Archive for March, 2011

Phil Galfond’s Condo Slide Featured on Yahoo!

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Professional poker player Phil Galfond, whom we recently interviewed for our Weekly Shuffle column, had his Manhattan penthouse featured in a column on Yahoo!

Galfond, who has won millions playing the highest stakes cash games online under the screenname “OMGCLAYAIKEN”, purchased two Manhattan condos in October of 2008. Since one of the condos was on top of the other, Galfond got the novel idea to build a slide connecting the two properties:

The Yahoo! real estate section interviewed the architects of the slide who said, “this adventurous client requested something we’d never seen before.” Galfond’s place does include a staircase for times when taking the slide down to the bottom floor is not desirable.

The article questions why Galfond doesn’t have a ball pit at the bottom of the slide which is a pretty good point. Maybe we can get another interview with him to get to the bottom of that obvious oversight.

Play-Money Chip Stealer Jailed

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

A British court has sentenced Ashley Mitchell to two years in prison for hacking into Zygna’s poker application after which he stole some 400 billion chips. Zygna is a Facebook application where users play poker with chips that have no direct value. Mitchell found some value in the 400 billion he stole, however. He sold close to a third of the chips on eBay for $85,000. Zygna allows players to purchase chips for use at their virtual tables. The company said the price tag for buying 400 billion chips in a legitimate manner would have been $12 million.

Mitchell, a 29 year old IT expert, pled guilty to charges of converting criminal property and violating the Computer Misuse Act. His attorney informed the court that his crimes stemmed from a gambling addiction. The judge in the case wasn’t buying it. During sentencing, he said, “People rely on computer systems. Anyone who has managed to get into these systems for their own ends should expect a stiff sentence.”

Although Zygna has no real-money poker tables, their 38 million users technically means they have the largest pool of poker players than any single site. They are the only authorized seller of Zygna poker chips meaning discount markets and eBay auctions like the one Mitchell used to distribute his stolen chips are illegal.

NY Times Article on Poker Bots

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Online poker got some pretty significant mainstream exposure this week. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the positive kind. The New York Times published an article about online poker bots. The article talks about the struggle poker players and online poker rooms face in trying to remove bots from games. There’s nothing terribly interesting about the article except for one bot-builder, Brian Jetter, going on the record about the type of thing you don’t go on the record about.

Said Mr. Jetter:

“Using a poker bot is in fact a natural extension of the game of online poker.”

And in response to Full Tilt banning some 400 players who used his software:

“We don’t think the other poker rooms we support will make a similar financial decision.”

“Poker rooms we support”?! Wow. It sounds like Mr. Jetter is actually dumb enough to believe that what he’s doing isn’t the least bit shady. Maybe he should try establishing more professional relationships with these online poker rooms he “supports”. I’d love to see how Party Poker would respond to an email from him asking what type of revenue sharing model they could offer him for proliferating their games with bots. Shoot them an email, Mr. Jetter. Or maybe they’ll contact you after seeing your name pop up in the New York Times!

I’m only kidding, Mr. Jetter. I would spend more time hoping that some redneck who has lost money playing online poker doesn’t see that NY Times article and decide to track you down before I’d hope that an online poker room would actually agree with your assessment that you’re “supporting” them. Get a clue.

Erik Seidel’s 2011

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Erik Seidel is winning lots of dollars in 2011. In fact, the eight-time bracelet winner is on one of the most unprecedented hot streaks in the history of live poker tournaments. Despite not even being in the top 10 when the year started, Seidel is now the #1 on the all-time poker winnings list in live tournaments. He currently has career earnings of $14.6 million, enough to put him a comfortable half a million dollars ahead of Daniel Negreanu. Let’s break down Seidel’s 2011.

January 10th

In early January, Seidel joined hoards of other poker players in the Bahamas for the PCA. He logged his first cash of the year for $46,000 by finishing 3rd in a $5,000 6-max event that drew 64 entrants. Alright, not a bad start to the year.

January 13th

Seidel invested most of his winnings from the 6-max event to join a staggering field of 151 players in the $25,000 High Roller event at PCA. He navigated through one of the toughest tournament fields imaginable to finish 4th for $295,000. Not a bad couple of days of work.

January 22nd

After the Bahamas, Seidel flew to Australia to participate in two of the largest buy-in poker tournaments ever held. First up? A $100,000 buy-in event that lured an impressive 38 players to the felt. Seidel would settle for third and notch a cool $618,000 to his career winnings. Not a bad month of poker so far.

January 27th

A few days later, Seidel was one of 20 players to cough up $250,000 to play in one of the richest poker tournaments ever held. He would win the whole thing for $2.4 million, the largest cash of his career. January 2011 was good to Erik Seidel.

February 22nd

After a month of presumably rolling around in money and laughing maniacally, Seidel shows up at the L.A. Poker Classic for the $5,100 heads-up event. Just 48 players participate. Seidel is one of the money finishers in 5th place for $14,500.

February 27th

A few days later, 18 players fork over $25,000 for the L.A. Poker Classic High Roller event. Another huge buy-in event against a tough field. Another win for Seidel. $144,000 pocketed.

March 3rd

By the time Seidel returned to Vegas for the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, he was already having one of the most impressive years on poker record despite it barely being March. So what did Seidel do to follow-up on his impressive start to the year? He won the entire NHUPC one year after finishing runner-up to Annie Duke. Ship the fame. Ship the TV exposure. Ship the $750,000. And ship #1 on the all-time poker winnings list.

Anyone who knows Seidel personally will tell you he is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever encounter in poker. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame last fall and has won nearly five million dollars playing the game since then. If his accomplishments were packaged in a Hellmuthian personality, Seidel would probably be the most recognizable face in the game. But he’s not a jackass like Hellmuth. He is a humble guy who just shows up and plays the game the best he knows how which, evidentially, is better than just about anyone. Good for Seidel for not allowing his brief appearance on Rounders (seen below) in which he looks like the fool that Johnny Chan sweeps away to win a second straight WSOP Main Event not be the pinnacle of his poker career.

Emmitt Smith Escapes Out of First Round of NHUPC

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

The made-for-TV National Heads-Up Poker Challenge is taking place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas this weekend. A major upset has already taken place in round one. Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith defeated 2004 WSOP Main Event Runner-Up David Williams to advance to the round of 32. According to David Williams’ twitter, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher got all-in with Q6 against Williams’ T9 on a 9654 board and spiked a six on the river. Following the hand, Williams said on his Twitter account, “Lost to Emmitt Smith. Lost when all-in and ahead about 4 times but we all know he runs gooood. GL Emmitt. He was a class act.”

Williams, who is from Texas and an avid Dallas Cowboys fan, Tweeted that he showed up to the match in an Emmitt Smith jersey but removed it in favor of a Charlie Sheen shirt after the first hand.

Awaiting Smith in the round of 32 is Andrew “good2cu” Robl. Notable players who advanced out of the first round include: Tom Dwan, Michael Mizrachi, Peter Eastgate, Doyle Brunson, and reigning world-champ Jonathan Duhamel.

Some notables who met their demise in the first round were: Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Chris Ferguson, and actors Jason Alexander and Don Cheadle.