WSOP Diary Day 14: Hold me, darling - this is going to be BIG

wsop2010_thn.jpgWith Texas Hold'em being the dominant force it is today, it's easy to forget how poker used to be. Stud was the name of the game and, if you're anything like me, you probably have images in your head of smoky saloons packed with old men swigging whiskey and playing with cards curled at the edges from years of use. You may think Texas Hold'em is relatively new, but thanks to the wonders of the interwebs, we now have a brilliant new insight into how it started.

Here's a golden find that you'll love, a Life magazine article from way back in 1968, which announces 'Hold Me Darling: a wild new poker game... and how to tame it' to the world. The writer, a Mr A D Livingston, in beautiful (and very well informed for its time) language, predicts boldly that: "The game is a major event in the history of poker and I predict it will replace stud for the rest of the century."

What's so fascinating about this find is how the "wild" new game back in the 1960s was played by the same rules, but the strategies and know-how were, well, simplistic to say the least. In his first game, Mr Livingston has A-K against pocket queens and is under the impression that because he has six outs to improve (to a pair), the pocket queens have only two chances to improve (to three of a kind), then he could well be on a winner.

He added that when he got home he "made use of his engineering degree and a slide rule to calculate that it was really a mathematical toss-up whether or not to call". You see, there you have the first ever realization that A-K versus an underpair is a coin flip. No poker software or iPhone odds calculator needed for him.

The article is pure genius, to be honest. Not just the revelation about Hold Me Darling, which apparently "up to 22 can play. This leads to huge action and big pots" (just imagine that as a WSOP event), but also how the better players had cottoned on to some basic strategies that we take for granted, like how to play against a "monkey" - a rookie to me and you.

Here's the article in full - enjoy as well the fascinating magazine adverts from the 1960s; the overt sexual innuendo, and the fact that everyone seems to smoke...

Hold Me, Darling, a new poker game to take over the world.

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Back to the modern day, and Hold Me Darling (Texas Hold'em) is the name of the game at the WSOP here at the Rio in Las Vegas. While players sat down in its no limit and limit forms yesterday, there was also the start of the $10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball World Championship where, as Mr A D Livingston would attest, "the sorriest hand wins".

This one brought out a strong group of Team PokerStars Pros among the 101 starters, including Barry Greenstein, Chad Brown, Dario Minieri, Greg Raymer, Jason Mercier, Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Rousso, Anton Allemann, and George Danzer.


George Danzer

At the end of the day, 71 survived to bag up chips with online terror Allemann riding high in fifth with 80,600, a little behind chip leader Homan Houshiar on 116,100. Also still in are Mercier (49,400), Negreanu (46,800), Greenstein (38,800), Brown (36,900), Danzer (33,600), Team PokerStars Online George Lind (21,700), and Raymer (18,800).


Barry Greenstein


Chad Brown

That meant a few disappeared. Minieri, who the day previously had final tabled the $10,000 Stud High-Low Split 8 or Better, was one of the first out, and Rousso joined him on the rail soon after.


Vanessa Rousso

Dutchmen Joep Van Den Bijgaart and Lex Veldhuis were the only Team PokerStars Pros to survive day one of the $2,000 Limit Hold'em event. Only 144 of the 476 starters managed that. In day two of the $5,000 No Limit we lost Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier before the cash kicked in.

Congratulations to Carter Phillips, the PokerStars player who won last season's EPT Barcelona. He added a WSOP bracelet to that title yesterday, winning the $1,500 No Limit 6-Max tournament for a hefty $482,774 payday.


Carter Phillips in Barcelona

Today, as well as day twos of the $10,000 Lowball and $2,000 Limit, we have a $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha and a $1,500 7-Card Stud kicking off. Good luck to all.

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Tweets of the Day
@Maridu (Maria Mayrinck): Wasn't me, I'm sick in bed today ffs! RT @SirWatts: busto to some idiot

@FossilMan: 18,800. Completely card dead last 2 levels, still getting called by 2-card draws when I do raise.

@RealKidPoker: At 48,100 had to fold a 2467 draw Mercier went a bit nutty on a hand. Doing good so far.

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Thought of the Day
Oh to play in a 1960s game of Hold Me Darling

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Previous WSOP Diary entries
WSOP Diary: Why Peter Eastgate is missing from the World Series
WSOP Diary: Ville Wahlbeck joins Team PokerStars Pro
WSOP Diary: Durrr misses biggest-ever poker payday, pros overjoyed
WSOP Diary: Poker's clean-up operation begins again
WSOP Diary: Manchester United soccer star Darren Fletcher tackles World Series of Poker
WSOP Diary: $10,000 Stud Championsip draws big names
WSOP Diary: Nh, gg, wp Daniel Negreanu, k?
WSOP Diary: Grinding out $1.5million with perfect timing
WSOP Diary: Team Pro Maridu needs Baker, Baker needs dough
WSOP Diary: Viva la revolution in Las Vegas
WSOP Diary: Safari, so good for Noah Boeken
WSOP Diary: Barry Greenstein mixes it up in the $50K
WSOP Diary: Going supersize in Las Vegas