Monday, July 16, 2012

Final Table #181: Matt Affleck, Ari Engel, Asad Goodarzy


Today on the Final Table, we continue our coverage of the 2012 World Series Of Poker from the Rio in Las Vegas, with guests Matt Affleck, Ari Engel, and Asad Goodarzy.

Matt explains how staking deals work and how much harder they are to find now, why he likes to play smaller-stakes cash games, and why he dreams all year about playing the single table sit-and-go's at the WSOP.

Ari talks about moving to Toronto to keep playing online, but finding the games tougher without Americans able to play. He also discusses a tournament director's controversial decision regarding a hand Ari was involved in, and introduced the concept of "ring equity" at WSOP Circuit Events.

Asad reveals what it was like to play in the WSOP's new $3,000 buy-in heads-up no-limit hold'em/pot-limit Omaha event, why he doesn't play tournaments with 9 or 10 players at the table, and the mistakes players make when they get down to short-handed play at the end of tournaments.

Note: after this show, we're putting The Final Table Show on hiatus, hoping to bring it back later this year if we find a new sponsor. We appreciate your support, which has helped the show grow over the last three-and-a-half years to record listenership in the last month. If you use iTunes or the Stitcher app to listen to The Final Table, stay subscribed and you'll get new episodes when we make them. Of course, you can always come back to this site for updates.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

Also on The Final Table...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Final Table #180: Phil Collins, Tony Dunst, Shannon Shorr


Today on the Final Table, we continue our coverage of the 2012 World Series Of Poker from the Rio in Las Vegas, with guests Phil Collins, Tony Dunst, and Shannon Shorr.

Phil was one of last year's November Nine, so we started by asking about his strategy of limping pre-flop and often folding to raises, how the near-live ESPN coverage changed his play, and why he'd rather have the players sequestered at the final table of the Main Event so that no outside information affects the game. He also explained why it doesn't matter which day of a re-entry event you play if you're only planning to buy in once, because your results are more dependent on your table draw than anything else.

Tony discussed his expanded role with the World Poker Tour, doing the final table live streams in addition to his Raw Deal segments, and his relationship with Mike Sexton and Vince Van Patten. He also talked about the other talented poker players he's sharing a house with this summer for the WSOP -- and how important it is to have regular maid service when a bunch of guys are living together. In our conversation, Tony gave us one of the greatest quotes in the history of our show when he explained why he had a problem with the WSOP's rule that players at a final table must verbalize all their actions (check, bet, raise).

Shannon has cashed in almost 2 dozen WSOP events and won over $4 million in the last 6 years. He told us about his first summer at the WSOP, his advice for amateurs playing in the smaller buy-in events, how to handle the stress and bad beats of big tournaments, and how the quality of online poker play has changed since Black Friday. He also revealed one of his pet peeves -- players discussing strategy at the table.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).
Also on The Final Table Show...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Final Table #179: Maria Ho, Cory Zeidman, Nick Jivkov


Today on the Final Table, we continue our coverage of the 2012 World Series Of Poker from the Rio in Las Vegas, with one guest who's appeared with us annually and two who just won their first WSOP gold bracelets.

Up first is Maria Ho, who last summer won the biggest prize for a woman in WSOP history when she finished 2nd in the $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em event. Among the topics we touched on with Maria: the shift in how players treat her at the tables since her success; what it was like to play the iSeriesLive winner-take-all event earlier this year; how she adjusts her strategy for smaller buy-in events; and how she found herself sharing a house this summer with fellow poker pros Vanessa Rousso, Vanessa Selbst, and Liv Boeree.

Our second guest is Cory Zeidman, one of the best stud players in the world, who finally picked up his first WSOP bracelet this summer in Event 4, the $1,500 buy-in 7-card stud high/low tournament. He talked about that achievement at a final table that included multiple bracelet winners, what it was like to play against the very talented poker veteran Chris Bjorin, how he got motivation from former NFL star Hollywood Henderson, and the mental strain of playing long hours of tournament poker.

Our third guest is Nick Jivkov, who won his first bracelet this summer in the $1,500 buy-in pot-limit hold'em event at the WSOP, cashed in a $1,500 pot-limit Omaha event, and is in the running for Player Of The Year. He explained what it was like to move his short stack to the "table of death" with Phil Ivey, Faraz Jaka, Jonathan Little, Gavin Smith, and other players who between them have 9 WSOP bracelets, 4 WPT titles, over 100 cashes, and over $38 million in tournament earnings -- and that was long before he got to the star-studded final table. We discussed a major difference between pot-limit and no-limit strategy, why it's sometimes better in a tournament to fold even if you think you have the best hand, and why he's being bombarded with media requests from Bulgaria.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

Also on The Final Table...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Final Table #178: Brian Rast, David Bach, Matt Glantz


Today on the Final Table, we continue our coverage of the 2012 World Series Of Poker from the Rio in Las Vegas. With the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship having started on Sunday, we have last year's champion Brian Rast (above left), 2009 champion David Bach (above right), and two-time final tabler Matt Glantz -- three of the best mixed-games players in the world.

Brian Rast explains how he decides whether to play a WSOP tournament instead of lucrative cash games (such as high stakes pot-limit Omaha with blinds of $250/500/1000) and gave us an insiders look at what it's like to play in the big games in Macau (where he's been very successful). We also discuss whether it's better to play the first or second day of re-entry events, and why he likes having one in the WSOP.

David "Gunslinger" Bach explains why online mixed games are terrible without US players in the mix, how his psychology degree helps him read other players, why he's so quiet at the table, and his thoughts on having fewer $10,000 buy-in "championship" events for some mixed games (stud, stud high/low, pot-limit Omaha high/low). He also runs down the players he chose for his team in Daniel Negreanu's $25,000 buy-in WSOP fantasy league.

Matt Glantz talks about the final table of the Poker Players Championship not being televised this year, the mix of games he likes to have in cash games, and what poker players can do to bring more people to live games in casinos. We also ask Matt about the death of the Epic Poker League (he was a member of its Standards and Ethics Committee).

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

Also on The Final Table...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Final Table #177: Dennis Almost Wins A Bracelet


Today on the Final Table, we continue our coverage of the 2012 World Series Of Poker from the Rio in Las Vegas, with an extended analysis of Dennis winning $372,895 with his second-place finish in the WSOP Seniors Event yesterday.

We discussed how the strategy was different for this event, which drew the largest single-day starting field in WSOP history with 4,128 players. Dennis explained why he tried not to play big hands against Hoyt Corkins at the final table, how he pulled off a bluff earlier in the tournament when he knew another player was steaming, and what he thought of Allyn Jaffrey Shulman's technique of either folding or shoving her way to victory.
Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

The Final Table Show airs Tuesdays 3pm to 4pm CT on 590 KFNS radio.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Final Table #176: Mike Sexton, Linda Johnson, Marco Valerio


Today on the Final Table, we continue our coverage of the 2012 World Series Of Poker from the Rio in Las Vegas. Our guests include:
  • Mike Sexton, Poker Hall Of Famer best known for his work on World Poker Tour telecasts, who cashed in two events he played simultaneously at this WSOP;
  • Linda Johnson, another Poker Hall Of Famer, who helped change a policy regarding bathroom access for female players at the Rio;
  • Marco Valerio, the man behind QuadJacks.com's live updates from the WSOP and the new database he's put online that helps players learn more about their tournament opponents.
Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT on 590 KFNS radio.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Final Table #175: WSOP Coverage with Donnie Peters


Today on the Final Table, we're both at the Rio in Las Vegas for the 2012 World Series Of Poker. Donnie Peters, live reporting manager and senior writer at Poker News, joined us to talk about some of the big stories from the WSOP's first week, including:
  • A controversy over forcing players to verbalize their actions at all final tables;
  • Another controversy involving players who illegally re-entered this weekend's $1500 No Limit Hold'em event by buying in twice on the same day instead of playing separate days;
  • The failure of the ChipTic system, which was supposed to help track the stacks of every player;
  • How smaller-than-expected fields and spreading the tournaments out into three rooms has lowered the overall energy level;
  • Andy Bloch and Cory Zeidman winning their first-ever gold bracelets;
  • Mike Sexton cashing in two events that ran simultaneously while he ran between them.
We also discussed our short-lived runs in a couple of bracelet events, and then offered strategies from our playing experience in many single-table sit-and-go tournaments that are the best value at the WSOP -- from how to change gears from beginning play to middle play to end play, how to get even more value via last-longer bets, and why and how you should chop the prize money when you get down to two players.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

Note: over the next few weeks, you'll hear Final Table Show interviews we've recorded with more than a dozen poker pros at the WSOP, including Maria Ho, Matt Glantz, Mike Sexton, David Bach, Shannon Shorr, Brian Rast, Phil Collins, Matt Affleck, and Cory Zeidman.

We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT on 590 KFNS radio.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Final Table #174: WSOP Begins + Ed Miller


Today on the Final Table, we began our coverage of the 2012 World Series Of Poker, which got underway Sunday at the Rio in Las Vegas. We analyzed 3 key hands Dennis played in the first open event yesterday ($1,500 buy-in no-limit hold'em), discussed why turnout wasn't as big as expected, and explained the new chip-tracking system the WSOP will begin using tomorrow.

In our guest segment, we talked with Ed Miller about his new book, "Playing The Player: Moving Beyond ABC Poker To Dominate Opponents." Ed explained how most poker players learn how not to lose, instead of how to win, and how they can change that. He also discussed specific strategies small-stakes players can use to make their game better, why fear is one of the major factors keeping players from winning more, and how to recognize bet-sizing tells in your opponents.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT on 590 KFNS radio.
Also on The Final Table...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Final Table #173: Owais Ahmed


Today on the Final Table, with the World Series Of Poker just days away, Dennis revealed his involvement in the company that will take photos of every player in every event at the Rio and make them immediately available for purchase. Look for their kiosk every day you play there!

In our news segment, we discussed why the number of entrants at the WPT Championship is at a five-year low while other live tournaments (like the WSOP Circuit Event in New Orleans this weekend) are drawing bigger fields than ever. We also discussed the Hollywood celebs who chose to settle a lawsuit over their poker winnings rather than go to court, whether an official White House response to an online poker petition will have any affect on the chances of legalizing it federally this year, and why you should add Illinois to the list of states considering online poker legislation.

In our guest segment, we talked with Owais Ahmed, a mixed-games specialist who won his first WSOP bracelet last summer in the $2,500 Limit Omaha/Stud 8-Or-Better event, as well as finishing fourth in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. He explained how he overcame a big chip deficit to beat Michael Mizrachi heads-up to win that bracelet and why he's happy this year's Poker Players Championship won't be televised. We also asked him about playing an All In Or Fold tournament earlier this year at the LA Poker Classic, why he enjoys doing commentary on Live At The Bike webcasts, and why he prefers the small fields that show up for mixed-game tournaments as opposed to the big no-limit hold'em events.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Final Table #172: Allen Kessler


Today on the Final Table, we discussed some tournament strategy from a hand Paul played (or rather, opted not to play) recently, new rumors about how soon the PokerStars/Full Tilt deal could happen, prop bets on this summer's World Series Of Poker, and whether the WSOP should display Chris Ferguson's banner with the other previous Main Event champions at the Rio. We also answered a listener question about how to handle taxes when you share a big tournament prize with people who backed you.

In our guest segment, we talked with Allen Kessler, the poker pro who has been grinding his way through tournaments for several years and cashed in over 150 of them, including 20 times at the WSOP and 11 times on the WPT. He explained how he changes his strategy as the money bubble approaches in each tournament to last longer, why he doesn't play cash games, and how he gets so many free buffets from casinos. We also delved into his expertise on tournament structure, including which tournaments do it right, which ones do it wrong, and which one recently changed it structure to add a level that's named after him.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Final Table #171: Bernard Lee & Michael Hirschensohn

Today on the Final Table, we discussed the sale of Harrah's St. Louis to Penn National Gaming. The sale won't be complete until the end of this year, but we tried to answer some questions about why Harrah's is pulling out of the market, what it means for future WSOP Circuit events, and what effect the sale will have on poker players in this area.

Next we analyzed some rule changes that were announced today for the World Series Of Poker (which begins in 3 weeks in Las Vegas) including lifting some restrictions on what you can and can't say while you're in a hand and what you can do once you've won it. We also revealed the plans for ESPN's coverage of the WSOP, and how you can use your Total Rewards points to enter WSOP events or earn comps with your buy-ins.

Then Bernard Lee joined us to talk about the Direct TV broadcasts celebrating the 5th anniversary of his poker radio show, and offer some advice for anyone who will play their first-ever WSOP tournaments this summer at the Rio in Las Vegas.

Finally, Michael Hirschensohn, a friend and business associate of the late Amarillo Slim, joined us to shed more light on what was behind the charges against Slim in 2003 that turned him into a pariah in the poker industry -- including some facts from the case that haven't been revealed before regarding the prosecutor, the woman who was in it for the money, the court-ordered psychiatrist who examined Slim, and comments from his old friend Doyle Brunson.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).


We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio.

Previously on The Final Table...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Final Table #170: Sam Barnhart


Today on the Final Table, we talked about Dennis' weekend trip to the Chad Brown Charity Event at Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma and the strategy behind his play on the bubble (at the point where one more player will be eliminated before everyone remaining makes any money). We also discussed the newest developments in the Full Tilt Poker saga, including a report that Laurent Tapie offered to hire all of its parent company's employees in an effort to launch a new poker site later this year. And we discussed a newly posted interview with Howard Lederer, in which he explains why "honesty is the best hustle."

In our guest segment, we welcomed Sam Barnhart to the show. Sam had an amazing 2011 -- he entered a super satellite that put him into the WSOP Circuit Main Event at Harrah's Tunica, which he won, earning a spot in the WSOP Circuit National Championship at Caesar's Palace, which he also won. To top it off, he made a deep run in the WSOP Main Event, finishing 17th and bringing his tournament earnings for the year to over $800,000. We asked Sam about his life since then, what he learned from playing all those years in Mississippi, and his advice for anyone who wants to follow in his footsteps (including Main Event rookies like Paul).

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).


We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Final Table #169: Amarillo Slim


Amarillo Slim died last night at a hospice in his hometown in Texas at the age of 83. Slim won the World Series Of Poker Main Event in 1972, which got him an invitation to "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" and other media outlets, making him the first poker superstar -- for many people, he was the only professional gambler they'd ever seen on television.  He was inducted into the Poker Hall Of Fame in 1992.

In his memory, we're releasing this special edition of The Final Table poker radio show, consisting of an interview we did with Slim in the summer of 2009 at the Rio in Las Vegas. The conversation was only supposed to last 10 minutes, but Slim kept telling stories, and we weren't about to stop him. In all, he talked for about 45 minutes before his agent finally told us to wrap it up so he could get to another appointment.  We cut up that discussion and ran it in pieces later that summer on several Final Table radio shows, but this is the first time we've released it in its entirety.


Among the topics Slim touched on:
  • his friendship and adventures with Doyle Brunson and Sailor Roberts, as the original road gamblers;
  • how he beat a world ping-pong champion by playing him with unusual paddles;
  • his adventures on the horse track, including beating a race-horse in a foot race;
  • how he won a blindfolded bowling bet.
In this interview, Slim was also very candid about the child molestation allegations made against him six years earlier.  He explained what happened that day, why he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, and how the charges made him a pariah to many in the poker world.  Slim hadn't spoken publicly about any of this until earlier that year in a published interview with Nolan Dalla, and this was the first broadcast interview he'd given on the subject.

One of Slim's last public appearances was at the WSOP Circuit Event here in St. Louis in April, 2011, where he played in a few tournaments and cash games, including a pot-limit-Omaha game where he sat down next to Paul.  As always, it didn't take much to get him to share some stories, joke around with the other players at our table, and even sign a few autographs.  Both of those occasions are on our minds today as we remember Thomas Austin Preston, Jr...

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).


We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio.

You'll find more of Slim's stories in his autobiography, "Amarillo Slim In A World Of Fat People: The Memoirs Of The Greatest Gambler Who Ever Lived."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Final Table #168: Faraz Jaka + Douglas Tirola

Today on The Final Table poker radio show, we covered the second week of the World Series Of Poker Circuit stop in St. Louis, which concluded yesterday. We also discussed the breaking news of the Bernard Tapie Group's purchase of Full Tilt Poker falling through, rumors that PokerStars might buy FTP, what that would mean for players still waiting for money they had on that site, and under what circumstances the US Department of Justice would agree to a deal.

In our first guest segment, we talked with Douglas Tirola, director of "All In: The Poker Movie," a new documentary that is now available for download from iTunes. He explained how he had to change the entire film after Black Friday, why he still included interviews with Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson after the Full Tilt scandal broke, and how he included some of the history of the game (watch the trailer for the movie here).

In our second guest segment, we welcomed back Faraz Jaka, who has been playing tournaments in Europe for the last couple of months, including the debut iSeriesLive event, where online viewers could bet on the players, the flops, and more. He analyzed a couple of hands of early action and whether the betting element affected play at the table, then explained what it's like to be a traveling poker pro who hasn't been home in a long time.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).


We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio.

Also on The Final Table...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Final Table #167: WSOPC St. Louis

Today on The Final Table poker radio show, we covered the World Series Of Poker Circuit stop in St. Louis, which began Thursday and continues through this weekend. Nolan Dalla, media director for the WSOP was in town, so he sat down at the feature table in the Harrah's St. Louis poker room with us.

We discussed Paul's cashes in 2 of the first 4 events, the record turnouts -- including the largest poker tournament in Missouri history, helped by many players who are "chasing circuit points" -- as well as the tournaments that are still to come between now and the Main Event on Saturday. We also explained how, for just a hundred bucks, you can end up in the $1,000,000 buy-in event at the WSOP this summer.

We also took a few minutes to acknowledge the legacy of Amarillo Slim Preston, the poker hall of famer who is on his deathbed in a hospice in Texas. Nolan shared some Slim stories, having spent quite a bit of time with him over the years, and we added our own memories of sitting down with him at the Rio a few years ago. We'll resurrect that interview for a special edition of The Final Table soon.

Finally, we discussed the unbelievable result of a hand at last week's Big Game in Europe involving Phil Laak, Andy Moseley, Tony G, Scott Sevier, Alec Torelli, and a considerable amount of sleep deprivation.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).


We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Final Table #166: PLO Basics & Black Friday +1

Today on The Final Table poker radio show, we talked about some strange rulings Dennis witnessed at the World Series Of Poker Event in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in which players were penalized when they shouldn't have been -- and not penalized when they should have been.

We won't have those kinds of problems when the Circuit Event kicks off at Harrah's St. Louis Thursday, so we ran down the entire schedule of tournaments, from no-limit hold'em to pot-limit Omaha to HORSE to the seniors event to the ladies event and the Main Event two weekends from now.

In our guest segment, with the first anniversary of Black Friday coming up, we talked about the prospects for the return of online poker in the USA -- at both the federal and state levels -- with John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance.

Then, Daniel Skolovy joined us to introduce you to the basics of Pot Limit Omaha, which he has been writing about for PokerListings.com. If the only poker you've played is Texas Hold'Em, here's a chance to learn the other game that is gaining in popularity, particularly here in the midwest.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Final Table #165: Daniel Negreanu



Today on The Final Table poker radio show, we discussed a couple of hands Dennis played in a tournament at Caesar's Palace this weekend and whether a new site that offers insurance to online players who want to cut down on variance is a good value.

In our guest segment, we welcomed back Daniel Negreanu, one of the most recognizable pros in the poker world, who is in Dublin, Ireland, to take part in iSeriesLive, a 10,000-Euro buy-in winner-take-all event you can watch live online on Thursday -- and (if you're not in the US) wager on the outcome.

Among the other topics we touched on with Daniel:
  • why he doesn't regret his recent comments about Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, and Ray Bitar of Full Tilt Poker;
  • why there's more anger at Full Tilt than Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet, which also haven't returned funds to players;
  • which new event at this year's WSOP he's looking forward to;
  • advice for WSOP Main Event rookies (like Paul);
  • how he might sell shares of his entry into the $1,000,000 buy-in One Drop tournament at the WSOP;
  • whether legalized intrastate poker can work if it's only in Nevada or New Jersey;
  • whether he still wants to be on Survivor, and which of this season's contestants he couldn't stand.
Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).


If you want to join us at the St. Louis premiere of "All In: The Poker Movie" at Ronnie's 20 Cine on Thursday, April 19th, tweet the phrase "all in" to either @dennis_phillips or @paulharrisshow on Twitter. We'll choose five more winners next week at random. You can watch the trailer for the movie here.

We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio.

Also on The Final Table...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Final Table #164: Tony G


This week on The Final Table, we discussed Paul qualifying for the World Series Of Poker Main Event via the double shootout at Harrah's St. Louis, while Dennis talked about his road trip to the circuit event in San Diego and spring training in Phoenix.

In our news segment, we analyzed the plea bargains by two more payment processors who were indicted by the Department Of Justice on Black Friday, and commented on a very moving e-mail from one of our listeners.

In our guest segment, we talked with Tony G, owner of Poker News and a man who likes to verbally intimidate opponents at the table. We asked Tony to comment on how Black Friday affected his poker media business, and for his thoughts on the Full Tilt story. Tony surprised us be predicting that the Group Bernard Tapie purchase of Full Tilt Poker will be finished within the next week. He then discussed what that means for the former players getting their money back, whether they'd play on the site once it returns, and whether we'll ever see Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson in a live tournament again. Tony also had a few things to say about his feuds with Phil Hellmuth and Andrew Robl.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

If you want to join us at the St. Louis premiere of "All In: The Poker Movie" at Ronnie's 20 Cine on Thursday, April 19th, tweet the phrase "all in" to either @dennis_phillips or @paulharrisshow on Twitter. We'll choose five winners each week at random. You can watch the trailer for the movie here.

We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Final Table #163: Linda Johnson


This week on The Final Table, Dennis explained what it's like to play poker in Las Vegas during March Madness, when the sports books are overflowing and a lot of loose players sit down at the tables. We also discussed this weekend's tournament at Harrah's St. Louis, where Paul finished 16th in a bigger-than-expected field.

In our news segment, we talked about the bankruptcy filing of Federated Sports + Gaming, parent company of Epic Poker League and Heartland Poker Tour, and whether funds from the latter were used to prop up the former, and how it seems that the proceeds from a charity event for Disabled American Veterans were never paid to that organization. We also discussed a new poker event, iSeriesLive, where ten pros will compete in a 10,000-Euro shootout that will stream live online so that viewers can place bets on who will win, what will happen in the next hand, who will last longest, etc. (of course, none of that wagering can take place in the US, but will be available to the rest of the world).

In our guest segment, we welcomed back the First Lady Of Poker, Linda Johnson, who was inducted into the Poker Hall Of Fame a few months ago. Linda explained why she got so emotional that night, and discussed her work with PokerGives.org, CardPlayer Cruises, and more. A longtime advocate for poker in all its forms, we also talked with her about Iowa and Hawaii jumping off the bandwagon for legalizing online poker, leaving Nevada just about the only state moving forward with legislation this year, while the federal government isn't even discussing it.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio.

Also on The Final Table...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Final Table #162: Darvin Moon & HPT's 100th


This week on The Final Table, we caught up with Darvin Moon, the runner-up in the 2009 World Series Of Poker Main Event, who is now an ambassador for the Heartland Poker Tour and was in St. Louis for their 100th event this weekend. In addition to talking poker, Darvin offered some advice for young pros about how to handle their newfound wealth after a big tournament score.

We also talked with Todd Anderson and Greg Lang, founders of the HPT, about how they started the tour seven years ago, who they target with their tournaments, and the legal mess they find themselves in since parent company Federated Sports + Gaming and Epic Poker League filed for chapter eleven bankruptcy.

Also on the show, Paul explained why he laid down pocket aces pre-flop in a hold'em tournament last week, and criticized Phil Hellmuth for the rude way he acted towards poker fans who wanted to meet and play with him.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio.

Also on The Final Table...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Final Table #161: Epic Fails, PAD Returns

This week on The Final Table, we discussed the Epic Poker League filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, what that means for those who played in its tournaments, whether a pros-only league was a good idea, and the fallout from its lack of sponsors and failed merger with the Heartland Poker Tour.

In our guest segment, we talked with Mori Eskandani, whose company produced last year's ESPN coverage of the World Series Of Poker. He explained what's happening with plans for this year's WSOP coverage, as well as the return of his "Poker After Dark" show in reruns on the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus), and the possibility of new episodes of that show and "Poker After Dark" and the "National Heads-Up Championship."

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio.

Also on The Final Table...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Final Table #160: Will Failla


This week on The Final Table, we discussed:
  • a well-known pro taking an angle shot by playing with the All-In button during the Main Event of the LA Poker Classic this weekend;
  • the return of "Poker After Dark" to late-night television
  • recent comments by a lawyer for the Bernard Tapie Group regarding its purchase of Full Tilt Poker, in response to a blog by Matt Glantz, who doubts it will ever happen;
  • which of the presidential candidates would be most likely to sign online poker legislation;
  • some big upcoming promotions in the Harrah's St. Louis poker room during March.
In our guest segment, we talked with Will Failla, who you may have seen the last couple of Sundays on the World Poker Tour's coverage of the Legends Of Poker tournament, which he won. He talked about that event and others he's run deep in recently, and explained his strategy in a couple of big hands along the way. He also revealed how he gets other players to loosen up and give him free information at the table -- let's just say Will's not exactly shy and reserved, as you'll hear.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio. Follow us on Twitter: Dennis is here, Paul is here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Final Table #159: David Bach


This week on The Final Table, we had a real Dog and Pony show, with stories from a WSOP Circuit Event at a Florida dog track and a HORSE champion as guest.

We started with Paul recapping his weekend at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, where they had a huge sellout of Event 1 (and a near-riot of players trying to enter) which created the largest prize pool for a WSOPC preliminary event ever, and history was also made in another tournament when women took the top three spots for the first time. We also analyzed a hand I witnessed in one of the pot-limit Omaha cash games on Sunday.

In our guest segment, we talked to mixed-games specialist David Bach, who just won his second Aussie Millions ring in a $2500 HORSE event to go with the bracelet he won in the $50,000 HORSE championship at the 2009 World Series Of Poker. He explained the difference in strategies between those limit games and no-limit hold'em. We also discussed his recent blog post about how TV coverage can have a negative impact on tournament play, a famous hand he played against Vanessa Rousso in the 2011 WSOP Main Event, and his reaction to Daniel Negreanu's comments about Full Tilt board members Ray Bitar, Howard Lederer, and Chris Ferguson.

In our news segment, we discussed Jason Somerville's coming out announcement, the return of Jonathan Duhamel's 2010 Main Event bracelet, and why an Illinois prosecutor decided not to file charges against the players in a small-stakes home tournament.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio. Follow us on Twitter: Dennis is here, Paul is here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Final Table #158: Jonathan Duhamel


This week on my Final Table poker radio show, we caught up with 2010 WSOP Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel, who bounced back from a brutal home invasion in December and went on to win over a million dollars at the PCA in January. He talked about recovering from not just his physical injuries, but the mental stress he suffered from the attack, and offered advice to other players who have achieved poker success and found themselves in a world where everyone wants a piece of you. He also explained why he decided to re-buy after busting out of the $100,000 super high roller event, how his game has changed in the last year, and why he never has time to play cash games anymore.

On the local front, we ran down the just-released schedule for the World Series Of Poker Circuit Event that's coming at Harrah's St. Louis in April, with ring events at both Noon and 5pm, as well as our first pot-limit Omaha championship and two re-entry events. And since Harrah's St. Louis is now running bounty tournaments on Tuesday nights, Dennis revealed the different strategies you'll need to succeed in them.

In our poker news segment, we discussed an online petition to ban Full Tilt shareholders and debtors from playing in this year's World Series of Poker, a reversal of a decision last fall regarding a player banned from an Epic Poker League event, and an odd video by poker pro Brad Booth regarding Russ Hamilton and Phil Hellmuth.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).

We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis on 590 KFNS radio. Follow us on Twitter: Dennis is here, Paul is here.

Also on The Final Table...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Final Table #157: Jack Effel, WSOP 2012 Schedule


Today on the Final Table radio show, we talked with Jack Effel, tournament director of the World Series Of Poker, about the schedule he's just released for the 2012 WSOP. The biggest changes have to do with the Main Event. If you play, it won't take two full weeks to get to the final table, and if you do, you won't have to wait all the way until November to play it out.

We also talked about other changes Jack has made to the WSOP, from new events like an Ante Only tournament to increasing capacity by 24% to fewer $10,000 buy-in events. He also talked about the satellite and deep stack tournaments that will take place every day.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).


We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT on 590 KFNS radio from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Final Table #156: Secret Accounts

Today on the Final Table radio show, we weren't able to talk with guest Will Failla because he was in the midst of Day 2 of the Borgata Winter Open Championship, one of many final tables he's made in that series (we'll reschedule him for a future show).

Instead, we spent the hour talking about some recent poker stories and controversies, including:
  • Chris Ferguson's secret Full Tilt bank accounts;
  • Phil Ivey returning to the Aussie Millions and winning the $250,000 buy-in Challenge;
  • Las Vegas poker rooms offering rakeback for multiple hours of live play;
  • MIT students competing to see who can write the best pokerbot software.
We also discussed this weekend's Big Game 2 at Harrah's St. Louis, some of the prop bets for Super Bowl XLVI, and the poker player who left $1 million in his will for his chauffeur.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).


We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT on 590 KFNS radio from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Final Table #155: Matt Savage


Today on the Final Table radio show, we recapped our weekend poker road trips. Dennis was at the Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma for a World Series Of Poker Event, along with such notables as Scotty Nguyen, TJ Cloutier, Men The Master, and Todd Brunson. Meanwhile, Paul was in California to play cash games on Live At The Bike (watch it here, with commentary by Bart Hanson & David Tuchman) and at the Commerce Casino, where the LA Poker Classic kicked off with a massive field in its first event. That led to a discussion of the pros and cons of re-entry tournaments, as well as a piece of cash game strategy you should use whenever you play in a poker room against players you don't know.

In our guest segment, Paul talked with the very busy Matt Savage, tournament director of the LAPC, the Epic Poker League, Bay 101, and the World Poker Tour. The conversation touched on those re-entry events and other new tournament ideas, the obscure questions Matt answers via his Twitter account, strategy changes he's noticed in recent years, and much more.

In our news segment, we discussed Zynga admitting that customers of its free-play internet poker platform (with more than 30,000,000 players per month) are interested in playing for money online, progress on i-poker legislation in Iowa, and a story about the man who bought Peter Eastgate's 2008 WSOP Main Event Champion bracelet and wants to use it to raise more money for charity.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).


We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT on 590 KFNS radio from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis.

Also on The Final Table...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Final Table #154: Matt Glantz


Today on the Final Table radio show, Dennis shared more stories from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas, including an oddly-played hand in a cash game and a great run of events for 2010 WSOP Main Event Champion Jonathan Duhamel.

In our guest segment, we talked with Matt Glantz, who has won over $4 million in poker tournaments, including a big year in 2011. He discussed his success in high-stakes mixed-games, his involvement in the Epic Poker League Standards and Conduct Committee, and his recent blog post about Responsibility In Poker (in which he urged poker pros to realize how their actions reflect on the entire industry).

Reminder: if you're going to be in St. Louis over the next two weekends, there are a couple of events you should be a part of at Harrah's St. Louis. On January 21 and 22, you can play in the $200 double-shootout World Series Of Poker Main Event Qualifiers, and on January 27-29, it's Big Game 2 weekend -- with at least two tables of $25-50 no-limit hold'em ($15,000 minimum buy-in) and two other tables of $10-20 no-limit hold'em ($2,500 minimum buy-in). If you're interested in playing, send your name and e-mail to the address on the right side of this page and we'll send you full details on how to lock up a seat, get a discounted hotel room, wire money to the poker room cashier, etc.

Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).


We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT on 590 KFNS radio from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis.

Big Game 2

We've had several requests for information about Big Game 2, which is coming up at Harrah's St. Louis on the weekend of January 27-29, 2012. Here's what you need to know:

HOW DO I LOCK UP A SEAT?
Players for the $25/50 game may lock up a seat by contacting us before Thursday, January 26th.

Players for the $10/20 game – and any other $25/50 players who haven’t locked up a seat -- can call Harrah’s Poker Room at 314-770-7600 beginning at Noon on Friday 1/27 to reserve a spot on the list.

HOW DO I RESERVE A HOTEL ROOM?
We have a few rooms left at the discount rate which you can reserve before Tuesday, January 24th, by calling Harrah’s St. Louis (314-770-8100) -- use the hotel discount code “Big Game.”

PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY!
The games will start at 6pm on Friday, January 27th – but please don’t wait until then to show up. Last time, we had a logjam at the cashier’s window when all the players arrived just before game time. To avoid that crush and delaying the game, please be in the Harrah’s poker room by 5pm Friday so you can buy chips or access your wire transfer. If you need a safe deposit box, they will once again be available at the Harrah’s Hotel front desk for all Big Game players at no charge.

GAME DETAILS
The Big Game will be $25/50 no-limit hold’em with a $10 ante. Minimum buy-in is $15,000 with no maximum. The Harrah’s poker room cashier will have a window open for Big Game players and will have large denomination chips ready ($1k and $5k). Rake will be $8/player/half-hour with 9-handed tables.

There will also be a $10/20 no-limit hold’em game with $5 ante per player. Minimum buy-in is $2,500 with no maximum. Rake will be $7/player/half-hour. Tables will be 9-handed.

HOW DO I WIRE FUNDS TO HARRAH’S?
If you want to wire money to Harrah’s, you must do it no later than Tuesday morning 1/24. The Harrah’s contact person for this is Victoria Werckle at 314-770-8367.

ALSO IN THE ROOM
On Friday, Harrah’s will also spread $1-2 NLHE ($200 max), $1-2-5 NLHE ($500 max), $1-2-5 PLO ($500 max), and $20-40 Limit Hold’em (no max). On Saturday, same games except $20-40.

NEED A LIFT FROM THE AIRPORT?
If you’re flying into town, give us details on your flight no later than Tuesday 1/27 and we’ll arrange for the Harrah’s limo to pick you up.

QUESTIONS/PROBLEMS?
Contact us via the e-mail address on the right side of this page.

HOPE TO SEE YOU AT BIG GAME 2!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Final Table #153: PCA 2012 + Chris Krafcik


Today on the Final Table radio show, Dennis reported from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas, with stories of its Main Event, its Super High Roller ($100,000 buy-in) Event, and the effect Black Friday and the loss of US players had on attendance. We also discussed whether a new Guinness record for Fastest Online Poker Player (set by Randy Lew at the PCA) was really about poker.

In St. Louis, Paul revealed details for the first World Series Of Poker Main Event Qualifiers of the year at Harrah's St. Louis (1/21-22), and for Big Game 2 weekend at Harrah's St. Louis, January 27-29, with at least two tables of $25-50 no-limit hold'em ($15,000 minimum buy-in) and two other tables of $10-20 no-limit hold'em ($2,500 minimum buy-in). If you're interested in playing, send your name and e-mail to the address on the right side of this page and we'll send you full details on how to lock up a seat, get a discounted hotel room, wire money to the poker room cashier, etc.

Other topics we touched on included a goodbye to Jimmy Sommerfeld (retiring after 18 years as one of the best tournament directors in poker), whether Phil Ivey was worth the $11 million/year he was paid by Full Tilt, and Daniel Negreanu offering to sell pieces of himself for the $1 million buy-in One Drop tournament at the WSOP this summer.

In our guest segment, we talked with Chris Krafcik, research director for Gambling Compliance, about the latest developments in getting internet gaming back into the US, including:
  • how Nevada may lead the way in licensing online poker this year;
  • comments from the heads of two Las Vegas casinos who oppose online poker;
  • how New Jersey's attempt to legalize sports betting will have to overcome a federal obstacle;
  • whether Missouri and Illinois are likely to allow any of this in those states.
Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes or click here to subscribe via Stitcher (for Android phones and other devices).


We do The Final Table show every Tuesday 3pm to 4pm CT on 590 KFNS radio from the poker room of Harrah's St. Louis.