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Big Game Drama


I recently played on the pokerstars big game: http://thebiggame.pokerstars.net/.  For those of you who haven’t seen the episode I was constantly and consistently abused by both Tony G and Daniel Negreanu from the moment I sat down.  At the time I did not mind at all to be honest – I was just happy to be in a game with Daniel and Tony G.

Since the episode both Tony G has blogged about it::http://www.partypoker.com/blog/tony-g/i-am-the-third-most-hated-man-in-poker.html&h=b16ba and Daniel N has talked about it on 2p2 (added below)

I consider Tony G a friend of mine.  He is quick-witted, charming, funny and extremely intelligent, and one of the most successful businessman in the poker industry.  Away from the cameras he is also a gentleman.  But when the cameras come up he Hams it up big time.  I don’t mind as it makes for some entertaining TV and most of the time it’s in good fun.

With that said he was totally out of line to call the clock on me in the hand vs Daniel.  If i remember correctly he called it in under a minute – and with the amount of money at stake I consider it totally out of line.

Can you imagine what would of happened if the situations were reserved and Tony G called the clock on Daniel after one minute?  Production and the floor would never let that fly.

I’m not sure if it affected my decision but I think players should have more than 30 seconds to think before having the pot called on them in big pots.

As far as Daniel claiming I took a long time to think on every decision – this is simply untrue.  Prior to the hand vs him and Tony G I did not take over 30 seconds to make any decision.  I personally feel Daniel has a personal vendetta against me and is trying to justify his attacks on me with half true fact and I feel I need to defend myself.

Daniel was one of my childhood hero’s.  I read every strategy article he ever wrote and found them humorous and insightful.  And when I first met him a few years ago I was amazed at how down to earth and humble he was – he was the real deal.

I saw him and talked to him recently at WSOP Europe – and he apologized for what he said on the big game and said  he wasn’t attacking me and it wasn’t personal.  Then he goes on 2p2 and basically attacks me (at least this is how I feel).

After the last few years since I met Daniel, I can no longer say I see him as humble and down to earth.  Which is ironic because during these years I feel that the game of poker has passed him by.The moment he sits down in a game online – at any stakes –  the game instantly fills with a 20 person waitlist.  More than that Pros (both online and live) constantly lick their chops when he is at their table in both tournaments and cash games (I hear the talk).

He has realized this and he has worked hard on his game over the past year – vastly improving it, and I applaud him for that.  But with that said  any 5/10NL online grinder would still run circles around him.  Which is fine, if I was as rich and famous as him (he is probably the most famous poker pro), I wouldn’t spend much time working on my poker game either.  But I also wouldn’t belittle and berate the people who have to “grind it out” for a living.  Remember your roots bro?

As for Daniel’s comments about me wasting productions time and money – I feel this needs to be addressed:

On the first season of the big game I was a backup alternate. This consisted of me being basically on call to play on any day they needed me.  I was thanked for doing this – told I looked great on TV and was promised I would get a slot (not as an alternate) on the next season of the show.  Two days before the show started I received a call from production saying that unfortunately they weren’t able to get me the starting slot they promised – but they would like it if i was available to be on call to be an alternate all week.

Side Note: In between the first and second season I beat Daniel for over 150k online at 100/200NL online..

This was not what I wanted – and I felt a little bit disappointed.  But I still wanted to play on the show and was happy to help out in anyway I could.  They offered me $160 in tournaments tokens a day to sit on sat and wait to play in case 2+ people busted.  I told them that I would lose a significant amount of money in opportunity cost if I missed playing online for a week to sit on the set, but I would still like to help and play on the show.  So they comped me a room at South Point (where the game is filmed), and I  happily waited around for a week to fill any vacant slot – which I got to do on this episode.  I rearranged my schedule at the last minute so that wouldn’t run out of players and was happy to do so.  But now suggesting I wasted productions time and money – come on.

As for not straddling – whenever Daniel gets stuck he goads everyone in game into straddling.  I personally feel that Daniel is a tilter and plays much worse when stuck.  I dispute his claims that straddling is “good for the game”.  It does create bigger pots – after all the stakes are doubled but it also halves effective stacks – making the game less strategically deep.  More than that it also makes certain players play tighter as the stakes are significantly higher and the money means more to them.  I think all of these things are not only bad for me – but bad for the game.

If he really thinks Straddling is great for the game why doesn’t he just make it mandatory?  This would be more fair to everyone that is playing as they would know before hand they were playing 400/800 instead of 200/400, and could get more money together accordingly.  If you watch other episodes and HSP – he only tries to get everyone to straddle when he’s stuck.

I think many players who are play on TV agree with me – but they are afraid to stand up to someone like Daniel who is a poker icon – and who has a lot of say about who gets on some shosw.  After all he flat out says if you don’t straddle you won’t be invited back.

As far as not not splashing around like it’s play money – like him and Tony do – I don’t apologize for that.  During hands I think deeply and analytically about my opponents hand ranges, their bet sizes, how’d they react to various bet sizes, psychology etc.  I know that many of the players on the show don’t do this – but I am playing my own money, and if I don’t win at poker I can’t pay my bills.  I feel that it’s my right when playing sky-high stakes to have ample time to try and make the correct decision.

I also agree with Daniel that it’s more fun to play against people like Tony G who have a VPIP of 80% and a 3bet of 40% or Daniel who has a VPIP of 50%.  And I’d certainly invite these players to a private game over players who play like me.  But simply because of the fact that they have the style of losing players.

With that said I understand Daniel not wanting me on the show, when he has to play against players who actually earn their living playing poker – not poker personalities – he is laughably outclassed – and ends up looking quite bad.

I think the production team on the Big Game has done a great job putting tog other an entertaining and action packed show and I thank for them for getting a chance to play.  But I think after this blog post – the chances of me playing again are quite slim.

So, Daniel, since it’s unlikely I’ll be able to earn money playing on the Big Game in the future, please start playing again online.  I need to line my pockets somehow.

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