9/2/2006: Catching up
So in the big catching up post I left out some stuff, probably most of which I'll still forget to update now, but I can try a little bit.
In Arles, France, the big thing is Roman ruins. There's a very intact colosseum, which is still used for bullfights today, an amphitheater, and a couple other things, including city walls. There's also a fair bit of Van Gogh stuff going on, because he spent a lot of time there, though there are no Van Gogh paintings in town. (Arles is the place where his Bedroom actually was.) The city has a city history museum that shows mock-ups of what all the buildings in town actually looked like back in the day, and where they would have been now. The city had a circus (racetrack) that was about as large as Circus Maxiumus, that is in present day mostly buried immediately in front of the city history museum. They had water powered flour mills capable of grinding thousands of pounds of flour a day. They had a pontoon bridge!!! This was a bridge about 100 yards across I'd guess, that floated on the water, with drawbridge sections on either side to let boats through for passage or unloading. Very cool stuff.
On the whole Arles was very nice. We stayed in a hotel that was attached to a museum, though we didn't actually make it in to that museum. We had Spanish Gelatto, once in the flavor of olive oil and honey, which was excellent. We had a couple of nice dinners, sadly, as can be seen in a couple pictures, there's this nasty breed of moth or something that hatches for like 3 days a year that swarmed around us at our second dinner, and I got a moth in my wine! Humorously the French people were shocked and appalled that I didn't fish the moth out of my wine and keep drinking. I think for clarity I should mention that this was like a gooey larva type moth, not a like, clean moth or something you could invent.
So that was Arles, in a nutshell. Nice place.
Prior to Arles we were in Barcelona. Barcelona is an interesting place. There's the "Old City" and there's the modern stuff. The modern stuff includes possibly the most ambitious planned-city stuff I've ever heard of, with things like "every 5x5 block area will have a park, every 5x5 block area will have a school, every ..." though the project ultimately failed and of course nothing really resembles the plan aside from the fact that it's a grid...
When you get over the fact that Rick Steves swears everyone in Barcelona is out to steal your wallet, it's a really nice place. The Old City is filled with winding, small streets, and small museums of whatnot, as well as produce markets, street performers, and restaurants. The New City has more Gaudi than you can shake a stick at, more museums, more food, and of course (though this overlaps with Gaudi) Sagrada Familia. You can see from the picture gallery that we were suitably impressed with Sagrada Familia, though we didn't wait in line for the taller of the two elevators.
In Barcelona we discovered a new style of eating, that oddly it appears they also have in Venice. Everyone knows about tapas. I'd even venture to say that everyone loves tapas. In Spain people do tapas differently than we do here, eating one tapas at one restaurant and then moving to the next for the next dish. But in Barcelona people eat "pintxos." Pintxos are basically bruschetta in a million varieties. One Barcelona establishment boasts routinely having about 100 varieties of pintxos on a given evening. The way it works is this: there's a bar, they serve booze, etc from behind the bar, and on top of the bar they spread out platters and platters of pintxos. You get a plate, you take pintxos til you're full, they each have a toothpick through them. When you're done you go up to the bar and pay, and they just count your toothpicks, and multiply by the price. The place we ate was 1 euro a pintxo. Good times. I'm thinking that this is a food concept that must make it to the US. Yet another type of restaurant I want to open.
That basically catches up going backwards, as before Barcelona we were in Toledo.
So that means that it's time to go forward, we last heard about being on a train to Milan.
Eventually we got in to Milan, got to our hotel, and noticed how dead Milan is in August. Really really dead. Like we were at the heart of the newer area of the city, where all the hotels are, and there were only 2 non-McDonalds restaurants open that we could find! But man can they make a good gnocci there. So in Milan we hit the Duomo, another museum that said it had "The School of Athens," but really just had cartoons for The School of Athens, and we saw The Last Supper!
Yeah, that's right, we stopped for one day in Milan with no reservations, when tickets book a month in advance, and got to see The Last Supper, for face value tickets! How? Nice Germans. Some German tourgroup leader lady had extra tickets, so as we were walking dejectedly away from the ticket booth we just bought hers, which were amazingly for 30 minutes later! Nice painting. Weird wrist thing going on with the guy 2 or 3 to the left of JC though. They only let you in to see it for 15 minutes at a time, which is kinda sucky, but understandable. After seeing that somehow we didn't eat at the all chocolate gelatteria and wound up having non-all-chocolate gelatto later in the day!
And that was basically all there was in Milan, like I said, most things were closed, we only had about a day, and seriously we saw the biggest, bestest things there were anyway. Sadly the front facade of the Duomo is being worked on currently, and they decided to have mass so we couldn't wander around as much as we would have liked, but I'll call that a wash with getting to see The Last Supper.
From Milan we hit Venice. This is my second trip to Venice, and well, I just really like the place. It's heinously expensive, but nice. We saw a gillion churches and cathedrals, re-affirmed that Tinteretto is awesome (and I think saw some Tinterettos I hadn't seen before?), ate great food, took a gondola, played with sky rats, wandered around semi-lost, had a few "Venice Pintxos" (which are called cincetti I think), and saw some Vivaldi in a church at night. Not a bad 3 days or so in Venice. Sadly we were enjoying ourselves too much in Venice, and had so many things to see and do, that we decided not to take a day trip to Trieste. Next time.
Alright, that's enough for right now. In the next catching-up there will be the tale of how we got back from Venice to Chicago. I'll try to keep it brief.
So a few hours ago we got back to Chicago, after having our plane cancelled yesterday, and other assorted mishaps along the way.
A recap of the last week or so of the trip that hasn't been blogged, the fun-fun-silly-willy 2 days of airports, and about 75 more pictures, to come soon.
For now, sleep is good.
8/26/2006: Catching most of the way up, from Milan
Currently, we're on the first class train from Monterosso to Milan. As that means we've got a few hours with nothing really to do, I thought I'd write some catch-up and then hope that the Milan hotel has wireless. It's been a while, so this could get long!
The plan is to spend a day in Milan, see The Last Supper, The School of Athens, and the cathedral. We're unsure if we're going to be able to see The Last Supper though, as we couldn't figure out the ticketing websites. Our fallback is to try to buy scalped tickets, though we might have to pass if they are going to be marked up much from one website's "list" price for a 15-minute viewing, 31 euros.
For the last two days, we've been in Vernazza, in the Cinque Terre area of Italy. The Cinque Terre is an odd and great place. Five cities, seperated by a total of a few miles, lining the coast of a small section of the northwest Italy. Nothing is visible to the west, and to the east terraced vineyard mountians. All the houses are in pastels, and the coast alternates between cliffs and pebble beaches. The towns are all tiny, and are connected by walking path and train. Known for wine and exceptional food as well as its laid back atmosphere, Vernazza is possibly the last place you'd expect to find the Festa di Pirati (Festival of Pirates) that we lucked in to.
After a day and a half of hiking, laying on the beach, and eating good food, our last night was punctuated by a "gigantic" party in the streets where locals played drums, lined the streets with torches, and danced through the streets til past midnight. Apparently there was sangria as well, but we missed that.
We took a 5.5 hour train to get from Monte Carlo to Vernazza. Really it was a train from Monaco to Genoa, then a train from Genoa to Vernazza. Monte Carlo was odd. Though the city/country is pretty, and pleasant, our night there really wasn't all that great. We went to dinner on Casino Square, and in to the Casino. We saw a lot of great cars on Casino Square, and ate an OK meal at The Bistro, but nothing spectacular. While I procured a 5 euro chip from the cashier, I didn't play any games. We were told there was no poker at the casino. There were two tables of blackjack (50 euro and 200 euro minimum bets), and about 4 tables of roulette (tables were marked 5 euro and 10 euro minimums but I was told by the dealer when I tried to place a 20 euro bet that 200 was the minimum). The private room in back (mandatory jacket and tie) had chemin de fer, and higher stakes games of blackjack and roulette. Mostly the problem with the casino was that noone appeared to be having any fun. A bunch of rich people, none of them speaking to each other or being happy when they win a bet, just isn't all that great of an atmosphere. Curiously as well, there appeared to not be great cocktails service. Certainly not what you expect when you pay the cover to get in the door.
We did get the feeling in Monte Carlo that we were just not in the right building some of the time - namely that we didn't go out to the Hotel Paris. A big part of that was that the nicest clothes we brough on the trip come to the level of khakis and a button up shirt.
At dinner at the Bistro we met an interesting Russian couple from Perm. A man named Yuri who works in Mergers and Acquisitions and his date(?) whose name we missed who is a Master of Rhythmic Gymnastics and Coach of the Women's National team were good company. In the morning we walked to a local coin and stamp store, and were shocked by the prices in their window. While Monte Carlo and Vatican Euros are quite rare indeed, even a nice uncirculated set of first year of issue Monte Carlo Euro-coins shouldn't be 700 euro. Ebay confirms my suspicions. Sadly the ridiculousness of their pricing knocked stamps and coins off the list of possible souvenier presents.
We came to be in Monte Carlo about 16 hours after we originally got in to Nice.
We got in to Nice after a lengthy train connection delay in Marseille from Avignon. Getting in to Nice after midnight, we sleepily paid 10 euro for a 4-block train ride. In our morning-afternoon whirlwind tour of Nice the next day we saw the beach, the chi-chi-est hotel in town, and Old Town. Most of the pleasure and activity of visiting Old Town was just walking through the streets, stopping in little shops every once in a while and of course, eating one of the local specialties, socca. Socca is described in our guidebook as "like a chick-pea crepe." It's not very accurate. Tastes great though! We concluded our lunch with our thousandth round of gelato for the trip. After lunch we went on an exceptionally long uphill walk to the Chagall Museum. The Chagall Museum was really cool. Featuring 12 paintings in an Old Testament biblical series, it is quiet, small, and well laid out. The fact that Chagall's paintings are cool-as-hell doesn't hurt either.
The day we got to Nice started in Arles, halfway across France. We started the day off on the wrong foot when we attempted and failed to rent a car, and then immediately were told that someone had lied to us about a train, again. There seems to be a compulsive disorder amongst ticketing agents in Europe that causes them to give you maliciously misleading information, like say "no, that train tomorrow is never full and definitely doesn't require reservations to ride," when infact the train is almost always full and usually books full about a day in advance. Har-dee-har-har jackasses. So instead of whatever it was that our original schedule, we took a bus (which amazingly arrived at the station just as we did) from Arles to Avignon, locked up our luggage, and took a cab from Avignon to Pont du Gard.
Pont du Gard is one of the most amazing Roman ruins. Standing something like 2 meters shorter than the Colluseum at Rome, this aqueduct is in amazingly good shape considering it is 2 millenia old. The French poured about 1.5 million euro into a recent rehabilitation, which may account for some of the great-shape-ness, but whatever. The bridge still spans a small river which people can come and camp out at, have picnics, or swim. The views are amazing, and you can cross the bridge at either its lowest level or the uppermost level. Unfortunately, due to some scheduling problems we were unable to cross the uppermost of the levels, but we did get to hike up to a few of the "panoramic viewpoints," which got some great photos. Also cool was the museum which was so interactive we thought for a while it must be the children's museum.
Sadly though we spent about 2 hours in Avignon, we didn't get to do much besides walk around, and use the internet for about 30 minutes. We did get to see, from the windows of various vehicles, the impressively restored city walls which still appear to encircle the city.
8/16/2006: Update from a Toledo internet cafe!
Don't have much time and don't really know how to use a Spanish keyboard, but wanted to post a quick update. Liz and I took the high-speed train from Madrid to Toledo this morning, only about 25 minutes! We were sad to leave Madrid, with our super-cute hostel and well, we really liked the city. Lots more pictures will happen at some point when we next have internet access on a more stable basis. Toledo is very good today, saw some cathedrals and the Jewish Museum, and walked around and saw city walls and such. Lots of El Grecos.
We're in the cafe right now so that we can book a few more flights and hotel rooms that we're going to need without knowing if we're going to be having internet in the future. The plan, if we wind up missing after September 1, is Toledo - Barcelona - Provence - Nice - Monte Carlo - Cinque Terres - Milan - Venice - London - Chicago. The Spanish keyboard defeated me so I didn't continue trying to put in dates and such.
Anyway, that's about all I have time for at this internet cafe!
8/14/2006: Meanwhile, in Madrid (insert Batman style wipe here)
We catch up with our heroes on their first full day in Madrid.
Yesterday we got from London to Madrid, having to deal with the new airport security issues for the first real time. Having scheduled a 6:50 AM flight, to land at 10 AM, (there's a time loss in the air of 1 hour) we woke up at 3:30 AM, to leave at 4 AM, to get to the airport at 5 AM. All that pre-airport scheduling worked out. After getting to the airport "on time" (2 hours early, for an in EU flight), we stood on the check in line for just over an hour, and were next in line to check in - only about 25 people started ahead of us, but our line was abnormally slow - when the official announcement came for all people still in lines to check in for Madrid to move to the emergency last minute check in line. They told us to stay in place. So we checked in, were told that our flight boards at 6:30 AM (it was now 6:09), and proceeded to security, laden with our clear plastic bags now containing wallets, passports, and tickets. I think a large amount of the issues checking in was idiots who didn't understand that they couldn't walk through the first security check with one set of items in the clear plastic bag, and then put more stuff in them later. The security line was pretty mammoth, as they were hand searching everyone. We stood on the line until we were once again next in line and they called for all people going to Madrid to jump to the front of the line. Hah. So at about 6:50 AM we got through security, and decided that since we'd been up for about 3 and a half hours that we were goddamn going to eat a granola bar and a juice, and bought some of those for the flight. Interesting note by the way, you can carry anything you want that you buy past security on to the plane. So you can buy say, any book that they sell in an airport, to read, but not carry your own. Because you know, books that you bring from home you can rub the pages together and start a fire.
We finally boarded the plane at just before 7 AM, and were assured by the pilot that though takeoff would be delayed a few minutes, we would be arriving on time. He was a lying liar. A word about EasyJet. Bring a coat. This was the most miserably cold flight I've ever been on. Probably because they want to really get you on the 3 euro hot chocolates. I would have paid 10 for a blanket. Then they told us mid-flight that it was going to be about 59F in Madrid, and I almost cried. Fortunately they were lying again, and it was really in the mid 80s. The flight also featured breakup drama as this couple sitting a couple rows in front of us had wonderful (one sided, it was only the guy being a douche) shouting lines like "If you change seats this relationship is over!" he's winning the award for most obnoxious British person I've ever seen.
England was fun! We saw Coriolanus at The Globe, we saw A Woman in Black, for me the second time, we had good Indian food, good Turkish food, and even amazingly some good English food. We had Pimms. We went to the British Library, where the Magna Carta is back on display, and where they have shuffled all their displays in the last few months. We saw the Tate Modern, where there's some really weird stuff. We caught up with our friend Tasha some, and met her boyfriend. Pictures of at least some of this stuff, including Tasha and Alex, upcoming when I have a little more time.
After arriving at the airport in Madrid around 11 AM, we spent about an hour getting through customs and getting our bags. Highlight of this was that we had to fill out immigration forms, without being supplied pens, and having been unable to bring pens with us on the flights. So everyone in the lines had to rely on the pens they could borrow from the few passengers who were coming from flights that had to come through customs that simultaneously didn't have to follow the new security procedures. Not surprisingly these people rarely are english speakers. So then it was off to the half hour walk through the airport to the place where you get on the Metro, on the Metro, and finally to our hostel around 1:30 PM. Then we napped until about 4, walked around the city some, and had more paella than 2 people should consume in one evening. We also had a 12 Euro bottle of "house" cava. Good stuff. Next door to our restaurant was a sandwich shop that always had a line out the door of locals, which specializes in the Madrid specialty, calamari sandwiches. They look good!
After dinner we walked around a little more and found a huge street party that was either "it's Sunday in Madrid" or something to do with the Day of Assumption (I think that's what it's called). I'm choosing to believe it was just because it was Sunday because that's awesomer. It was very cool and if we weren't stuffed and tired we would have stayed longer, and probably eaten chocolate stuffed churros.
Today's plan is to hit the Royal Palace and Guernica.
8/11/2006: Getting to London yesterday
"Yesterday" officially kicked off Liz and my trip through Europe. As everyone knows, it was fantastic timing!
The trip started auspiciously, as we walked out on to the street to find a cab, only to have four empty cabs with their "For Hire" lights on speed right by us. I guess we smelled bad or something. Finally we got a cab, traffic wasn't so bad, and we got to the airport about 90 minutes before our scheduled departure.
We were flying an airline "selected" for us by Hotwire, BMI, and so were a bit nervous. After having a very quick line at check-in, we headed over to the gate, where we encountered the first stupid thing of the day. All the restaurants were immediately outside the security area, while all the places to buy either a drink or a bag of combos were inside the security area. Personally I have a weakness for McDonalds when it's the only hot food for miles, but I'm not so weak that I'll walk through airport security extra times to get it.
So we had a snack of swedish fish and combos.
As we board the plane, seats 28H and 28K, we were prepared to be sitting apart, and in the middle of some gigantic transatlantic monster plane. As it turned out, we were next to each other in the 2 seat aisle by the window, in an exit row. The plane had your standard television at each seat, with the not-so-standard ondemand video games. We watched "Thank You for Smoking," and then Liz went to sleep. At some point they served food, which included your choice of Ben & Jerry's flavors in little tiny cups.
So we get off the plane in Manchester and do the mad rush to get through customs and immigration so we can make our connecting flight one hour after landing to London. Except all flights to London have been cancelled, and the lady actually says "we're advising all customers to just go home." She has no response to "but our home is in Chicago." They make some announcements to the effect that they are going to of course refund all the tickets. We call our friend in London to let her know what's going on, and we call Liz's mom even though it's midnight her time, because of course sleeping people are watching the world news. At some point I thought about taking pictures of the ridiculous lines of people trying to figure out what was going on, but thought better of whipping out my camera in a hightened security airport.
We decide to figure out as quickly as possible how to get a train to London. So we walk like 3 miles internal to the airport and get to the Manchester train station. We stand in weird lines that can't decide where the start and where the end are, and buy $200 in train tickets to London. But the train is very fast! Notable is that when we asked the guy in the ticket booth if our Eurail passes would help us, he said something like "I am not sure, but I don't think that Eurail works in England." He even was so passive about this that he let us take out our system maps before saying "Actually I'm sure that Eurail doesn't work in England." Whatever.
So we got on our train, which was mostly empty, and Liz went back to sleep leaving me to notice when we got to London. Standard.
We got to London about 2.5 hours later, and soon learned that shortly after our train trip the train people started scalping tickets from Manchester to London for about $500 a seat. We rule.
But then we decided to pay $5 each to take the underground 4 blocks, when all-day passes are about $8, and of course, we could have easilly just walked the 4 blocks. Again, we rule.
We met up with our friend, had some Pimm's, and savory pies, then retired to her place to nap and shower.
Post nap and shower we ate Indian food. And that was about it for Day 1!
8/7/2006: This should get as much publicity as possible
From Cardplayer's updates from the Main event:
Mon Aug 07 15:18:00 PDT 2006
All For Charity
David Einhorn has just told Cardplayer.com that he has pledged all of his tournament winnings for the Main Event to charity. Einhorn has decided to give whatever he makes in this tournament directly to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Disease.
Einhorn is currently in second place, with all players currently guaranteed around $325,000, second would pay about $6,000,000.
In other news, WeiKai Chang busted this afternoon.
8/6/2006: WeiKai Chang and Jeff Lisandro
I'm currently back in Chicago, enjoying Lollapalooza, the back-from-extinction music festival. I've got a friend in town as well, so haven't had many seconds to get away and blog about what a good time I'm having, but I wanted to take a second, with 135 players remaining in the Main Event, to talk about two of the players remaining.
I had the pleasure during my brief stint at the WSOP to play with Jeff Lisandro on the first day, and WeiKai Chang on the second. While the two play remarkably different styles, they are both successful with their styles, and are both in the top 15 going in to day 5 of play today. Lisandro has a penchant for playing big pots, while Chang just seems to steadily pick up small pots and medium pots. The interesting thing about that is that in the last few days of media coverage of the event, there hasn't been a single reference to his play. Very odd for someone currently in 8th place. Lisandro's penchant for large, all-in pots means that he scrolls across the headlines somewhat frequently.
Both these guys were real pleasures to play with as well as being very good. Jeff is quite happy-go-lucky, and while sitting on my right discussed most hands played at our table with me, and probably taught me a thing or two. WeiKai was certainly quieter, but gentlemanly as well, and while his style of basically never seeing a showdown means that I basically never knew what he had in his hand, his play was pretty amazing. While I played with him for about 6 hours, I think he had maybe one showdown, and eliminated 0 opponents, while picking up about 50,000 chips or so on day 2.
Best of luck to these players, and to my friend Steve who currently has about 600,000 chips. As a reminder to the scale of the tournament, a player was roaming around the tournament room late yesterday asking if everyone wanted to chop up the remaining prize pool. If all players chopped at this point they would make right around $500,000.
Amongst the interesting names still alive at this point are Annie Duke (everyone's favorite female pro), and Prahlad Friedman (Biggest Online Winner!). Anyways, off to concerts!
8/2/2006: Relaxing day, and Lotus of Siam
Today we spent basically the whole day sitting by the pool. It was nice. The lazy river style pool is very fun. Then we went out to dinner at Lotus of Siam.
Lotus of Siam is somewhat widely called the best Thai restaurant in the US. I brought a camera and intended to take pictures but then when I next thought about it it would have just been pictures of empty plates. Good stuff.
We ate: Spicy puffy catfish appetizer, fried sea bass with drunken noodles, crispy duck in a brown curry, and a dessert of mango, sticky rice, and coconut ice cream. Yum. Sleep now, who knows what tomorrow, then back to Chicago at night, where it turns out that I've somehow managed to have a friend coming in to town before I get back...
In webspace news, I've had like 3 requests so far to make there be a comments section of some sort. So I'm thinking of either doing some kind of form to submit email, or reworking the whole page using databases, which would be more work, but would wind up with me knowing better how to do webpages or whatever, and also would make it more functional. Oh, yeah, it would also make the page easier for me to post to and such as well. But it would be a lot of extra up front work, so I don't know if that's going to happen.
8/2/2006: Boo. And Ka
So yesterday I played on day 2A of the main event. On the first hand of the day though, it should have been clear things were going to end poorly. With blinds of 250/500 with a 50 ante, I raised to 2000 with kings, in early position. The player one off the button called, and the player in the big blind, who had about 30,000 chips, reraised to 8,000. I reraised enough to put both of the other players involved in the hand all in, and the big blind called. When he flipped his hand up, only one card was visible, and it was an ace, and I was feeling like I'd gotten crappy cold-decked with KK v AA on the first hand of the day, but then he slid his card over and showed AK. And I was happy again... For about 3 seconds. The dealer put out the flop, again in one neat pile, except this time the top card was an ace again! Sadly the last king in the deck didn't appear, and I was down to about 20,000 chips before the tournament director finished explaining the F-bomb rule.
The player who put this fairly bad-beat on me then tried to explain that he was really sorry, and that he had been knocked out of an earlier event with the exact same situation, so he knew exactly how I felt! Hah. About half an orbit later, I raised 3,000 with Aces, and was called by a short stack from the button. He had around 11,000 more after calling the raise. The flop came 2 3 6, I checked, he went all in, and I called. He had 22, and I was down to about 5,000 chips. About 10 minutes later, the guy on my right had gotten even shorter than me, with about 4,000 chips, and he went all in. So I went all in with AQ. Somehow we wound up with only the two of us in the hand, and he flipped up K7. I was very happy about this until he hit a King and a Seven. Then I had 1,000 chips.
At this point I went on a "tear." I tripled up from 1,000 to 3,000, doubled from 3,000 to 6,000, from 6,000 to 12,000, and after blinding back down to about 7,000, doubled up to 14,500 at the first break. (Hands were TT > AK, KJ > 88, AA > A6, and something else that I can't remember right now.)
For the next 4 hours or so, I struggled to just barely stay even forever, stealing blinds, never getting called, etc. Finally with about 30 minutes before the dinner break, I pushed the worst hand I'd pushed all day, K5 hearts, at 400/800 with a 100 ante, from one off the button. The small blind, who I'd played with all day at 2 tables, thought for a long time and said "this is a really close fold for me Dan," but then the big blind, who had about 60,000, called my 11,000 chip raise with 88. The flop was 2 5 6 with one heart, the turn was a 3 of hearts, giving me a flush draw, a gutshot straight draw to split the pot, and draws to two pair and three of a kind, but the 10 of diamonds on the river was no help, so I lose. Or more shortly, I go home now.
I finished in about 800th or so on 2A, meaning that I outlasted about 3500 people from days 1A and 1B. Pretty good. Still pretty upsetting way to have the day start, and end. Serge and I can't decide which is worse, the losing $10,000 instantly, or losing the dream of $12,000,000. Oh well, next year.
So last night we went out to see the Cirque du Soleil show Ka, which is their puppets and acrobats show at the MGM. Super cool show. Only one problem: the guy next to us smelled like poop. I mean, really, really strongly smelled very very bad. So bad it was distracting. We're thinking of going to the concierge today and asking them if they are able to do anything about that. After all, the tickets were like $150 a seat, and having the show somewhat spoiled by something like that sucks.
Anyway, so 2 more days in LV, then back to Chicago!
7/30/2006: A relaxing couple days away from the tables
Today and yesterday I decided not to play any poker. I did a bit of reading, and a bit of thinking about the hands I had played on day 1, and a bit of thinking of course about what I need to do on day 2A, but no playing at all. It was a nice recouperation time.
After a nice day yesterday, including the buffet dinner with Serge and his wife, and letting friends who busted out on day 1 tell me their stories, today we had more planned for our relaxation. After having "breakfast" at 'wichcraft, the sandwich shop by Tom Coliccio (spelling horrible I'm sure), the chef of Craftsteak, we headed out to the pool for a couple hours, read, and paid a lot for bottled water.
We just spent an hour in the room doing important things like showering and buying our plane tickets for London to Madrid in a couple weeks, and are about to head out. Dinner tonight is at Emeril's place (also in the MGM), with my friend Mike (who went to synagogue with me?) and his girlfriend. Then we're all going to see Lewis Black. Should be a nice night.
A few of my friends are playing day 1C today. Mostly they're doing OK. Serge somehow managed to get himself down to about 5,000 chips on a bluff, but is no reportedly up to 11,000 or so. So at least his honeymoon hasn't been cut short...
7/30/2006: Day 1A Results, etc
Yesterday I started in the main event's day 1A. Around 2150 players started with 10,000 chips. The tournament was to be played on the first day until there were 800 players left or there were 6 levels played, whichever came last. Each level is 2 hours, with a 20 minute break after each level, and one 80 minute dinner break after the third level. 6 levels wound up being exactly the right number of levels to get down to just under 800 players. It also meant that, having started play at noon, (I arrived around 10:30 AM) the players who remained concluded play at 3 AM. When we left the tournament room the 800 players, and their observers were told that the taxi line behind hte convention center was not going to be working at that time of night and they should find some other way of getting home. Standard.
I think I played great on the first day. I had horrible, horrible cards for the bulk of the day, but played pots selectively. I focused on playing the hands I played against the worst players at the table, avoiding anything even remotely tricky against any player of quality. This was one of the many ways that I probably sacrificed some chip earning potential on day 1. In the upcoming days I will of course have to play more hands with tougher opponents, as the worst players will be weeded out, but I didn't see the need to play tricky, large pots against good opponents when I could either play 1) straightforward small pots against god opponents 2) straightforward large or tricky large pots against bad or mediocre opponents. There's just plenty of free money to be had without battling for the toughest money yet.
This became a bit harder at my second table of the day, where a strong pro player was on my immediate right with a ton of chips for most of the time I was there, and raising many hands. But hey, it worked out. I played a few hands a bit weakly on the first day, and I also folded one or two hands that I think I probably shouldn't have, but I am still learning to take my time while playing live. There's a few spots where I think that if I let myself take an extra minute or so, I would have made a "more correct" play than the one I made.
For a brief rundown:
- At the first break I had 9,900 chips
- At the second break I had 11,400 chips
- At the third (dinner) break, I had 14,100 chips
- At the fourth break, I had around 37,000 chips
- At the fifth break, I had around 43,000 chips
- And finally at the end of the day, I had 52,875 chips
The average stack at this point for people starting on my day was around 27,000 or 28,000, so clearly I'm incredibly happy about my results on the day. pokerpages.com says that I'm around 65th or so out of around 800 players, which again, is very good. I'm also happy to say that by and large I haven't been incredibly impressed by the opponent skill pool. I've played with a few tough players, including this guy, who is quite a class act, and I am happy to say I think I learned a few things from.
The thing that really frustrated me today was that basically every time I tried to branch out from my usual tight, aggressive style and play a bit more loosely in position, trying to steal some blinds, I would get punished. Not that the players would know what I was doing, but they just kept picking up big hands. Blech. Sadly the fact that I play quite so few hands (accentuated by the fact that I had garbage hands for soooo long) meant that on back to back hands where I made the nuts my opponents got away from hands that I don't think they should have been able to. One of my opponents honestly made an absolutely crazy fold against me, and face up, to boot!
I'd estimate that if I'd played a few hands a little better than I did I probably could have wound up the day with around 10,000 more chips than I did, and maybe if I'd gotten a little bit of luck on one of those big hands, I'd even put that up to about 20,000 more chips. That would be good for around 15th place on my starting day.
There were a ton of weird floor personel decisions made during my startind day, but I don't think that it's worthwhile to go in to that. Also weird: I had a dealer named Skywalker, and a camera man nearby who looked exactly like George Lucas!
Anyway, that's about enough for now, I think, time for bed. Didn't get a ton of sleep after the 18 hour poker/work day yesterday, and took the whole day off from anything poker related today.
On a totally other note, Liz and I met my friend Serge's wife today, which was cool. They were just married about a week ago! Tomorrow we are going to go to dinner with some friends and hopefully see the Cirque show Ka.
7/28/2006: Pictures of Party free crap, and starting the WSOP Main Event in a few hours
7/26/2006: A few new pictures are up
Gotta run to breakfast, but I posted a few pictures, one of Chris Ferguson at the shootouts a while back, and a few of our trip to the Getty museum in Los Angeles.
7/23/2006: 10:30 PM: In California
Today was fairly eventful. We went out to brunch, did some shopping (only actually wound up buying a replacement shirt for one Liz tore), went to pick up a car to learn to drive stick on, went to dinner, and went to the zoo at the night.
Unfortunately, Liz and her mom both think that it's reasonable to consider us all done with driving lessons at the state of "Liz knows kinda sorta how to drive stick, after about 10 minutes trying." Whatever, fine then, she can do all the driving in Europe. Have fun with the Alps.
San Diego is about 15 degrees or 20 degrees cooler than Las Vegas, but the humidity is a killer, and Liz's house is not air conditioned, as well, basically this is the first time ever anyone's considered that it should be. Icky sticky.
The weird hand that I'm still not sure about was like this: 2/5 NL game at the Venetian. Tricky, weird player limps for $5 in middle position, and has about $500, (he's the same player from the next hand), I raise to $25 in late position with 88 and cover, the player on the button (around $550) who has seemed incredibly non-tricky, tight, straight-forward player, calls, folded back around to the tricky guy who calls. The flop comes 9 8 5 with two hearts. The tricky player leads for $15. I take this for a "man I want to draw cheap" bet, and I raise to $80. The non-tricky guy now reraises to about $170, leaving himself with about $350 total more. Tricky guy folds, and it's on me. My problem here is that I think this guy's range is something like this: AA (not likely), KK (not likely), JT of hearts (mildly likely), 98 mildly likely, 76, pretty likely, likely, 99, pretty likely, and 55, pretty likely. Reviewing that range of hands, I really think that AA and KK are basically 0% likely, JT of hearts I think he'd either just call on the flop or push all in, 98 is pretty unlikely because I'm holding 88. That leaves really 76, 99, or 55, two of which beat me and 1 of which is behind me. One of the ones that beats me I have outs against though.
So that's weird. The other problem is that you always want when you're looking at a live hand to throw in more and more "but my opponent could just be a retard" percents than you should or than you start with. This can get dangerous, but at the same time, can keep you from unnecessarilly throwing away the best hand too often. The other problem I've got here is that if he's got 76, for the flopped nuts, he's giving me huge odds to draw out on him on the turn. So I decided on a line here that most of my friends agreed with. That's call the flop raise, then on the turn hope to improve but even if you don't probably check call if he goes all in and have a little party if he bets less than all in or checks when you check on the turn. If you could see his hand clearly you might want to check and then fold on the turn, but again, those "maybe he's terrible odds" are pretty good. So I played the hand out exactly like that, he wound up having 76, and I didn't catch my outs for a full house. Oh well.
The other hand, which made me pretty pissed for a variety of reasons the other day was like this: I've got about $600 at the same 2/5 game (different lineup mostly though). Tight, aggressive, sensible young asian guy opens to $25 in early position. Tricky guy (I should have just called him Joseph earlier to make this part easier) calls, and I call with 65 of spades on the button. The big blind calls, and we see a flop 4 handed with about $100 in the pot. the flop comes K 8 9 with two spades. It's checked to the asian kid who bets about $50. Joseph calls, and I'm now calling $50 into a pot with $200 already in it, with plenty of money behind to catch a 5 to 1 draw. So I call, and the other guy folds, 3 handed to the turn, the 3 of spades. It's checked to Joseph, who thinks for a second and goes all in for about $370 more. Now it's on me. I've never played with Joseph before. All I'd heard was talk about him from other players, including in my first few minutes at this table with him. Basically the table talk was that Joseph is horrible. So I instantly overpush all in with my baby flush. The young asian kid now takes about 10 minutes (most of them after having turned his hand face up on the table), and eventually makes the solid fold of KK (top set, kings). (Nice fold man!) I was sadly then crushed when Joseph turned over T7 of spades, not only having a bigger flush than me, but also killing my gutshot straight flush outs for the river. So, over the next hour or two playing with him, I learned that while Joseph occasionally plays a hand bad, or does something stupid to let his opponent keep too much money, he's mostly solid and tricky. Also lots of fun to play with.
Other fine Joseph moments included: Joseph raises to $10 in early position, player who Joseph had recently crippled goes all in for $120, Joseph calls. Flop is K K x, Joseph says "man, you are not very lucky, quad kings," and flips up his KK. Ouch. Another: Joseph raises to $25 and opponent calls in the big blind. Flop is T x x. Opponent checks to Joseph. Joseph says "do you want to just check it down?" Opponent says no. Joseph goes all in. Opponent thinks and calls with JJ, Joseph shows AA. Joseph offers to run it twice. Hah. Joseph was tons of fun to play with, and I'm even pretty sure that I wound up + $ in hands played against him over the few days of play.
Another player did something that really frankly disgusted me though. This player, who I nicknamed "Pancakes" from Detroit, repeatedly explained to the table that he was sick and tired of being pushed around by young kids who thought they could play poker. While Pancakes didn't play poorly, he did wind up handing me piles of loot, so I can't complain much. But in one hand, he bet out with QJ on the K T 9 flop, and his middle aged opponent moved all in for about $300 more than his bet. He then *made his opponent count down his stack, even though it was obvious he had him covered and he had the nuts.* That's disgusting. At that point the hand is over. There's no reason to screw with people.
The best part of the Triple Draw/Badugi session the other night was the other guys at the table. They really looked at the 3 of us walking up to the table as the biggest pile of free money they'd ever seen. (And that was even though I didn't decide to buy in to the all $3 chip game with $3k in order to build the greatest chip fortress ever!) First I instated a table rule that all speakers of the word Fuck would tip the dealer $1. Dealers from that point on were quite well paid. Then I managed to convince the table that it was a great idea to expose cards throughout the hand. To do this I would occasionally show up to 3 cards from my Badugi hands (4 cards) throughout the hand. One guy at the table *repeatedly* tried to raise me on the river, or just bet at me on the river, in Badugi, when he couldn't beat the hand I had showing on the table. He really missed the idea that I never folded. Pretty horribly at that.
The middle aged guy who was at the table was doing really weird stuff, like somehow winding up sitting out whenever we played triple draw, or something? He also made a show of the idea that he was taking the game more serously than us, even though he was reading a novel while playing. He at some point got in a verbal fight with one of my friends. Just when it seemed that friend had silenced him, and indeed, he was silent for about a minute, he pipes up with "Blow me." The table/room/floorman/dealer exploded with laughter.
Anyways, what else is going on? In poker land, my friend Alan starts the final table of the $5k PL Holdem event on the 24th at 2 PM as the chip leader. Updates available on the CardPlayer website. My friend Jordan, and everyone's favorite Greg Raymer, are doing quite well at the $1k NL rebuy event, after day 1. In my poker universe, I'm starting to get more and more confident in my NL cash games, and also my 6 handed games. But I think most importantly is a series of adjustments that I had/have been talking about with Alan about playing live tournament holdem that obviously are paying dividends for Alan. Hopefully I will be able to get close to the same gear and mileage out of them that he has.
Tomorrow we head to AAA to get international driver's licenses! Also, hit the beach! Hopefully the stickiness will decrease a bit. Alright, nap time for Dan!
7/21/2006: 4:00 AM: Ahahhahahha Ship it.
So, a few things.
Liz gets in to town in some number of hours that I don't know, but it's under 20. I should probably figure that out.
Tonight I went to Delmonico, (possibly the best steakhouse on the planet) with a couple people I've never met before. The food was of course fantastic. The wine was fantastic. Everything was quite good in fact except that 1) we were unable to consider ordring deserts, 2) everyone was disgusted by the cigars that people decided to start smoking 4/5 of the way through the meal (we were dining in the bar). Oh well?
We then went to the Venetitan poker room to try to play whatever game we could find as poorly as possible. Bill asked someone on the turn "If I put a bad beat on you here are you going to be mad or are you just going to cry a little bit?" Since his opponent answered "Just cry a little bit," he called, hit his flush on the river, and made $500." Hah. So then all 3 of us that went to dinner moved to a 6/12 mixed game, which was supposed to be a HORSE game with Triple Draw and Badugi mixed in. Very soon after the three of us arrived (plus vodka tonics), the game switched to pure Triple Draw/Badugi mix. Sadly, playing as poorly as we could possibly figure out how to play, the three of us all wound up positive on the session. Bill of course was massively helped out by that initial $500 pot, but I wound up +$250 on the Badugi/TD session, which was strangely exactly what Bill and I paid for dinner, which winds up nice.
So I wound up playind like 90 minutes of 2/5 NL today and a few hours of 6/12 mix game, and + about $750. Dropping a rididculous $220 or so on dinner, still a not bad day.
I've never played Badugi before, and I've never played triple draw live before. Both area fantastically fun games. I kinda love them both. But then again, I knew I was going to love them both anyway. The problem for me is that while 3/6 and maybe 10/20 triple draw are spread online, the next stakes choice basically is 80/160, which is a big jump, and none of those games runs frequently. Meh. And Badugi basically never runs at all online, certainly not for stakes that are worth playing. Still a super-fun game.
So, as I said, a few things:
I played this really interesting hand today that made me very confused for like 2 hours. Beyond that, I still haven't elaborated on the statements of people/stuff sucking that I mentioned yesterday, but I probably will once I wake up tomorrow. I hope.
Anyways, my friends and I had a huge amount to drink tonight, all amazingly wound up positive dollars on the evening session, even considering the dinner expenses, and I somehow even wound up with a Venetian players club card, but I sort of have to get to sleep.
The "hey, maybe they're not as horrible people as you thought" moment of the day was when I was out at the TI pool, and I realized that there was a cocktail waitress who was 6 months pregnant. Amazingly the MGM properties had not found "some reason" to relieve this bikini clad blonde of her duties as a waitress simply because she'd blown her waistline.
Anyway, I think that it's a clear sign you've been up too late at night, regardless of the time zone, when ESPN starts showing the morning-talk radio show on TV? So I'm out. Hopefully I'll have more time later today to write more. Gnight
7/20/2006: 5:20 AM: OMG I AM SO TIRED
Details to follow. Gist of it was: went out for second poker session of the day around 10:30 PM, got stuck about $900 very quickly, stayed around and played until about 5 AM, at which point I was up $20. Then again if you factor in the food, tips, and drinks, I'm up a bit more, but still, in the end, $20. Losing big pots early sucks. Trying to use other people's table talk sucks. Other stuff sucks too. But I'll write more about stuff at some point after I wake up today.
7/18/2006: The average mediocre American poker player pisses me the fuck off
I don't understand at all why people are totally unable to be civil at a poker table. Particularly people seem unable to be civil to people who are clearly going to give them their money in the short and long run. This is of course stupid. People should be nice to these people, so that they will be more likely to enjoy themselves, and bring more money around. Think about the kind of business that casinos would do if instead of comping people, having hot scantily clad women around, and giving you free drinks, they spat on you and hit you with sticks. That's about the level of decency we're talking about.
Today's highlights included: One guy at a 10 handed 2/5 NL table who voraciously complained about a man from Turkey who had no idea how to play the game and spoke not English having his friend behind him to translate for him. WTF ASSHAT?! The guy sits down with $200, loses it, rebuys for $200, and while he's in the process of losing that, you seek to make him as unhappy as humanly possible for no good reason? The guy called off 3/4 of his stack with K high (including river bets), and you want to piss him off? WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?Next up was some internet hotshot type who 1) played horribly 2) played really horribly. He decided that for some reason he was going to be a huge dick to the guy on my right. The guy on my right was a mediocre player, and most likely not as good as the internet player, but was also not spewing money. At some point the guy on my right picks his cards up off the table higher than pleases the other guy, and he says something like "stop showing your cards to that other guy, he's still in the hand!" (I'm the other guy, and was indeed in the hand, but the way the guy was holding the cards, there was no way I could possibly see them.) The guy on my right's answer wasn't exactly gentlemanly ("Are you in the hand?") but it certainly didn't need the follow up (or the next 20 minutes of) "What, are you trying to start something with me? Do you have some kind of problem? Etc etc etc."
It's entirely possible to have a friendly table where everyone is having a good time and make a lot of money. In fact, it's usually the best atmosphere for making a lot of money! But for some reason, people like to try to be jackasses all the time. Maybe it's the players they see on the television, who knows. Perhaps Barry Shulman is providing a bad example (I believe I covered his arguing with the floorman and other players in an earlier post). Whatever it is, it should stop.
In another hand, there was what I thought to be a pretty terrible ruling by the dealer (though the players involved elected to not call for the floor, who I think would have reversed the ruling). On the river, one player, with Ace High, bet $20. His opponent, with a pair of 3s, called. The bettor then faced his AK in the middle of the table. Very clearly in plain sight. The player with A3 (Q8432 board) then picked up his hand, held it in front of his face, allowing the player on his right to see the hand, possibly flashed the hand to the table, and then slammed his cards FACE DOWN onto the table. This is the customary action of folding a hand, though the slamming is of course optional. Now, by the rules, the hand is not dead until it touches any other dead cards or the dealer touches the cards. Before the dealer reached out for the cards, the player to the right of the player with A3 told that player that he had the winning hand, so the A3 guy reaches out, picks up his hand, and faces it, winning hte pot. Weird.
Poker was weird today, played a 90 minute session of 2/5 mid-day, won about $600, then played a much longer session after dinner, and lost about $100. I'm incredibly impressed with myself that I was down less than the blinds on this session, as well, I hardly played a hand at all for 3 hours or so, seeing about 1 pair, and only about 3 hands with 2 cards above a 10. Oh well. Dinner was the official "Dan pays for drinks and tip for his friend because his friend hooked him up with a sweet deal for a hotel room" dinner. Sadly my friend's kids were being beastly during the dinner, which caused his wife to leave, depressed, with the kids for their suite.
Beyond all this stuff, being nearly finished with The Great Gatsby, and getting a mild sunburn, nothing really happend today. Though I do continue to not sleep well in Vegas.
7/18/2006: Yesterday and today's $1500 NL event
Yesterday was David's last day in town. We played for a couple hours at The Venetian, made a little money, and had a decent lunch, though David needs to learn not to eat things that promise in their names to kill him.
On the day yesterday I was down about $1200 after a horrid session of online poker.
Today I went in to the event very confident because I did some thinking about some adjustments I could be making at live games, and had talked them over with some friends. Sadly my enthusiasm was short lived. 90 minutes in to the event with blinds 25 and 50, I had about 1750 chips, and limped KQo in early position at my fairly passive table. 2 more limpers behind me and the blinds came along as well. The flop was the amazing A J T with two spades. The pot was 250 at this point and this guy was behind me and itching to bet. So I checked, the next guy checked, and he bet 200. One guy called between us, and I checkraised to 650, leaving myself with just about 1000 chips. It got folded back to the original bettor who reraised all in. The caller between us folded, I instantly called, and was quite happy at this point.
Strangely, my opponent as well was quite happy, as he flips up his hand, JT for two pair, and says "You have AK!" Well, yes, you'd hope I have AK, as a horribly played AK is the only possible hand you could be ahead of at this point, maybe somehow some super draw like Q9 spades or AQ spades or something like that.
I said "no." The smile vanished off my opponent's face. And then dealer dealt the rest of the cards. Sadly the dealer decided to put a Jack on the river, giving my opponent a full house. I said "nice hand," mucked my cards, and left. Live poker is horribly rigged.
The plan for the rest of the day is to go sit by the pool for an hour or so, then go and play at The Venetian's cash games until Liz gets here in 3 days or so. Sounds about right at least.
7/17/2006: Yesterday's recap
Yesterday was the $2000 NL Shootouts event at the WSOP. Harrah's decided to make the event 6-handed for the first day, 10 handed for the 2nd and 3rd. This didn't sit well with some people. Harry Demitreao complained very loudly, and was escorted out of the room by security. He's been upset about a lot of the things Harrah's has done with the series. Dan Negreanu apparently wanted to play the event but wanted to sleep through the first 2 hours, so he was very upset when he came down 2 hours in and had had most of his stack blinded off. Oops. Sorry, I can't say I was that compassionate towards that idea.
My table started with one pro, Peter Costa. Peter's a very nice guy who I've only talked to online previously, and sadly I didn't get to know that it was him until aftre he busted. Basically he played very badly, and was gone inside 3 hands.
I played a bunch of early pots, won a few, lost a few, and hit the first break almost exactly even.
After the first break I got down to about 1500 chips from a couple rounds of blinds, and then busted a player who called the wrong one of my reraises. So I had about 2600 chips 4 handed. We stayed 4 handed for about an hour, mostly without seeing a flop, and me taking the brunt of the blind steals. Near the end the 50/100 blinds and right at the start of the 100/200 level, I pulled 3 or 4 resteals, twice showing down good values, and the stacks around the table were roughly: Me: 2400, guy to my left 3500, guy across, about 2000, guy on my right, the rest. (Table had 12000 chips total.) I was feeling great about this table! The players were pretty easilly readable, and had some really bad tendencies. Unfortunately with the chips the way they were, I couldn't exactly see flops. And to really beat down these players, I was going to need to see some flops. Sadly with 100/200 blinds, no one was interested in seeing flops.
So, with a great image, the following hand comes up: folded to the button, who is the player on my right, who opens for 600. He's been numerically pretty loose, but has always had something when he raised, or at least almost always. I decided that he would fold almost all of his hands to me, and moved all in with JT of hearts. He tanked for a while, we talked for a while, my friend Alan came over and talked (you suck Alan, even though you won your table and I own 5% of you), and somehow after thinking forever the guy calls with 77. Turns out JTh is a favorite over 77! But not so much when they flop a full house and turn quads. Oh well! I'm pretty sure if I either win that pot OR he folds preflop, I'm a good favorite to win that table. Oh well. Maybe next time?
After that I went over to my friends' party house thing, hung out, played some poker, played some MarioKart. Met their friend Chantelle, and did nothing in particular. Then headed to Bouchon for dinner with David.
After the incredibly slow cab ride with the sexist cabby who butted in to every conversation, I sprinted around to not miss the reservations, and we were still sadly 10 minutes late. No problem, thankfully. Food was excellent.
In a bit we'll probably head over to the Rio to see if Alan moves on to the 3rd and final round.
7/15/2006: Silly day today
First note: Today was something silly like 116 degrees in Las Vegas
Got to sleep very late last night, and there was no event to play today. So lazed around quite a bit today. Read another chunk of The Great Gatsby, sat by the pool for about an hour, ate a couple meals, played a bit of poker online, watched some baseball (the Mets stink), and officially retired from the casino game Big Six. David spent large chunks of the day moping about the fact that even in Las Vegas you can't watch pay-per-view events for free.
Odd thing I noted today: It's kind of weird to go to a pool that has a lot of people alone.
After blowing $20 at Big Six, I wound up up about $1600 on the day online. After expenses today I guess I was up about $1450.
Tomorrow it's back to the Rio for the $2000 NL Shootouts tournamnent. I'm very excited about this tournament, as Sit-and-Go tournaments are my specialty, in theory. Also, some updates on my friends' results: Phil came in about 22nd in the $2500 Shorthanded tournament for about $9000, Peter got 8th or 9th for about $40000, and Jason is still alive in the $2000 NL event that started yesterday, with about 20 players remaining.
Today I also met my friend Aaron's wife and kids. Wife is nice and kids are cute. Younger kid, his daughter, is very pink.
Something very impressive has also happened at the WSOP this year. With events getting larger and larger, finishing in the money consistently becomes amazing. Further, finishing well in to the money frequently is astounding. Finally, winning more than one event in a year, even though there are now more events than ever, is just crazy. William Chen, "rumored" to be the smartest poker player alive, currently leads the Player of the Year standings, having won 2 events so far. He has also finished in the money in I believe 4 other events. Even if Bill could have played every event so far, that would only be about 20 events. However due to the way the events are run now, going deep in one event precludes playing at least one, and possibly two other events. So Bill has probably played under 15 events, won 2, and finished very well in 4 others. Good job Bill! Congrats!
Edit: Boo, as I typed this up, Jason busted in 19th for just under $23000.
7/15/2006: End of day results from yesterday:
-$2000 on the event, -$15 on cabs, -$400 online poker, +120 on live poker, -$100 on silly gambling, and about $15 on other food and stuff. Nothing bought at the Nordstrom sale, and the J Crew guy said that because it's so hot in Vegas they don't sell linen pants? Today there's no event I want to play, and I've just woken up (noon local) so I'm going to try to eat some lunch, maybe sit by a pool (though it is about a billion degrees out), maybe get some nice food for dinner, and maybe sit at the Venetian 2/5 NL table until I am a rich man. Last night that plan was interrupted by David wanting to go back to the room because he thought his colon was going to explode.
That puts the day yesterday at about -$2400.
7/14/2006: Happy update:
Barry Shulman has busted from the event.
In other news, Liz Lieu needs to eat a cheeseburger or something.
7/14/2006: I hate poker
Well, the good news is that several of my friends are still alive in the $2500 Short-handed NL tournament I was in yesterday. The bad news is that apparently you have to be a "name" player to not get horribly unlucky in these big tournaments.
For the first two hours of the tournament today, $2000 NL Holdem, I basically was card dead, and struggled around to get to a high of 2600 chips, having started with 2000. At the break, I was back down to almost exactly 2000. About 5 minutes after the break, my table broke, and I moved all the way across the tournament hall to a new table. My new table appeared to be a good one, with lots of chips, a couple of people playing a bit crazy, and Barry Shulman, the man in charge of CardPlayer Magazine.
I was down to about 1800 chips, with blinds of 50 and 100 when I picked up my first non-crappy hand of the tournament, Aces. A bad player who had been raising too much raised in early position, 2 players called, and I went all in. Sadly everyone folded. But, I was up to about 3000 chips! I reraised another player when I picked up QQ about 20 minutes later, and his fold put me at about 3500 chips.
With about 15 minutes left in the 100/200 blind level, I was down to about 3000 chips. Barry had been playing poorly from what I had seen. He was defending his blinds too much, cold calling raises too much, and my favorite, trying to make everyone think that he was playing much more loosely than he actually was. A big hand that he had been involved with involved him getting almost all in with 77 against QJ on a Q 8 4 board, and the cards coming 6, 5, for him to eliminate his opponent.
So with this knowledge about how Barry had been playing, I have Queens in early-ish position, and he has about 200 chips more than I do. I raise to 800, and he calls, as he has been doing almost every time someone raises his blinds. The flop comes 7 6 4 with two diamonds. I have 2200 chips, and he checks. The pot is 1700, and I decide to make a bet that will make Barry possibly checkraise me poorly, as he's shown far too much aggression so far. So I bet about 700, and he checkraises all in on cue. I quickly call, only to be shown 44. Sadly I don't have the luck of a card-carrying poker pro, so I lose.
For those not so familiar with poker, it is quite true of course that in this instance, Barry has won the hand by getting all the money in with the best hand, but he still played the hand poorly I believe. By putting in 1/4 of his effective stack (the effective stack in a heads up hand is the amount of chips that the player with the fewer chips has) with 44, out of position, he has played the hand poorly. His odds do not justify calling to hit a 4 on the flop, and the chances the pot is going to be checked down, or that his fours are good, are remote. So Barry, Nice Hand! Way to play like a donkey for an hour and get really lucky!
Results for the day: Down $15 on cab rides, Free Breakfast, and down $2000 on the event.
7/13/2006: Some photos are up
The photo gallery is now started, it is of similar quality to the rest of this space at the moment though.
7/13/2006: Internet play update
Played another hour and a half, now up just under $2700 on the internet today. Neatly pays for the tournament. Sat with some players who are more comfortable with the game I'm working on now, short-handed nl, and learned a lot playing with them watching and watching them play.
Now back to Treasure Island for dinner with David, and yes reindeer, not raindeer. They're still pretty bad assed even if you spell i wrong.
Lingo update for mom: by "owning the satellites" I meant exactly what she thought, that the calibre of play would be horrible, so I would run them over.
7/13/2006: One event in the books
This morning I decided to say screw it and play the $2500 Short-handed NL event that started today. Basically there's two ways that NL Holdem gets more interseting. You can either have more chips, or fewer players at the table. So this was a good shot to play with a decent amount of chips and short-handed.
Right around 10 AM I got in a cab and went to the Rio. I signed up for the event and got a $10 food voucher. (Score!) So I went to have breakfast. I thought I was being extravagant paying $12 for a lox plate, but little did I know that what was really going to kill me was the $8.50 combined for coffee and orange juice. Screw that. So after breakfast I lounged around and checked out the comp suites that the poker sites have set up at the Rio. Sadly nothing very exciting.
Eventually some friends got there so we hung out a bit, then played the event.
On the first hand I mistakenly thought I had 84 offsuit when I really had 94, so when my bet got raised on the 842 flop, I had to fold. (Fortunately I checked my cards when I got raised instead of just moving all in.) About 5 minutes later, 3 players limped for 25 chips and I raised to 225 or 250 with kings. The small blind and the first limper called, making the pot about 750 chips, with stacks of about 2200 chips. The flop came 7 clubs 6 spades 2 clubs, the two players checked to me and I bet 500. The small blind moved all in, and the other player called. I thought about how my friends had just told me that all the players were complete monkies, but I couldn't think of any way even with two total monkies involved in the hand that one of them didn't have a set. So I folded, and the players had A club 3 club for the nut flush draw, and 66, for middle set. I patted myself on the back, but was down to about 1700 chips.
15 minutes later two players again limped to me on the button for 25 chips so I raised to 150 with AJ of spades. The small blind, who had not been very active so far, reraised close to the minimum, to 300. I hated the spot, but couldn't fold getting better than 3-1 odds, and position. When my jackpot flop of JJT came, I was almost as excited as when my small blind opponent opened the betting post flop by moving all in. I quickly called and saw approximately the hand I expected to, KK. Sadly my excitement was quickly vanquished when my opponent hit one of the two kings left in the deck on the very next card. No miracle 1-outer jack on the river, and I'm done.
So yeah, 20 minutes, and down $2500 on the day before 1 PM. Good times.
My friends Alan and Phil also busted pretty quickly, and though I saw Tobey Maguire running out of the tournament hall with his backpack, it turned out he was just running to the bathroom. I got a couple of pictures of Mr Maguire that hopefully I'll get a chance to post.
So I decided to go with my friends back to the party house that they rented out and play a little bit online, because David said he was going to be pretty busy today. Logged 2 hours of play, up $500. Still not a good day so far.
7/12/2006: Nearing the end of the first night in Vegas
So after my mishaps with reading a clock, and having turned down the chance to spend $60 roundtrip on taxis to go have BBQ at some friends' house, I wound up washing the airplane off me, shaving, throwing $1500 in my wallet, and heading out in search of food in then poker.
In the search of the deli at Treasure Island, I discovered that the casino has a whole section I'd never noticed before. I'd never noticed it because they hid it and put no signs pointing in its direction. But that didn't stop me from eventually finding the deli. 23 minutes after I found the deli, I reached the front of the line to order a Reuben and Coke. This wouldn't be a horrible wait if it weren't for the fact that there were only about 10 people in front of me in line when I got there, and half of them left in disgust with the speed of the line before ordering. Apparently though they didn't have to call New York to find out how one corns a beef before bringing my sandwich, because that only took about 90 seconds. Impressive guys, really.
Thus weighed down by saurkraut and soda, I wandered over to Treasure Island's relatively new poker room. The room is very small, and has probably about a dozen tables. When I got there I had just missed getting a seat at a $50 Sit-and-Go tournament that the (cute) floorperson told me has blinds that god up every 10 minutes! (This is very, very fast for a live Sit-and-Go and in fact is the speed of blind increases at say, PartyPoker's non-speed Sit-and-Gos online.) Intrigued by this, but then saddened by both the lack of open seats in the room and the lack of games above cruely low stakes, I sleepily wandered around the casino a bit more and then headed back up to the room.
And what does a professional poker player do when they are in Las Vegas for 10 days? That's right, sit down and play cards online because you're too lazy to walk to the nearest good card room and then stand on a line for a seat. To be fair, by the time I would have gotten a seat I probably would only have about an hour and a half before David gets in, making it a bit silly.
So I played for about an hour or so, did OK. Results so far:
- Sandwich and lemonade in Chicago at airport: -$9
- Cab from airport: -$25
- Sandwich and coke at deli in Treasure Island: -$15
- Internet connection for 24 hours: -$11
- Poker on internet: +$700
In other news, right after Liz dropped me off at the airport, she booked our Europe vacation for August. Sort of. We go to London on August 9th, and return from London on August 31st. We haven't decided what we're doing in the middle yet. The current toss-up is between London -> (plane) Spain -> (car) France -> Italy -> Switzerland -> Slovenia -> Croatia -> (plane) London, and some trip that includes possibly Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and eating caviar and drinking champagne at the northernmost point in Europe while looking out at the north pole. There's also raindeer from what I understand. Hard to make a decision at this point I think.
7/12/2006: Wow that quick nap was necessary
Yeah when you're in Vegas for 1 hour and you landed at 4:30 local, it's never 8 PM. Usually it means it's time to reset your watch. Good thing I didn't go out and play any poker with that brain. Rested, showered and shaved, I go for a sandwich and some poker.
7/12/2006: In Vegas for 1 hour
News Flash: There is no such thing as 105 degrees and "comfortable because it's dry." David is going to melt. Some friends are having a bbq tonight but I think I'll have to pass on at least the dinner part in order to stick around here for when David gets in.
Tomorrow's WSOP event is the $2500 Short-Handed NL event. This is the biggest buyin event I'm considering playing, and also has the potential to be the most fun of any of the events on this leg of the trip, but I still haven't decided if I'm going to play it. Short-Handed NL is the only form of poker I've actually played this month, and it being a $2500 buyin event, it starts with 2500 chips, which is nice. So yeah, decisions, decisions.
So now it's 8 PM in Vegas, David's not in for 4 hours, and probably won't want to have dinner when he gets in. Then again, I've never known David to turn down eating. So I should do some combination of checking out the Rio, checking out the Treasure Island poker room, finding some food, hitting the pool, and shaving/showering.
7/12/2006: Leaving for Vegas in 3 hours
And I haven't packed yet! Hah!
I thought I'd post about the awesomeness of making somewhat last minute hotel reservations in Vegas for a pretty busy time of year. Which was frustrating and then concluded happily.
So Vegas has a few areas:
- Old Strip: This is where Binions, Sahara, Stratosphere are. It sucks, and it somewhat removed from all the new stuff.
- Rio Area: While the WSOP is being held at the RIO, it's way out in the middle of nowhere with the Palms and some other very minor hotel. Incredibly inconvenient to everything else, though I think that all the strip clubs are out there somewhere.
- South Strip: Tropicana, Excalibur, NYNY, Luxor, Mandalay Bay are down here. Mostly no good poker rooms, and probably about 1.5 miles from any poker room I'd consider playing in. Luxor and Mandalay, however at least pull off a decently young, hip vibe, which is nice.
- North Strip: Caesar's Palace, Venetian, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn, Paris, Aladdin. All the poker rooms worth playing in, almost all of the hotels that don't make you think of a crazy 80's scene in Vegas, and of course, these places are mostly just newer and nicer than the other places.
So I need a somewhat last minute hotel deal for 10 nights in Vegas with 48 hours until I get there. Usually people deciding to go to Vegas do the "Oh well, if you just throw a lot of money at this problem, it will easily go away," but that's not how I was raised. My brother and I spend a lot of time looking at websites deciding that lasvegas.com does indeed give the best hotel rates. Then my friend gets me to register for a program called travelaxe which he swears does even better prices. It fails to do so.
I call my friend Aaron who has a casino host at Treasure Island and ask him if he can get me some kind of deal on a room. About 24 hours later when I'm tossing up between Harrah's (south end of north strip, but oh-my-god is that the cheesiest 80's-est place I've ever seen) and Monte Carlo (north end of south strip, looks a lot better, but has construction holes on either side and is quite a walk from the good stuff, in the 100 degree weather), I get a voicemail. The voicemail is from the casino host, and says "Hi Dan, this is Kevin, your confirmation number is..." Odd, since I didn't know I'd booked a room.
I call Kevin back and explain to him that I don't intend to play any games in his casino, and in fact don't even have a frequent players card with their family of casinos, and that I had asked Aaron to make it clear I was just fishing for a deal. Kevin says "Oh, no problem, don't worry about it. I've booked you a room at the top poker-rate anyway, and if you play you can work towards paying the balance with comps." I say something like "sweet," and then "goodbye." So to recap: Room at Treasure Island, last minute, about $60/night cheaper than same room online, no need to play in their casino at all! (Also of course cheaper than Harrah's or Monte Carlo.) Treasure Island has probably my favorite location, as well, which is just a huge bonus. It's across the street from the Fashion Mall, across the street from the Venetian, and kitty-corner to the Wynn. Basically if you can't stay in the Venetian or the Wynn (which are both hugely expensive), I think it's where to stay.
As for stop losses on the trip: I'm going to enter something around $6000 of tournaments, and I'm not delusional about my chances in these, it's quite likely I just lose all entrance fees. I'll play cash games all over Vegas within my normal comfort levels for stakes as long as I feel that I'm playing well and/or playing better than my opponents. And of course, I am pretty confident I will destroy the single-table satellites being held at the Rio at will. Looking forward to that last bit. Some other smallish pile of money for good food, good drink, and other entertainment. And of course, a $100 bill in my shoe to purchase reserve SPF 65 sunblock for David when he runs out on the first day in town.
7/11/2006: Leaving for Vegas in 1 day
So the last couple of days have been spent getting ready to go, go, go on this incredibly long vacation. The first thing that meant was to get money from the bank, because I've been getting incredibly sketchy reviews of the boxes at a couple of the casinos the last week, so I wasn't about ready to wire money out there ahead of me. So on Friday I went to the bank.
And apparently my mental picture of what a bank looks like is outdated. I picture you know, big walls of money and bags with dollar signs on them and such. Instead I was told that (with 1 hour left in the business day on Friday) their "money delivery for the day is running late, so they don't really have that much money." So I have to take the money in the form of every $100 bill in the place, every $50 bill in the place, and a handful of $20s. All this while ha, ha, the line of people behind me wanting to deposit and withdraw money stands and waits. I also had to get a CTR and sign a piece of paper saying I had knowingly turned down non-cash forms of money and had supplied my own security measures for leaving the bank with cash. Fun times!
So I took my money, in a Sopranos-esque manilla envelope taped shut at the top, and buried it in my dresser. Then like the baller I was, I went to The Gap to shop for clothes for vacation. Three pairs of shorts, 3 shirts, under $175. Score!
Next up was laundry, which was today's project, and well, I decided to only do the laundry that was necessary for the trip. The rest will be relegated until August to the floor of my closet.
My mom emailed today to ask about things like stop-losses for the trip and such, so hopefully tonight I'll write about that a bit.
7/10/2006: Leaving for Vegas in 2 days
So the Vegas plan looks like this so far:
- Get to Vegas mid-day 12th
- Stargaze at $50k buyin HORSE tournament on 13th
- Play some subset of the following events: $2500 Short Handed NL, $2000 NL, $2000 NL Shootout, $1500 PL Omaha, $1500 NL
- Leave late morning 22nd
On the 22nd Liz and I drive out to San Diego to hang out on the beach, learn to drive a stick shift, and relax some before going back to Vegas on the 27th. On the 27th we drive back, and on the 28th I start playing the World Series main event on day 1A.
A couple of my friends are giving me grief about my choice of day 1A as my prefered starting date, saying that the layoff between day 1A, July 28th and day 2(A+B), August 1, is just too long, etc. Personally if I make it to day 2(A+B) I'll be happy enough, and I like big layoffs between things like this.
Goals for the trip are:
- Not embarass myself on national TV
- Not embarass myself in some other forum
- Eat a few good meals
- Cash at least one WSOP tournament
- Totally own the single-table satellites
- Learn to drive stick without destroying any cars
So before this all starts, I apparently have to own a pair of shorts or two, I'll go do that now. Hopefully in the next 3 weeks I'll be updating here with some pictures, and other stories from Vegas. I may even work on the look of this site just a little bit.