Schanzer and the Palm Beach Kennel Club

My old freind, Jon , recently played at another card room (in a Greyhound track) in Florida. One afternoon I got a random call from Schanzer, who was at the airport in West Plam Beach. He asked me if I knew about the Palm Beach Kennel Club. I never played there, but I heard about that place… just another one of the many greyhound dogtracks that coverted space for a poker room (to increase revenue), when the state of Florida allowed some limited poker gambling.

Here’s what wrote me: “I arrived in West Palm Beach last week for a quick overnight business trip. Business lasted from 7 to 10, and my flight was at 5:50 am the next morning (officially, the crack of ass). I decided that I could sleep anytime, and that the Kennel Club was calling my name. After all, it was only a five-minute cab ride from the airport Hilton.

While the dog track stuff leave much to be desired, the poker room was very nice. Leather bumpers, dim lighting, lots of TVs on the wall. Hold ’em had a serious line when I got there, so I played some 7 card (stud) for a while. I did fairly well, actually. I was up about $30 after a half hour. My biggest hand was a a full house – 9s over 3s. I felt bad, though. I kept raising this deaf guy at my table who had two pair. My hand kicked his ass, and it cleaned him out.

After that hand, my name was soon called and I hit the hold ’em table. It was by far the youngest table I’ve seen. Four college students, and a couple of guys my age. Just one old lady who lost her friggin shirt. She kept staying in with a pair of 2s, a pair of 3’s, ace high…. It was painful. The young guys kept betting heavily, so the pots were juicy.

The best part of the evening was the last half hour. Between 11:30 and Midnight, the intensity picks up. Everyone bets the max and the dealers know that they have to speed up the dealing. They were lightning hands with big money. And unfortunately, even after a fat flush and a sweet straight, I started to hemorrage cash. I probably should have picked up my chips and cashed in when I dropped down to even. But with the speed, the money and the buzz… I had to stay in. By the stroke of midnight, I had dropped some $70. But I had a blast….”

Thanks, Schanzer, for the great write up. I wish I had your job, giving lectures and then playing poker at dogtracks!

Phil Hellmuth… Hollywood Star?

I dunno what compelled me to check out: What’s Up with Phil Hellmuth… (actually after seeing that hilarious video of Phil bashing Iggy’s $30,000 call with K-Qo! I was slightly interested in his latest antics)… anyway here’s the monster news everyone’s been waiting for:

“A major studio has just optioned Phil’s life story (until age 24 anyway), currently called, The Madison Kid.”

Good lord. No wonder I have a difficult time getting my screenplays read in Hollyweird! How can I compete with kick ass film ideas like that? I think that a film about Hellmuth’s early days in Cheeseland (when he only played TOP 10 hands) might be as interesting as Mona Lisa Smile which Haley dragged me to go see… and what my friend from Miami, Shappy, refers to as: Mona Lisa Bush. You gotta love chick flicks! Actually, I’m eagerly awaiting: Stuey… the film about Stu Ungar who is played by Michael Imperioli from The Sopranos. I loved Imperioli’s performance as Spider in Goodfellas.

Here’s my version of The Madison Kid:


INT: U. of Wisconsin Student Center – DAY

A young man wearing a Wisconsin sweatshirt is sitting at a table with four other people. He has warts on his hands and acne peppers his face. This is Phil Hellmuth, age 19.

CUT TO: His hole cards. Kd-Qc

Phil ponders for a second and scratches his head. We catch a glimpse at the community cards: Ks-7c-Jh-Qd-Qh.

PHIL: I’m all in!

The rest of the table mutters. The camera focuses in on Phil’s trembling hands. One person calls. We see the chips splash the pot. Phil reluctantly turns over his hole cards. His K and Q are good enough to win, beating out a pair of Aces and Someone with A-K. He wins the pot and sheepishly stacks his chips. The camera pans back and we catch a glimpse at the rest of the players… all angry, young, pretty sorority girls.

Sorority Poker Player 1: What kind of bullshit is that? I can’t believe I got my pocket Aces cracked with that crapola! Who calls a pre-flop raise with K-Q off suit?

Sorority Poker Player 2: I’m sick of your bullshit! A-K suited losing to a lame K-Q?!

Sorority Poker Player 3: That’s the last time you catch anything on the river!

All three girls jump up from the table and lunge at Phil, who awkwardly attempts to shove all the chips into his pocket. The lanky, uncoordinated Phil trips over a chair. The girls catch up to him, and like an angry mob, they surround the helpless Phil.

CUT TO: One of the girl’s fists attacking Phil’s head.

Sorority Poker Player 1: This will teach you to only play premium hands!!

As the camera FADES TO BLACK, we hearing crying and whining from Phil, as the faint sound of broken bones can be heard in the background, muffled by the giggles of the sorority girls.

Congrats to Jay!!

Jay won a tournament on! He sent me this email: “I played a $1 buy in No Limit hold ’em tournament on Poker Stars with 1391 entrants and won it all! Thus far the most excitement poker moment of my life. Granted it wasn’t against the cream of the crop, but I felt pretty good about outlasting everybody. The winner took 1/4 of the $1390 pot so it was just about $350, but I’ll take it!!! It got pretty intense at the end, the blinds got up to 40,000/80,000, so even with 800,000 chips (which is what I got to the final table with, there was a little over 2,000,000 combined in the whole tournament) every hand was pretty exciting!!”

Man, congrats Jay! I hope you can parlay your winnings in World Series of Poker satellites!! Good work!