This Week in Poker History March 17th – 23rd

This Week Online Poker History March 17

This week’s look into poker’s past is going to start off on a bit of a down note, as I want to take a minute to recognize a man most people have probably never heard of, Darryl “RazzO” Phillips, who was among the first people to see the potential for poker via the Internet.

RazzO was one of those guys that would eat, breath, sleep, and he even deal poker, and the poker world will forever have an empty seat at the table after his passing.

I’m sure RazzO wouldn’t want this column to be all sad news, so in this installment of This Week in Poker History I’ll also talk about an early profile of online poker pros from 2004, take a look at one of the best spoof websites in poker history, see why Daniel Negreanu was irked at Evelyn Ng back in 2009, and a whole lot more.


If you weren’t around before the poker boom you probably have no idea who Darryl Phillips was, or what he has done in the poker world. But if you were a member of the small, close-knit, almost-cult-like world of poker before the 2003 WSOP than you probably are well aware of Darryl, or at least his old RGP username anyway, “RazzO.”

Sadly, RazzO passed away on February 27, and my hope is that his contributions to poker will not be lost to time – maybe this small segment will be the impetus for some other writer 50 years from now to look into RazzO.

I didn’t know RazzO other than through the RGP forums where he was an elder statesman, but this short post on 2+2 by another RGP’er, Mike “rzitup” O’Malley pretty much sums up RazzO in a nutshell:

“Most people active today probably don’t know Darryl. He was a dealer for Binions and the WSOP back in the 90’s. Was one of the first people to embrace the internet as a way to promote poker. Tough to find someone that loved the poker industry like he did.”

March 19, 2004: The NY Times profiles two online poker pros

In 2014 the mainstream media and the general public sort of understand what being a poker player is all about. Well, not really but they pretend like they do.

However, 10 years ago they really had no clue.

The average person simply couldn’t wrap his head around how you could be making money (making +EV decisions) while you lost your shirt (from bad variance) as can be seen in this NY Times article from 2004.

This excerpt pretty much sums it up:

”It’s a game of skill, not of chance,” Jimmy said. But in the eyes of the law, Mr. Dreifach said, gambling includes all games in which chance outweighs skill. ”I don’t know about you,” he said, ”but for most of us, poker is certainly a game of chance.”

The genius that is Bill Fillmaff

How or why my brain erased Bill Fillmaff from its memory banks is beyond me, but thank goodness for Google, and its ability to jog my memory, and reacquaint me with Bill Fillmaff’s Secret System!

If you’ve never heard of Bill Fillmaff, the first thing you should do is go click the link above and watch his videos, and then just sit back and laugh as he does the best Phil Hellmuth spoof in the history of poker.

And while he does bear a striking resemblance to Bryan Micon (both in looks and voice) Micon is not Fillmaff.

Also from the archives…

March 18, 2008: Is online poker still viewed in a negative light?

In an ESPN column from 2008, Gary Wise asked a panel of poker players the following question: “Is there a negative stigma applied to online poker players?”

A number of top players answered, including Phil Galfond, Justin Bonomo, Ike Haxton, Todd Witteles, Brian Townsend, and Mike Schneider.

It’s certainly an interesting topic, and great to hear the opinions from all of these top-level players, considering this is an issue that still persists to this day.

Happy Birthday to…


This is how many birthdays I uncovered this week: Zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch. None. Nothing.

BUT, if I wanted to I could make next week’s article nothing but birthday announcements, so stay tuned!

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