Monday, June 30, 2008

HORSE update

Played the $1,500 HORSE yesterday. Report is on

Doing a guest spot on Susie Issac's radio show today for Rounder magazine. Not sure where one can listen, but I will find out if it's archived.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

No luck in Sin City

Quick update:

Finally got my media pass

Should just write for rest of Series

Because I can't win at poker

(Was that a haiku? Probably way to many syllables..)

Totals: Satellites -- 0 for 4, Tournaments --0 for 3 (11.5 hours Tuesday and 10 hours Thursday at Caesars with no cash to show)

I may not even play the HORSE tomorrow unless I do well in satellites tonight because it would put such a huge dent in my Vegas bankroll. I have to make it last for three weeks since I'm not going to walk around this town broke.

The luck will turn around. I know it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Quick Vegas update

All sorts of snafus so far here in Vegas. I still don't have my media credential because I think there were some errors in the application process through Rounder. So I am doing my report from the lovely Fitzgerald's Krispy Kreme...

Finally found Ted yesterday so I will be moving in with him Friday. I called Binion's on Monday in between flights and they said he wasn't even checked in. I don't know why because when I bumped into him the other day he said he had been there. I stayed in my pal Stephen L's extra bed at the Rio on Monday and Tuesday and then used a 2 for 1 at the Golden Gate out of curiosity on the oldest casino in town's rooms. Oh my, they are tiny. We are talking rat in a cage small here. I have pictures, but haven't had a chance to load them on my laptop.

No luck poker wise so far. Played the $240 Omaha Hi-Lo at the Golden Nuggest Grand series Wednesday and finished 21st out of 162. Top 18 got paid. Played 11 and a half hours! Talk about a slow structure. 0 for 4 in WSOP satellites so far. Several close calls. Down about $800 on the trip through four days, but hopefully I can work my usual Vegas magic and turn it around.

Bowled with about a dozen bloggers Tuesday night at the Gold Coast after beers at the bar in celebration of Change 100's birthday. Owned Jason Kirk in a $20 prop bet, 136-134.

Taking it easy tonight, heading over to Binion's to play the 8 p.m. tourney. Maybe it won't be a week until my next post...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Words of Wisdom for Vegas Virgins

As I prepare to depart for Vegas this evening, I feel like an old hand when it comes to Vegas and the WSOP. I mean I first attended the World Series of Poker in 2004 when it was still at the Horseshoe, for goodness sake! I still remember the dry erase board they used to keep up with main event entries as they grew each day, the satellite area downstairs and the main tournament action in Benny's Bullpen.

It's hard to wrap my mind around the WSOP then versus the WSOP now. That year I spent a week in Vegas with my friend Brian. We were some broke SOBs who played more poker in the nightly Sahara tournaments than we did at the Horseshoe. I tried my hand at the $1,000 NLHE w/ rebuys at the WSOP (go back and look at my second post on this blog for that recap) and Brian won a seat into a supersatellite, but neither of us had any luck after that.

Then in 2005, I started my poker adventure after leaving the J-O-B, with nearly a month to bum around Sin City. Although it was by then my fourth trip to Vegas, that was the first time I really got to learn about the city other than the standard tourist destinations. I'll admit it was a little bit scary being alone for a month in a (for the most part) unfamiliar town. By now I'd say I know much of Vegas like the back of my hand. You know, the imporant things like the location of every In 'n Out Burger and the shortcut down Industrial from the Rio to Downtown.

As I believe there are quite a few bloggers making the trek out there this year for either their first trip to Vegas or their first trip to the WSOP, I will impart on these pages some of my accumulated knowledge on the subject...

Don't blow your wad

Don't get any dirty thoughts. This advice has nothing to do with strippers or hookers, but it has everything to do with the wad of money tucked into your jeans' pocket. I've heard first, second and third hand accounts of players with truckloads of online or local game wins taking a hefty percentage of their bankrolls to Vegas and blowing through it in a hurry. The WSOP is an expensive proposition. You could theoretically spend more than a quarter million buying into events in six weeks. Before you go, take stock of how much you are willing to risk on your trip. If you take $10K and plan to be there for three weeks, don't blow through $5K in the first four days. Don't put too much at risk early in your trip or you'll be eating 99-cent shrimp cocktails every night for dinner by the last week of your jaunt. A trick I tried on my first trip to Vegas (before I even played much poker) was to take envelopes for each day of the trip. I split the money I was taking to play with evenly among the envelopes, one for each day. At the end of the day I put any money still in my pocket into fresh envelopes not to be touched until I got home. If you stay disciplined this will guarantee you take money back home with you.

Stop and smell the roses

Vegas is a fun town, even if you don't like to gamble or play poker. I've had several friends go there and not gambled a nickel. They just go to enjoy the sights. If you've never been to Vegas, or even if you have, don't grind away at the tables every hour of every day. Go see a show, watch the Bellagio fountains, hike at Red Rock Canyon, see Hoover anything but play poker for at least part of every day. I've compiled a mental list of some of the things I've never done before that I want to try this year...from going to an Area 51's minor league baseball game to just driving around the UNLV campus.

Don't forget the satellites

Although the satellites at the WSOP play like turbos I can't stress this enough -- play them! Satellite play at the Rio has traditionally been very soft. One caveat I must add is that you must be a good negotiator. Few satellite are played until the end. Usually they are chopped two or three ways. Fight for the best deal you can get if you make it to the end game. The Venetian also runs good satellites for those coveted octagonal buy-in chips into the DSE. Try some of those, as well.

WSOP Satellites for Profit

Most people enter World Series of Poker satellites with the idea of winning a seat in the main event and riding that seat to poker glory. However, another group of WSOP satellite players exists -- those with experience who play the called super satellites (multi table satellites) for profit. There are, as you will discover, many different ways to make money from poker games online.

How Can You Play a WSOP Super Satellite for Profit?

The first time you play in a WSOP satellite for the main event, you will be playing for a seat. If you win the seat, you will probably be required to take it.

Once you have won a seat though, the situation is different. If you win another satellite, you can’t take another seat in the tournament, since it is only permissible to play one seat per tournament. What you will be able to do instead is sell that seat to another prospective player. The more $10,000 seats you win, the more you can sell.

Why Play WSOP Satellites for Profit?

The prize pool distributes more evenly in a super satellite than in a regular tournament. Instead of the bulk of the money going to the first place finisher, everyone who cashes gets a $10,000 seat. Some players can hang on until the money comes and then eliminate the opposition. For those players, the super satellite may present a better option.

What Obstacles Will You Face When Playing WSOP Satellites for Profit?

Once you win your extra seat, you will still have to sell it. However, there is no shortage of interested potential WSOP competitors, so this should not be too much of a problem. In addition, you will still have to finish high in the tournament to qualify for a seat. Remember, most of the players you are competing against haven’t made it into the tournament yet, and are likely to fight you fiercely for the opportunity.

Friday, June 20, 2008

WSOP stats from Harrah's

Here's yesterday's WSOP midpoint press release verbatim:


Through Thirty Tournaments, Records Set, Attendance Strong & Pros Doing Well

LAS VEGAS – June 19, 2008 – It took until just the second event of the 2008 World Series of Poker Presented by Milwaukee's Best Light to know it was going to be another strong year. A record 3,929 poker enthusiasts put up $1,500 each to compete in the first No Limit Hold'em event and things have continued to build nicely since.

The 3,929 entrants were the most-ever for a non-Main Event field and, through 30 events at the 2008 WSOP, the statistics are on target for another stellar year. Among the numbers, thus far (through 30 events):

24,642 entrants
821 average entrants per event
$59,117,189 in total prize money awarded
$1,970,573 average prize pool per event
$439,545 average first place prize per event

The storylines at the 2008 World Series of Poker are as colorful as ever:

KC's Finest: The Hinkle Brothers, from Kansas City, Missouri became the first-ever set of brothers to win bracelets in the same year. Grant won Event #2 and $831,432, with Blair winning Event #23 and $507,563. The Hinkle's become only the second set of brothers to win bracelets at the WSOP, joining the Pearson's, Puggy (1973) and J.C. (1994).

Is The Tide Turning?: Amateurs have had a lot of success at the World Series of Poker in recent years, including the record six consecutive years the Main Event has been won by an amateur. But this year professional poker players have won 23 of 30 (77%) of the bracelets handed out thus far. One of the best pros never to win a bracelet has shed that label. Erick Lindgren won his first bracelet and currently is tied for the lead in the WSOP Player of the Year standings, while notables Daniel Negreanu, David Singer, Barry Greenstein, Max Pescatori and Mike Matusow have all captured gold during the first half of this WSOP.

The Real "World": The World Series of Poker has seen an astounding influx of international players participating and cashing at the WSOP in recent years. In 2007, a record 87 countries and territories had entrants in the WSOP. This year shows that players cashing in tournaments are consistently from all corners of the globe. Through 30 events, 37 different countries have had an entrant cash. They are: Argentina; Australia; Austria; Belgium; Bolivia; Brazil; Canada; China; Denmark; England; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Germany; Gibraltar; Guatemala; Hungary; Indonesia; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Lebanon; Lithuania; Mexico; Monaco; Netherlands; Norway; Peru; Romania; Russia; Scotland; Slovakia; Sweden; Switzerland; United States and Venezuela.

Where's Vermont?: Through 30 events, all of the states in United States (and D.C.) have had at least one entrant cash in this year's World Series of Poker – except Vermont.

Sporting an Appearance: Baseball great Orel Hershiser, hockey star Jeremy Roenick, Miami Heat basketball player Earl Barron and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss have all been seen playing during this year's WSOP.

-- more --
The Name Game: These folks are standing out at this year's WSOP: (through 30 events)

Most events entered this year:
Thomas McCormick (23)
Sirous Jamshidi (22)
Amnon Filippi (21)
Justin Bonomo (21)
Phil Ivey (21)

Most event cashes this year:
Nikolay Evdakov (6)
Rolf Slotboom (5)
Tom Schneider (5)
Kathy Liebert (5)
Alex Jacob (5)
Roland Isra (5)

Highest cash percentage this year:
Kathy Liebert - 62.5% (5 of 8 events entered)
Sarah Bilney - 50% (4 of 8 events entered)
Tom Lee - 50% (3 of 6 events entered)
Peter Debest - 50% (3 of 6 events entered)
Calen McNeil - 50% (3 of 6 events entered)

Most final tables reached this year: 2 (11 players tied)
Chris Bjorin; Andy Bloch; Alex Bolotin; Scott Clements; Jacobo Fernandez; Fu Wong; Minh Ly; Daniel Negreanu; J.C. Tran; Theo Tran

Money leaders at this year's WSOP:
Grant Hinkle - $831,462 (1 cash)
Phil Galfond - $817,781 (1 cash)
Nenad Medic - $810,608 (2 cashes)
Scott Seiver - 781,866 (3 cashes)
Duncan Bell - $666,697 (1 cash)

Tracking the Big Three: Phil Hellmuth, 11 bracelets, and Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson with 10 each have been busy trying to add to their lofty totals. Here are their results, thus far, at the 39th annual WSOP:
Hellmuth: Events entered: 15; Events Cashed: 2; Total Money Won: $106,896
Brunson: Events entered: 7; Events Cashed: 1; Total Money Won: $16,243
Chan: Events entered: 9; Events Cashed: 2; Total Money Won: $273,946

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

6 Days to Vegas

I have become a prize whore. In case you haven't heard, I was picked as the winner of the BBT writing contest. I'm not sure which I'm more proud of -- the monthly leaderboard wins or the writing contest. The leaderboards required months of marriage bending dedication, while I whipped out the writing contest posts in three or four hours, but I do write for a living.

Regardless, I am very happy to win this prize since it saves me a good $500 on airfare and a few hundred I would have spent on a hotel room if I had stayed until the end of the WSOP. (Now, I imagine that FTP will put me up in a room a wee bit nicer than Binion's for July 9-16, though I don't know which one yet.)

I anticipate the work will be similar to what I did for Party Poker at (still running over there thanks to Tim Lavali, aka "The Poker Shrink") in 2006, with about a post a day of whatever interesting things I see. The pay is the same too at $1,000 a week (or for a week in this case). I will also be writing for Dan Michalski at during the Series, but Dan is a slavedriver. Just kidding. Dan has been a big help to me for finding writing work during the WSOP so I am happy to pay him back by working with him this year.

The FTP blog is called "Poker From the Rail", but I still hope to blog for them from the main event felt. That will require some satellite mastery on my part to get into the big one. I'll play a mega or two if I get a nice tournament score early in my trip or have a few extra WSOP satellite chips in my pocket later in the trip.

This really will probably be my last hurrah in Vegas, as in lengthy trip for the WSOP, at least for awhile. When I get back from Vegas I will be hitting the job trail, and would probably continue to do poker writing work on the side. But for the next month I'll be enjoying the fruits of my poker labor.

Monday, June 09, 2008

TOC aftermath

I can't say that 7 on the turn was a real punch to the gut, but yeah, it sucked.

Here's the set-up for those uninformed (though it has been written about on several other blogs already). We were down to the final 13 and I had about 9K. I opened in MP for 1,100 with blinds at 200-400 with Q-Q. Loretta8 in the BB re-shoved all in for about 7K and I called. Loretta showed 7-7 and the last 7 in the deck (as someone said they folded a 7) came out and I was crippled and soon eliminated in 13th.

I don't fault Loretta for the play, especially with so many TOCers playing scared. A re-shove will take a lot of pots. Had I won the pot I would have been 4th in chips out of 12 runners and who knows from there. Congrats to Loretta for taking down one of the $10K seats. My results in the TOC kind of validate my argument for the points race being the deciding factor for the "big" prize. But you can also argue that the winner of the main event is going to be whoever is luckiest so why not give the seat to whoever is luckiest in the TOC? I can see both sides of that.

There's so much short-term luck in this game. You just keep pushing edges over the years and you will come out ahead, it's just a matter of how much based on your success in a few crucial spots. If you're as lucky as Jamie Gold you are $12 million ahead. If you're as lucky as me you might be $100K ahead.

The reason the beat in the TOC was not a punch in the gut was thanks to my past success in the tournaments. Two $2K prizes for the March and May leaderboards and $750 for the overall leaderboard gives me $4,750 for the Vegas bankroll, which will include a $1,500 shot at the WSOP in HORSE (possibly NLHE if I change my mind) and another $1,500 to $2,000 in other tournaments around town (and some WSOP satellites for perhaps another $1,500 shot). So the TOC did feel like a true freeroll. I have been fortunate so I can't complain too much about the one outer.

Two weeks and counting until I depart...and this could be my last lengthy trip to Vegas for awhile if I go job hunting when I go back...more on that at a later date...

So, come one kids, I need comment replies and emails. Let's get the ball rolling on some late June/early July blogger gathering(s). Lucko is coming July 2. I saw that Loretta plans to play the ME for sure. Waffles is waffling on coming out I think. BWOP is going. What are travel plans and suggestions for meeting times/places/events?

Man tries to play WSOP ladies event

BARGE participant Alan Jaffrey attempted to play the ladies event in drag. Here's what he wrote about it:

I showed up at 11:30, met Patti, Sabyl, and a couple of friends at the coffee shop, borrowed Patti's hat, had them adjust my necklace andapply makeup, posed for photos with supportive and enthusiastic ladies at a couple of nearby tables who were also playing that afternoon, walked to the Amazon room, and promptly got pulled aside and kicked out by Jeffrey Pollack, Commissioner of the World Series of Poker. I'm honestly surprised by this - as I told Jeff, I've never heard of anyone being denied entry to a poker tournament, including ladies events, on the basis of sex. He claims that "in the 31-year history ofthe World Series of Poker ladies event, no man has ever played."

I asked if he was not concerned about the sex discrimination aspects ofthis decision. "Not at all. Men are not a protected class." He talked about how they treat this event very seriously - "as do I, sir" - and about the importance of protecting "the integrity of the game." (Thought but not said: "Sir, judging from recent decisions byHarrah's, I have far more concern about the integrity of the game thanyou do!) He asked if I could understand his point of view. "I don't accept it, and I don't believe it's right. But you're the boss, and if you say I can't play, then I can't play." I'm disappointed and annoyed that I can't play, since I expected tohave more fun in this event than perhaps any other in the WSOP, and I'd really love to win the bracelet. C'est la vie.

I don't know whether or not they have the legal right to discriminate in this way, but I'm not going to make a big fuss. I don't care enough to fight it, and I have too much to lose to risk Harrah's blacklisting me and preventing me from playing future WSOP events. Maybe I'll have better luck in the WSOP Negro World Championship. Oh, wait, they don't have that. They wouldn't even dream of running that. Hmmmmm. At least I got a nice outfit out of the experience. Photos later.

Nolan Dalla chipped in his always well-thought out reasoning:

While I understand the spirit which motivated Alan to play in the Ladies Poker World Championship, I disagree strongly with his assumptions and conclusions. The WSOP feared that many men might "storm the castle" in this event. There were even fears that Phil Ivey might come in drag and crash the tournament (Note: He has a $2 million side bet that he will win a gold bracelet this year and has vowed to play in as many events as possible). No man (to my knowledge) has ever played in the Ladies event. Allowing a male to play in this event potentially opens up the floodgates which, in my view, would destroy the concept of a LADIES World Poker Championship.

Here's the scenario: One man plays this year. Twenty play next year (citing precedent was already established). Then, in 2010 a few hundred show up. Four years later, the Ladies event is no more. Argue all you want about equality of the sexes and the absurdity of offering special events for women, but the bottom line is:

(1) These events are immensely popular. Women enjoy them. So long as HET remains in business to profit, they are serving a market demand.

(2) This event brings many new players to the game. This point is irrefutable. I work 6-8 of these events a year and they are packed with new faces. After they bust, they gravitate to live games and other tournaments. This tournament is a terrific feeder for the entire WSOP.

(3) Finally, this tournament has been around for 31 years and meets the WSOP's goal of trying to diversify its games and composition to the greatest extent possible.

Alan is justified in being disappointed he could not play. On a personal note, I think most ladies would have welcomed him in the tournament. But the key point is -- he could have been the lynch-pin that ultimately destroys the Ladies World Poker Championship and for that reason I am in complete support of Harrah's decision.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Fictional journalistic FTP post

Here is the faux journalism post on Hay-suess winning his second main event title for the BBT writing contest.

Chris “Jesus” Ferguson wins second WSOP main event title

Sure, Jesus could turn water into wine, but would he have been able to win two poker world championships?

That’s what Chris Ferguson accomplished early Monday morning when he vanquished the final table of the World Series of Poker main event to claim an unlikely second title. It was unlikely because the Full Tilt Poker pro had to defeat 7,219 other runners to win the tournament and the $10 million first-place prize, and in doing so became the first pro to win the tournament in seven years.

Ferguson, nicknamed “Jesus” because of his long hair, beard and ability to perform poker miracles, claimed his sixth WSOP bracelet. He had just missed out on another title earlier in the Series when he finished third in the first $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event.

“What I can I say? I’ve been very fortunate,” the 45-year-old Ferguson said in his usual understatement. “It was a tough final table and I’m so proud to have won I’m practically speechless. I don’t know what to say.”

Ferguson’s competition at the final table included a cast of mostly unknowns and fellow poker pro Dan Harrington. Amazingly, Harrington has now made the final table of the WSOP main event three times in the last six years. He was eliminated early on in eighth place and collected $1.5 million.

Ferguson entered the final table second in chips to Barry Wainwright, a 39-year-old chiropractor from Yonkers, N.Y., and these two chipleaders knocked the other players out one by one. By the time the security guards brought stacks of cash out and piled them on the final table, Ferguson and Wainwright were heads up for the title, with Ferguson holding a slight chip advantage with 74 million to Wainwright’s 70 million.

The two waged a protracted poker war that lasted five hours, with Ferguson doing most of the chip collecting. On a final hand that brought back memories of Ferguson’s 2000 main event victory over T.J. Cloutier, the Pacific Palisades, Calif., resident beat Wainwright when the chiropractor pushed his last 6 million chips in the pot with Ah-Qd and Ferguson called with As-10c. The flop and turn were blanks, keeping Wainwright in the lead with a chance to double up, but the river was the 10 of diamonds and Ferguson was world champion once more.

“Chris was a tough competitor, and I knew the match would be tough,” a disappointed Wainwright said after the tournament. “Then again, I can’t complain about winning $5 million.”

This main event title is the icing on the Year 2008 cake for Ferguson. He won the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship in March over his friend and fellow Full Tilt Poker pro Andy Bloch for $500,000. Then in September he won the $2,500 HORSE event at World Series of Poker Europe in London for another quarter million. The $10 million he added to his tournament winnings Monday gives him a lifetime total of about $18 million, making him the winningest player in tournament poker history.

FTP fictional blog post

Posting my entries into the BBT writing contest today. I'm doing Part 2 first. Here's a tragi-comedy on the dangers of the delayed final table:

The Delayed WSOP Finale (A Five Minute Tale of a Four Month Delay)

Nov. 10, 2:55 a.m.

Even as the ace fell on the river I kept one eye on the stands.

Underneath my left hand were two cards – an ace and a king. My right hand was in my pocket, clutching the knife I bought at the Downtown pawn shop, just in case.

The crowd went wild when the ace fell. Truth was, they didn’t know me from Adam. They were just here to watch the final table of the good ol’ W-S-of-P and they knew that history had just been made. So they cheered. I, degenerate gambler and sports bettor extraordinaire, had just become the world champion of poker when my Big Slick outran my opponent’s pocket queens when we got it all in before the flop.

And even still I couldn’t rest easy. Because when you’ve got ten mil in your pocket, your debtors are going to come calling, and I didn’t plan to part with the money so easily.

I received the standard hearty congratulations from Jack Effel, Jeffrey Pollack, Nolan Dalla and the rest of Harrah’s brass. There was the official post-tournament interview and the presentation of the bracelet, but I just wanted to get the hell out of there. In a previous life I would have enjoyed the attention. “Damn that delayed final table,” I muttered under my breath.

July 14, 11:30 p.m.

I doubt you’ve ever seen nine people with bigger grins on their faces. Once Phil Hellmuth was eliminated in tenth place, kicking chairs over on his way out the door, our lips turned up quickly and precipitously toward our ears as we rose from our seats to shake hands and give high fives. Guaranteed a million with a chance at ten million. It was hard to imagine. Still there was four months to let it all soak in and, after each collecting our guaranteed money, now was time to celebrate.

My wife and I partied with the rest of the “November Nine” at the VooDoo lounge, stories above the desert floor at the Rio. I recalled the last time I was here in 2006, watching Joe Sebok macking on Shannon Elizabeth at the official WSOP party. This affair was smaller if not any less subdued, as we drank ourselves into a foggy stupor while gazing at the neon city.

“Does it get any better than this?” I asked while standing next to Barry Wainwright on the lounge’s balcony.

“Sure, it does,” replied the 39-year-old chiropractor from Yonkers, N.Y. “One of us is going to win the damn thing.”

Nov. 10, 3:45 a.m.

A man with a million bucks in his pocket can be a danger to himself.

I returned to some old habits when I went back home to Alabama, like picking the Crimson Tide to cover the spread, which is always a dicey proposition. And I was doing this betting with some mean sons of bitches from Walker County, where legend has it that if you want a fellow whacked you write his name on a piece of paper and insert it into a particular stump along with one Benjamin. I got indebted to these sons of bitches for a lot more than a Benjamin. In fact, you could probably buy an entire mobile home community with the money I owed these jokers, one of whom I spotted in the stands two hours before my victory.

With that kind of debt, playing poker for ten million on ESPN was not the best option, but what choice did I have? When I got back to Alabama I’d figure out another plan, but for now I had to make it back home first.

So after collecting my check and my wife, I didn’t bother going back to my room for my luggage before attempting to hail the nearest cab for McCarran. Our feet had barely hit the sidewalk at the Rio’s convention area entrance when Rufus stepped out from behind a palm tree with a gun in his hand.

“Where y’all going in such a hurry?” he asked. “You’ve got some debts to pay, boy.”

“I was coming to see you as soon as I got back to Tuscaloosa,” I replied, as I slid my right hand toward my pocket.

“Keep your hands right where they are!” Rufus shouted as he eyed my movement. His loudness had now captured the attention of the few people milling around the valet area. Thank God, I thought. Maybe someone would call the police.

“How do I have any assurances that you’re not going to run and hide when you get back home?” Rufus continued. I got mad just looking at this ugly sack of shit.

“I think you need to go ahead and give me some collateral now, and when we get back to Alabama we’ll figure out the rest. Hand over the check, boy.”

“That’s not going to happen, Rufus,” I said with fake confidence. “Just let us be and we’ll talk back home.” I hoped he couldn’t discern the nervousness in my voice. Bluffing with a gun in your face is a lot tougher than bluffing on the poker felt.

“The check or a bullet in your gut, whichever you prefer,” Rufus said as he cocked his .45.

As soon as the gun clicked, Rufus dropped to the ground in a blur. He had been tackled by a beast of a man with silver hair and glasses. Holy crap, I thought. It’s T.J. freakin’ Cloutier! With his linebacker’s shoulders and forearms, the 69-year-old Texan held Rufus face down on the pavement. In the Canadian Football League he’d have been called for holding.

“What do you want me to do with this punk?” Cloutier barked.

He heard no response and looked around, but we were nowhere to be found. We had already hightailed it to a cab to the airport.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Deja Vu all over again (in a good way)

It appears I won the May leaderboard, barring some poor math on my part. After I made the points and JD didn't that put me ahead of him and in the end I believe only Shabazz Jenkins could catch me, and he had to win to do it. Shabazz gave it a heck of a run, but lost a flip with A-K in the end to finish 5th, I think.

There were two particularly big hands Sunday that allowed me to make the top 18 out of 70 runners. Early I doubled up when I raised with Q-Q and was called on the button with Q-K. By the time the turn hit, with a board of 5-Q-7-K, we unsurprisingly had all the chips in the middle. After that hand I just floated along with really no big hands.

As we got down to 25-30 players both JD and I were hovering just off the bottom of the pack. When we got to the lower 20s I got short and pushed in the cutoff with K-5s and was called by A-5. Very fortunately for me, the king was the first card off. After doubling back up to 6,000+ chips, and especially after JD busted just out of the points, I played really tight. Knowing the points were probably worth $2,000 to me I played like a little girl...folding A-Ks suited twice. I ended up 17th, which was good enough.

Of course I am ecstatic that my Vegas bankroll has grown by another $2,000. I will probably put this second 2K toward non-WSOP tournaments at Binion's/Golden Nugget/Venetian/Caesars and WSOP satellites. My Vegas fever has grown.

Congrats to all winners in BBT events and good luck in the TOC next Saturday. I especially root for JD and TBA to win some prizes in that event.

Let me write another note about my proposed late June/early July "second-chance" blogger gathering. Let's make it happen. I know some of you kiddos will be out there. We'll get some drinks, "invade" a tournament, do whatever. Leave some comments; start a dialogue with thoughts and suggestions.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Today is the day & record numbers

Well, less than six points separate me and JD, with plenty of others within shot of first today for the May leaderboard. Good luck to all.

On another note, I'll post a lot of these WSOP press releases that the media team there is sending out. Informative for you, and easy for lazy me to post. Surprise, surprise, they set records during this opening weekend...

First No-Limit Hold’em Tournament (Event #2) Destroys Previous
Attendance Record – Largest Non-Main Event Field Ever

Final Seats Going Fast for Sunday’s Noon Start

Las Vegas, NV (May 31, 2008) – Just two days into the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light a new record has been set – the most ever players entered into any tournament – outside of a WSOP Main Event.

Event #2, the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em tournament thus far has attracted more than 3,500 poker enthusiasts for the two-day starting tournament. Today, a capacity crowd of 2,048 participants flooded the Amazon Room at the Rio to try and turn their $1,500 entry fee into an estimated $750,000 first place prize.

“This is a great start,” said WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. “The sound of chips chirping throughout the Rio is a welcome return for all of us who love poker.”

An additional 1,550 entrants are pre-registered for the second day of Event #2 which starts tomorrow. For those players seeking to be a part of history – there is still room for approximately 500 more entrants to register for this event – but procrastinators must act fast, because seats are filling up rapidly.

The tournament closes officially when 2,050 slots are filled for Sunday. The final entrant number and prize pool statistics will be official and made available around 3:00 PM Sunday – but the possibility this event will reach 4,000 entrants remains strong.

The tournament is expected to last four days.

The record number (still to be determined) has already shattered the old high mark of 3,151 set during the final week of last year’s WSOP. The previous record was set in Event #49 – also a $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament.

While Main Events have attracted as many as 8,773 players (in 2006), no other tournament has ever attracted as large a field as today’s event. Today’s event ranks at the fourth-largest poker tournament of all-time.

After a smooth start with the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Marching Band trumpeting “Viva Las Vegas” on Friday, a star-studded field of 352 players turned out to play in the first World Championship event, a $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em tournament that began with legendary 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Doyle Brunson initiating the proceedings with the traditional “Shuffle Up and Deal” announcement.

All 55 bracelets are still up for grabs, with the first one set to be awarded on Monday.