Posters on Reddit this week are remembering the glory years of the poker boom through a chance sighting and an old magazine article, while also doling out solid advice on table position, by means of a joke. Here’s a quick look around the forums in our occasional Forum Focus…
A Redditor named “Hikesbikescards94” had a short message and a photo when he visited the site on Sunday night. “Got to play with one of my favorite poker stars growing up,” he wrote.
The picture showed a young player in a hoodie, presumably Hikesbikescards94 himself, alongside a middle-aged man in a leather jacket and black T-shirt, as well as a chunky silver crucifix around his neck. A few posters couldn’t recognise him, but it helped to imagine a cigarette dangling from the bottom lip. It was none other than Sammy Farha, the former High Stakes Poker regular (“Raisy daisy!”) and one of the original stars of televised poker in the early 2000s — and, of course, the runner-up to Chris Moneymaker in the 2003 WSOP Main Event.
Hikesbikescards94 explained that Farha was playing $5/$5/$10 PLO at Fifty-Two Social Poker Club in Houston, where Johnny Chan is also apparently a regular. Farha’s most recent Hendon Mob entry dates from June 2014, and he is far less frequently on TV screens these days, so Hikesbikescards94’s post attracted a good deal of excitement from people who still remember him fondly.
“Wow! Does he know how much the poker world misses him?” wrote “killing4pizza”.
It wasn’t all positive, however. Some posters suggested that Farha’s table manners could be a little, while others pointed to the absence of table dividers and mandatory face-masks in the Houston club, questioning whether playing live poker in the current circumstances is wise.
For all that, most people seemed very happy just to see Farha’s face again, remembering his unique roll in the evolution of poker. Or, as a poster named “GameofCHAT” wrote: “The guy who could have stopped the MoneyMaker effect…” (We explored that concept once.)
It’s not clear whether a glimpse of Farha prompted another popular Reddit post from the weekend, but a poster named “roodner” said that he or she recently read an article in the now-defunct “Grantland” titled “When We Held Kings” that focused on Moneymaker’s 2003 WSOP win. “I enjoyed reading this old Grantland oral history of 2003 WSOP Main Event so much I’m wondering if anyone has any other great articles recounting specific events in poker history that are worth reading?” roodner wrote.
Before we look at some of the recommendations from the Reddit thread, here’s another side of the Moneymaker/WSOP story that not many people know, namely how it nearly didn’t happen. Brad Willis tells the story of The Moneymaker Boom that almost wasn’t. We’ve also got a comic strip version of the Moneymaker story. (Remember Willis also won Media Content of the Year at the 2014 American Poker Awards for his brilliant two-part profile of two players at the WSOP. Read “Stages” and “Never Stop Fighting“.)
Back to the Reddit thread, and a poster named “Czechano” pointed readers to the brilliant article in The Ringer about Steve Albini’s WSOP bracelet win. Albini is best known as a music producer, whose credits include Nirvana’s In Utero and Pixies’ Surfer Rosa, and the tale of how he won gold in Vegas is an excellent read.
Maria Konnikova’s recent book The Biggest Bluff was serialised in a lot of places, and The Atlantic had a good excerpt from that. Meanwhile, we also recommend a terrific four-part series from The Bitter Southerner titled “Bust”, which tells the inside story of the underground poker scene in Greenville, South Carolina, which only came to light after a dramatic heist.
Wired’s recent investigation into the Mike Postle scandal is a decent read. And it’s worth remembering that Al Alvarez’s peerless “The Biggest Game in Town” started as an article in The New Yorker.
Finally we can point everyone to Poker and Pop Culture, written by PokerStars Blog’s Martin Harris, which is the definitive directory on all books, films, music and articles about the game we love.
(And, forgive the indulgence, here’s a long read on the full story of how PokerStars Blog came to be.)
Location, location, location
All poker players will tell you the importance of position at a poker table. But how do you really get it to sink in. The Redditor “XxBobTheZealotxX” has a really good solution in a post titled “Position explained in a joke“.
We won’t give away the punchline, but the joke begins with a bus full of people dying in a road accident and being granted a wish from a benevolent god. Remarkably, it actually does a very good job of explaining the key poker concept — as does a follow-up response from a poster named “thereisnoaudience”. Check out the whole thread.
Seen any good forum threads recently? Drop them in the comments box below.