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ales of Team Carborundum
1st May 2001
Jesse May
Jesse May, multiple author in the gambling field and sometimes dubded the "voice of poker", writes a bi-weekly column.
Most people know Jesse as "the voice of poker" from his colourful commentary in CH4's late Night Poker. Jesse is also the author of the widely respected novel, Shut Up And Deal, which looks deep into the poker playing life. Its the hard faced 21st Century Cincinnati Kid.

Jesse is also the creator of The Gambler's Guide to the World, an insiders look at the action and games around the world.
Email : Jesse May
    It's really tough to watch the 2001 World Series Of Poker from the sidelines. And I don't mean the rail, I'm a world class sweater on everything from twenty-four hour pool matches to poker tournaments to backgammon games to screw your neighbor. I'll sweat if they're gambling. When I say sidelines I say the Internet sidelines, trying to drag down information from clog footers who have their nose and their head in the crowd, for something we can glean. It's interesting how the WSOP is caught in that mix of a big news event and nothing at all. To those who care, the WSOP is a big event, huge, and we need the information now, like when it happens. But so many people won't become aware of it until later, and it might become a bigger event worldwide through the Discovery channel or other poker vehicles then it will ever reach over the next two weeks. And finding out new information now is almost a full time job with the timings of the popular channels.

The first place something gets posted is oftentimes on RGP, the discussion group If you have trouble accessing this forum using your newsgroup application, you can also access it directly on the web at the address at the bottom of the page.

Andy Glazer is the best bet for final table information, he sits through all of them and gives you the entertaining hand by hand of the action, along with done deals. Catch him on has yet to claim a niche in World Series coverage. To date, most of the information offered at this site is another view on the same stuff Glazer saw, plus accurate information on player placings and payouts, which they feverishly put up daily along with and No clear winner in this race yet. Apparently will have the only live internet coverage of the final table of the final event, so they should rate a play for that. is being updated with tournament information daily, plus it has some extensive background material for people not as familiar with the event. During the week of the $10,000 buy-in World Championship event, look for original coverage with daily postings of interviews and the rest of the shindigs of the WSOP.

What a great final table they had in the $1500 pot-limit Omaha event this year. The small friendly round man Freddy Deeb, always known as one of the top traveling cash money pot limit Omaha players on the planet, lying first in chips over the top woman poker player on the planet, Annie Duke. Nicely followed up by multiple bracelet winner and former world champion "Suds" Heimowitz. And then the Devilfish. And remember, when you're playing pot-limit Omaha, you're playing in the Devilfish's backyard. He owns that game.

If you've played a lot of poker room poker, then you've been involved in ethical decisions. A lot of them. Things that pop up with which there is no rule book guide to, the gray area. What it comes down to is what sort of person you are. It's not one decision, it's thousands of them, and you are defined in the poker room by how you react to those many decisions, the decisions that come outside the strict guidelines of the rules of the poker room. The decisions that come with knowing how much money someone has in their pocket and what their best game is and who they owe and who's got a piece of them and how many hours they been up in a row and what kinds of drugs they're on. The decisions that come with making loans and backing people and giving up percentages. Nobody gets around these decisions, unless they lock themselves in an iron mask and don't utter a peep for the rest of their lives. Stuff happens. And as a regular high stakes poker player, your personality gets laid barer than one of those sun bleached bones after it's been gnawed on by a hungry cheetah. People find out what you're made of.

They see you up and they see you down, and they find out what you're made of. That is why recent accusations of cheating in the current big games in Las Vegas are absurd. Absurd. And I'm talking about the big game, now, if you walk into the Bellagio in Las Vegas. You got to be kidding if you think there's cheating going on in those big games there. Not just because of the place. Because of the people.

You want to know what happened in the big game at the Bellagio where the Texas banker lost the money? A guy came into the poker room. He wanted to play the best. He had the money and he knew who the best were. And he only wanted to play heads-up, one on one. And he only wanted to play who he wanted to play with. And to get that arrangement, some of his opponents gave out pieces of themselves, percentages. And the man played and he lost.

There couldn't have been anything more open, and there couldn't have been anything more honest. Collusion in a heads up match is an impossibility, a cheating poker dealer at the Bellagio today is almost as silly a proposition. If you think these players suddenly became different people then who they've been, then that's illogical. That's what strange. Because it was for a lot of money? It's always about money. It's always about money, twenty-four hours of every day in the bright confines of the Bellagio poker room, and some of the players who are having these charges leveled against them are among the most honest in poker. Ted Forrest don't cheat, nor Howard Lederer, Annie Duke. Howard Lederer is reported to be almost painful to be around, he's so honest.

Attics are nice to clean, filed neatly into bundles for archives and storybooks. My guess is that any stories waiting to come out are stories from a different time, when Vegas was a different place and poker was a different game. That stuff has been cleaned up, and that's why old cheaters are now willing to tell tales. There is no place left for them to ply their wares, so the time has come to air out the laundry. And their main goal for airing out the laundry is to expose other people's pasts.

People talk about cleaning up poker now. It's not the people that need cleaning up, although I must confess rather than sport shirts I would even prefer to see the poker players dressed like Nascar drivers, walking oil billboards from head to toe, because at least that would mean sponsorship money for them. The angles in the game that some would rather not see, taking pieces, making loans, and making deals, these things will be a part of the poker world while poker continues without sponsorship money and cash games continue to be the main source of casinos' and poker players' revenue in the poker world. Don't tell poker players what sort of risks they should take with their own money.

The next step for poker is into a full fledged tour with sponsorships. This would make the tournament circuit lucrative, number one. This would free players to pursue other means of income besides cash games. This would free casinos more into production opportunities for tournament revenue, rather than cash game rakes. I believe that poker players are ready to make this next step, the full fledged incorporation of tournament poker. Cash games become second tier. Poker has been on the verge of this breakthrough for a long time. It's coming.
Editor's note

RGP, the discussion group