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Old 11-06-2016, 01:12 PM   #2001
Chuck Bass
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Post #2000: A Ziigmund Story


[Disclaimer: I don't even remember if I told this story originally ITT or not - the following is a direct book excerpt. Anyway I thought people might enjoy this, and since I noticed that this thread has somehow reached 2000 posts I thought what the hell, might as well post it.]



The next issue of Poker Pages magazine is getting closer to the finish line. Our brilliant Art Director shows us a slideshow of the pages that are finished, and the magazine looks magnificent. I see my own stories laid out, and all the beautiful pictures accompanying them. Even the fencing story looks amazing in its final format. People are going to love this issue.

My last task regarding issue two is an interesting one. Tero is in Las Vegas following Peter Eastgate, so it's just me and Sanna working on the last unfinished pages. Sanna wants me to tag along with a photographer who's about to take a special kind of portrait of Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies, one of the most interesting characters in poker. Ilari is notoriously difficult with the media, and according to Sanna, the few comments we need to go along with the picture would be easier to get if the interviewer was another poker player.

“Just go there, don't take your tape recorder. Ilari doesn't like being recorded. And he doesn't like surprises, so don't try to catch him off guard. If you get him to say anything at all, consider it a small victory. Oh, and he's almost certainly not going to be there, even if he promises to come. You need to call him all afternoon to remind him and make him promise to come so many times that he can't bail out.”

I know Ilari, of course. In 2008, there are few online players in the world more legendary than him, if any. Ziigmund, his online moniker, is the most followed player on the internet. The other great online players of the moment – Tom Dwan, LarsLuzak, Phil Ivey – are all mainly famous for the amounts of money they make, not for their personalities. Ilari makes a lot of money, too, but he's more famous for the way he occasionally loses it. Only a few months ago he lost two million dollars online in a single session, later shrugging it off with: “I was hungover and didn't care”. Ilari is also famous for bad-mouthing his opponents in the chat in his broken English, making for hilarious quotes endlessly posted to poker forums around the world by railbirds.

Ziigmund is a legend, but he’s one of those people whose real-life personas don't seem to match their online personas at all. I've met Ilari a couple of times, and he's barely said a word. I have no idea how this is going to pan out, but I accept Sanna's request anyway, and call the photographer.

“Can you meet me a few hours before the shoot? We need to go buy some materials,” he asks.

“Sure, what do we need?”

“Boxing gloves. Do you know where we could buy some cheap, used ones? And lots of gasoline.”

I assume I must have misheard, and ask him to repeat.

“Boxing gloves and gasoline. We’re going to set him on fire.”

“Does Ilari know about this?”

“Of course he doesn't. That guy's already impossible to schedule a photo shoot with, there's no chance he'd come if he knew about this. Don't tell him!”

Once again, I wonder what I've signed up for.

I meet the photographer, Taavetti, at a store I've scouted for us that sells used sports goods. We buy a pair of boxing gloves, and then head to a gas station to buy gasoline, a special lighter and a fire extinguisher so that we can somewhat safely set Ziigmund on fire.

We then head to an empty beach where the photo shoot will take place. It's just after sunset, slightly above freezing, a brisk night in late autumn. Only a few dog-walkers pass us by, giving us long looks when we practice lighting the gloves on fire with me wearing them.

The photographer tells me to shadowbox with the burning gloves on, so that he can get his camera's settings right. The heat is burning my hands, and I wonder if the leather is going to melt and burn through my skin.

Ilari is late, of course, and following Sanna's advice, I call him again as soon as I'm allowed to take off the boxing gloves.

“What photo shoot? Oh, did I promise to do that? I thought it was next week,” Ilari says. I can hear the sounds of online poker in progress in the background.

I tell him almost angrily that we are freezing our asses at an empty beach, and we have prepared with expensive materials, so he really needs to get here.

Ilari seems to be caught a little bit off guard, as if he's not used to people telling him what to do. But he promises to get on his way, and it only strikes me afterwards that he was probably playing for tens of thousands of euros at the very second I was telling him to drag his ass to this frozen beach. I hope he at least won the pot.

After what feels like an endless wait, Ilari finally arrives, a little over an hour late, in his Ferrari. He parks it right at the beach, making the odd passers-by give us even longer looks.

I remember being told stories about jealous people spitting on Ilari's Ferrari. Finland is not a country where it's acceptable to show off.

“What's the gasoline and the fire extinguisher for?” Ilari asks.

“I'm sure the photographer will tell you,” I dodge. “He has something special planned for this photo shoot.”

When Ilari hears about the plan, he says that there's no way he's doing it. He has no interest in being set on fire, which I can well understand. Ilari and the photographer argue a little bit, and I step in and say that let's just do this, since we're already here. I'm sure that Taavetti knows what he's doing.

I have no idea if Taavetti knows what he's doing.

Eventually Ilari budges, but on one condition. He says that he has something he wants to say, and he wants it printed, next to the picture, word for word. He'll only do the photo shoot if we agree to print his manifesto.

I have no idea what this could be, but given that Sanna said it'd be hard to get anything out of Ilari at all, I'm seeing this as a good thing. I shake hands with Ilari to seal the deal.

Ilari tightens up his hoodie, puts on the gloves and the photographer enlists me to throw gasoline all over them. While I'm spreading it across the gloves, Ilari gives me a long, hard look.

This had better go smoothly, or I'm going to burn you.

Taavetti says that he's ready, and ushers me to ignite Ilari.

“Are you ready?” I ask him, and before he has time to answer, I light the gloves on fire, and run backwards out of the picture's range. Watching Ilari shadowbox with his hands burning like torches against the silhouette of a blue night sky is a beautiful sight. It reminds me of the torch jugglers practicing in Barcelona's parks after sunset.

The photos get taken, and Ilari survives without burns. When we're wrapping up, I ask Ilari for his manifesto.

“Write this down on pen and paper, word for word. I won't accept a single word being left out,” Ilari says, looking serious. He then proceeds with his manifesto, which is all about one of Finland's best poker players, who's also our guest writer and one of Ilari's best friends. They seem to have a playful but public beef, where they take jabs at each other on the forums and on the pages of poker magazines. And now Ilari's ready to take it to the next level, and really throw some dirt on his foe, much like he does in the chats of his online tables.

I write everything down, confused, and call Sanna when Ilari has disappeared into the night in his Ferrari.

“So, did Ilari show up?” Sanna asks.

“Yeah, he did. And we set him on fire.”

Sanna chuckles.

“There's just one little hiccup here,” I begin. “I kind of promised Ilari that we'd quote him word for word on something, it was the one condition under which he would do the photo shoot.”

“Yeah, what is it?”

“That ***** ******* (<-- One of Finland's most famous poker players, not going to put the name here on 2p2 though) constantly comes to his door to borrow condoms and Viagra so that he can **** even the dirtiest of whores.”

We both laugh, but it's a nervous laugh. Neither of us knows what to do. We can't piss Ilari off, because we'll need him for our future issues, but we can't really publish the quote. If we do, ***** is going to be mad, and we also need him.

In the end we contact Jasper, who often helps us out when it comes to issues we need to ask permission for. He knows everyone who's financing us, he knows everyone working on the magazine, and he knows Ilari. He says that Ilari is stubborn, and if we don't do as promised, he's going to get pissed off and quit working with us in the future.

“It's your call, but I think you should just print it.”

We end up printing it, word for word.



Last edited by Chuck Bass; 11-06-2016 at 01:20 PM. Reason: added picture
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Old 11-06-2016, 07:56 PM   #2002
ac3play
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Bass View Post
Post #2000: A Ziigmund Story



This is absolutely without a single doubt the most amazing blog I have ever read. Started reading it yesterday at 5am (lolz) and I was instantly hooked on your way of describing all those events. Brilliant. If I recall correctly you have also written a book? Title?
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Old 11-07-2016, 12:45 AM   #2003
blakkman08
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

once a gambler
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Old 11-08-2016, 12:08 PM   #2004
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Amazing and inspiring story. It took me 2 days to read the whole thread. I copied everything in word and read it at work.
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Old 11-10-2016, 02:11 PM   #2005
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

This entire blog is amazing and that Ziigmund pic & story no different. It also seems rather fitting to have the Chuck Bass name, considering you seemed to be very alike at some points in your blog. Look forward to reading more at some point.
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Old 11-17-2016, 07:30 AM   #2006
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Bought the book, just finished reading this part. God damn it who is James Jameson
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Old 11-17-2016, 01:18 PM   #2007
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

man ziigmund is so bald, nice posts tho op
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:18 PM   #2008
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

I just purchased the ebook of Part 2, is there a gap between what's been posted on this thread and Part 2?

edit: Nevermind, I see there's a gap of about a year, I do find that to be slightly disappointing.
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Old 03-04-2017, 08:17 AM   #2009
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Amazing blog!
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Old 03-21-2017, 08:36 AM   #2010
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Any small update for the fans?
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:24 PM   #2011
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

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Originally Posted by lolfrew View Post
Any small update for the fans?
+1
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Old 05-10-2017, 06:08 PM   #2012
Chuck Bass
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Quote:
Originally Posted by lolfrew View Post
Any small update for the fans?
Quote:
Originally Posted by SetzerG View Post
+1
Hey, sorry I didn't mean to ignore these. I was traveling around and I had missed the thread getting bumped completely.

Not much to report really, I'm a pretty boring 30-year old nowadays. I just got back from Australia where I spent the winter, and now I'm flathunting in Finland. Poker hasn't been going too great (results-wise) and pending some last minute turnaround I'm fairly sure this will be my last year as a poker professional. My lifetime profit is sitting somewhere around +$550k and it seems likely that ballpark is where it'll roughly remain forever. The plan is to seek for a job in TV production, I'm about to finish my first screenplay which I've been working on for quite some time. If that doesn't work out, I'll do something else writing-related. I'm already doing a fair bit of freelancing (both poker and non-poker stuff), and I'm not at all worried about finding a job in that area shall I need one. The really cool thing about the last decade is that I've managed to build myself quite a resume in the only area I've ever really been interested in pursuing (writing). And I achieved it all because of poker, directly or indirectly, which I find quite awesome. I didn't become the next Phil Ivey in the end, but I had lots of great experiences and managed to build myself a future on the side which isn't too bad.

Once I quit poker, the plan is to truly quit, as in uninstalling every piece of software and just pretty much never play poker again. Not because I'd find it to be harmful per se, but I'm competitive and poker just tends to suck the life out of you in many ways when you're trying to succeed at it. Even now whenever I'm supposed to be writing, my mind is a lot cloudier if I've played poker within the last 24 hours or so and it's just not happening. So even though I find poker to be a nice hobby in theory, I don't think it'd be a suitable hobby for me specifically. Plus I don't want to get back to degening around which is likely what would happen with limited playing hours.

I can already see the finish line on the horizon, and honestly, I feel pretty good about it. It's weird to think I differently I used to see things, but it's pretty clear to me now that I really don't want to be a 3x-year old poker professional. I don't think it matters if I quit when I'm 30 or 31 or whatever, but I'd like this whole adventure to end within a couple of years for sure (unless the games somehow magically soften). I can't quite explain what it is -- something about craving some sort of stability and being a little more rooted somewhere, I guess -- but something about being a poker professional even now is bugging me off. I still love the game and enjoy playing it, it's more of a conceptual thing. Guess I'm growing up.

Gonna go out with a bang though, so assuming this plan holds I'm going to take some epic last minute shot at something. What exactly it will be remains to be seen, I'm trying to be pretty financially responsible nowadays but I can't really quit without some sort of last minute yolo adventure
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Old 05-12-2017, 01:02 AM   #2013
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Thanks for the update
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Old 05-12-2017, 03:31 AM   #2014
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Looking forward to the yolo part.

Verstuurd vanaf mijn SM-G920F met Tapatalk
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Old 05-12-2017, 09:15 AM   #2015
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

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Old 05-12-2017, 09:41 AM   #2016
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Being 36 I hope that graph is headed for an upswing. Thanks for the update. Always loved and followed your writing here.
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Old 05-12-2017, 03:27 PM   #2017
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Re: My somewhat different poker story (extremely tl;dr)

Holy balls, this thread is still running? *rereading*
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