What’s the Deal: Cameras Rolling…Cue Idiot!

Dealt by Tim Bangs (assisted by Chops)

We are all familiar with the term "poker professional."  But how many of these so-called "poker professionals" really act "professional"?  Sure, great names come to mind, like Doyle Brunson, T.J. Cloutier, or Phil Ivey.  They‚Äôre calm, cool, collected, and always a great winner AND a great loser.  True professionals.

But that’s not always the case.  And a few "poker professionals" come to mind. 

Let’s break it down…

1) Mike "The Mouth" Matusow ‚Äì This guy is like a carnival ride of emotional instability.  He reminds me of that obnoxious frat brother who you tried to keep away from the pledges because he‚Äôd take out all of his insecurities and issues by hazing the living hell out of them.  You know, pushing the hazing just a little too far.  Then you‚Äôd tell him, ‚ÄúMike, seriously man, quit acting like a jackass.  We NEED these pledges.  The dues man.  The dues.‚Äù  And then he‚Äôd apologize profusely and tell you what a great buddy you are and how much he loves you.  Then about 10 seconds later, a pledge would walk by and he‚Äôd slug ‚Äòem as hard as he could on the arm.  Then he‚Äôd run up to his room and cry for 15 minutes.  Then pass out and throw up all over himself.  Yeah, that pretty much sums up Mike the Mouth. 

2) Phil Hellmuth ‚Äì Hellmuth is the only guy I can think of that I‚Äôd reverse the phrase, ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt hate the player, hate the game.‚Äù  So don‚Äôt hate the game (he‚Äôs one of the best ever), hate the player.  This guy mugs for the camera more than Constantine on American Idol.  But at least Constantine is probably getting chicks with his mugging.  Hellmuth just keeps digging an ever-growing deeper hole for himself.  I know Hellmuth watches himself on TV (cause he says so in interviews), and thinks, "Boy, I sure acted like an idiot."  Ok, fine.  But it‚Äôs amazing that whenever a player makes a bad call and sucks out on him, that player is an idiot, and Hellmuth will tell him so.  But if Hellmuth makes a bad call and out draws his foe, he‚Äôs not afraid to dance around the table like Snoopy.

3) Phil Laak ‚Äì Ah, the Unibomber.  Like Ann Coulter, such a divisive figure.  To his credit, I will say that he never badmouths or ‚Äúdisrespects‚Äù his opponent.  But if I was the dealer at a Phil Laak final table, I‚Äôd feel like it was kindergarten class and I was the teacher.  Thing is (and this is the case with almost all of these guys except Matusow and Hellmuth), that in the earlier rounds of your
World Poker Tour
event, when the cameras aren‚Äôt rolling, I bet you couldn‚Äôt tell the Unibomber apart from Adam.  It‚Äôs just when the cameras roll that he reverts back to some lonely 5 year old playing with his imaginary friend.

4)  Scott Fischman ‚Äì Just shut up.  You‚Äôre good.  We get it.  But shut up.  Three years ago you were probably rolling a 20-sided dice playing Dungeons and Dragons.  So just shut up about ‚ÄúThe Crew,‚Äù play cards, and be glad that chicks like poker players a lot more than Dungeonmasters.      

In closing, some advice:  When the light above the camera is on, that means you are being filmed.  Things not to do when the light is on: talk trash when you lose, jump around and screech like a monkey, dance (unless its the Robot), or sing your country‚Äôs national anthem.   Or in other words: Just play cards!


5 Responses

  1. Bob Murphy

    April 22, 2005 9:26 am, Reply

    In the begining of the story, you talk about the true professionals. While I agree with all of your choices, I think that Annie Duke is also one of those true pros. Plus, she’s almost attractive. But, how can you have no mention of Johnny Chan? I think that is disrespectful in a way. I mean, that guy is a poker GOD! Sure, its fun to talk about the new tv players and make fun of Van Patten, its a lot of fun, but poker wasn’t invented two years ago.
    “Will the real Bob Murphy please stand up?”

  2. !spike

    April 25, 2005 1:15 pm, Reply

    Dude – I’m a third level evil good elf and looking to “roll wit’ my crew and punk out some texas holdem’ bitches d&d stylee – yeahhh boyeeeee!”. Plus, Gandalf is a stick carryin’ nimrod who couldn’t bluff his way out of a sucker convention. Hey, this is a d&d site – right?

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