LA Poker Classic

Welcome to LA and the Los Angeles Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino.

I am here with the crack PokerNews.com tournament reporting team: Change100, Amy Calistri, Dr. Pauly, Justin Shronk, John Caldwell and Tiffany Michele. You can follow the tournament blog and video and the hand analysis tool. Today is Day One with 790 entrants. This is a six day event with a final table taping next Thursday March 1st. You can dial us up at PokerNews Live Tournament Reporting.

More UPC Spin


February 12, 2007

False claims of the Demise of the Ultimate Poker Challenge are unfounded and untrue!
You may have read recent online articles claiming that the Ultimate Poker Challenge is dead, ‘a victim of Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement’, but don’t you believe it!
The Ultimate Poker Challenge continues to air at its usual dates and times. UPC: Cash Poker, has already been accepted as an exciting new poker show; an alternative to regular tournament programming. Absolutely nothing has changed!
Well absolutely nothing might be a bit of an exaggeration since the UPC weekend events at Binion's have been canceled.
So what happened? How did this rumor get started? Rita Hawn, Production Manager for UPC has a theory, “This is all pure conjecture based on a handwritten sign hanging at Binion’s stating that the UPC weekly tournaments have been temporarily canceled. The reason we canceled them is that we have 28 episodes sitting in our production office waiting to be edited and televised. We have, right now, enough UPC episodes to last 14 weeks.”
Sorry folks no handwritten signs existed and as far as sources at Binion's are concerned there is nothing "temporary" about the UPC cancellations. And again I ask, was it not possibly to make the calculation that three events each weekend for 52 weeks would mean 156 final table tapings? This is not exactly rocket science. But at least we now have an admission (and a contradiction) when UPC says: "the reason we canceled them is..." So you did cancel the UPC events but nothing has changed???
Hawn continues, “Our advertisers are in place for the near future and we have no plans to cancel our show.”
Does this mean Absolute Poker will be continuing as a UPC sponsor and the statements that they have pulled their advertising are false?
This past January, UPC began airing its new television series UPC Cash Poker. In regards to this show Hawn states, “Cash Poker tapes every three weeks at Binion’s. We have absolutely no plans whatsoever of halting production of Cash Poker!” On top of this, UPC is planning their 2007 Championship Series Week at Binion’s in Las Vegas. “We are very excited about our upcoming Championship Week, especially the $10,000 tournament. We are planning on televising each day of the main event. In this regard, as in Cash Poker, nothing has changed.”
The article was clear that Cash Poker had not been effected by the UPC changes but now it seems the Championship Week has been. In previously announced schedules more events then just the main event were on the taping schedule. But nothing has changed???
So what’s all this talk about UPC Resting in Peace? Hawn is as confused as anyone, “No one called me or anyone else in our production office in regards to this article. We have no idea where they got their information. We have made several attempts to contact the publication but they do not seem to have telephones. We understand that this article was not written maliciously, but it could hurt us none the less. We want our television stations, our advertisers and our players to know that UPC isn’t going anywhere! If you want proof, just tune into our show! We’ll be there as usual!

Yes and I can tune in to Mayberry RFD too but that doesn't mean they are still taping new episodes, which is precisely what my article was about. So spin away UPC but don't think the press releases will stand as fact or even convenient fiction.

Once again, if you would like to comment on any articles or posts you have my phone numbers. I returned all of your calls but then again, I wouldn't want to speak to media either now that your spin is in print, handwritten or otherwise.

Poker Doldrums, Rumors, Doyle & UPC.

Yes, there are fewer and fewer poker posts on blogs throughout the cybersphere. Yes, it is the UIGEA and the fascist enforcement tactics of the United States government. Thousands of lost jobs, magazines and websites shutting down. Viable businesses banning players from the 50 states of Amerika. While poker flourishes throughtout the rest of the world. But enough of that here are some news tidbits, including one that includes an article I wrote.

Item 1: Last week I wrote an article for PokerNews, which basically said that the Ultimate Poker Challenge had stopped taping their weekend events at Binion's in Las Vegas. Well the UPC folks threw a hissy fit and got out a nasty little press release that denied everything in my article and, of course, contained a big dose of spin. [You know what "spin" is right? "Spin" means lying under the disguise of public relations.]. Poker News, not wanting to get into a pissing contest with the UPC folks, pulled the article. So let me ask the UPC folks, who by the way, have not returned my phone calls. Phone calls they requested I make to them to allow "comment" on the article. Anyway, last weekend at Binions there were no UPC events, not only are they not taping them; they were not held at all. And, there will be no future UPC events spread at Binion's.

Any comment from UPC??? You have my number, just check your message pad from last week.

Now the UPC spin-doctors are going to say that they did this because they have so many shows in the can but let me ask: "Was it really that difficult to look at a calendar and know what three shows a week-end would mean as far as a television schedule? And what about those big banners at BInion's that said: "A year of televised events taped every Saturday, Sunday and Monday." Three taped shows a weekend was the October schedule, in December that was down to two tapings each weekend; and now no tapings and Oh Wait! No tournaments.

Yes, we are all suffering because of the UIGEA. Yes, UPC has lost some sponsors but rather than just step up like the rest of the industry, the folks at UPC when for the spin, I mean they went for the lie and in the course of doing that they basically called me crappy journalist and a liar. So UPC, Bite Me!

Item #2: Call it a rumor or an old rumor or two plus three might equal six. But is it a coincidence that Doyle arrest rumors, which were very, very slowly denied, appeared less than a week before Doyle's Room closes to the US market? Or might it not be the case that rather than bust "The Great One", there might have been a deal made with the federal poker narcs.....

Item #3: They got Party, Paradise, Mansion, Doyle, Green Tie, Tony G's and so many more.... has anyone seen a Full Tilt owner on US soil recently? Well OK, no busts at Stars or FullTilt yet... but please folks let's wake up and smell the coffee, I mean how much of your Neteller money has the Gestapo confiscated?

Two Million WSOP Chips

Back in September Amy Calistri and I wrote a series of articles on PokerNews.com about the 2+ million chip count error in the main event of the 2006 World Series of Poker. Today we have updated our findings based on players interviews, discussions with Harrah's/WSOP personnel and conversations with investigators of the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Our latest article can be found HERE.

Carpe Noctem

What have you done today to stop the forces of repression? Does your congressional talking head know how you feel about online poker? Do your Senators know? If not, why not? For better or worse these politicians are the ones who will or will not give us back our constitutional right to play poker.

So give them a call, email or note to let them know you are paying attention and expect them to support your right to donk off your money calling big slick to the river.

What would Richard Nixon do?

Contacting Congress

Pamela Anderson, of course

For obvious reasons, the question gets asked: Who would you like play poker with: Here is my current favorite final table. If you don't know why, then you have not been paying attention.

Seat #1: Pamela Anderson
Seat #2: Paris Hilton
Seat #3: Britney Spears
Seat #4: Clay Aiken
Seat #5: Lindsay Lohan
Seat #6: Carmen Electra
Seat #7: Jessica Simpson
Seat #8: Jennifer Lopez
Seat #9: Jessica Alba
Seat #10: Beyonce

Yes, I know there is not seat for me at the table, I just don't feel I could bring my "A" game to this crew and I just couldn't bring myself to add Saddam Hussein to the felt party list. Think even Clay Aiken could get lucky at this table?

When Will They Ever Learn

Back in October I wrote an article about how professional poker players were reacting to the UIGEA. One of my favorite quotes from that article comes from Doyle Brunson who said:

"I am a life-long Republican myself and I am voting for the Democrats and I hope all poker players do the same."

Since then more and more players at all levels have come around to this way of thinking, including two of my poker buddies (Wildbill & Debonair). Two more life long thoughtful yet conservative thinkers who honestly feel their representatives at the highest levels are engaged in not just reactionary but even unconstitutional abridgement of our freedoms.

I was talking with Debonair about all of this and I made some reference to anti-war movement of the sixties. He said a more appropriate analogy would be Salem in the 1690's. I have been thinking about that and I agree. The fear of arrest, the intimidation of online site owner's, the blocking of access to our online monies. Why not just burn a big name player? Why not arrest Doyle or a Phil?

What does it say when people who nearly everyone would call "mainstream" or at least part of the center.... What does it say when these people feel the government is acting out of spite and religious fervor to subvert the constitutional guarantees we all take for granted.

Well today I was a bit surprised to receive an email from an old college friend, someone I have not spoken with more than once every five years at the reunions. He wondered if I would be willing to talk with his students in a Constitutional Law class about the UIGEA and its effects. It seems one of this students presented a contemporary case study on the Federal Government's efforts to ban online gaming and several of my articles appeared in his citations.

As I have said before: The dying gasps of a paranoid regime always threatens the rights and freedoms of those who oppose them and historically leads to the defeat of the ruling powers either by election or by revolution. But in the meantime many suffer for no reason, no reason at all.

And to think, all we wanted to do was play poker.