Archive for the ‘Poker Pros’ Category

All In – The Poker Movie on TV

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 is reporting that, “All In – The Poker Movie, the award-winning documentary about poker’s growth over the past decade,” will make its TV debut this evening, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. EST on the Showtime channel.

“Unlike many poker-themed films that have flopped, All In – The Poker Movie has been praised by those in the poker media and was even honored with an award at the CineVegas Film Festival.” (

WSOP dealers waiting

The calm before the storm...WSOP dealers waiting.

If you love no limit hold’em and you follow the poker pros, you’re gonna love this movie. The movie covers the past decade or so of poker; that includes the wonderful story of Chris Moneymaker and the depressing story of Black Friday. The disgusting saga of Full Tilt Poker unfolded after the documentary was made.

The trailer entices with well-known poker pros like Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Laak, Scotty Nguyen, Chris Moneymaker, Annie Duke, Howard Lederer, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, and other All In cast membersSome speaking sentences that will suck the air out of your lungs… Howard Lederer actually says, “The heroes of poker don’t cheat…come again?

Catch the trailer now…Watch the movie tonight!



Training with Vanessa Rousso

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

In July 2011, I attended Vanessa Rousso’s Main Event Prep Camp. It was a 5-hour, intense boot camp for experienced players needing strategy and an understanding of how to survive and thrive in a WSOP Main Event. With the 2013 WSOP quickly approaching, I’ve been thinking about Vanessa’s boot camp more and more. I had recorded the audio and since the training, have listened to it prior to and during each big event I have played. It gets me pumped and reminds me what to focus on and what to let go.

It all started when I took one day off from work. I had planned on taking two weeks together, but, all I could squeak out of that plan was a day and a half. On this first day, I was on Twitter catching up with tweets when Dennis Phillips tweeted that he was going to be starting his radio show in 15 minutes and Vanessa Rousso was going to be one of his guests.  I tuned in to Phillips’ radio show. He talked to Vanessa about the upcoming 2011 WSOP tournaments in general, and in particular about the 10K Main Event that would be starting in a little over a week. Vanessa talked about how she prepares for big tournaments like that and she mentioned that just prior to the start of the Main Event, she was giving a boot camp training at the Aria – AND – during the radio show, she was giving a free seat to the first person to tweet: @VanessaRousso Work Hard Play Hard

Vanessa Rousso gives Main Event Prep Camp entrance away

How I won entrance into Vanessa Rousso's Main Event Prep Camp


Yep… that would be me. I won my seat into Vanessa’s boot camp.

The Main Event Prep Camp was offered through Vanessa’s Big Slick Boot Camp. It was a 5-hour poker strategy class. We had three 8 minute breaks. No food, no coffee, no tea, no snacks, no nothin’. Everyone was welcomed, of course, to get up and leave and come back at any time.  The nearest food area in the Aria was about 1/4 mile away. Even Vanessa complained to her step-father (manager of her boot camps) about the distance between the conference room and the concession area and restaurants. I stayed put with my water and peanut butter crackers so that I wouldn’t miss anything. That worked until the last hour when I was really hungry and water deprived and started having to work real hard to focus, started losing portions of the information being shared.

When Vanessa started the class, she was openly disappointed with the small attendance. She said that 20 – 25 players had signed up. She questioned the manager of the camp (her step-father) about the number of people expected.

After that, Vanessa took a poll of the 7 – 10 players in the room. Two were registered in the Main Event. Some others had no intention of playing the Main Event this year, they had attended in order to find out what they would be in for in future years. Vanessa was openly disappointed with the level of players attending her boot camp. More players straggled in as noon approached (started at 11:00AM).

Poker Pro Vanessa Rousso with attendee of her Main Event Prep Camp July 2011

Vanessa Rousso with Main Event Prep Camp attendee

Once she got going, Vanessa was like the Energizer bunny… non-stop information and exercises. We did lots of math. Went over the levels of players and what players at each level are thinking. We reviewed the 2009 schedule of play, average starting stacks each day, levels of play per day, number of players, and talked about different strategies for getting to day three – first pay day!

The main event is a marathon and there is no “reward” for having a huge stack of chips until much later in the event.

When we signed in, we had received a booklet; kind of a workbook, with pages of information and lots of pages with exercises on them. As the camp progressed, it was discovered that the pages were not the same in each booklet. At first, pages were photocopied and handed out, and finally, the manager just gave us all a second booklet that had the missing pages. Awkward, but, it worked.

Uh-oh. The microphone started cutting out – and it got to her. It surprised me how Vanessa let that slightly malfunctioning microphone rattle her. She plays poker with the best players alive, which I presume takes nerves of steel and intense focus, and she’s getting off track, distracted from her mission and whining about the microphone. Maintenance called…microphone fixed.

Back to the Lessons…

If you find yourself at a table of super-aggressive poker players and it is early in the tournament, consider how tables are being broken down. How long do you need to hold on? Might your table be broken soon? If you don’t know, ask the floor. Maybe your best strategy for that table mix will be to “hang in there” until the table breaks.

Eat, sleep, and exercise. Use same routine the days of the tournament. Surround yourself with positive people. Do not talk about “when you get busted out of this tournament”.

During the tournament:
Mood controlling strategy – ie. Music
Conversation – Do not give out any information about yourself, especially your profession. If you won a satellite into the Main Event, do NOT tell anyone. Tell people you bought your way in.

Most important piece of info–> Vanessa taught us her special way of calculating the “real” shape she is in in a marathon poker tournament. We did a number of exercises to make sure we understood the formula to use and when to use it. In addition to calculating that number, Vanessa instructed everyone to also always be aware of their chip stack in relation to the average chip stack.

Know odds and implied odds, Player levels, Players’ personas

When the logistics were working, Vanessa was on fire. She told relevant anecdotes about her and others’ experiences. She gave impromptu quizzes. Big Slick Boot Camp and GoDaddy imprinted T’s, hats and other collateral material served as prizes. She recommended books. Answered attendees’ very specific questions. She stayed quite a while after to answer more questions and pose for pictures. Her breadth of knowledge and understanding of the game were impressive.

Poker Pro Vanessa Rousso posing with Main Event Prep Camp attendee in July 2011

Vanessa with pleased attendee after the camp

Summary of the Main Event Boot Camp

Style – lecture.

  • A+ : Length – 5 hours – Intense
  • A+ : Location – (Aria)
  • A+ : Good information that I was able to use in local tournaments
  • A+ : Media – Recordings were allowed.
  • A+ : Stayed after for personal questions and introductions. I left one half hour after the training ended and Vanessa was still there.
  • A+ : Took Pics
  • A+ : Quality of content shared and in the booklets
  • A   : Presenter (Vanessa Rousso) Engaging personality; tiny, dressed comfortably, loaded with information and willingly shared
  • A   : Materials – Mix = Booklet with information and exercises. Handouts, anecdotes, impromptu quizzes with prizes
  • A- : Structure and Pace – Vanessa knew the material and was focused on getting through the booklet. Towards the end of the training, she was rushing to get through the booklet. Unnecessary, in my opinion, based on the level of the players in attendance.
  • B  : Prizes of GoDaddy and Big Slick Boot Camp – Fun and useable
  • D  : Logistics – Course materials sloppily put together and missing pages, distance of training room from snack area, length of breaks, lack of refreshments in the area
  • D  : Branding – Not favorably impressive for building a personal brand. Information shared and enthusiasm when everything was going well were excellent.  Personal reaction to bad logistics, having avoidable logistical challenges and the lack of nourishment, created an imbalance with the excellence that was experienced. Was the camp great? Yes and No.

P.S. I tried to play poker after eating dinner at the Aria. I was 28th on the waiting list; a 2-hour wait the floor man said…I left.

All In – The Poker Movie

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

A brand new documentary is being released in theaters this week titled All In – The Poker Movie.  I haven’t seen it yet but hear that it is one of the best poker documentaries covering the past, present, and future of online poker.

You can hear Chris Moneymaker talk about it Thursday (3/22/12)  at 1:00 on blogtalkradio –


Set a Reminder at Blog Talk Radio

Link to abstract about radio show (if you missed the date, the show will still be online) talking with Chris Moneymaker about the new documentary All In – The Poker Movie.

Pokernews' Version of March Madness

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Pokernews is having fun with March Madness. It has converted the Global Poker Index’s top 64 poker players into March Madness March Madnessbrackets. Rich Ryan announces…

” Behold, the inaugural PokerNews Fan Bracket! We took the Global Poker Index’s top 64 players and seeded accordingly. Now, it’s your job to head on over to our Facebook page and vote for your favorite players from the Round of 64 all the way to the championship matchup.

The voting schedule is as follows:

Round of 64
Left side of the bracket – March 15-16
Ride side of the bracket – March 17-18

Round of 32
March 19-21

Round of 16
March 22-24

Round of 8
March 25-27

Round of 4
March 28-30

March 31-April 2

See the chart and read the whole story by Rich Ryan

Global Poker Index

Friday, March 16th, 2012

While catching up on the poker news, I ran across mention of Jason Mercier leading the Global Poker Index (GPI), and he has surpassed Erik Seidel with the most weeks with the top GPI rating.

Pokernews reports:

“Each week, the Global Poker Index releases a list of the top 300 tournament poker players in the world using a formula that takes a player’s results over six half-year periods. Jason Mercier is on top for the fifth straight week and in the process, passed Erik Seidel for the most overall weeks at No. 1. For a look at the entire list of 300, visit the official GPI website.

I had never heard of the Global Poker Index, so looked it up. No wonder…Related to Epic Poker, brainchild of Annie Duke and friends.

  • Rate LIVE tournament poker players
  • The GPI will be updated weekly on and
  • [from the GPI website –>] “… developed by Annie Duke, top poker professional and Commissioner of the Epic Poker™ League and Eric Faulkner, CIO of Federated Sports and Gaming, with support from Don Schlesinger, blackjack authority, financial consultant and lecturer, and Chief Strategy Officer of The Volatility Exchange.”

Rest in Peace Thuy

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Sadly, on Sept.4, 2011, 25 year old up-and-coming poker pro Thuy Doan passed away after battling cancer for several years. Thuy was introduced to the PokaPaloma audience back in December 2009, when poker pros held a head shaving event in support of  Thuy while she was having some difficult treatments. In July 2010, shortly after having her leg amputated, Thuy joined Phil Laak at the poker table when Phil was trying to break the record for longest single-session of playing poker. Read about that experience and see a photo of Thuy “Phil Laak Breaks Longest Single-Session Record“.

Read about the head shaving event “Poker Pros Shave Heads to Show Solidarity“. Thuy joined the pros in Las Vegas and had fun with the antics and teasing and determining whose heads would get shaved.

As ill as she was, Thuy had a positive attitude and talked about her love of poker and her bright future. The poker community has another star in the Las Vegas sky tonight…R.I.P. Thuy

In the news:

Erick Lindgren Erica Schoenberg Marry This Weekend

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Phil Hellmuth tweeting about Erick and Erica’s wedding this weekend.

Erick Lindgren Erica Schoenberg Marry

Congrats to two great poker pros!

Federated Sports and Gaming Creates New Committee

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

In the May 28, 2011 edition of Bluff Magazine’s The Week That Was Kevin Mathers reports that:

“Federated Sports + Gaming, the professional poker league involving Jeffrey Pollack and Annie Duke, announced the creation of a Standards and Conduct Committee… includes the creation of a Code of Conduct, streamlining the qualification process, the creation of tournament rules with tournament director Matt Savage and other duties.”

“The eight members of the committee are Eric Baldwin, Andy Bloch, Nick Shulman, Joe Hachem, Chad Brown, Savage, Duke (as a non-voting member) and ethics consultant Stephen Martin. More details on the fledgling league to come before their August 5 debut.”

Keep up with the key players of the Federated Sports and Gaming Committee on Twitter…

Jeffrey Pollack = @JeffreyPollack

Annie Duke = @AnnieDuke

Matt Savage = @SavagePoker

Eric Baldwin = @basebaldy

Andy Bloch = @Andy_Bloch

Joe Hachem = @JosephHachem

Chad Brown = @Downtownchad

Author Kevin Mathers = @Kevmath

2010 Poker Hall of Fame Voting

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Announced on the WSOP website:  Voting for the 2010 inductees into the Poker Hall of Fame is now available online @ 2010 Poker Hall of Fame Nominations.

In my IE 7.0 browser, the first portion of the content is cut off.  Here’s what it is suppose to say:

Nominations are now open for determining the 2010 Poker Hall of Fame inductees.

The paragraph continues…

Nominations will be accepted online and fans are encouraged to participate by submitting their nominee along with a brief explanation. All submissions will be tabulated and the top 10 nominations will be reviewed by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council. The existing Poker Hall of Fame members and a blue ribbon media panel will then cast votes of the final list of nominees to determine the class of 2010. The enshrinement ceremony is held in concert with the Final Table of the Main Event of the World Series of Poker, held each November in Las Vegas.

Review a list of the 1979 – 2009  Poker Hall of Fame winners.

Learn more about the criteria the nominated need to meet in order to be considered and Cast your vote today:

One Way to Diffuse Anger at the Poker Table

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Yesterday, I was researching poker pros who have twitter accounts and adding to the list I posted here a year ago (see Poker Pros on Twitter). Before adding poker pros to the list, especially a poker pro whose name I only vaguely recognize, I check out their twitter account, review their tweets, then review their website and blog posts.

One name that I came across was Adam Junglen. In reviewing his blog, I found an amusing – and inspirational – post called Fun Times at Borgata about his April 2010 experience at the Borgata. Evidently, table mate Igor Borukhov got very angry with Adam when Adam asked Igor to stop folding out of turn. Here’s a snippet from Adam’s blog…

…  Basically, Igor kept folding out of turn on Day 2. I politely asked him to stop folding out of turn and he responded by arguing. He made it very clear he had no idea who I was, so I made sure he would never forget. He suggested we go fight outside after the tournament and I jokingly accepted and stood up. I don’t know what he was thinking threatening a five foot nothing asian kid who weighs a buck-ten (dollar and a nickle w/o leg, lol)… After I stood up, he stood up, then I took off my prosthetic leg, set it on the table and said “Let’s go!”


Another Kodak moment. Igor was incredibly embarrassed/red in the face/perplexed/owned, “so sorry bro, sorry man” etc etc. “No worries” :) .

Come on! You gotta laugh. Imagine sitting at the table with these two guys. I loved Adam’s power play and found his ability to make fun of his situation inspirational. He certainly diffused Igor’s anger at the poker table.

How about you? What tactics do you use to diffuse anger at the poker table?

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