On Wednesday July 13th, Upswing Poker featured pro Doug Polk released this week’s Polker News segment. The informative 15-20 minute program is based primarily on topics that are currently being discussed in the TwoPlusTwo News, Views & Gossip Forum.
Due to the highly-cited nature of Wednesday’s show, we are providing a complete written transcript to our fans and poker media outlets who support high profile poker personalities that are willing to provide genuine shoot opinions on current events.
This Week on 2+2 (July 13, 2016)
TwoPlusTwo NVG forum discussion is sponsored by Online Poker Report, a reputable source of online poker news and opinion endorsed by the 2+2 NVG community.
(0:29) 2016 WSOP Tag Team Victory
We’ve got a nice schedule of things lined up to talk about today including cheating in poker, the new Big One for One Drop, and Fedor Holz sickest run ever?
Before we get into that, we’re going to talk about something that’s important to me, the World Series of Poker. For those of you who don’t know I actually had the pleasure of winning this bad boy this week in the $1,000 buy-in Tag Team event. I played the $1k with Ryan Fee to kind of promote Upswing and we actually were kind of joking about the event a couple of weeks beforehand.
For those of you who don’t know how the event works, both players can play whenever they want as long as that’s not during a hand. However, each player must only play two hands — one big blind and one small blind. So theoretically you could have a team of let’s say four people and three people could play a combined six hands and one person could play every other hand for three days.
The formats are a little bit weird to me. I feel like a Tag Team event should have more of a team element. Some people were tweeting @DougPolkPoker that they thought a great idea for the event would be to make it an ironman event, which means no breaks, no calling it a night… the tournament begins and then you have to decide within your team who will play at what time. I love that. It’s just kind of hardcore and I love that aspect of it. Imagine no breaks in a tournament. It begins, 38 hours pass and one team wins. I think that would be phenomenal. I think it would be exciting.
But this format I really think what they were going for is the event was a lot of fun. There were people lined up all around the rail checking out the action, railing their team… a lot of camaraderie. The team that actually got 2nd to us (Adam Greenberg, Niel Mittelman and Gabe Paul) — they had this shtick going where they hand a pink hat and sunglasses on. They would constantly rotate in and out and whoever was sitting down would have the hat and sunglasses on. So it was like their whole team’s thing, right? Which is cool. I like to see a lot of that.
But some teams just had one person play almost the entire event. I hope that they change the format a little bit next year, but that does bring me up to lifetime guys… TWO bracelets! Got ’em!
(2:36) Cheating in Poker
So our first topic today is going to be cheating in poker. We’ll talk a little about RFID. We’ll talk about home games, etc.
To start off with, tournaments such as the World Series of Poker have rigorous standards they must adhere to in order to be allowed to actually show cards. In fact, I believe that at the WSOP they have to call the Nevada Gaming Control Board Gaming Commission every day and get someone to head down to the Rio and be there in person in order to transmit those hole cards. So the chance of someone being able to [compromise RFID data in real time] at the World Series of Poker is extremely low.
Now that does not mean every venue in the world is like this and I would be lying if I said I could come up here and just tell you that some places are more or less safe than others because frankly, I had no idea. I’m not at those casinos. I’m not the people running the tournament. I don’t know what’s going on in those places, right? But, what I can say is that it is certainly possible that this could occur in some instances. All it would take is for someone to have access to that information and then let someone else know and there could be some signaling or whatever. Now… is that very likely? No. I would actually be a little bit surprised if in the history of televised poker there have actually been some cases where people were scammed out of large amounts of money. Yes, I’m going to call it “scammed” because if someone knows what you have that’s a scam.
So I kind of doubt that’s ever really gone down, but that does not mean that you should not be aware of this and when you’re playing tournaments inquire about the rules as they apply to your local establishment. If you’re playing at the Aussie Millions maybe you want to know what legalities are involved with figuring out who has access to those cards and when they have that access.
What really makes sense to me is that the people who are part of the WSOP Live Stream have no communication device with them at all. I believe at the WSOP it’s like this. So that way the chance of there being cheating is just actually zero percent. So I wouldn’t be too worried about that subject in general but what I would want to talk to you about and what does happen a lot is cheating in private games.
Now I know everyone like to defend their private game and whenever I talk to someone about my stance on private games I definitely feel like I’m in the minority of high stakes players. My personal stance is this: If you’re playing a private or home game, I’m not interested in playing. And I know that that’s a very harsh rule. There are probably great home games. There are definitely poker players that I personally know that have made millions of dollars playing in home games with businessmen because they found a great spot. And honestly, cheers to them.
But there are a bunch of factors you need to know about these games that could happen. And they include the getting raided (that happens… there are instances with police kicking the door in and raiding the game). That happened in New York a bunch a couple of years ago. Sometimes the game gets robbed and that also happens. Now in the higher stakes games people don’t generally bring the money with them. They normally settle it up via bank transfer or whatever after the session, but getting robbed is also a concern.
The deck being rigged. They can have shufflers that deal out coolers or they could be putting cards in certain places of the deck… a lot of slight-of-hand things. They can do just one thing with the deck and all of the sudden you’re facing a huge cooler and you’re going to lose. There can be collusion. People could be relaying signals to each other and being able to say if they have a good hand or bad hand or a card that’s on the board or whatever. There could be so many different things… marked cards. There’s just so much to worry about and in addition to all that stuff a lot of these games have notoriously high rake. Extremely high rake. I’ve heard cases where it has $300 cap rake. How are you going to be able to beat these games? Yeah, you could find a good game or profit in it but I take a much safer stance in that I’m not interested. Don’t invite me. And maybe, maybe… I would a private home game if I knew the people really well and I knew the game well but in general I would recommend avoiding home games unless you’re playing for very small stakes in a situation where it seems legitimate and I would try to be safe with where you decide to play.
Overall there will always be cheating in poker. Because this is it guys… you’re playing for a lot of money. Whenever you’re playing for money there’s going to be cheating. Okay? I’ve seen marked cards. This year, there was an instance with marked cards in Australia. It happened a couple of times at one of Phil Ivey’s tables in either the $100k or $250k (buy-in) but that happened this year.
There was also the $10k Heads-Up WSOP last year. I forgot the name of the guy off the top of my head [Valeriu Coca] but he went deep in the tournament cheating and what he would do is he would start off each round slow and he would just like kind of play with the cards a bunch and seem like he was thinking and go back and forth. And then eventually he was slowly marking them. Over time he would finally build up markings on the cards to know which card was which. And this guy went deep in this event and has been banned from many casinos in Europe for doing the same thing. So you have to keep an eye out for these incidents.
Also sometimes just funny stuff happens. I think it was the Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge tournament in Australia in 2015 where the final table accidentally had the hole cards shown on-screen. They were showing the camera angles to the people and the hole cards were just up there for the first hand. Scott Seiver was involved I think someone else was involved [Ole Schemion] and obviously threw a huge fit. I mean, rightfully so if I was playing a hand and you were broadcasting that I had Ace-Jack to the audience I’d be pretty pissed off. But anyway the point is this — in the world of gambling keep your wits about you. Don’t play in games if you’re even a little bit sketched-out because if the game is rigged in some way the EV that costs you is immense. So be careful and make sure that you’re playing in a fair game at a safe venue.
(8:27) Big One for One Drop Returns with €1 Million buy-in
So next up we’re going to talk about the Big One for One Drop. That’s right, it is back and somehow it is bigger than ever. Not only is it a €1 million Euro entry this year. It’s also a rebuy ’cause like you know… you get stacked you kind of want to win it back, right? This tournament stands to be the largest tournament of all time and frankly, I’m having a hard time ever seeing it be beaten. Are they going to have a TWO million dollar tournament? Are they going to have a $1.5 million tournament? This might go down as the largest tournament there has ever been in the history of poker.
However I got a lot less excited when I found out that only recreational players are allowed to play. That’s right, if you play poker for a living you are not allowed to play in this tournament. Which, you know, I found a little bit upsetting being that I happen to play poker for a living. There are also some satellites which I saw running as satellites into the €1 million the One Drop. I guess maybe those are also for businessmen. I’m not sure. It’s weird to have a bunch of Turbo satellites into this event that only businessmen can play.
Maybe there are businessmen that want to gamble for €250,000 but not €1,000,000? I don’t really know but this does seem like it will be a very good event for poker overall. Whenever you get fun players to come together to play for a lot of money it’s a good thing for poker. The video is good. The footage is good. The hands are good. It creates a little vibe, and not to mention I think there are 7 or 8 other events that are going to be running concurrently with the One Drop that professionals are indeed allowed to play. Also I imagine there’s going to be a series of cash games on-site as well that pros are welcome to play in.
I think they’re also planning on having a €1 million cash game. I’m not totally sure if pros are or are not allowed in that either but what I will say is this… I think it’s good to see a return of this event. This event has only run twice before and it was for $1 million USD in Las Vegas at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino as a WSOP event. The event was played twice. The first time it probably had around a 50-50 split between professional players and recreational players and things were pretty good. The rake was high at 11% but it’s going to charity which seems okay, but overall it was a good event. People could still be profitable. Some businessmen made some runs and it was generally a more fun event. However two years later, a lot of these young, no-name pros (such as myself) entered this event and then kind of ruined the “businessman experience.”
All of the sudden instead of it being like 50-50, it was more like 70 or 80 percent professionals. Thus killing the ROI of the weaker players and a lot of the businessmen who came there to have fun. And I guess to be fair to them, let’s just say you’re worth $100 million and you want to play a $1 million tournament… you kind of want to have a chance to win and you don’t really want to have a bunch of guys in there with like 4 percent of themselves which by the way, is still a $40,000 goddamn dollar tournament. But you don’t really want to have all of these people in there with 4 percent of themselves when you’re in there with 100 percent, right? It’s a very different experience. It’s not what you’re signing up for and I can understand and respect that they kind of want to protect these players in order to have this event.
I do think it would be nice if there was a way for a few pros to be able to play, but just so you don’t get completely shut out, there’s a cash game that runs in Las Vegas that only specific people can play in if they’re on a certain list. I am not on that list and so I don’t get to play in it. I’ve maybe played it a couple of times in my life. I would just go there and show up and wait, and hope that maybe a seat opens up before everyone leaves. I’d get to play like 5 hands or maybe an hour. Anyway, the private games, while they do upset some of the professionals like myself and we can’t play them, I do think that this event is great for poker.
Another notable thing about the event is that players can actually hire a coach to help them throughout the event. The player will be paid 2.5% and…
* Results not guaranteed. Some restrictions may apply.
(13:03) Fedor Holz on Sickest Run Ever?
Finally today we’re going to talk about Fedor Holz‘ current run. Is this the sickest run anyone has had of all time? The thing about these runs are, normally when someone has them they seem to last forever.
So here’s the thing. When people have these runs. A lot of time the players, they get caught up in it. They see he results and they see the money and say, Wow, this guys is the best or This guy is the luckiest or We’ll never see something like this [again]. But in terms of just raw, absolute numbers, this is up there on one of the hottest runs of all time.
I think this is actually second place. What Daniel Colman did in 2014 is absurd! He cashed for like $20 million over the course of four or five months. He won the Big One for One Drop (the $1 million variant of the One Drop). He also won the EPT Grand Final €100k buy-in Super High Roller. He also got 2nd place in the EPT Barcelona €50k buy-in where his buddy, Olivier Busquet (who I imagine he had a good-sized piece of) won. So they just went 1-2. And then he did that right into the $5k Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open where he got first place out of 1,500 entries on a tournament with over $2 million in overlay and 1,500 opponents. That is nuts. That run is unprecedented and since then we’ve seen nothing like it.
So, where does this run stand? The only runs I can think of after that are Erik Seidel’s run in 2011. He had this run for a few months where he just won a ton of stuff. He got first place in the $250k in Australia, then got 3rd place in the $100k version of that tournament as well. He also had some deep runs in some EPTs and I think he had a good summer in Las Vegas but nothing is on the magnitude of the Colman and the current Holz run.
Here’s the thing. When people go on these runs you have to remember the way that tournaments work (especially these tournaments that are 30-40-50 buyin fields)… what will happen is that players will go on a run where they win a few in a row. What happens is that dollar amount becomes absurdly big. When you win the One Drop it puts a massive score on your resumé, which is a huge amount. It’s also a very high ROI. But when these happen in succession it’s really just a matter of how frequently they are likely to occur. Is Fedor a great player? Of course. He’s a really good player. But is he the best of all time by so much that he should just win every tournament? No. He is still a person maybe (it seems). If this keeps going on he’s not.
And of course Fedor’s run might not be over. We might be in the midst of it. This could be the middle of the biggest run of all time but I would say if you look at Fedor’s results and Colman’s results through those stretches I would give Colman the edge here.
Now there’s also a shout-out I want to give to someone who had a big run in the 90s. It’s Archie Karas who ran $50 into something close to $40 million!
He actually crushed a lot of the different players who played poker here in Las Vegas. He would open-sit at Binions with $5 million of his $7 million he had in his own net worth (according to his own wikipedia — apparently facts). He would sit there with $5 million and just challenge all comers and play them at super high stakes Razz, Stud and probably some other games as well.
Ultimately however, he funneled those millions of dollars from the poker community into the casinos by being a total degen in the Pits and just blasting it off. That run in conjunction with those two other poker runs I would say are the all time sickest runs.
Anyway, thank you for watching Polker News today.
It was a pleasure as always and I’ll see you guys again next week, for This Week on 2+2.
(If you’re interested in improving your poker game, check out the Upswing Lab! Doug Polk and Ryan Fee collaborated on this A to Z training course and the great reviews keep rolling in! Check out our Upswing Lab testimonials page here)
David Huber (known as “dhubermex” online) has been involved in the poker industry for more than a decade. He currently assists several poker and gaming entities as a researcher, writer, and consultant. Former Editor-in-Chief & Head Moderator of online tournament rankings site PocketFives (2006-2011).