Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Linking Out

For today’s post I thought I’d compile a few interesting poker-related reads (and one listen) from the last few days.

crAAKKerFirst off, Grange95 wrote an excellent post following last week’s ruling by a federal district court judge that poker was a game “predominated by skill rather than chance” and thus not in the judge’s view to be regarded as gambling as defined by the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA)

Grange95’s post takes the form of outlining various consequences of the ruling, along the way summarizing its more salient points in a manner we non-lawyer types can follow. His conclusion? It is indeed a landmark ruling, and one that will play a role in future chapters of the “luck-vs.-skill” debate. However, its scope is limited and there still exist federal and state laws other than the IGBA with which poker’s proponents will have to contend.

Check out “United States v. Dicristina -- A Win for Poker Players (with an Asterisk)” for more.

Warren BuffetThe Forbes site provided yet another interesting poker-related piece yesterday, a feature describing the high-dollar home game (of sorts) hosted by the much-heralded, highly influential investor Warren Buffet.

In “Inside Warren Buffet’s Private Poker Game,” Randall Lane describes what is in fact an annual tournament hosted by Buffet in which a select group competes for a prize pool worth half a million dollars. Lane himself played in the tournament this past June along with a few high-profile folks, some of whom were bounties in the tourney.

The article mostly focuses on Lane’s own performance (he went out early), and in fact it sounds like Buffet isn’t really much of a poker aficionado (he’s more into bridge). Still, kind of an interesting look at poker being played by a different cast of characters than the ones we usually follow.

'The Poker Show' with Jesse MayJesse May (Shut Up and Deal) returns this week with another episode of his podcast, “The Poker Show.” It’s been about six weeks since May’s last show back in early July (near the end of the WSOP), making the appearance of a new one notable.

In episode 39 (dated August 27), May talks to a couple of hot German players, “Mad Marvin” Rettenmaier and Dominik Nitsche. Rettenmaier, of course, just comes off an unprecedented feat on the World Poker Tour, having won the last two main events at the Bellagio (the $25K World Championship that ended Season X) and in Cyprus (the kickoff to Season XI). Nitsche, meanwhile, is also having a good year, including winning a bracelet in Event No. 59 at the WSOP, a $1,000 no-limit hold’em event that I happened to help cover.

Both are interesting characters besides being great players, and of course May is always good with the questions, so if poker podcasts are your thing, the show is worth a listen. (EDIT [added 6/10/14]: Sorry, had to remove the link to the show per a request from bwinparty.)

Viktor 'Isildur1' BlomFinally, I’ve recommended posts before by Phil Galfond on his personal blog, and he’s come up with another very good one that should probably interest anyone reading this blog. This time Galfond has written a thoughtful evaluation of one of his most celebrated opponents in the high-stakes online games, Viktor “Isildur1” Blom.

I had a chance this past summer to watch Blom play for most of Day 2 of the World Series of Poker Main Event, reporting on a number of his hands for PokerNews while gathering some thoughts of what it was like to watch the online superstar play live. I shared those impressions here in a post called “Blogging Blom,” although obviously what I saw and related was very limited, the imperfect impressions of an amateur watching the action from a few feet away.

In “Viktor Blom: The Man, The Myth, The Legend,” Galfond provides a more intimate look at both Blom the player and Blom the person. He assesses Blom’s talent (considerable, though with certain flaws), his character and personality (charming, fun-loving), and his prospects going forward (promising, though uncertain). Check it out.

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