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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Vegas Trip Report: Day 5

Monday (last day):

12pm-2pm: Binion's Horshoe and Casino - The horseshoe has only been re-opened for a few weeks since the new ownership took over. They're still holding tourney's to get into the World Series. Paul and I decide to buy in and give it a shot. At first, there was only one table and I decided to take a pass b/c I didn't want to play against my brother. That would suck. How could we play against each other for the same seat in this double shootout tourney? It was better to pass and wait for another table. I'd rather deal with the idea of playing my brother if we both make it to the final table. That would be a good problem to have in the future but not now. I wait while Paul plays until another table is opened. I buy in for $125 and play against 9 other WSoP wannabe's.
Seat 1: Old guy with glasses
Seat 2: Arab looking guy
Seat 3: Me
Seat 4: Red neck
Seat 5: Old guy plaid shirt
Seat 6: Dark hair guy
Seat 7: Old farmer joe
Seat 8: Serial killer
Seat 9: Meatloaf
Seat 10: Bald guy with beard
I played real tight. My first goal was to watch everyone play hands. I did not want to get knocked out first. I noticed quickly which players were the loose new comers and which players were the seasoned tourney players. The tourney newcomers were limping in in EP. You need to raise or fold in EP during no limit tourneys. These guys were seat 2, 6, and of course 9 (the Meatloaf looking guy in shorts). These fools had all their limps either raised out by LP bettors or they called and lost with crappy hands like J-2 offsuit. They all got bounced very quickly. I think I got the right table! The seasoned tourney players were not as good as they would lead you to believe. All they know is position raising. Position is critical but I picked up quick on their tells. I knew when they had something and I knew when they were just bluffing and position raising because there were only a few callers before them. Most fell for it everytime. The position raiser guys were in seats 1,5, 7, 8. The one thing they had in common was that they were all older than 60 yrs. Seat 1 was the only guy that was a good player and much better than the other position raisers. 10 and 4 were polar opposite players. 10 was a good player. He had all aspects of no limit tourney playing down. He was tight when he needed to be and loose and lucky when the time was appropriate. 4 was a wild man. Loose as hell. He called so many early preflop raises it wasn't funny. This redneck knew how to fish! He only survived later than the other EP limpers because he rivered a few hands and won some big pots he shouldn't have.

I watched everyone's betting patterns and noticed some holes so I raised three times the BB in late position preflop with pocket 99s. Bold move but there was only the blinds left. I knew the SB blind had no hand because of the way he was twirling his tooth pick. It was different than what he did most of the other times. I also noticed he twirled it differently when he won with KK earlier. Plus it didn't hurt that I heard him mutter under his breath when he looked at his shitty down cards. As suspected, the red neck folded. The guy in the BB called. He limped in and didn't reraise me. He's one of the position raiser. Was he slow playing something good? Or was he limping in because he had something like A-J or J-10. I figured he had no pairs and had just overcards by the way he was squirmming after the flop hit. It was 10-7-2. He bet less than half his stack. Interesting move? Why not all-in with so few chips left? I raised him twice his bet to see how serious he was. He reraised me so he was all in. Everyone at the table looked right at me. This old guy came over the top of me. Was he slow playing me? I took my time before I made a move. Fold or call. He was all in. If I lose this hand, I'll be hurting bad. I'd be really short stacked. I realized that he wouldn't have limped in with shit and he would've raised with a pair since he's a big position raiser. I see him getting impatient at the amount of time I'm taking. he seems too anxious and antsy for an old guy. Maybe I was pulling a Phil Hellmuth on him and just pissing him off. I was counting my chips and stacking them while deciding on whether to fold or call. I believe he has K-Q or A-J right now. I decided to call this clown and hope that no more overcards come out. The 10 was scary enough but this guy stunk of no pairs. I say call and throw my chips in the pot. He says "shit" and I know without even looking that i'm in good shape. He has A-J offsuit. I got lucky and read him right. I just hope all low cards come out on the turn and river. Everyone is shocked at the balls I had to call with 99 and an overcard on the bord. Will this guy outdraw me? He doesn't even stay to watch. He walked away as soon as I flipped over the pocket pairs. A 7 and a 3 come out and I win.

I won some more pots as the levels kept increasing. I flopped a straight twice and also flopped a set of QQQ and JJJ. As soon as I took the chip lead at my table . . . I look up at the side rail and I see Paul. He just finished in 4th place he says and flashes the thumbs up sign to me. Now comes the hand that hurts. I folded a hand I wish I had played after the flop hit. I was in the chip lead but seat 10 and 8 were almost even with me. I had Q-10 d in the BB. Seat 8 never bet out the entire tourney. He was a position raiser. I felt like he had AA or KK. He was second to act and raised the blinds preflop all-in. Wow. Seat 10 looked at me with that look of I'm calling because I got some good shit. He raised all-in with slightly more chips than seat 8. Wow, what to do? Q-10 suited is good shorthanded but all I could think was Robert Varkonyi sucks!!! My tight ass came into play here when it shouldn't have and I folded. Where were my balls then? I was bullied out of this pot and knew it as soon as I folded. The flop hit Q-4-10. I would've flopped top two pair. Fuck, fuck, fuck! 6 and 3 come out next. Seat 10 knocks out seat 8. The winning hand was K-6 suited versus J-8 suited. A pair of 6's won. That sucks and that's the hand I still lose sleep over. That made the quad 5's I missed out on a few days ago disappear from my mind. I would have tripled up and had a huge lead on the remaining players. I could've bullied the others into submission. Unfortunately seat 10 did that and won. I finished in 3rd place. Red neck got 2nd (lucky guy - obviously likes to fish). I find out that the guy in seat 10 just checked into Binion's a few hours ago and decided to skip lunch and play in this tourney. Lucky him, huh! He got to advance in the WSoP satellite because I folded that Q-10d. I wish he was a little more hungry earlier so he wouldn't have played. Oh well. Maybe next time!

I almost forgot to mention how I got knocked out. Well, there was a lot of battling going on when there was 4 players left. But soon there was three of us left. Seat 10, 4, and me were left. I'm shocked that seat 4 is still playing. He was not that good. I guess everyone is shocked to see me still playing since I just sat back the first few levels and waited until the right time to strike. I was second in chips at this point. I lost a big hand when my straight lost to a higher one on the river. I was now shortstacked and in 3rd place barely hanging on. I knew it was time to start doubling up. I raised two hands preflop and stole some blinds but then I got crap the next few hands and the blinds started to eat me away. I had to go all-in on the next hand. It was 8-9 offsuit in the BB. I could think of better starting hands! The button (seat 4) calls and limps in while seat 10 folds his SB. I decided to check my BB even though i should've just gone all-in. I have no clue why. I messed up but it didn't matter. The flop was Q-A-Q. I raised all-in (finally) and the red neck pauses for a few seconds and says call. He soon follows with a coy "I'm sorry to do this to ya" in his red neckese drawl . . . he flips over AA. He flopped A's full. Fuck. I lost and I'm done. 3rd place and nothing to show. it was a winner takes all and advances to the final table of the double shootout. So I missed out on a bigger shot at the WSoP. that does suck but I had fun playing at Binion's. It was my first time there and I had a blast even though I made a few mistakes. Stacking chips from winning pots at Binion's was a great feeling. It was an awesome experience but it was time to head over to the Bellagio to check out the WPT Championships and meet the NYC Poker Babe who was covering the event. By the way, Paul remembered to get some souveniers from Binnons. We got a few $1 poker chips to take home.

2:20pm-5pm The Bellagio and the WPT. Where's Shana Hiatt when I need her???? The WPT event was cool. I never get excited when I see famous people. Riding the subways in NYC gives me the opportunity to see some famous athletes and actors, as well as others. I never get excited or ask for an autograph because who cares. They are regular people. I don't need to inflate their egos more than it already is, right? Fuck them. So iIusually ignore them and say, "Hi!" at best. But that's it. Nothing else. Paul and I walked over to the poker room and saw every poker pro you could think of. I've seen them on TV but in person was unbelieveable. I was in awe for once. Doyle Brunson was there, so was Scotty Nguyen, Jen Harmon, Jesus, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Devilfish, Mel Judah, TJ Cloutier, Phil Laak (aka the Unabomber), Hoyt Corkins, Sam Grizzle, Ron Rose, Howard Lederer, Gus Hanson, Meng the Master, Clonie Gowan, Dan Harrington, and everyone else you've seen or heard of (I know I'm leaving out a ton of people). Hollywood notables were Gabe Kaplan, Ben Affleck, and James Woods. There were others but they are not worth mentioning. I was truly excited. I was waiting for Vince Van Patten to fall down drunk somewhere, anywhere, as long as shana was nearby but no luck. Not even a Mike Sexton sighting. I guess they're just getting loaded somewhere waiting for the final table.

The highlight of the WPT event was getting to meet Scotty Nguyen. He was playing in the actual poker room because the tourney was over flowing so they had to use real game tables. I was leaning over the wall looking into the room and sitting a foot away from me was Scotty Nguyen. Someone asked him for a picture while he was playing a hand. He politely said one minute and folded his hand. He got up and looked at me and I said, "What's up Scotty?"

He gave me a hi five and said, "What's up guy?!"

He had a huge smile and then shook my hand and said, "How's it going big man!?"

I said, "Great! How bout you?"

"Awesome, baby!" he said and then he went over to the tourists and took a photo with them. How crappy is this? I lug my digital camcorder all the way out to Vgas and I leave it in my room. I could have close up footage of the pros and a Scotty Nguyen conversation. I blew it. Anyway, I run over and tell my brother what just happened. I was pumped. I've never been so excited to meet someone. I went back to the same area and was smoking a cigarette thinking about how I should have brought my camera to the Bellagio and then all of a sudden I get this slap on my shoulder and it's Scotty Nguyen again. He's got his cell phone in hand and says, "What's up?" to me again and gives me a thumbs up! Paul comes over shortly and Scotty Nguyen comes over again. I guess he was more interested in taking breaks than playing hands early on in day 1 of the tourney. He says hi to Paul. We formally introduce each other and he shakes both our hands with a huge smile. He says, "Just win baby!!"

We say the same thing back. It was all we could think of to say. How dorky? Oh well. He was genuinally excited to meet us. Scotty is a crazy man. I figured if Scotty touched me several times today . . . it's time to hit the tables. He had to bring some luck, right?

6-9:30pm: Last hands of poker. Will Scotty bring me and Paul luck? Will Scotty meeting us bring him any luck? The answer is no for everyone not named Paul. My brother was the only one who played well after this historic meeting of great poker players. I almost lost my shirt. I lost half my buy in. Paul kicked ass and Scotty Nguyen got bounced from the WPT farely early. Gabe Kaplan and Ben Affleck played better than Scotty. Who jinxed who? Me or Scotty? Regardless, I had a great time, I really can not wait until I go back to vegas. Foxwoods and AC just doesn't compare. A poker dealer at the Excalibur asked me why I quit smoking and started up again as soon as I landed in Vegas. She thought I was dumb as shit. She might be right. Well, she is right. My response was as cheesy as my Scotty Nguyen comeback. I asked her if she watched TV at all? She said of course I do. I told her that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Time to go to the airport and go back to NYC. Think monster pots!

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Vegas Trip Report: Day 4


2:15pm-10pm: Paul and I played a session at the same time for the first time since the Phish concerts began on Thusday. We were at different tables though. When I sat down at the table it was like that scene in Rounders. I had played late night poker with a majority of the players at the table. It was cool because I knew how they played but it was also bad because I knew some of them were pretty good and since I was looking to take some loose money, I knew this was going to be a little more challenging considering all of us were vying for the same fish. I was in store for an interesting session, one I will never forget. I call it the "Mel Judah chip and a chair rally". Mel Judah won this WPT event severely short stacked and beat Paul Phillips for the title. Mel had a nice run and overcame some huge obstacles. I had the same experience but I think my run was slightly more impressive since I was playing a low limit game. You guessed it . . $2-6 at the Excalibur.

I was getting bad beat after bad beat all day long. Even some Brett hull look-a-like beat me like a dog. What made losing to this guy more painful was that he was too lazy or just too cool to stack his chips. He just left them in a pile in front of him. "Why did I even get up in the morning?" was my thought. I was beginning to doubt my play and my mental game was starting to suffer. I couldn't get that pocket 55 hand I lost a few days earlier out of my mind because that hand caused me to go on tilt. Should I quit and walk away? Am I that degenerate gambler I was talking about? As the days went by, people were starting to ask me if i was a local. Oh no! Did they think I was the loser or the good player? Ouch.

I don't want to know. I've met so many cool people and cool dealers. I've met some bad dealers and some retards but this trip was supposed to be fun and exciting. I wasn't only there to win money, was I? You bet!! I said fuck it. With $2 left from my $100 buy in, I decided to go for broke and not take the advise of the guy to my left. He said I should take my $2 and cash it in and play the Wheel of Fortune slot machine. Maybe I could be like J-Lo's mom and hit it big. I said thanks for the advice but no thanks. What was more embarrassing? Losing all your chips at the table or going back to the cashier and cashing in only $2? I chose the stay and fight route. Well that was the smartest and guttiest move of my trip because I stormed back after a ton of all ins and I looked down at one point and had $135. How about that. $100 down to $2 and back up to $135. I was a proud and shocked at the same time. Wow, what a rush.

My run was crazy. My first all in hand with a whopping $2 was pocket KK. I've never gotten as many pocket KK as I had all week, getting them left and right. I also got AK a lot too. but on many occasions both hands got cracked. I stopped raising preflop with AKo because I lost every time. AK sucks in low limit games. They always lose. Even though my pocket KK were getting cracked, I was still confident. My last $2 couldn't go into a better hand. I won and doubled up to $4. Yeah baby!! Pocket Jacks were my next hand and I flopped a set and doubled up again. 3rd hand iIgot JJ again and flopped a full house. I doubled up once again. This happened many more times until my stack was once again huge. Everyone at the table was shocked. They didn't know what to say. Every time I bet or raised, they immediately folded. Move over Mel, I was back in the game! My only regret was that I didn't rebuy in when i dropped down to $2. It was meant to be this way and I couldn't have thought of a more fun way to go from rock bottom to sky high. Sometimes it's better to forget about what would've or could've been and just enjoy the moment. Now's the right time to walk away and get some dinner. Paul and I played longer than we wanted. The chip and a chair run consumed the both of us tonight. Quizno's anyone??? I was real hungry. IMwas never more happy. my confidence came back as quickly as it left. Thank goodness for that b/c I wasn't ready to walk away from poker.

Midnight-2:30am: After eating at Quizno's we decided to play some more. I was so tight after my earlier play that I ended up folded 5 or 6 winners preflop and postflop. Oh well. They weren't good hands but they would've been winners. No worries. That happens quite often. If you play those medium hands, you'll lose more than you'll win but unfortunately you remember the ones you would've won more than the good folds that would've lost. That's poker for you. I had several flushes outkicked in this session but left up over $100. I had a huge stack of $1 chips. Woo hoo. Too bad they weren't $100 chips! The weird thing about this session was that one of the Excalibur dealers was sitting next to me playing. Her name was Patty and was half Chinese and half Thai. She had been talking to me all week but I never won any hands when she dealt to my table. Last night I had asked her where she played poker and she said the Bellagio, the Orleans, and the Palms. I asked about the Excalibur. She made a face and said she never plays here. Well what do we have here? Miss Patty is sitting right next to me playing at the place she never plays at. She claimed this was her first time. All the dealers agreed with her. They were shocked. She was playing very poorly. She was making me laugh all night and brought me tons of luck. I won so many monster hands with boats and A high flushes it wasn't funny. everytime Patty the dealer played a hand and called a raise, she would shout out in her Corona induced stupor and say, "I'm going fishing!" She was hilarious. Patty would disappear from time to time. She would announce to the table that she was going to the bathroom to cry since she lost her hand. She was joking of course. the funny thing is though . . everytime I went to the bathroom, I would see her playing video poker or slot machines. Patty was crazy for sure. She takes breaks from the poker table to play video poker and $1 slot machines. Too funny. She won more money in the slots than the poker table. It was a hilarious and fun night. I won money. I was on a run. Binion's WSoP satellite tourney on Monday for sure!!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Vegas Trip Report: Day 3


12:15pm-4:30pm: At the Bellagio with Felicia, Glenn, and my brother, Paul. I met some of my brother's friends at the Bellagio. Felicia is this great poker player who my brother knows and I quickly found out her husband was also pretty damn good too. Glenn was playing in a WPT satellite tourney while we watched. The winners get a free $25,000 seat in the WPT event that was starting on Monday and was going to pay out $2.7 million. I was excited to know someone who was trying to win and get a chance to play against the pros and some of the rich Hollywood types who buy in. If Glenn won, he'd be playing with some of the greats. My brother barely missed out on a chance to be in the same position as Glenn. How great would that have been if he placed in the online tourney? He and Glenn could've been at the same table. I was there to meet Felicia and root Glenn on. I saw several pros playing in the satellite. Eric Seidel was playing, so was TJ Cloutier, Evelyn Ng, Mel Judah, Paul Darden, and the douche bag, tool boy himself... Dutch Boyd. I also saw Howard Lederer.

Glenn did really well and survived some all in's. I was really pulling for him and saw him make some very good moves. Unfortunately he got knocked out when his set was beat by a higher set. Glenn played every all-in move as perfect as you could but unfortunately for all poker players... all-in works everytime but once. I was more shocked than when that fucker Mo Lewis beat me with his 4-9 offsuit calls. Second worse hand in poker means nothing to Mo Lewis. Sorry. Glenn did well and I was sad he lost. i was hoping to spend more hours watching him play. Felicia and glen were really cool. Glenn looked more calmer than I would've been. I'm glad I got a chance to meet them and only wish I had the chance to play with them. Glenn and Felicia took off to Binion's to play some more poker. Paul went to see Phish and after my ritual vegas pre-nightime poker nap, I headed over to the poker room at the Excalibur.

8:15pm-3:30am: Watching Glenn vying for a WPT event got me pumped to play poker. My steam was let out when I lost to a runner runner at the 2-6 table. My pocket QQ's lost to a runner runner Ace high flush. Got to love losing to 6-10 h with the Ah coming out on the river. I flop a set of Q's and lose to a knucklehead again. This guy wasn't British though. This guy was calling hands to the river with nothing all night. Countless times he had A high or J high. I raised this guy everytime heads up knowing at best he had a pair. He was a clown. I took most of his rack before he bought in again. I was running this table until 3 Vegas locals sat down. They were the "good ones." No degenerates in this group. I should have walked away but my ego got in the way. I played against these guys for hours and lost some cash but not much. I saw pocket AA's cracked 10 times in less than 45 minutes. It was crazy. It happened to one guy 4 times. of course, I didn't get the AA's any of those 10 times but at least I won one of the pots that cracked the AA. I had KK and flopped a set and won more money from the hand than the wheel spin got the cracked AA's.

There was this one crazy hand around 3am where I was at this table that almost won the bad beat progressive jackpot of $2700. The table would have split this money but we missed it on a technicality. 4 of a kind beat A's full. there was so much money on the table that the chips covered the one half of the table where the two betters kept raising and re-raising each other. An Asian tourist guy who looked like Jackie Chan had A-Q and this local named Vince had pocket 33's in the blind. The flop was A-A-3. the betting was crazy. The turn was a 3. The betting got crazier. The river was X. I forget. It didn't matter. Both guys were betting either way. Two cheap cologne wearing Guidos smugly say, "Stop with the raising and re-raising guys, we all know you both have an A so let's just end it and chop it up already!" I had been playing with Vince and several of the same locals and hard core tourists since I arrived. Vince was a nice guy who I talked a little poker with over the last few days and he knew his shit. I always saw him buy in for $60 and walk out with 4 racks of $1 chips. He was good. I knew he had 4 of a kind. He was in the blind. What a bunch of stupid Guidos. It's 2004! No wonder they had no money left after their 2nd rebuys. I mention that maybe someone has four 3's. They said, "No way."

I said, "You wanna bet?"

They declined and I was right. Vince looks over at my side of the table and winks. He flips over pocket 3's. His 4 of a kind beat the As full. We qualified for the $2700 bad beat pot! Or so we all thought until the poker room manager came over and advised that the bad beat loser needed to be holding two A's to qualify. $2700 was not ours. AQ fucked Jackie Chan and all of us. Jackie not only lost a huge pot to slick Vince but after Vince stack hundreds of chips up halfway to the ceiling, He also got to spin the wheel for his 4 3's and won $50. More insult to Jackie's injury. Ouch. Vince politely apologized to Jackie and Jackie graciously says no worries or need to apologize. That's poker. I would've gladly took your money if it were the other way around. That was cool of him. Jackie never saw it coming. No one did. Vince pulled me over during a cigarette break and laughed his ass off about the Guido conversation. He was pumped that I knew he had the 3's. Got to love those blind hands! I retired to bed shortly after that moster hand. Too bad that wasn't my monster pot!

Friday, May 14, 2004

Vegas Trip Report: Day 2


9:30pm-3am: after walking around Vegas all day I decided to stop in at the Excalibur while my brother was at the Phish show. Two things I notice about locals in Vegas... they either gamble all the time or not at all. The ones who do gamble can also be broken down into two categories. Very good and degenerate. The good ones win money every time they play. They spot holes and attack. They never find a reason to play a bad hand. They find reasons to fold. They are usually cashing out several racks more than they bought in with. The others are losers. They seem to never win and constantly bitch when they get out played and lose. These degenerate gamblers are definitely living in the wrong city. Unfortunately for these people . . . on tilt is a common occurrence. It’s not a bad stretch for them, it’s a way of life for them. It’s a style matched by few. I heard one older local say that they've never won once. That means they've never cashed out up. I can't believe that especially since this person was rather old and looked like they've been playing poker longer than I’ve been alive.

"Maybe you should stop playing now!" I said from first position, that same local looked at me and said "Raise!"

Of course this was an unstructured 2-6 game where everyone bets $6. After the raise, I re-raised with pocket AA's. I almost felt sorry for this clown but there are no friends at the poker table. Since this was the typical low limit Texas hold’em poker game, there was about 5 or 6 callers. Got to love the respect a $12 bet gets especially since this is still preflop. Does everyone have pocket aces I wonder? A-3-6 hits and the local check his weak hand. I bet $6. Some fold and some call. The local steam raises me up to $12. So I re-raise. I hear muttering from the local. What an idiot. Does he have to make it so obvious he knows he's betting into a better hand? When you know you've sunk that low and still bet, I think it's definitely time to stop but this guy was the only one who didn't realize this. Turn showed an 8. The local bets out. I raise his set of 8's and everyone called. River comes up a 6. Boat over boat is even more salt in the wound than a set over set. Over course this clown bets and raises up the wha-zu and eventually it is just me and the local. The constant raises were finally too rich for the other callers. I show A's full and beat the 8's full. I look down and this clown has only ten dollars left. Down from an hour ago when he was up $300. He should have quit. He smacked the table and finally stormed out. The next time you are in Vegas, see how quickly you can tell the difference between the good locals and the degenerate always losing locals.

The hand that hurt the most in this session . . . I was dealt pocket 55's on the button. It was the best button hand I got all night and that isn't saying much. Being on the button is useless in low limit games. I called but the blind raises and so does another person. 7 other people call. the person to my right caps out the raises and I begin to think my pocket 55's are crap and I need to fold since it appears the Excalibur deals out pocket AA's to 9 out of 10 people every time I play and I’m the lone loser. I fold and everyone calls as usual. The flop hits 5-5-A. can you say F-U-C-K, fuck, fuck, fuck. Now that hurts! I not only missed out on winning a monster pot but I also missed out on an opportunity to spin the wheel. If you get 4 of a kind at the Excalibur, you get to spin the wheel and win free money. That fold stung me twice. The winning hand was J's and 5's. Can you believe that? No A's or K's on the hand! The pot was well over $100. I turned to the guy who rose on my right and politely said, "I hate you."

He looked at me and said, “Why?”

“I folded the winning hand . . . 4 5's.”

“Ouch. Sorry dude. I had pocket JJ's.”

That hand sent me on tilt because I had to see every flop with pocket pairs after that loss. I lost my buy in for the first time ever. Ouch.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Vegas Trip Report: Day 1


12pm - 12:30pm: Luxor tourney sucked ass. I was so pumped to play in Vegas again but my enthusiasm was slightly deflated when I got knocked out of the tourney within the first half hour. $28 down the drain and it was my first poker action of the trip. Some dirty Brit caught runner runner on the turn and river to catch a flush and crack my pocket KKs. Dirty fucker was calling my preflop raise with 3-6d. I flopped a set and the English bastard kept calling all the way to the river and knocked me and some girl with a set of 3's out at the same time. I hate that the Luxor tourney isn't no limit until the final table. That's what sucks about limit games. Too many callers who catch shit. Unfortunately I don't have the bankroll to play with better players. But who doesn't have a story about someone calling crappy hands to the river and catching lucky miracle wins? I guess there's way too much WPT and espn tv watching. The one thing I learned at the Luxor is that pot limit can kill you just as easily as low limit especially when there's tons of loose players and dirty runner runner catching Brits!

1-4pm: If you have to play low limit games, Excalibur is the place to go. They have $2-6 spread/unstructured texas holdem games. If you get pocket AA cracked, then you get to spin a wheel where there's money amounts listed for you to win as a consolation prize. Better some then nothing, I say. It takes away the sting from getting your pocket AA's cracked. The wheel has a cheap game show feel to it but free money erases the pain. I sat down with my brother at a new table with some Phish phans. One guy looked like Jesus. And he wasn't Puerto Rican. We played for 3 hours and I left the table up $77. Some of that was jesus' money. Nothing is better than stacking chips after winning hands and then walking away from a session up. There was some shady young asian woman playing and she kept button raising with nothing trying to steal pots while drunk as shit. She was ordering two drinks at a time while chain smoking. A few times she had a hand but mostly she was rebuying the whole time. This chick sucked but she thought she was a player since she lived in vegas.

5:45pm-3:45am: Excalibur again. My brother, Paul, went to the Phish show so I kept busy playing 2-6 at the recently moved poker room. The Excalibur is in the process of renovations and they flip flopped the keno and poker room. The keno room is already set up but they're still working on the area where the poker room will be, so for now the poker room is situated in between the keno and poker room in a huge open space next to the exits. It was a different look than the last time I played there in December but most of the dealers where the same.

My first hand was KK. I hate playing my first hand when I sit down but how can I fold KK, right? I bet out $6 dollars in LP. Two callers after me. No one else. one guy was a really large man. He looked like Mo Lewis from the NY Jets. The other guy looked like Jack Klugman. The flop: 9-4-7. There's two bets and I raise since I have pocket K's. Klugman folds but Mo Lewis calls. The turn is a 7. I have two pair! Mo raises my $6 bet and I reraise and he calls. I'm thinking he can't have pocket AAs because he almost folded after the flop out of turn by mistake and he didn't raise my preflop bet. I figured he had rags. The only thing isIi didn't know how raggy his cards really were. He was all in now before the river. His stack was depleted and I was pissed that I might have showed up too late. His play was obviously loose and sloppy and I wanted some of that action. I was hoping he'd rebuy. Mo Lewis had 4-9 off suit in the hole and a 4 came out on the river. Mo caught a boat on the river and he wasn't chasing it at all. The crazy thing is he was intentionally betting that way and not fishing. I was stunned. I hate playing my first hand.

Over the next few hours, I took this guy for some money and his loose play paid off for me in the long run. But for some reason, the 4's full of 9's bad beat is the thing I remember the most from this 10 hour session. I left the table feeling glad that the Jets cut Mo Lewis this offseason.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

My First Trip to Foxwoods

My brother posted this to the Tao of Poker in January. Here's my trip report:

Monday, Jan. 12, 2004

I just recently visited Foxwoods for the first time and I really liked it. I had heard so many things about this place from so many different people. It was finally time for me to experience it for myself. And I was glad I did. I was slightly intimidated when I first decided to go to Foxwoods but the nerves disappeared as soon as I walked into the poker room and sat down at the table. Foxwoods has the biggest poker room that I've ever been in but I learned early that most poker tables are usually the same. Old guys, yahoos, novices, very good players, and everyone else.

From what I saw, I really liked this place and enjoyed my time there. Mind you, this was my first time there and I spent 12 hours at Foxwoods and saw no more than the poker room. Honestly, who cares about the rest of the casino? I know Foxwoods has a lot to offer from a gambling standpoint but I had no inclination or desire to waste my money playing any of the other games. Since I starting playing poker, I have lost all interest in the other casino games. The non-poker games are money traps. The odds are always stacked in favor of the house. It's like that for every game except for poker. In poker you're competing against other gamblers, not the casino. This makes gambling more fun and worthwhile since you'll have an easier time taking money from Joe Schmo than the casino. I'm hooked on poker for sure.

While at Foxwoods, I stuck to the $2-$4 Texas Hold'em tables and I also entered a Limit Hold'em tournament with my brother and Jay (Senor's younger brother). Foxwoods is a good place to go and play poker. I've played in Vegas (at the Luxor & the Excalibur) and had a great time but the overall layout, size and atmosphere of the Foxwoods poker room is hard to compete with. The competition also seemed more consistent and challenging. This place is much more relaxing and fun than Atlantic City. AC is way too dirty and there's a ton of unfriendly jerk offs there gambling their social security and retirement checks away. This can sometimes lead to some unwanted and extra tension during games. Foxwoods has the SS check players too but they seem a little more relaxed and not as tense as the AC folks. The Foxwoods poker competition seems more well rounded and tougher than in Vegas. Of course, if I have played in the Bellagio, I might be saying something different. Vegas has too many yahoo tourists who watch too much TV and think they're pros b/c they own a pair of shades and a hat. There's still some of that behavior in Foxwoods but less of it than Vegas. Don't get me wrong, I like to take money from loose yahoo tourists who stay in on shitty hands and call everything in hopes of catching something. The odds are against them in the long run. But sometimes playing against those guys can be deadly especially if they catch winning hands on the turn or river. Nothing hurts more than that. Especially when it's a young yahoo who thinks he can bluff in low limit poker games. When you play these types of players, you can win big against them or loose big against them. That is why Foxwoods was a different experience. They have less of those types of players. Sometimes I'd rather play against the old guys.

Foxwoods poker players can be tougher to play but much more rewarding and exciting to beat. Nothing is better than robbing an old guy of his 401k money. They get so pissed when you beat them on hands. This one old guy kept slamming his cards and fists on the table every time I beat him head to head. Since the old guys play only good hands, they get really pissed and shocked when someone beats them. They think everyone young knows nothing about poker other than what they see on TV and that's is why I like sticking it to the old guys. Nothing's better than showing them your poker skills and taking their hard earned money away from them. I realize that there is less dead money at Foxwoods than Vegas, but I still won money at the Indian Reservation so who cares! Don't get me wrong, Vegas rocks and there's no place on earth like it. But Foxwoods is definitely a place every poker player should visit.

I learned a lot, had fun, and won some money. You can't ask for more than that. Though I wish I did better in the late night Limit tourney. Those daily tournaments are reason enough to visit Foxwoods. Tourney play is so different than low limit play. It's a great way to improve your game. Minus the poker tourneys, Foxwoods is cool to gamble and play poker. Add the tourneys are a great place to hone your skills and improve your game.

I really enjoyed Foxwoods and would recommend it to any poker player. The experience was so much fun and so worth it that I look forward to visiting again. There's no need to feel intimidated or nervous by this place. Just think positively and remain confident. Your hard work and knowledge of the game will always help you stay competitive. And if you learn as much as you can, study smart, and absorb it all effectively, you'll find yourself coming out on top more often than not at the end of every poker session. Hopefully this will translate into lots of cash. I hope it does for me.

One of the best things about my first trip to Foxwoods was meeting Senor's brother, Jay. We all played in a Foxwoods Hold'em tourney and had a great time. For some reason, while waiting in line for the infamous Foxwoods chicken fingers, I kept expecting Jay to drop his pants. But he never did. I guess pants dropping are a lost art. Anyway, the only thing missing from my 1st Foxwoods trip (besides some good old fashion pants dropping) was a Ben Affleck and JLo sighting. Either way, my first trip was very exciting and memorable. I hope to do it again very soon. So if you're looking for some solid poker competition, check raises, and possible pants dropping, Foxwoods is the place to play but don't forget your wampum card!!! Play lots of poker.


Hello my name is Derek and this is my poker blog. My brother is Pauly, the insane mind behind the Tao of Poker. He taught me how to play and now I'm kicking his ass in heads up play. I hope to share my experiences as a new player to the poker scene.

I am in my late 20s and live in New York City, where I work for a major insurance company on Wall Street. I like to play at Foxwoods in Connecticut and the Excalibur in Las Vegas. I recently started playing online at Party Poker.

Me and Jackson Pollack