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Posted by on Jul 6, 2013 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews, World Series of Poker | 2 comments

The Ecstasy of Gold



The 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship began today.  For me, this is a special time.

Ten years ago when I was working at Binion’s Horseshoe, there was a critical junction on the WSOP timeline.  We were given the cover story for Card Player magazine, which at the time was pretty much the voice of poker.  I was told to “handle it.”

Binion’s Horseshoe’s steady decline and eventual demise has been written about in some depth here.  However, that cover story provided a rare opportunity to re-brand ourselves and regain the high ground over everyone else.

Back then, an exciting new attraction called the World Poker Tour was kicking our ass.  Sure, we had a far superior product, largely due to our prestige and tradition.  But we weren’t marketing it right.  I decided then and there that — for all the things the WPT was doing better than us — the one thing they couldn’t touch was the gold bracelet.

Who could have imagined this?  Many years ago, gold bracelets weren’t thought of as they are today.  Many of the players who won them, including quite a few poker legends, lost them over the years or simply gave them away.  Quite a few gold bracelets ended up in pawn shops.

It seemed to me that the gold bracelet was that one item that simply couldn’t be equaled by any other poker competitor, no matter how hard they tried.  As creative as our rivals were in trumpeting their own symbols of accomplishment, nothing quite matched the WSOP gold bracelet, nor would anything ever equal it so long as I was in charge of the publicity surrounding our event.

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Posted by on Jun 25, 2013 in Blog, General Poker, World Series of Poker | 14 comments

Announcing: For $1,000 I’ll Listen to Your Bad Beat Story




Let me be perfectly blunt.

If you tell bad beat stories, you’re a loser.

End of discussion.

Yes, I’m talking to you.  No exceptions.

When you tell me about how your powerhouse poker hand was cracked, you transform yourself instantly from someone I probably like into a total bore.  You’re a loser.  Now get away from me.


I’ve never told a bad beat story to anyone.  Ever (see footnote).  Accordingly, I have no tolerance whatsoever for such trivial nonsense.  Sure, I’ll listen sometimes if the bore is a really close friend, usually faking sympathy while daydreaming about something else.  I don’t like to see my friends sad.  But the bottom line is — I don’t care.

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Posted by on Jun 23, 2013 in Blog, World Series of Poker | 3 comments

Who Says It’s Cold at the WSOP?




Everybody keeps bitching about how cold things are at the World Series of Poker this year.

Three weeks into the series, you’d think people would stop wearing shorts, sleeveless t-shirts, and flip-flops.

But hell, no!

Tony “Top Cat” Cousineau approached me this afternoon.  He was shivering so badly, you’d think he was trapped inside a meat locker.  His skin turned blue.  The poor man looked like corpse.  He went off on me about how cold it is, while dressed in what amounted to a Speedo.

Hey Top Cat!  You’re from Florida!  Your idea of a cold front is the thermostat hitting the low 60s at Daytona Beach.  Go out and buy a sweater!  Try this — put on some long pants!  Hey Tony — how about investing two bucks in a pair of socks?

I’m sick of the complaints.  They’re becoming like bad beat stories.

Now, if you will excuse me I need to head off to CVS to buy some more cough syrup and over-the-counter dope.  I can’t seem to shake this cold that’s been with me since the WSOP started.

Purely coincidental, I’m sure.


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Posted by on Jun 22, 2013 in Blog, World Series of Poker | 9 comments

The Things We Never Knew



Richard Turnbull died a few days ago.

He was the oldest dealer on the World Series of Poker staff.  Richard may have been 86 in calendar years, but he was 21 in spirit.  Richard loved poker and his favorite time of year was traveling to Las Vegas every summer to be with so many of the people he called his friends.

It’s a mystery as to why it happened.  Senseless really.

A few nights ago, Richard stepped off a curb and tried to cross the street.  He didn’t see an oncoming car and was struck.  He died a short time later.

I didn’t know Richard well.  That was my loss.  I read about Richard’s life in today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal.  I learned more about him from various poker websites which reported on the tragedy.  He seemed like a very nice man.

This morning, poker icon Mike Caro contacted me by e-mail.  To my surprise, Mike knew Richard.  They were close friends.  In fact, Richard stayed at Mike’s cabin next to the lake in the Ozarks at what’s known as “Hermitage,” where Caro now lives.

Mike wrote some extraordinary things to me.  Things I didn’t know.  Things that surprised me.

For instance, Richard goes so far back in poker that he knew Doyle Brunson before he was ever famous.  Richard actually witnessed the accident that ended young basketball star Doyle Bunson’s athletic career, causing him to decline an offer to play for the NBA’s (then) Minneapolis Lakers.

I also learned Richard was a true intellectual.  In his earlier years, he toured the nation and conducted training for the “Great Books” discussion program.  Mike Caro wrote to me, “(Richard) had tremendous influence on my early thought process.”

I would have liked to know Richard better, especially after learning these things about him.  I would have liked to hear about the people he met and the things he saw — both at the poker table and away from it.  I would have liked to hear which was Richard’s favorite book, and why.

But that might have been just scratching the surface.  How much else about Richard was there that we don’t know?

Sadly, it’s too late now.  With his passing, most of his fascinating stories and experiences go to the grave.  Lost forever.  All that would have been necessary to give them life would have been to talk to him.  To ask questions.  I think Richard would have loved to answer.

It too late to know many of the things Richard knew.  But it’s not too late to learn about someone else who is interesting.  How many other “Richards” are out there among us?  How many “Richards” would love to be asked about their favorite memory?  How many things are there that we don’t know?

In memory of Richard, let us pledge to erase our ignorance about each other, and to learn.  To learn a lot more.  For it is we who shall forever be the winners for simply asking the right questions.

Read Mike Caro’s wonderful blog entry on Richard Turnbull HERE.


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Posted by on Jun 20, 2013 in Blog, General Poker, Personal, World Series of Poker | 0 comments

Thanks for the Interview, Lee Davy




I have enjoyed Lee Davy’s work in the poker world for some time.

Usually, he interviews poker players and celebrities.  But earlier today, he interviewed me, for nearly 40 minutes.  I’m humbled by his interest.

We talked mostly about the 2013 WSOP at the midway point.

Here’s a link to Lee Davy’s interview with me this afternoon, and a cut and paste of the nice things he wrote:


When you first meet Nolan Dalla you can feel the warmth that emanates from him. He is a wonderfully articulate man, and a loving man, but what endears him to me the most is his willingness to wander into the spotlight and answer any question that you throw at him. A very rare commodity in a world where most people find themselves tied in more knots than Anastasia Steele.

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has officially reached the mid-point of the 44th Annual jamboree for anyone and everyone associated with poker. The 31st bracelet is about to clasp itself onto the wrist of one of the players remaining in the $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Low 8-or-Better, and the early prognosis is good with participation up 27% versus 2012 levels.

If you want to understand how well the series is performing then who better to track down than the WSOP Director of Media? During the interview with Dalla we discuss the underlying reasons why their has been an increase in player numbers as well as a whole range of other broader topics that include the emergence of the Canadians at this years series, the punishment of David Diaz, the wonderful story of Ken Lind and I even managed to pull a few tears out of the great man’s eye as he recounted his magical WSOP moments.

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