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Phil LaakIt was 105 degrees in the shade on my last morning in Las Vegas, so on the one hand I was happy to be flying back to the cooler confines of Western Europe. On the other hand, always sorry to see Vegas in the rear view mirror.

This WSOP will take the usual sorting out, trying to get a grip on who the magical men are that make up the November 9. Who were the biggest winners of the summer, and whose stock took some downward dips.

For the cup is half full people, there is always next month to look forward to, the London summer of fun that begins in earnest at the end of August and will encompass major tournaments like the WPT London, EPT London, and the WSOPE, plus televised tournaments like the World Open and Poker Million. I’ll be turning my own attention to the silly season of European poker, but first some business to wrap up on the Vegas end.

Show 7 (July 21) featuring Phil Laak is online now! Click the play button to listen:

London next month

One thing is for sure, and that is that London next month will see the debut of plenty of poker players who have become new stars. In addition to the November nine finalists, all of whom will be likely busy playing as many tournaments as they can for tax deductible reasons, Brits like Richard Ashby, Mike Ellis, James Dempsey, Steve Jelinek and Praz Bansi will be swaggering with newly acquired stature and attitude, plus the cash to do what they like on their home turf.

Speaking of taxes, I had an interesting conversation with a Swedish poker player over in Vegas who told me that the relative absence of Scandis from the WSOP halls this year is due to the oppressive government attitudes of those nations, who have launched attacks onto poker players with tournament results going back years and left the entire Swedish poker community broke and in deep debt to their government.

It’s an unfortunate state of affairs when the balance of power determines that depending on where you live, you have a much better shot at being and staying a poker professional.

Young single players are moving to Malta, moving to Gibraltar, and like the American Quinn, setting up luxury shops in Thailand to grind their days away on the Internet.

One of my top poker and philosophical heroes

Phil Laak has grown on me to the point where he is now one of my top poker and philosophical heroes. First you think he’s playing a game, and then you realize that he buys into it.

And then, much later, you realize the positive effect that his words and philosophy have had on his life and you think, maybe I’ve got to get me some of that Phil Laak “Kung-Fu”. He’s hopped up on adrenalin and serotonin, and talked about all that plus the aftereffects of his 115 hour record breaking poker session when I sat down with him at the Bellagio last week.

Show 7 (July 21) featuring Phil Laak is online now! Click the play button to listen:

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