Thursday, May 25, 2006

Vegas on Business (a rambling and some poker)

This entry has been re-titled in my mind no less than 6 times. Read into that what you will.

Vegas Business Trip Report

What are the Pros and Cons of staying off the strip? Price is what I expected the answer to be. But I sorta found the exception to the rule. I stayed at the RIO, which is on strip, but only if you take the shuttle over the highway. Which means you need to be back by 1am. Since I am here on business, this has not been a problem. But otherwise, not good.

The RIO is all-suites which means the rooms are twice as large than say, the Paris, but also cost exactly twice as much.
It’s nice because the pool has a sandy beach, but they also charge $18 for a large Pina Colada. That’s a big number for something that is held in a plastic cup.

My room air conditioning is barely keeping up, while the hallways are a refrigeration unit at 65 degrees. The weirdness of Vegas. (note: later in the day, the hotel will lost power for a good hour. I wonder if its related to keeping cavernous hallways at 65 degrees?)

#1 Tip for Vegas, ALWAYS get a player card. It makes check in so much more pleasant.

Tip for Vegas #2: Find the nearest coffee (such as starbucks). Its too hard to locate them in the morning when you need them. The RIO has two Starbucks and a 3rd coffee and pastry stand.

Tip for Vegas #3: Bring your own cigars. The cigar booths are typically out of the way places with high prices. Counter to the trend, the RIO had one by the front desk. Not counter to the trend, cigars were expensive.

I stayed on the 11th floor with a strip view. If you are not here on business, get a strip view. How? Use your gold card to check in and be VERY NICE to the check in clerk. Especially if they are new and their supervisor is helping them learn the ropes.

The RIO shuttles run to Harrah’s where the monorail is and to Caesars Palace. But its 5-10 wait for the shuttle and a 5-10 minute ride. It add up when the temperature is over 90.

Card rooms:
The RIO poker room (not where the WSOP will be obviously) is very small and their lowest NLHE game was 2-5. I am very bankroll driven, so I always look for a 1-2 game.

After business concluded on day #1, we had a wonderful dinner at the RIO steakhouse. Tremendous . My previous trips to Vegas have been very anti-climactic in the food area. Not this time. Go for the expense restaurants or stick to subway. The “inexpensive fare” restaurants are so bad, its almost a crime. I swear that at the imperial palace burger place someone should be sued over what they call edible.

I took the shuttle to Harrah’s and since they had a 1-2 NLHE game, sat down. I had maybe a 5 minute wait (if that). Nice room, sequestered off (which I prefer).

I am playing for about an hour, but never had a hand better than AJ or TT. I held my own but was coming up about even. I have a rule when playing live NLHE 1-2. If there are more than 3 players in the pot, don’t bet or call bets bigger than ½ pot with anything less than 2 pair. So, I rarely get into trouble with these types of tables.

They start their evening tournament (which I decided to skip) which had but nine players (resulting in a SnG for their tournament.)

Some players from each of the 1-2 tables went over to the SnG and the rest collapsed into our table. The guy on my left was a regular since the dealer knew him by name (alex). Here now is the second hand after he sat down.

I raise it up to 10 with ATs from EP and he calls. No other players.
The flop is AT6 with 2 clubs. I have flopped top two and all worries about being out kicked are gone. I am just concerned with the 2 clubs.
I decide to play this aggressively, because I expect he will pay me off with Ax, hopefully A6. I bet $25 into the pot of $23 (defend against the flush) and he raises $25. With top two pair I figured him for a flush draw semi-bluff with a pair or Ax (hopefully A6, but more probably AK).

I decide since I will have committed 50% of my stack if I call, and he has a big stack, I need him to leave that flush draw on the table and fold if he has just the draw. I push my remaining stack in and he calls. He turns over 66 for the set. Its not often you flop top 2 vs. a set in a cash game. I am not sure I could escape based on our stack sizes.

I buy back in for a second buy-in. I spend the next hour+ working it back. Just solid play, taking opportunities, not getting greedy. I have gotten 90% of it back.

Meanwhile an interesting hand comes up that I was not in. The flop is AAx with two players. The out of position player postures and says “I am trying to figure out if my Kings are good.” He then checks. The other player takes the bait and bets the flop. The “kings” smooth call. “kings” now check the turn and the other buy gets, again the smooth call. The river is x and this time the “kings” bet. The other player folds. “kings” turns over Ax for a boat.

The boat player cashes out and leaves. Classic.

For 10 minutes I fold. Solid play.

I now find AcJc in MP. Two early players have limped in and I pop it to 5xBB. I get the original limper and the SB to call.

The flop is Ad7c6s

SB checks, I bet 35, hoping to get a AJ to fold if there is one). The first limper folds, but the SB calls after thinking about folding for about 15 seconds.

The turn 5c and I have picked up the nut flush draw. SB checks, I bet 35. He check-raises all-in. (Its 100 more or the remaining 50% of the starting stack on this hand). I go into the think tank. This is not a tournament I say to myself, I feel like I a supposed to make this call. I doubt the club helped him, and I think he is trying to grab the pot from me. I don’t consider the 5 a worry card. Still, something is wrong. But, I call figuring I have the flush redraw. He has 89. (he made a straight on the turn)

I look for the club. The last card is a red K. All my work flushed down the toilet.

I always leave the table when I make a bad decision. Sort of self imposed imprisonment. I review the hand over and over in my head…

mistakes:
1. Didn’t I eat the Peppered beef? I called an all-in (check raise no less) with less than two pair.
2. Check raise, heck any re-raise at this table. In retrospect, I realize I did not see a single re-raise at this table where the player did not have a big hand. (this goes for my 2 pair vs. set hand also)
3. I did not completely think out big decision because I don't play live enough. I am not even sure that the check-raise registered. No, that is hiding the truth. The check raise did NOT register at all. I felt the pressure to respond because everyone was waiting. In a home game, I would have made them wait.
4. I Did not really address the turn card. When a turn card comes, you have to evaluate its impact on the value of the hands. It greatly diminished mine. Why did I think A8 vs. 89?? Because of the call on the flop? I figured A weak kicker. The check raise should have said I was wrong.
5. Counted my redraw as too many outs. Sure it was 8 or 9 outs, but I was still a DOG to get there. I was getting 3-1 ish on a 4.5-1 draw (assuming I cant win with 2 pair or its even more). This was the fatal clincher and a psychology lesson in one. In a CASH GAME, it’s HARDER to lay down a draw to the nuts.

Worst of all, I realize the next day that this was a similar mistake I made last December at Excalibur!!! I had a guy pull a straight out on 4th street and did not re-evaluate my holding and paid it off. (Although I did not have a redraw in that situation. That’s what really screwed me up here, the re-draw.)

If I hit the club, I am up $200 for the night and think I am king of the table. But I have never been what you would call “lucky”.

"walking back to Dallas" as TJ would say. Went broke from behind. Embarrassed and defeated I went to bed.

The next night, I have a wonderful dinner at the China Griil at Mandalay. Afterwards, it is off to play again. Mandalay no longer spreads 1-2, only 2-5 in low NLHE. So we took the train to the castle. They had 1-3, which would normally qualify. But after last nights sting, I wondered over to MGM instead. And let’s face it, it’s an easy thing to do. MGM runs an excellent card room. They will post games based on interest, they process the wait quickly, and they have lots of dealers. (I have not played at the big rooms at Bellagio or Wynn).

I come in after the button and as is my habit, decide to wait for the BB so I can watch the table. Twice in one rotation I see a raised flop called by 5, checked around on the flop and the turn, and someone stab at the river only to get no resistance. These guys are not bullies or bluffers it seems.

10 or so hands in, I realize I have seen zero flops. Here come my blinds AGAIN.

There are 4 callers and I look down to see AJo in the SB. This is absolutely the hardest position to play this hand from. I do know, however, not to raise with AJo from the SB. I reluctantly pay the extra ½ bet and see the flop figuring I am going to have to fold unless I get a strong flop.

Flop JT6 rainbow. Nice, strong flop for me. The UtG limper makes it 10, there is a caller and back to me in the SB. I raise it to 35 (25 more). Without even a delay he puts me all in.
I go into the tank again, only this time I take a good 2 minutes. The dealer was accommodating. After much thought fold. My read was that he limped with AA waiting for the re-raise pre-flop that never came. After the flop, he led out to build a pot and when I showed strength, went for the stack. If I had a set, he would be broke right now. Neither of us showed, but since he had not done that and did not do it since, I feel I was exactly right. So even though I lost $35, I felt pretty good about my play. It was very similar to last night’s hand where I called, but this time I escaped.

10 minutes later I have about $90 in front of me.
I am UtG and look down at two Jacks. Another difficult hand, but I am going to play it. I decide to raise to 10 UtG with JJ. This might have been a bit light for this table, but if I bet 15, the only caller is AA or KK or QQ. I want worse hands to call and better hands to give me a chance to out-flop them. UtG+1, a nice older lady who played too many hands pre-flop, calls. The Button then raises to 25. I actually think for a moment about folding. Then reason and rational return to my brain and I call as does the old lady.

The flop is 68J 2 diamonds. FINALLY, I have a big hand. And top set no less. It seems obvious that in a cash game I check here. If they have something I get extra money in the pot, if they don’t I give them a chance to catch up as a BIG dog. I check and the other two check after me. The old lady probably has zero. (I really expected the button to bet here and he does not. Curious that he did not make a continuation bet. Ax?) pot is $78. I have about $55 left in front of me.

The turn is a Q. I quickly notice that I cant check. I wish to “bid” up the pot and allow the other two to make a mistake. Maybe 1 of them just made two pair or top pair with that Q. I bet 25, hoping the old lady will stay. She does not. The button, however, says “I’ll donate” and calls. I expect that because of that comment he has an 8, maybe even 78. (I have a about 30 left)

His call was with AK and he was drawing to a 4 outer. He mistakenly thought his overcards were good as he put me on AJ (or so I expect).
River is a T and the stack gets pushed the other way. All I can do is get up and walk away. My 3rd buy in is gone.

If I am all in on the flop, I bet 40 instead of 25. But I expect to be way ahead on this flop (and I am!). That would chase away hands that are big dogs. I feel I played this hand well and just did not get the results. I should win this showdown 11 of 12 times.

I don’t know if I can take playing again. Instead, I will go to the corporate event and see Richard Jeni for free. Having been in stand-up in the past, and having seen Richard work, there are few better. There are maybe 6 comics I would go see. He is one of them. (I wrote this before I ran into Richard in the hallway.)

Warning: Non-poker related post (rare for me)

So in the last 24 hours, I have corresponded with / run into two very interesting people.

I have often traded tv shows with people on tape and DVD. I love rare stuff, especially from Japan, or shows I loved as a kid but would like to see again. Sometimes you get lucky, like with Columbo, and they come out on DVD. I hear Brisco County is coming out this summer (via the Bruce Campbell web site). Other times you need to be more createive. (see my lists at www.eifco.org/tapetrade)

So I end up trading my copy of "It's your move" to a guy in Austrailia. Nice guy and a big fan of the show like me. (the show stared Jason Bateman as a kid who was the ultimate scammer. The writers created Married with Children after this show.)

This Aussie kid is such a big fan in fact, that he somehow TRACKS DOWN one of the child actors from the show (Eli). I get an email telling me that he wants a copy of the show. There is no way I could charge this guy or ask for a trade, so I simple ask him for a story about working on the show instead. And he wrote me one. Now that was a fair trade. I really enjoyed hearing about the back stage antics, and how auditioning was and how much his parents hated the idea. So funny. So, I am sending him of DVDs of his own show. How cool is that?

So, I am walking back to my hotel room and who do I run into but comedic genius Richard Jeni. (The BEST of the "no sitcom yet" comics in America). I met Richard about 12 years ago at Comedy Castle back when I did stand up. He did not remember me (nor should he), but he was very personable and asked me about what I did now for a living and even asked some more in-depth questions about it. So after the brief conversation, I sort of switch sides of the hallway (from his right to his left) so he can continue talking to the other guy he was walking with. But he says, "what was that? switching sides?" I said "I was shifting over to another location so that you would not feel obligated to keep talking to me." He thought that was funny. "First of all that isnt going to work. and second, I dont mind at all. But it was polite of you." Funny how some people are genuinely approachable and don't do it just for the act of doing it. We talked about how he used to drive the staff crazy by doing 180 minutes instead of 90 (he doesnt do that anymore) and his gigs at the comedy castle (positive, although now its meadbowbrook, a concert venue). He is performing tonight as a special treat to the attendees of this confernce, so I get to see his show.

All in all, A blue ribbon day. Oh by the way, I am on Vegas in business. I will have a long poker post about Vegas when I return. Long and detailed.

This weekend its camping. Memorial Day camping. Up in the great white north (well upper michigan at least). 3 days with no electronics. Wish me Good Luck.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Blogger Freeroll A stars

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 7330476

Friday, May 19, 2006

The concept of BIDDING on a hand

A very similar concept has also been discussed on 2+2 as "The Pot Philosophy" and by Mike Caro as the "value of a hand". This is my take on the topic.

What is one thing Phil Ivey does better than any other player? In my opinion, its that he evaluates the "value" of his situation before he looks at his cards. He takes a quick survey of the table and thinks about the faces and the moves that came before him. He may even think about something related to an overall opportunity that may or may not fit this hand. Then he looks at his cards for the first time.

There are huge advantages in this somewhat long and boring discipline. He never gives off a tell related to hand interest. He has already decided what hands are playable given the current circumstances. If he is going to bluff, he may have already decided to do so before he looks at his cards.

The current situation has a value (stack sizes, position, level, tilting playing in the pot, etc). This is called SITUATIONAL VALUE. Then you look at your hand and THAT has a value. Let’s call that HAND VALUE for obvious reasons. Then you look at the POT SIZE and THAT has a value, especially post flop. That is the RETURN VALUE.

(Let's not talk about future-value as that is for the advanced only. I understand it, but can't use it effectively yet as I don’t compete at that level yet. FUTURE VALUE is making a certain play to set up the opposite move later on. You ONLY should do this when it will work, which is a very distinct set of circumstances.)

It is now, with the action to us, that we are going to BID. It doesn't matter if it’s a call or a raise; I am still assessing whether of not the potential RETURN VALUE of the hand outweighs the risk of being involved in the hand. In addition, we are deciding the value in being in this hand vs. the risk / reward paradigm.

So how do we decide what the BID should be? In high level terms, its like any other auction bid. Do we value to pot more than we value our current bid? If so, that is evidence to proceed. Do we think that our bid is the winning bid? Is that our intent? Poker is unique in that the pot has its own marketing program. As it gets larger, it advertises as such. So do we wish to make the pot more attractive, or do we wish to make our bid vs. its current value? If we make a pot size bet to protect top pair, that is a beginner move. If we make a 3/4 pot bet because we believe that our TP is probably good, but the texture of the board is luke warm so we need to protect it, then this is a more advanced play. But if we make the same 3/4 pot bet because we assess the value of the pot and our assessed value of the hand and think that we don't desire a showdown here based on value of the hand vs. our goals, we BID 3/4 pot to see if the other player will BID more or FOLD. We have made a more advanced play now despite making the same bet. We chose 3/4 of the pot because based on what we were willing to bid on the hand, we have to determine if we are going to win it right here and if we did win it right here, did we PAY the right price.

If we value this POT more for strategic reasons, we may adjust our bid UP. If we value this POT for return on investment reasons, we may bid LESS and accept more long term risk for less short term risk. (A dangerous business in NLHE, but not as much so in Omaha).

The chips you invest are gone once they are in the pot. At any given time, you are going to BID on the pot, knowing that you lose your bid chips whether or not you win the auction. The closer you BID is to the PERFECT value bid at that time, the better you are playing.

You need to make this calculation. Some do it by instinct, some by feel, some by math. But you are making a BID decision. Are you making good ones? If you can't think about poker in these terms, how can you expect to beat players who do?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Your got Questions? We got Answers!

Questions courtesy of http://www.tripjax.com/

1. What is the biggest mistake people make at a NL table?
Playing. Poker is -EV.
Secondly, they don't control the size of the pot properly. They win only when others make bigger mistakes than their own.

2. What is the biggest mistake people make at a Limit table?
Pretneding that limit is anything other than a math game.

3. Why do you play poker?
I have been a game player since I was a kid. Computer games, war games, parlor games, even road rallies, but not games of chance. To this day, I have no taste for table games. But poker is a battle of wits without a huge learning curve in explaining the rules. I would have just as much fun if I did not play for money (assuming everyone else took it seriously).

4. If you weren't playing poker, what would you be doing?
Some other battle of wits. Before I found poker, I hosted a weekly game night on Saturdays. We also drank alot of Mai Tais. I even have a published board game under my belt. ("Bootleggers" is available at Barnes and Noble this fall.)

5. What is your favorite poker book and why?
Harrington's book on NLHE. Far and away the easiest system to understand and implement. After that, I like "the 48 laws of power". I mean, lets face it. When *I* watch survivor, I fast forward through those stupid competitions and just watch the politics. Now that is riviting.

6. Who is your favorite poker player and why?
Phil Hellmuth. He isn't afraid of expressing his frustrations which I consider ammusing.

7. Which poker player do you dislike the most and why?
Annie Duke. Because I met her. Nuff said.

8. Do your coworkers know about your blog?
Few if any.

9. What is the most you have won in a cash game or MTT (both live and online)?
I won a nice $600+ purse once in a local $40 tournamnet.

10. What is the most you have lost in a cash game or in one day total (both live and online)?
$200 at the castle at the winter WPBT. The guy on my left was lying in wait and I got caught with second nuts, TWICE. My loses never had previously nor since have ever gone into 3 digits.

11. Who was your first poker blog read?
It was the Lord Admiral poker podcast!!!

12. What satisfies you more, your aces holding up for a big pot or a bluff working for a big pot?
Neither. I like a well plaid hand. Period. One where I correctly work out if I am ahead or behind and make the correct move.
Ok, that is bullshit. Its a big bluff baby!

13. Why do you blog?
I have always been a closet writer. Comes from my years in comdey (improv and standup). But I feel that immersion in something is good for the brain. Helps it commit to learning things... and stuff.

14. Do you read blogs from an RSS reader like bloglines or do you visit each blog?
RSS only. No time for browsing. I got a life. -Ok, I have a job.

15. Would you rather play poker for a living than do what you currently do for a living?
I think if I played for a living, all the fun would be drained out of it. I enjoy it as a hobby.

16. Do you wear a tin foil hat on occasion?
I am not superstitious, but I did once exercise my suck-out demons with a sacrifice.

17. If you had to pin it down to one specific trait, what does a great poker player have (or do) that separates them from an average player?
"They know where they are at." (Mike Madasow)
I think in terms of Brain attributes, they are adept at "complex pattern recognition".

18. Is Drizz the coolest person on the planet for naming his baby Vegas?
I hope so. They might have said that decades ago about the Hiltons.

19. What is your primary poker goal and are you close to accomplishing it?
I am always on the cusp of achieving my goal. To become a consistent whining (sic) player.

20. What is your primary online site and why?
Poker Stars. I feel it offers the highest level of competition.

21. What site do you dislike and why?
Party. There are too many to list.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

ready, touchdown... hut,hut,hut, HIKE!

Ok, fellow amateurs, lend me your ears. The level of competition out there is getting better as more and more of the "players who saw poker on TV" get bored of losing and stop playing.

So, what are you doing to improve your game? Are you the type of player who PRACTICES poker by scrimmaging, or do you just show to play on game day? If you are not performing drills nor finding ways to practice elements of the game, then either you are already to good for it to matter or you are not getting better.

With that in mind, here are the top 3 poker drills you can practice this week. I went through a bad spell recently and went back to drills. I cashed in 2/3 of my last tournaments after running dry for weeks.

Drill #1: Make a list of top 10 rules YOU WILL NEVER BREAK. Write them down. Tape them to the monitor. Now play. DONT BREAK THE RULES.

Drill #2: Tighten up. I mean "beginner tight". You must play 12% or LESS from non-blind positions. In the SB, you MUST fold if you dont have atleast a 2-gapper. NO 3 HOLERS, not even suited. Use the extra time to WATCH the flow of the tournament or table. See how a table ebbs and flows from loose to tight. Not you, the table. Its not always about you. Now, when you see the table start to get foldy, watch THIS TABLE for where a steal would work best. BUT, do not steal. Just watch for validation.

Drill #3(my favorite) : Give yourself THREE chips. Place them next to the keyboard. Each time you bet POST FLOP with not even a pair, discard a chip. When you use up your 3 chips, you are no longer allowed to bet/push post flop without a pair. period. (you may call, but I dont recommend it). This will force you to stop pushing in early rounds from bad posiion. You will be AMAZED at how much further you go in a tournament. (for advanced players, give yourself 1 new chip each level at levels 3+).

I ASSURE you that this will improve your game. Try it and see.

ADDENDUM: Questions related to continuation bets. You may continuation bet and not discard a chip IF:
1. You were the raiser before the flop
2. You isolated to 1 opponent

Donkey challenge update: I am a donkey. 'nuff said. I play way too much for fun and thus my bankroll suffers. I think my $ at PS is down to like $90. Sad really.

Monday, May 15, 2006

...so does the fool to his folly

Why do I keep playing at Poker Stars? I know its the hardest field/engine to beat consistenly! So why do I keep going back? Because I have something to prove. I just hope I figure out what the hell it is.

Mothers day was once again a knees-bent running about day. I visited so many mothers, that there has to be an offensive joke in it somewhere.

I also seem to be perpetually broke, despite making a decent living. Where does it all go? Why does it keep going? Does it have a destination in mind when it leaves?

I bubbled my last two practice sessions at the 45 player SnGs. This time I was in the top 5 most of the way, then my A8s made a steal attempt that was picked off by the BB with A3o. WTF? and... IGHN. Can't be sad though. As TJ says, "you get your money in ahead, its all you can do." Feh!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I am Brian and so is my wife!

I am going to challenge two very large assumptions in EARLY ROUND NLHE tournament play.

1. You always want to be in control of the hand by betting, pushing and being generally aggressive. This forces players to REACT to you.

2. The GAP principle applies in early rounds.

A new way of thinking:

1. In the EARLY stages of a tournament (say level 1 or 2), it is much better to judge the strength of your opponents hands and make the maximum amount of money by calling players down. Too many players are too loose and too aggressive.

2. The GAP principle is INVERSE in early rounds. You want to try and hit a big hand vs. a pre-flop raiser because players are trying too hard to play big pots. If you miss, you fold. If you hit, you let him bet off his chips.

Some days you just cant get rid of a bomb

That quote is from Batman the movie. Imagine being drunk in a bar, at 1:30 am, at a gaming convention, and your 19 years old and so is the drinking age. And THAT movie is playing. What a riot.

ok, so the scene is Batman running around trying to throw away a oversized, cartoon like bomb with a fuse. Each time he turns a corner, he runs into another encounter which prevents him from throwing the bomb away. Nuns, baby carriage, family, even birds! Hilarity ensues.

Last night, I played in a game of amateur players. It is an interesting setup as its a 50 player freezout NLHE, but you start with a shallow stack. 110 in chips, level starts at 1/2. This may seem like an M of 30, but if you assume that a hand will cost you about 10-20 chips to see a showdown, you can ill afford to be wrong even once. Not only that, but the tables are EIGHT handed, not 9 or 10. So you play more hands. Our table for SEVEN handed and one of the guys was playing for only his second time and another guy has a bad hand, so dealing was slow. Fewer hands, shorthanded, shallow stack, how do you play?

Well, I played simple solid. I played about 8 hands and ended up blowing the escape hatch on all of them (and correctly too!). I was behind on all 8 flops. And when I did not see a flop because am early position player raised, I would have flopped trips and the like. I could just not win a hand. Finally, I get dealt AK, flop a king and get chased down by KJ (as expected) who hit the two pair on the turn. They player would have stayed with kicker on TP, so with my stack size the way it was, I tried to keep the other two around with middle pair longer. It worked, and Looze Lloyd took down the monster pot with his Kings up.

Loose Lloyd has a VERY interesting way to play and I will put forth a very interesting set of postulates in my next post...

I am going to challenge two very large assumptions in NLHE tournament play.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Talking to ya cordless!

I am over in London on business right now. I have never played cards in London, mostly because I am a cheap bastard and the exchange rate (2 for 1) keeps me from being able to sit at the table without balking. So, I have never looked up the GUTSHOT card room. But on Friday, I am sitting at a cafe with my wife, who is wearing a FullTilt Hat (courtesy of Bill Rini). Out of nowhere, a bloke comes up and asks us if we play poker. One of them was tournament director Matt Savage. Apparently there was a European tournament series this weekend at the card room and it was only 4 blocks from our hotel. How could I resist?

Well, it was hard not to go there, but pretty easy to not play. The card room, by casino standards, was reminiscent of a newsroom from the 1970s. No paint, no d├ęcor, unless you count a poster of Negraneau on the wall. (He has posters?!) The tournament had taken up all the tables on the main floor (all 10?). But next door there were cash tables in the “lower level”. Well, the lower level was NOT as nice as my basement. It had room for 4 tables, 3 of which were full. No one else managing the place down there. This was obviously not the right day to visit them.

Not only that, there were about 2 dozen players playing at Gutshot.com via terminals? Why would you play online whilst AT the casino? Am I just a spoiled American with my internet and computer in my own house with its shower and its AC current? Gez.

So, I am here for one more night, and again doubt I will go over to play cards because there is so much to do in London with the wife. Plus, we live within 30 minutes of 2 very nice card rooms, so there is no feeling that we have to play cards. Next time I am in London, and alone, I’ll give them a whirl.

In some non-poker news, I ran into the web site of an old roommate. Timharrod.com Turns out he is now a writer for Conan O’Brien in NYC. He always had that great sense of humor that you could just envy from off-stage. Great to see other people (whom you don’t hate) be successful!