It Was the Third of September, That Day I’ll Always Remember” veered toward existential brooding about poker and life in the context of thinking about the great Temptations song. A week later the 9/11 anniversary prompted similarly-styled musings in “A Meaningful Interruption.”
“No PPT For You!” and “Partouche Postscript” both addressed the guaranteed-prize-pool controversy at the Partouche Poker Tour and apparent decision to shut down the tour altogether. Then on the poker in popular culture front, in “Playing Poker with Truman and Churchill” I wrote about the famous poker game that preceded the British stateman’s “Iron Curtain” speech in 1946. And later in the month I wrote a post of praise for a favorite sitcom, “Here’s to Cheers,” that discussed a particular episode in which poker was featured.
Andy Bloch gave a long interview to Diamond Flush Poker (another of the nominees for Favorite Poker Blog in the 2013 BLUFF Reader’s Choice Awards), and I responded at length here in a post titled “Full Tilters Talking.” The next day I wrote about another big interview of a poker player -- this time from the mainstream -- in “Esfandiari on Stern.”
Then came Howard Lederer’s big interview with PokerNews, a huge deal at the time, but in retrospect an obviously self-serving first move in a mini-publicity tour designed to reposition him somehow within the poker community after his having been largely responsible for doing serious damage to it over the last several years.
I had written critically of Lederer earlier in the month in a post titled “Bad Cell” which among other topics talks about the 2012 Audi A8 L Quattro that Howard Lederer bought for $156,549 two-and-a-half months after Black Friday. (No shinola.) Then after “The Lederer Files” (the austere title PN gave the lengthy interview) began to appear, I wrote an early reaction in “On the Lederer Files: The ‘Professor’ and the ‘Culture’ of Poker” which took issue with a wild and wholly inaccurate claim by Lederer regarding online poker, ca. 2004-2008.
A few days later in “The Mis-Lederer Files,” I wrote about the interview as a whole, making the overall point that while Lederer appeared desirous to hammer home some thesis about his having been misled, the fact was he was intimately involved in misleading others throughout the FTP fiasco, an effort that continued in part through the PokerNews interview, too.
Also, as a kind of “Lederer Files” postscript, I found an old podcast from either late 2005 or early 2006 and wrote a quick synopsis/review of it here in “Poker Podcast Review: Full Tilt Poker’s Tips from the Pros, Episode 5 -- Your Online Poker Bankroll feat. Howard Lederer.” A short show, but stuffed with ironies in the post-BF, post-“Ponzi” aftermath of the implosion of Full Tilt Poker Version 1.0.
Finally, football (and picking NFL games) became a returned-to topic in September, kicked off (so to speak) in a post titled “Giants or Cowboys?” I also talked about the unforgettable “Fail Mary” climax of that replacement ref controversy in “Everything Is Wild: On the Packers-Seahawks Game; or, Simultaneous Botch.”
Icing the Kicker and Running It Twice” and “You Got to Know When to Hold’em, Know When to Punt.” The 1960 Presidential campaign was the focus of “‘We’re not now talking about a poker game’ (Kennedy & Nixon).” And physics, poker, and the usefulness of higher education were discussed in “The Boeree Principle.”
The WSOPE finished up in Cannes in early October, with Phil Hellmuth earning his 13th bracelet by taking down the Main Event. I wrote about him a couple of times, first in “What the Hellmuth?! 2012 WSOP Europe Main Event Nears Finish.” Then in “Hellmuth and the WSOP” I talk about the Poker Brat’s tourney triumphs while also noting how relatively speaking he ain’t such a great ambassador for our favorite card game.
Mid-month I appeared as a guest on “The Thinking Poker Podcast.” I was invited once again this year to participate as a voter for the Poker Hall of Fame, and in “Apples, Oranges, and the Poker Hall of Fame” I offered some thoughts about the process, nominees, and this year’s winners. Full Tilt Poker came up again a couple of times in October in “Fact-Checking; or, The Professor’s Plight” and “Full Tilt Poker Relaunch Soon (No Shinola).” And I also made a brief excursion to discuss (again) federal legislation (that again, ain’t happening) in “Meanwhile, Reid-Kyl.”
When the teaser for Full House with Johnny Chan appeared on YouTube, I couldn’t help but respond in “Here’s Johnny, Welcoming Us to His Mansion.” I would actually get a chance to ask Chan about the show a couple of weeks later in Macau, although he told me (with a laugh) that he couldn’t really discuss it.
October ended with the WSOP Main Event final table, and in the days leading up to it I wrote a post titled “For the Record: Keeping Score at the WSOP” which addressed the value and significance of hand-for-hand reporting. I then wrote about an interesting hand from 10-handed play that became even more so once we got to see everyone’s hole cards on ESPN in “Poker’s Possible Worlds; or, ‘Easy Fold for Jesse.’”
I scribbled some reactions to both days of play in “2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table (Day 1 of 2)” and “2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table (2 of 2).” Then after going back through all 399 hands of the final table and comparing ESPN’s “almost live” coverage with PokerNews’ reporting, I pulled together a mammoth post listing all of the hole cards that were revealed on the broadcast, “2012 WSOP Main Event Final Table Hole Cards (Complete).”
It was a memorable trip, including a little bit of sight-seeing in between working nine straight (long) days. I did get to visit the Venetian Macao, the world’s largest casino. And the ACOP Main Event ended most strangely, with two players ending six hours’ worth of heads-up play by shoving all-in blind and splitting the prize money.
I posted here all along the way, starting out by sharing some “Traveling Travails” (i.e., a canceled flight adding an extra day to the journey over). I finally arrived at my destination more than 8,000 miles from home, then covered the ACOP Warm-Up event (Days 1a, 1b, 2, and 3) and the Main Event (Days 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). Then in “Skipping Steps (Leaving Macau)” I wrote about the journey home.
Once back in the U.S. I again complained about not really having much in the way of online poker to enjoy in “Faraway Poker,” although my mood improved when I considered the comments of a political prognosticator and poker player in “A (Nate) Silver Lining for Online Poker.”
Pretty soon I was back in front of the set watching NFL football and “Talkin’ Thanksgiving and ‘Hero Picks’” and about a wild play that happened on “Fourth and 29.” And perhaps because I was again focused on picking football games, I was inspired to consider “Gambling as an Object of Inquiry.”
That post about gambling took me back to California Split screenwriter Joseph Walsh’s fun memoir, Gambler on the Loose, which in turn led to another exchange of emails with the writer that resulted in my sharing “A Slim Story from Joseph Walsh” (about “Amarillo Slim” Preston).
Lou Krieger” to sum up some thoughts about my friend.
The month also saw me make a couple more tourney reporting trips. I first helped cover the WSOP Circuit event at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City for PokerNews, reporting back here as I did (Days 1, 2, and 3). Then I went right back out on another PN assignment to help cover the Sands Bethlehem DeepStack Extravaganza Main Event in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (Days 1a, 1b, 2, and 3). Both were fun events, and while the workdays were super-long (as usual), I greatly enjoyed working with my long-time colleague Mickey Doft on both, as well as with rock star photographer Joe Giron in Bethlehem.
Back home, I had a chance to interview for PokerListings one of my favorite poker writers, Anthony Holden (Big Deal, Bigger Deal, Holden on Hold’em), and mentioned that here in a post titled “Holden On...”
Once back I also got to jump online a little to mess around on Hero Poker, that is until Hero decided to close shop as I noted in “A Hero-ic Effort (Hero Poker Steps Aside).” I had my balance shipped over to another Merge site, Carbon Poker, thus compelling me to write a couple of related posts -- “2013 and the Fall and Rise of Online Poker in the U.S.” and “Merge Move and Super Stretchy Screaming Monkeys.”
I always feel a little bit of dread whenever I begin these end-of-year recap posts, caused both by anticipating the tedium of the compiling process and a touch of self-loathing associated with looking back and reading my own words. (Really, who but the most vain among us can stand looking in the mirror for so long?) But as has been the case in past years, I end the task feeling somewhat content about it all, even reassured that amid all the quantity there might well have been a few instances of quality popping up here and there.
Again, thanks to all who’ve spent any time at all reading Hard-Boiled Poker in 2012. I hope you found the visits worthwhile.