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ales of Team Carborundum
23rd 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
    This week begins what is unquestionably the greatest tennis month of the year, beginning with the French Open and concluding with Wimbledon. To win one of these tournaments a player has to win seven consecutive best of five set matches over two weeks. It’s a minimum of twenty hours of hard fought tennis, and usually a good deal more.

One reason the Grand Slams make such great betting events is because of the sheer size of the fields. With 128 runners, the first rounds feature sixty-four separate betting matchups, twice the number of matchups that they have in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament, known as March Madness. If you can’t find some good betting opportunities from sixty-four possibilities taking place over two days, then it’s better to change the channel.

Rather than look for the really good players sure to get through to the next round for a bet, Team Carborundum strives to identify the absolute worst players in the field, the last out of 128, and bet against them. Like in last year’s US Open, when wildcard Malivai Washington was playing the last professional match of his career on knees that were not necessasrily his own. If you’re injured and you’re playing French Open baseline tennis, where there are very few quick points, and you have to run back and forth and hammer shots from both sides of the court, well, lucky net cords ain’t gonna win the match.

Byron Black has been on a very limited schedule for the last four months, and TC figures he must be injured. The only tournaments he’s showed up for besides Davis Cup are the Masters Events in Indian Wells and Miami, which have nice paychecks even for first round knockouts, which he was. Black is playing Israeli Harel Levy, who could as soon run the Annapurna circuit as play his first round match. This guy is fit, and hanging with the likes of Gustavo Kuerten can’t be bad for his game.

Poor Paul Goldstein can’t seem to get anything right. He’s had trouble to win even a set this year, and the likelihood of him getting through to the second round on clay is dire. He’s from New Jersey, but it won’t help. Memphis man Chris Woodruff is playing a qualifier in the first round, but Team Carborundum will try a random guy who’s just won three qualifying matches to steamroll the Tennessee Cough.

Now you have to be gutsy to win the French Open. It’s not like at the US Open, when Pete Sampras vomited in the corner and then hit a second serve ace in the corner of the box to win the tournament. In the French Open, you have to vomit in the corner and then play a twenty-seven stroke rally with two diving recoveries from overheads. You don’t want to peak too soon. In 1999, Andre Agassi practically got knocked out in the second round against Arnaud Clement before going on to play his best tennis at the end.

The French Open always seems to be one by a guy who just starts running and just won’t quit. Like Agassi, Chang, and Kuerten. But Kuerten may be susceptible in heart stopping five setters, and his draw is tough. The young Spanish phenom Juan Carlos Ferrero declared two months ago that he would play every match in every tournament leeading up to the French Open, if need be. And he’s practically done that, playing himself out of the tournament in the process. A leg injury and not enough rest lead to a slim chance of winning seven matches in a row.

With the 2001 World Series of Poker now in the books, I got news for people who count their fingers twice after they wash their hands. Binion’s Horseshoe were gracious hosts. That’s a fact. The young Benny Behnen and the Binion’s staff went out of their way to make the event accomodating for players and spectators alike, the comps were fast and furious and closed circuit big screen TV coverage of the final table was provided for all spectators. It’s clear that Binion’s Horseshoe is serious about continuing the thirty year tradition of the World Series of Poker, and that’s the way it should be.
Editor's note

The French Open, Roland Garros, Paris May 28 - 10 June 2001
The Queen's Club, West Kensington 11-17 June 2001
The 2001 Wimbledon Championships 25th June - 8th July.
Roland Garros Official Website
Official Wimbledon web site