The Bat Sizes Up the Poker Hall of Fame part two

The Bat was talking about Crandell Addington and why fish and rogues should also be in the Hall of Fame…

Addington also holds the record for most Texas Hold’em poker Main Event final tables with seven. But to give you an idea of how the size of the fields have changed he only cashed four times. Since Doyle Brunson has called Addington a No Limit Texas Hold’Em legend one has to wonder if he meets the Bat’s second criteria for induction. Maybe Doyle was just boosting his ego so he’d sit with him and stack off some of his self-made money.

Unfortunately for the Bat, in truth, Addington’s exploits may be undervalued he was from the old school poker school of thought. He was at his apex beating the cash games when the World Series was just a clever ploy to bring action players to town. He played solely professional poker from the early sixties to the eighties and funded his businesses with his winnings. Not the reverse. Would be nice if he were a donator but he wasn’t. Hmmm… looking deeper the Bat is hard pressed to find another fish in the Hall.

Well, besides fish, the the Hall of Fames also needs rogues. The guys that became legends like Sam Grizzle and Eskimo Clark. Guys who have tasted the get rich quick attributes of poker and the get broke quicker realities of the game. They are legends for different reasons and they need to be celebrated to. They are sometimes donators and sometimes winners but their personal stories tell Nick the Greek like vissitudes that only a professional gambler can understand and relate to. The fact they’ve been grinding along for long is proof to their staying power and the power of the game. The colorful characters of poker should be recognized because that is a bit of what the game is about.

Unlike trying to find a fish in the Hall of Fame, there are plenty of rogues to chose from. Most have resumes that show not only were they rogues but they were also great players. Let’s open the doors to those that weren’t exclusively winners. One that fits that catergory is Julius Oral “Little Man” Popwell. The Hall of Famer has zero bracelets and zero live tournament cashes but the 5’6, over 300 pound player (no wonder the Bat likes him), crushed billiards games and five card stud games.

He might have been a little bit shorter than the guy pictured but he was no less a hefty man stud.  He regularly played as an equal to Johnny Moss.  After operating lottories and card games from his house in Birmingham, AL he was incarcerated.

These days poker likes to sweep these rogues under the carpet. But poker would be no where without them. In fact, if not for the players that tested fate by opening up their homes to games that would attract the road warriors from the depression to the Casino era the gambler might never have been a career. Take many professional poker players and there is a backstory worth telling. Some of their pasts is lived in shadows and shadiness but part of the allure of poker is playing these types of people at their own game and beating them.

Right now, there is a guy who can’t seem to win for losing. Just a couple of years ago he was one of the best No Limit tournament players in the world. Hansen isn’t much of a rogue though he is a bit of a scamp at least to the ladies.   It appears Gus Hansen is down 10 million in online action on one site. He might make the Hall of Fame as a winner but if he doesn’t make it the Bat will certainly push for him in ten or twenty years to make it to the Hall of Fame because of what he gave back to the game as a loser. Isn’t that what Hall of Famers are supposed to do? Give back to the game?

Poker Bat Sizes Up the Poker Hall of Fame Part I

The Poker Hall of Fame just released their latest and greatest group of nominees, but the Poker Bat goes beyond the press releases the normal media regurgitates for you like it’s news. Everybody’s playing Texas Hold’em poker but that Bat is playing every game. You know what the Bat means? Let’s take a look at the Poker Hall of Fame.

One of the guys in there is Roger Moore. James Bond you say? Well, unless that Roger Moore was the son of sharecroppers, which is unlikely give his British accent and haughty attitude, it’s a different Roger Moore. That Roger Moore, may have been a Jackie Robinson type for poker, but considering he only won one braclet in 1994 and he was elected in 1997, professional poker’s dirty little secret may be that it wasn’t desegregated until 30 years after many other sports. Considering the depth and quality of African American players now, if Moore was honored for being a historic first (and the Bat doesn’t know if he was because 1994 seems head-scratchingly late) it seems short-sighted afterall winners in that day in age basically bested a field the size of a glorified sng.

His career totals of 337k pale in comparison to the life-time earnings of plenty of African American players to come after him. Moore also finished 6th in the 1986 Main Event, but the Golf Course owner (he owns two), really doesn’t leap off the page as a hall of fame poker player. Though, the Bat’s idea of a poker player who should be hall of fame worthy may be a little different than mosts. There should be three types of inductees to the Hall of Fame. The biggest winners, the bigggest losers and the biggest rogues. For in truth the game would be no where without all three of those types.

Guy Laberte is a lifetime donator to high stakes games everywhere because he basically prints money as the owner of the Cirque Du Soleil. Factoring in the trickle down effect this guy has had a far bigger impact on poker than say all but a few in the Hall of Fame. In fact, the rich guys that piss away their money keep the game going. One day there should be a spot for him at the Hall of Fame. In fact, Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan should pay for it, if the WSOP doesn’t.

There would be no Doyle Brunson unless there were a sucker born everyday and a least a sucker at every table. Those “suckers” grew the game and funded the game. In fact, before TV money, online poker money, and the variety of sponsorships and poker businesses out there now, it was the donators that enabled the game to thrive. It’s hard to find a donator in the Hall of Fame right now.

At first blush, your eyes are drawn to the credentials of Crandell Addington who was inducted in 2005. He has zero braclets and even less career earnings than the Georgian James Bond. If he wasn’t winning, and he was playing during the touranment era maybe he was losings. Turns out, Addington at least helped create the concept of the World Series of Poker. Okay, that’s worth a look. The fact, he was know as “Dandy” for being a sharp dresser makes you question if he was a rich donator?

Turns out Addington was a self-made millionaire but in the World Series he could never close the deal. He finished second in the main event twice (losing to Johnny Moss in 1974 and Bobby Baldwin in 1978).

The Bat will wrap this up in his next post.. You know you are on pins and needles…

The Poker Bat takes a Chop at Biloxi

The Bat through a friend of a friend of a friend got a hold of a letter, actually an email (the Bat hasn’t gotten a letter since they asked him to register for Vietnam) from a player who was at the Gulf Coast Poker Championship and was mad as hell about the abuse he suffered there during a Texas Holdem poker tournament.  Before the Bat breaks down the anatomy of a chop, proper tournament structure, and proper floor-man behavior the Bat wants to wax philosophic about the Vietnam letter. 

It’s relevant…  just wait for your trusted friend the Bat to get to it.  Talk about a bad beat seeing as the letter arrived after the war had ended a decade or so earlier, and at that point and time the only place Americans were fighting overtly was Grenada, the Bat ain’t much a fan of the U.S. Postal Service.  Sure they deliver in rain, snow, sleet, or hellfire except when they don’t.

Sometimes a letter will get lost for damn near a decade.  Sometimes that can mess up your life.  So at that point the Bat went off the grid.  No more mailbox for the Bat.  Course, the Bat didn’t stray too far from the grid keeping his credit card, phone line, and fax line but you get the point.  Anyway, the men in uniform of the postal service mean well, and we’ll forgive them for calling their top dog a general after all the salvation army gets away with it, but when things go awry there they really go haywire.

Same can be said for running a poker tournament.  The floormen are kind of like the guys running a post office.  Some days they come into work and a guy flat out goes postal and that efficient little system is bent on its ear and conflict runs amuck.  Sometimes the system just breaks down, like the mail in Louisiana post Katrina.  The Bat would mail something and it’d get there but it’d take a month.  Real fun when paying bills. 

The Bat thinks that if you are organizing a poker tournament and you are disregarding players complaining about your structures that’s one thing if the players still come.  And for the most part they do because there is no other game in town (won’t mention Oklahoma where the Bat might have been), but when they stop coming you got a problem.  Bat hears the numbers were down a bit for that big poker tournament over there even worse the Bat hears the structures were so bad  that players were mostly chopping the events even before they got to the final table.  WTF?

Guess what it’s crisis mode… a civil servant just walked into the Post Office locked and loaded.  Maybe they wanted every tournament to wrap up after one day but the Bat suspects not.  The Bat also knows with a juice taken from the Buy-in, yeah read the fine print, it’s about three per cent, a registration fee over 10%, and then a dealer toke, the casino is bleeding the players dry.  It’s lunacy.

Read on a forum where the structure last go around was defended by pointing to the people in the lines for the early tournaments.  That defense ain’t going to last long.  The mail ain’t getting to where it’s supposed to be delivered.  Not only were players petitioning for chops, but individual players that actually wanted to play for first and refused the chops were villainized with no support from the tournament staff.  None.  The tournament staff created the structure which inspires chops and the allowed players that didn’t want to chop to get hotboxed… what to wrap things up?  Something’s fishy.