The Tony Kendall Column

The Tony Kendall Column

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

A critical eye on the poker world.

Deadly Dick

As I write this, young (?) Richard Gryko has just won the WSOP Europe PLO. It’s 12 years since his first “live” cash (though I fancy he was playing way before he was, so to speak, old enough) and I can tell you that when Mr Gryko makes a final table, there is a 50% chance he will finish 1st or 2nd. In fact, looking through his result, 28 final tables on the live circuit have yielded ten wins and four runner-up spots for the talented Mr. Gryko. I can’t think of too many players with a better strike rate, can you?

This was a back to back affair, too, as he won the Sky Poker UKPC High Roller just 2 months ago. Rock on Richard, keep it going, sir!

Life in the Old Dogs Yet

Also doing well in Berlin at the WSOPE was the Gentleman, John Gale. Like me, he's another old lag who simply refuses to die; in his case quite literally as he's come through heart bypass surgery and a brain tumour in recent years.

John finished 2nd in the €550 NLH in Berlin, hot on the heels of his four WSOP cashes this summer! In fact, the highlight of those cashes was a WSOP Bracelet in a turbo! Sue me if I'm wrong (not literally), but I don’t see too many 61 year olds winning turbo tournaments. It’s been nine years since John won his first WSOP Bracelet and it's fair to say a lot of water has flowed under poker’s bridge in that time, but the man himself certainly hasn't lost it.

Simon Trumper is another vet currently tearing it up. He rarely plays these days because he's too busy running stuff at DTD in Nottingham; however, this year he flew to Vegas to play the $10,000 PLO and finished 4th for a quarter of a million and change. Chalk up another one for the old guys!

Barny Boatman, of course, 17 long years after his first festival cash, won a WSOP Bracelet last year, and so nearly repeated the feat this year when he finished third in the $1,500 Extended Play NLH. Moreover, just this week, he managed to finish 9th in the WSOPE event won by young Gryko.

It’s no coincidence, of course, that these guys probably can’t cut the mustard online these days. However, in the live arena they remain formidable opponents. B and M poker does not permit third party software, so it comes down to reads, nerve, and looking the other fellas in the eye, proper poker players can still thrive.

Dow Jones, FTSE and Third Party Poker Software
The stock markets were nearly destroyed by software driven derivatives and funky programmes instead of good old-fashioned stock picking and fundamentals a few years ago and online poker will go the same way unless the sites sort it out.

On which note, congratulations to yet another site which has joined so many others and reduced the scope of HUDs: well done partypoker. Additionally, PokerStars is also starting to go that way, too, with several steps to make the playing field flatter.

The volumes we saw in the glory days will never return, but online poker will be fine now the sites are at last getting to grips with the problems. It’s quite remarkable how things have turned round in the last 12 months and now there are very few sites that have not recognized that the poker pyramid is founded upon the recreational players. We see them described so often “fish”, but really they are more like plankton. No plankton = no marine life = no “fish” in poker = no pros in poker.

It’s that simple, and nobody can convince me otherwise.

WSOP Europe

I suppose it is living up to its name as it began in London, went to France and now it's in Berlin. It's all good I suppose, but has it really gained anything from schlepping around Europe?

For sure, there were some justified grumblings about the set up they used in London – FOUR different venues, was it? And with all due respect to The Empire, it does not have a room suitable for a major poker festival.

Me? I’d bring it back to the UK and do it properly. DTD would be commercially awkward, but nobody does it better. Can’t the WSOP and DTD talk to each other and somehow cut a deal? Now that WOULD be a WSOP Europe I'd look forward to.

Poker mate?

The Isle of Man UKIPT staged a combined poker and chess affair, which was pretty novel. Chess is not my cup of tea and I don’t buy into this “Mind Game” stuff at all, but anything to freshen things a little has to be applauded.

Maybe we will see a poker and Scrabble comp, or poker and Trivial Pursuits, which, after all, have something in common, both being pursuits of enjoyable triviality. Obviously, I’d draw the line at anything involving these completely odious and puerile lol esports – League of Legends and all that guff. We have quite enough button clickers already, thank you very much!

Nice hand Sir. Really?

When we run a bluff online and the villain types “nh sir”, how does he know we had a nice hand? It is bizarre, I see it every night, but these guys don’t have a clue whether we had a nice hand or not.

“Good bet” is another, as they routinely fold. Listen pal, I’ve got quads, and you FOLDED. How is that a “good bet”? We are like sheep with some of these comments, no originality, no thought, just type the same nonsense in the chat box, night after night.

I see “sick, so so sick”, “gross river”, and, worst of all, “I placed all my betting discs across the line” a thousand times a night. Betting discs? What? They are called CHIPS, mate. A little bit of sick came into my mouth. Strewth, how often do we see that in poker circles? They’ll see my slap them in the chops if they say that again. Or they would if I were not such a coward.

And "we always crush", or "get crushed". Does nobody just win by a small margin, or lose a little bit? No no, the only poker yardstick it seems is crush or crushed. Pardon my ranting, but it just seems to me, that everyone in poker is exaggerating. I swear to God, 200% of poker players exaggerate.

Tags: Tony Kendall, Tikay