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Addicted to poker video blogs

5 July 2007

I'm addicted to World Series of Poker video blogs.

There, I've said it. If you want to make fun of me, go ahead – take your best shot and e-mail me at vin@casinocity.com. But before you do, try watching some. They're absolutely fascinating. And they're way better than chip counts and bust-out hands (sorry PokerNews).

It's not that chip counts and bust-out hands are inherently boring. It's just that most of the WSOP events have been won by people I've never heard of. When the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Freddy Deeb and Eli Elezra win tournaments, I'm interested. And when someone like Saro Getzoyan wins, the only thing that runs through my mind is Norm Chad saying "I know squadoosh" about this guy.

Squadoosh isn't entertaining. But Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu and Tong G are. Their video blogs provide a fairly candid peek into the lifestyles of top poker players. And I can't stop watching.

Learning to like Hellmuth
I was never a big Hellmuth fan. In my eyes, he was poker's version of John McEnroe – a brat with amazing talent.

But, as I learned in watching him on rawvegas.tv, there is much more to the self-proclaimed "Poker Brat" than just annoying table manners.

Hellmuth really cares about the WSOP. In fact he's obsessed with it. He wants to be known as the best poker player in WSOP history. He desperately wants to be the "record man" and own all the major WSOP marks. It drives his career. But as compelling as the naked ambition and desire is, the true revelation has been Phil's (I feel I can call him that now) softer side.

Hellmuth is a family man who picks his kids up from school (granted, it's after he's played several hours of Chinese Poker, but still, he picks them up), skips events to attend graduation ceremonies, and wants to play his best when they're in attendance. In one entry, Phil explained he was happy that one of his kids was away at camp, and out of contact, and the other was about to start camp so he didn't "have to feel guilty about not spending enough time" with his children.

And in his most recent video blog, Phil bemoaned the fact he was playing so poorly while his parents were there watching.

Phil the family man – who knew?

Wii Negreanu
Negreanu (I'm not ready to call him Daniel yet) cracks me up. If his cell phone rings or vibrates during the taping of video blog, he always stops to check and see who it is.

The running theme is Negreanu's video blogs is the Nintendo Wii. He's either just played, is talking about playing, or has been stymied in an attempt to play it by lack of batteries.

Also, it looks like the WSOP has installed the Wii the player's lounge. And considering so many players seem to be addicted to it, that's probably a good thing.

Like Phil, Negreanu is serious about winning a bracelet. Of course, the fact that Negreanu has bet on himself to win a bracelet this year probably has something to do with it.

He's also very bitter about losing the H.O.R.S.E. tournament. In fact, that video is the angriest I've seen any poker player – including Mike Matusow. Words won't do it justice. You'll just have to head over to rawvegas.tv and check it out.

Tony G.: All business
Of the three, Tony G. spends the most time talking about poker. And he spends most of that time complaining about the structure of the limit tournaments.

Tony G. (I can't call him Tony yet and G. just seems wrong) says the way WSOP limit tournaments are structured this year is all wrong. That it takes too long to build any sort of stack and the first few levels are utterly meaningless – making the entire tournament a grind.

Apparently the grind got to Tony G. recently. A dealer made a mistake that killed one of his hands, and apparently he let the dealer have it. But as he sheepishly admitted in his video blog at Pokerworks.com, he overreacted. So he tipped the dealer $1,000. And he wants everyone to know that know chips were not thrown at the dealer's head. "There may have been chips in the air," Tony G. said. "But none toward the dealer."

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Best of Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan

Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.

Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.