Following on from my previous post, I'll tell you what's wrong with the Bellagio. It thinks it's a fucking art gallery. The whole point of Vegas is to be cheap and cheerful. Ok sure, gaudy and glitzy, but all in a laid-back and self-aware kind of way. No doubt if a Bellagio marketing weasel was asked if they were cheap and cheerful he/she/it would reply, "I would say that we are competitively priced and chargez * avec joie de vivre". I just don't like it in there, you kind of feel like you shouldn't lean on anything unless you leave a mark. It should be that you don't want to lean on anything in case it marks you. Walking around the Bellagio it's easy to forget that it's been built by Social Security cheques passing through slot machines, just like the rest of them. PS this post is completely unrelated to the fact that I can't win a hand in the Bellagio and I can't miss anywhere else.
* I know that's wrong I can't do an accent on the e !
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It's strange how over here the whinge dynamic is reversed compared to England. In the small tournaments, no one's really that bothered. People will shake your hand when you knock them out, bad beat or not, smile and say "all part of the game". Over in the Bellagio, you only have to sit down in a satellite and everyone wants to tell you their tale of woe from the previous day/week/year/entire life. They'll grizzle for 20 minutes if they lose a hand on the river and stalk off if they bust out on a 50/50. In England I find there's nothing worse than the smallest tournaments for whingers and cry-babies. Strange is all !
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Yesterday I made a bit of an effort to be friendlier at the table, I mean not to the extent of being fascinated with where the guy in the next seat lives and how many grandchildren he has, like a lot of them, or indeed listening to bad beat stories, but just to respond politely to conversation rather than going "mmm" and looking away as I tend to sometimes. Perhaps unsurprisingly I enjoyed myself more. At one point a woman says "this is my first tournament" and I chipped in "yeah this is my first time too", which got a good laugh. "Yeah right" the guy says as only an American can say it, with a smile though.
I still think though talk at the bar, play poker at the table. Harry D sat down next to me in the $1500 and although I've never actually met him he does have a reputation for bending your ear at the table. So I was planning to maintain radio silence at the table so as not to give away I was English (just in case), when Toran sat down who I know a little and is a friend of a friend so I had to say hello. Katherine said I should have said "Bonjour" - I never thought of that. But evidently Harry had bigger fish to fry as he didn't get involved. Mind you he was only there for 20 minutes. The kindest thing I can say about his game is that he wasn't there long enough for me to make a definitive judgement.
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I haven't clashed with any major faces yet. Or even any minor ones. Just Harry D and Max Stern yesterday, neither of whom would keep you awake at night worrying about being drawn against them quite frankly. That Scott Aigner from Pokerpages was in a satellite. He's obviously keen as mustard on the game, as you can tell from his writing, but he's got a way to go regarding understanding the game, and I wonder if he's going to get there. Hopefully he won't be another Dr. Mark, also from Pokerpages. You can tell a great deal about someone's game from listening to them talk about it, and even more from what they write. Here was a guy who, whatever results he was pulling out in the short term, was just bound to go broke and basically ruin his life with poker. Like the guy says in Trainspotting about heroin, some people are predisposed to the addiction. They have an affinity for it. Scott seems a nice guy so I hope he doesn't follow that path. But many will, whether we hear about it or not.
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As for talking a good game, I reinvested my blackjack profits in a small percentage of Bushy in today's $2500. Garry is a top player who understands the game inside out, far better than many with bigger reputations. He has suffered a little by association with Jac, and certainly that documentary didn't do him any favours, but if you want to learn about poker tournament play, watch Garry very closely and listen to every word he says. I don't know anyone in poker I've spoken to who talks more basic common sense.