Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Who has time to play poker?

Or to post blogs?

I've been super busy the last few days, hence the lack of posts since Monday morning. Evert at Rounder had me interview Vanessa Rousso, Dutch Boyd and John Phan at the Rio pool while they came down for some photo shoots Monday. Apparently, they all have the same manager, a fellow named Eric who acts like he stepped right out of "Entourage." In other words, he's the kind of guy this Southern boy would just as soon punch in the nose as talk to. But I bit my tongue (and sheathed my fists).

The players were all very nice. Rousso probably has an 180 I.Q. She is something else intellectually. Phan bought me a pina colada (even after I insisted he shouldn't). And I found out I was wrong about Boyd. He's not an egotistical dickhead at all. He asked me about my poker, about Tuscaloosa, he called my last name cool...I'm not sure what happened exactly with the whole sordid PokerSpot mess, but he's OK in my book.

I played a little 1-2 NL at Binion's Monday night and won exactly $200.

Tuesday morning I had a lunch meeting scheduled with two Golden Nugget executives. We talked about all of the new addition to the casino, including a planned club/restaurant/gaming area that will open up into Fremont Street and feature balconies a la the French Quarter. This will open in December.

The work I'm doing is quite the extreme from the newspaper world. With this article, for example, my job is to essentially blow smoke up their butt so they might buy an ad in the magazine and to just have good overall relations in case we might need something in the future. Definitely not the kind of thing we do in the newspaper business. I've now officially turned to the dark side of journalism.

I played the Omaha Hi/Lo tourney at Binion's Tuesday afternoon, but busted out to a fish who played every hand and hit every hand. Later, when I went back, I noticed he was not among the final two tables. Big surprise.

After my bustout, I came over here to the Rio media room to finish up some of the profiles and worked until nearly midnight. I then went back to Binion's and crashed. Today has been filled with buying a new digital voice recorder for a Q & A session with WSOP media director Nolan Dalla, followed by more work.

So far in three days, I've written three player profiles, one casino feature, two articles for PokerWorks, transcribed the lengthy Q & A with Dalla, talked to Hoyt Corkins for our Ask Hoyt feature and started compiling the Southern Roundup for the next issue. Kiddies, it's time for me to go play some poker.

Monday, June 25, 2007

It's great to be in Vegas

Touched down around 9 p.m. last night, took the bus to the new car rental center and grabbed my car and headed downtown to Binion's. Grabbed the room key from the front desk and took my crap up to my room and then headed over to the Golden Nugget to meet with the guys from Rounder Magazine. They were there shooting the next Rounder girl in front of the shark tank of the new pool.

Last summer, they were in the process of building that new pool and it seems a wise choice. The pool surrounds a large fish tank (with plenty of sharks in it). There's two decks above the tank and a water slide that goes right through it. They also deal blackjack and what not out by the pool. It's most impressive stuff and I wouldn't be surprised if the Nugget gets business from people who just want to stay there to lounge around the pool. They're shooting poker pro Vanessa Rousso out there tonight for the cover of the next issue, which they will be passing out when the main event starts. Perhaps Rounder Magazine will take off and me getting involved on the ground floor will pay dividends.

I grabbed a late night breakfast at Binion's Coffeeshop (probably my favorite place to eat in Vegas, even if they have eliminated the Chinese menu there) and then headed up to the room. By then Ted was back and we chatted for a while before I drifted off to sleep.

He's done well since last summer, with a $100K+ cash in a Fiesta Al Lago tournament at Bellagio last October. Me, I've just disappeared from poker completely until now. Maybe I can come back with a big bang.

It sure didn't start this morning, however, as I dropped $100 in a 4/8 Omaha Hi-Lo game in rapid time as I waited for Ted to shower so we could head to the McDonald's at the Plaza for some coffee. You'd think if you raised a kill pot to $12 under the gun with A-A-2-K (one ace suited in clubs) you could narrow the field, but I ended up seeing a nasty flop of Q-Q-9 with three other players for a cap of $30. I got creamed by A-3-5-Q. A third queen on the turn trapped me as I had to call the guy down to make sure he didn't have 9-9 in the hole since I had the nuts if he didn't have a queen. I've been playing a lot of O/8 online lately and been doing well so I think I'm going to give the $200 O/8 tournament at the Binion's Poker Classic a shot tomorrow.

We got our coffee and headed over here to the Rio. It's set up a lot differently this year, with the final table, cash games and satellites all switched around to different parts of the convention center. Not sure I like the new look (also a lot darker with most of the overhead lights turned off), but I understand the need to keep things fresh.

Now I'm sitting in the media room waiting for many of my old writing pals to file their way in as the morning progresses. I had to sneak in while the security guard's back was turned as I can't get my media credential until 11 a.m. so I'm stuck in here for the next couple of hours.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In what should be of surprise to no one...

...I'm going to Vegas.

I'm leaving Sunday afternoon and getting in around 10 p.m. (I really love flying into Vegas at night.) I'll be staying at Binion's with Ted (again) and driving back and forth to the Rio.

I was able to get some work writing for Linda at PokerWorks, so depending on how that pans out I may stay for the duration of the WSOP. If not, I'll come back after the Fourth of July (and before Amy's birthday.)

Unfortunately, my bankroll is fairly weak so my play may be limited. I am in the process of "whoring" myself out (Amy's term) by selling shares of myself in some of the Binion's and Venetian tournaments, which will allow me to play more of them.

It's not quite like the heady days of last year when I touched down at McCarran with a main event seat in the future. If I'm going to make some cheese, I'll really have to work it.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Richard Brodie banned from Harrah's

One word sums this up --ridiculous.

Poker pro Richard Brodie has been banned from all Harrah's properties for making four royal flushes in the past year in various Harrah's casinos in Vegas. He's too lucky for Harrah's apparently. Read Richard's thoughts on the matter here:

I think the Quiet Lion is taking his WSOP bannishment pretty well. Of course, Richard is a very well-mannered fellow. I don't think I could show the same restraint.

Vegas or bust?

I've thought about things a lot lately. Graduating from college for a second time will make a fellow ponder his future. Some things aren't in doubt. Like I'm going to marry Amy Harper. I'm going to have children. You know, those big things.

But when it comes to employment, my future is very much in doubt. The safe thing to do would be to mass email my resume to every available employer within 200 miles, find a decent job and take it. Isn't that what I was running away from when I left my newspaper job two years ago?

One thing I've come to realize, even though I tried to suppress it during this past year, is that I love poker. I don't obsess over the game like the fanatics who spend all day on the message boards, 5-table online games and effectively eat, sleep and drink poker. But I do love it. Winning money playing a game you love is intoxicating. Making money writing about it is gravy on top of that.

I've gotten involved with this new Rounder magazine, which is published just up the road in Birmingham. It's a guppy in the shark tank of poker magazines, but it is improving and I think it has good momentum going for it since it was first published in January. Plus, it has a centerfold every month, and we know how horny poker players love good-looking women. That makes it stand out.

I don't see any living I make in the next few years not including much of the income coming from poker in both of the above methods. The game is just ingrained in me and it keeps me out of a tie every day. I'm looking into real estate really hard, speficially buying and reselling foreclosures, but until then it's pretty much poker.

I hadn't planned to go to Vegas this summer, unless I could win a seat into the main event. My feeble efforts proved fruitless in that regard, so now it's left to me to seek a writing job out there. Perhaps I can convince Rounder that they need some eyes and ears in Vegas. I hope so. Reading about the WSOP and listenting to some podcasts has given me the itch again, and that's an itch that's hard not to scratch.