Monday, July 26, 2010

MORE poker in PA :)

I wanted to respond to a comment. I think it's important because I want no assumptions made of why I'm writing these posts. I have no allegiance. I have no bias. If anything, the bias falls on this side of the river because it's closer, and will allow me to play a lot more with less inconvenience.

That being said... This comment was left (fraction)

"I do not think you are giving enough credit to the PA poker rooms and the staff running some of them. Maybe that is the case in the eastern part of PA, and nevertheless, some poker rooms are run by idiots (ever been to Wheeling?)"

OK, fair enough. However, they haven't been open for more than two weeks, so what credit do they deserve? I'm not writing these posts to compare AC versus PA either. The whole question surrounding PA rooms, at least as I have been reading it since the idea of PA offering poker was announced, was what affect it would have on Atlantic City. Remember, this has nothing to do (at least not much to do) with Western PA. Atlantic City did not pull a lot of its daily play from Western PA.

That being said, PA will end up doing a fine job for what their product will be. The poster points to Wheeling, WV.

You have to look at this from the standpoint of the property itself. Wheeling probably has zero interest in growing their room. They opened it up, realized over time and projection that the room could hold x amount of players with the possibility to market to x amount of population and figured this is where their room will be and will always be. They're not looking to host the WSOP any time soon. That being acknowledged, the room will then decide on a budget based on revenues in order to make the room profitable. See where I'm going?

PA casinos will be in this same boat. Their rooms will be catering to a demographic of people that will be based solely on geography. AC never did that. AC went after demographics that spanned the nation. WPT events, WSOP events, income level demos, etc. They marketed to the entire Mid-Atlantic and North England markets.

PA casinos aren't doing that. I suspect most won't. This is part of the reason why AC will ultimately win. If that actually happens. I don't know that Parx won't make a run at being that Poker Paradise. With their announcement that they want 100 tables, it seems pretty clear they do want to make a run. Time will tell if they do, if they can handle it, if they can succeed.

The bottom line here is that these PA casinos are awesome for being able to run out on a whim and only have to drive less than 30 minutes instead of looking at a 2 hour ride with $20 in tolls.

Pa casinos will build a larger player network. More will come to play because it is available. It's a great thing, I love it. I think PA poker rooms are the bees knees. I just think ultimately, they will not have a huge effect at all on AC.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Poker in PA update

Some good questions last post....

Jordan, I have not been to a room yet. And no, I cannot divulge my sources, but be assured as in most, they are insider sources. I know when Parx opens their room in September they will start with 36 tables, and eventually try to get to 100. That will be a monster room. I'm excited to see what their strategy is.

The other rooms, I will be visiting in the next few weeks for some meetings, and to talk to some people about what their goals and objectives will be as far as their poker products go. That will be interesting as well.

Bam, They aren't really trying to do things half-assed. It just is what it is at this point. Throwing some tables up without a real plan will yield half assed results. I gather that will all come to a point where someone steps up and says, "How can we do this the right way".

More to come...

The Future of Poker in PA

Poker is in PA: here is what it looks like so far and into the immediate future...
  • All casinos that offer poker in PA will cap their rooms at around 15 tables, save one. (back to that in a second)
  • Players all throughout PA will flock to these rooms trying to earn their piece of Poker History. The tables will have wait lists of 20-80 deep and will piss off the "players" who came to see what it was all about, sending them straight back down to AC anyway.
  • the new players (mostly 21-29 year old retards) will from groups like "DX" and "Rakemakers" and try to play at these establishments in groups, telling everyone that they will have all of their members playing in the WSOP next year and that they will "Take over the poker world" - again... retards
  • The only casino in PA that will make an actual run at real poker will be Philly Parx. They had released a statement a year ago that they wanted to open a 100 table room. I've heard it will be more like 75, but not for a while. Parx opens their poker room on September 1st.
  • If Parx does get someone in there to perform like a monster and really understand poker marketing, AND the finance and executive get on board, and realize the business model and rev streams from poker fall within their overall goals and strategies to hit whatever objectives they set, well then they are going to have a war on their hands.
  • The competition will be Borgata. These two will fight over who is the best card room in the east. The Borgata already holds that moniker and will be less likely to give it up against any casino anywhere. They are after all catering to more than just PA players.
  • Right now the only advantage PA casinos have is location. That advantage will go away as soon as all the monkeys who are trying this out run out of money, or interest.
  • The ones that do stick around, build a bank roll, gain some skill, will ultimately head down to AC and points further west to really play in the bigger games, with the better players, and become part of the community.
  • Parx does have an opportunity. For one, AC is hard to get to. For the traveling player that is. I know of three players who won't go to AC unless the tournament is super mandatory because it is such a pain to get there. You have to fly into Philly, then get an hour limo to the casino, then an hour limo back, etc. Costs add up. They hate it. Parx will be 30 min shuttle from the air port, and will probably offer it for free.

PA poker will not be a poker professionals dream. Most places will keep to 12-15 tables and will provide a very recreational atmosphere for players within their area. All this will do is build a larger database. It will hurt AC in the interim, and in their daily play when it comes to the guy who went down twice a month. But that twice a month guy won't be leaving AC forever. That 2x's a month will turn into 1 every six months, possibly, but he will spend more in that 1 visit.

PA offers poker (YAY!). I haven't been to one yet. I will shortly, and write you up a nice trip report. But offering poker tables and thinking they will compete with AC, or Foxwoods, or Mohegan, is silly. They won't come close to the product offering that these others have (well, OK, maybe Mohegan) and have built over years of catering to the poker community.

PA poker will be fine for a while. I doubt they have any tournament structure that will drive traffic. Tournaments are expensive to run. AC will own that and continue to do so.

OK, I'm done. Trip report at some point soon.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Poker in PA!

So this weekend started PA's foray into live poker. Most casinos opened with tables and I read some reports and spoke to some who went and tried to play.

I did not get there myself, but let's talk about some numbers.

The Hollywood Casino (Hershey Area) started with about 12 - 15 tables. At 11pm there were 72 people on the waiting list.

The Sands (Bethlehem) opened with 12 maybe 13 tables and people were told about 3 hours in that there would be a 3 hour wait at least. They were spreading 1/2 , 2/4, and 3/6 limit and NL games. No tournament tables were seen offered.

There was a story about people from Delaware Park driving to AC because their list was 90 deep. OH boy, this oughta be fun!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Main Event Mania!

Last post I tried to spill a bunch of Mojo on the world for Josh Brikis. Josh ended up finishing 55th for $138k giving him his 5th cash of this years series.

He posted that it was the most miserable $138k he ever got. I get that. He was cruising pretty good going into his final day and just couldn't win a pot. When you are playing well (as he does) and running well, and you have 8 million staring at you... well, lets just say anything short of the final table is frustrating.

I know Josh and it is about the money, but we are still talking about the Main Event. The Super Bowl (I friggin' hate cliches') of Poker. Still, it was a great series for him and I'll see him in September at the Borgata for the Poker Open.

While I've covered events for the Borgata I've got to meet a shit ton of players. Some you've heard of, and some you haven't.

I get to watch them play, interact with them, and even spill some booze on some unsuspecting tourist at the B bar. The range is wide. Most play all the time, traveling the circuit and are well past making their bones. These guys are players.

One particular guy caught my attention a few years back. I watched him over a couple of series and was so impressed with his play, his demeanor, that I would tell anyone who would listen about how much I respect his game. The dude is sick. I interviewed him after a final table where he placed eighth in the Borgata Classic way back in 2007. His thoughts about strategy were pretty wild coming from such a young player.

John Racener is part of the final 27 in the Main. He is sitting on over 10 mil in chips and is currently 8th. Looking at the field I gotta put him in the top 10% of winning this thing. He has a favorable table heading into today's play and I'm excited to follow his progress.

John has over a million in winnings to date, which probably escapes most people. He kinda flies under the radar, although his success in the main, and the series has probably erased most of that.

I like the way this year has played out so far. It should make for a great final 9.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This just in!

TMZ said in a press release today that the audio of a man yelling at his ex wife is in fact NOT Mel Gibson as previously reported. Instead, it is thought to be of a man from Massachusetts going by the name of Waffles.

Rant here

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

WSOP Main Mojo

I've met some pretty cool cats the last few years inside poker covering a lot of the Borgata Events and just overall playing around the east coast.

Josh Brikis, one of those cats who took second last year in the 5k 6max is now within the top 20 of chip leaders in the Main.

Send him some love as he prepares for the most important grind of his life to date. Winning the WSOP main goes without saying, but getting yourself into the position to go deep, going a little deeper and possibly hitting the final table, and then playing the final table are all steps to obtain that goal.

We as poker players (I don't include Waffles) understand the stages during any particular tournament pose to perform and overcome. It's this time where focus, luck, and timing come into play more than ever because of what it means.

Send my man some mojo for some good fortune! Josh is a solid dude as well as exceptional player. Even if he is from Pittsburgh!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The strongest woman I know

I've been on a bit of life tilt lately. I have a lot of shit happening that I'm still trying to process and it's been a bit of a bite in the ass. I really don't even know where to begin. Then I get this little nugget thrown on me tonight.

My aunt was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years back. First it was pancreatic, then lung, then brain. Then I think liver, but can't recall. The point is that she took the chemo, took some radiation, the stuff in the pancreas wasn't cancer, the lungs were but were healing, and the brain wasn't the "serious" kind.

In fact, she handled the whole situation pretty goddamn heroically. In fact the only noticeable part of her battle was the wig. And that wasn't noticeable if you didn't know she was wearing one. She was a trooper. Insisted on living alone, being self sufficient, and was always upbeat.

A few weeks ago she started getting a little iffy in the walking department and was staying tired a lot longer than normal. The Docs thought it was a good decision to stop chemo for a while and see how that went. It didn't go as expected as she only became more exhausted and weary.

My mother finally decided that enough was enough and she went up to see her sister against her wishes of being able to live on her own and found her in a pretty bad state.

She was slurring her words, not keeping her balance at all, and was a little delusional talking about things in the past that no longer were. My mother feared she had a stroke and tried to get her to agree to a visit to the hospital.

She got up from a chair and fell over into the wall beating up her face pretty good. Mom took her to the hospital and that's where she's been since last Thursday. She was dehydrated, but didn't have a stroke. They fixed her up and kept her through the weekend as it was a holiday and had to wait til monday for testing.

After some MRI's the doc's came back with news yesterday. The brain cancer has spread throughout her brain. Numerous tumors have spread around the brain and the prognosis is mortal. This is where the hard part comes.

The strongest woman I ever knew has decided that she has had enough. She doesn't want to fight anymore. She doesn't want to live a life where the only thing that will prove life is a beating heart and active brain function as indicating by a machine.

For that, I can't blame her. I can only admire her. She is coming home tomorrow. My parents are moving in with her until her time comes to an end. The best case scenario is 12 weeks. The worst case is 4. The doctors have prescribed medication to keep the swelling down in her brain so that she can retain her faculties. They also said that when she goes, it will probably be from heart failure because of the meds she will be taking.

Hospice care will be there once a day to help with pain management and to help my mother take care of her. I can't imagine what she must be thinking. I'm struggling thinking about what it would be like to know that your signing your own death sentence by opting out of treatment. I get it. I would do the same thing. But the realization, after you make your decision to not have treatment, that you are going to die real soon... at this point, I have no words.

I've seen death. I've experienced friends, family, and loved ones from all ages pass on. It's just hard to think about it and what she might need.

I love this woman. She has been a huge influence in my life. Now, I have to figure out a way to honor her after she's gone.