Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ESPN and the WSOP

Some other people have written about this with respect to Scotty Nguyen's embarrassing performance in I think the HORSE tournament at the WSOP this year, but there is no doubt that the WSOP coverage on ESPN in 2008 is showing the extreme dickery of some of the game's biggest personalities like never before. Given what we've seen in the past, you would want to assume that this is because the players are being bigger a-holes than ever before, but our blogger brethren who have actually been out there covering the WSOP events for the past several years all seem to agree that Scotty's always been like this, just that ESPN is just finally showing the truth for the first time. If so, that is an abomination on ESPN's part, but not a surprising one. Remember when they hired Pauly to do WSOP coverage for the world's biggest sports network, I guess that was about 20 months ago at this point, and then suddenly dropped him out of the blue a few days later? All because some suit at the network realized that Pauly's brand of WSOP coverage, while totally true, was not likely to paint the game in the overly positive light that ESPN was hoping to portray? Disgusting. Well now it seems things have come full circle. Now that the popularity of televised poker is clearly on the wane, now that the WSOP telecasts are nowhere near the cash cow that ESPN once thought (and hoped) they would be, only now are they willing to show the true side of the game and the players we love in it.

What a bunch of dogs.

Anyone who's been keeping up with the WSOP broadcasts this year knows exactly what I'm talking about. In that HORSE telecast a couple of months back, Scotty Nguyen got hammered after sucking down beer after beer after beer at the WSOP, and then he started taking on another guy at the final table heads-on, getting far out of line with his dick chat early and often during the final table broadcast. I mean, you've almost never seen someone be such a dick and go so overboard about one perceived misplay by another guy at the table (I say "almost" because, well, see below). Of course, what do you expect when a guy who is apparently known for being a drunk and going overboard is allowed to -- and chooses to -- drink heavily while on live television. Scotty -- previously always cast as the smiling face, the good guy of poker with his "I love you baby" and similar commentary -- completely lost it on that show and with it, he lost my respect as a player. Not just as a person, where I know now beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's a cock of a man, but as a poker player as well, because anyone who acts like that -- especially knowing that he is on tv -- has very little respect for the game and is at his core a selfish and little man.

But speaking of guys who act like asshats at the poker tables even knowing they're on tv, of course I have to mention Phil Hellmuth. Now with Phil, I can't exactly say that I hadn't known what a baby the Poker Brat could be at the tables, as even ESPN has recognized over the past few years the television appeal of capturing Phil's many whiney rants for the viewing audience. But this year, at least to me, I've never been more disgusted about the guy. And while I haven't read many poker blogs lately, I haven't really seen Phil's behavior at the WSOP this year mentioned a whole lot, which surprises me because I can't believe what a fucking loser he is being. For the past three weeks I have had to sit and watch Phil whine like a fucking baby loser idiot at least three or four times per episode. I mean, I can't wait until this guy is busted this year. In the past, I will admit that I have generally enjoyed watching Hellmuth's ridickulous antics, but not this year. I think the difference more than anything else is that, instead of just whining about bad beats in general, he is repeatedly launching personal insults at the other players at the table. You couldn't count how many times he has called other players at the table "idiots" in the past few weeks. He verbally assaulted at least one dealer -- as if the dealer has a dam thing to do with the cards that come off -- never mind the fact that that particular dealer had just sat down at the table to begin with.

We've all been there before, haven't we? It's bad enough when people are F-heads in the chatbox in online poker, but at least you don't have to deal with them directly, you don't have to read it or hear them, and in fact if you so choose you can just mute the chat entirely. But at a live table, having some tiltmonkey asshole there, complaining about every card, every hand, every fold? It sucks. When that guy is personally insulting you and/or others at the table though? Attacking the dealer for the cards he is -- I guess, purposefully -- dealing to a particular player? It's horrible. You want more than anything else for that guy to just get busted or some other way just to get the hell off the table. At least for me, it more or less totally ruins my experience playing the game. And down to under a few hundy players left in the biggest poker tournament of most of these players' lives, to have their experience forever tarnished by the memory of a raging asshole like Hellmuth is a terrible thing.

It's time for Harrah's to put a stop to Hellmuth's stupidity at the tables. I don't mind a good tilter -- heck I can tilt as hard as the rest of 'em -- and I'm not such a Stalin that I think anyone complaining about a bad beat should be penalized, but personally I don't see why they don't have a rule about personally and directly insulting the other players at the table, at least to an excessive degree. I'm not worried about there not being a bright line rule on this one -- just having some discretion on the part of the dealer or the floor with a rule like this is enough for me, because lord knows we all can agree that Hellmuth has easily crossed it in this WSOP Main Event. For the last several hours at least. The guy is such a fucking baby, and a whiner, and a dick for the things he is saying to the other players, he deserves to be forcibly kicked out of the Amazon room at the Rio, and forced to sit outside and cool off while his not-so-big chip stack dwindles through the blinds and antes. I think just the threat of that would shut his ass up real quick, given his never-large stack size in this thing, so every single other player (and dealer) in that room would win, as would every single viewer on ESPN who might have enjoyed his antics at some point but who are all just tired and disgusted by it here and now. And if Phil doesn't calm down with this rule in effect? Then we really win, because we get to watch him get removed by security from the room and we get to watch his chips slip away, all the while knowing that Phil knows his chips are being eaten up while he sits on his annoying baby ass and cries like a little girl.

Of course, the best part about all of Hellmuth's rants this year in the WSOP ME are that I think in every single case, Hellmuth got straight-up outplayed. I mean, he's probably blown up on 6 or 7 occasions on tv just the past few weeks, and in every single hand without exception, his opponent maybe made a questionable raise or call before or on the flop -- the same "questionable" preflop or flop moves made with regularity by most of the top pros in the world today -- but then outplayed him the rest of the way through the hand. Of course I've seen Phil raise or call with total garbage hands several times during this World Series, but naturally all of those were great plays. In his mind. But otherwise, there is just one reason why Phil has never been able to get out of the hole all the way through the second half or so of this Main Event -- he isn't playing well. At all. And deep down he knows it, which I'm sure is why he is acting like such a whiney bitch all the way through this year's coverage, even down into the final 100 players out of the 6000 or so entrants.

FWIW, Hellmuth's rants are I think far worse than Scotty's in that drunken tirade he went on on his way to winning the HORSE bracelet this year. Scotty was being a total and utter asshole, but it didn't seem at least to me to consist of the kind of repeated, personal insults directed at the intelligence of his opponents. With Scotty it was more that one misstep made by his opponent at the final table that made him angry, and he just could not let that anger go. Phil, on the other hand, is constantly calling his opponents idiots, loudly, publicly and to the millions of viewers on the cameras as much as anything else. And of course Phil is doing it to basically all of his opponents, basically just because they are beating him out of hands with superior play, not just to one of them over a specific incident like Scotty was. That's not in any way to excuse Scotty for his behavior, which I would describe as objectively deplorable, but rather to point out that Hellmuth's is just much, much whinier and worse. I mean, is there any doubt in a single viewer's mind out there that Phil Hellmuth has a small penis at this point? I mean, teeny tiny eensy weensy. To me it's obvious. Nobody whines and insults others like that without a physical shortcoming like this to back it up. I can spot the littledicks from a mile away, and Hellmuth is lucky if he has two inches to back up all of his recockulous behavior.

This week's outbusts were so bad that even Mike Matusow had to tell Phil at the end of the episode from a couple of seats away, down to some 80 players remaining, to back off and that Phil was "way, way out of line". Now you know it's bad when Matusow is calling you out for being out of line. Matusow, of the "You have teeny, tiny cojones, but I have huge brass cojones" line to eventual Main Event champion Greg Raymer a few years ago. Who knew back then that Matusow was right, only he was talking to the wrong poker pro?

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Blogger BigPirate said...

I was playing on the boat out of Little River a few months ago and took two huge river beats for about 1100 within five minutes of each other. The dealer said "you must not like me very much now." I said, "Did you do it on purpose?" "Uhhhhhhh. no." "Then why would I hate you?"

He pointed at the 10/20 table that was filled up with locals and said, "One of those guys would have ripped me a new one."

Anger at the dealer is irrational. Irrational is not a good way to be playing poker.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yeah Wes, when Hellmuth started berating the dealer, I think it was last week, I was in complete disbelief. It's the kind of thing you expect from an 18-year old internet donkey, not from a man with 12 WSOP bracelets and what, 10 mil in lifetime tournament winnings?

Just unreal.

9:20 PM  
Blogger 4dbirds said...

How about when Hellmuth accused the player for slowplaying him? I mean Phil immediately flips over his cards and grabs the pot before the other guy could turn over his winning pocket tens. I backed up the TIVO several times to make sure the guy didn't slowroll. He didn't.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Blinders said...

I loved the AK hand from last night. Phil basically announced that he has AK with his BS table talk that he thinks this is an AA vs. KK hand. Then when the guy pushes him off his obvious miss on the flop he calls the guy an idiot 7 times. Sorry Phil. If you yoursef give your hand away preflop, you are the idiot.

1:04 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

I wanted to see christian dragomir come over the table and pop him. Hellmuth way out of line. Floor should have been called over and a penalty given for abuse.

1:17 AM  
Blogger BWoP said...

There is a rule regarding the behavior that Hellmuth exhibited toward Dragomir. A one-orbit penalty WAS issued. Then, magically, it was overturned prior to the start of play the next day.

The apparent bending of the rules for Mr. Hellmuth in this instance wasn't the first time Harrahs staff made concessions to a pro that would have been made for a rank amateur. I personally witnessed one (involving Hellmuth) and heard of several others.

It's quite sad.

4:55 AM  

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