Lee Davy tries writing the weekly Calling the Clock column standing erect, but his back hurt so he sat back down. Erect. I like that word. Erect.
Life is not easy for the writer. I’m not talking about all that writer’s block bollocks, I’m talking about not being able to find interesting stories, or the slip of a finger that turns Calling the Clock into Calling the Cock.
Fortunately, this week, stories are not that hard to find. They may all originate from the same place, but that’s fine with me. I am, of course, talking about the World Series of Poker (WSOP), and this week the greatest tour in the world created three seven figure winners: Anthony Zinno, Jonathan Duhamel and Mike Gorodinsky.
Let’s begin with the 33-year old from Boston. Poker players come and go, like fallen leaves being blown around by the wind, but the wind doesn’t reach Zinno at this present moment. He is a star, and no wind can blow that far.
Mike Gorodinsky may be leading the WSOP Player of the Year (POY) race, but the Season XIII World Poker Tour (WPT) POY is currently riding shotgun. If Gorodinsky’s foot slips off that pedal, just once, then Zinno will open the door and kick him out into the dirt.
Zinno has been coming to the WSOP for the past 8-years. He has never had a year like this one. He has made five final tables, in varying different formats, in some of the biggest events of the calendar, and he won the $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) event at the first time of asking.
This particular lucky star wore a suit for his final table appearance. A tear fell from my eye after the he told the WSOP that his father passed away when he was 15-years old, and he believes this is how he would have wanted to see him during his finest moment.
The other young man hitchhiking his way to poker stardom is the 2010 WSOP Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel. Talk about picking your events. The Canadian has now won two bracelets, the first one whilst earning $8.9m, and the second one earning $3.9m. That prize was the biggest dished out at the series thus far, and he climbs five places in the all-time money list where he currently rests in eighth spot.
Two more stories emerged from Duhamel’s One Drop victory. Bill Klein, who finished runner-up, donated his haul of $2.4m to charity, and at the other end of the fuck me scale, an elderly gentlemen collapsed on the rail and had to be escorted to hospital with defibrillator paddles lain on his breast. It’s unknown whether the unfortunate man recovered from the incident.
Gorodinsky got a mention earlier, and so he should. The reason Zinno is not at the top of the WSOP POY leaderboard is because he is. Gorodinsky has made four final tables including victory in the $50k Poker Players Championships. He picked up $1.2m for his win, and leads Zinno by 100 points in that particular race.
Other notable bracelet winners included a Hollywood screenwriter and producer, Carol Fuchs, winning the Dealers Choice event (Come on Matt Salsberg pull your finger out), Eli Elezra winning his third gold bracelet, and the super talented Kevin MacPhee winning his first.
If you attach a C on the end of WSOP what do you get? You’ve got it – the WSOPC. This week Seth Palansky issued a press release that included the full 2015/2016 WSOPC schedule, with the groundbreaking news being that for the first time in the tours history they were going global.
The schedule consisted of 19 domestic tour stops and 6 international stops, with further negotiations in the pipeline. Bally’s Las Vegas is a new tour on the domestic front, and Italy, Czech Republic and Mexico will host the international events with two more yet to be announced.
The Best of the Non WSOP Rest
If Zinno is an angel then who takes the role of demon this week?
Two names have cropped up, and for very different reasons. The first is the three-time WSOP bracelet winner, and all round king of online poker: Brian Hastings.
Hastings is being pictured with a pitchfork in his hands after David ‘Bakes’ Baker alleged that he had played against him at the final table of a Spring Championships of Online Poker (SCOOP) event, under an account by the name of NoelHayes.
It’s ALLEGED (I use capitals in the off chance I get another million tweets suggesting I am a wanker for calling him a cheat) that Hastings used a VPN to play on the NoelHayes account from his home in the USA.
A quite lengthy 2+2 thread suggested that nobody really cares about the VPN issue, but they do care about Hastings trying to benefit financially whilst masquerading with a Venetian style online poker mask.
One man who wanted to share his opinion about Hastings’s shame was Australia’s James Obst, but the young man didn’t stop there. He had quite a lot to say, which you can read about right here, and upset a ton of people in the process including Daniel Negreanu (they later man hugged it out), and every female poker player in the world (I might be slightly exaggerating for effect there).
I think people should leave him the fuck alone. It’s not often anyone speaks up in this industry of ours, and when they do they should be respected, not ripped apart. We should be delivering Obst a bucket load of love, not a thimbleful.
What else happened this week?
Ah yes…Keven Stammen continued his excellent form on the periphery of the WSOP. You may remember he recently chopped a Venetian Deepstack event for six figures; well he has gone and won the Hollywood Poker Open for another bumper payday.
Stammen is a big man. There are shattered shards of eggshells, chicken legs and pizza’s the size of flying saucers all over his kitchen, and that leads me seamlessly into the news that PokerStars launched their second affiliation with a restaurant this week.
Once again it was a relationship groomed to promote the United Kingdom & Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT). The first PokerStars All-In Kitchen was held in London at the turn of the year, and the second one was held in Bristol earlier this week. Punters could eat Spanish tapas food for free by finishing in the top three spots in a poker tournament held in the restaurant. Look out for more of those things in the future.
Did you know that poker players have photographic memory? Ask anyone it’s true. They can remember flops, turns and rivers from donkey’s years ago.
Everyone except Doug Polk and Daniel Colman!
The pair were recently playing in the Super High Roller Cash Game, being filmed for airing on Poker Central, when the dealer put out a flop containing two queen of clubs. Neither player noticed, a Polk bet forced Colman off the hand, and we were all left wondering if Brian Hastings has sneaked into the game.
Finally, Sam Razavi was a guest on CalvinAyre this week. During our interview he spoke very highly of the value he places on being a father and husband. To prove that point Razavi didn’t hang around to play in the greatest competition in the world, instead he picked his $150k check for his fourth place finish in the $3k NLHE event and then buggered off home.
Unfortunately or Razavi he has run into some issues with Hong Kong customs after they took issue with his documentation. This is what is said:
Given Name: Worzel
Travel Document: Unknown
Place and Date of Issue: UK Circa 21st Century
Place of Birth: Hospital
Address in Hong Kong: Dave’s Gaff
Home Address: Latitude 48, 51, 12 N & Longitude 2,20,55 E
Flight No: Starship Enterprise
From: A Galaxy Far, Far Away
It must be a racism issue. Perhaps they have it in for scarecrows?
Time ladies and gentlemen please.
Someone has just called the clock.
PS: Joe Barton (not the crazy footballer) introduced a federal bill to legalize online poker this week…if you wanted to know?