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

 

Phil’s Close Haircut, For Free, On ESPN

I knew the ramifications of what I was saying.  I knew that the viewing public would perceive my statement as sour grapes.  Oh well, I said it anyway.  I just didn’t think that it would come to this!

            While I was helping Gabe Kaplan with ESPN commentary during the last day of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 2002, I put my foot in my mouth, way deep in my mouth.  Robert Varkonyi (who had eliminated me two days before) had just lost $400,000 of his last $640,000 with 9-9 versus Julian Gardner’s A-A (all-in before the flop) on the first hand.  And I hated Robert’s play poker card games here with 9-9.  So I just opened my mouth and blurted it out.

            It seemed pretty safe to say, especially at that moment, so I said, “If Robert Varkonyi wins the WSOP, I’ll shave my head.” The executive producer, sensing some added drama, said, “Repeat what you just said.” I felt like backing off, but I thought poker, “What are the chances that this comment makes the final cut on ESPN to make me look bad, anyway? I mean, Robert has to win first place by climbing his way up from $240,000 in chips for this remark to make the cut.” So I repeated the statement for the ESPN commentary.

            The players were told what I had said, and I looked at Robert right then, and he seemed to bristle a bit.  I thought, “Oh no, I may have lit a fire under him high low poker!” I don’t know if that was the case or not, but I do know that Robert began to play better than anyone else in the field from that moment forward.  He did manage to hold off an ace or a king when John Shipley moved all-in with A-K versus Robert’s J-J, but he pretty much dominated the final table play after that.

  He was only all-in one other time, when he put in $1 million before the flop with J-J versus John Shipley’s A-J.  After that pot limit omaha, Robert steadily increased his chip lead until he had a stranglehold on the rest of the players.

           With four players left, and the blinds at $15,000-$30,000, Robert opened  for $100,000 with Q-10 (the same hand that he busted me out with versus my Ah-Kh in that memorable pot two days earlier).  When Scott Gray moved all-in for $250,000 more with A-9, Robert called, saying, “This is Phil’s favorite hand [a reference to the beat he put on me], so I call.” I don’t like his call here at all.  But with a flop of Q-Q-8, Q-10 really was my favorite hand! The turn card brought a nine and the river brought an ace, both of which hit Scott’s A-9, but it wasn’t enough to beat three queens card games.

            Now they were down to three players, and the first hand after a fifteen-minute TV timeout was spectacular.  Julian Gardner opened the pot for $100,000 on the button.  Ralph Perry raised, making it $300,000 to go from the small blind, and then Robert moved all-in ($4 million!) from the big blind.  Julian flashed his hand to me when he folded it:  it was 10-10.  Ralph decided to call with his J-J, and Robert had A-A in the big blind! This was one of the most exciting (and cold-blooded) hands in WSOP history.  In two hands, Robert had eliminated two players, and now he faced Julian with $5 million in chips to Julian’s $1.3 million in chips.

            After only 10 more minutes, the blinds were up to $20,000-$40,000, and that’s when the following hand came up.  Robert made it only $80,000 to go on the button with Q-10 (that hand again!), and Julian called in the big blind with Jc-8c, and the flop came down 4c-4d-Qc.  Now Julian checked, and Robert bet out a relatively small $50,000.  Julian decided to move all-in for $900,000 total (an $850,000 raise), and Robert announced, “I call.”

            Now the hands were flipped faceup, and the fourth card was a ten.  With $2 million in the pot, tournament director Matt Savage (Matt did a great job throughout the whole WSOP) now announced, “Julian needs a club or a nine.” Not exactly, Matt, what about the last card, which actually was a club, but still didn’t win the pot for Julian?  How about poker the 10c on the river, which allowed Robert to immortalize Q-10 with a full house (tens full of queens) and beat Julian’s jack-high flush with a final board of 4c-4d-Qc-10s-10c.  what a great last card; both players made a big hand! Right after they turned the 10c on the river, the crowd started chanting, “Shave Phil’s head, Shave Phil’s head limit stud

            Of course, Becky Behnan had made sure that someone had some barber’s equipment on hand, and I am a man of my word.  I would have loved to avoid the head shave, but I certainly deserved what I had coming, and I knew it! First Robert, followed by Becky Behnan, Andy Glazer, David “Devilfish” Ulliott, and then some others, took turns shaving my head in front of a roomful of spectators, press, and cameras.  Although  the sideshow spectacle of my having my head shaved by Robert (who was very gracious and tried to let me out of the affront) before thousands of people was, apparently, very entertaining for those watching, it was Robert’s day.

            Robert played magnificent poker while he dominated the final table at the poker tournament.  Congratulations to Robert Varkonyi, the 2002 World Champion of Poker.

The ESPN coverage, which has been run hundreds of times, even two years later, ended with assorted other people shaving my head.  Oh well, they tell me that “any press is good press.”

 

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