BY RUSS SCOTT
RELEASE: TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 2010
Readers ask: Will ‘New Phil’ Last? Are Poker Rooms Safe?
Civility at the poker table and personal safety in poker rooms are on readers’ minds this week.
Q: I saw where Phil Hellmuth is again trying to reduce his rants while playing. Do you think he’ll succeed? – Tom M. in Davenport, Iowa.
A: First, Tom, let’s note that Hellmuth isn’t the only player whose table demeanor degenerates into childish behavior peppered with foul language.
However, his tirades against “blankety-blank idiots” who beat him get added attention because of his stature as the top bracelet winner in World Series of Poker history.
It was an interesting coincidence last week that on the same day golf icon Tiger Woods promised at Augusta National that, as a changed person, he would tone down his obscenity-laced outbursts on the course, WSOP king Hellmuth wrote about becoming the “New Phil” on the felt.
“In 2010, I plan on being a perfect gentleman,” Hellmuth said in his blog.
That plan was tested last month during the World Poker Tour’s final table at the Bay 101 in California. After a series of pre-flop raises, Hellmuth called all-in with pocket queens against Andy Seth, who had A-J suited.
When the board ran out K-6-5-10-A, Hellmuth was eliminated in sixth place despite being a mathematical favorite up until the ace fell.
“I was about to have the chip lead, just one card away! I could feel it. I deserved it,” Hellmuth wrote.
He said the “Old Phil” surely would have berated Seth for his “horrendous move.” But no, “not this year.”
Hellmuth did, however, sit in stunned silence for a while. Then he got up, shook everyone’s hand and wished them luck. So far, so good.
Away from the table, unable to control his emotions any longer, he fell to his hands and knees with his head between his arms as the cameras kept rolling. Can’t miss those highlight-reel moments, you know.
“I wanted to stay down until I felt better. But I knew that I had to man up, get up and do my exit interview,” Hellmuth wrote.
One more test awaited him: As one of the tournament’s “Shooting Stars”, he was called back to the table to autograph a t-shirt for Seth.
“I told myself, ‘Stop whining! Get up there and take it like a man’,” he wrote. Upon doing so, he received a standing ovation and wondered: “Could the world be embracing me, finally?”
Perhaps. One comparatively civil response to a painful bad beat is a start, but poker’s a fickle game and the “New Phil” must pass many more tests before proving he’s a changed man at the table.
Q: After the armed robbery last month at the European Poker Tour in Berlin, should players in this country be worried for their safety in casinos? – Jody N. in Geneseo, Ill.
A: It’s a crazy world out there, Jody, so I suppose anything’s possible.
The EPT main event drew about 1,000 players and some of them were unnerved when four men armed with handguns and machetes robbed the registration desk of $328,000 while the tournament was under way.
A key point to consider is that, because of the huge field, the event was being staged in a large hotel near the host casino. Reportedly there was not casino-level security present.
Nevertheless, the robbery set off alarms for the World Series of Poker, which begins next month at the Rio in Las Vegas.
WSOP communications director Seth Palansky told Poker News Daily the robbery “is definitely on our radar.” Officials held a security briefing after the Berlin holdup.
“We’re a casino and we’re used to having all of these scenarios” accounted for, Palanski said. “There are hundreds of cameras at the WSOP” and “we feel very comfortable with the security we will have in place to ensure it’s a safe place to be.”
Now if only they could protect us against those mean opponents trying to take our chips!
E-mail your poker questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit www.creators.com or www.luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2010 RUSS SCOTT
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