Friday, September 01, 2017

New Album: Ex Machina

It was one year ago today I released my seven albums over on Bandcamp all at once. Or “rereleased” one could say, as they all had been floating around in highly obscure fashion as cassettes and/or compact discs since way back in the day.

The music contained on all seven was recorded from the late 1980s through the early 2000s. In other words, it’s safe to say even the newest tracks on the seventh one, Circular Logic, were all well over a decade old, with some of the earliest material dating back more than a quarter-century (sheesh).

Here they are (all available for free download, if you’re curious):

  • Daisy Hawkins (1987-1990)
  • Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose (1989-1991)
  • Perpetuum Mobile (1990-1991)
  • The Omni-Balsamic Reinvigorator (1991-1995)
  • Imbroglio (1991-1993)
  • Welcome to Muscle Beach (1993-1999)
  • Circular Logic (2000-2003)
  • I describe each of the albums in a post here from last year. Clicking through to my Bandcamp page also gets you to more information about each album (and each track). Six of the seven albums are all instrumental, with my pop-rock opus Welcome to Muscle Beach the only one featuring songs with lyrics & my vocals. (It’s my Revolver, I joke.)

    The music was played on various instruments (guitars, bass, keyboards, pianos, percussion, keyboards and synths, and a midi sequencer) and produced using an old Tascam 4-track cassette recorder which I still own although is hardly in working condition anymore.

    These days with Garage Band and similar programs the work of producing such self-made music has become so much simpler to do. Indeed, the process of digitizing these old tracks and releasing it all on my own has become trivially easy today compared to what had to be done way back when in order to get your recorded music heard by even a small audience.

    Among the dozens of unrealized ideas I have laying about currently, one of them has been to create some videos to go along with various songs. In fact, I’d like to put all of it up on YouTube at some point -- I even have a dedicated YouTube channel for it -- but just haven’t gotten around to it.

    I’d also like to find a way to create new music, although again it’s a matter of reestablishing some sort of “home studio” in which to do some recording. Meanwhile, I have been experimenting with some of the older tracks (including some unreleased stuff), and from one of those experiments I came up with something interesting enough I’ve decided to release it as a new album today.

    The album is called Ex Machina and can safely be described as my first wholly “ambient” LP -- a single, almost 37-minute track called “Ex Machina (Redux).”

    For this one, I took the opening track of Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose -- a short loop of electric guitar and effects -- and slowed it down a lot (like 800 percent) which resulted in a much longer, still uncannily melodic piece. I then reversed that track and spliced the two segments together, added a few more treatments to it all, and the long piece is the result.

    Unlike practically everything else from the earlier albums, this one works pretty well as “writing music” (I’d suggest), for those who like to have something to accompany their scribbling. Or if you’re still playing online poker, it might work as a soundtrack for that, too.

    I’ve even made a video for this one, a very slow pan across a panorama photo of the farm capturing a fairly stunning sunset from a few months ago. Here it is:

    It’s probably hard to believe, but every sound you hear was made with an electric guitar. No shinola.

    Feedback plays a big role, of course. In fact that’s where the name of the track came from, as the primary melody was spontaneously generated from the feedback being manipuated by the effects rack I was using. In other words, while a human played the notes, a machine (or multiple machines, really) served as co-composers, to be sure.

    Speaking of feedback, let me know what you think! And if you like it, go ahead and download the audio over on Bandcamp.

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    Tuesday, August 29, 2017

    Safe and Sound

    Back on the farm now after a busy week-and-a-half in Barcelona.

    The turnouts for the big events (i.e., the ones we focused on the most on the PokerStars blog) of the PokerStars Championship Barcelona series were all quite big, which meant a lot of long days strung together. That in turn meant not a whole lot of extracurricular activity outside of the casino or hotel during my stay, although I did get out a couple of times.

    This was my fourth trip to Barcelona, and having spent some time sightseeing on earlier visits (including once with Vera Valmore), I didn’t feel too much urgency to get out this time, even if I had wanted to.

    The day before leaving I did manage to make the walk over to La Rambla, which would have been 10 days after the attack there that occurred the day before my arrival. It was a Sunday. A couple of police vans were parked at the end where I entered from the roundabout, the opposite end from where the attack began.

    As you might have seen on television, there’s a wide pedestrian walkway in the center with two narrow streets on either side. As it was the weekend, portable stands and tents were set up throughout selling paintings and other locally-produced art along with other souvenirs -- the Fira Nova Artesania flea market where tourists frequently pick up items to take home.

    There had been a big memorial at the location the day before, and a lot also happened at the site during the three-day mourning period the previous weekend. This Sunday, though, there was little evidence of what had taken place before. Life had gone on, as it does.

    Walking back out I saw a few the “human statues” getting ready for the day, including the first three featured in this video another visitor made a few years back. They weren’t quite set up for the day just yet, and as they readied themselves there was something uncannily business-like about their preparations.

    Walking back through the streets of Barcelona to the Hotel Arts for the last day of play, I found myself doing more people watching than usual, occasionally caught off-guard by short though intense bursts of melancholy over the cruelty and horror that had been perpetrated there (and elsewhere).

    That photo above (taken by someone else -- I am replacing my old phone soon, as the camera has been worthless for a while) shows where someone had written in Catalan on the base of a La Rambla street lamp “Tots som Barcelona” -- i.e., “We are all Barcelona.”

    Truth be told, the great majority of the human race is good and looking out for one another. They might be motivated and/or encouraged differently to feel that way about others, but I think most of them know (perhaps instinctively) that helping and loving each other is what gives our meaning. Perhaps the only thing.

    All ended well poker-wise. The Main Event winner Sebastian Sorensson, a Swede who was quiet and wrapped up tightly in a Miami Dolphins scarf throughout most of the tournament, turned out to be a gregarious (and hilarious) winner, delivering a fantastic post-even interview with Joe Stapleton that’s worth checking out.

    The trip back home was smooth and without incident. Was good as always to reunite with Vera and the several four-legged friends with whom we share this small, pie-shaped slice of the world where we all take care of each other. And where I’ll be staying put for a while.

    Photo: “Todos somos Barcelona - We are all Barcelona - El mundo es Barcelona - The World is Barcelona | | 170827-8851-jikatu” (adapted), Jimmy Baikovicius. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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    Saturday, August 19, 2017

    Morning in Barcelona

    “It could have been worse” is a phrase we’ve all heard and most of us have probably used. Usually after something bad happens.

    (Actually, as I try to start out on that foot, I can’t avoid noting how we have a president in the United States right now who appears intent on proving nearly every single day that yes, it can be worse. But I’ll avoid that digression just now.)

    Depending on the context, the phrase “it could have been worse” can have different connotations and thus produce different effects.

    In certain circumstances, it can be genuinely comforting to recognize that whatever bad thing has happened, it wasn’t as bad as other possible events. You leave your wallet behind at a restaurant, but when you return an hour later they’ve kept it for you and gladly return it. It could have been worse, you say.

    Sometimes, though, it feels trite or hollow to make such a remark, especially when the bad thing that happened is much, much worse than some mundane, easily handled inconvenience. That said, as I sit in my hotel room here in Barcelona this morning catching up with the latest details regarding the terrorist attack that occurred Thursday about two miles from here at La Rambla in the city’s center -- and the subsequent attack occurring in Cambrils about 70 miles away -- it’s hard not to shudder at the thought of how much worse it could have been.

    Still, like I say, that rings hollow. Such senseless, deranged horror perpetrated on so many innocents, and for no reason whatsoever other than to serve some mindless, indefensible, inhumane cause. (And frustratingly reprising several other attacks here in Europe, as well as another deranged and deadly decision made for similarly stupid reasons in Virginia a week ago.)

    You’re following the coverage, too, so I won’t rehearse all of the details I’m learning both through various news sources and via conversations here where I’ve come to help cover the PokerStars Barcelona Championship series already underway. Suffice it say, the circumstantial evidence strongly suggests more ambitiously cruel plans by the perpetrators failed to be realized for various reasons (including some swift action on the part of Spanish police).

    It was sickening to follow the story two days ago from the farm while I was packing for the trip, the chest tightening more than a little at the thought of my many friends and other familiar and friendly poker folks who were already here. Brad Willis provided a thorough and sensitive explanation of this feeling yesterday for the PokerStars blog in a post titled “On terror, fear, and perseverance in Barcelona.”

    That post includes a photo my friend and fellow reporter Alex Villegas took yesterday, as well as some by another friend and colleague, Neil Stoddart. (That's another of Neil’s up above.) Catalan officials have declared three days of mourning, lasting through the weekend.

    Alex arrived in the morning on Friday, and since our check-in wasn’t until later in the afternoon he spent that time over at La Rambla as we’ve done before on past visits to this beautiful, inviting coastal city. I came a little later (though still too early to get a room), and he and I spent much of the afternoon talking about various things, including those many memorials now dotting the pedestrian path.

    We begin work today, the first of what will be nine straight days of reporting. There is some cloud cover this morning, though the usual deep blue is nonetheless gamely starting to peek through up above.

    It’s my fourth trip here, and before coming I had plans once more to get out when I can to see the city and its people. I still plan to do so, and will likely get over to La Rambla at some point as Alex and Neil have already done.

    It’s good to be among my many friends who like me have been here many times. It’s also good to be among the always friendly and inviting people who live here. I’m glad to be back.

    Photo: courtesy Neil Stoddart / PokerStars blog.

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    Wednesday, August 02, 2017

    Main Event Memories

    Been back on the farm more than a week now from Las Vegas. I snapped that pic to the left as I left the Rio for the last time following a 16-night stay.

    It took me a while, but finally I’m sharing links to some of my favorite features posted during the World Series of Poker Main Event.

    Early on I had the chance to chat with New York Times best selling author Maria Konnikova about her current book project. You might have heard something about it -- the story has been passed around the poker world the last few month’s as Konnikova writing a book “about” Erik Seidel, although that isn’t exactly what she’s doing.

    Rather, the author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes and The Confidence Game is spending a year playing poker on the professional poker tournament circuit as part of an inquiry into how humans make decisions, including when faced with elements outside of our control (such as happens in poker).

    Talking with Konnikova was one of my favorite half-hours of the entire trip, to be honest, and while not everything we talked about made it into this post, a lot of it did, including a fuller introduction to her study. You can read it here: “Konnikova seeking answers in the cards about life, poker, and everything.”

    A couple of days after that I had another fun conversation with Vanessa Selbst, a player I’ve been covering in tournaments for nearly a decade now.

    If you followed the Main Event you probably remember how Selbst found herself in a highly unusual spot only an hour or so into the tournament, running into Gaelle Baumann’s quads to be eliminated halfway through the very first level.

    We talked about that hand, of course, but also about one of the very first tournaments I ever covered, the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha event at the 2008 WSOP in which Selbst won her first bracelet. That remains one of my favorite reporting experiences ever -- thanks in large part to the crazy finish -- and it was fun inviting Selbst to remember the scene.

    She also neatly tied together with her comments the end of that tournament and her exit hand in this year’s Main -- check it out: “Vanessa embraces the variance.”

    The cash bubble burst at the end of Day 3, and just before the start of Day 4 I spoke with one of those who’d made the money -- Kenneth “K.L.” Cleeton.

    You might have heard something about this story, too. Cleeton is a 27-year-old player from Illinois who suffers from a rare neuromuscular disorder that leaves him essentially paralyzed from the neck down. He’s anything but handicapped otherwise, though -- very quick-witted and gregarious and also a good poker player, too.

    Cleeton entered a contest put together by Daniel Negreanu and along with a couple of other entrants was put into the the Main Event by Kid Poker. With his father at the table providing assistance looking at cards and making bets, Cleeton survived the bubble bursting with a short stack, and both of them were unsurprisingly ecstatic about it all when we chatted just before Day 4 began.

    Negreanu shared some comments as well for the post. Read about Cleeton and be energized by one of the cooler stories of the whole Main: “K.L. Cleeton continues inspiring run into Day 4.”

    As the tournament wore on, a player named Mickey Craft started to get everyone’s attention thanks to his big stack and especially loose style of play. He was also kind of a character at the tables, chatting it up and obviously enjoying himself immensely.

    I happened to be around when Craft won a big pot on Day 4 in an especially nutty hand. I remember watching it play out alongside the ESPN crew, talking a bit with one of them who was marveling at how crazy the poker was. I knew right then they’d be finding a way to get Craft onto a feature table soon, and sure enough that’s what happened later in the day.

    Here’s that post describing the wacky hand: “Mickey Craft is must-see poker.”

    Finally, if you paid any attention at all to the Main Event -- particularly to the final table -- you certainly heard about the 64-year-old amateur from Bridlington, England named John Hesp.

    You couldn’t miss Hesp in his multi-colored, patchwork shirt and jacket and Panama hat. His personality was just as colorful, and by chance I ended up chatting with him on multiple occasions during his deep Main Event run, including about how the Main was a “bucket list” item for him, a bit of a diversion from his usual 10-pound tournaments in Hull.

    Just before the final table (where he’d go on to finish fourth to earn $2.6 million), I posted a piece sharing some of what Hesp and I chatted about: “John Hesp’s Vegas vaction continues; or ‘When I’m Sixty-Four.’

    These are just some of my favorites among the nearly 100 posts Howard Swains and I wrote over the course of the Main Event. Wanted to kind of bookmark them here, though, and also invite some more eyes to ‘em in case folks missed them before.

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    Wednesday, July 19, 2017

    You Wanted the Best, You Got the Best

    The WSOP Main Event drew 7,221 entrants this year, a big boost from a year ago and actually the third-largest field ever behind the pre-UIGEA 2006 Main (8,773) and the last pre-Black Friday one in 2010 (7,319).

    They’re down to a final table now, with the two-day respite before that gets going very welcome to those of us who've been at this for 10 days running. You’re no doubt following the action in the usual places, as well as on both ESPN and PokerGO (a very welcome addition to the coverage, imo).

    Just to report quickly here on a few off-the-beaten path items, the WSOP Media Event happened back on Tuesday. Close to 100 played, I think, and your humble scribbler made it to the last 20 or so before finally busting a short stack.

    “Thanks to all my backers,” I tweeted, forgetting to add the obligatory “AQ<QJ” afterwards. (The Media Event is a freeroll).

    A few days after that Howard Swains and I felt uptight on a Saturday night and so spent part of the dinner break walking over to the other side of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino to enjoy a round of KISS Mini Golf.

    Was a fun 45 minutes or so knocking golf balls around the course replete with cool black lights and glow-in-the-dark decor full of all sorts of KISS imagery, with the tunes blasting the whole way (natch). Click that pic above for a bigger image. Imagine “Calling Dr. Love” pounding through your device’s speakers as you do.

    I’m going to post a full report in a few days over on the PokerStars blog which I’ll link to here. (Here’s that report: “Rock in the Rio at KISS Mini Golf.”)

    Finally, the day after that (Sunday the 16th) I was parked as usual on media row when Antonio Esfandiari came around to settle up his “shirt bet” with Lance Bradley (here with Pocket Fives). Was humorous watching them tie up that loose end, then seeing Esfandiari look up at everyone with a grin to say “Who’s next?”

    Most everyone cowered behind their laptops in response, not having Lance’s courage. (If you aren’t familiar with the bet, Lance spells it out here.)

    More to come.

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    Monday, July 10, 2017

    Novel News -- Obsessica eBook is out!

    Am all settled at the Rio where the first couple of Day 1 flights of the World Series of Poker Main Event have already played out. Already had some fun interviews and other items of interest -- will report soon.

    Just a quick note to share that the eBook version of Obsessica is now available! It’s good for the Kindle and other devices. Those who buy a print version of the novel should also get access to the Kindle version for free, or so I understand it.

    I was writing here not too long ago about how I still can’t quite think of “novels” as being something other than those physical objects with hard or soft covers and words printed on pages that we hold and look at for a few hours or days or weeks.

    I know to say such things is to sound irrational (or just plain stubborn). It’s a silly thing to insist upon, something belonging in the category of useless complaints about how the present ain’t the past.

    As I’ve mentioned before, Obsessica is a book set in the past -- an adult narrator looks back on something that happened when he was a kid in 1980 -- and so kind of exemplifies that same desire to go back and experience that time and all of the “old” things that marked it.

    There’s even some talk about books in there, despite the fact that the narrator makes a point to say early on that he isn’t much of a reader (or writer, for that matter). The House of the Baskervilles and the Guinness Book of World Records turn out to be two important books, and also are meant to serve as extra-textual “secondary” sources for the novel, in a way, that point to certain themes.

    Like I say, though, I’m fully aware that nostalgia for books is a kind of folly. And of the irony of my indulging in it while writing on a blog, and spending just about every other waking moment writing for online-only outlets.

    Anyhow, you e-reader types -- go check out my novel. I’ve heard it’s kind of a page-turner. Or screen-scroller.

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    Friday, July 07, 2017

    Back to Vegas

    This morning I was trying to calculate just how many days I’ve been in Las Vegas before. It’s probably the one place where I’ve lived the most without having actually moved there.

    Going off to college or grad school doesn’t count, as those were genuine “moves” wherein I was more or less living full-time somewhere new. Nor does that year Vera and I spent living in France, even though we knew all along that was a temporary thing.

    I spent six summers total reporting on the World Series of Poker (from 2008-2013). The first three I was there the entire way, meaning stays of about seven-and-a-half weeks. The latter three times I only went for four weeks. Add to that other visits here and there, and it probably adds up to 10 months or so living in hotel rooms and apartments in Sin City.

    Feels like a lot, although I have friends and colleagues who have spent a lot more of their lives in Vegas while actually living elsewhere. And some who started out going there for a few weeks at at time, then moved there permanently.

    In any case, the time I’ve spent in Vegas has been more than enough to make coming back here today seem a bit like some kind of faux homecoming.

    So many familiar sights and sounds. I’m staying in the Rio this time, too, and already I’m realizing I long ago memorized many of the details of the place. Have already made that long walk through the casino, down the halls and past the Penn & Teller, down to the ballrooms where everything is still full blast as the last prelims play out and they ready for the Main to start tomorrow.

    I’ll be here 16 nights altogether to help report on this year’s WSOP Main Event. More features and interviews and “color” this time than in the past when it was mostly all about hand reports and chip counts for your humble scribbler.

    A couple more differences from past summers -- I won’t be updating here everyday along the way, although I will try to check in occasionally. And with the November Nine having been jettisoned (finally), I’ll finally see the sucker through to the end.

    Best part of this whole trip is getting to reunite with many friends, a lot of whom I’ve worked with or alongside before, and most of whom I’ve only been interacting online since my last Vegas trip. A lot of been-there-done-that feel, then, but a lot to look forward to as well.

    Image: “Las Vegas: Welcome to Vegas” (adapted), WriterGal39. CC BY-ND 2.0.

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    Monday, July 03, 2017

    Pages and Screens

    Busy times here on the farm. Getting hotter, with the daily afternoon storms not doing a whole lot to cool things down.

    My trip westward to the World Series of Poker is fast approaching, as I leave on Friday. I’m looking forward to getting back to Las Vegas -- it has been four whole years since my last trip there. Doesn’t seem nearly so long, though, probably because I previously spent so much time in the Nevada desert so many summers in a row.

    Indeed, it’s become out of the ordinary for me to take poker trips within the U.S., as most of my tourney journeys over recent years have been to Central and South America or Europe. That trip to New Jersey last fall for the first PokerStars Championship Festival was the first U.S. trip for me since late 2014 when I went to Florida.

    Meanwhile I did want to let you know an eBook version of Obsessica is close to being available -- just a few more small things to take care of before it is ready to go. Was kind of a similar deal with Same Difference (my first novel), for which the ebook didn’t appear until well after the hard copy was first published.

    I still can’t quite embrace the idea of reading books on the Kindle or some other device.

    Obsessica is a book featuring a 12-year-old protagonist -- it isn’t quite “YA” fiction, I’d say, although I imagine younger readers might enjoy it. The story got me thinking about books I enjoyed as a teen, and after going down that road a while I decided I wanted to reread a couple of them -- Dune by Frank Herbert and The Stand by Stephen King -- both books I first read when I was around 13-14 or so.

    I no longer had my copies of those two, and so went online to order new ones. I didn’t want Kindle versions, though, nor did I even want updated editions. I wanted the exact same paperbacks I’d read before, and so after hunting a little I was able to order exactly those.

    Now there’s some sort of minor psychological tic in there somewhere that might be mildly interesting to explore, something related to the compulsion to repeat and/or a desire to go back and experience again something from one’s childhood.

    But in the present context I’m more intrigued by the mental block I have regarding electronic versions of books, one that prevents me from feeling as though I’ve “really” read a novel if I read it on my Kindle or as a .pdf or listened to an audiobook version of it. For me the physical book is the thing, which is why (I suppose) I continue to think of the eBook version of my own novels as somehow secondary, even if I know many (most?) readers think differently.

    Blogs are different, of course. Not books. Even the ones that go on and on for thousands of posts and hundreds of thousands of words.

    Curious about Obsessica? (Fair warning -- there’s no poker in it.) Find the hard copy here, and stay tuned for that eBook (coming soon).

    Image: “Kindle Touch” (adapted), Luke Jones. CC BY 2.0.

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    Monday, June 26, 2017

    New Poker Reads to Recommend

    Checking in briefly to let you know I’m still here, up to my eyeballs at the moment with World Series of Poker-related stuff as well as teaching a summer session version of my “Poker in American Film and Culture.”

    There’s also the usual, endless amount of farm work to be done. We’ve picked up a new barn cat who just appeared one day and has now moved in permanently. Just six months or so, and impossibly cute. We call her Nancy.

    But you didn’t come here for news flashes about felines. Let me share something of use to you -- recommendations of a couple of new poker titles, both of which can be filed under the heading of something a little out-of-the-ordinary when it comes to this niche genre.

    One is my friend Tommy Angelo’s new one Painless Poker, a book he first started telling me about several years ago and which has finally made it to the presses. I’m about halfway through this one now, and it has been an entirely enjoyable ride thus far.

    Painless Poker is an entirely unique poker book, compiling both a wide variety of advice to players and some enjoyable, insightful character creation and examples of storytelling. If you’ve read Tommy’s earlier books -- Elements of Poker or A Rubber Band Story and Other Poker Tales -- you’ll recognize he takes a similar approach toward combining entertainment and enlightenment with Painless Poker.

    Rather than explain the narrative frame, I’ll let Tommy do that himself -- check out this interview we did for PokerNews a while back that introduces the book and includes an excerpt: “Tommy Angelo Presents His New Book ‘Painless Poker.’

    The other book I wanted to recommend is a nifty, slim history telling the remarkable story of poker’s prominence in Gardena, California during the middle decades of the 20th century, a book called Gardena Poker Clubs: A High-Stakes History by Max Votolato.

    I found out about this book after doing a bit of writing myself about California Poker for my ongoing “Poker & Pop Culture” series of articles for PokerNews. One article in particular concentrated on a recent documentary Votolato made titled Freeway City that presented the history of Gardena with considerable attention given to the role the several famous poker rooms played in the city’s story.

    The experience making that film led Votolato to follow-up with the book where he could share a lot more about the various figures and card clubs. It’s a neat, well-made volume with lots of pictures -- really a valuable resource to those interested in poker’s historical development during the 20th century.

    So there are a couple of summer reads for you. And of course, if you’re looking for something besides poker to read about while on the beach, you can always pick up my novel Obsessica as well.

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    Thursday, June 15, 2017

    Revelation Regarding the (Alleged) Moss-Dandolos Match

    Busy days here on the farm of late, although like everyone I’ve been following all that has gone on at the World Series of Poker thus far. Hard to believe they are only about two weeks into the series, as they’ve already gotten up to the 30th event today.

    Have been glad to track the updates on PokerNews once more, and am tuning in over at PokerGO now and then. Speaking of the latter, they finally did get PayPal working and so I got a monthly subscription. They have it on Roku now, too, although I never have been able to get anything to load over there (it seems to stick in a “Retrieving” cycle and never quite opens the live event).

    I did want to touch base, though, and let visitors know about a recent “Poker & Pop Culture” column of mine that relates somewhat to the history of the WSOP.

    A few weeks back I ran a revised and expanded version of a column focusing on a famous heads-up poker game between Johnny Moss and Nick “The Greek” Dandolos. If you’re reading this blog you’ve probably heard of that match before.

    According to most accounts, the pair got together sometime around 1951 (or thereabouts) at Binion’s Horseshoe to play a high-stakes match that lasted several months, with Moss ultimately said to have come away a big winner ($2 million or more, say some). The game was open to the public, goes the story, and for that reason sometimes gets linked to the later idea of the WSOP first run at Binion’s in 1970.

    That column, titled “Moss and Dandolos at the Horseshoe - Legend or Myth?” was really more about the many stories about the game than about the game itself.

    I included in there how one of the most referenced sources for details regarding the match is Al Alvarez’s The Biggest Game in Town (1983), a favorite poker book of mine that I’ve written about here many, many times over the years.

    I also included a bit from Jesse May regarding how some of those who talked to Alvarez for his book (including Moss) likely embellished their tales more than a little bit.

    In any case, about a week after that column went up I had a nice surprise when I got a note from a person who works for Jack Binion. The note asked if I could get in touch, as Mr. Binion had some information to share about the Moss-Dandolos story that could help clear up a lot of the uncertainty surrounding it.

    I called and after a couple more exchanges ended up getting some fairly remarkable memories from Jack Binion regarding the alleged match. I say “alleged” because one of the clarifications he made was to explain that the match never really happened! At least not at Binion’s, and not in public. And likely not for the super-high stakes often cited, either.

    I won’t give away the rest of the story here, but instead point you over to the newer article that shares Jack Binion’s insight:

    Poker & Pop Culture: Jack Binion Sorts Fact From Fiction Regarding Moss-Dandolos Match.”

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