Sunday, February 13, 2011

PAD annoyances

I just finished watching last week's "Poker After Dark" episodes. It's the first time I have downloaded and watched them in high definition, which was nice. People look different in hi-def, that's for sure. Other good things about the week were that it was a cash game (usually more interesting than tournaments), they had on two players I've never seen on TV before (Greg "FBT" Mueller and Olivier Busquet), and Eli Elezra and David "Viffer" Peat drove some crazy-diseased action.

But there were three things that kept annoying me through all five installments. In ascending order of irritation:

3. Helicoptering

For some reason, every time Mueller mucks his cards he does so by lofting them in a high, twirling arc. I see this frequently in the games I play, done by rank amateurs who don't know any better. It usually stops pretty fast after once or twice I tell the dealer that he or she needs to expose one of the cards to the table because I saw what it was when it was in the air. Dealers get annoyed at having to do that, and ask the player to knock it off. It's one of many bad habits people develop in casual home games and inappropriately bring to the casinos.

Mueller is a long-time, experienced pro. How can he not know that this bit of silliness frequently exposes one or both cards, and thus potentially affects the subsequent action?

2. Like it--or not

It's been about 30 years since the "Valley Girl" phenomenon introduced the use of the word "like" as a meaningless verbal tic, and, sadly, ever since then a large percentage of children, teens, and young adults have been infected by this terrible virus. I have heard some astonishing examples of likeorrhea (yes, I just made up that word) before, but I think that Peat's case is worse than any I have encountered before. It's incredibly jarring and annoying to listen to. Do these people not ever monitor their speech, and hear how stupid they sound? It got so bad that even Ali Nejad started making fun of him.

1. Laak-down poker

But the hands-down, far and away most annoying aspect of the week's shows was, well, basically everything about Phil Laak. Normally I like him a lot. I enjoy his stories, games, and prop bets. I'm amused by his quirky observations about poker, life, science, philosophy, investing, or whatever else is on his mind. But this week he was completely out of control. He had been drinking enough that his speech was slurring--something I've never seen in any of his countless previous TV appearances. He even admitted (rather confusingly) at one point, "Libations have inflected me a little bit."

He just Would. Not. Shut. Up. It was five hours of constant, non-stop, stream-of-consciousness verbal babbling. No mental filter, just free expression of every thought that was crossing through his mind. Peat once even begged for somebody to bring a muzzle for Phil.

But it wasn't just his talk. His ethanol-induced disinhibition spread to his conduct. He was obviously irritating the others at the table as well as the viewers. Here, for example, he gets into a wrestling match with Peat:

Then, a few seconds later, he pushes all of Peat's chip stacks over into a mess:

His poker was horrendous, too. He definitely does not play better drunk. He was playing stupidly and losing badly. He frequently lost track of whose turn it was, who was in the hand, what the action was, etc.

I guess I'm glad that he's a happy drunk instead of an angry drunk, but for entertainment purposes, a smart, sharp, sober Laak is a lot more fun to watch than the inebriated version. When he's not drinking, he's funny, interesting, one-of-a-kind. When he's drinking, he's just one big heap of annoying in every possible way.


BWoP said...

Not only did I find Peat's "likeorrhea" annoying, Peat also revealed some rather shady aspects about himself (the prop bet with Eli re: the K-7 hand, and his reaction to the guy who mucked AA and let another person play the discards).

zippyboy said...

Laak was outta control last week without Esfandiary there to reign him in. No wonder Howard Lederer was MIA with no explanation for most of the last episodes. In fact, so was Elezra and new-guy Mueller. Doesn't Aria require them contractually to remain at the table for the duration? I can understand bathroom breaks or the new "chatbox", but Lederer was gone long enough to have a meal and a nap, and no apology upon returning.

They've redrawn seats and are back at it again Monday night. Maybe Laak will sober up with a Sudafed or two by then.

Conan776 said...

Like, Grump, dude! The whole helicoptering is like totally practicing for the coming High Stakes Poker in 3D. Like, right?

CrabblerK3 said...

@ BWoP: I was pretty shocked at Peat's reaction to the AA fiasco too. In what way is that not cheating?

@ Rakewell: Where did you download them from?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on every single point. It's funny -- I find myself wondering if you will blog about something I am watching and if I will agree with you.

Anonymous said...

The K-7 thing ya I agree Peat weaseled out of the 10k bet that he lost. Eli was gentlemanly about it but maybe if he saw the reply he might be a little more upset.

The discard thing, I think can go either way. Since there is no hard and fast rule as to what hands must NOT be discarded, technically they were doing nothing wrong.

Ya Laak was a bit out of control. But he knocked over Peat's chips because Peat had stolen his hat and was not giving it back.

Anonymous said...

Laak is a douche bag, plain and simple...

Anonymous said...

Laak is always annoying; even more
so last week; please take him off
the show permanently