Thursday, April 17, 2014

The New Frontier and the Bay of Pigs

This morning I was up early feeding and taking care of barn business, and entirely at random dialed up an old Mort Sahl LP, one of about a half-dozen on my iPod -- The New Frontier (1961). I mentioned getting into these records a while back as part of one of the detours I’ve found myself going down with these Nixon studies in which I’ve been engaged.

Like pretty much all of Sahl’s records, I believe, this one is recorded live and captures a single performance, in this case at “the hungry i” nightclub in San Francisco where Sahl frequently performed.

“Here we are on the new frontier,” Sahl opens, getting a chuckle as he pauses afterwards. “Cuba,” he continues, and gets a bigger laugh.

The “new frontier” of course referred to John F. Kennedy’s administration, then only a few months old, and the ambitious goals and “vigah” (as JFK would say) characterizing it. Kennedy first used the phrase when accepting the Democratic party’s nomination for president in July 1960 where he spoke of “a new frontier -- the frontier of the 1960s -- a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils, a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats.”

That same speech finds Kennedy characterizing his Republican counterpart Nixon as an unworthy successor to Eisenhower, and in fact Kennedy employs a poker reference during that section of his speech that also evokes domestic programs of the most recent Democratic presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

“We know that it will not be easy to campaign against a man who has spoken or voted on every known side of every known issue,” says JFK of Tricky Dick. “Mr. Nixon may feel it is his turn now, after the New Deal and the Fair Deal -- but before he deals, someone had better cut the cards.”

Getting back to Sahl, his cynical reapplication of the “new frontier” idea to Cuba refers to the volatile climate then present in the spring of 1961 and the U.S.’s perception of the danger posed by the Fidel Castro-led Communist country located about 90 miles off the shore of Florida.

Just a little later, Sahl expresses that cynicism again when he jokingly speaks of being in Florida and residents there telling him “he’s a real threat, Castro, because you can see the island.” “I used to look and I’d say ‘Well, I still can’t see it.’ And they’d say, ‘Well, it’s right behind that aircraft carrier.’” That line gets a big laugh, too.

Sahl also refers at the very start of the record to the Academy Awards taking place the night of his show. That got me curious to look up when exactly that might have been, and it just so happens today is the anniversary -- April 17, 1961 -- kind of a weird coincidence. Then I realized that today is also the anniversary of the start of the Bay of Pigs, the failed attempt to overthrow the Castro regime that marked a major early misstep by Kennedy.

“The invasion of Cuba is on,” says Sahl, referring to the news of that very day. Still early, it’s clear from the way he speaks of it that the American public isn’t yet aware of what exactly is happening.

Sahl mentions as well a speech given that afternoon by former presidential candidate and newly-appointed U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson in which Stevenson declared there was no U.S. involvement in the invasion. In the speech, Stevenson -- who lost presidential elections twice to Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956 -- is essentially repeating a CIA cover story that the Cuban exiles leading the invasion were rebels operating on their own and with no U.S. help.

“He said that Castro can look to our government for help if he’s been rejected by his own people,” says Sahl, paraphrasing from Stevenson’s speech of that day. “And uh... Stevenson should know.” (About such rejection, that is.)

It wouldn’t be long before the invasion would fail and Kennedy would own up to the involvement of the U.S. in the plot just a few days later (on April 21). Thus was Stevenson made to look especially bad for his claim that afternoon, and in fact would consider resigning his position though was eventually encouraged to stay on. And, of course, Kennedy and his administration would take a big hit, too.

The Bay of Pigs would set the stage for the Cuban Missile Crisis that took place about a year-and-a-half later, a historical event that we discuss in my “Poker in American Film and Culture” class thanks to its frequent comparison to a poker hand full of bluffs and re-bluffs between Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev.

Anyhow, just wanted to share that weird coincidence of having dialed up Sahl’s record on the anniversary of it having been recorded. Here is that opening to Sahl’s The New Frontier, if you’re curious to hear it yourself:

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Various Views

With Vera out of town for a couple of days, I’ve been in charge of the farm, which means feeding the horses (and our trio of barn cats), cleaning stalls, and various other daily maintenance that always seems to come up.

I was due for a turn taking over the chores after having left Vera to handle them during my recent tourney trips. Makes for a long day since the early morning feeding comes before sunrise. That picture is from this morning, after the feeding was over and I’d let Sammy and Maggie out to spend their day grazing.

I’ve only fired up the tractor once during the last couple of days. Last weekend I finally attached the bush hog and mowed a big section of our land.

We have some spectacular views of the sky here, a nice side benefit from working outdoors. Unfortunately there were thick clouds the night of the lunar eclipse and “blood moon” earlier in the week, scrubbing out everything above for the entire evening. But the nights since have revealed a big round moon peeping its head up on the horizon some time after nine o’clock and tracing a splendid path overhead.

We can see all of the stars, too, and have gotten into identifying them with the help of a handy app (Pocket Universe). Can pick out where the various planets are as well -- Saturn is right by the moon tonight -- and am starting to think a telescope would be a good item to acquire.

Spent a little time today watching EPTLive and the action from Sanremo, as well as the live updates over on the WPT site from that stacked final table at the Seminole Hard Rock.

But have had to give attention as well to these views all around, too. All of us here on the farm have.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Three Years On

Three years on. A few found ways to adapt, while others moved away altogether. But for many in the United States, it has been enough time to disengage entirely from what had been a daily activity -- playing poker online.

For various reasons I have been thinking more and more about poker’s history and particularly its connection to the United States. One reason, of course, is my class. Another has to do with some reading I’ve been doing of late, including perusing a number of poker-related texts from the 1800s. A third is a big project for which I’m currently gathering various ingredients and hope to start cooking up soon.

Poker was introduced here during the first couple of decades of the 19th century, having evolved from various other gambling games involving playing cards, most of which originated in Europe.

Most who have investigated the matter with any real scrutiny have concluded the French game poque (itself linked to a few games played in other European countries) is the most likely candidate as poker’s immediate precursor. In any event, it is safe to characterize poker as an “American game” in much the same way other aspects of the culture -- and the people, too -- have roots that come from elsewhere, then grew and developed here.

Indeed poker grew up right along with the country itself, and even before the 19th century was over had begun to be carried back out into the world as a kind of American “export.” Such became even more the case later on, especially during the latter part of the 20th century and of course during the recent “boom” years and after when all of the various tours were introduced and began picking up steam.

I’ve had a lot of nice opportunities to visit those tours, including lately. Already this year I’ve had the chance to travel abroad on three different occasions -- to France for EPT Deauville, to Chile for the LAPT in Viña del Mar, and to Montreal for the WPT National event there.

On each of these trips I was reminded of what an “online poker culture” was like, with players constantly engaged with the various tournaments and cash games available to them -- talking about online events, playing at the tables, and so on.

Live poker continues to thrive here in the U.S., and is in fact as popular as it has ever been, especially on the various “mid-level” tours that continue to draw ever-increasing fields for their tourney series. And the game is obviously still played frequently in homes and among private groups, with interest in poker, generally speaking, remaining high even if the game isn’t necessarily attracting new players at such a high clip.

But three years on, it’s hard sometimes not to think of poker as not just an “export” but another “ex-pat” like those who’ve moved out of the U.S. in order to play. As though the game -- “our” game -- is out there, traveling the world, growing on its own.

And perhaps to return some day. Hope we’ll recognize it when it does.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rankings and Recency

Been scribbling nonstop all day today and thus have little left in my scrambled brain to give over here, I’m afraid.

I’ve seen the tweets today reacting to the news from the Borgata regarding the resolution of “chipgate” -- i.e., the counterfeit chip scandal from the 2014 Borgata Winter Open that saw the tournament halted with 27 players remaining. I haven’t looked closely as yet at the terms of the resolution, but from the impassioned responses I’ve seen it obviously has produced a lot of reaction. Then again, as I mentioned here earlier, it was hard to imagine any resolution that wasn’t going to be problematic.

I’ll look more closely at it when I’ve got more mental fuel to give it more proper consideration. Speaking of being low on mental fuel, I did run an errand today and heard a little sports radio, including some commentary by John Feinstein on the conclusion of yesterday’s Masters won by Bubba Watson.

I probably have an unreasonable prejudice against Feinstein that stems from his being a Duke grad, so take this observation for what it’s worth. He was all hot and bothered today on his radio show over the PGA’s World Golf Rankings which currently have Tiger Woods in the top spot and Watson fourth.

Feinstein was complaining how recent winners of golf’s majors -- e.g., Jason Dufner, Justin Rose -- weren’t in the current top 10, while Henrik Stenson was ranked third without ever having won a major. And, of course, Tiger hasn’t won one since the U.S. Open in 2008.

He went on to whine about how the PGA’s rankings are calculated, complaining how they draw from golfers’ performances over a two-year period. “They should just start from zero,” he went on, blithely ignoring the whole idea of a ranking system that didn’t overvalue what happened most recently but recognized achievement over a more significant sample size (if you will).

The little rant recalled to me the Global Poker Index system which similarly uses not just the most recent and biggest tournaments but tries to incorporate a more comprehensive view of performance (in the GPI’s case over a three-year span).

Not saying either system is without flaw, but it just seemed to me like Feinstein was willingly ignoring what a ranking system actually was in favor of an instinctively simple bit of airtime filler designed to sound like a thoughtful position on debatable issue.

But what do you expect, really. I mean look at Duke... they just lost to Mercer.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ivey on the Edge

The breaking story this afternoon in poker revolves around this new lawsuit brought by the Borgata versus Phil Ivey. Says PokerNews, the casino is suing Ivey for a whopping $9.6 million -- that is, more than the WSOP Main Event winners have been taking down over the last several years (although not this year with the new $10 million guarantee for first) -- an amount representing money won by Ivey at baccarat.

“The Borgata lawsuit alleges that Ivey exploited manufacturing flaws in playing cards during four sessions” of the gambling game that took place back in 2012. The claim is that Ivey used a method called “edge sorting” to exploit flaws in the cards used in the game.

Thus the Borgata is suing him, his “partner” who accompanied him during the sessions (Cheng Yin Sun), and the card manufacturers, too, with the charges including racketeering, fraud, breach of contract, civil conspiracy, and something called unjust enrichment.

If it all sounds familiar, that’s because we all already learned about “edge sorting” thanks to a similar dispute involving Ivey and the Crockfords Casino in London involving some sessions of Punto Banco (another baccarat variant) also taking place in 2012. Only there it is Ivey suing the casino who decided to withhold £7.8 million of his winnings after they suspected him of something similar. (Of note, Ivey admitted to “edge sorting” there, but still wants his winnings.)

I wrote about that situation here last spring, talking a little about this funny little 1966 Bond-ripoff called Kaleidoscope starring Warren Beatty with which the story seemed to evoke some parallels.

The immediate reaction to the Borgata lawsuit is very similar to how many were responding to the earlier story regarding Ivey’s suing Crockfords, namely, folks pointing out how it seems the casino’s responsibility to protect themselves against something like “edge sorting” by ensuring the integrity of their games.

Of course, the pattern suggested here is intriguing as well. What had seemed like a unique situation happening at Crockfords involving some poorly manufactured cards reads a little differently now that it appears the same sort of problem happened elsewhere. I suppose there’s another pattern lurking as well suggested by another “cheating” incident (this one alleged) involving the materials with which games at the Borgata are played (the earlier one involving chips, of course).

The Crockfords case has yet to be decided, and this one assuredly will take some time in the “sorting” too (pun intended). Will be curious to see where both end up, as well as whether or not Ivey comes out ahead in both of these legal games.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Teeing Off

The Masters began today. Like happens with the Olympics I find myself keeping it on as a kind of ambient soundtrack to my work, with occasional glances up to see a shot or check who is leading.

While the absence of Tiger Woods from Augusta was the most frequently reported story over the last couple of weeks, other articles catching my eye included several emphasizing how open the field is this year thus making it difficult to predict a winner.

I read one pointing out how the last 24 majors had been won by 21 different players. Another noted how during the 2013-14 PGA season there have been 18 different winners in 21 total events. Rory McIlroy was quoted saying he thought up to 70 different players among the 97-player field were capable of winning. Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson said he thought about half the field had a chance (although if the greens were fast he’d reduce that number to under a dozen).

Indeed, these stories are all kind of related to the one about Woods, as those looking to predict a winner in Tiger’s absence found themselves hard-pressed to latch onto a favorite. I’ve been noticing as well several in my Twitter timeline sharing their bets on various players to win, with all standing to earn big returns given the fact that the odds are long on everyone.

The situation isn’t perfectly analogous to poker tournaments, but it is similar insofar as the likelihood of any single player winning is always fairly slim, and there’s also usually going to be great variety in the winners over the course of a large enough sample size.

For example, entire summers go by at the World Series of Poker with perhaps only a single double-winner -- or even none -- among the 60-plus events. The European Poker Tour is about to mark its 100th Main Event this fall when it returns to Barcelona, and they’ve actually yet to have anyone win more than one title.

That said, those playing in the Masters this week all represent the sport’s elite -- a marked difference from the field of pretty much any poker tournament which invariably includes a number of amateurs and part-timers with varying skill levels represented throughout.

I think it’s probably the case with most golf tournaments and with any poker tournament that there are usually a handful who participate who have essentially zero chance of winning. But while there’s little likelihood for someone without any experience or ability to have earned a spot in the 97-player field at this week’s Masters, such can always happen with poker tourneys where anyone with enough to buy in with can play.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Dealing with KISS

So I’m clicking around today, as we all tend to do, and see Chuck Klosterman has written something like 10,000 words about KISS today for Grantland. It’s kind of a funny divide we have going here online these days -- everything is either over in an instant or designed to take up your whole afternoon.

Klosterman’s “definitive guide” to KISS has been occasioned by the fact that the four-plus-decade-old group is slated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this week. After a lengthy preamble, the piece covers every single studio album, live album, compilation, solo work, and other ephemera. I skimmed through the first half, then mostly just scrolled through the remainder once the story hit the mid-1980s -- just a little past the time the makeup came off.

I was just having a conversation with my buddy Sergio Prado a couple of weeks ago down at Viña del Mar about KISS. We’re close to the same age, and were both preteens when we first became aware of the band -- in other words, right smack in the middle of what I’d guess to have been the band’s prime demographic at the time. As I told Sergio, the second album I ever bought was a KISS record, albeit one of their less notable offerings, Dynasty (with their “disco” hit “I Was Made for Loving You”).

Sergio and I both remembered adults warning us against KISS -- obviously an important part of their allure. I recalled an elementary school teacher actually insisting to me that old line about the band being “Knights In Satan’s Service” and thus to be avoided at all costs.

I still will spin Destroyer and Rock and Roll Over now and then, and I have an LP copy of the first Alive record which I haven’t pulled out in ages. I wrote here a few years back about delightfully stumbling upon a KISS cover band once and being more or less spellbound for the next hour-plus. But I never did develop any sort of lifelong fascination with KISS along the lines that Klosterman appears to have done.

At one point near the end of the piece, Klosterman makes kind of a curious assertion. It might be the most interesting point of the whole dissertation, although I can’t really claim that as I didn’t read the entire massive tome.

“I own Kiss,” he claims, then clarifies that he means “I have complete intellectual autonomy over my interaction with Kiss, as does every other person immersed in the Kiss Lifestyle.” The claim is primarily supported by his understanding of the band as an entirely commercial entity, one consequence of which is the necessary introduction of a kind of critical distance between producer and consumer. Fans adore KISS when they perform, says Klosterman, but “the moment they exit the arena, that same fan base views them skeptically and objectively.”

I get the cynicism and even kind of identify with the position he’s describing. That is to say, I “like” KISS all right, but I tend to keep ’em at arm’s length. But I’m not sure I buy the “intellectual autonomy” line or the idea that as a critic Klosterman has some sort of mastery over the complicated “text” of KISS. Something tells me devoting this much time and effort to working out ideas about KISS more likely betrays a lack of control over one’s relationship with the subject of one’s criticism than it does “autonomy.”

There’s one other bit of trivia Klosterman includes (since he’s including everything) -- the old story of Ace Frehley having skipped out during part of the recording of Destroyer to play in a poker game. Thus was Dick Wagner (of Alice Cooper’s band) brought in to play the solo on one track (“Sweet Pain”).

When including that reference, Klosterman links to Frehley’s solo track “Five Card Stud” from his 1989 solo album Trouble Walkin’, easily one of the most banal poker songs ever penned, although I guess it rocks well enough when compared to other less-than-inspired pop-metal of the era.

Anyhow, if you’re a KISS fan -- and whatever you believe to be your level of “intellectual autonomy” in your relationship with the group -- you might give Klosterman’s piece a skim.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Thompson Street Poker Club

Not long after Life magazine first debuted in 1883, a series of comic stories began to appear in the weekly publication describing happenings of a fictional group of poker players called the Thompson Street Poker Club.

The series belongs to a familiar category of poker-related storytelling that marks the late 19th and early 20th centuries, namely, collections of linked tales presenting a kind of historical account or chronicle of a poker club’s regular games, sort of resembling colorful versions of the minutes of a committee’s meetings. I wrote about another such collection here a while back called Queer Luck by David A. Curtis (published in 1899).

Life‘s associate editor Henry Guy Carleton wrote the Thompson Street Poker Club stories. The son of a famous Union general, Carleton was also a playwright who would later have a few of his plays performed on Broadway. He was additionally an inventor who is credited with early versions of smoke detectors and fire alarms.

Thirteen of the stories were collected in a slim volume published in 1884. Interestingly, the book is dedicated to Robert C. Schenck, described as “that noble expounder of the game.” Schenck was the U.S. congressman who happened to write an early draw poker primer that was published in England and then reprinted in the U.S. in 1880.

A sequel appeared five years later, titled Lectures Before the Thompson Street Poker Club, again penned by Carleton, containing six longer stories featuring the same cast of characters. This one even more closely mimics the committee-meeting conceit, with each story starting with references to a speaker and those in attendance and even a point to note how the “minutes” of the previous meeting were read at the start of each new one. The lectures sometimes recall incidents from the first volume, with the club’s members revisiting earlier conflicts while debating the club’s various rules and procedures.

The Thompson Street stories are notable for a couple of reasons. One is the fact that they are illustrated with drawings by E.W. Kimble, best known for having illustrated Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884). In fact, it was after seeing Kimble’s work in Life that Twain got in touch with Kemble and eventually got him signed on to illustrate Huck Finn.

The other is that the players in the Thompson Street Poker Club are African American, and thus the stories are sometimes referred to as the first ever poker books to feature African Americans. They are also sometimes considered along with other late 19th-century examples of “black humor” or “slice of life” representations of urban blacks (even though they were written and illustrated by whites).

Reading through the collections, the initial 1884 title contains several grins, as well as some very familiar scenarios from poker fiction. For example, one story titled “The Scraped Tray” reaches a climax with a draw-poker hand being bet and raised with all the two players possess, then ends with a showdown of four kings versus four aces, perhaps recalling the climactic hand of Mark Twain’s story “The Professor’s Yarn” written just a few years before.

A twist here is the manner of the cheating involved to produce such a showdown -- one player has used a razor to scrape a three of diamonds to appear to be an ace.

Indeed, the “razzer” is the favored weapon used to settle disputes in the games, unlike the pistol Backus draws in Twain’s story. In fact, the first story in the collection -- “Two Jacks an’ a Razzer” -- might be read as a variation on the old Wild Bill Hickok story in which the lawman claims to have a full house with three aces and one six, then produces his pistol and announces “Here is the other six.”

Of course, anyone who reads The Thompson Street Poker Club today is immediately struck by the sometimes-hard-to-parse patois devised by Carleton to represent his characters’ speech and heavily employed throughout (again mimicking Twain). Such is evidenced in story titles like “Triflin’ Wif Prov’dence,” “Dar’s No Suckahs in Hoboken,” and “Dat’s Gamblin.’” (It goes without saying the n-word is frequently and casually employed as well.)

The characters aren’t too deeply developed although are suggestive of more thorough comic types, with Kemble’s drawings adding a great deal to the reader’s ability to imagine them. Most are given inspired names like Professor Brick, Mr. Cyanide Whiffles, Mr. Tooter Williams, Elder Jubilee Anderson, and the like.

The Rev. Thankful Smith is also a frequent participant, one of several churchmen who participate in the game and who in one story gets involved in a humorous exchange about the relationship between poker and religion (or lack thereof).

“I rises hit,” announces the Rev. Thankful amid the play of a hand, who then “put up such a stack of blue chips that Mr. Whiffles nearly fainted.”

“‘What yo’ go do dat for, Brer Thankful?’ inquired the Deacon, in wild remonstrance. ‘Dat’s not de speret ob de Gospil.’”

“‘Whar -- whar yo’ fin’ draw-poker in de Gospil?’ testily rejoined Mr. Smith. ‘Does yo’ tink do Possles ’n de ’Vangelists writ de Scripter after rasslin’ wid a two-cyard draw agin a flush?’ he sarcastically inquired,” later adding “‘Dis ain’t no prar meetin’.’”

Both titles are readily available online, if you’re curious (I find the first collection of the two more engaging). There’s much more to say about them, as well as about their status as representations of blacks by whites (and more or less for whites) which appears mostly sympathetic, although I’m hesitant to say more without looking further into the texts and their reception.

Incidentally, the Thompson Street titles would later get sold along with another collection from 1888 titled The Mott Street Poker Club written by Alfred Trumble in which the activities of a group of Asian poker players in Chinatown are described (with markedly less racial sensitivity).

Another footnote to add is that the song “The Darktown Poker Club” -- a hit for Bert Williams way back in 1914 -- was apparently inspired by the Thompson Street stories. And speaking of things from way back, I included that song in the first episode of The Hard-Boiled Poker Radio Show.

Click the titles below to read:

  • The Thompson Street Poker Club (1884)
  • Lectures Before the Thompson Street Poker Club (1889)

  • Labels: , , , ,

    Monday, April 07, 2014

    Delving into Dealer’s Choice

    I mentioned during those reports from Montreal last week how I’d gotten to meet a couple of the guys from the Canada PokerNews site. They were there at the partypoker.net World Poker Tour National: Canadian Spring Championship covering the tournament for the site, and they’ll be covering more tournaments above the border in the near future.

    I got a chance to talk with Anthony and Lane about some other ideas they’ve been working on over at the site. One cool one I wanted to pass along was a new series they’ve started called “Out of the Kitchen and into the Spotlight” in which a Toronto-based player and writer, Ken Lo, is writing articles focusing on the many different variants that will be played in the new “Dealer’s Choice” event at the World Series of Poker this summer.

    If you recall, the new WSOP schedule’s Event No. 41 is a $1,500 buy-in bracelet tourney in which the players will get to choose between 16 different poker variants. Here’s the structure sheet listing all of the different games.

    It has been clarified since the new event was announced that players will be taking turns calling games for an entire six-handed orbit (and not just for one hand). Not strictly “dealer’s choice,” then, but the spirit of the idea remains in place.

    Anyhow, Ken Lo is working his way through strategy discussions of all the different variants from which players will be allowed to choose for Event No. 41, and he’s starting with lesser known games like Badugi (and its offshoots). Here are links to the first four articles in the series.

  • Dealer’s Choice (Introduction)
  • Badugi
  • Triple Draw
  • Badeucy and Badacey
  • Click through and check out the articles. A neat idea, I think.

    Have to say I am very curious about this event and whether or not players will indeed choose some of the less played games like Badugi, Badeucy, Badacey, five-card draw, and ace-to-five draw. (Kind of wishing they had snuck five-card stud in there, too!)

    Labels: , ,

    Friday, April 04, 2014

    Before the Boom: Remembering Late Night Poker

    During my travels over the last couple of weeks there have been some interesting items posted over on Learn.PokerNews. I’d been meaning to point out a few of them here, and now that I’m back I finally have some time to highlight one recent series of articles in particular.

    We’re now more than a decade on from the start of the televised poker “boom” that was ignited by the debut of the World Poker Tour in late March 2003 and then fueled even more dramatically by ESPN’s showing of the World Series of Poker Main Event a few months after that.

    Both of those shows featured so-called “hole card cameras,” of course, which distinguished them from earlier WSOP broadcasts. When coupled with commentary and other bits of post-production, the shows proved immensely successful, with the rise of online poker (and, importantly, the sponsorship of sites) helping to create a genuine cultural phenomenon for the next few years.

    Before all that, though, was Late Night Poker, the U.K. poker show that debuted in 1999 and created a kind of mini-boom mostly confined to the other side of the Atlantic. The influence of Late Night Poker is significant in many ways, including its use of under-the-table cameras to show hole cards. Many mistakenly think the idea originated with the WPT later, but it was LNP that pioneered the technique.

    About three years ago I had the chance to talk at length with Jesse May about the creation of the show for a two-part interview over on Betfair Poker, and he provided a lot of interesting back story for how the show came about and was received.

    Anyhow, getting back to Learn.PokerNews... one of the creators of the show, Nic Szeremeta, recently shared a lengthy, three-part history of the making of Late Night Poker with Learn that begins here. The history had been published before in Poker Europa magazine and Szeremeta kindly offered it to be reproduced over at Learn. He then did an interview with Michelle Orpe in which he adds a few other thoughts about the show and his life in poker.

    Coincidentally, Howard Swains found reason to write about Late Night Poker over on the PokerStars blog just a little over a week ago (right before we ran Szeremeta’s series) thanks to the fact that Jin Cai Lin, one of those playing in Vienna, had been a regular on the original show. Read what Howard had to say both about the show and Lin by clicking here.

    Meanwhile, back over on Learn.PokerNews there have been other, cool strategy entries of late and features, too, by a variety of contributors, with new content going up each day, so get clicking.

    With all of these trips and my travel reports, today marks 19 straight days of scribblin’ over here. Thanks as always for stopping by, and enjoy the weekend. I know I will!

    Labels: , , , , , ,


    Older Posts

    Copyright © 2006-2013 Hard-Boiled Poker.
    All Rights Reserved.