com with this clever promotion.

We first came across this bit of news as well as the must-see official Bill vs. Phil website over at CardSquad.com, courtesy of Derek McGuire, who in turn credited Mr. CantHang for the info. Be sure to watch the accompanying video at BillvsPhil.com to see Hellmuth try to lay down some rhymes and Fillmaff do his thing. Funny stuff.

Also, if you haven't visited Bill Fillmaff's website and watched some of his classic "Secret System" videos or see his bit on how anyone who wins a tournament with his signature K-Jo owes him 15%, you're missing out on some good humor

In related Bill v. Phil news, it's always worth it to see what perpetual Hellmuth hater Paul Phillips has to say on the rivalry. Check out some of Paul's posts, including this one in which Paul tells how Chad Layne busted Hellmuth at the Rio and the FORMER World Champion went ballistic calling Layne a "motherfucker," among other things. Classic Hellmuth. Sadly.

In unrelated Bill v. Phil news, the other major heads-up saga between Jeff Sealey and Spek seems to be at a standstill.

UPDATE: Somehow we neglected to include this link of Hellmuth hate over at Paul Phillips' blog, posted yesterday. Phillips quotes a recent article on Hellmuth that tells how the FORMER World Champ vowed to remain celibate in preparation for the 1989 WSOP, to which Phillips remarks:

Every night he kicked supermodels and their crackers out of his bed so as not to blow his wad before winning the wsop. Try to imagine what it was like for the first woman he did sleep with after that... no, stop, stop, it's more horrifying than the assworms.

See what others, including Bill Fillmaff himself, had to say about Hellmuth, Fillmaff and assworms.

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Bodog Gets Sued Over "Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker," Series Starts this Saturday on FSN

A Wicked Chops Poker Exclusive*

CalvinayrewildcardIn a lawsuit filed in a California state court last Tuesday, an L.A. television and film producer named Babette Pepaj claims she created and pitched online gaming giant Bodog an "original poker style reality television" concept entitled "Poker Showdown" and that with the upcoming airing of "Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker" on Fox Sports Net, Calvin Ayre and gang have "used, exploited and utilized"** Pepaj's reality show concept.

Pepaj, who you may or (more likely) may not know for producing such "landmark" small screen programming as "He's a Lady," "Classmates," "For Better or for Worse," "Love Shack" and "Livin' Large," is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

According to a Bodog spokesperson, an injunction sought against the airing of the show has already been denied by the Los Angeles Superior Court, so for those who already have their TiVo set for "Wild Card Poker" this Saturday night, 11 p.m.-1 a.m., the party is on.

Pepaj's filed complaint is attached as a pdf here. We unfortunately don't have Bodog's Defense and Counterclaim to the suit to share with you, but they say too much legal reading "may" cause blindness, erectile dysfunction, and premature balding, so unless you already have those conditions and have nothing to lose, you shouldn't read that stuff anyway.

But to sum up Pepaj's claims for you, basically she's saying she created a reality tv show idea that "would for the first time infuse the high tension of poker tournament play with the 'in your face' drama of reality television," and "included numerous novel aspects such as.... experiences of the participants living within the Bodog Mansion, and various other excursions exposing the audience and participants to the Bodog lifestyle."

The parties involved in the suit met on several occasions at swanky LA hotels, agreements were or weren't made and the end result is that Bodog begins airing its reality poker series this Saturday and Pepaj is saying she got screwed. Her suit claims breach of written contract, breach of implied contract, breach of confidence and misappropriation of ideas.

We have no opinion on any of these allegations except that Pepaj's previous work blows and that the planned show called "Poker Showdown" sounds neither "unique" nor "original," and even appears to infringe, in name alone, on Bravo's "Celebrity Poker Showdown." We also have the opinion that "Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker" will be watched more for its poolside action than the action on the felt and that Ayre is a rich dude who is getting tons of exposure these days and no doubt this won't be the last of allegations made against him (nor the first).

But our opinions are our opinions so instead we're just going to share a link with you of the commercial for 'Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker" (you can also click the image above). It features various footage from the series' shindigs/tournament and Ayre at the end saying "Welcome to My World," which depending on how this lawsuit and potentially others turnout, may or may not be a world you wish for.

Related reads:

:: Bodog Press Release for "Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker" TV Series

:: A Time Magazine article on women poker players, in which the 30-something year old Babette Pepaj was interviewed.

:: Wicked Chops Poker stories on the filming of "Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker," including the raid by Costa Rican police - here and here.

* As far as we know.
** Leave it to a lawyer to use the word "used" and "utilized" in the same sentence.

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The Poker Edge Premieres On ESPN Radio Today at 4pm -- Gordon and Feldman to Host

Esppoker_134x75ESPNRadio.com is set to debut The Poker Edge today at 4pm. 

Hosting the show is 2008 presidential front-runner Phil Gordon and FOWCP Andrew Feldman.  New Celebrity Poker Showdown color-man Phil Hellmuth will also be stopping by.  The "Expert Insight" topic of the week will be on bluffing.  As Feldman simply put it to us, it's "Gonna be a lot of fun."

You can submit questions to the show by emailing [email protected], and tune in at 4pm (EST) on ESPNRadio to hear the goods.

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El Blanco Pelé Sucks at Poker

RooneyAt 16, footballer Wayne Rooney was the youngest goal scorer in the history of the Premiership. At 17, he became the youngest player to ever play for England, and when Rooney signed with Manchester United he became the world's richest teenage athlete in a £30 million deal. The man they refer to as El Blanco Pelé (which translates to "Cracker Pelé" or something) has since racked up numerous titles including the "Golden Boy" prize as Europe's best young player, FIFPro's young player of the year and a bounty of "man of the match" accolades. Now in 2006, football fans are saying that it's time for "Wayne's World Cup" as he leads England's charge this summer for its first Cup title in 40 years.

But when it comes to gambling and poker, apparently the 20-year-old star striker is quite the loser.

Continue reading "El Blanco Pelé Sucks at Poker" »

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Victor Ramdin Captures WPT Foxwoods Poker Classic

In what you will likely hear another 20-odd times this year...the WPT has crowned yet another new millionaire!!!

Victor Ramdin, the most experienced tournament player remaining at the WPT Foxwoods Poker Classic, out-dueled the final table to capture the crown.

For the victory, Ramdin banks $1,331,889.  Other final table payouts include: 2) Alex Jacob - 655,507, 3) Edward Jordan - 417,520, 4) Larry Klur - 292,264, 5) John Russell - 208,760, 6) Bruce Kater - 167,008.

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Poker Player Rocco Mediate Finishes 36th at Masters

RoccoAfter being at or near the top of the leaderboard for three days, well known poker player Rocco Mediate finished in a tie for 36th at the Masters today.

Wicked Chops Poker first saw Mediate in action at last year's WSOP ME, where he eventually outlasted over 80% of the field.  While we could instantly tell that Rocco was good with diamonds, hearts, and spades, it turns out that Mediate is particularly skilled with clubs. 

Unfortunately, Mediate has a history of back problems that may prevent him for pursuing this golf hobby of his full-time. 

Pokerathlete_2But fortunately for Mediate, poker requires absolutely zero physical conditioning, as Joe Stillman (at left) and countless others (let's not name names, but Tomer Benvenisti and Russell Salzer do come to mind) can attest. 

Even though Mediate tilted by shooting a final round 80 (8 over par), we're still impressed.  Making the transition from poker to golf can't be easy.  So let's all hope that Mediate's skill on the green grass at Augusta makes its way back to the green felt at Rio for this year's World Series.

Rocco at the 2005 WSOP after the jump...

Continue reading "Poker Player Rocco Mediate Finishes 36th at Masters" »

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Jordan Leads Lackluster Foxwoods Final Table

Pokerclassicweb_1With most of poker's heavy hitters converging on the Bellagio for the WPT Five-Star World Poker Classic, Foxwoods is set to wrap it's very own WPT event today.

Leading the way at the WPT Foxwoods Poker Classic final table is Ed "EBJ" Jordan, stacked at 2,875,000. Ed's other cashing in a live tournament was at the Borgata Winter Open where he finished 15th in Event #8 ($2,500 NLH).

"Some" may say the man to beat though is Victor Ramdin.  Victor is the most experienced tourney player of the final table-ists, with over a half a mil in career tournament earnings.  Ramdin starts final table play with 1,793,000.

The rest of the final table includes: 3) Larry Klur - 1,687,000, 4) Alex Jacob - 1,066,000, 5) John Russell - 639,000, 6) Bruce Kater - 564,000.

Day 1 and 2 chip leader, Greg Monaldi, was eliminated in 12th place.

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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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