You are here

Freaky Fortnight - Late August 2023 Amusing Gambling Tales


It wouldn’t be right of us to go for too long without bringing you even more entertaining stories from the gambling world. After all, so much happens over the course of a couple of weeks, you might miss out on an amusing insight. Fortunately, the Freaky Fortnight team is back, aiming to provide you with all the enjoyment coming from the misery of others!

This installment of Freaky Fortnight contains unusual gambling news from the second half of August 2023

August may already be over, but there are a couple of stories to explain to you to welcome in September. So let’s get started with the amusing tales of the latter half of August 2023 from the poker and gambling scenes.

Phil Nagy Experiences Heavy Triton Cash Game Loss


If you’re a regular visitor to Professional Rakeback, then you’ll know that we speak about various top poker players on a frequent basis as well as notable personages from the world of online poker sites. Phil Nagy ticks both boxes as the CEO of the Winning Poker Network as well as a frequent high-stakes poker player himself.

Indeed, Phil sometimes even competes against his own customers for real money as he did in the December 2019 Live Cage event in Costa Rica. During that event, he scored a profit of more than $6,000 although this victory was undoubtedly somewhat bittersweet as his winnings came at the expense of customers of his poker room.

Yet Nagy, much like any other poker player, doesn't always walk home victorious. This was evident during the latest Triton Poker Super High Roller Series Million Dollar Cash Game in London on Aug. 28. Of course, losing a vast pot on this tour is quite the norm for many players. Perhaps no other brand does its high-stakes poker events better than the Triton Poker setup. The promise of big pots is capable of tempting the most elite professionals out, including Nagy.

WPN CEO Phil NagyPhil Nagy is the CEO of the Winning Poker Network

During the event, Nagy was partaking in a pot with $1.86 million on the line and premium cards in his hand. Yet, he found himself behind and with zero chance of winning the pot (although a split was possible). Premium hands can win you big money or lose you vast amounts in poker. In this case, Nagy experienced the latter outcome, losing $800,000 in a single hand with a pair of queens.

A large portion of the betting action occurred pre-flop in the game in question. Nagy’s two red queens set the table out at $6,000 from under the gun. Blinds of $1,000/$2,000 and a $4,000 ante were in action, and Phil commenced the action with a standard 3x raise. Callers at the table included Paul Phua, Tony G, and Mr. Long.

When it came to the turn of Santhosh Suvarna, he opted for much more than a call. With his pair of kings, he went for a three-bet, upping the amount to $36,000. Rob Yong was seated in the big blind position, and he held two black queens in his hand. He chose to four-bet to $85,000 before Nagy chose the five-bet value of $250,000. It was then that Suvarna and Yong both called, making the total close to $1 million as the flop came around.

Suvarna checked on the 7-5-4 flop with two hearts. Yong did the same with his queens, helping him save a big chunk of money. Nagy, in position, bet $300,000. Suvarna then proceeded with a $545,000 all-in choice, which managed to stun Yong into submission albeit allowing him to preserve some of his chip stack by folding.

Nagy was unable to do so, though, closing the action and getting 6:1 on his money. He opted to call, agreeing to run the turn and river twice. With Suvarna ahead, Rob Yong commented to him, “You’re winning; I had queens,” which saw Nagy crumble as it was revealed that he had zero outs. He went on to lose both board runouts.

Maybe next time, Phil. Maybe next time!

“Funniest Joke” at Edinburgh Fringe Better With Addition of Poker?


Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival serves as the world’s largest performance arts festival. In 2019, it expanded across 25 days and included more than 59,600 performances across 322 venues. The event has been running since 1947, and it occurs in August every year in the capital city of Scotland. It is only surpassed in terms of ticket sales by the Olympics and the World Cup.

The 2023 edition of the festival took place between Aug. 4 and 28, featured 3,553 shows, and there were 2,445,609 tickets issued for it. Over the years, the comedy section of the festival has grown to be bigger than all other areas, and the same sector remained in prime focus in 2023. While some people have commented on this domination changing the nature of the Fringe, others have welcomed it as drawing in a large proportion of newer audiences for stand-up comics.

This has led to the event naming the best jokes of the year each time it comes around. Known as The Funniest Joke of the Fringe, which is now in its 14th year of being awarded, it is presented to a quip or one-liner deemed to be the most hilarious.

Yet the recipient of the award in 2023 received a lot of backlash, considering her joke was almost child-like in its wording and delivery. Winner Lorna Rose Treen acquired the award with the following joke:

“I started dating a zookeeper, but it turned out he was a cheetah.”

When you consider that the festival is one of the reasons why popular comedies like “Fleabag” by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and “The League of Gentlemen” first rose to fame, this joke isn’t even good enough to be placed inside a Christmas cracker.

Most people have commented on the joke not really making that much sense, considering cheetahs and zookeepers aren’t synonymous. They are just two things that occasionally come into close range of one another. Thus, wouldn’t a better version of the joke be:

”Why did the tiger lose at poker? Because he was playing with a cheetah!”

Yet, even that joke comes from a website which caters to children who want to tell their parents witty one-liners and expect them to collapse in fits of laughter.

Unfortunately, the shortlist of jokes and one-liners for the 2023 edition of the festival was quite dire, so it’s not altogether Treen’s fault. Would we have a bit more respect for her if she had included poker in her joke? Absolutely. Because it makes more sense and is marginally more amusing.

There’s a lot of work to be done in comedy if these are the types of jokes that the majority is expected to find entertaining, right?

US-China Tensions Spawn New Love for Card Game

World Map

There is usually nothing good that comes from countries hating on each other. Often, it results in war and unnecessary deaths. Yet perhaps just for once, something at least half-decent has come from the tension that is building between the United States of America and China.

We can all admit that various problems have arisen in China over the years, even in the gambling world. Massive collusion was uncovered on the PPPoker app there several years ago, and in 2021, social poker apps were banned in China.

Recently, bankers and businesspeople in China have become very reliant on domestic capital, thanks to foreign funding severely decreasing. People in the capital of Beijing may have come up with a way of socializing with local investors and unlocking domestic funds. The card game known as guandan, which operates in a similar way to poker, has been around for many decades already. It has recently gained a new lease on life with venture capitalists.

They realized how popular the game is with wealthy local government officials in the country’s eastern regions. This helped to spawn quite the craze for guandan, driven in part by the financial constraints due to ties souring between the U.S. and China.

It was in August when President Joe Biden barred certain investment in semiconductors and also placed controls on other sectors. His aim is to curb trading and funding in China especially in Beijing where an edge in the technology sector could arise.

Domestic private capital has decreased significantly, thanks to Chinese President Xi Jinping making his intent known on a bigger state presence in the economy with various crackdowns in the past few years. Those have come in major areas, including technology and real estate.

Financiers now view the guandan game as a legitimate way to build connections with officials who hold the purse strings on local projects. One man, Yang Yiming, an investment banker, said that information is currency when it comes to finance. A game of guandan has become a standard gambit for him before he wines and dines local officials. The card game can go on for several hours in which time Yang gets to engage in conversation with the officials and sometimes comes upon useful information as a result.

Yu Longze, a Beijing-based broker, said that his boss had ordered all employees to learn guandan for the same purpose.

The game is played among four players who are paired up in terms, similar to bridge. Two decks of cards are used, and players then need to throw down poker and other special card combinations to be able to clear their hands before their opponents do.

Even though it is popular in business settings, some people are also now playing guandan for the enjoyment factor and the mental stimulation. ”It’s cost-free. Unlike Texas Hold’em or mahjong, this game doesn’t need to be played with money to be fun”, said Li Keshu, a lawyer who played guandan with friends in a park during COVID-19 restrictions. “On the contrary, money spoils the friendship and the game,” he finished.