Saturday, June 26, 2010

Champagne Tuesdays and the $1.6 million dollar man

I knew Scott Fishman hosted a mixed game at the Hard Rock Casino so I made my way there. If the game wasn't running I would play NL holdem like the rest of Vegas. No Fishman game, but there was game starting that was a mix of NL hold em and Pot Limit Omaha. I'm in. Give me any mix at this point, and I actually wanted to play some live Pot Limit Omaha.

It was immediately clear to me that these people knew each other. My 'senses' were heightened and I tried to get a read as quickly as possible. I didn't enjoy the fact that most of the table were 'younger folks', but I was ready play my best.

Champagne and Strawberries? 4 people at the table were drinking this. I decided I didn't care who knew who, I had to see what unfolded amongst a table of champagne and strawberries drinkers. Dan introduced himself to me and it turns out that he was the host of the game and has a real poker blog Pokerati. This was usually a media game, but his fellow media members failed to show, or grew tired of waiting to get a seat.

Champagne and Strawberries? Normally at such a sloppy and slow game as what was transpiring, I would be incredibly tilted and angry. On the contrary though. It was the funnest game I played in Vegas. The other 2 locals were drinking and carrying on but never faltered. They talked and talked but never belittled anyone and the drunk one was pretty funny. They started playing a prop game 'name the band' which added to the chaos. What with Rex running as fast as he could in and out to the lobby to confirm questionable bands/answers. Every douche bag band that came on during my turn that I didn't know, I just said Switchfoot. Lots of fun. Still, these guys never faltered. This is what they do. They live here and are young and drunk and living the Vegas life. I was somewhat jealous, but not enough to drink Champagne and Strawberries.

So a guy in these clown pants shows up to the game. The locals new him, and I thought I recognized him. After a while I hear his name was Tom, so I finally asked Dan what his last name was. Yep, that's what I thought. The 2007 WSOP player of the year is playing in my $1/$2 no limit hold em-pot limit omaha game. Mr. $1.6 million dollar man. I immediately thought about getting up, but, the competitor in me wanted to stay put. Measure up, learn a few tricks, etc. What's one more pro at the table anyhow?

I didn't tangle with him in one pot. Not out of fear, it just never happened. I wasn't really looking to get into a post flop pissing contest with him, mind you, but still, I never battled him. As the night wore on I slipped out with a winning session as they argued about the myriad of prop bets being thrown around...



Mount Charleston

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tournament Time. Day of.

I woke up fairly early and could not decide what to do. I didn't want any part of going to a casino and playing poker before I played poker. What I did want to do was go out to the desert. At this point I was addicted. I didn't want to miss the start of my WSOP debut, but I had to do something. Ghost town. Okay, I'm there. Goodsprings, Nevada.

I pulled up to a Hells Angels photo shoot and got a quick shot before they pulled a knife on me. Just kidding. Actually, on my way out of town you can see the picture of Misses Hells Angels. I got a booming laugh out of her as the real photographer demanded that she not look at my camera. I put the pedal through the yaris' floor and made for the Rio.

The anticipation wasn't as grueling as I thought it would be, I was just bored and ready to start. I drifted from Starbucks where I saw many a 'known player' to the tournament room and tried to care about the 10k Omaha 8 final table, but if watching poker on tv is mind numbing, well, live is just plain horrible. I introduced myself to Micon as I am a member of his site and he was as cool as could be.

I was a little nervous to be one of the first ones hovering around the tournament area (clearly a rookie move) but I saw a dealer that I sat next to in the Venetian HORSE game who seemed to be a nice guy so I talked him up. Then as I took my seat I noticed a guy at the next table over who was the guy that fell over in his chair at the Golden Nugget game! It just so happened that I was sitting next to him at that game as well, so I went over and made sure he was strapped in, etc. or made some lame joke about falling out of his seat. He was cool as well. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised that almost every single person at my starting table was fairly cool in their own right. At least no douche bags anyways. Later on a young Italian hot shot ruined the vibe, but overall not a bad mix of personalities. The main pro at our table was Shawn Rice who couldn't have been nicer. I needled him about the Ultimate Bet gear that he was wearing as he seemed like such a nice dude, representing such a shady site. He smirked and gave a vote of confidence for security. I left it at that.

The Play.

There were no monster exciting hands that a no limit tournament would offer. I dragged a few pots to keep me at average with the field coming back from the dinner break. I was good with that, but after dinner, I started bleeding chips in 2 particular hands. I stayed around too long, looking for a card, but alas, the 8 never fell for me. I played as well as I could after the blood, but there was nothing I could do at that point. The antes were eating me up and I really didn't catch any cards to keep me alive. In fact, I never caught one great hand the whole day. But, the 2 hands I stuck around in out of spite were clearly the leak. Next year.

Although there were no exciting hands, I am slow playing at how much fun I had. I wanted to stick around so goddamn bad. I can't wait to get back next year. I plan on playing a few tournaments, and vow to cash. I am so motivated and felt like I belonged there.



Friday, June 18, 2010

Goodbye HORSE

I went to Vegas with the intention of avoiding no limit cash games, because I thought I would be in the land of mixed games. Well, I was, but my bankroll is not up to snuff to play what I exactly want. So the Venetian has low/mid limit HORSE games which is great, but they are the only ones in town spreading this game, so the wait list is ridiculously long. This time I played Omaha 8 or better for about two hours before I was called on, and by that time I was ready to go to bed. I was down and continued to play because how many chances do I get to play in a live HORSE game? Not a good idea. This evening would be my only losing session of the trip. Well not true, I did lose a buy-in after I busted out of the Stud 8 tournament, but I'll get to that in a bit.

More Valley of Fire and back to the Rio

Back to business...

Day 2 Valley of Fire

If I was impressed by Red Rock, I was in complete awe of the Valley of Fire.

This little guy was my favorite catch of the entire trip! He was so confident that I could not see him. Heh.

more to come from Valley of Fire...

More from Red Rock Canyon

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Vegas: I'm goin' out west where they'll appreciate me.

After white knuckling a direct flight to Vegas I immediately went to Red Rock Canyon. I was just as excited to explore the desert for the first time as I was to play my in first WSOP event. I immediately fell in love. I was so impressed with the textures, colors and complete quietness of the place.

After Red Rock Canyon I eventually made my way to the Rio and bought in for the Stud 8 tournament. I drifted around the place and saw some familiar faces, but the games I was after were too high. I wanted to get into the $50/$100 Stud 8 cash game, but could not justify those stakes right now. My goal for next year is to haunt that game.
So, the Venetian is where it's at these days and yes, finally, my first live HORSE (Limit hold em, Omaha 8 or better, Razz, Stud, Stud 8 or better)game. I have been dying, just dying to play a live mixed game. One problem: the waiting list. I had to play no limit for about 1 1/2 hours before I ever got into the HORSE game. 3 buy ins later...Not going well, but I started coming back when my name was called for HORSE.
My strengths are in live games, however, I have turned to online because of the variety of games I play now, and just being bored with no limit. I have not played live in about 6 months which is a long time as I was going 1 to 2 times a week prior to this drought. Point being, I better get my act together before I spew everything away.
I ran incredibly well in HORSE and made a few plays to wind up well in the black for the evening. I thought I would be going to The Venetian to play HORSE every day from that point forward, but that would not be the case at all...(Still editing and formatting this goddamn thing)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Uncle Les and the Avett Brothers

Little did I know that I would be swooning in adoration at the feet of Les Claypool at Lewiston, Artpark, but lo! there I was like a little girl leaning against the stage, earplugs in, right in front of the speakers, wishing like hell my camera was in hand.

A wonderful soul came up to us after the Avett Bros. played and gave us what said to be orchestra 2nd row tickets! Sweet. I have not kept track of anything Les has done since Primus but I was excited to what he was up to and I couldn't have been more impressed. Top notch vibraphone and cello player in his band and they fuckin' rocked. Ol' Les was highsteppin' around like a praying mantis from outer space and at times adorned a monkey mask and a pig mask. He played some sort of stick bass that looked like a sickle, pumped it like a water well to change the notes, and and hit it with a drum stick. Primus touring later this summer and am going to try like hell to get there.

Dear Avett Bros.,

It's ok. I understand that bands progress, tastes change/evolve and people age. I did NOT think it was cute when I showed up to your show prior to the release of I Love and You and saw a drum set on stage, a piano, and an Asian cello player singing all of your lyrics. I actually hated it and wanted to go back in time to the 3 of you shucking with the audience, tuning instruments every half of a song, screaming every one of songs, etc.

But now the ballads flow, the pop hooks are tighter and the fans are showing up. Which is good. You deserve the recognition, the loot and the bigger venues. I begrudgingly concede. It looks like you may have figured out the new live show. A Little of this and a little of that. I was really impressed at the evolution of your new sound compared to the very early tour of your 'Rick Rubin' era.

Just don't add a flute player please.

Publish Post

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

WSOP 2010

Someone dropped the immoral card in regard to gambling today. He openly told me how shocked he was to hear that in the past I may have aspired to be a professional gambler. This he said with a smile on his face, but still, he never would have thought. Said person is very high on the food chain, if you know what I mean? Another higher up said he used the word immoral and I hate that attachment to poker. Self worth and identity are called into question here and it's something I have grappled with ever since I got back into the game. Even before I quit-when I was going to move to Vegas someone said I was flushing my life down the toilet. It made me feel small.

I have had conversations ad nauseam with people near to me whom I've had to 'convince' that I am going to play again and I am going to be responsible, not let it affect my everyday life, etc. I waved my 'life progress' in their faces: "See how strong I am? See how far I have come? See my discipline?" I felt so strongly about the decision I was willing to walk away from arguably the most important person in my life at the time. And essentially I did.

Fast forward over 2 years, the present. I am going to the WSOP. Holy shit. But hold on! The immoral thing. Again, I feel a little defensive about the issue and have been hesitant about unleashing this at work, but I'm going to Vegas for vacation. I have cultivated work relationships that promote honesty and this is my life, so fuck it. After all the name of this blog is The Gambling Librarian. I have been sweating potential future employers doing their research and finding this little blog, and have struggled with it. I want a job-that's the point. I don't want to jeopardize future employment because they may think it's immoral or sketchy. I play poker for money. I don't bet on sports or play casino floor games such as black jack, roulette, craps, etc. I play poker to quench my competitive thirst.

I plan on continuing this thread b/c there is much more to be said, but I need sleep because I am responsible and love my job ;)

Desert bound,