Thursday, March 26, 2009

Floundering like a bird with a broken wing in flight.

The last weekend was a whirlwind. Covering these tournaments is so much fun, ,but man is it hard work. Especially with only two people to run around and get the content.

I have my thoughts on it, and would like to write about the real stories that happened during the tournament. Which I will. When I get time. But for now, it's back to catching up.

The daughter has her surgery tomorrow, and honestly, I'm not a whole bunch worried about it. Just very anxious. I can't worry until I know what the problem is, and right now, it's just about getting something out of her.

This has led to some introspective bull shit on my part. I've always approached most problems, issues, decisions, in life with one goal in mind. To fix them to the point where they are in good working order. No band aids or crutches. Sometimes it's easier to do it that way based on the situation, but most of the times, it's really just a time consumer.

Most of the time you are wasting effort and resources on something that will need a complete make over. Maybe finances are in the way, or resources, or time. But in my experience, it has always been the better way to go. A full on plan of attack to remedy the solution. A cure, if you will.

So I'm sitting in the house and my neighbor comes over and says, "dude, there's a bird lying in the street flopping around." I go outside and look up the street, and there it is. A rather large Robin laying in the street flopping around.

Obviously it's trying to fly, but has zero success, or ability, so I walk up there to get a better look. As I am, a huge hawk flies over head. I noticed it's shadow on the street. Ok, so there's the culprit. Hawks gotta eat too.

I know the hawk isn't going to swoop down and grab his prey while I am standing there, so I kick the thing away from the curb to give the Hawk a better target.

My neighbor asks, "what are you doing?". I explain to him that the hawk probably hit him in the air and now he has to go get him. "You're going to let this happen?" He seemed genuinely disappointed about my actions.

"What the hell do you want to do about it?" I snapped. "You just can't let the thing lie there and die?!" "Then you go pick it up and let it suck on your tit for a week while he gets back to health."

He goes on to say, look, there's a bird in the street. It's a living thing. We just can't let it die. My thoughts were, why? Why can't we let it die. Who's to say that if the hawk didn't get his meal, that HE wouldn't die. Who are you to choose?

More to the point, who's to say that if you actually DO rest this thing back to health, and in flying condition, that another hawk won't get it the very same day? Plus, I really wanted to go hide and watch this Hawk swoop down and destroy this bird. I dig shit like that.

Now, this story isn't what it seems. It only got me to thinking about how we fix problems given the certain parameters that are attached to them. Problem 1: Bird has a broken wing Problem 2: Bird is going to be eaten by a bigger bird Problem 3: Who gets to choose who lives and who eats? Problem 4: Why are we spending so much time on some horsehit problem that neither of us are going to care about come friday when we are shoving flush draws and check raising with Aces. Problem 5: Are we just in our remedy? Problem 6: is any effort spent on this really going to make a difference?

Bah, I'm still exhausted and not making much sense. I'm moving on....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Borgata 500K

Live blogging the Borgata $500k this weekend....

go HERE for the updates

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AIG Rocks! and so does the Borgata!

Uproar and mayhem over the AIG bonus payouts has gotten a ton of people all jammed up recently. WTF?!?!? seems to be the crying call, with the economy all in a tizzy lately. But what does it really mean? And could it be stopped in the first place?

According to the Treas Sec, there's no way it could have been. But don't blame the CEO. He was put in place AFTER all of those contracts were signed. You can read Geithner's letter to Pelosi here. It explains it all in a letter that seems like outrage on his part, but neatly packages the deal like, "oh well, there's nothing we can do." I do however like the plan in place to recoup those bonuses. "EFF" the law I always say! Political capital is always worth more than Justice!

A lot has also been said by the right wingers about letting the companies go bankrupt. LET THEM FAIL!! is the cry heard around certain circles. But let's be realistic here. AIG insures over 70 million policies. What kind of policies? How about the ole US of A defense department.

That's right folks! You think the USA is self insured? BLAHAHAHAHAH!!! (actually, I guess they are now). You think everytime a $30 million plane drops out of the sky it does so without any recourse of recouping that 30 million? just as if you dented your bumper backing up into a tree, you call Geico, they call AIG.

How about wars? They're insured. EVERYTHIN' is insured. At what expense though? That's the real question.

$20 million to foreign banks to keep them up and running is the new "outrage" as portrayed by Senator, and past presidential candidate, Mr. McCain. I think it's outrageous that he complains about it. I voted for the guy, but let's get real for a second. Those foregin banks help underwrite those policies. I don't think for a second that our governement didn't know what they were doing when giving those bailout packages to AIG. "Let AIG give it to them" sounds pretty tidy to me. And in reality, it almost seems necessary to do so.

See, I think it's too late to complain or focus on the why all of this happened. I think we get it. The real focus should be on the decisions leading up to fixing those problems. Patch working bail out money to these companies is the way they've gone, and I guess in hindsight, (fast forward 5 years), I 'm hoping it is/ was the right thing to do. But there is more that needs to be done. What that is I have no idea. If I did, I would be in politics and not running some poker companie(s).

I just want the UIGEA to be overturned so I can get my bailout package! I digress....


The Borgata starts their $500k guarantee this weekend. Sat and Sun are day 1a and 1b. I would expect that the turnout will be over a G (whiz). Monday and Tuesday are days 2 and 3 with it ending on Tuesday. Or that's the plan. It will be super deep with starting stacks at $30k and blind levels at 70 min. per.

For a buy-in of $1500 +$150, I don't know that you will find a much better value. This really is turning out to be a huge event. Last year they turned folks away. This year they are more prepared with multiple day ones. Who knows how the economy will effect it, but I doubt by much.

With Caesar's pulling in just about 300 for their $1k event, and 212 for their main event, I think the Borg will show that what they offer and how they offer it is just a way better product. It will be interesting to see ONE tournament bring in that many people, as opposed to a WSOP branded series surrounded by a month long event.

If you should happen to make your way down there, look for me. I should be there on Sat and at least one other day. Hopefully :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Caesars Atlantic City, WSOP circuit events

I don't know, I really don't get it. Why would you continue to offer the same crappy product when you know it's not working out. That people don't like it. You know this because the players tell you they don't like it.

They complain to your face that they don't like it. The attendance shows it. The sheer lack of numbers is proof.

I saw a lot of the same guys yesterday. All playing event 6 ($1k nlhe). Only this time there was only 300 players. 300 players??? You're the WSOP of crying out loud! Where's your pride? Most will think of this as just a by product of the economy, but before you pass judgement, read further.

I"m wondering what the Venetian averages when they hold their deepstack tournies. Anyone out there want to shed light on that number? Is it declining? Growing? Keeping steady?

Thursday is the Main Event at Caesars. Its a $5k entry and who knows how many will play. If yesterday was an indication it won't be much. I put the o/u at 250.

The reason being is that Harrahs has been holding $300 and $500 sats every day. Yesterdays $300 sat. saw 17 entrants. Thats right. 17. The $500 saw 27. There were $65 and $11o sngs all day long to qualify for the $500 at 8pm. I saw more than 50 of them go off. and yet only 27 entered. The rest were running around the room pedalling their vouchers at just about $.50 cents on the dollar (no I didn't buy one).

With so few sat'ing into the main event, I doubt the rest of the regualr grinders are locks for shelling out their $5k. The field just won't be big enough.

With the Borgata about a mile up the island how does Harrah's compete? Well, sure, they hold their events opposite of the B's, but what I heard yesterday was stunning. Just about half of every conversation I had was about making a decision to play in the 8pm sat at Harrah's, or just hop over to the Borgata and play their daily. Most went to the Borgata.

In just about a week, the Borgata will be holding their $500k guarantee. The entry is $1500 this time around, and I'm predicting just about 1,000 players. I'm only hedging that number because the economy is so bad. If it wasn't, I'd be predicting at least 1500.

Obviously the structure has something to do with it. I've said before that the industry is changing. Players want value, and starting stacks of $30-$50k with 70 minute levels and an extra level provides that value. In the least it's more playing time. It provides the ability to be more patient.

The question becomes then, when will Harrah's quit banking on their brand? It seems to be the resounding theme whenever I speak to anyone there. Comments like, "well, look, we have the strongest brand in poker, and we'll continue to run our tournaments in the tradition that the WSOP has for the last 40 years. Our brand has built poker, and we do not see the need to change the best product in the industry." I will leave out the name of the source. Times are tough.

They obviously have the most notoriable brand in poker. Anyone who doesn't agree with that is stupid. But you know what else was popular at one point? A good strong horse. Bow saws, muskets.

In case you miss my point, all of those wonders that helped build this country have been replaced by better technology. Better products. The WSOP needs to recognize this. It's in front of their face. Last year alone, the Venetian was getting bigger numbers during the WSOP because they offered a better product. I can't think it will be too long before players forget about how important it is (or was) to win a bracelet. Instead, opting for the better value and more winnings.

It was announced yesterday that Atlantic City Casinos, as a whole, were down 14% from last year. That's an expected but staggering number. With so many properties fighting for players, you would think that the higher ups would do everything possible to provide a reason to get players in their establishments.

Harrahs seems to think its their brand, while the Borgata understands its the value. People are still playing poker. In droves. But they are smarter. And if they aren't smarter, at least they know to follow the herds.

The Caesars main poker room was virtually empty yesterday. I saw 10 tables empty. This is a paradox really, when you think about the amount of players who would flock to the rooms during any tournament series going on upstairs in any casino. One of my guys who was with me said, "yeah, but everyone is playing upstairs." He didn't get it. So I explained it to him.

How does all of this bode for Harrahs? For the WSOP? How long before another casino or property steps up with a monster series that provides value to try to take on the WSOP as the noted World Champion of Poker? I don't know that will ever happen, but I don't think it will ever be revered as it once was.

This years WSOP has shown a willingness to try different things at least. I just don't know that a $3k NLHE triple chance tournament is the way to go. Seems gimmicky to me. I do think that this years WSOP at the Rio may see some really bad times. Not only because of the issue of players wanting a better game, but the economy is certainly going to have an impact. The 300-1000 family guys probably won't get the permission this year to dust off a couple g's trying to earn their way into stardom, and a new career.

As all things, time will tell, but as I see it, it's already told half the story.

Edit: I was speaking with another player and felt I needed to expand on the whole WSOP bracelet point. Back in the day, the WSOP bracelet was revered because everyone who played was already an accomplished player. It was a Tourney for Champions. Cash is king for the poker player so bracelets shouldn't matter. But what the WSOP offered was a venue for those monsters who already had won the money. The prize wasn't worth half as much as what the bracelet represented. That was besting your peers and being noted as the Best of the Best. The WSOP is no longer a tournamet for champions. Unless you consider a $5 sng winner a champion.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Sunday started out pretty phat. Nice easy morning, getting some work done, chillin' with the kids. Then I thought of something. Let's get ready for the week! A little preparation never hurt anyone.

I know I'm going to be down in AC at least 2 days, lets get a head start! So I decided to start making some tuna salad for the kiddies lunches. Sounds good. Open can. The can opener is JV (junior varsity for those not in the know), and ALWAYS misses two spots equi-distant from each other. Kinda like hinges.

So, I flip the one side up and bend it back. Only this time, the one end kinda looks like it wants to come off. Easy peasy. I start to tear it off, man-style, with my hands. Now, I have like 57 kids so its a big can of tuna, and I got a really good grip on it. I see the end thats loose and watch it tear away from the can. I'm feelin' pretty strong at this point.

You know, in 40 years, one of the things that has escaped me is all the cautionary advice about opening canned goods. How the hell could someone end up slicing themselves open with a lid from a can? Sure, they're sharp but it's not like it's super sharp. I also couldn't see someone taking a lid and actually slicing it across their hand, or anypart of their body. And I can't, or couldn't see a lid being able to just stab and do damage.

Of course, that was before Sunday.

As the lid tore off of the can, I felt this little twinge in the "thigh" part of my thumb. It didn't slash across. It just "went" into it. I saw blood. A lot of it. and I thought, after I yelled "Jesus Christ", that can't be good.

I didn't look at it. I just grabbed some paper towels and put it over where the blood was and held it over the sink. Then I take a little peak. I saw just a little slice and some tuna. So I washed it off some more, and tried to wipe the little part of the tuna away. Only it wasn't tuna. It was a piece of my torn flesh.

So now I take the whole paper towel off. Truly unbelievable. The first thing I thought was, "you stupid mother fucker." The next thing I thought was, "you know, you could stuff olives and shit in that thing it's so deep". Then I saw my tendon.

At this point, I started a decision tree on whether or not medical asistance would be needed. I've been through things like this before. Actually took a knife across the back of my left hand about 15 years ago while I was in the Marine Corps and that cut right through the tendon of my 4th digit (or ring finger for those of you who can't count). that required surgery. Sometime last summer I took a utility knife to the top of my 1st digit on my right hand while stripping some romex. I didn't seek medical attention for that one and now have a half moon chunk of extra skin on that finger.

This one was different. I snapped a picture of the wound and texted it to several friends. One said it looked like a vag. After looking at it I concurred. I still have the pics on the phone and may upload them to facebook but just haven't done it yet to the comp here. Don't know if it is graphic enough. I really wouldn't be happy unless someone puked.

I remember along the way thinking if my wife had done this, and what my reaction would have been. I think "stupid" would have been thrown around a bit. Yes, I feel stupid. But it's ok. Now I know tuna cans aren't to be messed with.

Edit: Pictures below

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

PPI/ Riverchasers recap

Lots of fun last night. I never do this but my bust out hand left me feeling quite ghey. I never really invest this much time and reflection on online tourneys. I just don't see the point. But with the BBT just starting I want to be sure that I am giving myself as many chances as possible.

The bust out hand came after the first break. I had just under $4k and was in the small blind. Nzgreen was in the BB and had me covered but not by much.

I was grinding the whole way and felt it necessary to start picking up pots, but not so much that would just play reckless. Just a thought that occured to me. "you need to start picking up pots".

I was dealt TT in the sb and it folded around to me. I standard betted it to 240. I think the blinds were 40/80. (I wish I saved the HH, but again, I never do this).

NZ reraised to 1,000. Now, he has just about T2900 after that raise, and I am pretty sure he is making a move here. I don't think he has J3, but I'm fairly certain he has a less than premium hand which should be foldable if I jam even if he is getting 2.5 to 1 to call. This still is a tournament, and he would be crippled if he lost.

I didn't want to jam, but I had a hand, and any reraise commits me. So I did. Jam that is. He just about insta called with KQ. River brought a Q and IGH.

What I thought about was, is just calling an acceptable move there. Is it a better move? Again, I thought any two over cards, minus AK or maybe AQ call, but I don't mind racing. But I was disappointed to be called by KQ.

He had a stack left after his raise. I don't understand why he would ship it with just KQ. I played rather tight the whole tourney seeing less than 7% of my hands. I think you have to be aware of that fact and understand that a player is very rarely going to play so tight, and try to resteal with a shove after an hour or so of folding.

I'm not complaining either. Anyone is allowed to call with anything. My question resides in the thought of "is just flatting there worse than shipping it?"


Monday, March 2, 2009

'Tis the season to be jolly

I've spoken to several folks who play for a living. The MTT grinders who are out there on the circuit with no real "hard" address. When interviewing these folks, the last question always comes down to , "so what's next".

It seems that between the last major events in January, most tend to take time off until the WSOP. This doesn't mean that they are playing exclusively in the WSOP. They tend to hit up some of the deepstack tourneys at the Venetian or other casinos in Vegas that offer a good structure and a good payout.

That's not to say that they aren't playing anything from Feb thru June. But their travel is cut to almost nothing. Other casinos are out there offering as much as they can, and the only one I know of that gets the life pro on a plane is the Borgata $500k gaurantee. That one comes up in a few weeks and always gets the best out there. Their super deepstack makes it tasty and just unavoidable for those who pay the bills with tourney cashes.

After interviewing the likes of Eric Lynch, and Allen Kessler I thought, and posed the question. Is there a season to poker? That is, a specific amount to time that is dedicated to just not playing anything. And is it the same for most of the pros. The recognizable ones that is.

That question is hard to answer, said Eric. It's a matter of personal preferrance. Since most travel in the same packs, it could be argued that it is the case. Is it a pointless question? Of course it is. For those who are spectators.

But for those out there trying to earn their way into poker stardom, I think it's a good strategy to employ when picking your tournaments and how to spend your bankroll. Let's say there is a defineable poker season. You know that certain events are going to be riddled with most of the guys and gals out there who are doing this for a living. You also know when most of them are going to be relaxing.

You should be able to look at certain events and see a better value based on not only the structure, but on how competitive the field will be. Anything that gives you more of an edge.
Tournament poker has become so much more prevelant over the last 6 years that more things need to be considered in order to increase your competitive advantage.

Tournament poker has also seen a huge change over the last few years as well. When it started to come into its peak, you could find a $10k event every week. The trend seems to be taking smaller buy-ins with much better structures. There are indications that not only is the change welcome, but a change that will continue.

10k events seem to be going the way of the dodo bird. They are increasingly seeing smaller fields, sans the WSOP main event, mainly due in part because of the expense. The touring player likes to see value, and paying 10k for each event just doesn't do it anymore with 500 + fields. Especially when they can play a super deep stack $3k event with a prize pool of 2 million. They understand those fields will be chock full of donkeys ready to place put tourney life on the line with a draw and 150 big blinds.

I guess the point is that there are many different things to consider in the current state of tournament poker. The best are doing such things.

Now because most of us homebound mothers and fathers and recluses are sitting in front of a computer most of the time button mashing three outers, and Aces into the likes of made hands, and under pairs. So I don't know that this will translate well or mean anything to most of the readership here in Riggs land. I just had nothing else to write about!