Monday, June 27, 2005

Well, with my bankroll on life support still, I decided to start my day out today with a $5 SnG. I pulled up a $.25/.50 limit ring game along side. This might have been the longest SnG of all times. When we got down to 4 players, it was one of the best matched games I've ever been in online. I was the underdog to start out with, but managed to hold steady and eventually win the thing.

Add that to my $3 profit on the ring game, and I'm back up to $50. Woohoo! Actually, I'm quite happy, as it is still my goal to get my online bankroll back in shape without having to redeposit after sucking all my money out for Vegas. It's been a grind of a process, but I'm pleased so far.

In other news... I'm heading over to Scott's house this evening with Randy for some impromptu poker. I sent out a pleading email to my friends begging anyone to play poker with me! I'm suffering withdrawal from live poker.

I'm working on plans to head out to Trump, possibly next Friday, with Randy and Baz. I have yet to meet Baz, but he's a fellow Chicago suburbanite, so I'm excited. I've also never played at Trump Indiana before.

Any other Chicago-area bloggers out there? I know Mr. Reed is down near Indianapolis, but that's a bit of a hike from here. Anybody is welcome to join us :)

And finally... I ordered a couple decks of Kem cards yesterday, in hopes of using them soon. I'm lucky to get one whole game out of a deck of standard cards. They just get all bent to hell. It'll definitely be worth it to have some nice cards. Plus, I like how the plastic cards feel.

That's all my news! I'm off to go buy paint and painting supplies to paint the room in my house that Randy will be taking over. I've also got in mind to paint the bathroom. We'll see how ambitious I am once I've finished the spare bedroom. I'm also stopping by the Nextel store to hopefully take advantage of the hella cool sale they have on their website on Blackberry phones. I have wanted one of those SO freaking bad - and the new one has Bluetooth. w00t!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

It cost me my tournament entry this time (well, the hand after this did), but may I always have such freerolling donkeys in games with me - please! I'll be a millionaire!

I don't usually engage donkeys in conversation, but Shellmuth is brewing just under the surface today...

A hand and ensuing conversation in today' s $20 MTT on FTP. 140 or so entrants, 4 or 5 hands in:

Dealer: Hand #140973839
Dealer: kev19 posts the small blind of 15
Dealer: NEWMAN79 posts the big blind of 30
Dealer: You have been dealt [Ks Kc]
Dealer: phlyersphan raises to 120
Dealer: Always Chase calls 120
Dealer: cuzinit calls 120
Dealer: maytag54 has 15 seconds left to act
Dealer: maytag54 calls 120
Dealer: Scotty35 folds
Dealer: geins16 folds
Dealer: madjoel folds
Dealer: kev19 folds
Dealer: NEWMAN79 calls 90
Dealer: The flop is [7s 3c 6s]
Dealer: NEWMAN79 checks
Dealer: phlyersphan bets 615
Dealer: Always Chase folds
Dealer: cuzinit folds
Dealer: maytag54 raises to 1,230
Dealer: NEWMAN79 folds
Dealer: phlyersphan raises to 1,665, and is all in
Dealer: maytag54 calls 75, and is all in
Dealer: phlyersphan shows [Ks Kc]
Dealer: maytag54 shows [7h 7d]
Dealer: Uncalled bet of 360 returned to
Dealer: The turn is [Tc]
Dealer: The river is [5h]
Dealer: phlyersphan shows a pair of Kings
Dealer: maytag54 shows three of a kind, Sevens
Dealer: maytag54 wins the pot (3,225) with three
of a kind, Sevens

phlyersphan: nice call preflop

madjoel: what you think he should have folded 7s

phlyersphan: for a 4xbb raise? it was a
questionable call, yes

Scotty35: lol...

madjoel: lol are you serious

NEWMAN79: bull$hit

phlyersphan: oh i forgot, this is the WPT crowd

madjoel: 120 i almost called with 5-a

phlyersphan: ROFL

phlyersphan: i believe that

madjoel: you must be new on here if you expect
someone to fold 7s for 120

phlyersphan: any ace, face, or soooooted

Scotty35: a5 is completely wrong... but 77 for 4x's
BB this early is cledarly not wrong.

phlyersphan: not new here at all - i just know how
to play relative to the stack and blind sizes, which
you apparently ignore

madjoel: lol ok buddy

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Sucky night on the tables. Bubbled in two $10 SnG's on Full Tilt. I think I've set a record for the number of bubble-outs in a row this week. Also dropped $10 on the cash tables - not tragic but combined with the unprofitable bubble incidents makes for a bummer of a night.

The most disappointing was the first SnG - I got off to an early chip lead, and was chip leader by 2k chips or so when we got down to 4 players. In the span of 3 hands, I lost my entire stack. The first was holding my nemesis hand, AJ. It didn't cripple me but cost me a chunk of chips, as I ran into an un-raised AQ. That's one reason AJ is so tricky when an Ace flops; most people will raise preflop with AK, so you have that bit of knowledge of the possibility of an AK out there when you see action on the flopped Ace after a preflop raise. Not everybody raises AQ, though, and when you run into it - well, AJ just sucks. The second hand was your typical "aces getting cracked" story.

The third I may have misplayed. Or not. I don't know. Feedback appreciated. I'm against a "good" player - decent starting hands shown down, a proper amount of blind stealing, aggressive play when he held a hand (raising bets, etc). I'm in the small blind, he's in the big. It's folded to me, and I call with A8 clubs. BB checks. Flop comes 8-8-x rainbow. I min-bet to encourage action (the X was not an overcard, and I don't want him to fold - yet I'm in a "no free cards" phase right now). He calls. Turn comes a Q. I 2x-bb bet. He calls. River comes a blank. No straight or flush draws out there - 8-8-Q-x-x. I bet half the pot, and he puts me all in.

I've got the 3-of-a-kind 8's with my Ace kicker. Did he catch 2 pair on the board somewhere? The x's are undercards to my 8's so even if he hit a set with those, I'm still good. Do I fear that he caught a whacked out full house? If I lay down big hands in fear of the boat all the time - well, that to me is ridiculously overconservative and not likely to be profitable in the long run.

I'm pot committed at this point, with less than 1,000 chips left. I think my hand is good. I call.

He had QQ for the flopped boat. No preflop raise. Played me like a fiddle.

I've replayed this hand a lot of different ways, and I don't think I could have avoided losing all my chips in any way, shape, or form. Heads-up I like the A8 suited. The middle kicker doesn't bother me when my only opponent is the big blind. I could have raised preflop - but with QQ, he wasn't going anywhere. Maybe he'd have re-raised me all in, and I'd have had the chance to fold right there. Considering his knack for slowplaying, however, that's probably an unlikely scenario. I could have not tried to be tricky and bet more - but he flopped a boat. He wasn't going anywhere no matter what I bet - just as much as I wasn't going anywhere, having flopped trips heads-up.

I can sit here all night and play coulda-shoulda-woulda. It wasn't a bad beat; it was just bad luck. I had a big hand run into a bigger one. But damn was it disappointing, after my play and accompanying chip stack looked so promising going into 4-handed play.

I'm just disappointed, that's all. Tomorrow is another day.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Hey all you Blogger (Blogspot) users -

FYI, now has a feature that lets you add photos to your blog posts (without using a third-party site like Flickr).

Check it out. Cool.

(Hint: just use the "add image" button in your blog post composer window).

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Not a whole lot new. First of all, my deepest condolences go out to Spaceman`on the loss of his best friend Charlie. So many people have posted so many touching things that nothing I can say could compare, so I will leave it at that. You're in my thoughts.

I played on Full Tilt Poker for an hour or so last night. I played one $10 SnG and a NL ring game. I bubbled in the SnG, and was up $20 or so on the ring game, for a profit of ten bucks. But, once I got knocked out of the SnG, I was so utterly disappointed in the miserable state of the game - particularly, just how truly awful the play is sometimes, that I had to log off completely. I played well, and picked off the chip leader (who was a habitual bully and bluffer) several times. I knew his game. He was a moron, and the rest of the table was afraid of him. But, I got unlucky on a couple hands, both of which he sucked out 3 or 2 outers on the river to beat me (and subsequently knock me out).

Sometimes I can't help but think: with the exponentially increased number of shitty players in the game now, does that make the "infinite poker game" that much longer? I mean, if you look at poker as one big session that statistically "works" by the math over time, doesn't that time increase as more horrific players enter the pool? And if that is indeed the case, doesn't that make it just about impossible to be a winning player at lower limits? It's hard enough to beat the rake. Add in a large percentage more fish getting lucky to trump your solid play, and it seems impossible to profit.

But that's just the disappointed side of me talking.

I got back on the horse tonight, and - sure enough, same story. Bubbled in a $10 SnG while I'm currently up $20 on my ring game. I felt like playing limit tonight in the cash game though - $.50/1.00 limit hold'em for me this evening. I was going to sulk to bed tonight after bubbling, but decided not to, and plunked myself into a $5 SnG. I know... Even fishier. I miss the $20 SnG's. But, I can't afford them on the $68 I sat down with tonight, and my goal here is to bring my bankroll back to life without reloading.

I would've had a bunch of money from Vegas to reload with, but I spent it on groceries instead. I was *way* outta food.

Ahhh well. So there are my musings for the day. I'm going to log off as soon as I place in the money in this SnG. A positive attitude guarantees success, right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

When I told myself that I was going to come back from my $5 left in Full Tilt, it was half jokingly. I was just killing time until I got around to redepositing. I should not underestimate myself!

The comeback is going well. I've profited $18.50 tonight to bring me almost up to the $60 mark. I'm beginning to think it just might well be possible! The comeback, that is.

I played my micro-usual - one $.05/.10 NL ring game, and one $5 SnG. I ended up $10 or so on the ring game, and took 1st place in the SnG. Wheeee! A somewhat strange thought process came upon me when we got to heads-up play in the SnG. I'd pegged my opponent for a pretty awful player. (S)he'd gotten quite lucky on a few hands to dropkick a couple players out of the tourney, which gave her some wiggle room to play dumb with. I had her on all range of junk - usually containing a face card (the J6o, Q4o variety). When we got to heads up, something came over me. I thought to myself, "Why am I relying on cards? I can outplay this girl."

So I did.

I don't think I've ever actually had that thought before. I mean - maybe on one singular hand, but never as my philosophy. In fact, I can't even say with any certainty that I've ever consciously attempted to simply outplay someone, regardless of my cards. I scared myself, actually. But I put that chicken in the closet and forged ahead.

And it worked... How empowering!

Moral of the story: if you pay enough attention to your opponents to pick out which ones are worse than you and which are better, you can avoid scuffles with the better ones and manipulate the weaker ones into shoving all of their chips to you.

I feel good right now. That was something new for me. I'd like to try it again sometime. It's nice to be the outplayer instead of the outplayed!

With that, 'tis time for bed. 7am comes too quickly when you're in a hotel and can't sleep worth a damn... That's 3 nights in a row I've been plagued with insomnia. It's getting rather annoying. Here's wishing for a night of sleep! G'nite all.

Drizz has posted a challenge to us poker bloggers. Answer this question:

Why do you play poker besides the money? What motivates you to comes back after winning that SnG or losing to a runner-runner flush?

It's an interesting question, because I'm sure many of the people playing poker right now are playing because it's "the cool thing to do" these days, or because they saw it on TV and it looks exciting. Maybe they play because their friends do, and if they didn't, they'd be spending Friday nights alone while the gang got together to play cards. I'd bet that a lot of people got into playing poker on a whim and are now at least semi-serious about their play, but have never considered Drizz's reflective question: what place does poker have in your life?

I've always been serious about my pursuit to learn to play poker. I rarely get into hobbies and such without diving headfirst into them and committing to them. Maybe that's why I have so few hobbies, and why I'm so obsessed with the ones I do have. But what place does poker have in my life now?

To answer that, I've got to rehash a bit of history here. Back in high school, my friends played poker (circa 1990). I can recall many a night sitting around Dusty's kitchen table or whoever was sponsoring our degeneracy for the evening, watching everybody else play cards. Why was I watching and not playing? Well, certain people (Klyph in particular) would insist that we play strip poker, and I refused to strip. A prude I was not, but very self-conscious - much too shy to get nekkid with my buddies. So, my excuse would always be, "I don't know how to play poker." I insisted that I couldn't learn it, no matter how hard I tried. Truth be told, I'd never tried. It was just a convenient excuse.

Fast forward a decade and a few years, and I meet Randy (circa March 2003). We start hanging out. He plays poker online. I find myself pulling up a chair behind him on many nights, watching him play on PokerStars. I'm intrigued. He wins a lot. As he plays out hands and explains to me what he thinks his opponents have, and why he's making the moves he makes, I get the notion that "hey, maybe I could do that..." Randy starts teaching me the poker starting hands. He told me a little chant to help me remember the hand rankings, and would pop-quiz me in the grocery store, at bedtime, any random time he could. After a few months, I signed up on PokerStars myself.

I start playing poker online, and picked up Phil Hellmuth's "Play Poker Like the Pro's." I love Hellmuth - his antics just crack me the hell up. Some people are annoyed by his childish behavior, but I just find it to be hysterical. And I liked his book. I don't play much like his book suggests now, but I started out that way, and did well enough to gain some confidence in my play.

Around the same time, I started watching poker on TV. I'd TiVo the WPT shows, and the ESPN WSOP, even Celebrity Poker Showdown (where I still crush on Phil Gordon). I bought more books, and started holding home games and attending any game I could get myself invited to. My friend Scott started up his Diamond Games. Armando started getting into poker. Life was good.

It still is.

Not much has changed in the past year since the poker boom in my life began. I play online regularly, and still play at every home game and tourney I can get myself invited to. I still read poker books like a fiend, and still love it.

So what role does poker play in my life now? Why do I do it?

I think the primary reason I play is because I just love the game. I'm a "thinker" - I've always preferred thinking tasks to active tasks. I played a few requisite sports in my childhood and high school, but always preferred activities like filling out crossword puzzles or reading books. I've been working on computers since I was 9 (circa 1983), and used to sit around writing little computer programs that would print my name over and over on the screen while my friends played Red Rover outside. I'm a geek.

The theory and math of poker appeal to my geek nature. I'm infinitely intrigued by the psychology of poker, and have great faith in the mathematics and statistical rules of nature and the game. It's easy for me to believe in those things; I'm a very methodical and logical person (that's the computer programmer in me).

Another reason I play is because I like the challenge and competitive nature of it. I'd be lying if I said I didn't like winning... a lot. It's one of the best feelings in the world to be "good" at something, and to be able to prove it in ways such as winning tournaments - those are very public and very gratifying ways to reinforce the ol' ego. It feels good. When you can do something well that you also enjoy doing, that almost feeds the desire to do more of it.

The actual "winning money" part of playing poker is almost secondary to me. I mean - sure, I like money, and free money like that won playing poker is the best kind of money out there. But, I started out playing online with fifty bucks, and spent my first year or so losing that fifty bucks and buying back in. I figured it to be a much less expensive hobby than some I've had in the past. I knew that someday it was possible that I could profit from playing, but that wasn't my primary motivation.

So, I suppose that's why I play: because I love the game, and because I enjoy the challenge and competition.

What role does it play in my life?

Poker is a hobby of mine. It is probably my most time consuming hobby, if you include blog reading and posting, playing, and reading poker books as activities related to the hobby of playing poker. I still consider it a hobby, though, because when work, family, or relationships beckon, poker takes a backseat.

I'd like to add a question here to Drizz's train of thought: What role do I expect poker to play in my future?

As I see more of the financial potential of poker, I think I would like to work towards it being a source of part-time income. I was watching an ESPN show the other night where they replayed the final table with Fossilman doing commentary on what he was thinking, and he made a comment about spending his early years grinding out a $7/hour win rate at blackjack as his part time job. I'd love to be profitable enough at poker to consider it a part time source of income.

I admit - seeing all the dead money out there on the poker tables of the world, and watching how lucrative it can be, I've had the fleeting thought of, "how cool would it be to pay my electric bill with poker money every month?" Or half the mortgage...

I don't have aspirations to become a professional poker player. I love the other "jobs" in my life too much at this point to even think of giving them up. (I teach, and do web programming). But, I also can't envision my life at this point without poker. I think I will continue to want to move up the ladder in limits, and with that, I may want "more" poker in my life. That I have no way to know. Time will tell.

For now, poker is a hobby for which I have great passion and hunger for knowledge and experience. It's something that I love to do that has the fortunate side effect of being potentially profitable. What more can one ask for?

Check it out - Greenstein wins one for Charlie

That is mighty inspiring. There really are still some good people out in the world.

Monday, June 20, 2005

On the road again.... I'm writing this from lovely Springfield, Illinois - capital city of this great state. It's a very unspectacular city. Kind of run down, it seems - though I haven't ventured far outside of downtown.

I'm back to grinding away at the micro tables on Full Tilt. If I manage to make a comeback from five bucks... I dunno - I'll laugh :) And be happy! Right now I'm sitting at a $.05/.10 NL table, and a $5 SnG. Going OK so far. I'm 2/5 in chips in the SnG and up five bucks on the cash table. Maybe another half hour, and I hit the hay. With all of the travel and work insanity of the last 3 weeks, I'm just exhausted!

No real poker revelations to speak of. I still want to play more live poker. I want to go to Trump in Indiana. Soon.

[time lapse]

Woohoo! I'm up to $39.40 LOL!!!

Placed 2nd in the SnG - heads up FOR-EV-ER. I came back from the felt to a slight chip lead, and blinded down a bit. This guy was completely ridiculous - every time I told myself, "eff it" and called him down with 2nd pair, he was completely bluffing! I should have pushed even harder because he was passive on top of it when bet into. I nailed him on the final hand - I flopped 2nd pair of 9's with my Q9o, and he pushed after the flop. I called him, and sure enough, he was bluffing like all crazy hell. Too bad he had two hearts, and one had flopped. He hit the runner-runner love cards to beat me, and that was that. I'll take 2nd though. Money is good.

Well, I'm off to veg. Waking up at 7am sucks! I'm so not a morning person...

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Finally, a keyword search from my statistics worth posting:

18 feces photo

Wowzers! It linked to my definition of a donkey dump.

The other one that I'm still trying to figure out:

16 hold`em games i can play online by myself without anyone else playing against me on a different cpu

Huh? This inquisitor definitely needs to learn the benefits of searching by keyword and using quotation marks and booleans.

I was able to pump my $5 in Full Tilt up to a whopping $25 today, playing at the $.05/.10 NL ring table and a $5+.50 SnG (2nd place). I was in good position to win that tourney - outchipped maybe 1.5:1, when I flopped a straight with 8-5 (board came 6-7-9). Unfortunately, the river brought an 8, the board filled out to give my ten-holding opponent the higher straight. Buh-bye. I was out. Oh well. Happy to profit.

Now I'm off to a barbeque. Tomorrow morning I leave for Springfield, IL for a week for some computer training for work. I'm taking the "Certified Ethical Hacker" certification course. It's something to do... the other tracks were of no interest to me (intro to networking - don't need that, seeing as I did it for 5 years and now teach it, intro to web programming - i'm a web programmer already, so ditto, some 3D graphics and animation course - too bad i'm creatively illiterate, and some other office application stuff, blah). So I'll come back next Friday from Springfield a certified hacker. Sweet. LOL! I doubt to have too much poker time, though I will have my laptop with me, and as far as I know, there is broadband internet in the hotel.

Until next time... remember to keep one foot in the gutter, one fist in the gold.

There is a genius amongst us. Seriously. Check out Human Head's cranium, then read the report below.

Slashdot | Bigger Brains Make Smarter People Study Says: "'People with bigger brains are smarter according to a Virginia Commonwealth University industrial and organizational psychologist, Michael A. McDaniel, Ph.D. McDaniel, who is a professor in management at VCU's School of Business. He reviewed 26 previous studies comparing brain size and intelligence and found that brain volume has a strong correlation to intelligence. According to McDaniel, 'for all age and sex groups, it is now very clear that brain volume and intelligence are related.' So, how big of a hat do you wear?'"

You absolutely MUST go read CJ's story of the all-powerful Hammer.

Must. Read.

Go. now.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Am I crazy? Since getting back from the WPBT Vegas trip a couple weeks ago, I hadn't fired up any online poker until this morning. And this morning, I didn't even really want to; it was just the only poker that was accessible to me at the moment.

I've been thinking... I want to play more live poker. Of course, I've always preferred hitting the Diamond Game at Scott's or some JackHammer action at Armando's, or any random friendly game that pops up over online poker. But I enjoyed playing online too. For some reason, after logging some casino hours a couple weeks back in Vegas, and logging some hours a few months ago in March, I want to log more casino hours. My rate of profit per hour is much high live than online. Now, maybe that's because I'm usually two-or-three tabling online, so the variance is higher, but that should all even out over time, right? Granted, my number of casino hours is overwhelmingly dwarfed by the number of hours I've played online, but here's the thing:

I enjoy playing live much more than online.

I feel like my game is better. April H. and I were talking about this on the way to the airport in Vegas: I can pick up betting patterns and mannerisms that provide information about my opponents almost as second-nature at a live poker table. Online, the best I can seem to do is take detailed notes on everybody. But, I'm nearly wholly reliant on those notes; the patterns I pick up don't seem to commit to memory. I think it's because I just can't seem to equate a pixel-based avatar to a person. There's nothing about seeing a bunch of avatars that clicks with my note-taking, particularly because each avatar is representative of hundreds of different people. But sitting at a live table, my brain makes connections. For example, our last day at Excalibur, April and I were playing at the $1-3 spread limit game, and one of my mental notes was "big guy plays big cards." I thrive on mnemonics and other such memory aids, and my brain makes them up automatically. April, by contrast, finds it easier to notice patterns online. I would imagine that everybody has a strength in one venue or the other.

At any rate, I've had this nagging thought in my head that I want to play a greater proportion of my poker live in casinos, and a smaller amount online. Not that I want to give up online poker - blasphemy! I just want to play more live. I mean, hell, I've got the Trump poker room in Indiana all of 30 or so miles from me.

Just something I've been musing over the last few days...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

WPBT Aladdin Classic, Vegas 2005: Afterthoughts

A week+ after arriving home, I'm still enjoying reading all of the Vegas trip reports. I think the coolest part about the trip reports is reading what happened in the lives of all of the people I didn't get a chance to hang out with during our blogger weekend. Of course, it's also hella cool to check out the stories from bloggers that I did hang out with, to read their takes on various events that we shared. It was one phenomenal weekend. I hope to do it again soon.

With so much going on all over the place, it's definitely impossible to spend time with everybody. I mean - there were probably close to a hundred of us there in Vegas altogether! I got to meet, hang out with, and/or play cards with some awesome people. There were people on my list of must-hang's that I rarely crossed paths with (next time, Head's!), and people I got to hang out with that I hadn't had in my blogroll (I do now!) Somehow I managed to miss Maudie the entire weekend! I think I saw her at the Storming of the Castle at Excalibur Friday night, but wasn't sure if it was her, and in my [oober-dumb] shyness, couldn't bring myself to ask. A definite missed opportunity there.

If I could have changed anything, I'd have arrived on Thursday. I met Felicia in passing but would have loved more time to chat with her. I missed out on checking out the WSOP at the Rio, having arrived late on Friday evening. Those are two big things I'd have been able to do, if I arrived Thursday instead of late Friday. Next time….

For some reason, I also wish I'd played poker at the Golden Nugget. I'm very glad, though, that April (Texas) talked me into playing for a bit at MGM. Nicest poker room I've ever seen (though I am admittedly green to poker rooms, having only played now at MGM, Excalibur, the Plaza, Aladdin, and the Palms).

One note I've made to myself for next time is to buy a stash of Diet Dr Pepper for the hotel room. It's my favorite and I had a hard time finding it in Vegas - though CVS did have it.

I can only imagine that the wonderful group known as us bloggers will continue to grow and grow. As future WPBT events pass, the experience will grow larger than life. I only hope that our great "not an asshole amongst us" tradition can continue, and I can continue to get to know the rest of you on my blogroll. I've thoroughly enjoyed the company of everybody I've met so far.

Speaking of - if you've got AOL or Yahoo Instant Messenger, let me know - I have both and would be glad to swap screen names. Just drop a comment or an email (I'd rather not post them here).

Here's to the WPBT Aladdin Classic, June 2005 - and many more great events to come!

Filed Under:

Vegas Part 5: Finish Where It All Began

Catch up:
Part 1 - The Ride In
Part 2 - Storming the Castle
Part 3 - Aladdin Classic and Toothless Donkeys
Part 4 - Poker at the Plaza and MGM

Monday, June 6, 2005

Final day in Vegas.

I had seriously debated requesting a late checkout at the Plaza so I could get a few extra zzz's, but decided against it. It ended up that my sneezing kept me up most of the night anyway - I should have just gone down to the casino! I woke up around 11am and packed up my stuff. I wasn't sure what I'd planned on doing… I was thinking I'd probably just play poker at the Plaza, since my bags would be there anyway. I had to leave for the airport by 5:30pm or so.

Just as I finished up packing, April H. called. Maura was in the mood to check out the poker lesson at Excalibur, and April wanted to play some cards. Works for me! I like playing at Excalibur. So, I checked out of the Plaza, wandered past the poker room to see if any bloggers were about (there were not), and headed to the pickup area to wait for April and Maura. While waiting, I saw Pauly, and expressed my gratitude for helping put together such an awesome event. It was then that I realized, the weekend was really ending. With heavy heart, I bid farewell to Pauly and headed outside.

Maura and April arrived a few minutes later, and I tossed my bags in the trunk. We hit up the local CVS so I could buy some drugs (cold medicine, you fools!) and we trucked it over to Excalibur. It was 1pm or so by the time we got to Excalibur, so we hit up the nearby café for some lunch. I'm not sure Mexican food was my wisest choice of the day, but I was craving it ever since Saturday. See, we'd intended to eat at La Salsa Cantina after the blogger tourney, but ended up at the cheeseburger place. Once I get a hankering in mind for Mexican food, it will not go away until satiated. So, I got enchiladas for lunch (breakfast?). Maura had a French dip and April had an omlette of some kind. The food was ok.

The best part of the meal was playing Keno, though. I totally didn't win anything, but got a kick out of picking numbers. Picking numbers is fun. I don't play the lottery, so picking numbers is a bit of a novelty for me! Since it was my last day in Vegas and I'd essentially broken even so far, I figured I could splurge on some -EV gambling. What I *really* should have done was go play craps. I didn't play craps once in Vegas. How sad.

Neither I nor Maura won any money on Keno, but since Maura was the big winner on the slots the day before, she graciously treated us to lunch. Thank you, Maura!

After we ate, it was time to head to the poker room. Maura headed over to the lesson table, and April and I headed to the $1/3 table. It was fishy, as expected. I was up, and down, and up, and down, between the monster pots and the bad beats.

The best hand of the day, though, was a hand that never was. April was dealt the Hammer, and folded. She muttered to me that she'd have played the hand at any other table but this one, and I said, "Hammer?" Just then, the flop came down 7-2-x. D'oh! Tons of action followed. Wouldn't ya know, the turn came another 7. Now, that's a hammer board if I've ever seen one! A sweet pot that woulda been.

A bit later, I saw my own Hammer. I raised preflop in late position with only a limper or two ahead of me, and got some callers - including the cool guy from Virginia that was sitting to my left. Uh oh. He was pretty tight, so it wasn't good news for him to be in the pot with me and my hammer. I caught a 2 on the flop and bet it max, and was called by Mr. Virginia. Shit. The turn brought and Ace, and I was hoping if I bet at it, I could scare him out. No such luck. I wasn't going to win this pot. I checked the river and he bet. I folded, but had to show April my goods. Mr. Virginia turned up his Hilton's and confessed that he almost laid them down when I bet the Ace. Dagnabbit! I'm glad he didn't though. He deserved the pot after not letting me bully him around with my junk hand. The best part of the hand, though, was the reaction of the uptight woman sitting three seats to my left. She pulled the "show one, show all" bit when I exposed my cards to April, so I laid it up on the table in all its hammer glory. The woman says (with great disgust), "You raised the pot with THAT?" as if to say, "Shame on you!" I laughed and told her it was a joke between April and I. She was PISSED!

The woman was already mad at me from an earlier incident, whereby I had pocket Jacks and bet them all the way. She hung with me to showdown, and after calling my final bet, she flipped her cards up boldly and said, "eights and nines!" Well, two pair sounded good and would have beaten my Jacks if in fact there was an eight on the board. But, there wasn't. She'd misread the board, and my Jacks won a hefty pot. She glared at me as if it were my fault that she misread the board, and shot me death glances every hand after that.

So, the Hammer pissed her off big time. She was so mad that she moved from her seat to a seat on the other side of the table, claiming she could see better from there. I think she just didn't want to look at me anymore. Later on, she cracked my Aces with pocket Kings when she hit a K on the flop, and took her money back from me. Good for her. Sourpuss.

Maura eventually busted out of her poker lesson table and went back to playing slots, which were somehow +EV for her. April and I played the rest of our time there at the Excalibur, until it came time to leave for the airport.

I ended the afternoon up $20 or so for the 3 ½ hours we played. Maura bought each of us a souvenir keychain, which was very cool of her. April and Maura then brought me to the airport, and I bid them farewell.

It was really over. I went inside the airport and caught myself a flight back to Chicago. For the record, the security people at LAS announced that "all shoes MUST go through the x-ray." This prevented any misunderstandings involving my footwear.

What a trip! It's now Thursday night as I finish up this report, and I'm still remembering random bits and pieces that need to be committed to memory. It was great fun, and I can't wait till the next WPBT live event.

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Catch up:

Part 1 - The Ride In
Part 2 - Storming the Castle
Part 3 - Aladdin Classic and Toothless Donkeys

Vegas Part 4: Poker at the Plaza and MGM

12:27pm Sunday, June 05, 2005

No up early for me! Woke up in the middle of the night feeling like dog shit. I now have a sore throat and what feels like a cold. Damn it!!! I slept in till 11am , so I got 9 hours or so, but had chills and sweats all night. Not good. I got up and took a shower, and I'm thinking I should probably lay low today (meaning, play poker all day). I may stop at the ABC store and get some throat drops. Only the right side of my throat is killing me – it is odd.

I'm debating if I should just go downstairs and play some poker here at the Plaza for a bit and see if any bloggers materialize. I'm thinking I'd like to check out the $50 sit-n-go's at Aladdin, but I really don't want to do the whole cab thing. There's $50 round trip right there. I could check out the bus… It is daylight, after all. But it would probably be nighttime coming home, and…. Well, I dunno. I don't know if it's safe to go alone. Unless I make sure I come back during daylight. That might be the maneuver.

I wish I had internet access here. I'd go look up the bus info. I managed to locate a couple wireless networks in range of my room, but I can't get either of them working. They're unsecured and I managed to pick an IP address that worked, and I have a couple national DNS addresses that I know work from anywhere, but I can't seem to get out of the network onto the web. Probably not guessing the default gateway correctly. Bah.

Oh well – time to go decide what I'm doing today… I feel like crap :(

Sunday, cont'd (written post-trip)

I decided to go eat Subway for lunch. Ya know, eat on the cheap. On the way to Subway I ran into Hank, who was in line for checkout. Sad sad sad! I was glad to have another day in Vegas. I ate my sandwich and headed back to the Plaza poker room to play some cards.

When I got there, a few bloggers were milling about, trying to decide what to do with their day. April ( Texas ) and her friend John were there, as well as Hank and a few others. I had signed up on the list to play some limit hold'em and somehow convinced April and John to play as well. Hank headed off to play Blackjack.

We sat down at a $3/6 game. The guy who had won the high-hand jackpot the other night at my table was there. The game pretty much sucked – a bit tight, and the people weren't very sociable. But, I wasn't losing money, so I wasn't ready to leave. Gracie showed up with her friend Pablo and I got to play with them for a little while. April wanted to go play at MGM , so I told her I'd meet up with her later for dinner and then we'd hit the MGM poker room.

I ran into an awful hand that took me for a good $40 (can't remember the details for the life of me), and found myself quite discouraged. I thought I might just leave, but decided to hang in there, and good thing. Shortly thereafter, I limp into a multi-way pot with pocket 4's. The flop brought my set, and a few people came to the turn with me. It was a dud – no major draws out there, but a couple high cards, and I managed to bring a couple people to the river. What card should fall but a glorious fourth four! One guy called my raise on the river, and I got to showdown my quad 4's. Then, someone yells out, “high hand!” I hadn't realized that those quads were going to win me a high hand jackpot. Sweet! It was only $61, but in addition to the monster pot I dragged, it was sweet indeed. I tipped the dealer out of my pot, and then tossed him five bucks when my jackpot arrived. Too damn cool. Turns out that a blogger's wife hit the jackpot earlier with quad four's – thus my itsy bitsy jackpot. I'm drawing a blank as to who it was – but good for her! Jackpots all around! The sailboats brought my friend Kathie to mind (of the JackHammer games). Good times.

After about 5 hours there at the Plaza, I was up almost $200. Around 5pm I decided to call it a day and head over to find April for dinner. I ran into Poker Geek, who was helping to arrange a mixed game there at the Plaza. April invited him to join us for some cards at MGM , but he'd already committed to the game at the Plaza. So, after chatting a bit and hearing the awful story of how Geek got knocked out 9 th in the Plaza's noon tourney (7 places paid), I headed to MGM .

Geek wins the award for the weekend for telling the best stories. I personally like to visualize all of the little details when listening to a story be told, and Geek did not skimp on the details. Most righteous.

I caught a cab and headed towards MGM . This cab driver was polite and didn't feel the need to fill every second with conversation. I was content just to be quiet for a bit. He started talking about halfway through the ride, and I asked him how long he'd been driving. Two years, and he doesn't like his job. Well, alrighty then! He dropped me off at MGM and I went in search of the poker room.

After wandering around a while, I found it and April A. She was sitting with a bunch of sharks at a no-limit table. I was feeling a bit hungry and didn't like the chances of me getting up if I sat down to a table – I'd hate to break up any good mojo by leaving to eat. So I suggested that we grab some dinner. April settled in for her last orbit just as April H. and Maura came walking around the corner. Sweet! What a nice surprise :) They decided to join us for dinner.

Right around then, I got a phone call from Randy. I stepped away from the tables to chat with him, and in my absence, April A. ran into a harsh hand that set her back a big hunk of change. Ouch. Dinner sounded good right about then.

We ate at the Rainforest Café – good stuff, though I was a bit disappointed with the thunderstorms. And if I hear one more person scream, “Volcano!” I might scream. I enjoyed the conversation at dinner though. April H. and Maura had scored some sort of We're the Shiznit cards, which allowed us to bypass the waiting list for priority seating, and then get a free appetizer. These girls know how to live. April ( Texas ) and I picked the tomatoes out of the bruschetta and discovered that we've got very similar peculiar eating habits. (Yes, we know – bruschetta IS tomatoes! But the juice is yummy!) Tasty morsels indeed at the Rainforest Café. April A. and I washed our meals down with cold medicine. (Thank you SO much - girl - you saved my life with those Advil Cold n' Sinus!)

After dinner we caught up with reader Jim from Vegas. Cool! He was up for some poker too, so we all got on the list for $2/4 limit. We eventually got seated, albeit at different tables. April H., Jim, and I were at one table, and April A. was at the other. Poker Geek made it out and ended up at April A.'s table. Later, April H. moved over to the other table, and Jim and I put in for table changes and waited. Our table had gotten a bit tight after the drunk birthday girl and her mom's friend left, and Ms. Raisy Pants took flight. The fish from Alabama was gone too, with his any-two-cards calling station tendencies, and the sweet old woman had also left the table. Our loose fish were replaced by tight WPT-watching types to the right side of the table, and two very quiet guys to my left. Little did I know, those quiet little sharks…. were bloggers amongst us.

Chilly! It was Chilly and friend. They were offended that Jim and I wanted a table change, but once we realized who they were, the banter picked up and we canceled our table change requests. I wasn't making any money, but was having fun. I was starting to feel like crap, though, as my cold medicine wore off and I neared the 14-hours-of-poker mark.

I was finding it harder and harder to win any pots at that table, and eventually requested a change. It was 3am or so, and it didn't take long to get a seat with the April's, geek, and… someone else that was with Chilly (name is escaping me!) Early on, I made a pot big enough to bring me back to even at MGM when my pocket 8's hit a set on the flop. The set held up and I was a happy camper.

Shortly thereafter, Poker Geek had a run in with a couple of jerks at the table who spent a bit too much time speaking in their native language, and played a bit too suspiciously when in pots together. Geek reported to the staff that he suspected collusion, but we weren't there long enough to see what happened, as one of the guys sucked out on Geek with 2-5 suited after he called the junk hand in jest, sending Geek on full tilt. Geek wisely stood up and left the table before he could say anything regrettable, and April A. and I followed suit. (April H. had already left for the night).

End result: I was up $1.00 for my time at MGM (9 hours or so). A whole dollar! At least it was profit…

The three of us split a cab back to the Plaza, where Geek ran into a blackjack dealer that had taken him for a ride earlier in the weekend. With five bucks in hand, Geek managed to go on a little blackjack rush – maybe up to $50 or so – only to lose it back to the soul sucking dealer. But, in the end, Geek's original five bucks was back in his pocket, and he broke even for a few minutes of unabashed blackjack fun.

We parted ways, and I headed to my room after a very long day of poker. I ended the day up about $200, offsetting the losses of the day before. I made it to bed by 5am or so.

Nice. Final day in Vegas, coming up.

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Vegas Part 3: Aladdin Classic and Toothless Donkeys

Catch up:
Part 1 - The Ride In
Part 2 - Storming the Castle

Saturday, June 04, 2005, 9:12pm

The WPBT Aladdin Classic tournament was awesome. I can’t possibly say enough good things about it – mainly, thanks to everybody who helped put the event together. The experience of playing poker with so many bloggers was indescribable.

The day started out with a sausage biscuit from McDonald’s. I didn’t want to wake up any earlier than absolutely necessary, and I’d have had to wake up earlier to have a properly planned breakfast. So, I didn’t. Though I love those lil biscuits and rarely am awake in time to get one. April and Maura were kind enough to allow me to hitch a ride with them over to the Aladdin for the tourney.

I got to talking to Terry from Playing Poker and Teaching Science, who I discovered lives only a few (ie. 3) hours away from Randy and I, coincidentally in the same town where we’ll be going to see Dave Matthews Band this weekend. Small world! Nice to meet ya, Terry!

Ten o’clock in the a.m. rolled around and it was time to shuffle up and deal.

I was seated at table 11, seat 7. Looks lucky to me! I came to discover that I was at the TV table! How cool is that? I was amongst some of the blogging elite – the TV table, if you will. The lineup:

Seat 1: Pauly
Seat 2: Miss T74
Seat 3: Mr. Reed
Seat 4: BadBlood
Seat 5: Chris Halverson
Seat 6: PokerGeek
Seat 7: Me
Seat 8: Chad
Seat 9: April
Seat 10: Maigrey

(Lineup snagged from Chris Halverson – check out his site for more stories from our table!)

Poker Geek showed the very first Hammer of the game, the first hand at our table and possibly the first of the tournament. He won the pot with his preflop raise to 200. Sadly, his tournament ended in similar fashion (minus the win), when he pushed all in with the Hammer and was called by a hand that beat him. Kudos to the Geek though – it was wildly entertaining.

Our table had some of the most horrific beats, which I’m sure will be described by those who endured them. The whole tourney actually was speckled with big hands all over the place. April (Texas)’s exit was particularly harsh.

I don’t really have many hand stories – I won a few decent pots early on, which allowed me to fold through several orbits while my cards were dead. As I started getting down to critical mass, I went on a small rush and took several pots in a row to put myself in good shape relative to the table. Most of my chips came from CJ, but I ended up giving them back to him. See, I can share!

The hand that hurt me the most was somewhat my own doing. I’ve got about 10x the big blind in front of me, which was actually a good sized stack at the table – maybe even the chip lead. I’d won a few pots, and action folded to me with QJ suited. I raised to 4x the big blind,4,000, figuring my hand to be pretty good against only the blinds. (I believe I was on the button for this one). CJ re-raised me all in for another 3,500. The big blind folded, and for more than 2:1 on my money, I called. CJ showed A3 (suited, if I’m not mistaken). The flop brought my Queen, but also brought two 3’s, and my hand didn’t improve. That one hand put quite a hurt on my stack, and ended up being the crippler for me. I never recovered.

I don’t think I could have played it differently. With most players short stacked (heck, even I was practically short stacked at 10xBB) and blinds as large as they were, they were worth stealing. I had a hand that I wouldn’t mind going to battle with, should my steal attempt be called. The alternative, I suppose, would have been to try and limp, which would have given me the option to fold if CJ pushed all in. Still, though, I think I would have called. So, that’s how the cookie crumbles.

8 spots were originally supposed to pay out. Once the final table assembled, however, it was decided that 10 spots would pay out. (I like the decision – it would suck to make it to the final table and leave with nothing). Unfortunately, I finished 11th – on the bubble for the money and the final table.

Sorry, girls! I tried to represent!

I did get a Full Tilt hat outta the deal, which is actually way cooler to me than you might think it is. I like hats. I drive an Eclipse Spyder, so they come in very handy in the summertime.

Congrats to the entire final table, especially CJ and Bill Rini, who provided a dramatic finish to a most excellent event. A toast for Bill Rini, winner of the WPBT Aladdin Classic!

It was an awesome experience, and the poker was excellent – at least from my vantage point. I highly enjoyed it. As Easycure mentioned (and I concur) – this blogger group is a bunch of pretty smart people.

Next up…. Lunch! Burgers. Good – though the restaurant’s description of “tons” of bacon on the bacon cheeseburger was a tad bit misleading. I got to chat with FHWRDH for a bit, which I much enjoyed. Nice to meet you!

Time for the afterparty! AlCan’tHang’s after party at the Salsa place started a bit early, as many bloggers were starving after the tournament. A bunch of people headed to the restaurant to get the party started, and it was going strong by the time I arrived with the burger bunch. I got to meet a bunch of people at the afterparty, including Gracie and Iggy. Poker Prof did a great impersonation of Marcel Luske, which is one of the few photos I managed to snap over the weekend.

After walking in the heat from the Aladdin to the party, I was parched! I ordered a yard-long strawberry margarita. Wow. I had a hard time putting a dent in the thing. It was huge!! I thought it was a sort of optical illusion, with the neck of the glass being so tall and thin, but – really, it took me the entire time we were at the party to drink just down the neck of the glass to the big cup-bowl at the bottom. I did, however, get to carry my first drink on the streets of Las Vegas while heading to our next destination…

Some of us wanted to get back to the gambling, so it was over to the Plaza with BG, Nate (blogger friend and final table finisher, nice job!), Mike (who I just now realized is on_thg!!), and… damn it! I’m missing somebody! Was it Jason? I’m so horrific with names. Next time, this tourney REALLY needs to employ nametags – just until we learn who everybody is. The plan: poker. Or blackjack, or craps.

Mike and I ended up at a $3/6 limit game. I had thought that maybe the play would be of a bit higher quality than the $1/3 game at Excalibur or the $2/4 games I was used to. Ummm, yeah.

As I write this, I’ve relaxed a bit since I first came up to the room here. I’m stuck $100 from that game. The table:

1: Oober-rock, top 5 hands only
2: Appeared to be oober-rock’s husband – seemed a bit tight as well but not quite as much as his wife
3: random guys
4: more random guys (for a few minutes, it was a lucky gentleman who sat down, played his first hand for a 7-high straight flush and won $500 in the high hand contest… and then didn’t tip the dealer. Rude)
5: me
6: ATC with no teeth
7: Pizza man – knows how to play both the game and the player
8: Mike

The action from the random guys and toothless old man was much like a low limit Party Poker table. Any ace, any face, any connectors, any suited, any card with a number on it. Holy crap. I’m not even going to go into details. Toothless man was quite annoying, at one point dropping his unlit cigarette on the floor and then bending over to get it. Instead of saying “excuse me” or asking me to please move out of the way, he sticks his head in my lap. My arm was blocking access to said lap, but still – it was obnoxious, and became even more so when he said, “sorry for sticking my head in your crotch, had to pick up my cigarette.” Sick. I did my best to ignore him, as he dragged pot after pot with junk hands catching miracle flops, ridiculous bottom pairs against the random morons showing down high card…. When sitting with those types, I just remind myself – I will take their money soon enough. Just wait for a hand…

Any drawing hand was fair game at this table, as with 4-5 or more players going to a flop, odds were there to play the suited connectors and Ax/Kx suited hands. Sadly, though, I couldn’t even find those hands in the pocket – let alone big hands. Cold, cold cards, and when I could limp for a cheap flop, the board missed me completely. When it did hit for me, my hand was second best.

I won one ten-high flush hand early on from the blinds. I had 10-5 suited from the big blind and got to see the flop for free. Two diamonds. Even with the flush draw, I wasn’t happy about it being 10- high. Though I kept hearing Gus Hansen in my head – “I’ve got ten high, I have to call…” One of my favorite suckouts of all time (against Antonio Esfandiari). I completed my flush on the river and my bet got raised by Pizza man. I thought, “Shit, he’s got me..” He turned over 9-7 for the lower flush, and I took the pot. Pizza man was a cool guy. He made the same facial gestures as I was thinking whenever toothless man or one of the random guys made a donkey play.

Mike managed to river a flush on me with his Ax suited. Again I was in the blinds – 2-6 I believe was my hand. Something junk like that. My straight filled in on the turn and I bet it, but a third club hit on the river to give Mike the nut flush with his Ax suited. Bye bye, chips!

Another hand I was in with Mike – I had pocket fours out of position. Tried to limp, and Mike raised it. I called. Flop came down all low cards but no fours. I figured, he’s probably got high cards for the raise, so I don’t believe the flop helped him. Regardless, I checked, as they were all overcards to mine. Mike bet, I called. Figured I’d check-call until the board got scary and I thought I was beat. Turn came a blank, and I still thought my hand may be good. Check-bet-call. The river brought an ace, and of course, I figured I was now sufficiently screwed. Too much in the pot at this point – can’t fold for one more bet. Check-bet-call – Mike turns over AQ to beat my four’s. The river was not kind to me today. Maybe I should have been betting if I thought I had the best hand? I thought about it. I thought my hand might be good, but I definitely didn’t think it was a strong hand. I believe the board was paired – maybe I could have scared Mike into dumping his AQ thinking I’d made trips. Maybe not… probably not. A man can’t fold unless you bet into him though – and I didn’t give Mike that chance.

AK suited hit me twice, both times flopping me the nut flush draw, and neither time connecting with me for a pair or flush. The first time, I got to the river and folded to a bet, as I’d missed my hand, and the fold saved me $6. The second time, I folded on the river to constant betting and a preflop raise from Miss Oober Rock, only to find out (via her announcement – I didn’t see the cards) that she, too, had AK and had completely missed.

By that point, I’m down to my last $25 or so. Somewhere around this time, the toothless man lost to Miss Oober Rock when he tried to bluff her out of a pot where she (again) held AK and hit her K (two queens onboard as well). She won the pot, and the toothless man made some comment about that being a “nice hand for a girl.” Oh boy. Here we go. I’m stuck a buy-in resulting mostly from this toothless idiot playing moronic poker, and the sick old man is getting sexist on us. It’s one of my quirks that I get easily offended when it is insinuated that I or another woman cannot do something or do it well because of our gender. I’m no feminist or anything – I will gladly assume the traditional “female” roles in society and relationships, but it’s not because I “can’t” do something. I’ve always been into more stereotypical “guy” things than “girl” things. I worked as a computer repair tech/network tech for a few years, with a bunch of guys. I’m a programmer – a male dominated field. I’ve always been into sports, I play poker. I don’t know why I feel the need to defend the notion that a girl can do whatever she damn well puts her mind to, but I do. So when toothless bastard made that comment, I felt the agitation set in.

With not much money left, I’d mentally resigned myself to “last orbit” status, when all of a sudden I find myself with pocket Aces. I should have raised preflop, or not – preflop raises got no respect at that table and seemed to even encourage more people to call. It didn’t matter. The flop came all low cards with nothing scary for my aces, and I bet them all the way, hoping to at least double up and get the hell off that table.

Too bad the random moron with Q5 offsuit beat me with two pair.

That’s it… time to go back up to the hotel room before I kill somebody. It’s frustrating as all hell to play with morons. I can lose with dignity against people who know how to play the game and respect its nuances. For the idiots, though – I don’t care how much we’re supposed to love them calling down all manner of raises with junk. I don’t love them. I despise them. I’m not talking about the people who are new to the game and just learning – they’re just learning. I’m talking about toothless guy, who really could care less what happens at the table. He was all in at several points, bought in for a minimum buy in. He’s not playing poker because he loves the game, or because he wants to improve his game playing against people he’s unfamiliar with. He’s playing because he’s drunk and gambling away his social security check. Well hell, why not. Might as well be rude and disrespectful too! If he called “time” one more time just to fold his hand, I might have screamed.

My disdain of course is because a hundred bucks, to me, is important. Granted, this is all poker money that I’d won on Full Tilt, and it is intended to be spent in Vegas this weekend, but it just pisses me off to no end to give my money to donkeys who have no respect for the game of poker. They have no clue of how to play the game (and don’t care enough to get a clue), and throw money around like it’s nothing. I guess I shouldn’t be playing if, to me, chips equal money. But I don’t know too many people who enjoy giving their money away to ignorant toothless sick old men who bitch when the dealer doesn’t say “thank you” loud enough for the shitty 50 cent tips he was tossing at them, and then degrade a player for not folding to a bluff because she’s a girl.

Arg!!! Frustrated.

At any rate, I was glad to get to play some poker with Mike, which was cool (even though he whooped my ass!) :) I'll gladly ship my chips to a fellow blogger any day, when the alternative is to donate them to donkeys.

I don’t plan to play anymore poker tonight. April H just called – I’m going to go meet her and Maura for a late night dinner. Not sure what after that – I’m thinking maybe bedtime, and then get up early for some more poker. Aladdin has $50 single table sit n’ goes all day on Sunday. That sounds kick ass to me.

Off I go…..

1:01am June 5, 2005 (Saturday night)

Just got back from dinner with April and Maura. We went to a rib/steak place (I already forgot the name – Tony & Somebody’s?) Good stuff. They had the steak and lobster special, but due to my not eating swimming things, I opted for a BBQ beef sandwich. Tasty! Maura taught me how to play Keno, which I’ve seen all over the place but never knew what it was. After dinner we walked a bit up and down Fremont Street and checked out the light show again. It was different from the one I saw last night. This one was patriotic – an “all American” type theme. Cool.

We came over to the Plaza and I played my usual $20 in the video poker machine – a nightcap, if you will. Nothing doing. That signaled the end of my gambling day. April and Maura headed back across the street to their hotel, and I headed up here where I now sit in my pajamas, typing this tale of today’s adventures.

Down $245 today – counting the Aladdin tourney, poker, and meals. Not a stellar day for me!

Right now, the only thing on Sunday’s agenda is to sleep in and not wake up to an alarm clock. I’m thinking I’d like to play more poker, but I’m not going to put anything in stone. Right now, I’ve got droopy eyes. Time for bed!

I am so NOT a party animal! I think I'm catching a cold, unfortunately. But, I’m sure I’ll be up early Sunday for more poker….

Filed Under:

I've just risen from slumber (still on Vegas time, I think) and am completely engrossed in the fantastic live WSOP event coverage going on at Pauly's WSOP Live Poker Blog and Poker Prof's 2005 World Series of Poker News site. The coverage is so good that I almost feel like I'm there... minus the rest of Vegas.

Moment of silence as I mourn the miles between dear Vegas and I...

Seriously though - if you're jonesing for some poker coverage, Pauly, Prof, and Flipchip are putting up the best stuff around, complete with play-by-play and photos to drool over. They are my new heroes for posting pics of Phil Gordon and Jennifer Harman, two of my favorite people to look at.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Vegas Part 2: Storming the Castle

2:35am Saturday, June 04, 2005 (Friday night)

So, I get on the plane in St. Louis and find a seat. Towards the end of the flight, the attendants were getting a bit goofy. We had a horrendously turbulent flight, so they were trying to lighten the mood. They decided to hold a contest. All interested women would put on lipstick and kiss a napkin. Then the pilots would choose who the best kisser on the plane was.

The winner? A woman named Maudie up in the first couple rows.

I hadn’t participated in the game, but when I heard the name “Maudie” my ears perked up. Wha??? Who??? Could it be??? I don’t think it was “our” Maudie, but… definitely got me anxious to get off the plane to find some bloggers!

I finished reading Harrington on Hold’em, Volume One on the plane from St. Louis to Vegas. Thinking about poker put me in a much better mood. By the time I got to the airport in Vegas, I was ready to have a good time J The airport taxi line didn’t take as long as it looked like it would take, though took longer than I had expected. With the traffic, my ride to the Plaza cost me $30 – OUCH! Forty with tip. Figured I’d start out the good karma ASAP.

In keeping with Randy’s thing with asking all cabbies how they like their job, I chit chatted with my cabbie. He’s been driving for about 10 years, likes it. Once we got on the topic of poker though, it was mostly that. He’s playing in the WSOP main event this year, for his fourth time. Won a satellite to get the buy in. He’s looking forward to it, and said I should definitely check out the Rio, as all the pro’s are out and about. He also asked about my Philadelphia Flyers jersey. Ends up he’s from Lancaster, PA – not far from Philly. Cool. His sister lives in my old Jersey hometown. So we talked about the Walt Whitman bridge, the excellent location of Philly, its history, etc. Good stuff. Good cabbie – and I didn’t fear for my life. That’s why he got the good tip. (Well, that and I’m shooting for some positive mojo out here).

I checked into the Plaza, got to my room, unpacked, and took a shower. I was totally bummed to discover there’s no internet connection in the room. (Well, I think there’s a data port for a phone modem, but of course I’m ill equipped for dialup. I live in the broadband world now). Aside from that, the room is OK. I have to stop staying in nice hotels, because then I expect them all to be nice. This room isn’t bad – it’s a bit worn, but it smells good (non-smoking) and seems clean (though I did find a pubic hair that was definitely not mine in the tub prior to showering… I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that though). I have a feeling the bed is not going to be comfortable, but… the price was right, and I’m not supposed to spend much time in the hotel room, right??

After unpacking and freshening up, I headed downstairs to find food. I was thrilled to discover a Subway, McDonald’s, a deli, and a pizza place, all right in my hotel. Woohoooo! I can eat on the cheap!!! There are restaurants too, but considering I’m alone, no sense wasting a lot of money on fancy meals. I had intended to eat at Subway, but got a hankering for Mickie D’s French fries and couldn’t resists. Sweet – five bucks for dinner!

After my meal fit for a queen (Big Mac n fries), I decided to kill some time and check out Fremont Street. I’d been here briefly with Randy in March and saw the light show, but it was all Nascar themed since the race was in town. Blech. This one was rock n’ roll – Zeppelin, the doors, etc. Cool.

Then I figured it was time to call some bloggers. I hit up the girls first – called April and April. Made contact – cool – and they both were planning to Storm the Castle. Good deal. I thought maybe I’d try and take the city bus to the strip - $5 for a day pass – so I asked at the hotel desk where it comes by. They said, two blocks up and two blocks left. OK… that sounded all fine and good until I realized that I didn’t know how exactly they were counting blocks. I shoulda asked for street names. So much for that idea. I was kinda nervous about taking the bus alone at night for the first time as well. If I do take the bus, I’ll wait and do a daylight trial run. My friend Paddy says the bus is the way to go out here on the cheap. We’ll see….

I cabbed it over to the Strip – we got stuck in traffic, which cost me an extra $5. The total bill was $22. Choke!!! I gave the guy $27. How much are you supposed to tip cabbies anyway? Randy tipped them at least five bucks a ride when we were here in March, but that just seems too much. I mean, $5 tip on a $20 ride is 20% - do they really earn as much as waiters?? Maybe so. I dunno. These cabs are damn expensive though.

This guy wasn’t as cool – he talked politics all the way, and how middle class people are getting screwed by the wealthy (an obvious Democrat). He went on about how California is near filing bankruptcy (can a STATE file bankruptcy? Wtf?) and such things. I’m not much into politics… I mean, I vote for the presidents, and sometimes even the primary elections, but… it’s a whole lotta blah blah blah to me when you get into particular states and senators and bills that are being passed and whatnot. I used to care about that stuff. Not that I don’t care now… it’s just… not something I find time to pay attention to. I know. Bad American I am. Anyway, this guy has been driving a cab for about a year, and doesn’t seem to like it much. I asked if he sees strange people, and he told me about how young couples always try to have sex in his cab. Yikes. ARE WE THERE YET??? Then he got into a whole thing on how people have no respect for him as a cabbie, by smoking in his car and fucking in the backseat.

I see Excalibur pass by on my right and think, thank God. Then he drives past… huh? There must be another way in. Turns out he misheard me, and dropped me off at Luxor. Whatever. Just get me out of this cab! I paid my $27 and took the tram over to Excalibur.

I was about 15 minutes early for the storming of the castle. I hung out for a bit, then got a call from April H. She asked where I was, and I said, “Under the ‘poker room’ sign.” She said, “Well, you must be within sight then….” Pretty creepy talking to someone who can see you when you can’t see them!! I scanned my surroundings looking for someone on a cell phone, and… tada! There she was! Excellent. Let the storming begin!

April and I got on a list for the $1/3 spread limit game. She was a bit nervous, it being her first time at the live tables, but I assured her that Excalibur is a great place for her first time. I really like it there.

As time trickled on, I met a bunch of bloggers. Woohooo! Let’s see – who can I remember? If I’m not mistaken…. I met Jason, CJ, Pauly, and April A, and saw Hank and Iggy from a distance. I had the pleasure of playing for a bit with JP at the tables. The guy to my left at the table I was at might as well have been a blogger – his name was Paul, and he was very cool. He knew the whole story with all of the bloggers by the end of the night. I heard a table get called for Jeremiah and it drove me nuts wondering if it was Human Head, but I didn’t get a chance to get to the other side of the room, and by the time I left, I didn’t see any bald guys with large craniums.

The fishy 1/3 game was fun. Within one orbit I had reads on almost the entire table. We had:

  1. Guy who seemed good but really was a fish – just had big hands early

  2. Girl who played any ace or any face, regardless of kicker

  3. Guy who played any two suited (I mean, ANY)

  4. Guy who played solid hands

  5. Calling station who had no pattern to his hands whatsoever

  6. Me

  7. Paul the cool guy who played decent cards

  8. JP – bloggers rule!

  9. Drunken guy who chose poker over celebrating his wife’s 29th birthday. Very predictable poker player. His drunkenness resulting in tells that were as great as if he’d been broadcasting his hole cards on the big screen TV.

I was catching decent cards, and when I limped with marginal hands, they were hitting. I also lost some huge pots. We had nothing but monster hands at this table. I hit quad 2’s once – and they hit AGAIN on that table, as well as quad Aces, countless boats, and a few flushes. Even the two pairs were running rampant; top pair was no good here. It made for some really fun action.

All in all, I walked away exactly even. So – three hours or so of free entertainment.

April H. was kind enough to offer me a ride back to the hotel in her rental car. Her friend Maura was driving. I very gladly accepted. We rode back downtown and the girls dropped me off at the Plaza.

On my way through the casino, I decided to do a nightcap on a video poker machine. (Damn you, Randy! Not really…. It’s much better than slots!) I stuck twenty bucks in and hoped for a winner. Within 5 minutes or so, I’d doubled my money. I was at $42 or something. So, I decided - $50 or $40 and I walk away. I’d gotten up to $48, and made my new rule - $45 or $50 and I walk. I got back down to $45 and cashed out. $25 profit. Woohoo! Paid for the cab ride at least. (Oh – it was a 25 cent video poker machine, playing max bet).

And here I am…. I’m sleepy as hell, and the alarm clock will be ringing in 5 hours. I guess that’s a good amount of sleep for Vegas, and since I’m sober, it should be good sleep. Tomorrow morning is the Aladdin Classic blogger tourney. Holy crap, and I excited to play poker all weekend and meet everyone else!! I have a feeling this is going to be a good, good time.

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WPBT Vegas - Part I: Friday

3:32PM Friday, June 03, 2005

I’m sitting in gate E6 at the Lambert airport in St. Louis. My connecting flight to Vegas is running a half hour late, according to the Departure screens. Just got here. The flight from Chicago was fine – on time, and I got a window seat with nobody immediately next to me. Nice.

I’m trying to get myself excited, as Las Vegas touchdown is only a few hours away! It’s been a bit of a rough morning. It started off fine. I had a little bit of bad news right before we left for the airport. My friend’s cat died yesterday, and I hadn’t heard the story. Jing had been sick, but he was doing better. Now, you might think, so what? A cat? But this might have been the coolest cat in the world (and I have 3 cats of my own, so to say a cat is cooler than mine… well, you know). So my friend Deb had posted the story of what happened on her blog, which I read right before we left for the airport. It took all of my power not to cry. But, I didn’t, and we went on our way.

Randy and I went to IHOP for breakfast on the way to the airport. I had cream cheese stuffed French toast (holy crap, is it divine!) Then we headed out to Midway Airport in Chicago. I got a bit choked up as Randy dropped me off – not that I don’t want to go to Vegas, but I think mostly that Randy can’t go with me. I wish he was here.

I get inside and check my bags. That went fine. I’d done the internet check-in last night, and got the coveted “A” boarding group. See, I’m flying Southwest Airlines. They don’t assign seats. If you board in the “A” group, you get first pick at seats. I got to the security checkpoint, and a gentleman was walking around announcing that all laptops must be taken out of their cases, all cell phones must go through the x-ray, and that it was recommended that passengers remove their shoes. I’m wearing Converse All-Stars. Canvas and rubber. They’ve never set off a metal detector before (I’ve flown in them before). So, I didn’t take off my shoes.

I get to the front of the line, and the woman at the detector says, “take off your shoes, or else you risk being subjected to additional search.” I started to take my shoes off, but was holding up the line, and didn’t want to inconvenience everybody behind me. So I said, “that’s ok, they’ve never set off a detector before,” and walked through. They didn’t beep. The woman then got all smug with me and said, “alrighty! Your choice! Go stand over there for a search.” I said, “Why, I didn’t beep?” She said, “Doesn’t matter! You refused to take off your shoes,” all proud of herself for catching another one.

Fine. Whatever… I said, “Should I sit down and take off my shoes?” The search area was roped off and I was standing in people’s way. She said, “Nope, just stand there and wait.” OK…. 6 minutes went by, during which time I asked her why nobody said that removing shoes was mandatory. I’d have taken them off while waiting in line if I knew it was mandatory and not contingent on the metal detector beeping (like it was last month when I flew). She said, “Because it’s not mandatory.” I said, “So why am I being searched then?” She said, “Because you refused to take off your shoes.” I said, “They didn’t beep!!” She said, “That doesn’t matter. You refused.” I said, “But you said it’s not mandatory!!” She said, “I can’t force you to take off your shoes. I can only recommend that you do. You refused.”

I DIDN’T REFUSE!!! If it’s required that I either take my shoes off in line, or take them off in the extra screening, that means there’s no way I can go through that checkpoint without taking off my shoes. Therefore, it’s mandatory that I take off my shoes. If I’d have been TOLD that it was mandatory, or there had been a SIGN saying something to that effect, I’d have removed my shoes!!

That wasn’t even the part of this episode that upset me. This snotty woman did the same thing to another guy who was, like me, trying not to hold up the line. He asked similar questions in confusion, and as we waited, he got taken into the screening area immediately, while I stood there, in the way, waiting some more.

Still not upset – wait for it….. here’s what got me. As I stood there worried about my laptop sitting there open on the security belt, too far away for me to do anything should someone choose to attempt to steal it, the security scanning woman finally arrived. She was very nice, and gave me a speech about how if at any time I feel uncomfortable, I can request a private screening. OK…. I don’t know what about taking off my shoes would be uncomfortable, but whatever. She then proceeds to use the metal detector wand on me. Nothing unusual. Until she gets to my pockets. The rivets on my jeans set off the detector, and I pulled my pockets inside out to show there was nothing in them. My back pockets, however, cannot be turned inside out, and she had to stick her hands down my pockets – “with the backside” of her hands, of course, so it should be perfectly acceptable. Alright…. Weird but whatever. Then we get to the front of my body. The underwire in my bra set off the detector. She asked if I was wearing an underwire bra, and I said yes. She proceeded to feel me up under my breasts to verify that it was my bra. Now I see why she suggested a private screening! I’m standing in a glass room wide open to all of the passengers passing through the security checkpoint, and this woman is fondling my chest – “with the backside” of her hand, of course. If that wasn’t bad enough, then comes my jeans again. I had to UNZIP my pants in front of everybody for this woman to examine the front button on my jeans.

At this point, I’m feeling completely violated, and watching the snotty woman from the checkpoint line snicker at people was just the last straw. Next thing you know, as I’m waiting for the second woman to come back with my WALLET and shoes (which required x-ray), I had tears streaming down my face. The woman asked if I was OK, and I told her I was fine, just upset about leaving somebody behind (which was part of it), but I was just shaken up by the whole thing. I know, stupid, but I couldn’t help it. I try my very best to respect people and treat them well, and that first woman was just completely awful. She was enjoying this whole process of tricking people into having to go through this extra search.

Sometimes, people suck.

So I’m not feeling very happy right now, though I’ve gotten over the crying and am probably being a little too sensitive here. I took a nap on the flight from Chicago to St. Louis, and plan to do some reading on this last leg of the flight.

Hopefully, I can cheer myself up in time for landing in Vegas!

Time to get in line for boarding….

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Home is SO not Vegas.

Flight got in at 1am this morning, but due to odd Vegas hours, I was up till 4am. Slept a good 11 hours, nursing this insane cold I caught in Vegas. I'm almost positive I caught it on the plane, on the way there.

I have written up the first 2 days of my trip report (wrote them on the laptop in Vegas), but am so tired that even getting the laptop out to retrieve and post them is a chore. I think I will crash out tonight (much like vegetable), and try and get something substantial posted tomorrow.

The trip was awesome. It was way too short - I didn't get to hang out with even half the people I'd wanted to. Not enough time. I'm already counting the days till the next blogger bash. (When is it?)

Off to crash. More to come.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I can't take this. Every time I hit Bloglines, there are more Vegas posts. Just now, I put a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner, too lazy to cook anything substantial for myself. After unwrapping the thing and tossing it in the oven, I scurried over to the fridge to grab a can of pop.

And saw the box from the leftovers of the ginormous Aurelio's pan pizza that Randy and I ordered last night.

But the frozen pizza is already in the oven! Ahhh!

I am dumb. Stupid in the brain because Vegas is merely days away! Not even two days - I'll be leaving my house in 36 hours.

HOLY CRAP!!! Whhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Thank goodness I bought in shortstacked....

Got an hour or so to kill before I have to go to work, so figured I'd nurse my bankroll a bit. Play some oober-tight, double-on-the-monster-hands poker.

Full Tilt Poker. Two tables. $10 on each.

Same time. TT on one, on the button with 7 limpers. I raise it 8xbb. Pretty big raise - much larger than my usual, but I want to clear this field and go to war with my ten's. I'm feeling them. Sometimes I'll just treat them like a baby pair and limp, flop a set or drop them. But I was feeling them. Three people come to the flop. All undercards, no flush draw, and only a ridiculously odd straight draw which I doubt anyone would call a raise for (even these fish). I bet out the pot. Two callers. Turn, another blank. I put the one guy all in. One drops out, other guy calls. He turned a two for 3 of a kind to beat my tens.

Isn't there some guideline about calling bets preflop with small pocket pairs? If the raise is less than 5% of your stack, call it. If it's 5-10%, maybe. More than 10%, drop it. I think SirF gave me that nugget, and it has worked well for me. A raise of $2 was 20% of this guy's stack. 20% on a pair of twos, and a pot-sized bet call after that. Maybe he figured that raggedy flop didn't help me, but - hello, I raised preflop - any chance I'm holding a higher pocket pair?

I need to remember that most of these morons know nothing about poker. I give them too much credit most of the time.

On my other table - same time as the ten's hand, I get pocket Kings. The guy to my right is a known opponent - very loose/aggressive, and very big on bluffing, in the sense that he'll attack any flop with a scare card regardless of what he's holding. Most of the time he shows these bluffs, and I have notes on every one of them. I took stats one day on how often he raises preflop, and it was near 70% of all hands - so not only is he loose, but he's raising all his junk. Well, I'm going to kick his ass on this one.

He raises 6xBB preflop. I re-raise to 12xBB ($6). He calls, as does one other person. I push all in on the flop, which contains two queens. I just finished reading some stuff in Harrington's book about how flops with two of the same face card against one opponent are less scary than flops with unmatched face cards. I patted myself on the back, as I had been thinking that myself, but never read anything to confirm it. Ya know - there are 6 outstanding cards to match a KQ, for example, whereas there are only 2 other queens in the deck. So I'm not afraid of that flop. What's the chances either of these two jokers having one of the two available queens? What I'm really afraid of is the third guy in the pot, fearing I've put myself up against Aces. But - also in Harrington's chapter that I read last night, you can't live in fear of being up against pocket Aces when you have kings. One in 24 times when you hold kings, someone else will hold aces, but those are pretty crappy odds to fear, so play your kings like they're good.

I got myself all in on that flop, and both aggro and third guy call. Aggro actually re-raised the third guy all in, and he called. WTF?

Figures. Aggro had AQ offsuit. Third guy unfortunately had pocket ten's and lost all his chips. He must have been thinking the same thing as me.

Being a 58% favorite preflop against this field, I thought my re-raise preflop was the right move. Sometimes I'll just smooth-call a big raise like that, trying to encourage action, but I wanted aggro's money, and I knew there was no chance in hell he'd fold. I'd been hoping the other guy would fold. Of course, I didn't know what my opponents had at the time, but I put aggro on Ax at best (I've seen him raise 6xbb with 2-4 suited under the gun, for shit's sake), and after the flop, figured third guy for a big pair (hopefully not aces). So I knew my hand wasn't a lock to win if 5 cards came down the board. I tried to push them out and take it right there. Maybe I should have tossed in my extra $4 and went all in.

Or, maybe if I weren't playing shortstacked, I could have pushed all in twice as much money, and that would have pushed people out.

Or, maybe they're all donkeys who've never read an ounce of poker theory in their lives, and weren't going anywhere no matter how much I bet.

I don't fault the ten's guy, actually - I might have done the same thing, considering aggro was pushing with any two cards, and I was a shortstacked opponent. And hell - is putting 12x the big blind into a pot preflop a bad move with AQo? I say yes, as that hand is so easily dominated to any hand that a player would re-raise with preflop. But, that's conservative "me" talking, and to aggro, AQo must look like the nuts compared to 2-4s and K4o.

AAAAHHHHHHRRRRRRGGGGGGG!!!!! That's the frustrating part of these low limits. It's not that you don't find donkeys at higher limits; from what my more advanced poker brethren say, there are donkeys at all levels. But, I think the concentration of donkeys per table is much less potent at the higher levels, whereas at these low levels you can't go two hands without bumping into a jackass.

I swear - despite all of the talk that over time, you will walk away with the donkey's money, I can't help thinking that I enjoy playing poker against GOOD players much more than against donkeys. I'd much rather lose to someone who outplayed me than someone who was donking around in a pot they shouldn't have been in and got lucky. When you put time and effort into learning the theory and math behind this game, it's frustrating to play against those who are ignorant to that art. Sure, math is scientific, but the human component of manipulating both the math and the players is an art. There's nothing artistic about beating a table hand after hand with brute force and getting lucky. Luck in itself can look like art, and I suppose you could call a lucky win artistic if you've set up the play with the hopes of getting lucky - a bet with a nut flush draw and a tricky play on the end to extract chips when you hit it... that is art, when you pull it off without it backfiring.

So how do you find a table with an appropriate poker IQ for your tastes? The closest thing I can come to is looking at the percentage of players that go to a flop. Less than 25% is usually too tight (too smart?) for me to make any money. 30-35% is my sweet spot. Decently tight players with a couple fishes. The table I lost with my Kings with was 40%. A little high for my taste, but I've had some great wins at fishy 45%-ish tables.

See - I was just going to write, "I guess it's just bad luck today" but that's the thing; it wasn't!!! I don't think I misplayed my hands, particularly the kings. I considered what my opponents had, and made my plays accordingly, and was right. (Then came the bad luck). I probably should have dumped my ten's in the first hand fearing a larger pocket pair, but I've learned to grit my teeth and fight that urge when up against known fish. It's just too damn often that they show down busted draws, third pair, etc. I thought my ten's were good. They were, until the turn, and by then I was committed to that pot anyway.

Arg. Frustrating. You have NO idea how I am looking forward to the Aladdin tournament, if only to play some REAL poker - as "real" as it gets for my levels, anyway.

Down to $35 in Full Tilt. Donkeys ate my bankroll.

As bloggers start flying out of their respective hometowns for Vegas, I can't help but get butterflies in my tummy. Good butterflies, of course! It sure is a bit daunting though to hop a plane and head out to Vegas to meet a bunch of people who are essentially strangers to me. Just the "going to Vegas alone" bit freaks me out more than a little. Last year, I remember reading Maudie's blog about how she was nervous to do the same thing. It was that courage, and the trip reports that followed, that inspired me to start this here blog of my own. That Maudie girl is one of my poker blogging heroes! Here's hoping my adventure has a happy ending as well.

After reading the various Vegas agendas out on the web, I'm so mad that I didn't book my trip for Thursday instead of Friday (though Thursday night I'll be kicking off my summer with my first of 5 planned Dave Matthews Band shows with Randy). I really want to go to Thursday night's sushi soiree (even though I don't eat things that swim or swam or live with things that swim). I'm sure Felicia is a most excellent hostess, and I'd like to meet her. Hopefully at some point Friday or Saturday I will.

I don't know that I have an agenda really - besides the WPBT events, that is. Since I'm travelling solo, my agenda will largely depend on:

1. Who I meet on Friday and Saturday
2. Who, after meeting me, is willing to be seen in public with me

I don't know - I may be spending Sunday and Monday playing poker all by myself in a corner somewhere! That might be my greatest fear - though I can easily kill entire days playing poker, so it's not the worst fate I could imagine. Here's as much of an agenda as I've got:

5:30pm Friday - Arrive in Vegas. Get my bags.

6:00pm Friday - Find a cab to take me to the Plaza. I've never hailed a cab by myself before. I walked to and from school in downtown Chicago 14 blocks from the train in all sorts of nasty weather for fear of hailing a cab by myself. At least at the airport they all kinda line up for ya....

6:30pm Friday - Check into the Plaza. I'll probably be too chicken to try bribing the desk clerk with a 20-fin for a room upgrade. Just call me wussy. It's just me, anyway - no need to get fancy.

6:35pm Friday - Freshen up. Check out the internet connection. Unpack. Avoid puking from sheer excitement and nervousness.

7:00pm - 9:45pm - I don't know!!! Call somebody? Hope somebody calls me? Head to Excaliber to await the Storming of the Castle?

10:00pm Friday - Storm the Castle! Meet some bloggers. Yay!

9:30am - Head to Aladdin for the WPBT tourney.

10:05am - Commiserate with whoever went out first right before me.

10:05am - 5:00pm - ???? Honestly, hoping to play at least a couple hours in the tourney! Other than that, no plans. Hang with bloggers?

5:00pm - AlCan'tHang's afterparty at LaSalsa Cantina

Sunday - ??? No agenda. Play poker! Hopefully with some bloggers! Maybe some craps :)

Monday - ??? Ditto. I'll probably head to the airport around 5pm for my 7:40pm flight back to Chitown.

Those are my plans!! What little of them I actually have, anyway.

You've all got the Spreadsheet of Monstrosity from CJ - feel free to call me, or I'll see ya at the Castle!

In other news.... I managed to squeak my way from $20 to $55 on Full Tilt today. Cashed in a couple $5 SnG's (though no first place finishes - one third, two second), and won a few bucks playing short-stacked at the $25NL ring tables. I am reminded again what an absolute slave to luck and variance we are when playing with scared money on a tight bankroll. Seriously - this morning when I sat down to the one $5 SnG and $10 on the ring game, that was literally almost my entire "bankroll." I don't think I really felt comfortable sitting down to play until I hit the point where a sit-n-go and a ring game max buy in were no more than 1/6 or less of my bankroll. That way, a bad session isn't disastrous; it's merely disappointing.

My goal, though, is to rebuild this $50 into my actual bankroll without having to redeposit. I'm still living off that initial $100 I put in way back in March. When I cashed out my Vegas money, I left myself with $200, which isn't a whole lot, and variance bit me in the ass. That's OK though, because luck was VERY good to me over that stretch between March and now, and paid for my Vegas trip, so I'm not complaining in the least. If I come back from Vegas with any money left, it'll go right back into my online bankroll, since that's where it came from.

Ahhh well. Off I go. Anticipation is eating me alive!!!