THE WEEKLY SHUFFLE, 2006-04-23, by Ozone
In our Poker Blogs article, we detailed the blogs of some well-known poker players. This article focuses on the websites of several professional players.
Iranian-born magician-turned-professional poker player Antonio Esfandiari's website has been the butt of many jokes in the online poker community. Noted as the youngest player ever to win a million dollar prize in a poker tournament, the main portion of his website is used to detail his posse hilariously known as "Rocks and Rings". The crew's goal, per definition on Antonio's website, is to live a life of hedonism tempered by reason. A full glossary of the common lingo used by "Rocks and Rings" is available on the WPT Champion's website. Some of the funnier definitions include "bite" which means an incoming cell phone call, such as "I have to go outside and take this bite". "Hotwire" which means to hook up with a girl and leave the club together.
One should not strain their eyes searching for advanced poker strategy advice on "The Magician's" website. What little advice Antonio shares with his readers boils down to "don't play scared". The "Ask Antonio" section of the website allows readers to email questions that will be publicly answered by the Magician himself.
It is hard to gauge whether or not Antonio takes himself completely seriously. He seems like a nice guy with a great brain for poker, but his website tends to leave one with the impression that he thinks way too highly of himself.
Barry Greenstein has garnered a lot of respect in the poker community. Nicknamed "Robin Hood" for donating all of his tournament winnings to charity, Greenstein has arguably won more money playing cash games than anyone else in the world over the past ten years. With extensive experience playing against high stakes poker professionals, Greenstein has taken the time to build a "Player Analysis" section on his website that highlights his feelings towards the abilities of several well-known players.
Over 30 poker professionals have been reviewed on Barry's website. With each review comes an "Amusing Antedote" where Barry tells an entertaining story regarding the player in question. In addition, each player review page has a song Barry has chosen to help readers relate to the player. For example, Johnny Chan's page plays the Carl Douglas song "Kung Fu Fighting," which Barry chose due to Chan's pride for his Chinese heritage.
Aside from the "Player Review" section, Greenstein's website is basically just a plug for his new poker book "Ace on the River". The book is regarded by many as one of the best poker books on the market.
Nine time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth's website has recently been revamped to include his new logo and more wonderful self-promoting content. For example, the "Bio" section of his website starts off by saying, "You can call him Phillip, or you can call him Phil, but however you greet him, you'll have to look up to say hi, because Madison, Wisconsin-born Phil Hellmuth, Jr., stands on a stack of poker-and-life achievements that make him the envy of poker players and non-players alike." From there it just gets worse as Hellmuth rattles off every noteworthy achievement he has harnessed in his productive career as a poker professional.
Hellmuth, who is actually a pretty decent writer, has an "Articles" section that contains some entertaining stories from the poker world. His website also affords one the opportunity to buy his overpriced books, DVDs, and poker chips. On the whole, Hellmuth's website fails to match the larger-than-life public persona he has acquired over the last few years. It is mostly full of shameless plugs and outdated material.
Canadian-born Evelyn Ng has a very flashy website that helps distract visitors from her lack of poker accomplishments and keep them focused on how good looking she is. Evelyn is perhaps best noted as having grown up with (and even dated) poker superstar Daniel Negreanu. One cannot help but assume that a large portion of her fame stems from her looks and connections with important figures in the poker world. The most valuable content on her website is the photo gallery that contains more than 200 pictures of the beautiful Ng with several other members of the poker community. Beyond the photo gallery, Ng's website is full of fluff.
Sam Farha, perhaps best noted for his 2nd place finish to Chris Moneymaker in the 2003 WSOP Main Event, has one of the classiest and most well constructed websites of any poker professional. The Lebanese player's website features a timeline that highlights his career as a professional gambler. Readers learn from the "Bio" section that Farha hustled others out of their money playing Pac-Man, pinball, and pool as a teenager in Beirut. He moved to America in 1977 to attend the University of Kansas where he graduated with a business degree. After bouncing around working odd jobs in Houston, Farha eventually found his calling at the poker table. Currently he is regarded as one of the most feared pot-limit Omaha players in the world.
The coolest part of Farha's website is his photo gallery that features several vintage-looking images from the poker world. Farha also has a line of clothing merchandise and poker accessories available for purchase through his website. It is clear that Sam has done a good job of using the internet to capitalize on the fame he acquired for his great finish at the 2003 WSOP.
The Weekly Shuffle is our Sunday column with our observations and commentary on the poker world. Have an idea for an article? Leave a suggestion on the feedback page.
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