1.Against All Odds

Introduction

Los Angeles poker classics

ESP

Bad Beat Poker

Pot-Limit Omaha

Spooky Hand

World Poker Challenge

Pot-Limit Hold'em Tournaments

Foxwood's Poker

Five-Star World Poker

World Series Of Poker-2000

World Series Poker Championship

2.World Series Of Poker Hands

Youngest World Champion

World Series Poker-1999

World Series Poker-1998

World Series Poker-2002

WSOP-2002

WSOP-1995

WSOP-1994

WSOP-1998

U.S.. Poker Championship-1999

WSOP-2000

WSOP's Winner-2000

WSOP-2003

WSOP's Record-2003

"Big One" in WSOP-2003

3.World Poker Tour

WPT-2002

World Poker Tour-2002

WPT's winner-2003

WPT-2004

WPT-2003

World Poker Tournament-2003

WPT's Event-2003

Foxwood's World Poker

Amir's Big Call

4.European Poker Tour

The Poker em

Poker In Amsterdam-1998

The Poker em-2000

Late Night Poker 3-2000

WHUPC-2003

5.Reading other Player's Mail

WSOP-1992

Tournaments Of Champion-1999

A Tale Of Four Bluffs

WSOP-2001

Commerce Casino-2002

No-Limit Hold'em Event-2002

 

Introduction

Back in 1987, we would hear the poker floor men-standing just outside the empty Poker Room at the Stardust Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas-selling poker seats by loudly and rhythmically yelling, “Poker, poker, poker, Texas Hold’em poker and Seven-Card Stud!” Those were the days.  Or rather, those were the days-not so long ago-when professional poker was still unknown to the public.  Now the poker rooms can’t keep people out, whether you’re talking about the United States or Europe tour!

            With poker event books like Doyle Brunson’s Super System and my Play Poker Like the Pros (available at philhellmuth.com) flying off the shelves in record numbers; with the explosion of online poker rooms, like UltimateBet.com (UB draws 100,000 players a night!); with new real-world casinos, new online casinos, and new Indian casinos popping up all over the country; with WSOP (World Series of  Poker 2002) on ESPN, the  WPT (World Poker Tour) on the Travel Channel, Late Night Poker  on Fox, Celebrity Poker Showdown on Bravo, and many other Poker Tournaments being broadcast all over the television dial-with all this out there, who can doubt that poker today is red hot!

           What happened?  We might think of the poker about of not so long ago as a warehouse full of pyrotechnics.  For years, that warehouse had threatened to erupt into a spectacular blaze.  I mean, poker tournaments already had their handsome prize pools and their stunning first-place prizes.  The tournaments already had their big exciting bluffs, their fantastic blunders, and their incredible calls.  And poker already was a Game that anyone can play.

            Among  those at the final tables today we’ve had 76-years-olds like John Bonetti; we had  quiet, savvy young men like 26-year-old Phil Ivey; we had 64-year-old women like Barbara Enright; we had players from Vietnam, Russia, Taiwan, China, Spain, Puerto Rico, France, England, Germany, and Morocco; and now we have players who learned serious poker on the Internet and later moved into high low poker-stakes games, like 2003 World Champion of Poker Chris Moneymaker.  In fact, we have men and women of all ages, races, and nationalities winning major poker tournaments today.  We also have a lot more professional players, because there’s so much more money out there now.

            So what was it that ignited that pi8le of pyrotechnics?  The final piece of the puzzle, the one that finally ignited the fireworks, was this: the tournaments put cameras beneath the table, exposing the players’ hole cards.  Now the television audience could follow the play poker card gaems.

            Late Night Poker, in the United Kingdom, was the first to bring hole-card cameras to television, and it enjoyed huge ratings in London.  In 2003, Steve Lipscomb and Lyle Berman of the World Poker Tour brought the cameras to the United States, and since then poker has exploded here as well.  When the World Series of Poker was cranking up, I urged all concerned to allow the pending ESPN coverage to use hole-card cameras, when most other players were against it, or on the fence.  I understood the great players’ hesitation: we all felt as if such play-by-play coverage would give away too many of our secrets.  Or just get in our heads and distract us from playing our game.  And of course, some of us didn’t want the public to see how often we bluffed!

            In 2001, the Bicycle Club, in Los Angeles, saw an all-time-low field for their championship event.  Only 36 people put up the $5,000 apiece buy-in to play.  In 2003, five months after the WPT hit the air on the Travel Channel, and two months after the WSOP hit the air on ESPN (to NBA-like ratings), the Bike had 380-plus players putting up $10,000 each to play.  First place in 2001 was $116,000; first place in 2003 was $570,000! What’s more, celebrities like Ben Affleck, Los Angeles Lakers owners Frank Mariani and Jerry Buss, and Lou Diamond Phillips played in the 2003 tournament.

            I was at both championships, and what a difference.  Honestly, I left for ten minutes in the middle of the 2003 Bike championship event, just to gather myself.  I was stunned by what I saw.  I mean, three local news crews, entertainment Tonight, Sports Illustrated, and a German TV crew were just some of the press set up or circulating in the tournament room.  The room was filled to capacity with players, fans, and curious onlookers.  In 2001, there had been no press, and the room was almost empty.  OK, I’ve made my point, and everyone reading this introduction already knows that poker is burning it up.

            But as a result of the hole-card camera coverage, what we hear from the American and European publics today is this: “I didn’t know that Texas Hold’em was such an easy game to play.” Hold’em is easy to play?  Well … yes.  The old saying goes like this: “Hold’em takes minutes to learn, but a lifetime to master.” Never was a truer statement uttered! The fact that learning Hold’em literally takes five or ten minutes has been a huge factor in the explosion of poker today.  But again, it was the hole-card cameras that brought that fact to light.

            In the old days, many people who watched the Hold’em coverage on TV simply changed the channel, saying, “Boy, this game sure looks complicated.  Trying to follow the action is just too much effort, and for that matter, there isn’t much action to follow.” Exposing the hole cards changed all that overnight.  No-limit Hold’em, the poker game where you can bet any amount of your chips at any time, is boring?  Please.

              So what is Bad Beats and Lucky Draws about?  Basically, this book is about interesting, often key hands that I’ve culled from my 18 years in the poker world.  Each account discusses what the players were doing, and thinking, and often whether the moves they made were the right moves to make, according to Phil Hellmuth Jr. (me).  But each account also talks about the great settings where the hands took place, often at prestigious events like the World Series of Poker, the World Poker Tour, or a European Poker Tour championship.  Finally, each hand reveals the emotions the players felt as they made their moves and mistakes, and battled to make poker history.  Think of the book as an advanced-strategy window, an educational glimpse, into the poker world through my eyes.

            In Bad Beats and Lucky Draws, I have gathered these hands into eight chapters.  (A bad beat, by the way, is when you are truly unlucky in a given poker hand.) One chapter, titled “World Series of Poker Hands,” talks about 14 of the hands that I have witnessed-or played in-at the most prestigious poker tournaments of our time, the WSOP.  Another chapter is devoted to the World Poker Tour.  “Against All Odds” talks about some of the weirdest and unlikeliest hands that I’ve ever seen or heard about.  “From the other Side of the Table” offers accounts of hands written up by guest authors like Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson, Annie Duke, Johnny “The Oriental Express” Chan, Ted Forrest, Men “The Master” Nguyen, and Layne Flack, to name a few.  The mind-sets of these people, and the nuances of their reasoning, make fascinating reading.

            “European Poker Tour” covers some of the hands that I’ve played in Europe, in places like Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, and Cardiff, Wales.  “Poker Hollywood Style,” talks about interesting hands played by the likes of Matt Damon, Edward Norton, Hustler magnate Larry Flynt, Nicole Sullivan, Paul Rudd, and Jerry Buss and Frank Mariani.  Still other chapters include “Reading Other Players’ Mail” (about great “reads”), and “Cheesehead Poker” (about my beginnings in Madison, Wisconsin).

            Go ahead and open this book, and read through two or three of the hands, to get a sense of what I’ve tried to do.  I hope you find these stories well told, compelling, and illuminating.  Better yet, a blast to read! I’ve enjoyed gathering these accounts together, and I’ve tried my best to make sure that you’ll love them whupc 2003.


            Good luck, whether you’re trying to second-guess the players or are out there playing some hands yourself.

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6.From The Other Side Of Table

WSOP-1974

Commerce Casino-1999

WSOP-1999

WPT-2003

Bellagio Poker

Ladies World Championship

High Limit Action in houston

Commerce Casino's California-1999

Party Poker Million-2002

WSOP's Winner-2002

WSOP Seven-Card Stud-2000

Foxwood's Casino

Pot-Limit Hold'em Event

World Heads-Up Poker Tour

United States Poker Championship

7.Poker Hollywood Style

Chinese Poker

Bicycle Club Casino

Rounder's

Celebrity Poker

Hustler Casino

8.Cheesehead Poker

Poker in Madison

Bluffing

Sportsmen Club

Pot-Limit Hold'em At Nora's Bar

Big Game in Wisconsin

A GOLF STORY

ULTIMATEBET HAND

CHAMPION OF THE YEAR AWARD

TOP MOMENTS IN POKER

THE NEXT POKER WAVE

Links

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