High Roller Tomorrow, Angle Shooting, and Amir Vahedi

I had some fun two nights in a row. We had the elevator debacle and then last night PokerStars threw another patented, sick party. PokerStars parties are legendary. The one at the WSOP every year is off the hook, and last nights party was awesome. At the pre-party all the WCOOP winners got bracelets for their wins. Also, Kenneth Cole, fashion designer and chairman of AMFAR spoke to the audience about the research that AMFAR is doing in regards to HIV/AIDS research. From there the party got moved to the ballroom where there was a large spread of food for all those attending, and of course there was a free bar which costs a pretty penny! The entertainment for the evening, was none other than Kelly Rowland and she rocked the house with a 30 minute set. I didn’t drink TOO much on the second night after nursing a bit of a hangover from the previous nights festivities. I had a beer or two, then just took it easy drinking some white wine. I packed it in pretty early, knowing that today would be a day of rest in preparation for the high roller event tomorrow. I’m excited to play, and we are introducing a nice little tweak to the structure of the event and we’ve gotten tons of positive feedback on the changes. You start with 50,000 in chips, but instead of wasting time at the 50-100 level the tournament will start at the 150-300 level and stay there for four hours. The first two hours sans an ante, and for the second two hours we’ll play it with a 25 ante. I think a push to playing higher in the early stages of the event is going to catch on with more events that are geared towards high rollers. I don’t think you’ll have to worry about this change affecting the smaller buy in tournaments, because in those events you do have a good number of recreational players who want more play early. High rollers want more MEANINGFUL play early, and this move will give them that. After the four hours, the tournament will proceed as normal with one hour levels. My plan is to listen to my music, and take the event seriously. I’m really looking forward to what I expect to be tough competition. ***************************************************************** There was a bit of controversy as to whether or not I shot an angle at the PCA by asking for a floorman to make a decision at the table, and while there were a few people that believed it to be an “angle” not one reputable tournament director or respected poker player thinks I did anything unethical at all. Not one. To think I did something unethical is beyond preposterous. Anytime you are in a tournament and it appears that a rule may have been broken, it’s in yours, and everyone’s best interest to call a floor person to the table and let them handle it. Leave it in their hands, since there may be house rules you are unaware of.
Matt Savage echoed that sentiment, because when he runs a tournament he wants to make sure that the correct ruling is made. Often players take it in their own hands, assuming they know the right ruling, only to find out later that the rule is different from what they’d thought it was. It wasn’t the first time I’d called the floor for a decision in the tournament. Earlier I limped in from the cut off position and everyone folded, including the big blind who assumed I raised. He threw his hand in, but the dealer just left it there. I don’t want to argue with her, but she did push the hand back to the player and he then quickly grabbed it back. I called to the floor to ask if the hand was live or not. I felt like the player folded, but the floor ruled that because the hand didn’t hit the muck, the hand was live. If anything, it was a dealer error and I can live with that. She was supposed to simply muck the hand. Not a situation that comes up too often, but clearly the dealer wasn’t supposed to tell the guy he doesn’t have to fold AFTER he’d already done so. No big deal, but I called the floor and they ruled against me. The second time I called the floor it wasn’t a big deal either, but clearly an infraction of the rules took place when my opponent tabled his hand with action remaining. The video doesn’t show it, but the players at my table all saw his hand, I saw the Ad and only half of the other card, which looked like the 4s or 5s. I was wrong, it was the 10s. I told the truth about what I thought I saw. I said to him, “I saw your hand,” which is true. I saw the Ad clearly, and the other card as well, but didn’t have it exactly right. The players seated next to me did. It was all very confusing as to what should happen here, so I gave up trying to figure it out, and I handed it over to the floor. That’s EXACTLY the right thing to do and any competent tournament player knows that. It does boggle my mind a little bit that anyone can honestly believe I was shooting an angle there. It’s just complete nonsense and pretty out of line to be honest. I’ve been playing tournament poker for many years now, and no one has EVER questioned my integrity in terms of cheating, or shooting angles at the table. Never. To call me out for that silly hand is both classless and uncalled for, especially since the first half of the hand was not shown on the video. ***************************************************************** A few words about Amir Vahedi: I’d played many tournaments with Amir over the years and we often did business together. I trusted him, and admired his work ethic. He was a dedicated father and worked very hard to try and support his family, hustling in all kinds of tournaments with buy ins as big as $10,000, and even as low as $100.
When he put his mind to it, he was also a very dangerous tournament player to have at your table. He wasn’t afraid to play a big pot, and he certainly wasn’t afraid to run a big bluff! I feel bad for his family. The road ahead for them is going to be tough in more ways than one. Amir was always a loud advocate for players rights and early on spent lots of time and energy trying to form some kind of poker players union, so the players as a group could obtain benefits, like health care, and what have you. He was one of the early “personalities” in poker, always joking, always laughing, and he never took himself too seriously. I was shocked to hear that he’d passed, and I’m saddened for his family. Poker lost a good guy yesterday, Amir Vahedi will be missed by many.