July 2006
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More updates on the way, honest

I’ve now set aside a place to work and got myself a desk (actually a very nifty "laptop cart" which I’m goint to have to try and bring back.. should be fun!) and an 88c screwdriver to put it together so the routine starts from next week.  The plan is to work mornings and some afternoons and then do Vegas stuff in the evenings, and the other afternoons.  I’ll have more chance to keep the blog up to date then too.  Meantime, a few random updates:

The cheap food keeps coming, with another fully comped meal at Sams Town (and still many points to spare!), and twofers at Sunset Station (which is just down the road really) and Golden Gate.  The Bay City Diner at Golden Gate was a good find (never really even noticed it before) and I think we’ll be going back soon.

I’ve played mostly $2/$4 so far, with winning sessions at Excalibur (+$23) and the Fitz (+$57) and losing at Imperial Palace (-$29).  Was way ahead at IP for ages, then took a beating with AA getting cracked twice in massive pots.  Loved the action though with a bet and a raise ahead of me, and I was against AJs and 67s, who both got their flush on the river.  Our table at the Fitz had three generations of calling station, with daughter, dad and grandmother all playing together.

Also witnessed The Worst River Call In The World Ever Part One at the IP.  First player bets, second player raises but then shows his hand before first player does anything.  He has made a full house, sixes full, with 63.  The first player thinks for a while, looks at her hand, then calls anyway with trip 6s, jack kicker.  Maybe she thought he still deserved the extra bet.  We stayed in this game for quite a while…

I also ventured into my first no-limit cash game, although I did it all wrong really.  I went to Sunset Station and sat at a $1-$3 NL table full of rocks to try to get an idea for how it played.  This was not a typical Vegas game as it’s only full of locals who clearly know each other and how each other play.  I expected to donate whilst learning unless I got lucky but it didn’t cost too much really, coming away about $70 lighter than I sat down with.  I was mostly playing short stacked and scared (I was expecting this to be a $1-$2 game, not $1-$3 – I only went there because it’s the closest casino to our house), the purpose really only being to try to be comfortable sitting at a no-limit table and trying to see what opportunities to look for.  It’ll take some getting used to, but I’m going to try it again.  Probably $1-$2 next time, and probably a tourist game because these guys weren’t giving much away.

Cheapo update

The mission to not pay full price for food failed when I had to fend for myself at the Rio on a break, and I ventured into the "Poker Kitchen".  This is a token effort, basically a tent plonked just outside the emergency exits at the back of the convention centre, and it’s far from great.  I queued for ten minutes at the hot dog and burger counter.  The hot dogs were "still frozen" and the burgers were "going to be a while".  So I had to grab a really stodgy sandwich for $6, a bag of crisps for $2 and a snickers for $1.50.  Poor value, poor service and it made me miss three hands because I was waiting around so long.

Anyway, we were back on form yesterday at Ellis Island.  This place is fantastic value even without a discount, but with a 2-for-1 it’s unbelievable.  I had a Frisco Burger, which is served on sourdough bread and sliced in two like a sandwich.  Yummy.  Claire had fish and chips, which she said was great.  In total with drinks the bill came to $9.54.  Total bargain.

Then it was matchplay time.  We had no luck with the matchplays last trip and particularly at Terrible’s where we lost every single one.  Things started the same way this time at Ellis Island with a $5 and a $10 matchplay.  We both lost.

So back to Terribles and not expecting much, we had two coupons for Roulette – bet $5 win $7 – which we played on red and odd and hit red 21 for a $14 profit.  Almost back even.

For blackjack at Terribles we were on the "coupon table" as the dealer pointed out.  Three of the four players were there for a single hand with a matchplay!  We had 2 x $10, one won one lost for a profit of $10.

Also had $5 free slot credit at the Venetian, which didn’t do any good.  Four max bet spins at 25c video poker and it was gone in a flash.

So far: Up $9 and well fed !

Where else in the world would this happen?

First let’s replicate some classic European architecture.

Then let’s use it as a giant advertising pole.

 The Venetian apparently has a new show…

Official Photos

These are the official event photos of yours truly from Wednesday. Strangely I’m more interested in getting a copy of one of these than I was for my graduation photo… 1 2 3 4 5 6

I busted three people at the WSOP

Let’s start positive.  I was responsible for sending three people to the rail in WSOP Event 37, $1500 NL Hold’em.  My ace high flush crushed a ten high flush, a short-stacked AK was disappointed to find me with AA pre-flop and I made a broadway straight to crush two pair.

That wasn’t nearly enough though in a field of over 2800 players.  Playing 11 handed (which wasn’t too bad really, the tables were nice and big, and pretty comfortable) there were still over 30 tables of alternates.  The floor were struggling, and even made the announcement "Players can you play a bit tighter please, we are getting behind".  I found this amusing, even if some thought it was inappropriate.  Lighten up guys…

When my KK ran into QQ, the poker gods decided to let me go with a brutal Q on the flop.  There was a raise ahead of me and I moved in pre-flop.  QQ put in the third raise, putting himself all in and the original raiser got out of the way. I’d be in trouble with this hand, even with bigger stacks or without the third raise.  Playing KK out of position on a Q high flop against a set of queens – I’d be losing a chunk here even if I can manage to not go broke.

There’s no shame in losing as an 80% favourite with 3-1 pot odds (when you include the blinds, antes and the first raise) – what better opportunity can you get, particularly when you don’t really have enough chips to isolate the raiser but someone else does it for you? 

So generally I think I did OK, and could stand a fair chance when the cards go the right way – you need a mighty amount of luck to survive in this field.  If I’d won an earlier coinflop with AJ vs KT, who was all in from the big blind for less than double my raise, and then had my KK hold up I’d have been in very good shape.  I didnt try anything fancy, but I didn’t really need to, or ever have the ammunition to.  The same went for the other players – whilst I didn’t notice anyone who I’d say was particularly bad, nobody really stood out as taking control of the situation or playing a consistently impressive game.

After four or five hours, the boredom was starting to get to some, for instance QTo raising and calling a reraise all-in, but I managed to stay patient.  Considering this is the fastest structure in the WSOP (after they gave the $1000 event $1500 chips, which is just wrong) I just can’t comprehend how slow the main event would move….

Don’t Drive Tired

Last night I went to play the tournament at The Orleans.  This wasn’t a great idea as I was still very tired and it’s a large field tournament.  In fact I don’t know exactly how many players there were as the screens were out of action but at $45 to enter, $20 rebuys and over $4000 for first place, there were probably 150-200 runners.

I really only did this because I needed to stay awake to try and adjust so I could sleep a little bit later and not be falling asleep if I survive past the first few hours in my WSOP event today.  It kinda worked, because I slept right through to 5.30am today!

However last night I just wasn’t in a good state to be playing.  The flops looked blurred and I just wasn’t concentrating well.  Somehow (a one-card flush with QQ helped me to beat the mighty KJ after it made top pair) I hung on until there were about 60 left when most people were playing with very short stacks.

This was not an enjoyable tournament (although it probably would have been if I was alert, even with the gobby Hawaiian woman to my right, for whom everything in life seemed to be wrong), but hopefully it has helped me to kick the jet lag much better than staying in and snoozing in front of a movie would have done, plus I got the chance to play like a donkey when it didn’t matter quite so much as it will later today.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy – the Orleans is one of the toughest card rooms in town – but it was nice to get back in the saddle.

I’m leaving shortly – gl me 🙂

What time is it?

Please do not say Chico Time. This is possibly the worst jet lag I’ve ever had, and it’s probably because we had the smoothest journey ever. The plane landed early, our luggage got tagged priority (hooray for bmi silver status) and there was no line for car rental (plus, we got a PT cruiser which made me very happy!). We got to the house just after 2pm local time, 2 hours early but fortunately it was ready.

Being the party animals that we are, we didn’t waste any time before running straight out to Food 4 Less and filled a trolley. Then we came back and fell asleep – the one slight drawback to staying out in the suburbs is that it actually takes a bit of effort to go to where the action is, and I didn’t really want to be driving back like a zombie. (After three weeks you know we’re going to appreciate not living in a casino though.) So by 2am I was pretty much wide awake. We figured this would be a good time to scope out the Rio and make sure we were registered for our WSOP events. I’ve already moaned about just how smoothly my pre-registration didn’t go, and Claire still hadn’t heard what day she was starting on from William Hill.

The long walk through the Rio casino to the Convention Center (there are apparently closer places to park, but I haven’t found them yet) was deathly quiet in the wee hours. Nothing too surprising really, but it was the perfect opportunity for some touristy photo ops whilst nobody was around 🙂

There was some action going on in the massive card room but the place is much bigger than I could have ever imagined and I still can’t comprehend just what it’s going to be like when it’s full. The preregistration desk was pretty well organised really – everything was waiting for both of us in an envelope and we just had to show a Harrah’s Total Rewards Card to collect it, and then we got issued with new special WSOP players cards. Pretty cool. The seat allocations are already done (I’m table 144, seat 2) and we also got a $10 food coupon for some of the Rio restaurants. Sadly the Gaylord Indian is not one of them 🙁

Because nothing else was really going on at the Rio – all the suites and stalls were shut – we decided to go and find the cheapest breakfast we could. Figuring we’d have enough comp left at Terribles we stopped there to discover that the players card had changed and we needed to get new ones, but the players club was closed. We’ll do that some other time then. Off to Sams Town where I find I have about $10 in comp left on my card and Claire has much more. I get the steak and eggs special and Claire has ham and eggs, and the total bill comes to 81c after the points are wiped off my card. That’s just about cheap enough for a start…!

After feeding the video poker machines for a bit we headed to the Strat in time for the 9am tournament, but the sportsbook is being redeveloped, meaning the poker room has been shoved off into a little corner with just four tables in it. There was not a soul in there either, so we moved on. In fact, we couldn’t find a game at all. Imperial Palace had just one guy sitting at a table with a stack of chips looking lonely and Flamingo had only one NL table, which was full. Tried the MGM, thinking that if there’s nothing happening there then there’s not going to be much joy anywhere this time of the morning. It was pretty dead, so we came back to the house for a swim…

The pool here is awesome. It’s about twice the size of the one at the house we stayed in last year. The deep end is deep enough for me to barely stand and it’s long enough that I can actually swim lengths. As I thought, Google Earth was one house out.

Still don’t know what time it is though. I’ve had two breakfasts (if you count pop tarts before we went out the first time) and a lunch and it’s still early afternoon.

T minus one!

We’re finally off to Vegas tomorrow and I’m a little bit excited.

Probably won’t have time to write anything else until we get there, so unless there’s an amusing packing incident I’ll wish myself good luck and be on the way.

Things that get stuck in my poor head

I saw an advert on the tube for an investment company, which included the peculiar phrase:

“A simplified and full prospectus are available on request”.

The phrase sounds so awkward that I have to think that it’s could well be correct, even though it just sounds wrong. Surely someone in the marketing department would have said “hang on, are you sure about that, it doesn’t quite read right” before it went to print, and they would get it checked out. Either they’d use correct grammar even if it’s a bit unusual, or they’re going to word it in such a way that makes it easy to read, even if not quite correct.

Or, behind door three, this could be just a cunning advertising ploy to get their branding to stick in my head. I’ve considered this, and of course it’s worked because I can remember clearly which company’s advert it was. However this is highly cynical, and just a little paranoid, so let’s move on.

I think we can rule out this being one prospectus that is both simple and full. As well as the use of the verb are being mostly what makes it sound clunky, the concept of a prospectus being both of these things makes little sense. It sounds like they have two versions – either you’re smart enough to read the full prospectus, or you’re a fool and just want a quick overview written in words of one syllable (I hope it’s illustrated too) before handing over your money.

So should it be using the word “both” to clarify things? This might help, if they insist on not pluralising prospectus. However it’s an ideal opportunity to use the comedy plural prospecti and that would stick in my head just as much because everyone loves cacti and octopi.

I don’t know. And this is a pretty pointless entry. But it’s still stuck in my head and I had to get out.


London Baby

First non-poker entry in my blog for, well, almost ever. Because today I actually left the house and, for brief moments, enjoyed the glorious sunshine.

Somehow Claire managed to wake me up and get me to the station in plenty of time for my 7:24 – in the morning – train. I strolled out of Euston station before 9am thanks to a tilting train that only once threatened to spill my coffee, and didn’t. In the brief walk to Euston Square (I actually remembered this time that it was quicker walking a few hundred yards down the road to catch the Circle line than trying to change at Kings Cross) I basked in the glorious sunshine and fresh air. Apparently it’s been summer for a while now. Well, I’d suspected it as I’ve had to open my window a few times lately.

I was working at Gutshot today putting the last few features into their new online poker software. Ended up staying in the office until after 10pm, which at least answered the question of whether I was going to the card club tonight. It seems not. In any case, I’d been advised that Tuesday was “numpty night”. They have a similar amount of respect for their five quid rebuy tournaments to what I do for, well, almost any rebuy tournament.

I am staying here a couple of nights to also try to start sorting out what’s happening with my disasterous server relocation. I was told last week that “oh, we’re not quite ready for you yet” but this only came on the day we were actually meant to move in and after nearly two weeks of daily prodding. Fortunately, I really hadn’t put that much faith in everything going to plan, and I was sadly proven right. With Vegas at just T-5, it’s not going to happen until September so we’ve got to do some housekeeping meantime.

My usual cheapo hotel in Picadilly Circus was all booked up and I couldn’t even get in a Travelodge anywhere sensible, so I’ve ended up at the Belsize Park Hotel, thanks to some major Googling. On the plus side, there’s a fridge in the room. On the other hand, that’s about it.

It took about half an hour to check in, with just one group in front of us who looked like they’d already lost the will to live. Mother argued that she wanted to pay by American Express or cheque, it turned out that just because those options were listed on the registration form didn’t necessarily mean they accepted them. Meantime teenage son loudly asked his mum whether whether she’d found the place on stigofthedump dot com. I chuckled, but also wondered whether he could possibly be old enough to remember Stig of the Dump, as I was at primary school when it was on TV, or if there’d been a remake.

I finally got my key and was sent off on a bizarre adventure to find the room. Every door in the place is a fire door, and you just can’t tell whether you’re walking through into another part of the hotel or about to step out comedy style onto a sheer drop fire escape, requiring you to grab onto a ladder and flail about a bit.

My room, 305, is on the third floor, which is logically located somewhere above the second floor. Although it’s not directly above it seems, and the floor is also split into two, with the second staircase is hidden behind yet another fire door on level 2. There should be a prize for getting to level 3, because it’s tough.

Add to that the fact that one stairwell was pitch black – and of course the fire door swings shut quickly removing any light from the corridor below – and I was in big trouble. I found rooms 301-304 plus another room also labelled 301 (which was open, but had no bed) then after some more searching I found 306-312 up the second set of stairs. I had to go back and ask whether it actually existed because I sure as hell couldn’t find it and I thought that I’d probably already jumped through two Silent Hill dimensions, and that the stairs were probably only dark in one of them.

He pootled off for a while and came back to tell me sorry there’s no light but he’d gone and opened the room door and turned the light on and if I went back up the dark staircase I’d see it, tucked away in a very dark corner. He’d also propped open one of the fire doors – with a fire extinguisher of course – which was helpful but I couldn’t help being a little afraid when I’m stuck at the top of this building on the eve of one of the hottest days on record and the fire doors are wedged open. I’d never find my way out anyway.