Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Who ya gonna believe--Bluff magazine or, um, Bluff magazine?

I have been paying very little attention to the November October Nine this year. I recognize a couple of the names from watching the weekly ESPN broadcasts, but that's about it. I couldn't tell you who's in the lead, who's a good or bad player, or anything about their lives or personalities.

This week I started reading the October issue of Bluff magazine. One of the first things I read was on page 28, "By the Numbers...October Nine," by Ryan Lucchesi. He writes:

Number of professional poker players among the October Nine. Russell Thomas (insurance actuary with Aetna Insurance), Michael Esposito (commodity broker), and Jacob Balsiger (student at Arizona State University), are the three non-pros at the final table. 
Then a couple of days later I got to page 65 and the cover feature, which is titled "October Nine: A Look at the Contenders," with no byline. (I don't know if all of the player profiles were written by one person, each by a different person, or distributed in some other way among Bluff's staff.)

We start with Russell Thomas:
Russell Thomas is one of only three professional players at the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event final table, though the other two have a bracelet to show for it.... He's primarily a cash game player, though he also has a full-time career working for an insurance company. 
So now we're being told that there are three professional players among the final nine, whereas the earlier article said there were six. Now we're being told that Thomas is among the three pros, but Ryan Lucchesi said Thomas was among the three amateurs.

Confused yet? Hang on, there's more.

The second profile is that of Jacob Balsiger. He is explicitly labeled as an amateur, with a decision to make as to whether to go pro after the WSOP ends. That concurs with the label given him by both Lucchesi and the writer of the Thomas profile.

Next up is the profile of Jeremy Ausmus:
Ausmus, a Bellagio cash game regular, was considered by some to be one of the best cap game players in the world on Full Tilt Poker before Black Friday hit.... In 2005, he moved to Las Vegas to play poker professionally. 
It lists no job for Ausmus other than poker, and that description certainly sounds like they're considering him a professional player (as does everything else I can find about him), and he is one of the six that Lucchesi is calling a pro. But at the same time he must not be one of the three being dubbed a pro by the anonymous author of the Thomas profile, because he specified that the two professionals other than Thomas both had bracelets, and Ausmus has no WSOP wins to his credit.

Next up is Steven Gee. No controversy here. He is explicitly labeled as a professional player and is also one of the two bracelet winners.

Same story for Greg Merson--his profile dubs him a pro, and there seems to be no argument about this designation. He is the other bracelet holder, having won the last tournament before the start of the Main Event.

Here's Jesse Sylvia's profile:
The 24-year-old pro who originally hails from Massachusetts is having his first real taste of success in live tournament poker.... Sylvia is a cash game specialist who's had a lot of success online. 
Sylvia, therefore, is deemed a pro by his profile writer (no other job is listed for him) and by Lucchesi, but definitely not by the author of the Thomas profile.

Robert Salaburu:
Twenty-seven-year-old Robert Salaburu primarily makes his living as a professional poker player who predominantly focuses on cash games, and if you think you're starting to see a pattern among the October nine, you might be onto something. 
Again we read nothing about any other job. He is considered a pro by his profile writer and by Lucchesi, but not by the writer of the Thomas profile.

Andras Koroknai:
Koroknai is a 30-year-old professional poker player from Debrecen, Hungary.... Koroknai has been playing professionally for the past six years and he is proud to represent his home country at the final table. He attended the University of Debrecen and worked as a computer engineer before turning to poker. 
Again we have agreement between this profile writer and Lucchesi. But the author of the Thomas profile deems Koroknai an amateur, not a professional. On what basis? I do not know.

Michael Esposito:
Michael Esposito is a 44-year-old from Seaford, New York, who has two kids and works as a commodity broker in New York City. Esposito plays just a few times a year as a hobby. 
Here we appear to have agreement among the three different viewpoints I've been exploring: Esposito is one of the amateurs.

To sum up: Lucchesi says that there are six professional players: Ausmus, Gee, Merson, Sylvia, Salaburu, and Koroknai. The author of the Thomas profile says that there are only three pros: Thomas, Gee, and Merson. And the nine profiles taken together judge seven of the nine to be professionals: Thomas, Ausmus, Gee, Merson, Sylvia, Salaburu, and Koroknai.

You can also look at it by the player. There is agreement across the board that Gee and Merson are pros and that Balsiger and Esposito are amateurs. Thomas is dubbed a pro by the author of his profile but an amateur by Lucchesi. Ausmus, Sylvia, Salaburu, and Koroknai are all called pros both by Lucchesi and by the author(s) of their individual profiles, but are all considered amateurs by the author of the Thomas profile.

Thanks for clearing that up for us, Bluff!


Zin said...

Robert Salaburu is a mommy's boy, he has never had to worry about money, his mother has plently, Salaburu has been able to do what ever he wants with his life his other brother also. Salaburu lives just up the road from where i live.

Lindy99 said...

May I suggest you submit a resume to Bluff as they are obviously short an editor or proof reader or whoever should be catching this stuff.....or should that be whomever? As you can see I would not be qualified for the job.

Anonymous said...

Since I suspect oyou'd want to correct this:

It's actually Bluff Magazine (with a capital M on Magazine). Apparently, "Magazine" is part of the name. It's not just called Bluff.

A fan,


Memphis MOJO said...

Amateur hour.

Rob said...

Maybe they were just, you know, bluffing.

grrouchie serge said...

thanks for bringing this up because I had forgotten that we were looking at playing the final table out here soon.