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My Second Best WSOP Dinner of the Year

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Blog, Personal, Restaurant Reviews, World Series of Poker | 1 comment




Continuing the countdown from the previous article (READ HERE)….


The best thing about Joe Hachem’s “Ten-Year Victory Anniversary Party,” held on the night of July 5, 2015 wasn’t the food — which was exquisite.  It wasn’t the company — which was unforgettable.  It wasn’t even the wine and cocktails — which were bountiful and best of all, free.  No, the best thing about the evening was the host — Joe Hachem.

Most of us involved in the poker game know Hachem as the 2005 world poker champion, which was won amidst a thundering chorus of chants, most notably “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.”  Remember, it was Hachem and his vocal entourage of Aussies who unwittingly changed tournament poker forever into the highly interactive spectator sport that it’s become today, with audiences shoehorned around the final table not just cheering like it’s a football game but at times even bantering back and forth with the players.  Before the night Hachem won what turned out to be last WSOP gold bracelet ever handed out at the old Binion’s Horseshoe, championship tables were hedged within a far-more subdued atmosphere, similar to what one expects of a gentlemanly chess match, with occasional outbreaks of the requisite golf clap.

But now I’m getting away from myself.  Back to the party.

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“Poker Night in America” Coming to Twitch this Monday-Tuesday

Posted by on Jul 19, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments





Poker Pros Jason Somerville, Daniel Negreanu, Maria Ho, Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier and Others confirmed to play.


This coming Monday, July 20th and Tuesday 21st, “Poker Night in America”will host a first-of-its-kind themed cash game that will highlight the top poker streamers from

The lineup will include all the popular poker pros that have invited fans onto their live streams on including Jason Somerville, Daniel Negreanu, Betrand “Elky Grospellier, Jamie Staples, Dan O’Brien, Maria Ho, Randy “nanonoko” Lew and more.

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Blown Away by the Great Mort Weiss

Posted by on Jul 18, 2015 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews | 0 comments




There are precious instants in life when you know you’re on the right track.

Today included one of those savored personal moments.

Imagine — me opening up my clearinghouse in the “comments” section at this website and finding a post by the great jazz musician Mort Weiss.

Excuse me, while I take breath.

Weiss is one of the great clarinet players of our time, and has quite a story.  He’s still going strong and releasing new material regularly.  READ MORE ABOUT MORT WEISS — HERE

Here’s a short clip of Mort Weiss performing, which is just one of his many talents.  He also has written extensively on jazz, his interests, and life.  Check out his website called THE MORT REPORT — HERE.

Welcome to Mort Weiss.  Thanks for visiting.  Please don’t be a stranger.



Photo Credit:


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My Favorite Dinners (2015 World Series of Poker)

Posted by on Jul 17, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Las Vegas, Personal, World Series of Poker | 3 comments



Oh, What a Night! Amazing cast of poker characters — including Tony Hachem, Shane Warne, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, Brian Rast, Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari and his Dad, me on the bottom left, and lots of others cool people, too. At the SECOND BEST dinner I attended at the 2015 WSOP What was the best? Read on….


Writer’s Note:  First in a series of I don’t know how many articles.


Between May 26 and July 15, I worked 51 consecutive days and nights at the 2015 World Series of Poker.

And I have it easy.  Just ask the immigrant who works outdoors and picks lettuce 345 days a year.

Such a schedule might seem excessively long, and it certainly provided yet another annual test of commitment and fortitude, an arduous ordeal which feels slightly tougher each year, first because my boss Caesar keeps on adding more and more gold bracelet events to cover (we hit 68 this year, an all-time high), but fatigue far better explained by losing sight of the evanescent signpost reading “you were once age 50” now a distant blur in the rear-view mirror.

That said, I have a bold confession to make.  Yes, I do put in long hours.  But I also enjoy some ridiculously long dinner breaks.  As the saying goes — work hard, play harder.

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Thoughts on “Oklahoma Johnny” Hale’s Pledge of Allegiance Controversy at the WSOP

Posted by on Jun 20, 2015 in Blog, Las Vegas, Personal, Politics, Rants and Raves, World Series of Poker | 19 comments




Writer’s Note:  The views expressed are strictly my own and do not reflect the opinions nor the positions of the World Series of Poker, Caesars Interactive Entertainment, or the Rio Las Vegas.


I like “Oklahoma Johnny” Hale.  I respect Mr. Hale.  I think Mr. Hale has done a lot of good things for poker.

At age 88, he doesn’t quite get around as well as in his younger days.  But Mr. Hale remains mentally sharp as a tack and personifies the prevailing wisdom we all should follow that one doesn’t ever retire from the activities he enjoys and values in life.

Earlier today, Mr. Hale gave his usual opening remarks just prior to the start of the Seniors Championship, here at the 2015 World Series of Poker.  These festivities tend to be considerably longer than normal since there’s some period of reflection, including a poignant moment of remembrance for all the poker greats who are now gone, as well as patriotic fanfare connected to an age group sometimes best described as “the greatest generation.”

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The 2015 World Series of Poker at the Midway Point

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Blog, World Series of Poker | 0 comments



Writer’s Note:  With about half of the gold bracelet events on the 2015 World Series of Poker now completed, here’s a look at the record pace being set by this year’s spectacle, taking place at the Rio in Las Vegas, through July 15th.  Note the increase not just in tournaments and prize money, but secondary events such as Daily Deep Stacks.  Each and every year, the WSOP always seems to include controversy and some well-deserved criticism.  That said, I think these numbers bode well for the future of the series and the state of poker overall.  This press release was released by Seth Palansky of the WSOP and Caesars Interactive Entertainment.




34 of 68 Events Complete, Entries up 48%, Average Entries per Event up 38%


Still Plenty of Poker Left with Exciting and New Events on Tap through July 14, 2015


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Anyone Betting Saturday Night’s Porter-Broner Fight (Must Read)

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Blog, Las Vegas, Sports Betting | 3 comments




If you don’t know who Matt Lessinger is by now, then plug his name into the SEARCH feature here at this site and educate yourself.

He’s a great analyst and for this reason I bet most of his recommendations blind.

Lessinger posted some excellent analysis on the boxing match tomorrow night, taking place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, between Shawn Porter and Adrien Broner.  What follows are five emails written by Lessinger (and posted with his permission).

This discussion is interesting for two reasons:  First, for those who bet on sports, it’s always interesting  get good information.  Second, for those who wonder what’s involved in the rituals of a winning sports bettor, this exchange provides some unique insight.

I bet Shawn Porter back on June 10th, based on the (then) line of PORTER -145.  I was shocked to see the line move down, where it’s now PORTER -136.  I bet it again at that price, but then contacted Lessinger to hear his thoughts on why the line had moved (in the wrong direction, assuming this is the correct side).  The final three e-mails discuss the recent line movement.

I’m on Shawn Porter to win the bout.  From what follows, you can decide for yourselves if you agree:

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The Most Thankless Job in Poker — Dealing

Posted by on Jun 17, 2015 in Blog, General Poker, World Series of Poker | 23 comments




Seems like the only time most of us think about poker dealers is when one makes a mistake.

Think about it.

In my twenty-plus years in this business, I can’t remember too many players coming up and saying, “you know, the dealers in this tournament were wonderful.”  But if there’s a mistake or a misdeal, the controversy can generate a 50-page thread on 2+2.

Millions of hands are dealt out at the World Series of Poker every year.  When you add up not just what happens in the gold bracelet events, but all the satellites, sit-n-go’s, and cash games running 24-hours-a-day across 400 poker tables, that’s almost an incalculable number of cards pitched and pots pushed.

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Quit Badgering Me With Small Talk

Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in Blog, Personal, Rants and Raves, World Series of Poker | 9 comments




I hate small talk.

I fucking loath it.

What’s the most annoying string of words that stream from the human mouth, other than “Can I  borrow money?”  Consider these three words:  How are you?  Other variations of this persistent irritation include the following — How’s it going?  What’s going on?  You doing okay?

Quit it.  Just stop.  I’m begging you.

What’s the point of all this worthless time-wasting drivel?  Do you really want to know my current state of affairs — about how furious I am right now with Nevada State Bank for hitting me with those overdraft charges, the car leaking oil, my plantar fasciitis killing me, the bookies wanting their money, and current the state of affairs in Syria?

How am I, you dare to ask?  Look at me.  I’m working from noon until 3 am every day inside a building that’s so cold it could refrigerate meat.  I’ve got bronchitis and it’s 109 degrees outside.  Oh, and one of the companies I work for is $22 billion in debt and in bankruptcy.  How the fuck do you think I am?

Fact is, you don’t really care.  So, don’t ask.  Clam up and snap it shut.  Unless you have something really important to say to me, stand clear and keep quiet.  Got it?

When you do approach me, there are certain rules and procedures to follow.

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