What a thrill it was to have Phil Gordon join us this month for Poker 2.0.  I’ve been a huge fan of Phil ever since I first took up poker back in 2002.  Thank you, Phil!  Thanks also to Geoff and Paul Simons from iHear Network who originally told Phil about Poker 2.0.

Introducing... THE Phil Gordon

I had read some years ago that Phil was formerly a tech entrepreneur… yada, yada.  I never really thought much about it — anyone can call themselves a tech entrepreneur… it’s a pretty low bar.   But I got to spend some time with Phil away from the tables while he was here and I’m here to tell ya… he’s the real deal.  (First one to leave a comment identifying the pun in that last paragraph gets extra chips at their next Poker 2.0 event!)

For those who don’t know, Phil is CEOing a startup gaming company called JawFish Games.  You can read more about Phil and what he was doing in Seattle in John Cook’s GeekWire article.

Here’s how things ended up at the final table.  Congrats to all of the winners!

  • 1st – Josh Decker
  • 2nd – Bob Crimmins
  • 3rd – Ron Craswell
  • 4th – Phil Gordon
  • 5th – Phil Sabin
  • 6th – Erik Jensen
  • 7th – Ken Stanfield

Even though Phil finished 4th, he did it with a serious amount of class.  In fairness to Phil, I should say that the blind structure we’ve been using at Poker 2.0 favors luck over skill in the last half hour or so.  I have no doubt that Phil would have finished higher with a

February 2012 Money Winners (and no, Phil and I didn't coordinate wardrobe before the event.)

more-reasonable structure.

Phil runs a lot of charity tournaments and has promised to help me improve the structure so be prepared to earn your final table finishes in the future.  Personally, I was hoping Phil would take second place to my first place… but that dream will have to wait till another time.

Phil delivered an awesome talk before we got the tournament started.  The theme was the six qualities that make a great poker player… and how those qualities also make great entrepreneurs.  He talked about those qualities in the GeekWire article and you can listen to the audio of most of Phil’s talk on SoundCloud (Thanks to 1st-place winner Josh Decker for having the presence of mind to capture a recording with his cell phone!)

Phil also blended in some essential poker lessons for the crowd.  Most notably:

Be selectively aggressive — if you have a positive situation then play it aggressively to win it.  Otherwise get the hell out.

Phil rakes a pot... one of many.

Don’t limp into a pot if you’re the first one in… raise or fold.  You need a better hand to call a bet or raise than you do to be the bettor or raiser.  If your hand only justifies a limp-in with a call then you’re likely to get yourself into more trouble later… unless you get really lucky.  But luck isn’t a strategy.

The level of play this time around was markedly better than at any previous event (which may not be saying much).  The rebuys were slightly more plentiful as well.  My guess is that some folks were getting a feel for a more aggressive style and had to reload more often… and some just wanted to stay in it a little longer for the thrill of playing with Phil.

Here are a few more pics from the event.  Thanks a ton to Eugene Hsu for playing Poker 2.0 Staff Photographer!