Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Howdy all. Sorry for the delay in posting but I am currently hard at work, writing a column about our beloved poker blogs. I'm hoping to get us some solid press and lots more visitors - all pro bono, just for my beloved blogs. A big thanks to everyone who emailed me with their thoughts on why they enjoy poker blogs - it was truly helpful.
But I'll be back ASAP - after all damnit, I'm James Brown, the hardest working man in the poker blogging world and I promise a full post very soon. Stay tuned.

I have an important announcement about our poker blogger tournament as well. I'm going to run the next tournament - looks like two weeks or so. I'll give all the details when I get them ironed out. Should be great fun and I hope we have a large turn out for this one!

Sadly, I don't have time for a full-fledged uber post, but I'll leave you with Part Three of Fetish and Losing in Las Vegas.


Check out what the readers are saying about this series so far:

"I found it unreadable boring tripe. I can't believe what some
people find entertaining." – Josh L

"It's always nice to see true perverts...." – howardbeal1@yahoo.com

Fetish and Losing in Las Vegas – 03

[Cue music: Blinded by the Light, ELO]

So I show up for class, having slept less than an hour in the past
thirty-some, and having been drinking heavily for the last twenty-two
hours. I wonder if anyone will notice? I'm barely in the door, when the
instructor, a distinguished looking sixty-something-year-old says 'rough
night, huh?' I immediately concoct a story in my head about having the
flu and having just arrived on the red eye, but I just say "Yeah, first
time in Vegas and I'm here with Asmodius."

The instructor seems understanding, but he does mention right up front
that if you skip parts of class you won't get all of the credits (some
kind of continuing education credits that I neither want nor need) on your
diploma. Paranoia sets in that I'll be questioned for not getting all the
credits if I skip part of the class. I'm such a wuss. Sure, I can say I
was sick (which is quite true), but it's going to be pretty obvious what
sort of 'sickness' I had. Not wanting to kill future opportunities to
train in Vegas, I'm just going to have to suck it up and ride out the

The class itself is fairly worthless. I could definitely extract the same
value just by reading the materials as I'll get by attending the class,
and I don't say that lightly – I'm a pussy about skipping classes, and
have never done it. But I clearly could this time, if not for the stupid
credits. The class is almost all discussion and exercises, and my
classmates aren't exactly Tom Peters and Lee Iacocca. Most of them seem
to simply enjoy hearing themselves talk. And of course, there's the
mandatory woman who knows everything and has to comment on everything. By
10:00am we're doing a group exercise. I'm sitting with my group, just
trying to stay awake. One of my teammates is a really heavyset woman.
Perfectly nice, if something of a blabbermouth. We're sitting in a circle
and I'm next to her. At this point, I lean forward, elbows on knees, and
cradle my head in a downward position. I'm staring right at her feet.
Feet. In open shoes. Her feet are fat. The blubber bulges around the
straps on the shoes. It looks like if she took her shoes off, her feet
would expand to circular, hippo-like pads. Her toes are fat. She has
calves like canned hams. Her toenails are in disrepair. Shrimping. I
make a guttural noise and run to the head, where I go though the motions
of throwing up three times, but my stomach is empty so I just heave. "I
swear I won’t drink today," I say to the stall walls.

[Cue music: Hold the Line, Toto]

I go to the room on a break. Spaulding whips up his patented hangover
cure for me: A big glass of half spring water, half orange juice, with a
half teaspoon of salt, and three Motrins. "And this really helps?" I ask.
"Hey," he replies, "who's the drunk here, you or me?"
"OK. But I'm telling you now, I'm not drinking today."
"You just did," he says, "There was some Absolut Mandrin in there. It
helps ease you out of it gradually." My sense of taste was so dull I
didn't even detect the booze.

Somehow, it does help. Mandrin and Motrin, it's like Spaulding's Special
Sauce. After getting some food in me at lunch, I start to rebound. I
stop in the room again before returning to class, because we have some
extra time. Spaulding is there, watching trash TV and enjoying a cocktail
before he goes for food. He makes me one. "OK, just one. After this I'm
only drinking beer. Swear to God."

Tonight I want to hit the Bellagio. I understand that's where the pros
usually go. I brought a digital camera. I'd love to get a nice shot of
me with a pro or two for over my bar. Imagine the intimidation factor at
the home game when I point to the wall and say "Yep, there's me and Texas
Dolly at the Bellagio. He's the one on the right." Also I would tell
Doyle how I check raised a guy three times in one hand last night. Surely
he would be impressed and probably want to hang out with me.

During the afternoon, I conclude my classmates are incapable of internal
thought. Every fool idea that fires across their neurons comes spilling
out of their mouths. They talk, for 30 minutes, about the importance of
customer service. "You have to please the customer." "No, in these
competitive times you have to DELIGHT the customer." "I would be willing
to give the customer a vigorous handjob with the complimentary lotion from
my hotel room, if that would exceed his expectations." OK, I made up that
last one. I glance at the water pitcher. If only my head was a little
smaller, I would drown myself in it. That's probably why they make them
so narrow. You know, liability and whatnot. So I tune out my insipid
classmates and prepare the following list of Stuttering-John style
questions in case we see any poker personalities at Bellagio. I know that
Spaulding will ask them on a dare, or just to make me laugh.

Ferguson: How's it going Buddha?

Cloutier: Don’t you owe me a hundred bucks?

Hellmuth: Do you know Chris Moneymaker? Now there’s a player.

Negreanu: Ever get aroused by Beach Volleyball on the Playstation?

Phillips: Can I have your autograph mister McConaughey?

Duke: Do you know what shrimping is?

Lederer: Quick, what's the square root of 4,761?

Chan: Mike McDermot was bluffing. How do you like them apples?

Ivey: Didn't you steal my car?

Harman: If you bought a blowdryer you could be hot.

Bloch: Didn't we go to community college together?

Gordon: Does Friedman ever let you polish his WSOP bracelet?

Brunson: If you were stranded on a desert island with Matusow and
Hellmuth, would you kill first?

Affleck: Who has a bigger ass, J Lo or Silent Bob?

Caro: I'm a mad genius too. How about that?

Malmuth: If you smiled, would your face shatter into a million pieces?

Sklansky: I hear you went to Penn State, but couldn't graduate. Tough

Dutch Boyd: Caveat emptor, am I right? Booyah! (offer high five)

Glazer: Remember me from the San Francisco hot tubs?

Lee Jones: I'll give you 10 bucks to say the f word.

Hiatt: You're so hot I'd make soup with a pair of your used panties.
That turns you on, doesn't it?

McManus: I read your book. The only words I didn't have to look up were
'tits' and 'the.'

I know, most of them aren't that good. Remember, I'd been more or less
drinking for 28 hours straight.

At 3pm we start the last exercise. It's written and individual, and won't
be discussed. The instructor says we can leave and do it in our rooms if
we want. He gives me a wink. "God bless you," I say. I go to the room.
We have a gin and tonic, easy on the tonic. "Last one for today."
"Sure." We crash for a nap. I take the couch.

By 8 we're up and chowing down some room service hot wings (generous
portions, but not very good). I retrieve the fanny pack I had been
wearing yesterday. It's heavier than I expected. I open it up, and count
about $450 in Flamingo chips. I must not have cashed out. Unless I
rebought, which I don't think I did, I guess I won $250 last night.
Somehow. I know I saw lots of flops and lots of fourth streets in stud.
I think the only skill I had which was not alcohol impaired was the
ability to give it up on the flop/4th. I guess that was good enough
against all those first timers. Nearly 24 hours after checking in, we
leave the property for the first time. Destination: Bellagio.

[Cue music: China Grove, The Doobie Brothers]

We're about three steps out of the Flamingo when we notice people are
walking around with beers. What a great town. We go right back in and
get two beers each for the walk to Bellagio. Back outside, people in
safety vests are handing out all these little advertisements for in-room
dancers. I tell them not to touch me, but Spaulding starts collecting
them. Some of them have the good parts blurred, or covered with a little
star. Spaulding likes the uncensored ones better. In the short walk to
the Bellagio, he must get at least two dozen of the things, which he

We get to Bellagio. Oddly, for a high-end place, the first thing we see
are nickel slots. Probably ten people at work have told me I "must" see
the fountain show. So we find a little outdoor patio where people are
dining next to the pond. We wander out and watch the show, for 20
seconds. "Pretty neat," I say.
"Yeah," says Spaulding. "Let’s go."

We find the poker room. Very classy. Could use more TVs though. There
are two seats at a 4-8 table, so we take them. A chip runner brings us
each $200 in nice, new blue chips. We each give him 2 bucks. I don’t
think we had to post, which was cool. Immediately, we get the cocktail
waitress ('Mandy') locked in our tractor beam. She's pretty good looking.
Young, thin. The uniforms could be a little sluttier, but not bad.
Hooters-like shorts, little Reebok tennis shoes. Yeah, she's a little
hottie. Spaulding orders a double gin and tonic. My turn. "Fuck it,
double gin and tonic." Spaulding just smiles at me.

A good double GnT should taste like slightly carbonated gin. There's a
lot of tonic in Bellagio doubles. They were probably more like
one-and-a-quarters. Ultimately, this was probably all for the best.

This game is way tougher than the Flamingo games. Most people seem at
least competent. Spaulding is playing his usual loose game, and
constantly finding himself up against one or two opponents with much
better hands. I fold a lot. I was going to try to move up to a higher
limit, but the toughness of this game makes me rethink that plan. Better
to stay here and drink heavily, I decide. Perversely, had I been behind
for the trip I know I would have been much quicker to move up. I guess
that's the chasing instinct. Being ahead a few bucks, I was content to
protect my lead.

I raise in early position with AKo. Some guy three bets me from late
position and I call. Flop is undercards. I "bet to see where I'm at" as
recommended by Hellmuth. He raises and I call. I check and fold on the
turn. I might have been outplayed there, I'm not sure. I keep scanning
the high limit area for poker personalities (I brought my camera, and my
questions) but I don’t see any. Eventually I ask the dealer if any
'names' are in the house. He doesn't really know, but says Gus Hanson was
there yesterday. Spaulding three bets a pot from middle position and gets
two takers. At showdown, his third and fourth pair beat top pair, top
kicker. His opponent is rather nonplussed. Get used to it pal. Mandy is
a little slower than the Flamingo cycle, averaging a run every 17 minutes
or so (most people clock dealers, we clock cocktail waitresses). We stick
to 'double' GnTs, and again never miss a run. Spaulding hits on Mandy.
"Sorry sweetheart, I'm married," she lies.
"Do you think your husband would let me give him a blowjob just to get
some of your flavor?"
She leaves quickly.

We ask if they have tournaments. Seems satellites start tomorrow for the
upcoming big event (5 Star Classic?). I'd love to play some satellites,
but since we won't be here during the event it doesn't make much sense.
We stick with 4/8. Spaulding has to rebuy about an hour in, and is
getting beat up pretty good. About an hour later, we've each had many
doubles and are feeling pretty good. Discipline is starting to fade
though. I flop a set of tens on a single suited board. Decent action.
Turn is the fourth suited card and I stay in hoping the board pairs. The
river doesn't pair the board and I get stubborn and pay off a bettor and
an overcaller in an obvious fold situation.

A few hands later I three bet with jacks. Three of us see the A-K-x flop.
I fold when it comes to me as two bets, and one guy did in fact have AK.
I limp in with Axs and have to call a raise behind me. I flop a flush
draw, and hang in to make a small straight with my little card. It's
good, but some guy criticizes my play. "How about this," I say, "I'll let
you play your cards the way you want to, and you let me play mine." He
mumbles to his neighbor and glares at me. I should have brought the
Manbeast, who would have done the verbal equivalent of drenching the guy
in gasoline and dropping a match.

We take a break to go see a man about a horse, and take a quick tour of
the Bellagio. It's full of those upscale bars that we don't care for.
Cost you two hundred bucks to get plastered there, while hot chicks ignore
you. We agree to play a little longer and, if the tide doesn't turn,
we'll head out.

We return, but first I check the high stakes area again. I had hoped to
meet Paul Phillips, the only poker celebrity I've ever exchanged email
with. I really enjoy his writing. I figured he would be very gracious
about posing for a quick picture until security answered his call and
dragged us away. Oh, I guess I've also exchanged rgp posts with Glazer,
but I was somewhat critical one of his columns and am probably on his shit
list. Anyway, I don't recognize a soul. More gin. I win a decent pot.
One early limper. I only have QTo but I raise in the cutoff to isolate
him. No good. The button and both blinds call, as does the limper. I
flop an open ender and with that many players I'm willing to keep putting
in raises. We cap the flop and go two bets on the turn and I make my
straight on the end, getting paid off in two places. That hand puts me in
the black. I pretty much fold for the last 20 minutes. When Spaulding
beats the critic out of a big pot with total garbage, mister critic laughs
at his play. Spaulding gives him the home game business: He makes an L
on his forehead and says "Llllllllllllloser! Loserloserloser!" We're so
mature. I say, "Let's go. This guy will be much happier playing against
all these guys who play right." Several other players give the critic the
evil eye. But I doubt he got the message. We grab a last round of
cocktails from Mandy, and cash out. I was 18 dollars ahead. Woo, hoo.
So I probably won 50 plus, having tipped the runner 2 bucks, Mandy 3 bucks
an estimated nine times, and the dealer 1 buck some number of times. I
probably need to win 2.5 big bets per hour just to cover cocktail
expenses. I ask Spaulding where he wants to go. "Looking for trouble,"
is his reply. We wander the strip, catching the Mirage volcano show. The
whole fucking lagoon was on fire.

[Cue music: (She’s only) Seventeen, Poison]

Somewhere on the strip we pass two really hot girls loitering with an
older guy. Really hot. "They’re hookers!" says Spaulding. I'm not sure,
but they're pretty fine. We double back and when we pass them we say 'Hi,
beautiful night huh?' They reply, ever so slightly suggestively, but
that's it. Unsure, we walk away only to double back again. Spaulding
REALLY wants to make a score here. They're so good looking, even I'm
thinking that maybe taking Valtrex isn't so bad after all. We don't get
anywhere with them, although we never came right out and asked for a date
or anything. I don't think they were hookers after all. After getting
about 4 beers in random places, we wander back to the Flamingo at my
suggestion. I think I can win there, and Spaulding can drink cheap and
not lose too much, and it's a much friendlier crowd. During the course of
our travels, Spaulding must have collected a hundred of those in-call ads.

We get back to the Flamingo around midnight, I think. Travelers tip:
Wear a watch in Vegas. Once again we're pretty corked. Spaulding says
"Let's stop up in the room, I need a smoke."
"You can smoke at the table, remember?"
"Not this I can't."

I don't even want to know how he scored weed allegedly without leaving the
property or, more likely, if he was stupid enough to bring it along in his
luggage. In the room he uses a credit card to open a closet safe I didn't
even know was there, and pulls out a bag big enough to make me worry that
it would carry a trafficking conviction. We share a quarter pounder while
he arranges his in-call ads like an NCAA tourney bracket. He plays them
off, single elimination, until he decides on the hottest one. I casually
remind him of a past experience where the girls that showed up looked
nothing like the girls in the picture. "Yeah, yeah," he says.

We get back into the Flamingo games somewhere around 1:00. Spaulding
orders up and I remain silent. I don't want to suffer in class again, and
my head is really spinning. "Dude," Spaulding says, "don't you need a
"Damn you and your relentless peer pressure. OK, I'll have a..."
"...double gin and tonic," the waitress finishes my sentence.
"I’m obviously getting too predictable."

The Flamingo games are just so much better. Easy money, even for an idiot
like me. We're in a stud game with the three friendly ladies from the
night before. They remember me and mention my copying their drinks.
They're laughing it up, and they've got those really loud, chubby-lady
laughs. When they each order three different drinks, Spaulding says,
"Bring me one of each of what they're having." One of the woman says to
him, "What are you, some kind of alcoholic?"
"No ma'am, alcoholics have to go to classes. I'm a drunk."
They burst out laughing, really loud. I roll my eyes. They think
Spaulding is the funniest man in America, now that Carson is off the air.
The down side to this is that now that Spaulding has an audience, he
starts putting on the Spaulding show, and I'm sideshow Variable. One the
next waitress run, he says "Time to get serious. Bring us a couple of
Gibsons, and keep them coming until one of us dies."

[Cue music: It's the End of the World (as we know it), REM]

When I remark that I've had the bring-in three times in a row, Spaulding
tells the dealer he'll give her a buck every time she makes me the
bring-in. Soon he and I are betting $2 every hand on who will get the
bring-in. Whenever one of us wins we toke the 2 bucks to the dealer.
"Take it, it's his money!" We also bet on who will win pots we're not
involved in. Those winnings go to the waitress every Gibson run.
Spaulding is tipping players who beat me out of a pot. It's remarkable
how the staff will tolerate drunken louts, as long as they're toking. We
have a great time.

I have three more pages of notes in my Mead tablet from after this point
in the session. They are almost totally illegible except for an obscene
drawing that Spaulding made. Now I know how Hunter S. Thompson must have
felt. All I can say with certainty is that I woke up on the couch in
worse condition than the day before, with no recollection of when I left
the game or how I managed to get to the room at all. Spaulding is not in
the room. As I drag myself down the hallway towards class, I'm so
lightheaded that I feel like I'm wandering around in a Salvidor Dali

To be continued...

Link of the Day:
Hey, Crackhead!
Open letter to a crackhead: "On Wednesday morning I emerged from my girlfriend's building by U.N. Plaza to find that you had sawed the tops off both the sparkplugs on my motorcycle. At the time, I had no idea why anyone would do that."

Sunday, April 25, 2004

"Poker is America's most favorite game. Seventy million adults play cards and about 47 million Americans prefer poker. Poker is as American as baseball and hot dogs. Many of our most famous presidents were poker enthusiasts. Poker contains a greater amount of skill than bridge, or any other card game, according to authority John Scarne."
From a 1970's Gardena cardroom brochure

Howdy all, thanks for stopping by. Your faithful Working Boy is here and ready with yet another post, chock full of poker goodness. Hope you enjoy.

First off, David Ross - Playing online for a living Week 52 (real long) is up. Last one for awhile.

I was sitting around a few evenings ago, hunting around on a few sites, looking for a decent no-limit tournament to play in. It was only then that I realized that PokerStars has given 170 WSOP Championship Event seats away!! Hell, I've only played in ONE of these qualifiers....what on earth was going on? I slowly discerned that it was because Stars is only offering two tournaments a day, one at 3.30pm and the other at 11.30pm. That doesn't work out too well for working class folk like me, now does it? So I fired off an email to support asking them to consider an evening tourney for us normal, East Coast 9-5 worker bee's.

Eureka! Lee Jones emailed me back less than 24 hours later, saying he thought it was an excellent idea and what time do I think they should run said tourney? Damn, I've said it before & I'll say it again, Stars has the best support staff, hands down, of any poker site out there. I sure hope they implement this ASAP - I'm ready to tackle these with a vengeance.

I've been helping a brand spanking new player (and old friend) in hold em. It's been an interesting experience, to say the least. It makes me realize how far I've come.

I think there is a distinct correlation between poker players who desire to improve, to study and become winning players and the poker blogging scene. It's difficult sometimes to be brutally honest with our play, to dissect it and try to understand the "why and how" of what we are potentially doing wrong. I guess I'd like to rant about losing versus winning poker players, maybe bash the online poker conspiracy theorists again (head to the archives if you want a taste) but that's a very dead horse.

It seems like many losing players have a propensity to blame losing on outside forces like bad luck, bad cards or rampant cheating. Winning poker players believe that winning is a direct result of their own studying, ability and preparation. Losers, because the idea of incompetency is so damaging to their ego, tend to point to reasons outside of themselves.

I'm not disavowing bad luck or a terrible run of cards, believe me. It's accepted that even good players will experience long losing streaks - it's unavoidable. I'm just referring to the gambloors who whine and complain and post about "fixed" internet poker (Action Flops!) instead of taking a hard, cold look at their game.

And that's what it takes to become a winning player. There can be no self-deception for a poker player. You have to be a realist to be successful. You can't think you've played well if you lose consistently. Unless you can judge how well you play relative to the others, you have no chance. It takes a gut-check of our emotional discipline at the table to play _each_ hand as they come, one by one, to shrug off the bad beats and play each hand in a vacuum. Don't think about the money, the last hand, the last hour. Just focus on playing *this* hand correctly.

Poor players don't even care about these concepts. They play hunches. They believe in hot seats or rushes. They think certain dealers never deal them winners. That's insane to me.

I absolutely believe that game selection & emotional discipline are two of the biggest issues for the vast majority of players who simply want to win & build a bankroll. Too many players spend too much time focusing on the wrong thing. They play on tight tables (PARTY POKER has 40,000 players right now!!) when there is no reason to do so.

Why? Because most winnings come from the relative difference between your skill and that of your opponents, and are not just a function of ability alone. If you play with players worse than you, over the long-term, you will earn money. Any player - pro or not - who plays to win money, should simply table hop and find a table to their liking. Party has more games than the other top three sites combined!

It's not that difficult to use Pokertracker and follow fishies around. So my long-winded, roundabout 'tip of the day' to my dozen ten readers is: focus more on game selection and developing iron-willed discipline. And play at Party.

A focused grinder will get the money in the long-term.

/end rant

I hope you're ready for poker linkage cause I've got it in spades. /rimshot

My favorite World Poker Tour pro, Richard Brodie, has two new posts up at Lion Tales. Woohoo!
The Big Event: The 2004 Word Poker Tour Championship at Bellagio
Take Me Out to the Poker Game: 2004 WSOP $2000 No-Limit Hold 'Em


With a $25,300 entry fee the WPT Championship was by far the biggest buy-in tournament in poker, overshadowing the $10,000 World Series of Poker main event won last year by Chris Moneymaker. With on-line satellites Bellagio drew an incredible 343 people, making the prize pool of $8.3 million the largest in history – for a few weeks, anyway, until the next WSOP main event.

I really should be playing satellites for these tourneys. Being an dead money unknown can be a huge asset.

Jason at Poker Odyssey sent me a link to the old college website of WSOP champion, Chris (Jesus) Ferguson. Go check out what Chris looked like; pre-Jesus days:
Chris Ferguson

Andy Glazer, the so-called Poker Pundit, writes fantastic WSOP trip reports. If you want to get his terrific daily write-ups, and trust me, you do, you'll need to go register at Final Table Poker. The site is devoid of worthwhile content outside of Mr. Glazer, but I still recommend you sign up for his reports. Sadly, this is the exclusive place to get 'em.

I must profusely thank our blogging patron saint, Wil Wheaton, for linking to a few of the poker blogs out here in the BlogSpace. It doesn't get any better than that, and I'm hella inspired to update more often now. Wil is a true heavyweight on the web and we're damn lucky to have such a benefactor.

I'm sure most of you probably saw this witty Vegas write-up from Wil's blog, but for the two of you who didn't, here it is, from ESPN, Page Two:
Destructive things with no guilt - "Subject: Vegas?"

Wil is threatening to write a Vegas story - I hope he does.
You won't be seeing that here. I value my freedom.

You can find Jesse May's final report of the WPT Championship, April 19-23, 2004 - Bellagio - Las Vegas, Nevada here: World Poker Tour

And another WSOP report from Vegas local, PokerProf. This is actually a new poker blog, from what I can tell. Interesting sidenote - anyone who runs a blog is considered to be media.

Well hell, while I'm pointing out the new poker blogs, let's pimp them all out at once, shall we?

First off the bat is Craig, a Texas lawyer, who has been posting diligently about his online play at Party Poker. Great stuff, and not only because he called me the granddaddy of all poker bloggers. There are now three lawyer poker blogs, from what I can ascertain. Should come in handy someday.
Poker and Other Deep Thoughts

Because this blog will largely be about poker, I hope that writing it will not only improve my play, but also serve as a resource of information for others who, like me, have caught the poker bug and want to read and learn as much as they can about poker.

We don't get many dummies in the poker blogging department, do we? I feel honored to be writing along side such bright people. John Paul is a computer engineering guy, having a blast playing at Party Poker and tinkering with PokerTracker. I'm not making this stuff up, I swear. Play at Party!
John Paul

Unlike this weekend, it was a very profitable few hours for me at the .5/1 tables. Bankroll is now up to US$300. Holy Crap! That's a session profit of +$80, and brings my total profit to +$250 for 5 days of poker play. I haven't even been playing a week!

I've been meaning to link up The Foz. He's been playing the no-limit ring games and has some interesting hands to convey. Hell, he's got THREE bad beat stories with QQ. It's a SMALL pair, Foz! ;)
TGI McBloginator

In all honesty, it seems like an amazingly profitable time to be knowledgeable in the art of Texas Hold 'Em. I've studied Sklansky's "Theory of Poker," and Cloutier's "Championship No Limit Hold 'Em," and consider myself a solid player. Solid enough to spot the bad players, anyway, and there are plenty out there. Thanks to Chris Moneymaker and ESPN, everyone wants to get in on the poker action. Most haven't done their homework, though, and are easy targets if you have a cool head and can play patiently.

That preceding paragraph pretty much sums up my 8 months of poker blogging. Seriously, get the money while you can, it's not gonna be like this forever.

Eldrik is experiencing the joy that is PartyPoker. Yikes, he's been blogging since 2000 but now is mostly posting about online poker.

The winning streak continues on PartyPoker.com. God it's amazing how bad some of the people are there.

One example: I have pocket fives. The flop comes 3-3-5, two diamonds. Full house! w00t. I check. Someone bets. Me and a couple other players call. The turn comes another diamond. That same guy bets all in. I'm thinking he's got the flush, but don't really care since my full house beats that. He has... nothing?! Huh? That's PartyPoker for you.

Geepers, the blogroll keeps on growing. We are legion. I'm truly enjoying this exponential growth of our little corner of the web - I wish we could get more exposure somehow. Grubby had the great idea of CardPlayer having a poker blog column, which they most certainly should. We'd easily outrun the other authors, with no disrespect intended. The reality is, however, that there's more compelling content in a few days of poker blogs that in an entire monthly issue of CP.

I _could_ post about 200 poker news articles, but why? We all know Poker is Hot. And besides, it's not like anyone is paying me to write these Guinness-fueled ramblings. Hell, CardPlayer only pays $100 a column but still, with my two IGGY signups on Party the last 60 days, that's way more than what I make with this here blog.

Because you're probably reading this during the work day, allow me two links of the day to encourage workplace slacking. The first is Cyber Sex Gone Wrong Transcripts. From some German pervert and is pretty damn funny.

And thus ends another post. Thanks for reading. Please consider supporting this humble poker blog and signing up on Party Poker with bonus code IGGY or sign up on Empire with IGGY1.

I'll come over and mow your grass every week if you do, I swear.

Part two of a Vegas Trip Report from RGP.
Don't read if easily offended.

Thanks to the many people who posted kind words about part 01. Truly you
are too kind.

Fetish and Losing in Las Vegas - 02

I distinctly remember when the first of our group turned 16 and we got our
hands on a car and went to our first adult bookstore ever. Spaulding was
so excited we had to make him run a lap around the building to calm down.
Our arrival in Vegas was similar.

We land at McCarron and hustle to baggage claim. It was the fastest
Spaulding has moved since trying to catch the girl in the beer cart. We
wait about 15 minutes for our bags, which seems like an eternity. I use
the time to brief Spaulding on the poker scene, while he pours 20 bucks
down a slot machine hitting zero winners. "We've got to be careful," I
tell him, "This is Las Vegas, graveyard of hometown champions. And you're
not a hometown champion. You're not a home game champion. Now that I
think about it, you're the worst player I've ever seen or even heard
"Yeah, yeah," he says.

As for my poker plan, I had set aside $2K for this trip which, of course,
got sucked down by an unanticipated car problem. I mentally set a loss
limit of $1K for myself. So my plan is to start small, hopefully win, and
work my way up. God knows what kind of random walk Spaulding will be
taking, but that’s his problem.

We grab our bags ,walk out the door, and hop on a shuttle. On the way,
the driver gives his big, happy spiel. He shares plenty of gambling and
dining advice, noting that he has "probably saved us hundreds of dollars
already," not that we should feel obligated to show our appreciation or
anything. Yes, this town runs on tips and he's priming the pump. I'm
pleased that he mentions poker as the gambler's best bet. Steer those
tourists to our table baby. Oh, yeah, we're tourists too. He says he can
answer any question about Las Vegas, any question at all, don't be shy,
ask away. So I ask him where poker tournaments can be found. He gives me
a two minute, perky answer that contains no useful information whatsoever.
We each tip him a buck or two, and he's happy.

At the Flamingo, Spaulding wanders around while I wait in line to check
in. The wait isn't too bad. Once off the elevator, we walk an amazing
distance (I later paced it off at 280 yards) and enter the room. It's
reasonably sized, decently clean, but (cue "Theme from Jaws") features a
single king sized bed. It dawns on me that I booked the room before
Spaulding decided to tag along, and never gave it a second thought. This
will NOT do. Before I can call for a switch, Spaulding explains that
he'll be up all night and will simply sleep when I'm at class. Hmmmm. I
finally agree, on the condition that I always get the clean sheets, but I
still don't really like it. We unpack by dumping our suitcases. It takes
all of a minute. Spaulding starts assembling a fairly elaborate bar on
the desk. "Where'd you get all the booze?" I ask.
"Giftshop," he says.

I make sure the TV gets Discovery and ESPN (it does) while Spaulding
fetches some ice. We linger long enough for Spaulding to mix up a couple,
uh, somethings, in the water glasses provided by the hotel. I think it
was gin with a drop of Snapple, over rocks. No matter. We toast our
arrival, then head down to the host casino, where we've agreed we'll play
tonight. We'll explore tomorrow.

Tuesday, 12:30am (Eastern), The Las Vegas Flamingo

We quickly find the card room, or rather card area (it is not enclosed),
at the Flamingo. It consists of about 7 tables spreading 2-4 and 4-8 HE,
and 1-5 stud. We get on all the lists and get seated separately, but at
adjacent tables, within 15 minutes. I draw a 4-8 seat and buy in for
$200. Spaulding draws 2-4 but stays on the 4-8 list. I make a mental
note that my class starts at 8:00am, which is 11:00am East Coast time, so
I can play until 4 or 5 Eastern and still be fresh for class. Half the
room is drinking Corona, so we order the same when the waitress arrives.
Actually, Spaulding orders a Corona and JD on ice. Showtime.

As I fold away on the first orbit, wary of locals and determined to play
tight, a hand develops where two guys go 11 bets on the river. Obvious
split pot as there's a possible straight out. But wait, guy #1 doesn't
have the nuts. Neither does guy #2! It was two pair against a better two
pair. Wow. It quickly becomes apparent that the whole table is a bunch
of tourists, with several first time players. My lips curls into a
greedy, Grinchly grin. Oh yeah, this is a good game.

I think the rake is lower here than in AC. There's a separate jackpot
drop, so it's kind of hard to tell with all the quarters being shuffled
around. Also, you get beer in an actual bottle, instead of Old Milwaukee
in a plastic cup that's not even topped off. The waitresses actually
thank you for a dollar tip, and for two bucks they'll make it sound
sincere, and they take good care of you. To Spaulding's delight, you can
smoke at the table. Vegas, we conclude, kicks the shit out of Atlantic

Sometime later, Spaulding joins me, making the game that much better. He
rebuys for $200 on top of what little he has left from 2-4. We keep
ordering Corona, noting that the waitress makes the run to the very nearby
bar every 12 minutes or so. Neither of us has let a run go by without
needing another drink, so far. I'm ahead about 50 bucks, but that's
nothing in this game. The variance here is pretty heavy. I won't inflict
bad-beat stories on you, but they were plentiful, which is to be expected
at a table like this.

We drink and play, play and drink, and have a good old time. The staff is
very friendly. They rotate duties, so the guy dealing to you now ('Earl')
might be the brush later on in the evening. The waitresses as we've
mentioned are friendly and efficient, if not much to look at. We tip them
well. Spaulding is throwing off chips, as usual, although with the high
variance when he draws out on someone it is usually for a big pot.

Oddly, although the action is great, the preflop play is usually tame.
Everyone wants to see the flop, but a preflop raise sometimes clears them
out – even though they'll go wild betting once they've made something
(anything). I learn this the hard way when I raise with kings and it gets
folded around to me. I adjust and creep in with big hands, and save the
raises for stuff like KJo, trying to shut some people out.

For the most part, you just have to show down the best hand to win, but I
get in a few neat plays, like this one: Late position guy raises on what
might be a steal. I have AKo in the SB and just call. I just read
Hellmuth's book, and I think he calls for a three-bet here, but since I
have to act first I elect to just call. Flop comes 3 little cards and I
check. Opener bets. I put him on overcards, so I raise, planning to bet
the turn and hopefully just pick it up there. He calls. Turn is a king.
I hesitate and check, hoping it hit him. He bets, and I decide to check
raise him again. He calls after a few seconds, which makes me think the
king missed him and he has an ace high. River is an ace. I immediately
check hard, like I didn't want to see that card. He bets. I get my third
check raise in. He calls and I win a good pot for heads up. Johnny
fucking Chan.

That reminds me of an error I spotted in 'Rounders.' When that leggy,
thin, brunette beauty comes to Mike's apartment and throws herself at him,
he takes a pass. I'm sorry, but that makes 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' look

We grab some quick, mediocre food and a cigar pretty late and get back to
the game, and chain drinking Coronas. A little later, Spauldings says,
for the 27th time since arriving, "I have to go see a man about a horse."
This is his stock phrase for 'take a whiz.' Yeah, I don't get it either.
He departs. I get involved in a few hands, and eventually realize he's
been gone for at least 30 minutes. No matter, I play on. When it seems
like it's been about an hour, and they're ready to pick up his checks, I
pick up and go to find him. I check the nearby bars, nothing. I check
Pai Gow, nothing. I wander the casino floor. Nothing. Maybe he hit the
wall and had to go pass out. Not likely, but I'll check. I do notice I'm
walking kind of funny though. Could those twenty beers on top of all that
vodka and gin be affecting me? Nah, probably jet lag or something. I
check the gift shop on my way to the room, he's not there either. I
overhear someone ask the girl what time it is. 4:00am. Should I hit the
sack or play another hour? I make the 280 yard trek from the elevator to
the room, involuntarily bumping into the wall twice. Whoa.

I card into the room and stumble in. That's when I see something I wish I
hadn't. Unattractive people in a primal scene. Oh, the humanity. The
grotesque facial contortions of a whiskey-dicked loser straining to knock
one out. There really ought to be a sensor on the bed that kills the
lights when the load exceeds 400 pounds. I shudder involuntarily, and

Having no choice, I stagger back to the cardroom to play some more. I'll
give him another hour, then go sleep on the couch. I've already vowed
NEVER to sleep in that bed, which I now envision as a little toxic waste
dump with 'lil crabs scurrying everywhere. I order another Corona in an
effort to kill the brain cells storing the image of Spaulding and that
skeevey hooker slamming the ham, and settle into some 1-5 stud. This game
is even better. Almost all first time players. Three nice, chubby,
middle aged women in town together are in the game, drinking it up. They
play every hand. My EV at this game might be as high as $20-$25 an hour
if I was playing well, but I'm a little off my discipline from all the
hooch. I'm having fun though! The ladies are pleasant and we're joking
around and just enjoying the game. Nice people. I start copying their
drink orders, and have a White Russian, then a Long Island Iced Tea, then
something else. Eventually, someone mentions it is 6:20. Wow, I
definitely have to get some sleep. Once again I stagger upstairs.

The lights are off, except for ESPN on the TV. There's a big lump in the
bed. Could be either or both of them. At this point, I don't care. I
leave a wake-up call for, lets see, make it 7:15 local time. The digital
clock in my room says 6:37. Convert that to local time and I can sleep
almost 4 hours, not too bad. I collapse on the coach with the phone right
next to my head, because I'm afraid otherwise I won't hear it.

I feel like I just closed my eyes when this Godawful ringing is
reverberating in my head. I open my eyes. I'm facedown on the couch,
fully dressed, drooling like a brain damaged Labrador Retriever. My
tongue tastes like a whorehouse rug. What the hell is that sound? Fuck,
it's the phone. I pick up, and it's my wakeup call. This can't be right.
I sit up. The clock says 7:15. It takes me about two minutes to figure
out I've been dealing with local time all night, and that we were playing
cards nine hours, not six. Meaning I've been asleep for about 35 minutes.
It's pretty Goddamn inconsiderate of Las Vegas people not to use East
Coast time, if you ask me.

Spaulding blinks awake. With a voice like gravel, he says "Dude, I found
a girl."
"I know, I came in the room."
"Really? I didn’t see you."
"I left right away."
"Where’d you find her?"
"She found me. I was passing the bar. She asked if I wanted to partake
in the local tradition."
"There have to be much better ones here."
"I know, but it was right there, you know?"
"Were you able to, uh, finish the job."
"I think so. (He looks in the garbage can) Yep. I think it cost me
extra though."
"You didn't touch the couch did you?"
"Good. Guess what, it's time for class."
"Wow. Ha. You going?"
"I guess."

I get in the shower, clasp my hands together, and place them at my
sternum. I lean against the wall with my hands and forehead against it,
close my eyes, and let hot water run over me for about 20 minutes, wisely
using the time to pray for death. Getting cleaned up helps, but not much.
I see Spaulding brought some Visine, that's good. When I get out of the
shower Spaulding is up and about and smoking a cigar. Incredible. I tell
him I feel like I just got hit by a truck. "Bah," he says, "that was
nothing. Tonight we get serious." He assures me we'll be back at it in
full drinking mode by noon. Somehow, inexplicably, I let him convince me
that the best idea is to choke down some hair of the dog. He swears it
will break the hangover and return me to a merely inebriated state, which
is surely better, and that's what he's going to do anyway. I don't even
answer, but he mixes up something for both of us. Roughly a double vodka
grapefruit, it's not like he measures or anything, and I just drink it in
zombie mode. He gives me a hit off the cigar. "The nicotine will perk
you right up." This is *extremely* unlike me. Must be the magic spell of
Las Vegas.

"Yo, did we win or lose?" he asks me. "I have no idea," I reply
truthfully, as I stagger out the door.

To be continued.....

Part III next post.

Hot Poker Action!
You know what cheers me up when I'm feeling bad?
Rolled up aces over kings.
Check-raising stupid tourists and taking huge pots off of them.
Stacks and towers of chips I can't even see over. Playing all-night high-limit Hold'em at the Taj, "where the sand turns to gold."
Let's play some cards!!!

Take a seat at the table - Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker!

Link of the Day:
The Bitch is Back
The Misanthropic Bitch: "The Bush administration is taking its No Dirty Sanchez tour on the road, with stops in conservative communities that might buy the anti-obscenity manure."

I'll start an uber-post this evening, but for now I have more pressing needs. I am in the midst of trying to write an article about our humble poker blogging scene and am hoping for some feedback from fellow bloggers and readers.

Why do you like poker blogs? Please email me and tell me why. I need some insight ASAP! :)


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