|The Tiltboys have cracked the code.
Through common interests of poker, golfing, gambling, drinking, Roshambo, and constant angling to put each other on tilt, the Tiltboys (who include Phil Gordon, Perry Friedman, Rafe Furst, and Kim Scheinberg, among others) formed a unique bond that they somehow parlayed into a life consisting of nothing but: poker, golfing, gambling, drinking, Roshambo, and constant tilt angling.
Tales from the Tiltboys is part Ocean’s 11, part Swingers, part "Signs you have a gambling problem" pamphlet from GA. While you breeze through the chapters, the only thing you’ll do more than laugh is wish you were at a casino with your buddies, saddled up at a poker table with a drink in one hand while the other is forming a circle that will catch one of their eyes.
Wicked Chops Poker goes heads-up with the Tiltboys to discuss their book, their history, and how you can put Phil Hellmuth on instant tilt.
WCP: First of all, let‚Äôs get this out of the way‚Ä¶
(Editor’s note: the Q&A document Wicked Chops sent to the Tiltboys included the photo you see to the left, a nod to the circle game the Tiltboys are so fond of playing on each other)
(Tiltboy Rafe, pictured right) I had my circle shield up when I opened the document, of course.
WCP: Fair enough, but it is below my waist so someone’s taking a hit. Moving on though, please define "tilt," its importance, and particularly, a way you might angle to put someone on it.
Tiltboys: Tilt is the oxygen in the air that we breathe. It is the reason we get out of bed in the morning. A day without tilt would be like a day without–why are there so many naked women on your site? Are you trying to put me on tilt?
WCP: When Rafe and Russ first came together at Stanford, was there some subconscious master plan for the Tiltboys to raise to such prominence? And when was the first time you knew the Tiltboys were prominent gambling figures?
Tiltboys: When Rafe first saw Russ, he thought all his dreams of being a NAMBLA child were coming true. Imagine the heartache when he discovered that Russ was only two years older than he is.
The following is a true story that did not make it into the book — we knew we’d arrived when Phil [Gordon, pictured right with Snake and Chops] sent this mail:
So, I sit down and immediately get some good hands and I’m winning a hundred or so. The guy on my left notices my American accent, and we start to chat. We quickly figure out that we know a few people in common (he goes to Vegas quite often). On further inquiry, I find that he reads rec.gambling. And, he reads Card Player. Yep, you guessed it, he KNOWS the TILTBOYS! "Are you one of those guys that dressed in womens’ clothes to play in the poker tourney a few years ago?" he asked. I nearly fell out of my chair!
If that weren’t enough, an older lady two seats away is listening to the conversation and after I snap her off on a really excellent gut shot on the river after posting live 20 (which I did all night long, basically, just to tilt the locals), she says "So, you’re a tiltboy, eh? I’ve read every single one of your trip reports. Are you the Scam King or the Dice Boy?" Again, I almost wet myself.
WCP: The Tiltboys stories are legendary in the poker world. One of the most well known is when Rafe, Phil, Perry, Mike, and Bruce dressed up as women and played in a Bay 101 Women’s Only poker tournament. It seems though that when the Tiltboys dressed up as chicks, all but Stern (pictured right, peeing) still looked like a guy. Seriously, he could’ve been somebody’s aunt. Does this scare you?
Tiltboys: If Stern is Rafe’s cousin and he’s also somebody’s aunt… is this one of those puzzles where the surgeon is the kid’s mom and Perry turns out to be his own grandmother?
P.S. (From Kim, editor of Tales from the Tiltboys) Bruce, am I *ever* getting my underwear back?
WCP: As witnessed on this year’s WSOP "The Nuts," the Tiltboys are also renowned Roshambo players. Doyle Brunson has said that if his life depended on one hand of poker, he’d pick Chip Reese to play it. If your life depended on one game of Roshambo, who would you pick to play for you? And if it had to be you playing, who would you want to go heads-up against?
Tiltboys: First of all, Doyle is out of his mind to let his life depend on one hand of poker. But to answer your question: Bruce and Perry (pictured left after winning his first WSOP title). And not in that order.
WCP: Of all the Tiltboys, Phil Gordon is currently getting the most face time. In fact, he’s bordering on poker ubiquity. But tell our readers this: if Phil Ivey is the Tiger Woods of poker, then what is Phil Gordon?
Tiltboys: Perpetually on tilt.
WCP: This is a long one, but we need your expert take. The Wicked Chops Poker regular home game is a Wednesday night no limit tournament style game with re-buys. However, we mixed it up recently and did a Sunday $1-2 cash game. So in this cash game, Chops was up and declared at 7:15 he was leaving in an hour (that would be 8:15) to go home, eat, and watch Six Feet Under and Entourage. While Chops had planned on this all along, he knew holding off on this declaration would put at least a few guys at the table on tilt, hopefully being able to cash in once they started spewing chips. Sure enough, Wicked Chops Poker co-founder Snake went instantly on tilt, "You’re kidding, right? Six Feet Under? You’re fucking kidding…" he said. Further, the host, a guy named Lightning (he’s particularly slow-to-act on any and all actions, even obvious folds, and has been struck by Lightning not once, but twice), went on tilt because he was down so much for the night already, and once Chops left, the game would likely end. So in this 6-person game, the only ones down for the night ended up as: 1) Snake, and 2) Lightning. Both lost a large chunk during that last hour. In fact, Lighting lost his last chip on the last hand of the night. So in your opinion, is Chops a total pussy for leaving to watch Six Feet Under and Entourage, or is the fact that he knowingly put Snake and Lightning on mega-tilt cancel that out? And no, despite the nicknames, we were not nor are we currently American Gladiators characters.
Tiltboys: Haven’t you people ever heard of Tivo? I’ll you bet you still pay for porn, too.
Tiltboys: First of all, it’s inappropriate for you to be so disrespectful of a "Former" World Champion. Next time you see him, be sure to let [Former World Champion Phil Hellmuth] know that Tall Phil says hello.
WCP: In some ways, writing this book is the ultimate act of self-preservation (which is something we can relate to). Given your Wednesday night home game occurs with less regularity now, do you hope that in some way, this book can revive it by infusing new, young blood (read: deadmoney) into the game?
WCP: What would be your dream 6-person table, living, dead, or fictitious?
Tiltboys (from Kim): Richard Feynman, Caligula’s horse, Lara Croft, that kid who played the best friend in Doogie Howser M.D., Kaiser Soze, and the boyfriend who borrowed $2k that he never paid back but I forgive him because he was a really excellent kisser.
WCP: Finally, tell our readers how the proceeds of this book are being used and why they should buy it.
Tiltboys: Half of the proceeds from this book goes to charity. The other half will send a needy Tiltboy to the World Series of Poker. We will send as many individual Tiltboys as possible to play in the $10,000 WSOP Main Event. Winner(s) of the seat(s) will be determined by Tiltboy-only satellite tournaments. Charities and amounts will also be chosen by Tiltboy-only poker tourneys with the highest finishers selecting the charities. Eligible charities must have 501(c)(3) status. (Sorry, Paul!)
Buy it because every time a little child stops believing in Tilt, a fairy somewhere drops down dead.
WCP: Thank you Tiltboys for taking the time to answer our probing, hard-hitting questions. We encourage all of you eyeballing this right now to go out and buy this book. Tales from the Tiltboys isn’t going to tell you how to be a better poker player or human being, but it’ll do what every other poker book on the market fails to, and that’s solicit some belly-buster laughs out of you. Enjoy.