Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
The famed fountains at the Bellagio have gone dark since coronavirus hit.
The famed fountains at the Bellagio have gone dark since coronavirus hit.
Image: Getty Images

I booked a late October flight to Las Vegas. I’m not optimistic that this trip will happen, but I need something to look forward to while waiting out this untethered, apocalyptic boredom. I spent two years in Vegas failing at being a professional player/socialite/Cards Against Humanity champion.

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There’s a book about those two years that I’m never going to write, and part of it involves my former roommate, Ed. He died two months after I left.

Ed was like a lot of lost souls in Vegas, torn between self-improvement and degeneracy. He liked to read motivational books. He talked about doing transcendental yoga, but I’m not sure he ever did it. He wanted to lose weight, eat healthy, stop drinking. He wanted to make movies.

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But Ed had demons he couldn’t conquer on his own, and his support network, such as it was, wasn’t strong enough to help him. We failed him.

Unlike almost everyone else in Vegas, he wasn’t trying to exploit every soul he met. He wasn’t trying to hustle people. He was just chill. He tried to help people.

One time a kid who lived with us logged onto Ed’s online poker account and transferred $2,000 to himself. Ed wasn’t even mad about it! This kid was a total loser who never had a chance to make a dollar in the game. Ed understood, I think, and even sympathized.

What am I hoping to get out of this trip that definitely won’t happen? Maybe there will be live poker again. I’m dreaming of check-raising tourists at the Encore. Maybe there will be sushi restaurants and mimosas at dawn. Maybe the gang (the summer WSOP folks) can get together again for some sick werewolf action. … To Be Continued

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Aria, Let Tim Get His Money

Add Tim Reilly to the list of poker players who aren’t eager to get back to brick-and-mortar poker.

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“Live poker as we know it? Yeah. I’m not too excited for Plexiglas and having to wash my hands every 30 seconds,” he told me.

Everyone who enters live tournaments in Vegas has played with Reilly. He’s the prolific grinder who can usually be seen in a Red Sox cap and a laptop (to grind online poker of course) in every multi-table tournament worth playing at the Wynn, Aria, Bellagio, Venetian, and of course the Rio during WSOP.

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Reilly wants casinos to open for a different reason: He has a significant chunk of his net worth stuck in a box at the Aria. It’s a big problem, especially since he’s suffered a huge downswing lately online.

“I know high-stakes players with much more money than me who are borrowing money from people because their money is in safety deposit boxes,” said Reilly, who also streams at twitch.tv/timreillypoker. “We thought this was going to be 30 days, and it’s going on three months.”

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Hafthor Bjornsson, aka ‘The Mountain’ told me he was glad at first that he didn’t have many speaking lines in “Game of Thrones” because English is his second language and he was nervous about it. Luckily, undead Lannister goons aren’t talkative. But he wants to do more acting and looks forward to the challenge. Here’s hoping he gets that chance, as this is a pretty gruesome scene to end your speaking role career on. I’m still traumatized by this episode as well as how my favorite show of all time ended.

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I think I can Kevin Bacon the entire world just by telling the story of how I met Ricky Urena, who shows off his dice-throwing form here. We first became acquainted playing online werewolf at twoplustwo.com. Ricky and I are two of the best werewolf players in the world. True fact. We met IRL when I flew to Miami in January 2015 to watch my friend Brittany Bell compete as Miss Guam in the Miss Universe pageant, where I met Donald Trump. Trump was his usual delusional self, telling me that the pageant was “bigger than the Academy Awards.” Brittany went on to have an adorable baby with Nick Cannon. The second time I hung out with Ricky, we had lunch with his sister, Cris Urena, a swimsuit and cosmetics model, in Brooklyn.

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Bill Perkins Teases Cheating Scandal

Bill Perkins set poker Twitter on fire Saturday night by saying there was a scandal that would make the Mike Postle superusing scandal at Stones Live look like “a church service.”

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He said it involved a “poker hero” and clarified in a separate tweet that it’s not Jason Koon (who appears to be the whistleblower). Phil Galfond, who certainly qualifies as a poker hero, clarified that it wasn’t him. Then he went silent.

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On Sunday, Perkins, a multimillionaire and philanthropist who’s been a popular figure (and very likely a large loser) in high-stakes games for years, walked back the statement about it being bigger than Postle. It appears that the scandal involves pro players “ghosting” for amateurs in a high-stakes private game on an app. Perkins said one player negotiated the return of money in exchange for keeping his identity secret, but that “the most egregious” cheater would be outed. Eventually. So we wait.

Managing editor. Former N.Y. Daily Newser. Former broke poker player.

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