Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Life Goes On Without Me

Last day in Vegas tomorrow and can you believe I'm looking forward to coming back to jolly old England. Four weeks was just too much for me. I had an enjoyable meal with Simon G in the Venetian [1] tonight, but when I was telling him about what happened at Caesar's with the two guys and one stealing chips off the other I was about 3/4 of the way through the story when I realised "This is a bit lame really. It's not much of a punchline, and in fact, not all that much to be angry about". Sometimes you just need to talk to someone, rather than tippy tap on your keyboard all night, to put something into perspective. Several recent posts are along these lines, and it's true that I probably write with a bit more spirit when I'm angry about something, but even so, a lot of it's not really worth getting angry about in the first place. Bad poker players play badly and/or talk a lot of shit. Welcome to poker as Bad Beat said to me earlier in the trip.

My interest in the main event goes as far as funking for people I like and that is entirely it. Once the last person I like is out, I could not care less what happens. It's like when QPR are knocked out of the Cup, I never care what happens after that [2]. So if you're playing and I like you, best of British. I do have to negotiate a night out with Paul S and his no doubt motley crew of associates tomorrow but if I manage not to end up in the gutter, I'll soon be back home and offline for about a week. Hopefully I'll be on in time for the football season (5th August, not much of a break is it) but if I'm not then just lump the lot on QPR and Barnet, you'll be alright. See you then.

[1] Tip for you : the Italian restaurant in the "Grand Canal Shoppes" was packed out, but the one in the casino was empty, very good and relatively cheap.

[2] Yes, this means I don't normally get much value from the Cup.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Done And Done

Right, that's me finished with live poker for this trip, and I won't miss it. I played the $120+$100 at Caesar's, with my headphones jammed on at full power. Two twats opposite me want to take the piss for some reason. I think one of them was upset because he couldn't psych me out with his verbal mind-games when I was all in. He makes me take my phones off and says "One day I'll be a superstar like you". If I want to talk to idiots I can go back on the Internet forums, so I ignore him. "Back on go the headphones, hur hur" goes his mate, who is that half-American guy who plays in the Vic, always wears a flat cap.

Anyhoo, wanker from the Vic takes half my chips with A8 against TT. He and American wanker high five each other. The dealer pushes the pot over to wankerfromthevic rather sloppily, and about 1500 chips drift towards americanwanker. When he sees that his great mate wankerfromthevic hasn't noticed, he starts stacking them up. I point this out and he gives them up, chirping something about "I'd give them back as soon as anyone said". OK, can I steal your car ? I'll give it back if anyone notices. And what does wankerfromthevic say ? I'll give you one guess. That's right. Nothing. These people are cunts, pure and simple, and they deserve each other.

So, Scores On The Doors

Single Tables : + $6,125. A good score and despite a bad run towards the end I was probably running good overall

Cash : - $35. A couple of half-hearted sessions while I was waiting to do something else, I'd have been better off playing online in my room. Or maybe not, because I lost about $1000 on the trip online. Damn speed tournaments. But that doesn't count.

"Proper" MTTs : - $225. I only played one, thankfully I was busted after 3 hours instead of hanging around for 12, 15 or however long it took to bust out just before the money

Crapshoots - $1285. I had a good shot in a couple of these, but couldn't win the all ins when it mattered.

Blackjack : - $50. Cut my losses in half in the Mirage after a session in the Orleans where I was playing so badly the dealer was trying to help me :-)

Last longer bets : +$1. I had a dollar "last shorter" with Mad Ron in a single table. I wouldn't have gone all in with 73 without the last shorter bet. Oh wait, yes I would.

All in all about $4500 up. That's not going to cover all my expenses but I would still have to eat like food and stuff at home, plus I spent $500 or so on shows and clothes and what have you so let's call it even.

Update : Oh and horses, -$20. The Camel made it all the way round 2/3, but Bad Beat pulled up.

Arriverderci Rio

I rolled up to Caesar's last night to play the $120 + $100 rebuy. There were loads of Brits around, a few I know obviously, Bushy, The Aggressor, Ray was there again. Once we started there was actually some table conversation worth listening to, probably for the first time on the trip. Dan Samson was opposite me and turned out to be more amusing than I remembered him being from old times in Luton. He might just have grown up a bit ; poker can do that to people very quickly :-). And after a while Tony Hachem arrived and sat next to me, he was a really nice guy although obviously a bit tired of being asked "Are you Joe's brother" [he is]. Another rarity for the trip, I made a good pass - you can't do that in 1000 chip single tables ! EP raises, I flat call with Jacks and the next player also calls. Flop T65, raiser bets, I raise for about 1/4 of my stack, caller cold-calls (alarm bells !). Raiser ums and ahs and moves in. I pass quickly, caller calls quickly and it's AA against 65 two pair.

Unfortunately Dan then cracked my Kings with QJ. Some things never change :-). I doubled back up to my starting stack, then the blinds went to 200-400/50. I pushed my M3 in middle position with K6 suited, a completely standard and correct auto-play. Someone called me. Now this is one of my favourite things to say at the table. I saw Juanda do this on TV, he's cool. I looked at the dealer and asked "This is Vegas, right ?". "Yes sir it is". "Alright then let's gamble !" and flipped them over. He had A7 but I won. Some tool goes "I thought it was a bit early in the tournament for that kind of move". Either fuck off and die (preferably) or learn to play fucking tournaments before you start doing a commentary you arsewit. Can you tell this is really annoying me ? Of course at the table I didn't say anything but I really am sick of this. What am I supposed to do, blind myself off just because there are still 15 tables left ? Twat. The same guy murdered all his chips to The Aggressor soon after, making a ridiculous overbet with second pair that was guaranteed to be called by a better hand, and only a better hand. But hey, he had AQ, and that's a real hand, so he couldn't have played it wrong.

Anyway, up shot the blinds to 400-800/100. Like Bad Beat says, there's nothing wrong with a good old crapshoot, especially when half the field don't realise it. I tried again with K8 but Ray found AK and that was that. I might give that another spin tonight, although the standard of play seems to be not quite as appalling as the Venetian. I'm in Treasure Island now (fantastic strip view from my room) and I'm done with the Rio. On my way out for the last time at the weekend I saw two guys playing chess in the foyer. I half expected a security guard to come up and say "Gentlemen, if you're not gambling on this game I'm going to have to ask you to leave".

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Jay Leno Tells Me Not To Kill Myself

Right, so, as I said, I scored this ticket for Jay Leno and after hanging around the Mirage half the evening waiting for it to start (it didn't till 10-30) and not playing poker because I couldn't be arsed, finally we're off. He's very funny. Half way through he takes a break and does that ask-the-audience-what-job-they-do thing. Now, I'm in a very prominent seat, right in front of him, but I figure I'm going to get away with it because I'm in the second row. Just in case I start thinking "should I say I'm a poker player or not" ? As I am pondering this he suddenly looks right at me and says "how about you sir ?"

Predictably I bottle it and tell him I'm retired, from computer software. He notes that I'm from England and makes some comment about selling coupons in the arcade which I don't understand at all but play along with. "Retired ?" he says, noting my youthful good looks, "how old are ya ?". And when I tell him 39, he says "Well don't kill yourself" and thankfully moves on. I'm fairly sure he was jealous of my early retirement, and he didn't mean "well don't kill yourself because obviously you're a sad loner with no life". Fairly sure. Not even a professional comedian could nail me like that in 10 seconds. Could he ?

Frankly it was an ordeal being grilled like that. I wonder what he would have said if I had claimed to be a professional poker player. Has this ever happened to anyone ? Did you admit what you do ? Would you ? Anyway as I said he was very funny, my favourite part was a great routine about how fat Americans are and if anything he let them off lightly, the streets over here are full of people who are basically freaks, who can barely walk. He reckons flat screen TVs are so popular because people can't fit themselves and a normal TV into the same room. He might be on to something there.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Unlucky Man Loses Massive Coin Flip

I was a bit annoyed with myself today because I kind of blew a good stack in the comp at the Venetian. Kind of because I was still allin on a massive coin-flip, but I'll come on to that in a bit.

I roll up late and find they are seating an entire new table of alternates. Cool, deal me in. One guy busts and the table dork starts moaning because "we're 6 handed and they're 9 handed please miss it's not fair". So she fetches over a couple more alternates. Now, believe it or not, the same guy complains that the dealer is taking too long to seat the new players he insisted were brought in. I break radio silence to tell him that we were playing plenty of hands before he threw a hissy fit about being short-handed but he ignores me (natch). It must have pushed him over the edge though because he starts demanding a refund because we're not playing enough hands. Remember, this is a guy who turned up an hour late. Sure, so did I, but I didn't complain about not playing enough hands ! Tool. He's still demanding that the manager comes over for his refund when we start the next hand and he calls. Now I'm not having this. In the event that his refund appeal is successful (and it might be, management will bend the rules if they think someone's too much trouble otherwise) he's freerolling on any hand he plays. I'm just about to kick this off when I take a peek at my cards - KK. OK, you can play. Long story short, I bust him. There's your refund mate, now fuck off.

So I win a couple more pots and who should come to the table but my old Luton stud nemesis Ray Brown. Absence must make the heart grow fonder because I was pleased to see old Ray. No really, he's alright. We have a bit of a laugh, and on the break the tournament bird asks if he's my Dad. Well, I laughed at that more than Ray did, he thought he was in there ;-). I pick up several good hands like AK, JJ, and so on, reraise a guy with ATs, he passes and soon enough I have 20K with only 140K in play and about 15 players left (paying 5). Then a guy who has been raising quite often, but hasn't shown anything less than a premium hand, makes it 3K again in the hijack seat (two off the button). I find 77, suffer a brain freeze which was probably down to sheer impatience with the slow pace of the game (maybe I should have asked for a refund) and reraise. I didn't even reraise all in like I should have, but in the event everyone else folds, he puts the rest in, AK v 77 and he wins. Next hand I have 5K left, he raises, I put the rest in - AK v 77 again and he wins again. Ho hum.

I had enough chips (and so did he) for me to quietly pass this hand. Against an aware player who could have been raising light in late-ish position I could have done this, but I had enough evidence at that point to realise that this guy, like half the field, had no concept of position. If he had a hand he liked, he was raising, and that was that. In addition, he was unlikely to put any of them down to a reraise, and 77 wasn't dominating any of them. Oh well, it was only $200, and I made $150 back just now playing $2-4 online on tilt :-). I'm coming back on Thursday whatever happens, I'm not playing well enough so we'll call it quits wherever we are at that point. Amusingly, as I mentioned before, I will be offline for the first week of the main event. Read that back if you like, the first week of a tournament. Could you imagine that 5 years ago ? Life goes on without me as Diamond Dave would say, and maybe reality is not such a bad thing after all.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Unlucky Man Does His Bollocks

Walking through the Gold Coast I saw one of those jackpot pictures where some slack-jawed retiree poses before a novelty cheque that will be paid out in 20 yearly instalments. It's a shame that these people usually look like they're odds against to last 20 minutes. The banner headline was "Lucky Man Wins Jackpot". Well he would do, I think. He's lucky ! What kind of incentive is this for the rest of us ? If you made the headline "Unlucky Man Wins Jackpot" they would be queuing half way out the door to play.

Away from gambling (just for a moment) I think I was in the sixth form when 1984 came out. I can't remember what year it was exactly [1]. I do remember that at the time Van Halen were much derided and basically classified as girly pop music, along with Nik Kershaw and Howard Jones, because they had keyboards. I mean come on. To be fair though, songs like Jump and Panama stand the test of time and could be said to rock like a bastard, in a Nik Kershaw pop music kind of way.

So we saw last night as David Lee Roth put on an entertaining show at the quite small (and not entirely full) House Of Blues in Mandalay Bay. His band was very good as you would expect and while Diamond Dave has perhaps seen better days, well, haven't we all. He can still get his foot round his ear when he needs to which is more than I can say despite my yoga classes. I bet Dave does loads of yoga. All the classics came out including most of Van Halen 1 which I was never that keen on but there you go. Not as good as Pearl Jam but worth $35 and an evening of anyone's time I would say.

This whole gig business is proving to be one of the main bonuses of the trip. Rollins Band play the same venue next week and I'd really like to see them. I could stay another week, I'm tempted. If I go home I'll have to face stupid reality again. Plus I won't have Internet at home till the 4th. It'll be like living in the Stone Age. If only I knew how I was going to run at poker. I mean if it's going to be a case of "Unlucky Man Does His Bollocks" I should go home, but if I'm going to get more cake I'll definitely stay. All these poker experts and they can't tell us how to work that out. What's the use of any of them ?

[1] Joke.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

No One Cares What You Think

Amusing post from Chris Fargis here. It's not even WSOP-related, which makes a nice change :-). I know it's a sign that I'm playing too much and I've been here too long but the idiotic table chat over here is driving me spare and there's a real possibility that I will blow up and tell someone to shut the fuck up very soon. Maybe I should, to get it out of my system, it would probably be worth a 10 minute penalty. Practically everyone here seems to think that :

- They're on TV (as Chris says)
- Raising their blind or bet constitutes some kind of personal vendetta
- People will think less of them if they don't continually justify their own play and/or disparage the play of others
- Hand analysis consists of the following : whoever had the best hand pre-flop must have played well, and everyone else badly
- Saying things like "I have a big hand, do you want me to call ?" is going to make their opponent crack and confess "No, I'm bluffing, take the money and damn your mind games"

I've been trying to be nice to people but yesterday I realised why it's a waste of effort. A woman had been chatty and friendly throughout and I was playing along with it, until I knocked her out with AQ against AK three-handed - I mean what can you do, am I supposed to pass ? She went ballistic and when I tried to say something sympathetic she almost spat at me. So from here on in, I'm sorry, but it's noise reducing headphones on (great gadget), GIQ if I win and good luck guys if I lose, and that's all your chat. It's different in a decent size game where you can often have interesting conversations but at the lower levels what am I missing. Nothing at all.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Careful What You Wish For

I've been skimming so many blogs lately that I can't remember where I read this, so apologies to the original writer for the lack of accreditation. The basic idea was that however badly players are treated at the WSOP, the players at the top of the tree, the sponsored players, have to play anyway. They're not being paid to find tournaments with 2% juice that no one is going to see on TV. The pimp will say "get your ho ass to the WSOP" and the ho will jump. [1]

On top of that, the rank and file don't know any different. They certainly don't care about the way European players are being treated with the tax, for example, why would they. Juice, structures, advertising and TV revenue issues [2], tip pooling, variable standard of floor staff and dealers - how much of this bothers Joe Dreamchaser ?

From my experiences of this event to date, I would say that it's the people in the middle who should be very wary of playing a lot of these tournaments. Certainly anyone who is playing for a living off their own money should think long and hard before spending a lot of money chasing bracelets. If you win one, great, that's a nice score, but where's your overlay ? If you think one bracelet is going to make you a face now, think again. They're giving out 10 every week. And if your ultimate dream is to make it to the level of super-face, ask yourself first, is it worth it ?

For example, with his 2nd place finish in the $50K HORSE event, you might think that Andy Bloch has now broken through to the top level. Woo hoo ! Here's his reward, courtesy of Julian Thew :

"we popped into the Full Tilt [lounge] to see what was on offer. Once we realised that there were no free snacks or beverages we did a U-turn but not before one of the dolly birds pointed out to us that we could get our pictures taken with our favourite Full Tilt players in the lounge at the back; I popped my head in and got to see the lone figure of Andy Bloch, slumped in a chair, head in hands. I wasn’t tempted."

Paul S at Stan James posted a great piece here ; the first part makes the point that no one would put up with all this shit in a $10 online tournament, but the second is just as interesting, where he lists some very good reasons why winning the Main Event might come at a cost. You will have people plaguing you the whole time. You might think this sounds great, and if you're one of these people who has to be the centre of attention all the time then fine. If you're not, well, there is a great deal to be said for getting it quietly instead.

[1] This rather coarse analogy reminds me of the joke where the hooker complains about being raped the next day. When asked why she did nothing at the time, she says "I didn't realise I was being raped until the cheque bounced". People do use the word rape in the context of what's going on here but I think that's well off the mark. No one's being forced to do anything.

[2] Well, issue, in that Harrah's are trousering all of it.

Poker Gods, Where Are You ?

There's a cool storm going on outside right now, with lightning flashing above the strip. Is it the Poker Gods trying to strike down Harrah's chief bean counter ? One can only hope so.

Having said that, of all the things that Harrah's have done with this Series, starting the shootout 6-handed is quite low down the list I would have thought. With 600 runners you have to play 6 handed at some point, otherwise you'll be in the much worse situation of having more than one qualifier from each table. Why not the first round ? Maybe it was just the last straw for Harry ; I have a lot less sympathy for Negreanu and his "I turned up two hours late and found I had been blinded off a lot. This is everyone's fault but mine". And maybe I'm being too cynical but perhaps if he "boycotts" the rest of the series then zero cashes won't look so bad.

It's probably the arbitrary nature of these decisions that is winding people up. While fighting through the crowds to play a single table today I heard separate announcements for the "Pot Limit Omaha freezeout" and the "Pot Limit Omaha rebuy" tournaments. Did they have one each because so many people complained about the change to rebuy ? I wouldn't be surprised. The bottom line is very simple though guys : feet, vote, door. It's not the only poker game in town.

Speaking of which I tried a tournament at the Venetian today, it was OK. Next time I'll play the alternate card and jump straight into the ante level with 4000 chips. I have to say that the poker gods really let me down on the hand that crippled me. I was priced into a call in the BB with Jc8c. The flop came T9x with two clubs. I had about 1.5 x the pot in my stack so I just moved in. One guy passed but the other twat laughed in my face and says "Ha ha I call I have top set ha ha". When he saw my 14-outer he dropped the hilarity a notch, but I missed. I mean come on. If there ever was a chance for the poker gods to smack someone down this was it.

I'm tempted to decamp to the strip sooner rather than later now ; with the (lack of) dealer situation in the Rio, the single tables are struggling, for example today I had to queue for half an hour to play one. This is bad enough but who's going to queue half an hour and then do their chips in the first level like 2 or 3 of them usually do ? No one. More often now we're still 9 or 10 handed after half an hour and that cuts my options down quite a lot.

Not to worry though, I'm happy enough. Especially when I remind myself that I was $1500 down on the trip at one point. I've also scored a ticket for Jay Leno on Saturday which I'm really looking forward to. Kick ass seat as well, in the second row on the aisle, I hope I don't get zinged ! The woman in the box office was great, she said "We normally reserve these seats for our hotel guests so I'll put down you're staying in the Bellagio". I thought this was much more worthy of a tip than the guy who asks you where you're going, tells the cab driver, and then the cab driver asks you where you're going anyway. But when I tried to slip her $10 she said no, we can't accept it ! I'll never understand who you tip and who you don't. I expect I've stiffed people without realising as well. I'm sure I'm not the only person who would prefer that people were just paid more and have it stuck it on the bill. Still, when in Rome ...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Lather, Rinse, Repeat ... And Rest

The title refers to DY's blog which says "lather, rinse, repeat" in relation to what I'm doing with single tables, quite correctly. It is just a question of sitting there and making simple, technically correct plays over and over and over again times a thousand. In the last couple of days though I've found it more difficult ; I think my brain is rebelling against the routine. What happened was I moved here to the Gold Coast to be close to the action, but they only had suites available. The suite is very nice, but $100 a day extra, and I felt obliged to play some more single tables to make up the $$$. Now I've booked a regular room for most of the duration (I'm flying back just before the main event) and I should chill for a bit and just play what I want. I didn't expect to be $7000 up at this point and as long as I don't go nuts I should be able to cover all expenses and trouser a grand plus English on the trip at least.

I might try an MTT or two on the Strip in the next few days, Caesars, Wynn, Venetian etc. More rock on Thursday, glam rather than grunge as David Lee Roth hits Vegas ! While Pearl Jam pulled out a spangly jacket and did one Elvis number for show, I expect the Rothmeister to glitz it up in full Vegas effect, it should be fun. There's not much else happening around here, except that apparently Harry Demetriou went berserk and was carted out frothing at the mouth today, if anyone was there let us know how it went down !

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Crazy H.O.R.S.E.

Lame title I know, but it was either that or call it "Everyone's A Cunt" which would lower the tone. The "real world championship" started yesterday, with faces aplenty filling out the 150-odd field. A few of them make you wonder "who put him in", but not that many to be fair. I'm funking for Sklansky myself. Or someone you've never heard of or, failing all that, someone who isn't over-hyped but can play. Chip leader Joe Cassidy fits the bill.

Negreanu was overheard complaining about the small buyin events, telling a floorman that having "no-names" winning was "no good for you and no good for me". Some people have forgotten where they started from, as I read on another blog recently. The same people should count themselves fortunate that they made their name in an era when you only had to beat 300 people for $1500 to do it. The large fields haven't stopped a few names from winning, such as Allen Cunningham and the ever popular Dutch Boyd. An ESPN puff-job described Boyd's win as "the feelgood story of the year". What was it I was saying everyone was again ?

Finally I could hardly go around calling people cunts without a big shout to Harrah's. God only knows how much juice they are taking from the HORSE tournament, but I would guess at least $300,000. However these incomings clearly don't stretch to breaking out 20 new packs of cards for the event. When Andy Bloch complained about markings on the cards he was given a 10 minute penalty. I don't know how forcefully he complained, but I can imagine, given that the cards in use are cheap crap and they are not replaced for each event. They mark very easily (accidentally or otherwise) and to top it off marked cards are absolutely huge in games like Razz and Stud 8, much bigger than in NL. Oh well. If you build it, they will come, even if the walls are full of cardboard.

Oh and by the way : If anyone wants to buy dollars, Email me.

Monday, July 10, 2006


It's just beyond belief, to me, that close on 3000 people want to play a $1000 tournament with starting chips of 1000 and 11-handed tables. People were queuing out the door just to be alternates this morning, that is hoping to take their seat when the blinds are 25-50 or even 50-100. You're 300-1 to even make the final, and probably about the same to sit next to one of your poker heroes, if that's your thing. Do people not realise how high the mountain is that they're trying to climb ? Clearly they don't. Oh well.

The single tables are still rocking but on a day like today they need all the space for the tournament, so I only managed a couple of small ones this morning. I have less and less inclination to play a full event every day. The cheaper NL events are all going to be like the above, pretty much. I'm still thinking about the $1000 7 Card Hi-Lo but I'm in professional mode now :-) and I'd rather pay my mortgage off first and then think about spunking off any extra in stratospheric variance reality TV/lottery/poker combos.

Anyway I shall be staying another two weeks at least and moving to the Gold Coast ASAP, even if I have to pay for a suite. If it means I can play one more STT per day it's well worth it. A few blog links for you :

Matt Maroon savages Hellmuth

Shane Schleger calls it like it is

Terrence Chan makes the final

Shane mentions his "skyrocketing makeup figure". If you don't know what this means, most backing deals nowadays, private or corporate, are on a "makeup" basis. If you have a bad run and get stuck say $50K of the backer's money, then anything that you make up to that figure, you have to pay it all back until you're in the black. Then you start taking a cut. I heard a few off the record stories last night about high-profile players whose "makeup" is well into six figures. The more honourable players stick at it and try to win it back ; the less honourable wash their hands of it and walk away. Just one more example of how all is not what it seems.

Tuesday Update : In the end, players started with 1500 chips. This was announced as follows : ""management decided to give you guys a gift and start you all with 1500 chips, so let's give them a hand!". Hooray for Harrahs. The company that can't stop giving.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


If I remember my O-level German correctly, the same word (above) meant both "happy" and "lucky". It will do for today's mood - I scooped two single tables today and trousered about $4000. I played pretty well in the first one with a slice or two of luck, and just had a horseshoe up my arse the whole way in the second one. Which is fine, that's supposed to happen 1 in 10, your profit is in nicking the odd one that's not "yours".

I can't believe I've been here a week already, I've hardly settled in. I'm definitely staying another couple of weeks at least. More and more people are showing up every day ; The Camel is still in the $2500 (second day) so I might pop across there again later for some funking.

Also a quick Pearl Jam update : gnarly show. I really enjoyed it. Eddie Vedder was struggling with his voice, as he admitted it would be "a bit scratchy" but he gave it the full gun throughout as you would expect. The highlight for me was a segue of "Black" and "Better Man" towards the end ; I'd have been happy if they'd ended it there, but you know how when they haven't played your favourite song and you're like damn but then they pull it out right at the end and it's like Yes ! Rock !! They did that with "Porch" which rocks like a bastard. Result. Results all round !

Thursday, July 06, 2006


I met Felicia and Glenn on Tuesday, it was great to talk to them. Felicia was teasing the guy who runs the satellites about his past life as a male escort. The highlight of his escorting career, he said, was taking Bette Davis to a party in California. "Did you get lucky ?" someone asked. "Not with Bette Davis," he replied :-). I can think of worse ways to make a living !

The Orleans are doing their best here, rake is reduced and you are given a $5 food comp irrespective of how long you last. Every little helps ! 3% goes to the dealers but the floor staff don't take any at all, everything's up front and you know what's going on. I was happy to give an extra 2% last night, seeing that the tournament was only raked 7.5% in the first place (including the comp). Compare and contrast with the Rio where (I am told) they are taking 2.5% (it's not stated on any of the documentation) but where it goes is anyone's guess. One dealer told me (hearsay ok ?) that $230,000 that was due to the dealers last year "went missing". On top of that, an English player told me yesterday that he wasn't allowed to play in a $1500 event until he also coughed up $2500 tax that he "owed" from winnings last year. So much for the tax treaty !

Pete B points out that if Hellmuth wins today he will be "unbearable". No doubt. But who says you have to listen ? Ignore all the hype and bollocks and it won't make you angry. Let's face it, by not reading CardPlayer, online interviews and the like, it's not as though I'm missing any great insights is it ? I skim Pokerpages for 5 minutes every morning to see if anyone I like has won or is in contention, and that's it. For the rest, they can manage without me. If you read the blogs you will have a much more accurate picture than the winner-centric PR puff. In fact you will see that several excellent players can easily have a run of no cashes. Here are some of the better ones :

Terrence Chan
Matt Maroon
(although more sensibly Matt doesn't appear to be playing any poker at all)
Chris Fargis
Rob Sherwood

and a couple who haven't arrived yet but should be worth reading when they do :

Ben Grundy
Julian Thew

Finally I moved tables a couple of days ago and the player next to me spotted my Faith Chip (third row down on the right). "That's not in play, right ?" he asked. I had to tell him. Jesus is always in play.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident

It will save a lot of time if we just take the following as read for the duration, unless I say otherwise :

It's fucking hot.

Harrahs are trying to squeeze every cent out of this and, although they're entitled and perhaps even required to do this by their shareholders, it doesn't make them any less of a bunch of cunts.

All the poker magazines, daily reports, press releases and such are puffed up PR bollocks and I'm going to ignore them entirely. Although the one I saw that said "Poker Playing Plumber Has No Leaks" was almost so bad as to be amusing. If you want to find out what's really going on, check the blogs. Be selective though.

The standard of play in the smaller single tables and second chance tournaments is absolutely woeful. Yum yum. No one has a clue how to play when the blinds are high. As such, these are much better value than the regular tournaments, where the mindset "3 big blinds then fold to the reraise" is much less punishable.

And did I mention it's fucking hot ? Well it is.

Finally in other news, I scored a ticket for Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth at the MGM Grand. Rock !

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Settling In

Well, I made it through four days without the Internet (probably not a bad thing) and arrived in one piece, albeit rather hot and with a stiff neck. In an attempt to stay awake and try to sort out my sleep patterns I played a $60 single table here in the Orleans and, incredibly, flopped quads on the very first hand of the trip. Nor did I have to bet it at any point. A sign of things to come or all my luck used up immediately ?

After that I cased the joint at the Rio, which was predictably busy and mad. It looks almost impossible to just bump into anyone there, although I say almost because I managed to say hello to The Guvnor. The Rio can wait for a couple of days till I'm settled in though, as for today it looks like England v Portugal on ESPN2 followed by $200 NL at the Orleans. If the play is anything like it was in the sat yesterday I should have a nice edge.