World Poker Tour season 4 starts tonight 3/8

9:00 EST on the Travel Channel, repeating at midnight. From the Mirage, final table includes among others Gavin Smith, Kido Pham and Ted Forrest.

Thanks Otto, but who I would be lying if I didn’t say I watch the every Wed. night anyway, repeat or not.
Who is your favorite player that frequents the final table on the WPT?

Yeah that came out all conflustered. Try to ignore some of that and add to it where you see fit to make it a normal response.

I go in cycles on my favorite players. I used to feel the need to defend Phil Hellmouth since he’s from Madison but I’m pretty much over that. Doyle Brunson is of course permanently in the pantheon. TJ Cloutier is usually there too but sometimes he’ll be at a table and just irritate the shit out of me (and of course when he has the poodle haircut going it’s just unforgiveable). I like Howard Lederer quite a bit. I used to like Daniel Negraneu but his I’m such a cutie-pie routine started wearing on me, so I’ve been kind of enjoying watching him getting waxed on High Stakes Poker on GSN. Johnny Chan is cool, Scotty Ngyuen I like, Mike Matusow I like a lot because even though he can be an ass he has the chops to back it up. Lots of guys I like, too many to name. Chris Fergusen, Jen Harmon, Ted Forrest, Freddy Deeb, Cyndy Violette, Kenna James, too many to list. I used to dislike Scott Fischman but he seems to have grown up a bit in the last couple of years. Phil Ivey used to bore me but the last couple of times I’ve seen him he’s been looser and a little more fun to watch.

Todd Brunson I can’t stand. He’s made some really awful comments in televised tourneys, called Freddy Deeb (who lost touch with his family for years because of war in the Middle East) a terrorist and thought it was hilarious then went on to rip a dealer to shreds for almost but not actually making a mistake. Kathy Liebert I used to like back from when she won the Party Poker Million before there was a WPT, but the way she’s conducted herself on a couple of televised tourneys has convinced me that she’s a whiny uncouth bitch. If Tony G is at a table I won’t watch it because he’s so awful, except I happened to catch him getting busted out of the Monte Carlo Millions and it gave me the warm fuzzies. Tuan Le makes me want to commit murder. I loathe him beyond all rational thought.

Oh, and how could I forget that most doucheiest of douchebags, Antonio Esfandiari?

How come? I was rooting for him the first few times I saw him, but lately I haven’t been a big fan. I admit it’s probably sheer jealousy that a kid as young as he could experience such stratospheric success in so short a time.

My dream final six, watchability-wise: Harman, Hansen, Lederer, Negraneu, Hellmuth, and…hmm. Hell, James Woods. Or Ferguson or Ivey.

As you can probably tell, I like chatter at the table. Hate Matusow and Tony G, though.

I’ll admit to not watching a whole lot of poker, but Cardplayer has the Mouth ranked 424 in their 2006 player of the year statistics. Perhaps when he’s not serving time in jail, he’s making a lot of money in cash games, but I’ve yet to be impressed by his play, what little I’ve seen. There’s a reason he’s more famous for his blowups and his mouth than anything else. Of course you probably know more than I.

Well, if I could answer that it wouldn’t be beyond all rational thought, now would it?

I don’t know what it is exactly. Lots of things. Like he seems to make a lot of bad decisions and get paid off by sucking out, then he complains when he gets sucked out on. I find his demeanor at the table irritating, I find his lispy voice irritating, I find his face irritating. It’s largely visceral, I admit.

Those rankings tend to be pretty volatile, and I have no idea what if any qualifying events Matusow has even played this year. He finished 9th at last year’s WSOP main event, and if he hadn’t been subjected to a truly horrifying cold decking on the second hand of final table play he had a strong shot at taking it all. He went on to win the Tournament of Champions against a field of over 100 of the top WSOP players of the year.

According to Cardplayer, those two were pretty much it for him. Again, part of the year was spent in jail, so I don’t know how many tourneys he actually entered. I’ll also note that he finished 56th in 2004, with 2 final tables and 5 tourneys cashed.

He’s probably a fine poker player, but any fun I have watching him is quickly dispersed once he opens his piehole.

While my gut wants to loathe Tuan Le, I think he’s a victim of editing. He’s made enough serious final tables that it simply can’t be the rampant lucksackery that we see get broadcast. I have to think his good play gets edited out, and his awful calls that pull the clutch card always make the final airing.

Tony G, Phil Hellmuth, and Todd Brunson are simply tools. Unlike Tuan, there’s no way it’s just editing.

Favorite? Ted Forrest. When he’s got a solid read, he makes the most amazing calls and folds I’ve ever seen. Uncanny.

Well here is the new hostess Courtney Friel. Pretty enough I guess, but she ain’t no Shana Hiatt…grrr-owl.

My personal favorite I think is Erick Lindgren.

Dude, the man outlasted 5,610 other players in the largest field in the history of the game, then beat 100+ of the world’s best. How much more does he have to do to convince you he’s got game?