Stan’s Lists – Poker Movies


[RR] “You guys want to join us for Gutshot Straight?”1 Roderick the Rock asked.

[FF] “The new Steven Seagal poker movie?” Figaro the Fish inquired.

[LL] “Yeah”, Leroy the Lion confirmed. “We’re going to catch the midnight showing at the cineplex on Sunday night.”

[FF] “Sure. I can always sleep at work.”

[RR] “Isn’t that technically Monday at midnight?”

[LL] “I consider it the same day until I’ve gone to sleep and woken up.”

[SS] “I’m in”, Stan the Stat volunteered. “Haven’t seen a good poker movie in a while.”

[RR] “What do you consider to be a good poker movie?”

[SS] “Pretty much anything that revolves around poker, as opposed to a movie with just have a random poker scene or two.”

[LL] “And of course, you have a list?”

[SS] “You know me too well. It wasn’t much of a list a decade ago, but we’re in the prime of poker movies. My ten favorite poker movies, sorted alphabetically rather than ranked; Rounders would be number one by far:”2

The Best Poker Movies

Movie (IMDB link) Year Poker Summary
California Split 1974 Bill Denny (George Segal) and Charlie Waters (Elliott Gould) team up to gamble and have fun but go broke; pawning all their possessions, they head for the big poker game in Reno.
Casino Royale 2006 James Bond (Daniel Craig) plays in a $10,000,000 buy-in Texas Hold ‘Em tournament with the terrorist banker Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen).
The Cincinnati Kid 1965 The title character Eric Stoner (Steve McQueen) plays high stakes stud against the old master Lancey Howard (Edward G. Robinson).
Deal 2008 Retired poker pro Tommy Vinson (Burt Reynolds) trains hotshot Alex Stillman (Bret Harrison) then unretires and faces him in the WPT championship.
The Grand 2007 One Eyed Jack Faro (Woody Harrelson) and others improv their way through a poker tournament.
Lucky You 2007 Huck Cheever (Eric Bana) tries to beg, borrow, and steal $10,000 to play in the WSOP Main Event. Billie Offer (Drew Barrymore) is a love interest and victim.
Maverick 1994 The title character (Mel Gibson) tries to win a $25,000 buy-in, winner-take-all, 5-card draw poker tournament in the Wild West.
Poker Night 2014 Policeman Stan Jeter (Beau Mirchoff) plays poker with other cops, gets locked in a basement with a young girl by a psychopath (Ron Perlman), and needs to use what he learned at the poker table to escape.
Rounders 1998 Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) is studying to become a lawyer, but his heart belongs to poker. He and buddy Lester Murphy (Edward Norton) play in a variety of games to try to settle the Worm’s poker debts.
Shade 2003 A group of small-time con artists try for a big score in a poker game.

[SS] “The past decade has also seen the release of a number of poker documentaries:”

The Best Poker Documentaries

Documentary (IMDB link) Year Summary
All In: The Poker Movie 2009 The post-Moneymaker poker boom with interviews of many poker pros.
Bet Raise Fold 2013 Online poker from the early 2000s through Black Friday as seen through three poker players.
Drawing Dead: The Highs & Lows of Online Poker 2013 Poker perspectives from a successful online pro and a struggling gambling addict.
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story 2003 The story of the 3-time WSOP Main Event champion, flashing back from his death bed.
No Limit: A Search for the American Dream on the Poker Tournament Trail 2006 The real-life story of a young couple trying to make it playing high-stakes tournament poker.3

Footnotes:

  1. Gutshot Straight is rumored to be debuting in U.S. theaters on September 1, 2014.
  2. At least until Rounders 2 comes out.
  3. This film also deserves a footnote in the Poker Reality Television Shows post.

Shuffling

[SS] Stan the Stat declaimed, “In the 2006 movie The Prestige Michael Caine’s character Cutter explains:”

Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course… it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.

[RR] “Interesting parallel to the flop, the turn, and the river in Texas Hold ‘Em”, Roderick the Rock noted.

[LL] “I’ve never heard anyone claim that poker’s turn comes from the magic term, but it makes some sense, as both are in the middle”, Leroy the Lion continued.

[RR] “Magic tricks can certainly flop if the sleight of hand isn’t performed well or the intended result fails.”

[LL] “And there’s plenty of prestige if the river card wins you a big poker tournament.”

[SS] “Good magic can be entertaining even if you know how it’s done. Great magic though, leaves you wondering how they did it.”

[LL] “What makes really great magic are the incredible skills that the magicians practice countless hours honing. Sleight of hand. Misdirection. Physical manipulations that you might have thought were completely impossible.”

[SS] “Like the perfect shuffle. Can you cut a deck of cards perfectly in half, so each half has exactly 26 cards? Can you riffle shuffle1 those two halves so that the cards are perfectly alternated from each half? Can you then execute each of those two skills eight times in a row without a single card getting out of place?”

[SS] “If you started with a sorted deck and did exactly that, you’d be right back where you started.2 And ready to perform any number of card tricks with your seemingly well-shuffled deck. If you did the first five shuffles ahead of time, you could then start the trick by fanning a seemingly already randomly shuffled deck to start with.”

[RR] “What would that shuffled deck look like, so we could spot it if we saw it?”

[SS] “Better yet, here are all eight permutations of a deck that starts with each suit sorted in order from Ace to King:”

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
A♣ A♣ A♣ A♣ A♣ A♣ A♣ A♣ A♣
2♣ A♥ A♦ 7♥ 4♦ 9♣ 5♣ 3♣ 2♣
3♣ 2♣ A♥ A♦ 7♥ 4♦ 9♣ 5♣ 3♣
4♣ 2♥ A♠ 7♠ T♠ Q♦ K♣ 7♣ 4♣
5♣ 3♣ 2♣ A♥ A♦ 7♥ 4♦ 9♣ 5♣
6♣ 3♥ 2♦ 8♣ 4♥ 2♠ 8♦ J♣ 6♣
7♣ 4♣ 2♥ A♠ 7♠ T♠ Q♦ K♣ 7♣
8♣ 4♥ 2♠ 8♦ J♣ 6♣ 3♥ 2♦ 8♣
9♣ 5♣ 3♣ 2♣ A♥ A♦ 7♥ 4♦ 9♣
T♣ 5♥ 3♦ 8♥ 4♠ 9♦ J♥ 6♦ T♣
J♣ 6♣ 3♥ 2♦ 8♣ 4♥ 2♠ 8♦ J♣
Q♣ 6♥ 3♠ 8♠ J♦ Q♥ 6♠ T♦ Q♣
K♣ 7♣ 4♣ 2♥ A♠ 7♠ T♠ Q♦ K♣
A♦ 7♥ 4♦ 9♣ 5♣ 3♣ 2♣ A♥ A♦
2♦ 8♣ 4♥ 2♠ 8♦ J♣ 6♣ 3♥ 2♦
3♦ 8♥ 4♠ 9♦ J♥ 6♦ T♣ 5♥ 3♦
4♦ 9♣ 5♣ 3♣ 2♣ A♥ A♦ 7♥ 4♦
5♦ 9♥ 5♦ 9♥ 5♦ 9♥ 5♦ 9♥ 5♦
6♦ T♣ 5♥ 3♦ 8♥ 4♠ 9♦ J♥ 6♦
7♦ T♥ 5♠ 9♠ J♠ Q♠ K♦ K♥ 7♦
8♦ J♣ 6♣ 3♥ 2♦ 8♣ 4♥ 2♠ 8♦
9♦ J♥ 6♦ T♣ 5♥ 3♦ 8♥ 4♠ 9♦
T♦ Q♣ 6♥ 3♠ 8♠ J♦ Q♥ 6♠ T♦
J♦ Q♥ 6♠ T♦ Q♣ 6♥ 3♠ 8♠ J♦
Q♦ K♣ 7♣ 4♣ 2♥ A♠ 7♠ T♠ Q♦
K♦ K♥ 7♦ T♥ 5♠ 9♠ J♠ Q♠ K♦
A♥ A♦ 7♥ 4♦ 9♣ 5♣ 3♣ 2♣ A♥
2♥ A♠ 7♠ T♠ Q♦ K♣ 7♣ 4♣ 2♥
3♥ 2♦ 8♣ 4♥ 2♠ 8♦ J♣ 6♣ 3♥
4♥ 2♠ 8♦ J♣ 6♣ 3♥ 2♦ 8♣ 4♥
5♥ 3♦ 8♥ 4♠ 9♦ J♥ 6♦ T♣ 5♥
6♥ 3♠ 8♠ J♦ Q♥ 6♠ T♦ Q♣ 6♥
7♥ 4♦ 9♣ 5♣ 3♣ 2♣ A♥ A♦ 7♥
8♥ 4♠ 9♦ J♥ 6♦ T♣ 5♥ 3♦ 8♥
9♥ 5♦ 9♥ 5♦ 9♥ 5♦ 9♥ 5♦ 9♥
T♥ 5♠ 9♠ J♠ Q♠ K♦ K♥ 7♦ T♥
J♥ 6♦ T♣ 5♥ 3♦ 8♥ 4♠ 9♦ J♥
Q♥ 6♠ T♦ Q♣ 6♥ 3♠ 8♠ J♦ Q♥
K♥ 7♦ T♥ 5♠ 9♠ J♠ Q♠ K♦ K♥
A♠ 7♠ T♠ Q♦ K♣ 7♣ 4♣ 2♥ A♠
2♠ 8♦ J♣ 6♣ 3♥ 2♦ 8♣ 4♥ 2♠
3♠ 8♠ J♦ Q♥ 6♠ T♦ Q♣ 6♥ 3♠
4♠ 9♦ J♥ 6♦ T♣ 5♥ 3♦ 8♥ 4♠
5♠ 9♠ J♠ Q♠ K♦ K♥ 7♦ T♥ 5♠
6♠ T♦ Q♣ 6♥ 3♠ 8♠ J♦ Q♥ 6♠
7♠ T♠ Q♦ K♣ 7♣ 4♣ 2♥ A♠ 7♠
8♠ J♦ Q♥ 6♠ T♦ Q♣ 6♥ 3♠ 8♠
9♠ J♠ Q♠ K♦ K♥ 7♦ T♥ 5♠ 9♠
T♠ Q♦ K♣ 7♣ 4♣ 2♥ A♠ 7♠ T♠
J♠ Q♠ K♦ K♥ 7♦ T♥ 5♠ 9♠ J♠
Q♠ K♦ K♥ 7♦ T♥ 5♠ 9♠ J♠ Q♠
K♠ K♠ K♠ K♠ K♠ K♠ K♠ K♠ K♠

[SS] “After the first shuffle, the cards are in pairs, with clubs and hearts together and diamonds and spades together.

After the second shuffle, the cards are sorted by denomination.

After the third shuffle, the cards are matched with their opposite denominations (e.g., deuces with eights and nines) and opposite suits.

After the fourth shuffle, the cards are in groups of four, spaced out denominationally, one of each suit.

After the fifth shuffle, the cards are five apart denominationally (decreasing), with suits almost paired.

After the sixth shuffle, the cards are four apart denominationally, with suits in groups of three or four.

After the seventh shuffle, the cards are two apart, with suits together (two batches).

After the eighth shuffle, the cards are back in their original order.”

[LL] “The conventional wisdom is that you should mix the cards using at least seven riffle shuffles,3 but apparently you shouldn’t do it too perfectly!”

[SS] “That advice is certainly useful for people who might only shuffle a couple times otherwise, but twelve or more shuffles should really be your target if you want a truly randomized deck.”

[RR] “Most people just want to play cards, not shuffle all day.”

[LL] “Well, at least cut the deck before dealing. The top card could still be on top no matter how many times the deck was shuffled.”

[SS] “That’s why professional croupiers throw in a strip shuffle after every couple riffle shuffles.4 The strip shuffle also adds randomness, reducing the number of riffles you need to do. My new shuffle routine is seven riffles with a strip after every even riffle.”5

Footnotes:

  1. The riffle shuffle is definitely the best of the six common shuffling methods. The Overhand Shuffle (pulling cards out from the side of the deck), the Hindu Shuffle (pulling cards out from the end of the deck), and the Strip Shuffle (basically just repeated cuts) are very inefficient. The Weave Shuffle or Faro Shuffle (forcing two half decks together along their edges) is too good and not good for the cards.
  2. Specifically, this is an out shuffle, where the top and bottom cards never move. If the top card of the bottom half of the deck becomes the new top card each time instead, it’s an in shuffle. While the out shuffle takes eight iterations to return the deck to its original order, the in shuffle inverts the deck after 26 shuffles and restores it after 52.
  3. Note: there are two main flavors of the riffle shuffle. The common method lifts the short edges of the halves high and merges them together, with or without a subsequent bridge. The casino method merges the corners of the halves together. This is better for the cards and much less likely to expose the card faces.
  4. See the beginning of this shuffling video (longer explanation).
  5. The entire sequence of riffle-riffle-strip-riffle-riffle-strip-riffle-riffle-strip-riffle will produce a shuffled deck random enough for anyone.

Related Links:

A Clutter of Cards

[RR] “What’s in your wallet?” Roderick the Rock interrogated Leroy the Lion. “It’s so thick.”

[LL] “Not a Capital One credit card, that’s for sure”, Leroy answered. “I’m still haunted by their annoying David Spade ads.”

[RR] “I can’t even keep my wallet in my back pocket anymore. It’s so full of cards that sitting down would twist my back.”

[LL] “I have plenty of other credit cards though, plus ATM cards, loyalty rewards cards, warehouse club cards, a blood donor card, and a library card… The only thing I don’t have much of in my wallet is money!”

[LL] “But don’t get me wrong. I love cards. I collected baseball cards and other trading cards. I’ve kept every greeting card anyone ever sent me. I use CompactFlash cards and SD cards in my camera and Roku. I usually carry business cards for networking and playing cards for, well, playing.”

[RR] “I’ve seen some pretty cool business cards designed to look like playing cards.”

[LL] “You’re probably worn out with all this card talk, which is precisely the problem with normal playing cards made of plastic-coated cardboard, which don’t last very long before they need to be discarded.”

[RR] “A Brazilian company, Copag, solved that problem over a century1 ago (though over a millennium after playing cards were invented2): completely plastic playing cards. They last practically forever3 with normal usage.”

[LL] “I really like the Copags with the large numbers on them, although I admit that it’s easier to peek at your hole cards with the regular Copags.”

[RR] “We used KEM cards back in college, but now I find them overly expensive and too slippery when they’re new.”

[LL] “Maybe so, but KEM, which has been around since the early 1930s, has been the official playing card of the WSOP since 2007, three years after the U.S. Playing Card Company bought its manufacturing plants and artwork. The colors of KEM cards are definitely brighter, which helps on television.”

Footnotes:

  1. Copag began producing plastic playing cards in 1908.
  2. Playing cards existed by the 9th century (middle of the Tang Dynasty). Ironically, the most famous Chinese card game is now played with tiles. Mah jong is based on a card game created during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).
  3. Copag claims only that their cards last twenty to fifty times as long as plastic coated playing cards.

Card Protectors

[UU] “What’s that you’re using as a card protector now?” Umberto the Unlucky asked Deb the Duchess.

[DD] “It’s a THETA Poker chip, for my favorite app, THETA Poker Pro”, Deb replied. “I used it for the first time at last month’s home tournament and took first place!”

[UU] “Can I borrow it from you? I sure could use a boost of good luck.”

[DD] “Are you kidding me? That would be like the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. One of you might explode.”

[SS] “Maybe you could charge him to use it”, Stan the Stat suggested, “like Doyle Brunson does with his Casper Ghostbuster card cap.”

[RR] “I thought he sold that to Howard Lederer”, Roderick the Rock informed.

[SS] “He did, but he bought it back. I think Texas Dolly’s will bequeaths it to the Professor though.”

[UU] “How about if you give me the THETA Poker protector if I knock you out of tonight’s tournament, like how Greg Raymer signs a fossil for his conqueror.”

[DD] “After I win the World Series of Poker Main Event, I’ll consider it.”

[RR] “How did you get it anyway?”

[DD] “I bought a customized card cap on eBay and submitted this graphic of the chip from the App Store. I thought it came out really well:”

THETA Poker Icon Card Protector
THETA Poker Icon THETA Poker Card Protector

[DD] “And it’s already paid for itself many times over.”

[SS] “I like it; it’s appropriate, subtle, and actually legal for WSOP use.”

[RR] “What do you mean by that?”

[SS] “Brunson’s rock is within spec as are the Fossilman’s flat fossils, but Humberto Brenes’s shark, Steve Dannenmann’s globe, and many other card protectors I’ve seen1 are too tall. The WSOP rules state:”

There will be no foreign objects on the table except for a maximum of one card cap (also known as a card protector).
Card caps can be no larger than two (2) inches in diameter and no more than one-half (1/2) inch in depth.2

[RR] “Not high on their enforcement list, apparently.”

[SS] “Why did you suddenly start using a card protector? Most of us don’t.”

[DD] “I was scared straight by these two Poker News articles, which include the painful way Estelle Denis was crippled at the 2009 WSOP Main Event. I never want that to happen to me!”

Footnotes:

  1. Like Yoda, Stewie, the Buddha (first Poker News article), Bugs Bunny, and the dragon (second Poker News article).
  2. Quoted from the 2014 WSOP Rules, Section 106 (Foreign Objects).

Related Links:

Full Tilt Poker Bankroll Reimbursement Wrap-Up

[LL] “I’d almost given up”, Leroy the Lion began. “After three years and three months, and a full month after the last promise, my Full Tilt Poker bankroll has finally been returned! I didn’t get an email, but I happened to check my bank account online and saw this lovely line:”

Deposit – ACH DOJ POKER STARS / – POKERPAY01 Payment in connection with the Full Tilt Poker Claims Administration1

[SS] “I got mine too”, Stan the Stat seconded. “Wasn’t much, and I’d really rather keep it somewhere where I could play online poker!”

[LL] “There are still sites that let you play in the U.S.”

[SS] “And risk losing my bankroll again? Too bad we don’t live in Nevada, New Jersey, or Delaware, where online poker returned legally last year.”2

[LL] “I think you’d be disappointed. Before, you could play with anyone in the world. Now, the player pools are so small that the game selection is terrible. Nevada and Delaware residents can play against each other, but they’re only the 35th and 45th most populous U.S. states, with less than four million people total. New Jersey is a little better but still has under nine million residents.”

Footnotes:

  1. ACH is short for “Automated Clearing House”, an electronic banking network. DOJ is the “Department of Justice”. PokerStars bought Full Tilt Poker on July 31, 2012.
  2. Nevada legalized online poker on April 30, 2013, Delaware half a year later, and New Jersey another month later. See the legality section of the Wikipedia article on online poker.

Related Links:

2014 November Nine Odds


[YY] “Leroy, thanks for your donation”, Yuri the Young Gun teased, referring to their recent wager.

[LL] “They say, ‘Bet with your head, not your heart’,” Leroy the Lion admitted, “but I didn’t expect that the oldest November Niner would be only 31 years old!”

[SS] “That’s the lowest it’s ever been,” Stan the Stat noted, “although the average age of just under 28 was about a year older than in 2010, when 37-year-old Soi Nguyen was the only player in his 30s.”

[SS] “Actually, I feel pretty lucky that three of this year’s final table are 30 (Dan Sindelar) or 31 (Jorryt van Hoof and Bruno Politano); every other November Nine had one to three players over 35. Otherwise, the profile fits the usual mold with one to five foreigners (5 this year) and one to three amateurs (2 this year).”

[YY] “The bet between us is now almost perfectly even. You have the chip leader (van Hoof), middle man (Sindelar) and cellar dweller (Politano), while I have twice as many players left at twice the cost.”

[LL] “Since I’ve been eliminated, can I interest you guys in another bet like last year?”

November Nine Odds

Player Chips 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th Carbon
Odds
1
Percent
With Vig
2
True
Percent
ICM
Percent
Diff
Jorryt van Hoof 38,375,000 19.1% 17.4% 15.6% 13.7% 11.6% 9.3% 6.9% 4.4% 2.0% 2.5/1 28.6% 21.9% 19.1% 2.7%
Felix Stephensen 32,775,000 16.3% 15.6% 14.6% 13.5% 12.1% 10.4% 8.4% 6.0% 3.1% 3.5/1 22.2% 17.0% 16.3% 0.7%
Mark Newhouse 26,000,000 13.0% 13.0% 12.9% 12.6% 12.3% 11.6% 10.5% 8.7% 5.6% 4/1 20.0% 15.3% 13.0% 2.3%
Andoni Larrabe 22,550,000 11.2% 11.5% 11.7% 11.9% 12.0% 11.9% 11.5% 10.4% 7.8% 7/1 12.5% 9.6% 11.2% -1.7%
Dan Sindelar 21,200,000 10.6% 10.9% 11.2% 11.5% 11.8% 12.0% 11.9% 11.2% 8.9% 7/1 12.5% 9.6% 10.6% -1.0%
William Pappaconstantinou 17,500,000 8.7% 9.2% 9.7% 10.3% 11.0% 11.8% 12.7% 13.5% 13.1% 10/1 9.1% 7.0% 8.7% -1.8%
William Tonking 15,050,000 7.5% 8.0% 8.6% 9.3% 10.2% 11.3% 12.8% 14.9% 17.3% 12/1 7.7% 5.9% 7.5% -1.6%
Martin Jacobson 14,900,000 7.4% 7.9% 8.5% 9.3% 10.2% 11.3% 12.8% 15.0% 17.6% 7.5/1 11.8% 9.0% 7.4% 1.6%
Bruno Politano 12,125,000 6.0% 6.6% 7.2% 7.9% 9.0% 10.3% 12.4% 15.9% 24.6% 15/1 6.3% 4.8% 6.0% -1.3%
Totals 200,475,000 130.59% 100.00% 100.00%

[SS] “I have a slightly different bet to propose, since it’s just the three of us. Looking at the odds, you can break the November Nine into three almost exactly even groups: van Hoof, Tonking, and Politano; Stephensen, Sindelar, and Pappaconstantinou; and Newhouse, Larrabe, and Jacobson. By the true odds, each group has within a percent of one in three chance of winning.”3

[YY] “I’d rather have both Larrabe and Stephensen, but given those groups, I’d have to pick Newhouse, Larrabe, and Jacobson, three of my picks in the other bet.”

[LL] “I’m a foosball player, so I’d be happy to take Stephensen, Sindelar, and Pappas.”

[SS] “Leaving me with the two 31-year-olds, van Hoof and Politano, along with Tonking instead of Sindelar, so the Main Event was the fourth career WSOP cash for each of my guys.”

[LL] “This is like a rebuy for me, so can we make that the wager?”

[SS/YY] “Sure!”

Footnotes:

  1. Carbon Poker’s original odds were given in +250 format on July 18, 2014. Since then, Sindelar has dropped from +700 to +550.
  2. The Percent With Vig is simply the denominator of the odds divided by the sum of the numerator and denominator. The True Percent normalizes this by dividing by the total of 130.59%.
  3. The actual totals are 32.55%, 33.55%, and 33.90%.

Texas Hold ‘Em for the Blind and Visually Impaired

[DD] “Did you guys notice Figaro the Fish trying to teach his nephew Flounder how to play Texas Hold ‘Em?” Deb the Duchess asked, still smiling from collecting her half-pot from their Main Event wager.

[RR] “I was very tempted to jump in to save the little guy from having to unlearn everything his uncle teaches him”, Roderick the Rock admitted. “But I managed to suppress the urge.”

[LL] “I don’t think they’d been here five minutes when I heard Figaro rambling on about coloring up, squeeze plays, and Post Oak bluffs”, Leroy the Lion added.

[TT] “You may think it’s the blind leading the blind / but the elder fish is sadly maligned”, Tyrone the Telephone complained.

[DD] “We’re just teasing him, you know.”

[RR] “Besides, what would Texas Hold ‘Em be without the blinds?”

[LL] “Even the blind can play Hold ‘Em.”

[SS] “Yeah, do you remember back in 2007, when Hal Lubarsky became the first blind player to cash in the World Series of Poker Main Event?” Stan the Stat contributed.

[RR] “I’m surprised I haven’t seen another blind player on TV since then. I guess that wasn’t enough to make the game popular in the blind and visually impaired community.”

[LL] “Braille playing cards and poker chips that come in different shapes aren’t that expensive, but I guess it’s still a big challenge to make sure you collect the entire pot and pick up all the cards each hand.”

[DD] “At least they have a great iPhone and iPad app to learn and practice Hold ‘Em with now. THETA Poker Pro has always been fully accessible, but most of the recent updates have been to improve accessibility. Apparently, you don’t even need to find your cards on the table to play anymore! I played with VoiceOver on for a while because it was cool to hear all the action announced, but sighted users gained that feature with iOS 7.”1

[RR] “So, Siri tells you what your hole cards are and announces the community cards and all the bets?”

[DD] “Yes. And the player who’s won the hand, their cards, and hand strength.”

[LL] “Can you ask Siri for advice on how to play the hand?”

[DD] “Very funny. You can tell her, ‘Launch THETA Poker’, but if you want more than that, try emailing the developer.”

[RR] “We’d certainly welcome blind players to our home tourney.”

[LL] “All new players for that matter. We’ll have Figaro teach them so they don’t get better than us too quickly.”

[TT] “When I find a blind player trying to steal my blind, I won’t be resigned / I’ll respond in kind, put him in a bind, take his chips with three-of-a-kind.”

Footnotes:

  1. Voice announcements were added to the game for iOS 7 users in Version 1.2.1 on September 23, 2013. Go to the “Options/Music & Sound/Announce” menu and select either “Messages Only” or “All”.

Related Links:

Stan’s Lists – Youngest and Oldest WSOP Main Event Winners

[SS] “Until they change the law”, Stan the Stat started, “no World Series of Poker Main Event champion will be younger than 21. Joe Cada is the current record holder, taking down the coveted belt just eight days shy of his 22nd birthday.”

[LL] “When his record falls, it will be partly by the luck of what time of year the player was born”, Leroy the Lion commented.

[SS] “Cada left 357 days to work with, so it’s only a matter of time.”

[LL] “Having the final table in November does help his cause though; the youngest champion this year can only be 21 years, 4 months, and change since you had to be 21 when the Main Event started, not when the final hand is played.”

History of the Youngest WSOP Main Event Champion

Age Player Year
63 Johnny Moss 1970
43 Thomas Preston 1972
42 Doyle Brunson 1976
28 Bobby Baldwin 1979
26 Stu Ungar 1980
24 Phil Hellmuth 1989
221 Peter Eastgate 2008
212 Joe Cada 2009

[SS] “Hellmuth was the youngest champ for almost two decades, but five of the past six champs have been younger than he was: Eastgate and Cada above, Jonathan Duhamel (23 in 2010), Pius Heinz (22 in 2011), and Ryan Riess (23 in 2013). And Greg Merson was just 19 days older than him in 2012.”

[YY] “I’m already too old for this game!” cried Yuri the Young Gun.

[LL] “Don’t worry. You’ll always be a young whippersnapper to us.”

[SS] “On the other side, since Moss set the oldest winner record immediately and increased his record a couple of times, there’s no progression of that record to speak of. Instead, here are the ten oldest Main Event Champs:”

Oldest WSOP Main Event Champions

Age Player Year
66 Johnny Moss 1974
63 1971
62 1970
61 Noel Furlong 1999
52 Hal Fowler 1979
51 Jack Straus 1982
Bill Smith3 1985
50 Berry Johnston 1986
49 Dan Harrington 1995
464 Russ Hamilton 1984

[YY] “There’s hope for you old guys after all. The older you get, the higher up you can get!”

[SS] “Except that the most recent entry on the list is 1999! Only two champions since then have been over forty: Stu Ungar in 2001 (43) and Robert Varkonyi in 2006 (41).”

[LL] “Like Dan Harrington said, it’s an endurance contest now, which favors the younger players.”5

[YY] “Tough to have your dreams crushed like that, isn’t it?”

[LL] “Put your money where your mouth is, kid. Why don’t we bet on the age of this year’s champ. I’ll take the 40-year-olds and above, Stan can have the 30-year-olds, and you get the 20-year-olds.”

[SS] “Historically, that almost seems fair, as fourteen winners have been in their 20s, eleven in their 30s, and twelve in their 40s (with four 50s and four 60s). But if you look at things chronologically, Yuri has to give us some serious odds…”

[LL] “How about if I risk $5, you put in $10, and Yuri puts in $20; winner take all, okay?”

[SS and YY] “Okay!”

Footnotes:

  1. Eastgate was 22 years, 10 months, and 28 days old.
  2. Cada was 21 years, 11 months, and 22 days old.
  3. Smith’s birthday is unknown; he may belong above or below Straus.
  4. Hamilton’s birthday is unknown; he might have been 45 years old.
  5. See the 2013 November Nine article.

Big One for One Drop 2014

[LL] “I’ve dreamt of playing in the World Series of Poker Main Event”, Leroy the Lion repeated, “but not even in my craziest fantasies have I considered dropping everything to play in the Big One for One Drop.”

[FF] “You’d have to sell everything you own,” Figaro the Fish commented, “which wouldn’t even be nearly enough in my case.”

[RR] “Even the best pros can’t enter the event at the drop of a hat”, suggested Roderick the Rock. “Most had to line up backers to lower their risk. Even the wealthy businessmen probably needed to shuffle their assets to arrange for a million dollars to enter.”

[FF] “It’s still incredible to me that those rich guys can drop a bundle to enter like it’s just a drop in the bucket to them.”

[LL] “Most of us would struggle just to come up with the deposit, which was $50,000!”

[SS] “Andrew Robl dropped a hint that he would play, but his early confirmation was premature as he dropped out without reserving his spot”, Stan the Stat noted.

[LL] “On the other hand, Bobby Baldwin, Fabian Quoss, and Vivek Rajkumar had promised to play but didn’t, so I think they all lost their deposits. They dropped $50,000, nearly the median household income in the U.S.1 to not play in a tournament. Quoss was last seen trying to satellite in during the event where Erick Lindgren and Connor Drinan won their seats.”

[RR] “And because the event sold out last time, they increased the cap from 48 players to 56.”

[LL] “Alas, though the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino may have changed its signage to the ‘Dew Drop Inn’, nobody dropped in at the last minute to play, even with late registration open for six hours after the tournament started. That left a field of just 42 players, a drop of six from two years ago.”

[SS] “A little disappointing, but in the end the event still raised nearly five million dollars for the One Drop foundation.”

[RR] “Talk about disappointing… I feel really bad for David Einhorn, who was drop-kicked out of the tournament by Sam Trickett just 45 minutes in! The businessman’s set of Jacks was done in by the 2012 runner-up’s Six-high straight.”

[LL] “No need to shed a single tear drop for Einhorn; he’s a hedge fund manager worth well over a billion dollars.”2

[SS] “It cost him $370 for every second he was in the tournament! But that jumpstarted Trickett on his way to ending Day One with the chip lead.”

[RR] “Which didn’t last long, as he dropped back to the pack on Day Two and was felted in 15th place when his pocket rockets were cracked by Negreanu’s trip Nines.”

[SS] “Then things got slow. With eight places being paid, they tried to play through the bubble on the middle day but eventually gave up with nine players remaining.”

[RR] “When the final day began, Negreanu was knocking people out like drop targets in a pinball game; he eventually ended the hopes of seven other players3, including bubble boy Tom Hall on the very first hand of the day, Cary Katz in 8th place, Scott Seiver in 6th, Tobias Reinkemeier in 5th, and Christoph Vogelsang in 3rd, who all dropped like flies within a few orbits of each other.”

[LL] “Fittingly, Negreanu made it to heads up, in a Duel of the Daniels against 24-year-old Daniel Colman. Colman had the drop on Negreanu with a 68,550,000 to 57,450,000 chip lead, but Kid Poker would grab the lead and soon have two-thirds of the chips.”

[SS] “Then Colman fought back and eventually built a big lead when his Ace-Four rivered a full house. Shortly thereafter, on the 46th heads-up hand, it would be Negreanu’s turn to hold Ace-Four.4 His two pairs had the lead on the flop when Colman dropped him to the canvas with a Ten on the turn to fill his inside straight, leaving the Canadian drawing unsuccessfully to four outs for a full house.”

[LL] “The 2014 Big One was definitely good to the last drop.”

[RR] “As much as I was rooting for Negreanu, I’m also happy that Colman won. He’s from Massachusetts, a small town called Holden near Worcester.”

[FF] “Maybe they should rename his home town from Holden to Holdem in his honor!”

[LL] “He wouldn’t want the publicity. He dropped a bombshell after winning by refusing interview requests.”

[SS] “Colman issued a statement5 but would just as soon drop out of sight.”

[LL] “Negreanu may have lost the heads-up battle, but he could teach the kid some a thing or two6 about handling fame.”

[SS] “Meanwhile, Negreanu’s own big payday moved him to the top of the all-time career tournament earnings list, dropping 2012 winner Antonio Esfandiari into second place.”

[SS] “Some other tidbits:

  • Only 17 players from the 2012 event returned in 2014. Five of them cashed the first time and five others the second time.
  • Of the ten amateur businessmen who entered the event, three cashed: Rick Salomon (4th), Paul Newey (7th), and Cary Katz (8th).
  • Germany was well-represented in the event. Five German pros played, and two cashed (Vogelsang in 3rd and Reinkemeier in 5th).
  • The all-time career earnings list is now headed by Negreanu (2nd place in 2014 One Drop) and Esfandiari (1st place in 2012 One Drop). Six of the top ten cashed in one of the two Big Ones (Colman jumped from 267th to 6th and Seiver from 19th to 10th; Trickett remained 5th, and Hellmuth dropped from 6th to 7th).
  • While World Series of Poker Main Event champions once dominated the career earnings list, only Hellmuth remains in the Top Ten. Eight former world champs now sit between 11th (Jonathan Duhamel) and 25th (Joe Cada).”7

Footnotes:

  1. The median annual household income in the U.S. was $51,017 in 2012.
  2. David Einhorn’s Wikipedia page says that he was worth $1.25 billion as of March 2013.
  3. Daniel Negreanu eliminated three more players than Ivey, Katz, and Salomon (4 each) and four more than Trickett and Colman (3 each).
  4. Third place finisher Vogelsang also busted out holding Ace-Four.
  5. Colman’s statement is quoted in this CardPlayer article.
  6. Negreanu commented at length in his blog.
  7. The others: Jamie Gold (13th), Joe Hachem (14th), Scotty Nguyen (15th), Carlos Mortensen (18th), Peter Eastgate (20th), and Gregory Merson (21st).

WSOP Main Event Odds

[SS] “Obviously, the World Series of Poker Main Event is so large that it’s almost absurd to bet on a single player to win it all”, Stan the Stat opened.

[LL] “I’d still bet it’s better to bet on the better bettor”, Leroy the Lion contended.

[RR] “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck…”, Roderick the Rock joked.

[SS] “But what if you could pick a group of players? Would you guys be up for a simple pool where you get a team of players instead of just one?”

[LL] “Sounds like fantasy poker. But drafts take a long time, and we’ve got like ten minutes before we have to shuffle up and deal.”

[SS] “No, I’m proposing something much simpler, and nice and easy to track who you’re rooting for and against.”

[RR] “Do tell.”

[SS] “Each person gets a themed team of five players, like Former Main Event champs, Former Main Event Runner Ups, etc.”

[LL] “I’ll take Team USA!”

[SS] “A little too big of a pool to choose from. Let’s say your candidate pool had to be under 5% of last year’s total field; you can have any country except the USA or Canada.”

[RR] “I’ll take the WSOP Bracelet Winners team.”

[SS] “Sorry, I meant to say you couldn’t have that, or a career earnings-based team, since that would include too many of the very top players. But I’ll let you have a team where all your players have the same number of bracelets. As an exception to the 5% rule, you can even have a no-bracelets team, since that’s limiting in its own special way. For example, any of these teams would be pretty strong:

  • 0 Bracelets: Gus Hansen, Patrik Antonius, Tom Dwan, Joseph Cheong, and Sam Trickett
  • 1 Bracelet: Ben Lamb, Bertrand Grospellier, Jake Cody, David Benyamine, and Gavin Smith
  • 2 Bracelets: J.C. Tran, Jason Mercier, Robert Mizrachi, Vitaly Lunkin, and Josh Arieh
  • 3 Bracelets: Antonio Esfandiari, Michael Mizrachi, Vanessa Selbst, Jeff Madsen, and Matt Matros
  • 4 Bracelets: Mike Matusow, Daniel Alaei, Huck Seed, Bobby Baldwin, and Tom McEvoy
  • 5 Bracelets: Allen Cunningham, Chris Ferguson, Jeff Lisandro, John Juanda, and Scotty Nguyen”
  • 6 Bracelets: Daniel Negreanu, Layne Flack, Ted Forrest, T.J. Cloutier, and Jay Heimowitz”

[RR] “I’ll take the jewelry-less team; like rooting for one of my own kind.”

[LL] “What if none of our players wins, which seems likely?”

[SS] “How about half the money for the last player standing and refund the rest.”

[LL] “Sounds good. I’ll take Team Phil: Ivey, Hellmuth, Galfond, Laak, and Gordon.”

[SS] “Excellent. Some other first names could produce strong teams:

  • Team Andrew: Robl, Lichtenberger, Frankenberger, Black, and Bloch
  • Team Daniel: Negreanu, Smith, Alaei, Cates, and Wong
  • Team David: Benyamine, Benefield, Einhorn, Pham, and Oppenheim
  • Team John: Chan, Duhamel, Juanda, Hennigan, and Monnette
  • Team Joseph: Cada, Hachem, Sebok, Cheong, and Serock
  • Team Michael: Mizrachi, Matusow, McDonald, Watson, and Sexton”

[TT] “It’s my clear-cut inclination / To stake Team Alliteration / The Grinder, the Mouth, and the Beast / Luckbox and Timex last not least.”1

[SS] “So, Michael Mizrachi, Mike Matusow, Ryan Riess, John Juanda, and Mike McDonald.”

[RR] “Too bad, that’s only three-fifths M&Ms.”

[SS] “On further thought, I’ll actually go with the 1-Bracelet team. They’ve all proven they can do it.”

[DD] “Do you have room for one more?” asked Deb the Duchess as she joined the group.

[SS] “Of course!”

[DD] “Then I’ll take the women as a matter of principle: Vanessa Selbst, Annette Obrestad, Maria Ho, Victoria Coren, and Vanessa Rousso.”2

[RR] “We can settle up at next month’s home tourney.”

[SS] “Oh, in case you’re wondering, here are the 25 players with the best chances of winning the Main Event according to one online betting site:3

  • 150-to-1: Phil Ivey
  • 175-to-1: Daniel Negreanu
  • 200-to-1: Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, Johnny Chan
  • 225-to-1: Ben Lamb, Doyle Brunson (!),4 Ryan Reiss, J.C. Tran, Allen Cunningham, Gus Hansen
  • 250-to-1: Chris Ferguson, Jason Mercier, Jake Cody, Bertrand ElkY Grospellier, Juha Helppi, Patrik Antonius
  • 300-to-1: Michael Mizrachi, Robert Mizrachi, Tom Dwan, Mike Matusow, Jonathan Duhamel, David Benyamine, Gavin Smith, Eric Seidel”

[TT] “Rod’s gambling on Team Bracelets None / Stan’s topped him with Team Bracelets One / Leroy’s gone to Hellmuth with Phil / Deb has Team XX for the kill / And to end, Team Alliteration / Is my own prognostication.”

Update (July 13, 2014)

With Team Phil’s Galfond (527th for $22,678) and Ivey (464th for $25,756 after he ended Day 2 as the chip leader) bowing out on Day 4, only Team Alliteration (John Juanda) and Team XX (Maria Ho) were still alive. None of the other picks cashed.

Juanda busted out in 293rd for $33,734, so Deb won the pool with Maria Ho, who duplicated her 2007 feat as the Last Woman Standing. She ended up busting early on Day 6, as her short stack compelled her to shove under the gun with just the J♦8♦, losing to a pair of Queens to finish 77th for $85,812.

Footnotes:

  1. Michael Mizrachi (The Grinder), Mike Matusow (The Mouth), Ryan Riess (The Beast), John Juanda (Luckbox), and Mike McDonald (Timex).
  2. An all-female team just meets the 5% rule (4.69% of the 2013 field), possibly for the last time.
  3. Carbon Sports has these current lines.
  4. If it’s even possible in such a large field, Brunson was a sucker’s bet at 225-to-1. He almost undoubtedly played his last Main Event in 2013. [Footnote added July 6, 2014]