Poker at a Southern pace: Tunica trip report

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I’ve decided that my off hours during a trip could perhaps be spent more productively than marathoning a season of “Sons of Anarchy” on Netflix. So in the interest of productivity, or at least freeing up more time to play video games when I get home, I’m going to try and break my blog down into smaller weekly(ish) trip reports. Writing is a very slow process for me, and quiet down time during a busy trip can be sporadic, but hopefully this will produce a more consistent blog for your reading pleasure.

Our current adventure, already in progress, finds us on the riverboats of Tunica Mississippi playing the WSOPC at Harrahs. Tunica is an established gambling destination for the region and has been a mecca for southern poker players for many years. The rooms are cheap and the action is good, but don’t expect to come here and do much other than gamble. If you do need a break from the casino, and the limited local menu, your best bet is a 40 minute drive to Memphis for some BBQ.

If you don’t have a car or don’t want to make the drive, your in-casino dinning options are Fuddruckers, Quiznos, Duncan Donuts, Paula Deen’s restaurant, an upstairs bar, and the ’37 steakhouse. Degen status will get you access to the diamond lounge and it’s paltry buffet of snacks, but La won’t share a bed with my lactose intolerant self after I eat cheese and crackers. We usually drive to this stop though and a trip to the store before we arrive helps broaden our menu options somewhat.

I am enjoying some of those smuggled snacks today, as I spend a day off in the room. The action is good, and I don’t like to take a day off so early, but I have been struck by the usual Tunica sniffles. I am used to the smoke in casinos, but this stop is worse than most as they allow smoking almost everywhere.

When they still have ash trays next to the TP dispensers in the toilets you know the casino ventilation system was built to a bygone standard. The tournament lobby area is especially bad in this department, every 2 hours the smokers hot box the lobby and the cloud tends to linger. La and I walked through at 11pm on a weekend, after the majority of players had left, and the cloud was still lingering with an exit door propped open to air the room out. It’s not a deal breaker for us, but if you have asthma this might not be the stop for you.

Even with its limitations, Tunica is still a stop we very much enjoy. The opening weekend turnout for the WSOPC was fantastic and the poker room had to set up extra tables to accommodate the cash game demand. No early tournament results for us on this trip, but Tunica has always been heaven for PLO players, a game near and dear to me.

They have spread 2/5 PLO with an optional Mississippi 10 on the button everyday and a 5/10/ whatever-you-want on the button was also going regularly on the weekend. I chose to skip the Sunday nooner in favor of some juicy Super Bowl PLO action and was very happy with the decision. It’s time for me to get back to the grind, thanks for tuning in. If you are in the neighborhood, swing on by, and join us for a lil down south gamble gamble.

Texahoma

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Texahoma Poker Family Reunion

DFW poker players don’t have a home casino to call their own. We have a conglomeration of underground rooms, home games, and border casinos that we patch together to play the game we love. We will see friends here and acquaintances there, but with spots coming and going all the time it’s hard to keep up with everyone. So when the WSOPC at Choctaw casino comes along (1 1/2 hrs north of DFW) La and I put it on the schedule as our annual poker family reunion.

With no Ice storms this year attendance was excellent for the WSOPC

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This trip felt like one long party. Between the Texahoma players (the two markets merge in these border casinos) and the circuit grinders, there was a final table to sweat almost every night. Unfortunately La and I were on the rail this trip, but with so many friends to catch up with and final tables to cheer for we still had a great time.

One of the biggest rails of the prelims belonged to local and circuit favorite Huy Nguyen (@savepluto9)

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Photo by Eric Harkins of Image Masters Photography

The man who made the most appearances on the stage this series was Choctaw Casino Champ Raja Kattamuri. Raj had an amazing run this WSOPC finishing 1st, 2nd,1st, and 6th in ring events on a limited schedule. Even more incredible Raj made two of his four final tables at the same time! That’s right, he was live-multi-FINAL-tabling the HU event (1st) and the PLO event (6th)!!! Raj’s opponent in the HU final , Dustin Schoonover, showed a lot of class by agreeing to move the start time up so Raj could play during the PLO dinner break.

Raj ships his first ring!

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Photo by Eric Harkins of Image Masters Photography

To those who know him Raj’s results aren’t much of a surprise, he has been crushing local cash games since the days of limit poker. A full time job as an engineer restricts his time on the tournament trail, but he has made poker a very profitable hobby. Raj is one of the good guys, it was a privilege to rail his final tables and have a winner dinner with him after.

Don’t you have a job to get back to Raj?
(Note: Raj also had a large rail, but had no time to take pics as he was still playing the PLO ft!)

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Photo by Eric Harkins of Image Masters Photography

After Raj busted from the PLO event another local grinder took the chance to grab some home town bragging rights. Chris “The Chairman” Smith used his patient style to wear down his opponents and ship his first ring. Chris is usually a DFW cash game player, but a prudent investment from his father in his WSOPC action put him in play and made the Smith family a nice chunk of change.

Chris “The Chairman” Smith ships the PLO event!

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Photo by Eric Harkins of Image Masters Photography

In a week that had already been full of final table sweats Huyzer Nguyen (@savepluto9) had been patiently waiting for his shot. The champion of the 2011 WSOPC Choctaw main event missed his first title defense opportunity as he was sill in the turbo ring event day two. I use the term turbo lightly as the event’s second day ended up running through the end of main event flight 1A. Huy made the most of it though, grabbing his 3rd WSOPC ring and a new Choctaw title to defend. Huy had a great 2011 and is on course for big things in the coming years.

Huy Nguyen (@savepluto9) #Nguyening #GotEm #BeLikeHuy

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Photo by Eric Harkins of Image Masters Photography

Congrats also go out to our friend Dan Lowery on another amazing main event run. Dan finished second in the Lake Tahoe main and made another strong showing with a 2nd at the Choctaw main. Dan is one of the rare ones that is lucky in both love and cards, his wonderful wife Krista takes care of all of us on the road.

Dan Lowery doing work!

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Picture from Pokernews Live updates

Gotta give a quick shout out to all the ND grinders that made final tables this year as well. Congrats to Andrew Nguyen, Ki Park, and Bryce Miller on their stage appearances. Hope there are many more fts to rail this year.

We had a great time with all our friends and family from DFW, OK, the circuit, and the PTC crew. Thanks for all the good times, great sweats, and winner dinners. It was good to roll with our road dog from last year’s circuit, Andrew “Andy” Nguyen (@winnersnguyen). Got to play a session with the always entertaining Cliff Fisher (@brdpoker). Also got to rail for and with Isaac Do, another grinder I’ve been playing with for years. As I start this list I realize it would be way too long to finish here. It was wonderful to see all our friends and family and we can’t wait to do it again next year.

Texahoma Casino Woes

Unfortunately our experiences with the hotel and casino haven’t improved at all. Front desk help is as undertrained as ever. It took hours to get comps from the host honored at the front desk, again. Pit bosses were often rude and unwilling or unable to provide basic information.

This casino can’t even issue a food comp without a long drawn out ordeal. The first pit boss I asked spoke to me like I was trash when he saw I was the lowest level players card. He sent me to the players club and said they could help me. I walked to the players club and they were unable to help me because my points were from the poker room. Why does it matter where I earn my points, shouldn’t the players club help all players? Finally I went to the poker room and got a comp from the receptionist, 20 minutes longer and 2 annoying conversations later than ever needed to happen for such a simple thing.

These experiences are the reason this casino is dead the rest of the year. These border casinos know they are the closest available gambling option to the DFW market so they don’t feel the need to up their service. In the case of Winstar this is valid. They sit in such a central location that they don’t have to make major concessions. Choctaw though, on the eastern edge of the DFW market, needs to up their game if they want to compete. It’s a disappointment that such a nice facility sits underutilized, but I guess as long as they hit their slot quotas the substandard service will continue.

LaLa Land

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After a December filled with holiday parties and unpacking boxes La and I were ready to get out of the house and back in action. We had a few options, but an invitation from Jennifer Newell (@WriterJen) to do an interview, and the Bicycle casino (@bicyclecasino) hosting their first ever WSOPC (@wsop) made it an easy decision to take a trip to LaLa land. We didn’t really know what to expect from the Bike or the interview, happily both turned out to be amazing experiences.

Writer Jen and a couple guys that wanted their picture taken w La:
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Picture by Eric Butler of Image Masters photography

We were familiar with the beautiful L.A. weather and the crazy poker action, but this was our first time taking the Bike for a spin. The main tournament area had around 60 tables and there was an overflow area on the other side of the casino with another 30 or so. The cash games took up a section in the middle of the casino with a football sized field group of tables. One busy weekend evening they had both tourney sides filled with a full cash section and extra cash tables in the hallways! The L.A. poker scene is a beautiful thing.

I didn’t have much time to play the cash games, but they did have consistent 5-5 and 5-10 NL games going. The one session of 5-5 I did play went well, flopping sets and top two against the table maniacs will tend to make poker feel easy. Unfortunately there was no PLO action going when I was around. The floor was very accommodating about putting up a PLO list, but the game never went. I am still a little perplexed why the L.A. Poker market hasn’t embraced an action game like PLO and I hope someday they will learn to love the degeneracy of four card.

PLO anybody?
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There wasn’t much PLO, but there was plenty of good tourney action to keep us occupied. I had solid table draws in most of my events, but often didn’t make correct adjustments to the loose Cali action and got frustrated. An odd color scheme for the tournament chips (500s were yellow and 1ks were red) caused me to make a few careless and annoying mistakes as well. My brain has 1k chips equated with yellow and I over-bet or misread an opponents bet on multiple occasions because of this hard wiring, causing some costly errors.

I did finally manage to get myself dialed in for the six max event. I felt like I played well early, making proper adjustments to the players and their tendencies and not making strange oversized bets. A bad bubble table draw really crippled my momentum late in the event though. When there were 19 left I had to play 4 handed with 2 strong players and 1 straightforward player for over two hours!

During bubble play we went hand for hand and the blinds were frozen at 800/1600/200. This frozen structure allowed the short stacks to hold on way too long and left me stuck between a rock and two hard places. I will be the first to admit my shorthanded NL game has a long way to go, and playing this table reinforced that. They applied constant pressure pre flop and had a much deeper understanding of post flop shorthanded NL than I do. I was happy to survive until the bubble popped and we redrew, but I was not unscathed. When the bubble popped we went from 800/1600 to the tail end of 1500/3k! My stack shriveled to less than 10 bbs and I finished the day 8 of 10 remaining.

The two sickos I played with 4 handed for 2hrs. In this shot playing HU for the ring…

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Picture by Marie-Lizzette Acoba for the Bicycle casino

I’m not very happy with my day 2 performance. I was surviving and picking my spots, but I missed some obvious open shoves against people I perceived as having wider calling ranges and some good 3 bet jam spots that would have better utilized the image I had built. I ended up busting in 6th for a small cash. Usually busting a day two would be the end of the day, but our new friend Marie-Lizzette (@MarieLizette) invited me to do some guest commentary on Live at the Bike.

Day 2 of the six max.

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Picture by Eric Butler of Image Masters photography

For those unfamiliar with the show, Live at the Bike (@LiveAtTheBike) is a poker webcast run out of the Bicycle casino. They have these cool poker tables that scan RFID chips inserted inside special decks of cards when they are placed over sensors in the table. These sensors read the RFID chips and broadcast a hole card feed back to the booth. This feed, in conjunction with multiple cameras, and live commentary is used to produce a streaming webcast of the final tables on a half hour tape delay. They have a regular cast of commentators, of which I got a chance to work with the one and only Alex Outhred (@AlexPokerGuy). Alex is good peoples, I met him briefly earlier in the day, but my first chance to hang out with him was on the show. He made being on the show fun and easy, it felt like we were sitting in a living room sweating an event on TV.

Behind the scenes of Live at the Bike with Marie-Lizzete, Owais Ahmed, and Alex Outhred

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Picture is in focus, photographer was a lil blurry.

Live at the Bike was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The pokernetcast.com setup is a perfect stage for the wsopc final tables and I hope they continue to work together. Getting to meet all the great people that work there and be a part of both sides of the six max tournament production was a special experience. While I was busy in the command center of Live at the Bike, La was grinding the noon ring event and getting ready to make her first appearance on Live at the Bike.

La’s first appearance on Live at the Bike.

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Picture by Eric Butler of Image Masters photography

As soon as La bagged up for Day 2 with 18 left I knew she was going to make a deep run. She has a habit of one-upping me, and since I got 6th in the last event I was expecting a 5th place or better finish. She did not disappoint. She wasn’t satisfied with 5th though. She went ahead and shipped her 3rd ring! With this win she becomes the first lady ever to win 3 rings and she did it in 12 months. I’m blessed to have such an amazing companion to travel, compete, and share my life with. I’m so proud of her and all the hard work she has put in.

My baby re-raises me! Again!

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Picture by Eric Butler of Image Masters photography

I wasn’t able to watch any of the broadcast as the wifi at the Bike was bogged down with 100s of poker players and couldn’t support the stream, but I was able to sweat most of the ft live. More importantly though, all our family and friends across the country got to enjoy the feed as La wrote herself into WSOPC history with her 3rd open field win. Luckily we both will get a chance to watch the ft later. All the WSOPC final tables will be archived and posted after the event at: http://www.pokernetcast.com/poker-videos/all-tournaments/

Sweating with Alex Outhred

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Picture by Marie-Lizzette Acoba for the Bicycle casino

Oh and there are some sick hands in the archive! La played one hand, destine to be a YouTube classic, where she over-bet shoves a river with 7 high, gets called, and is GOOD in a 1.2 million chip pot! Live misclicks are a hell of a thing. I can’t wait to see my six max final table either. I know it won’t be pretty for me, but hopefully I can make it into a good learning tool for my game. After my turn in the booth I hung around to sweat the HU match and the new guest announcer Owais Ahmed (@OERockets). The HU match was on a very high level and the commentary complimented it perfectly. It was a great learning opportunity and I’m glad I will get to see it again.

As many of you know, after a nice score we always like to go out and celebrate with a winner dinner. Since a big reason we came to Cali was to meet with Jennifer Newell, it seemed appropriate that she should be a part of our LA winner dinner. We met up at a nice sushi place down by the beach and did a winner dinner interview! We had an excellent meal and a wonderful time with Jen. We are looking forward to her story, which should be up at Epic poker sometime in the near future.

After the interview we headed back to the Bike to say our goodbyes. We planned to leave the LA event early and go home for a couple days of rest before our next series, and even after the win we stuck with our plan. A couple days at home with the family is worth more to us than main event equity and staying well rested is part of the secret of our continued success. We finished the trip off with an in-and-out burger picnic on the beach. It was a perfect ending to our fairy-tale trip to LaLa land.

Picnic on the beach.

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A year of poker and problems at Choctaw casino

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Choctaw is a place that I would like to look forward to visiting. It’s right in our back yard, so it’s as close to a home field as Texas players get. We have many fond memories of the events there this year. I won my first ring there in January, La went HU for a pendant the same trip, and our friends have been crushing the mtt series there all year. Hard to complain about a decent venue, with solid structures, and a great PTC staff. They have the poker side of things down pat, I wish I could say the same for their hotel.

After the first event in January we decided to extend our stay and extended it again when a storm came through. Both times after extending we asked for new keys so we wouldn’t have to come back, and both times our new keys deactived on the extension day. The only thing worse than the walk of shame is the walk of shame where you can’t get into your hotel room and have to go back to the front desk, wait in line for ten minutes, and then wait another ten minutes for the undertrained night staff to figure out how to consolidate your reservation and get a new key. Life. Tilting. WoS. (edit) An important point I missed in my notes was the lack of security attaining a new key. Both times when we requested a new key they just asked for the room number and printed a key. They didn’t check our ID either time! Maybe they recognized us from our many trips to the desk that trip, but that is no excuse for circumventing an important security procedure.

This trend of tiltingly undertrained front desk staff has been consistent throughout the year. I know it’s not Vegas, but some of these people can’t even navigate the menus on their terminals, which makes doing anything at the desk a painfully tedious process. We tried to forgo the desk and use a host, and we were able to book through them quickly, but they screwed us on a promised comp.

The storm passed and we went home for a couple days of downtime. We had given the casino action during our first stay and asked a host to comp the room for the second trip. The host said “no problem” and booked our room and told us it was comped. When went to check in for the second stay the front desk said there had been a change in policy, “the host had made an error”and the room would not be comped. We talked to the host on duty, but they said there was nothing they could do and they would not honor the comp. Pretty terrible customer service, but we had a good month and it was a tax write off anyway, so I let it go. We only made a couple short weekend trips to Choctaw after this and didn’t have any major problems until December.

We decided to stay close to home for the holidays and only play a couple weekend events at Choctaw. One day we skipped a noon tournament to play the afternoon mega instead. We were laying in bed around 1230 with our do not disturb sign on, and we heard someone open the door. One of our friends had a key, and there was no knock, so I shouted out a greeting. The door instantly shut without a word. I hopped up, opened the door, and looked out in time to see a guy in uniform with a towel cart quickly walking away. When I asked him what he was was doing he said, “just seeing if you needed service”, without ever turning around or slowing down. I was in my boxers so I didn’t follow him into the hall, but why was a hotel staff member trying to enter our room, with a do not disturb sign, without knocking? At best it was another incompetent employee who couldn’t knock or say excuse me, at worst it could have been an employee trying to sneak into our room and take whatever he could find.

La tried to talk to a security guard about the situation after she busted the mega, but they were rude and dismissive. She was eventually able to talk to a manager who said they would talk with the housekeeping staff about procedure for entering a room, but really didn’t address our concern. La spoke with a lady on the elevator the same weekend that claimed she had money stolen out of a purse she left in the room. We were never able to confirm this story and didn’t know her, but it was enough to make us wonder if our visitor was the same person who came to her room.

Our concern is that the incompetence of the staff in general is opening the door for shadier elements to take advantage of holes in hotel security. It was certainly a sobering reminder that the places that we stay are not always as safe as they appear or should be. Hopefully Choctaw will remedy the problems they have with their service and security for the new year, but we will be taking extra steps to protect ourselves when we travel there and wanted everyone to be aware of our problems so they can take appropriate precautions.

Weekend at Choctaw

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La and I took a trip up to Choctaw last weekend to try out the new NACPT. After briefly studying the schedule it was clear we would only be playing the weekend two day events and the main. La had her eye on the LIPS event, unfortunately it drew a low 3 table turnout and she unregistered to play the noon instead. We weren’t sure the turnouts for the NACPT would be that strong, but we enjoy the Choctaw poker room and our friends from PTC were running the tourneys so we knew those would go smoothly.

We played some cash sessions during our short stay as well. There were some good spots, but not the sort of action you would expect from a casino in the middle of a two week series. The room died down early on Friday evening and late night felt like a ghost town compared to the WSOPC series in January. I know there are many tourney choices available this time of year, and some people are home for the holidays, but the NACPT is missing the target with their current schedule.

The 9 to 5 market they are trying to appeal to with one day tournaments isn’t available at noon and poker enthusiasts won’t travel for these small turbos. They need to add more value to the weekday events to attract the commuter poker population from DFW and surrounding areas on both sides of the Red River. If they raised their buy ins and moved to two day structures for weekday prelims they could pull from a larger player pool who could now justify the trip expenses. As things stand now though, La and I will be enjoying the week off and heading back this Weekend for the main.

Leaving Tahoe

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Leaving Tahoe

I started writing this blog on the last day in Tahoe, but the long trip home wasn’t conductive to writing and my iPad got distracted by various video games and twitter feeds and ran out of juice. Then there was shopping and 4 thanksgiving dinners to attend. Now we are packing to move and the desire not to pack has pushed me back to blogging.

(Last day in Tahoe) Got up early this morning and caught my first sunrise in Tahoe. It wasn’t really my intention to get up early enough to see a sunrise, but I passed out shortly after winner dinner last night and couldn’t get back to sleep. I made the best of it though, and had a good morning enjoying the local flavors, listening to music, and watching the sun come up over the mountains.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, winner dinner is the victory celebration where you take your friends out for a good dinner after a score. Last night was special because it was a double winner dinner! We were celebrating my win from earlier in the series and our friend Dan’s nice score in the main event. Many of our friends from the circuit came out and we emptied the sushi bar of our favorite sake. We might have had one too many though as we missed the gratuity included line on the tab and tipped an additional 30% on top of the included 18% for our party of 15! Happy holidays Sushi Pier!

Tahoe has to be one of my favorite stops of the year so far. It certainly helped to have a good run at the tables, but it would have been a great stop regardless of the outcome. It’s a beautiful place and I tried to spend time every morning sitting in front of our window taking it in. What made Tahoe great wasn’t just the wonderful views though, it was the people we got to enjoy it with.

Some friends from Dallas flew in for a well timed vacation and we got to take them out to an early winner dinner at a great local spot. We had sushi one night with our friend Sam, then we went to a bar for karaoke with the wsopc staff. You have no idea how many rock stars there are on the wsopc crew! I highly recommend you join them if you ever get the opportunity. Our friend Andrew also came in town to sweat my main event ft and party with the circuit family.

We were able to get out and see everyone because we took a few days off towards the end of the trip. We did miss a couple events but got some much needed rest before the main and I was able to use that extra energy to make a deep run. This strategy of taking days off before the main was something I’m glad we did and will continue to do. Trying to play the whole condensed 12 day schedule just leaves me exhausted by the main and I feel like my results have suffered in the previous stops when I try to grind straight through.

It’s time to get back to packing now. La just booked some weekend action for the NAPT in OK this weekend, so that will be the next stop on our live poker tour. Hope to see everyone up there and thanks to all who partied with us in Tahoe.

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11.11.11

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I’m not a superstitious person by nature. I don’t like 50 dollar bills mainly because half the poker players I know won’t take them. I have no fear of walking under ladders,crossing black cats, etc. In this business too much faith in luck will get you broke in a hurry.

My girlfriend La has many superstitions, some personal, some cultural, some maybe just a lil silly. She is the yen to my yang. Her beliefs and gamble balance out my science and conservative nature.

When La told me 11.11.11 was going to be a lucky day I took it with a grain of salt like I always do. How could some arbitrary day really be more lucky than any other day?I can’t really explain the why, but I do have to say she was right.

I was having a pretty good day in event 1 of the wsopc Lake Tahoe before 11.11.11, but at 12:01 things just started going amazing. I felt like I was making good decisions and playing well, but I can recognize a pure heater when I see one. My good hands were getting action, my marginal hands were holding, I knocked out six or seven players in in the last couple levels only doubling a couple small stacks. I ended the day with 446k of 2.6m in play for a strong chip lead with 13 left.

After a good nights sleep and a pre winner dinner sushi breakfast with La the heater continued. I stacked a shorty early in day two and followed that up by stacking a 250k ish stack when we both turned aces up. I went into the final table with 750k from that pot and continued to cruise. There is a summary of the ft at wsop.com so I won’t repeat it here. Needless to say everything went fairly smoothly and I held the chip lead wire to wire taking down 1st place in event 1 on 11.11.11.

After a day like that, when La asked me if I wanted to go play roulette at 11:11pm how could I say no? We sat down a few minutes before the appointed time and played a few spins more or less breaking even. At 11:10 we loaded up on 11 and boom! 11 hits! All I could do was laugh. I’m still not very superstitious, but I have no better explanation for 11.11.11 than it was a very lucky day.

Trek to Tahoe

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Admittedly we didn’t have to make the trip to Lake Tahoe as long as we did, but we stay on the grind. If that means taking a plane with two stops and a layover to get to Reno so be it. Add another 1:30hr layover waiting for the bus to the casino and an 1:30hr ride behind that and you have a long travel day. That long travel day saves us two buy ins. Ship it.

Early impressions of the Tahoe are good. When we arrived at the casino at 11:00pm on wednsday the only restaurant still open was an all night diner in Harrahs. Vegas this is not. The small town vibe is nice though, when you walk through the airport you see people dressed for the outdoors, a nice change from the usual degen/stripper parade of LAS. The bus ride wasn’t bad, they have a fleet of tour buses that shuttle passengers from the airport to the various casinos for a small fee. My only regret was taking this ride after dark, it looks like a beautiful strech of montains but we couldn’t see past the edge of the road.

The Harvey’s casino is older, but comfortable. Our first room had a view of an 18 ft wall that must be for a casino sign, but a short chat with our host and we were up on the 15th floor with a lake view at no extra charge. Degen status has it’s benefits.

The wsopc area is fairly small, somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 tablels. It’s set next to a restaurant with only one border shared with a slot area. Slot noise hasn’t been terrible so far, but I’m waiting for the weekend action to gauge high traffic levels. Second hand smoke is hit or miss as well. The tourney area is non smoking, but people on the rail and at the slots are allowed to and the other tourney border backs up to a vp strip bar. I definitely prefer the secluded conference room setups, but compared to the big Vegas casino floor tourney setups this is still a much more serene environment.

I’m making a run at event 1 this afternoon. There were 260 runners for day 1 and 14 of us return this afternoon at 3pm pst to play for the first Tahoe ring. My girlfriend La Sengphet has been invited to do commentary on the wsop live stream today, so if you have some time tune in and sweat along with her.

Chi town down, Time to change gears.

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Headed back to Dallas after a long couple weeks in Hammond. Aside from my gripes with the registration setup, it was a well run event with an excellent staff. The action in the events and the side games were definitely worth the trip. Unfortunately the results weren’t there this go round.

I delivered a spotty performance overall, I tended to play a couple levels well and then follow with a couple levels of mistakes. I think I can attribute some of the inconsistent play to our constant travel this year. In previous years we would go to 3 or 4 live events a year and spend the rest of the time at home grinding online. This gave me ample time to recharge and still continue to earn with shorter online cash sessions. When we went to a series I was well rested and ready for battle.

The new 12 ring events in 12 days isn’t helping either. With no time between ring events and other good side games to play there isn’t any time to relax on the road. Since black Friday there has also been an additional financial pressure to maximize earnings on the road.

With the new free roll format reducing grinder equity the points chase has lost value for me this year. My mtt game was never my strongest poker skill set, but I let myself get caught up in the WSOPC hype. It’s time to get off the hype and on the grind, less mtts more PLO for me in the stops to come.

Horseshoe Hammond Registration Rant

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The first day I arrived at the Horseshoe Hammond I thought I was in registration heaven. We rolled into the casino at 1 AM the night before event 1 and were able to register at the poker room cage that night. The next day we were informed there would be no more registration at the cash cage and the tourney area registration would stay open until midnight. Not an optimal situation, but workable.

After the huge event one re entry event we were again told registration would be shortened until 10pm and only available at the tournament area. This is terrible, if you make a deep run and bust out late in the day you are punished by being forced to wake up early the following day to register. To make matters worse, we came in last night at 9:40 to register for the morning and they were trying to close up on us 20 minutes early! Pile that on with an understaffed registration desk and it’s official we are in registration hell.

The icing on the cake was the morning failure of the registration computers a little after the noon start today. They had to take an unscheduled break in the tourney after the second level to give them time to get the 150 some odd players waiting in line a chance to play. With all the great things I have heard about this stop and it’s giant fields it has certainly been a disappointment to see how poorly they have handled this aspect of the events.