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Old 07-01-2018, 11:14 AM   #1
matrixmoney
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Playing with someone before they were famous

Have you ever played Poker with someone either before or after they were famous? I'm sure plenty of people on 2+2 have stories of playing some cards with someone who are or were prior to becoming famous, however for me, a small time, player I've never really had one of these stories until a recently discovery this past weekend.

I like many others, was part of the huge poker growth in the early 2000's after Poker started to become popularized on TV, so around the age of 16 (this story takes place in around 2003) I sought to play some Texas Hold'em nearby. The closest city was in Gainesville, FL, a thriving city filled with College students who were like minded in getting in on the new thrilling action of Texas Holdem. During this time, it was easy to find some home poker games (compared to now, where I still cant find one in Gainesville), I was able to find a 1/2 NL Home Game in Gainesville to start me off on a short live playing session during 2003-2004.

My live play wasn't anything to brag about, much less even to create a post about, but there was a couple of games that I ended up playing with someone who recently I discovered was famous and I wanted to share that.

The night when I met the person in question, I made some key notes from the conversations that started after the Home Game host announced his soon arrival to the table, the player in question who would soon to be joining us was a player who was identified as:
-Having a wealthy family background
-Extremely aggressive
-Was/is part of the Navy Seal program (I cant recall exactly which is was, but I recall his participation in the Seal program was definitely known and discussed prior to his arrival).

Either way, as a young kid (again, I was about 16 at the time) I kept quiet and just took some mental notes. The player walks in and immediately you could tell his personality was super high energy, eccentric and overall bold. My first impression was, wow, this guy is different, perhaps more fun than everyone else I've been playing with for a few hours. Then, before playing he did something unusual that stuck out to me (among several things to come later). Before playing, the player brought his own ingredients to cook a meal. Wow! Maybe thats common at home games, but a first for me, especially since this host provided food and drinks due to a rake. I'll exclude what the player chose to make (I remember what it was) in case I ever have the opportunity to later meet and verify my story with the player. The host seemed surprised as well by the player's request, but as a good host, agreed for him to use his kitchen. The food he made did smell great, in fact it's one of my favorite dishes, and if memory serves me correctly, I believe he did offer other players to have some if they were interested. Anyway, that was my first, but not the last unusual observation with this player.

The player eats his self made meal and then begins to play, and sure enough, the information before he arrived is starting to look valid as the player is unusually, super aggressive. He's 3 or 4 betting with 3 players pre-flop and then shoving all in with pocket deuces, 3 or 4 betting with other lower premium hands with tight callers, that I would never dream of doing. For me, a newbie to poker at 16 years old player, it was aggression that I haven't seen in my liminited playing experience, and not only I was surprised, but the rest of the tables seem to be too, even if we had advanced notice of his wild aggression.

After about a hour or so of the player being there, I ended up with another memorable hand against the player, but not because of the cards but what happened after. I dont recall what happened except either the player bluffed me out of a pot or made a wild run out against me for a decent pot, whatever the case was the table took notice and so did the player since as he's scooping the pot he says something very peculiar to me that I'll never forget. He first said something along the lines of how crazy that pot was but apparently felt bad about it as he then said, "How about I buy you a hooker?" WOW! I thought, noting that I did not express any disappointment or frustration with the end result of the hand because again, I'm a 16 yr old newbie in a home poker game, playing with older guys at an illegal 1/2 cash game. So, I kept quiet most of the time while there. Was he serious? A hooker? Did he win enough money to even cover the cost for that? Well maybe if he found one that was super cheap, which I'm sure wouldn't be that difficult to do. But as easy as that may seem to pass off as some banter without merit or seriousness to it, it actually felt that if I had accepted (which I didn't) his offer, he would certainly honor it considering his high eccentric, unusual characteristics.

That was the end of my memories with my first session with the above player. There was another different home game not too long after that where the player showed up at a home game that I was at, and like the first time, he did something that stuck out to me.

It was unusual, for my first home game at this other host's residence, the game was interrupted during a hand when someone, who was apparently drunk, stoned or both (I know, what a shocker for a college town) but started banging at the sliding glass door to his apartment that he just did a bunch of cocaine and wanted to play some cards. All of the players stopped, and the host yelled through the glass door that this was a private game. The table was pretty spooked from this encounter, especially after the host jokingly mentioned that the sliding glass door wasn't even locked. It was at this moment that the player did something memorable to me, he walked out of the game after announcing that he "was going to get his gun" from his vehicle and to see if guy was still hanging around. At this time, people begin to cash out, and I probably should have as well, but I stuck around. Shortly after the player leaving, he comes back in announcing the all clear but that he had his gun on him. A couple of other players who stuck around were interested in the gun and asked to see it, with the player asking the host if that would be okay and after the host agreed, he pulled out his pistol, it was a Glock (likely a glock 17 or 19). Again, considering my age and limited live playing experience, this was absolutely crazy to me. This player was someone like I've never come across to in my young life, cooking meals at home games, offering to buy me a hooker, pulling out a glock at a home game. Wow!

Not long after that game, I ended up getting a career going and pretty much stopped playing live poker, but the memories of this player had always stuck and I shared my crazy home game experiences with friends later on, this player clearly made a long lasting impression on me and I would likely never hear of him or know anything of him than what I learned that first night before he arrived and his first name (Yes, I remembered his name).

The player's name that left me with these memories was one that I never forgot, even 15 years later. The players name was Dan. All I knew about Dan was what people said about him, but mostly importantly the memories that he embedded from my short run cash game playing experience at 16. Until this past weekend.

I've been following poker a lot more as of recently, reading up on the game, reading vlogs, pros, following the wsop, 2+2, etc.. The other day, I read an article about some "high-stakes Poker player" who had a home burglary at his $10,000,000 mansion. Interesting, I'm reading the article and at the end it gives some background on this guy, where it states that he played poker while attending the University of Florida (located in Gainesville, FL). Interesting, his name is Dan as well and his pictures kind of resembled him. I started looking more into it and sure enough, I found a picture Dan Bilzerian without a beard. Wow! I'm fairly certain this is "the player" this was the Dan that I was playing with who left me with these memories! I did more research and it appears that he was indeed in Gainesville attending school around the time I was playing. I did more research on "Dan Bilzerian" wow! Apparently he's aggressive, that's a match! eccentric playboy, that's a match, tossing pornstars off of roofs, sounds like him! and then finally, I read Dan Bilzerian went to Seal training as was said of the player at these home games. I've come to the conclusion that I'm 90% sure I played with Dan Bilzerian who left me with these memories. If it truly was, all I have to say is, glad he's doing well and enjoying life and that for someone as high strong, bold and eccentric as he is, he was a well mannered player at the table.

Anyhow, I think this is the first time that I can say that I had some sort of interaction with someone who is now "famous" and it happened at a 1/2 home poker cash game. Maybe it seems lame to some, but for me, finding out who that player was/is, has really added on to my story for friends.

Last edited by matrixmoney; 07-01-2018 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:29 AM   #2
roddy
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Did Dan pay you to post that he was playing low stakes back in the day?

Would be fun to read some stories about big name players when they were on their way up the stakes though.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:34 AM   #3
matrixmoney
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Lol, I wish he did pay me. If anything, I paid him off during my first session as described above.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:49 AM   #4
adam levine
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Why do ask him?...hes Blitzforce here. He hasn't checked his account in over a year....but theres always a chance.
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Old 07-01-2018, 12:05 PM   #5
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous




Do you still dream of the player named Dan?
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Old 07-01-2018, 01:06 PM   #6
Gzesh
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Scotty Nguyen was dealing a small stakes limit game I played in at Sunset Station the night it opened.

Does that count ?

OTOH, if this thread is limited to stories about guys named Dan, I often watched Dan Tanna ("Vega$") on television while playing poker when I was in school.

Last edited by Gzesh; 07-01-2018 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 07-01-2018, 01:10 PM   #7
Bageled
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

When I play Poker, I play at the local casino. Same casino Jerry Yang calls his "home" casino.
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Old 07-01-2018, 02:38 PM   #8
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

That's Dantastic!
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Old 07-01-2018, 03:06 PM   #9
gamboneee
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

cliffs

op played poker with dan blitz.

sweet thread tho
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Old 07-01-2018, 03:12 PM   #10
Kelvis
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Who?
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Old 07-01-2018, 05:35 PM   #11
Wilbury Twist
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Hard to know if this has ever happened. For all I know, someone across the virtual table at PokerRoom or Tilt in 2005 is now a high-stakes pro, or some rando in a local game has gone on to rate high in the GPI. Most of us would have this same issue with answering the OP's question.

Any time a Sacramento/Davis-area player makes a deep run in a WSOP event, I always check the photo to see if it's someone I recognize. However, I'm not regular enough for this to be likely.

Very loosely related, however, one of my friends played in his first WSOP tourney years ago, and I bought a piece of the action. So when he went on to Day 2, I looked up his table seating assignments at the WSOP website. Our conversation (I think via text) went something like:

"Was there a highly aggressive British player in Seat 4?"

"Yeah, he lost half his stack on the very first hand, then spent most of the time trying to make deals with other players."

"So that was Chris Moorman, and he's the all-time leader in online tournament winnings."

My friend is strictly a live player, and simply didn't know the top online guys. (And even if he did, it's not like many of them were very recognizable in person in those days.)
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Old 07-01-2018, 08:04 PM   #12
freestreetcommando
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

I played poker in Deadwood in the early nineties. The town was $5 limit then so the poker games were 1 to 5 Stud, 1 to 5 Stud 8, 1 to 5 holdem. Lots of low limit poker players in town so the games went 7 days a week at Miss Kitty's, Big Jakes, the Gold Dust.

There was a kid that dealt poker in Deadwood. He loved to play the game too. When he got off he would go right into a poker game, bet, raise, reraise, take a swig. He was live like memorex. He would go all night. The only thing was he had to deal the next day.

When he did an all nighter then came to work he could barely stay awake. He would literally go to sleep in the box if you took to much time to act. On breaks he would be on the couch snoring away. They'd have to wake him up to go back in the box.

When he got off he would go crash and burn. Come back all bright eyed and bushy tailed. Put his shift in then go right into a poker game. Same thing, bet, raise, reraise, take a swig. I could tell he loved to play the game. Go all night then he would be back in his zombie state dealing his next shift. His name was Layne Flack.

Last edited by freestreetcommando; 07-01-2018 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:15 PM   #13
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

I started playing poker in an Arizona casino back in 1995, fell in love with it and couldn't get enough. Back then all you could play was limit poker, even though it tilted the hell out of me, I was hooked. Living in Dallas, Tx, there was no legal place for me to play and I was too leery of private games at the time (totally different times than now, perception of poker players was in the ****ter big time)

I'd drive to Shreveport, fly to Atlantic City and go to Vegas every chance I could get. I finally decided I had to get this bug out of my system or make it as a pro, so I bought a van and traveled across the country fishing and playing poker. Was going decent until I got to Vegas where I got my ass kicked and black lung from all the smoking (wasn't banned back then).

This was around 1998 and I was trying to make a go as a pro in Vegas and not getting anywhere so I decided to try and play at Sams Town where they played spread limit and had a bad beat jackpot of $55,000 at the time. The game was filled with old farts and me and was boring as hell until this extremely loud guy jumps in my game while talking on his cell phone loud as hell and betting or raising every damn pot on seemingly every street and proceeded to win $400+ in 30 minutes at a 1-2-8 limit hold em game. He had everyone on their heels, I was in awe and confused as hell how he could play so many pots and continually take them down. Every time I tried to play crazy, all I did was spew chips and lose my ass. I can't remember how long he played but I'll never forget how he was able to dominate everyone at the table.

A few days later I hear Treasure Island is closing their poker room so they had to give away their bad beat jackpot. So, for the last 50 hours (ish), they gave out $500 per hour to whomever had the high hand. I played nonstop for 26 hours and managed to win a high hand with a full house but missed the high hand when my quad 4's got pipped by quad 8's. The room was packed after being virtually empty every day prior and a ghost town the second the last high hand was awarded.

Right off the bat, I hear some loud guy yapping and sure enough, its the same guy who crushed the game at Sams Town. I notice he's hanging around a skinny, goofy looking dude and a pretty gal of ambiguous ethnicity. They all seemed to know each other and I could tell they played poker for a living. I remember being envious I didn't have friends who played poker I could commiserate with and learn from as I was flying solo and floundering by myself.

After about of month of living in Vegas and losing, I gave up and went back to my job knowing I wasn't cut out for the life of a poker pro but I never forgot that guy and the impression he made nor stopped loving the game and being intrigued at what it would take to excel.

A few years later, televised poker starts to take off and low and behold there's that loud guy that I played with running his mouth on TV.

Turns out it was Mike Matusow and it was him, Negreanu and Karina Jett I played with at Treasure Island.

That was 20+ years ago, I cant believe they're still grinding it out
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:22 PM   #14
matrixmoney
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Quote:
Originally Posted by yimyammer View Post
I started playing poker in an Arizona casino back in 1995, fell in love with it and couldn't get enough. Back then all you could play was limit poker, even though it tilted the hell out of me, I was hooked. Living in Dallas, Tx, there was no legal place for me to play and I was too leery of private games at the time (totally different times than now, perception of poker players was in the ****ter big time)

I'd drive to Shreveport, fly to Atlantic City and go to Vegas every chance I could get. I finally decided I had to get this bug out of my system or make it as a pro, so I bought a van and traveled across the country fishing and playing poker. Was going decent until I got to Vegas where I got my ass kicked and black lung from all the smoking (wasn't banned back then).

This was around 1998 and I was trying to make a go as a pro in Vegas and not getting anywhere so I decided to try and play at Sams Town where they played spread limit and had a bad beat jackpot of $55,000 at the time. The game was filled with old farts and me and was boring as hell until this extremely loud guy jumps in my game while talking on his cell phone loud as hell and betting or raising every damn pot on seemingly every street and proceeded to win $400+ in 30 minutes at a 1-2-8 limit hold em game. He had everyone on their heels, I was in awe and confused as hell how he could play so many pots and continually take them down. Every time I tried to play crazy, all I did was spew chips and lose my ass. I can't remember how long he played but I'll never forget how he was able to dominate everyone at the table.

A few days later I hear Treasure Island is closing their poker room so they had to give away their bad beat jackpot. So, for the last 50 hours (ish), they gave out $500 per hour to whomever had the high hand. I played nonstop for 26 hours and managed to win a high hand with a full house but missed the high hand when my quad 4's got pipped by quad 8's. The room was packed after being virtually empty every day prior and a ghost town the second the last high hand was awarded.

Right off the bat, I hear some loud guy yapping and sure enough, its the same guy who crushed the game at Sams Town. I notice he's hanging around a skinny, goofy looking dude and a pretty gal of ambiguous ethnicity. They all seemed to know each other and I could tell they played poker for a living. I remember being envious I didn't have friends who played poker I could commiserate with and learn from as I was flying solo and floundering by myself.

After about of month of living in Vegas and losing, I gave up and went back to my job knowing I wasn't cut out for the life of a poker pro but I never forgot that guy and the impression he made nor stopped loving the game and being intrigued at what it would take to excel.

A few years later, televised poker starts to take off and low and behold there's that loud guy that I played with running his mouth on TV.

Turns out it was Mike Matusow and it was him, Negreanu and Karina Jett I played with at Treasure Island.

That was 20+ years ago, I cant believe they're still grinding it out
Awesome story!
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:23 PM   #15
matrixmoney
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Quote:
Originally Posted by freestreetcommando View Post
I played poker in Deadwood in the early nineties. The town was $5 limit then so the poker games were 1 to 5 Stud, 1 to 5 Stud 8, 1 to 5 holdem. Lots of low limit poker players in town so the games went 7 days a week at Miss Kitty's, Big Jakes, the Gold Dust.

There was a kid that dealt poker in Deadwood. He loved to play the game too. When he got off he would go right into a poker game, bet, raise, reraise, take a swig. He was live like memorex. He would go all night. The only thing was he had to deal the next day.

When he did an all nighter then came to work he could barely stay awake. He would literally go to sleep in the box if you took to much time to act. On breaks he would be on the couch snoring away. They'd have to wake him up to go back in the box.

When he got off he would go crash and burn. Come back all bright eyed and bushy tailed. Put his shift in then go right into a poker game. Same thing, bet, raise, reraise, take a swig. I could tell he loved to play the game. Go all night then he would be back in his zombie state dealing his next shift. His name was Layne Flack.
Nice story!
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:27 PM   #16
freedom 35
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Quote:
Originally Posted by yimyammer View Post
I finally decided I had to get this bug out of my system or make it as a pro, so I bought a van and traveled across the country fishing and playing poker.
The life.
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:05 PM   #17
JABSolstice
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageled View Post
When I play Poker, I play at the local casino. Same casino Jerry Yang calls his "home" casino.
I’ve played quite a few sessions with Jerry. I don’t remember ever seeing him win.
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Old 07-02-2018, 04:52 PM   #18
Mike Femton
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Early 2000's I played plenty of small stakes omaha with PA and Ziigmund. Patrik was a quiet TAG and Ilari a loud mouth LAG, as you would expect. Fun times.

Nowadays Ilari is playing those same small stakes again which is not a huge surprise either.
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Old 07-02-2018, 05:38 PM   #19
BigWhale
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Back when I started to learn poker (2005-06) and got hooked on the game, I started searching for places to play live in the town where I was living (no casinos in Norway, as live-poker is pretty much illegal there).

I randomly came across a home game group close to where I was living, scored an invite and started playing there regularly. There was usually small tournaments held once or twice a week with anything from 7-20 players. The buy-in was equivalent to around $30-$40 USD if I remember correctly.

I obviously was a terrible player back then (probably still am ), but although there were some people there that had some idea what they were doing there was also a lot of bad players. At least bad enough to score me the occasional cash here and there, even though I was a scared nit with no real concept of adjusting to number of BB in my stack etc.

Pretty soon someone introduced a young female player to the group, who was anything but a scared nit. She started showing up fairly often, and I soon dreaded having her on my table as I knew she would put me in difficult situations in most hands. She did over and over again, and probably won around 50% of the tournaments she played. Her aggression was relentless, and she clearly had studied the game a lot - even though she had not turned 18 yet.

A little of a year after, Annette Obrestad won WSOPE Main Event and became the youngest bracelet winner ever still only aged 18. Definitely the best player I have ever played against; or at least the one that I felt had by far the biggest skill advantage over me.
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:37 PM   #20
Gzesh
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Anyone ever play with someone who once HAD been famous but was famous no more by the time you played ?

You know, like Sandy Lyle, that Kid from Crocodile Tears ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJckGOSkTG0

(Actually played with him at the Bellagio one time. Terrific actor. He was funny, complaining that people kept coming up to him asking about someone else more famous.)

Last edited by Gzesh; 07-02-2018 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:39 PM   #21
Zenzor
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Doug and Joey were legends of the old school small stakes FR community. Now they've ascended to epic heights while the rest of us faded into relative obscurity
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Old 07-02-2018, 11:05 PM   #22
FrancisJones
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

I played at the final table of a $5 online tournament on Full Tilt with Pius Heinz back in July 2008, more than three years before he won the Main Event. I only know this because one night years later (after he won the Main) I was going through some of my old results on OPR and recognized his screen name.
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Old 07-02-2018, 11:31 PM   #23
persianpunisher
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

Is this a troll?
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Old 07-03-2018, 02:06 AM   #24
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Re: Playing with someone before they were famous

I played HU Razz with Doug Polk on Merge network before he was famous and beat him out of like 5-10k before he quit He was nice though and we chatted a lot. Takes balls to learn a new game at 50-100.
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