Poker players might find this interesting

Discussion in 'Trading' started by gunslinger, Jan 28, 2005.


    The stories of Andy Beal are legendary at the Bellagio - it's said that two books are in the works about the poker-playing billionaire banker.

    "He's a very classy gentleman," says Doyle Brunson. "The money doesn't really mean anything to him. Prestige is what he's looking for."

    Beal made tons of money buying broken banks during the Savings & Loan scandal. He lost about $200 million on a project to privately launch rocket payloads, first from an island off Anguilla, then from the coast of Guyana.

    He's also a math whiz who loves poker.

    About three years ago, Beal began visiting Vegas.

    "He started out playing $80/$160 Limit Hold'em," says Dalton, 55. "Then he wanted to know if there was anyone around who would play a lot higher."

    Beal joined The Big Game. Then he made an even bigger game of his own.

    Beal said he would play for extremely high stakes, provided he could play head's up - against only one player at a time.

    Soon he was switching off between the likes of Lederer, the Brunsons, Greenstein, Chan or Harman in Limit Hold'em - $50,000/ $100,000 or $100,000/$200,000.

    The pro players pool their money.

    "You can literally win or lose a million dollars on a hand," says Jack McClelland, 53, who ran the World Series of Poker for 15 years and now runs tournaments at the Bellagio.

    Beal has had very good days and very bad days. He's been up millions at a time, then down millions.

    In response to scuttlebutt that Beal lost $10 million during one of his recent visits, McClelland says, "That's quite doable. You play $100,000/$200,000, you can lose $2 million in an afternoon."

    Todd Brunson says: "I've beaten him for $20 million, $20.5 million to be exact."

    Giang, 49, recalls the time he took the banker for $6 million. "That was pretty big."

    Harman says she has pleasant million-dollar memories, too.

    Word is that Beal, who did not return phone calls, is down $40 million. But journalist/author James McManus, who's writing a magazine piece about the Beal game, says "Beal is certainly down, but that number is in dispute."

    McClelland says Beal was here for a day and a half his last visit, during the World Series of Poker. "He lost $5 million and said, 'I'm going home.'"

    "His latest thing is he's 'never coming back,'" says Doyle Brunson. "But he's said that before."


    There are many in the poker world, including the regulars at The Big Game, who believe Harman is the best female player in the world. "Not only that," says Perry. "She's one of the best players in the game, period."

    Harman, in her 30s, has won two World Series of Poker bracelets, the only female who can say that.

    She's a regular at The Big Game, again the only female who can say that.

    She's also the leading female money winner on the World Poker Tour.

    The PPT watched her for two nights; she won both times, about $40,000 each evening. This is the stuff legends are made of.

    Harman had wanted to win big at this summer's World Series of Poker. Instead, she underwent a kidney transplant.

    Harman allowed ESPN to film the operation. "I wanted to make people aware of the donor program," she tells me.

    Harman says she loves playing poker and has been going to casinos since she was 16.

    "I make money off people who play bad. That's my profession," she says. "It's like a regular job. You have your house, you have your cars and you have your bills."

    She's most proud of her performances at The Big Game: "I do really well."

    RAGS TO RICHARD: A look back at the PPT stops

    Viva Las Vegas! Up $110 in two sessions of $4/$8 Limit Hold'em. Would have finished up several hundred overall if I'd never entered any No Limit tourneys.


    Final tally










    Sidebar: Duke wins ESPN title

    Ten of the world's best poker players gathered at the Rio casino in Las Vegas on Sept. 2 for a very secret event - a made-for-TV Tournament of Champions.

    Sponsored by Harrah's Entertainment, which owns the casino, the contest will be broadcast Sept. 21 on ESPN.

    The game was invitation only; the $2 million prize pool was winner-take-all.

    "That's what poker has come to," Doyle (Texas Dolly) Brunson, 71, told me the week before at the World Poker Tour's Legends tournament in Los Angeles. "They put up $2 million and we don't have to put up a nickel."

    Brunson was joined by three other World Series of Poker champs - Greg Raymer, Johnny Chan and Phil Hellmuth.

    Also participating were T.J. Cloutier, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Chip Reese, Howard Lederer and Howard's sister, Annie Duke.

    So who won the secret contest?

    Within hours of its conclusion, word swept through Las Vegas poker rooms - Annie Duke had captured the title.

    No comment from any of the players, who are sworn to secrecy, on who won or on the rumor that at least several of them had formed a team to share the loot if one of them won.

    ESPN and Harrah's failed to return calls.

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    Poker News | Casinos

    Texan Issues Million-Dollar Heads-Up Challenge
    November 01, 2004
    Elkan Allan

    The world's biggest private poker game is soon to be played in either Las Vegas or Dallas.

    Texas billionaire Andy Beal has issued a challenge to the regulars in the Bellagio's regular $20,000 buy-in Dealer's Choice game, in which he sometimes plays, winning or losing as much as a million dollars.

    Typical antes are $1,000/$2,000 or $1,500/$3,000. Pots regularly top $50,000. When the World Series of Poker is in town the blinds increase to $4,000/$8,000.

    "On any given night, we always have the biggest game in town," says Doug Dalton, the Bellagio's director of poker operations. "The table is always full, with a waiting list."

    The biggest of the biggest. so far, played May 12 and May 13, 2004, was $100,000-$200,000 limit hold'em.

    Now, nettled by stories that he says exaggerate his losses, Beal has written an open letter to regulars Doyle Brunson, Todd Brunson (Doyle's son), Gus Hansen, Chip Reese Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan, Chau Giang, Barry Greenstein, Ted Forrest, Lee Salem, John Hennigan, Ming La, Lyle Berman and Hamid Dastmalchi.

    The letter says: "I recently read a story in the New York Daily News that is an unfair mischaracterization of my recent poker experience in the 'Big Game' played at Bellagio.

    "No mention was made that I won more than $10 million in the largest game ever played, $100,000-$200,000 limit hold'em, on May 12 and 13, 2004. No mention was made of the fact that most of the above-mentioned professional players have substantial overall individual net losses after having played many hours against me. I concede that I am a net overall loser in the Bellagio games, although the extent of my losses is often exaggerated and mischaracterized.

    "I believe that I am the favorite in a heads-up limit high-stakes game against most of you. For the record, I challenge you to put up or shut up about your 'professional play.' Come to Dallas and play me for four hours a day and I will play until one of us runs out of money or cries uncle. If your play is so great and your wins have been as large as you claim, you should have plenty of bankroll and be jumping at the chance to come and play another $100,000-$200,000 game and win a lot more money.

    "I should add that you can bring your own independent dealers and your own cards, and can play in a different location of your choice every day if you wish. You should provide a slate of any six or more of the above players and I will pick from your slate who plays."

    Negotiations are proceeding about the stakes, location and who gets to play, but it looks as if the biggest heads-up game ever really will happen, and soon.

    To adapt an old wisecrack, "Money isn't everything - prestige is the other ten per cent."
  3. Doyle Brunson has just responded to Beal's throwing of the gauntlet by throwing down a gauntlet of his own:

    As far as your challenge goes, we concede that you have more money than all of us put together. So, why would we want to get into a $100,000-$200,000 game in which we would be underfunded? We are pros, and we know the disadvantage of this. So, here is what we propose:
    1. We will raise a $40 million bankroll and post it along with yours. (Everything is contingent on raising the money, but I think it is very realistic that we can expand and raise it.)

    2. We will play 30K-60K. If either side loses half of its post-up money, it can raise the stakes to $50,000-$100,000. There is an old axiom that applies here: Get out the way you got in!

    3. We will choose who plays and when.

    4. We prefer to play in Vegas, the gambling capital of the world. Most of us live here, and what would we do in Dallas when we weren't playing? This is negotiable. The first three points aren't.

    Andy, I'm chuckling as I write this closing paragraph. If Bill Gates came to Dallas and wanted to flip coins for $100 million per flip for four hours a day until one of you ran out of money or cried uncle, would you do it? My money says you would decline.

    Yes, $30K-$60K (and $50K-$100K) is a smaller betting limit than $100K-$200K. But an 80-million-dollar freezeout ... !

    Part of me is saying "wow!" And another part of me is thinking that $40 million is a lot of money to risk on what amounts to a pissing contest, and maybe there are better things to do with that money
  4. and I thought my losses were bad today
  5. That billionaire dude is a character in ESPNs Tilt!

    What is interesting about Tilt is that one of the poker players was in with a group of traders developing a computerized trading system.

    The relationship between poker and trading was recognized by the writers of Tilt.
  6. traderob


    Thanks- excellent articles
    I'm up $300 on party today. Now I can dream of the big game.
    Amazing Doyle is still at the top.
  7. For those with access to WSJ online, there is a great article on Beal from Jan. 13. It focuses mostly on his rise in business, less on poker. Interesting that he is a college dropout and began as a teenager fixing up houses & reselling them.

    WSJ controls their content pretty well - for some reason I can't get a link. But subscribers can log in and do a search under, 'poker.' Title of the article is "Maverick Banker in Texas Chases Distressed Assets."
  8. 3:47pm (UK)
    Online Poker Group Mulls Options

    By Phil Waller, PA City Staff

    Online betting group PartyGaming could float on the stock market, it emerged today.

    The world’s biggest web-based poker firm has appointed investment banks Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DrKW) and Investec “to undertake a review of the group’s strategic options”, a statement from PartyGaming said.

    PartyGaming did not specify what options it was considering, but reports suggested it could go for a flotation that would value the group at between £3 billion and £5 billion.

    Such a move could see PartyGaming, formerly known as iGlobalMedia, enter the FTSE 100 Index of Britain’s leading companies.

    The group’s gaming room, set up in 2001, has about five million users.

    Other reported scenarios under discussion include merger and acquisition opportunities or raising money on the debt markets.

    Chief executive Richard Segal said the online gaming industry was continuing to experience exceptional rates of growth and PartyGaming was generating significant levels of profit and operating cash flow.

    “We look forward to working with the teams at DrKW and Investec in taking the group to the next stage of its development,” he said.
  9. Status of the $80,000,000 Game
    By Barry Shulman, Card Player Chairman - 2005-04-04

    We were last left thinking this game had a good chance of going forward. Beal had phoned me and said he wanted to make it happen and was accepting all of the major deal points from the Brunson offer.

    So, it seemed like an equitable game was in place, and may the best side win!

    Even though Beal is a very nice and smart guy, and has become one of the great heads-up Limit Hold’em players, he has an ego that (by his own admission) rivals that of Phil Hellmuth!

    We all know that the “real” money in poker these days is in TV. This game has major TV written all over it (not to mention the potential for DVD-sales after-the-fact)!

    Beal wants control of the distribution rights in case he loses and feels humiliated.

    Via crossed e-mails, Brunson and I came up with the same idea: what if each side put-up $40,000,000 and the LOSER were to receive the Distribution Rights? This way, if Beal wins he gets the money and the ego satisfaction while the Brunson has the option of recouping a significant part of their cost by selling the footage of the match and then producing a DVD with voice-over narration, instructional “how-to” pointers, and other extras.

    If Beal were to lose, he could kill the TV while Brunson walks away the happy winner of $40,000,000.

    It seemed like the proverbial win-win.

    Beal obstinately turned this down flat, without any conversation about a fair split. He said he must have not only full-control, but also 100% of all distribution rights if he were to play – regardless of the outcome.

    This is not equitable, and Beal knows it. It’s simply his way of showing the world that he’s the aggressor who wants to play by forcing the Brunson group into a defensive position where they have no choice but to say “No.”

    Beal is the one who killed it; not Brunson.

    Here is Doyle Brunson's response to Beal:
    #10     Apr 5, 2005