Wednesday, June 29, 2011

LOL Donkaments #4

Harrah's 8pm $80 - 06.17.11

This tournament has a much better structure than the other Harrah's tourney I played. They gave us 8000 chips, added a couple of levels, and started the antes later. They also had a $20 Bounty for this one.

Being a Friday night in Las Vegas during the WSOP, this one had 102 players, which is kinda silly for a daily tournament. All the tables were in use, and that included a couple of $1/$2 NL games.

Things went well in the beginning, and my table draw was good. I was able to slowly build my stack, although I didn't get the monster stack that I had gotten in other tourneys. It took them awhile to break our table, which was good for me. I even got two Bounties before the table finally broke.

I got a really good seat at the new table, as the Big Stack was on my direct Right. Things were going along OK, but the structure started to become a problem. Even though it's a better structure than before, any daily tournament structure will be a problem with 102 players. With only three tables left, all of us were getting shortstack. That's when this hand happened in the 1500/3000/300 level:

It folded around to a Mid player, who min-raised to 6000. Only the SB called, and he was the Big Stack at the table. I'm the BB with 55, and I go All-In for 26500.

I played with the Mid player at the previous table, and he's a passive Super-Nit. He could easily have a bigger pair than me, but I have him covered. I don't think he'll risk his tournament with out a premium hand. However, I haven't been at the new table that long, and I don't know much about the Big Stack. He's got a lot of chips, but my stack would take a serious chunk out of his stack.

Ultimately, I do have a pocket pair, and I'm under 10 Big Blinds. If the Big Stack folds, then picking up the 12k plus antes will be good for my stack. If he calls, then hopefully we are in a coin flip, which wouldn't be a bad thing at this stage of the tournament.

The Mid player thinks for a bit, and folds. The Big Stack thinks for a much longer time. Meanwhile, his Buddy had already busted from the tournament and is watching the action. He comments about how big the pot is. The Dealer quickly chewed out the Buddy for opening his mouth when he's not involved in the hand.

I think the Big Stack listened to his Buddy, because he called right after the comment with KJo. He hit a J on the Flop, but I picked up a Gutshot on the Turn. The River didn't help me, and I was out in 26th place.

Even thought the Buddy should have kept his mouth shut, I really didn't mind the call. With three tables left, winning this coin flip would have given me the monster double-up, and that would have hopefully propelled me to the Final Table. In the Bally's tourney I played just before this one, I got that monster double-up (AQd vs 55) with about 15 players left. That gave me the Big Stack, and I rode it to victory. This time it didn't work out.

Oh, well. That's (tournament) Poker. At least I got two bounties to cover half of my buy-in.

Monday, June 27, 2011

All-In Or Fold

Last week in Las Vegas, I found out about a unusual tournament at the Aria. On Monday night, they had a $160 "All-In Or Fold" Tournament with a $25 Bounty.

Why is it called "All-In Or Fold"?

Because those are your only options preflop, All-In or Fold. No limping, no min-raising, and no just calling a shorter stack's All-In. It's only All-In or Fold. If everyone chooses Fold, then the BB gets a walk and we move on to the next hand. Seems simple, right?

Well, I get bored with just regular "TV Poker" tournaments. So I will happily jump at any opportunity to play something different, as long as it doesn't cost me too much money. The $160 is well within my buy-in range.

This was put on by LIPS, although I don't know why since guys were allowed to play. There was 97 players for this tournament, which was a bit surprising to me. Although there were a few players that signed up for the evening tournament, and immediately un-registered after they realized what was happening.

The other surprising thing about this night was the play. We got 6000 chips, and the Blinds started at 100/100. To me, it seemed the "proper" strategy was to play tight, because why risk 6000 chips to win 200? However, it appeared that I was one of the few players who had this thought. On the very first hand at my table, UTG went All-In for the 6000, and he had AKo. A Mid player called the All-In with ATo, and was out of the tournament.

Other players were treating this like a rebuy tournament, even though they couldn't rebuy. There was a Kid at my table who still had a chip stack in a Cash game. He declared that he was here to gamble in order to get a monster stack, or he would go just back to his $2/$5 table. Overall, I was very surprised on how few walks were given to the Big Blind.

As for my tournament, I got a decent seat at the table. The two players on my Left were playing tight, and waiting for premium hands. This meant I was able to steal the occasional Blinds. However, right after those two players was the Kid who wanted to gamble.

I was able to double up in Level 1 with my AQ vs TT. In a later hand, the UTG shoved. I was UTG+1 with 33, and had to fold. Two other players shoved All-In. I would have flopped a Set and collected two bounties and got a monster stack. Oh well, right fold - wrong time.

In the next level, I lost my double up with my AJ vs JJ. After that, I went very card dead. With so many players willing to gamble, I had to pop the clutch, and drop into Super Nit gear for a while. Eventually, a very active Lady shoved. I had 7h 7d, and was the only caller. She had KQc. The Flop was 7c 5c 4c, giving her the Flush and me Top Set. I missed my Full House Draw, and was out in 45th place.

Now I'm gonna take off my Player hat, and put on my Tournament Director hat. This was their first attempt at this type of tournament, and nobody was happy with the structure. It had 6000 chips and 20 min levels: 100/100, 100/200, 200/300, 200/400, 300/600, 300/600/100 (I'm not sure what the rest of the levels were, since I left.)

Some of the players though the structure was way too slow. It should have 10 min levels, start with less chips, have the levels go up much steeper, and have antes much sooner. Not surprisingly, these were the players who were here to get their gamble on.

As a former TD, I do agree that the structure needs some work. If I were to run this for one of my home games, I would start with less chips. I think something in the 30BB - 40BB range would be good, but I would have the Blinds go up slowly. I would have antes starting in Level 1 or 2. There needs to be something in the pot that's worth risking your whole stack. I would also probably have 15 minute levels.

While this seems like a turbo, it's not necessarily the case. What happened in this tournament was tables started breaking rather quickly after the late buy-ins ended. But once we went from nine tables down to five or six, things started slowing down. Stacks got bigger, and players were less willing to risk all their chips against another big stack. So once the initial stacks doubled up, and maybe doubled up again, there was some fold equity against other players, and the bust-outs went much slower.

Of course, building a tourney structure is always a bit of theory before it's actually tested. Once it's played a couple of times, then more adjustments can be made. Maybe some of my CPMGers will give this one a try.

Friday, June 24, 2011

LOL Donkaments #3

Bally's 4pm $75 - 06.17.11

I played in this tourney because it was the only one on my list for 4pm. Although if I knew how bad the structure was, I probably wouldn't have played it. They give us 5000 chips, which is ok. But the Blinds start at 100/200, and double double double after that (100/200, 200/400, 400/800, 500/1000, 1000/2000, 2000/4000, 4000/8000).

Since this was such a terrible structure starting out with 25 Big Blinds, I decided to go with an all Preflop strategy. No limping or calling, just raise or 3-Bet. Overall, I did a decent job of sticking to it, and it worked beautifully. I won the first few pots I played, and I was steadily building my stack, while I rarely had to show my cards. By the time we got to the break, I had around 13k - 15k. The field of 47 players was down to three tables.

Things kept going well as I stuck to the plan. When we got down around 15 players, I made a standard raise from UTG with AQd. The SB moved All-In, and had me covered as we were the two Big Stacks at the table. He was at my first table, and he didn't mind getting his chips in the middle. That means his range of hand for 3-Betting is rather wide, so I quickly called. He had 55, and I won the race. This left him very shortstack, and I knocked him out on the next hand.

When we got to the Final Table, I had the dominate stack of 58k, which was 25% of the chips. I stuck to the plan, and was able to avoid any bad luck. The weirdest thing about the Final Table was there was no mention of a chop, bubble save, or any other type of deal. I would have had no problem discussing some sort of deal due to the retarded blind structure, just as long as I got the big chunk of money.

Even when the Bubble popped with five players getting paid, there was not a word uttered. This was bizarre to me because there is almost always something mentioned in Reno tournaments. I guess I got lucky in getting a Final Table full of tourists.

When it got to three handed, I had the Tower of Power with over 160k chips, and the other two players were close together around 35k each. Even with the  Big Stack, I brought up making a deal. I wanted to protect my equity because the blinds were 4k/8k, and my chip dominance could be in trouble with a bad River card followed by a lost coin flip.

At first, I suggested that I get 1st place, and they chop 2nd and 3rd for $517. One of them said he would rather just play it out, as he doesn't get to play short handed very often. I was certainly not afraid to play it out with these two, but I kinda wanted to get some dinner. I made one more offer. I suggested they both get $550, and I'll take the rest. They looked at each other, and agreed to it.

So by giving up $70, I walked out of the poker room with $955 after the Dealer Tip.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WSOP '11: Putting A Bow On It

I walked through the front door of my apartment about 6:15pm last night. Once again, it was a very uneventful trip through the mountains and deserts of Nevada. Here are my final thoughts.

~ If you have never been to Las Vegas during the WSOP, you have to visit at least once in your lifetime. It is Poker-Palozza in Sin City, and not just at the Rio. With all the extra tournament series around town, all the Poker Room are busier than normal. Some Dealers were complaining that they had to work 8-10 hours straight without breaks.

With so many poker players at the Rio, it's amazing how many Bad Beat Stories are floating through the air. In the elevator, in the bathroom, or in line for a restaurant, it's common to overhear little sound bites of conversation. "I had AK on the Button." "That stupid Spade on the River." "I can't win a Race." "I hate Jacks."

~ As for my "goals" for this trip, one of my most successful was my morning Strip Walk. I did it on most days, only missing my early morning Cash session, and yesterday. I started at Bill's Gambling Hall because the parking garage is right by Las Vegas Blvd. I headed South to Tropicana, across the pedestrian bridge to Excalibur, all the way North to the Fashion Show Mall, across the pedestrian bridge to Wynn, and back to Bill's. Some times I would walk the opposite way. It was about five miles round trip. Some days, I only did half or three quarters, depending on how I felt or if I was in a hurry. I would definitely recommend this if it is something that you would be in to.

~ I said I wanted to play $2/$5 in all the Big Rooms. Well, I only played two session of $2/$5, one at the Rio and one at Aria. I did play $1/$3 at Caesars after the Heads-Up tournament, but I never set foot in any of the other Big Rooms. I also played some more $1/$2 and $1/$3, and a $1/$2 HA session at the Palms. Overall, I played seven Cash sessions, and was down $195.

~ I did a good job of staying away from the Pit. I did do a little social gambling with my poker buddies from Cleveland. On Saturday night, we headed to Downtown to hang out, and I ended up dropping $100 on Roulette.

When I was at the Palms, they had a new table game called 7-14-21. It's sort of a hybrid of Blackjack and Pia Gow. I tried it out for about an hour, and left up $35.

~ As far as tournaments, I played in five larger tournaments, and I went 0-5. Some of it was do to bad luck, and some of it was due to questionable play. It was really disappointing that I couldn't even make to a dinner break in any of these tournaments.

~ The only thing that kept this trip from being a disaster was the smaller daily tournaments. I played in eight daily tournaments under $100, and had three cashes: a 2-way chop, a 3-way chop, and another 3-way chop where I got a big chunk of the prizepool.

It does seem that I have become a specialist in these little tournaments. That's good for maintaining my bankroll, and it's also good for my ego. But it doesn't seem to translate into the bigger buy-in, larger field tournaments that has better players.

~ Overall, I would rate the trip as Meh! (not great, didn't suck). The Grand Total was -$672, but it's +$828 if I take out the $1500 Event. Like I said, not great, didn't suck.

The other problem with this trip was it was just too damn long. I "hit the wall" on Saturday, and spent half the day in my hotel room. I was looking forward to heading home for the last three days.

Maybe spending nine nights in Las Vegas would have been more enjoyable if I was still living in Cleveland. However, I now live five minutes away from the top two poker rooms in Reno. I can play poker any day I want to, but I can also not play any day I don't want to. I doubt I will play any poker until at least Friday, or maybe even Sunday.

Don't get me wrong, the Poker in Las Vegas is waaaayyyy better then the Poker in Reno. I will certainly go back, but just for a few days at a time. I have no clue when that will be, or if I will be back for WSOP '12.

Monday, June 20, 2011

LOL Donkaments #2

Harrah's 3pm $60 - 06.15.11

They give you 6000 chips for this one and 20 minute levels, but the structure is not even close to the Caesars' structure. 48 players signed up for this one.

I was extremely card dead for this start. I guess it was making up the the Caesars' tourney. I basically blinded off down to 2600 at the break.

The next level was 300/600/75. The player in front of me raised to 1500. I looked down at QJo, and shipped in my 2525. I'm in the mode of "Get Me Chips Or Get Me Out Of Here", as I will just run to the next tournament on my list. But then the SB goes All-In. He seemed like he was a goofball who was catching cards. The original raiser thought for a bit, and folded. SB had AK, but I flopped a Queen to almost triple up.

Right after this hand, they broke our table. In one of my first hands at the new table, I get 88, and win a decent pot to knock out a player. Shortly after that, I 3-Bet with AK in the SB, and win a good pot from the chip leader of the table. By the end of the 300/600/75 level, I have over 18k chips. Sometimes this is a funny game.

After that, I really didn't get many hands to play. But I was able to maintain my chipstack in the 15k - 25k range through naked aggression. Nobody at my table was doing anything but playing their own cards, so I took advantage of it when I could. But the structure was on the fast side, so there wasn't much room to maneuver.

When we got to the Final Table, I had 24k and was one of the shortstacks. The blinds were 1500/3000/400, so I was in Push-N-Pray mode. It went ok, as I was able to maintain my stack. But I never got the big double up you need at a Final Table. Also, the structure got retarded. It went from 1500/3k/400 to 3k/6k/800 to 5k/10k/1k.

I did have a chance to get some chips when I shoved with A5o, and a shorter stacked called with A4d. But a 4 on the Flop took a nice chunk of my stack that I had manage to build through stealing.

Shortly after that hand, the level went up to 5k/10k/1k, and I was the BB. I only had 25k, which meant I was almost pot committed. But I just couldn't commit the last of my stack with 93s. It was a good thing I folded, because I got A8h in the SB. However, the BB woke up with AA. I did pick up a Flush Draw on the Turn, but it wasn't meant to be. I finished in 7th, which was the Bubble. Officially, five players got paid, but the Bubble Save talk started before the next hand was even dealt. I don't blame them, as they are just flipping coins at this point.

I did manage to place a $50 moneyline bet (+115) on the Boston Bruins to win Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. I won $57.50, so that basically covered this buy-in.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

LOL Donkaments #1

Caesars Palace 9am $70 - 06/15/11

You get 4000 chips, and 20 minute levels with a decent structure for a daily tournament. They got 44 players on three tables. They have Re-Entry, and a lot of players used it.

Very first hand, I limped in Mid with J9d. Four players saw the Flop of Js 9c 8c. UTG+1 bet 150. I raised to 400 to either isolate, or just win the pot. It folded to him, and he called. Turn was [Js 9c 8c] 7s. Yuck! We both checked. River was [Js 9c 8c 7s] Jh. He led out for 600. It's rather obvious that he had a J, so I raised to 1500. He called with KJ.

Things kept going well for me. I knocked out a few more players, including my AKs vs an AKo when I hit a Flush. I had 11200 at the first break.

The carnage continued at our table, which became the Table Of Death. I wish this was a Bounty tournament, as I was the main head hunter. When we got to the Final Table, I had 48100, almost triple the average of 17600. Nobody else even had 20000. I had only one thought going through my head... Don't screw this up!

Well, the good news is that I didn't screw it up, but Lady Luck definitely put up a fight. I had numerous situations and suckouts to deal with. It started in the first orbit when I raised to 2000 with QQ. Next player went All-In for 9800. I made the call, and he had AA. I also had other hands that I raised with, but had to fold after another player went All-In, including AJ when the other guy had KK.

There was an old guy who was to my Left+1, which meant he's the BB when I'm the Button. He was a terrible calling station. This would be wonderful if it was a Cash game, but it can be very annoying at a Final Table. He also had the toughness of a cockroach, as he just would not die. I raise with KK on the Button. He went All-In with A6c, and flopped an Ace. He kept calling bets, almost never raised, and just would not die.

By the time we got to the next break, we had just popped the Bubble, and had five players left. The stacks had evened up considerably, and I was no longer chip leader. The leader had around 28k, I had 25k, and the short stack was around 12k - 15k. Since I couldn't raise to steal blinds because of the old geezer, I shifted gears down in to Small Pot Poker. I limped on the Button three consecutive times. The SB and BB (old geezer) called. I would make a small bet on the Flop or Turn with Middle Pair, the Geezer would call with Bottom Pair, and I would be good at showdown. With the Blinds at 1000/2000 and 1500/3000, these were good sized pots, and I was successful at rebuilding my chip lead through stealthy aggression.

After I got my stack over 40k, I started to raise a little more. I had bled the Old Geezer down to the point that he was hanging on for dear life, and he actually started to fold. By the time he finally got knocked out in 5th place, I had almost 70k.

During three handed play, I raised the Button with AQo. The SB moved All-In with a decent stack, and I called. He had AJh, and flopped the Flush. That took over half of my stack, and I had to go into survival mode. I carefully maneuvered with small pots, some All-Ins, and a few good folds. Once again, I was able to slowly get my chips lead back thanks to a rather good blind structure.

Eventually, the AJh guy knocked out the 3rd place player. We did a quick chip count, and I was ahead by only 4000 or 5000 chips. We decided to do an even chop. I left the Poker Room at 1:40pm with $705 after the Dealer's Tip.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Satellite Man

I played some single table satellites to try to earn some money for the $1500 Event. Here's what happened:

#1 $125. 1000 chips. 15 min levels. Blinds start at 25/25. I played very tight at the start. Picked up AA in the SB, and 3-Bet from 125 to 325. Original raiser called. I shoved the Flop, and he folded. I won another small pot or two, which got me to 1600 when this hand happened.

I limped for 25 in Mid with 66. Five players saw a Flop of A 6 3. The player before me bet 100. I just call. This is a great board to slowplay because there are no obvious draws. Two other player called the 100. Turn [A 6 3] J. Same player bet 200. I call. Next player calls. Last player goes All-In for 700. First guy thinks for a bit, and folds. The moment his cards hit the muck, I say "All-In". The third play thinks for a bit, and goes All-In. One player had AJ for Two Pair, and the other one had 54 for the Open-Ender. River [A 6 3 J] 4, and I had everyone covered. I now had 4600 chips, which is almost half the chips in play.

With such a monster stack, I went into lockdown mode. I did ended up knocking out a few more players, including another double elimination when I woke up with AKh in the BB. By the time I got to heads-up, the last remaining stack was about even with me. So we chopped up the money for $60 and a $500 tournament chip each.

#2 $125. I got a lot more limping hands in the first level, and I played most of them. I also won most of them, including this one:

I limped in Mid with 66. Cutoff raised to 150. Three players called, and so did I. Flop T 9 4. It checked around to the Cutoff, and he bet 225. The SB called, and it folded back to me. The 225 bet seemed weak to me, and the call wasn't strong either. I decided to follow my gut, and shove All In for 650 more. This is definitely a bluff as I do not want a call. The Cutoff thought for a while before finally folding. The SB also folded, and I didn't show my hand.

With that hand, I had 2600 chips at the end of Level 1. However, unlike the first satellite, I ran into some hands, and my stack went up and down, but never below the starting 1000. Another difference from the first one was players were not getting eliminated. When we hit the 150/300 level, there was still six players left. That meant it was time for Push-N-Pray. In the Hyjack, I looked at the first card and saw a King. I shoved All-In for 1350. The BB quickly called with ATo. My other card turned out to be a 5, and I missed everything. I finished in 5th place.

#3 $125. I was rather card dead for this one. I did hit a Straight against someone to knock them out. Fortunately, the table was rather passive, so I was able to do some stealing. But I never got the big double up that you need in these quickies.

The knockouts happened at a good pace, and we had three players left at the 100/200 level. The other two players were talking about doing an equity chop. I was the shortstack with 2200. I said No because at the 100/200 level, we can still play a little poker. Also, I like my skill advantage against these two, and I'm not afraid to bubble. Well, I did bubble when my A4d ran into A7o, and I missed everything. They did some sort of chop as I was walking away from the table

#4 $345 8-Game. I didn't want to play a satellite this big, but there were trying to sell the last seat, and there were no seats for a $125 or $175 NL.

The game started with 2000 chips. The levels were 20 minutes, and each game round was only four hands. We had eight players.

I'll skip all the stuff in the middle, and get to the important stuff. I got to Heads-Up, but the other guy had a monster chip lead. He started talking about some kind of deal. There was 5 $500 chips, and some cash (maybe $120). He offered to give me a $500 Chip. At first, I wanted 2 Chips, but even I knew that was silly. I then made the offer of $100 and a Chip. He said No, so we played. We started in the O8 round, and got to the Razz round. We both got dealt good starting hands, and got it All-In. He got an 86 Low by 5th Street. I hit a K on 4th, but was drawing to a 6-Low in 5th. However, 6th and 7th Street were a 9 K, and I walked away in 2nd with nothing.

In hindsight, I really screwed up this one by not taking his offer, and I'm not being results-oriented because I lost. Being that I didn't want to play a satellite this big, taking any profit would have a good thing, especially since the profit would have covered satellite #3 that I played just before this one. Also, I'm not an expert at some of the eight games. I'm decent at O8 and Razz, but Stud and Stud8 are my weakest games.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I Love The Smell Of Paulsons In The Morning

7:30 - I head down to the Rio Pavilion to play an early morning Cash session. They have two tables each of $1/$3, $2/$5, and $5/$10 in the Lower section. I put my name on the $2/$5 list, but if they open a $1/$3 table, I will jump on it.

8:00 $439 - They opened up the $1/$3 game, so I sat down for one orbit. I lost a pot with Top Pair to Nut Flush before I got called to the $2/$5 table. The table is 9-handed, and nobody has a stack over $1000. I buy-in for the max of $500 minus what I lost at the $1/$3 table.

8:30 $513 - Action is decent, but not crazy. I played a couple of pots with the biggest being my Two Pair vs Straight. It was an ugly board, with a Flush and 4-Card Straight on it, so it wasn't a big hit. I pulled $200 more out if my pocket.

My seat draw kinda sucks. A few Old Guy just sat down on my Right. The Kids are on my Left, and one of them seems to be Action Guy. If I get a chance to switch seats, I will do so.

9:00 $500 - I was able to move two seat over. It's not ideal, but it's better. A played a couple of pots, but nothing big. The best was a Big Blind Special with 92o. Flop was 992. The Button bet, and I was the only caller. The Turn was the last 9, and it killed my action.

9:30 $777 - I got my second BBS in a row. Cutoff raised $20. I called in the BB with 66. Three players saw a Flop of 8 8 6. It checked to Cutoff who bet $35. I was only caller. Turn [8 8 6] 9. I checked, and she bet $55. I fired out five Green chips for a check-raise to $125. She thought for about 15 seconds before saying All-In with QQ for about $300.

10:00 $812 - A quiet level for me. I won a couple of small pots, but nothing noteworthy. There are some new players here. The Action is still good, but not crazy. The Seniors Event is today, so there are a ton of walkers and scooters around.

10:30 $866 - A Kid raised $20 UTG. Mid guy called. I was the next player with KQc, and 3-Bet to $60. Only the Kid called. The Flop was T 9 4. He checked, and I bet four Green chips with my Gutshot and Two Overs. He though for a bit, folded his hand, and asked if it was JJ or QQ. I told him QQ, which was half right since I had one Queen in my hand.

11:00 $1090 - UTG raised to $15. Almost everyone called. I'm the SB with AQo, and 3-Bet to $80. It folded all the way to the Button, who called. He's an older gentleman who's playing like one. Flop was Jh 9h 6c. I bet $110. He snap called, and only had about $100 behind. No doubt that he has a J. Turn [Jh 9h 6c] As. I give a quiet thanks to the Poker Gods, and bet enough to put him All-In. Before I finish putting the chips in the pot, he quickly threw his cards into the muck.

11:40 $1164 - It folded around to the Hyjack who limped. The Cutoff also limped. I'm the Button with QQ, and made my standard raise of $15. The Hyjack thought for a moment, and check-raised to $80. The Cutoff folded, and it didn't take me long grab eight Green chips to 4-Bet to $215. The Hyjack is a Kid who has been at the table for the whole session. He's very no-nonsense, and would not have limped in the Hyjack with a premium hand. He goes into deep thought for almost a minute before folding.

Two other hands were me raising with QTo, and I got one caller. I fired a C-Bet on the A-Flop, but he called. It got checked down, and I ended up hitting a backdoor 4-Card Flush.

In the very last hand or the session, there was a Button Straddle, and I limped UTG with AKo. Mid player raised to $40, and I was one of two players who called. I flopped a Broadway Draw and checked. Mid bet $85, and I decided this just wasn't a fight worth fighting.

I cashed out with $464 profit, and went back to my room to finish this entry. Next is lunch, and then I will play in the Rio's $235 Deepstack at 2pm. Hopefully, I will make it to the Dinner Break in that one.

EDIT: 2pm - The Seniors Event today has almost 3800 entrants, and sign-ups are still open. The WSOP had shut down all satellites and some Cash games just to try and get enough tables. My 2pm tourney has been moved to 4pm, but I think it will be later than that. They still have previous Events to restart, plus Seniors would rather fold down to 2 Big Blinds than going All-In with a "junk hand".

I'm gonna try to cancel my entry. There are a few Poker Buddies here from Cleveland, so I may see what they're doing.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

WSOP $1500 - End Of Level 6 (100/200/25)

The Timer says 2500 players. Well, my new table has plenty of Internet Kids, but the cards have improved. I knocked out a shortstack with my A6c vs 33 for 1250. I also won a decent pot with KK, and got above 9000 chips when this hand happened in the 100/200 level.

Kid raised to 450 from UTG. Kid in Mid called. Kid on the Button called. I'm the SB, look down at Ah Ac, and 3-Bet to 1550. UTG thinks for a bit, and moved All-In for 7600. Mid and Button fold. UTG has Kh Kd. Flop was Td 7d 3d, giving him the Flush Draw. The Turn was 5c, but the River was 9d giving him the 4-Card Flush.

Very next hand, only one player limped in. I'm the Button with 22, and ship it in for 1375. The Blinds folded. The only limper was a 50's gentleman who has a little over 3000. It doesn't take him long to call with 77. (Of course, why did he limp with 77 in the first place?) As you can probably assume, I didn't get lucky, and I finished somewhere around 1800th place.

Maybe one of these days, I can make it to the Dinner Break.

WSOP $1500 - End Of Level 4 (75/150)

First, a couple of side notes. Break time at the Rio reminds me of High School. The halls are quiet until the bell rings, and then it's wall to wall people with long lines in the bathrooms.

Secondly, I'm really not a fan of the Bracelet Ceremony. I think it ok to introduce who won, but to play each national anthem just seems silly to me and a waste of time. Today, we had one from France, and one from the US. Is it really necessary to have everyone stand twice for each anthem?

Back to the Poker... The Timer says 2472 players. The Preflop Raising is up to 98.3%, and is a very consistent amount. 250 for the 50/100 level, and 350 for the 75/150. This is definitely an Internet table.

Unfortunately, I really haven't had anything to play. I tried the occasional move, but they all failed. I didn't lose any big chips in a single hand, but they did start to add up.

Finally, a Kid in UTG+1 raised to 250. I had Ah Jc in Mid. I just called because I had already 3-Bet a couple of times and it didn't go well. Surprisingly, more players called, and six players saw a Flop of Qd 6s 3s. It checked around to me, and I decided to bluff for 1100. I only had two players that haven't acted, and I still think I have a tight table image. It almost worked, as only the SB called. He's now the Action Kid at the table.

Turn [Qd 6s 3s] As. Action Kid bet 1500. Now, that's an interesting card. I've seen him bet some bluff cards, and fold to All-Ins for not much more. I was already gonna shove any Turn card, so I might as well do it with Top Pair. It was for less than 3000 total. He didn't like this and went into deep thought. He mumbled stuff about he might be drawing dead, and he knew I was betting a Flush Draw. Eventually, he tossed his cards into the muck. This probably wasn't the best hand I ever played, and I got a little lucky. But I was certainly due for some.

Just before we went on Break, our table broke, and I got moved to Table 27 Seat 3. Hopefully, there will better cards and less Internet Wonder Kids at this table.

I have 6225 chips.

WSOP $1500 - End of Level 2 (25/50)

The Timer says we have 2378 players, but registration will be open for awhile. Our table filled up, lost a couple of players, and had their seats filled quickly.

As you would expect, our table is mostly kids. There are two guy older than me. Unlike the Golden Nugget tourney, this table is dead quiet because most of the Kids are listening to their iPods. Fortunately, the old guy next to me wants to chat. He's from West Virginia, and we've been talking about Mountaineer.

As for the Poker, I've been trying to play A-B-C poker. With all the Kids here, over 90% of the pots are raised preflop, so I've been trying to keep my VPIP low. Of course, a lack of quality hands has helped.

Things were going along nicely, until I raised to 125 UTG+1 with 88. The SB (a Kid) 3-Bet to 400, and I called. Flop was Q-high. He bet 450, and I called. Turn was J. He bet 700, and I called. Rvr was a brick. He ships it All-In, and it's for most of my stack. To me, this was what the Kids call a Polarized Range. He's either got QQ or an AK type of hand. So, I let it go, and waited for a better battle. He didn't show. That's what I get for raising 88 in Early Position.

Fortunately, a better battle came a few hands later. A Kid made a standard 150 raise from Early Position. Another Kid called. A third Kid 3-Bet to 500, and he seems to be the Action Kid at the table. I'm the SB, and look down at As Ad. I decide to just call. They are doing all the betting and raising, so why not let them. I'm planning on check-raising All-In on the Flop. Three players saw a Ten-high Flop. It checked around to Action Kid, who went All-In. I quickly called, and the other Kid folded. Action Kid had AK, and was drawing dead on the Turn.

I have 6375 chips.

WSOP $1500 - "Shuffle Up & Deal"

I decided to take the plunge, and play in Event #28 at the Rio. I am here now, and I don't know if I'll be here next year. I will be working a ton of overtime this summer, so if losing the $1500 won't hurt too much.

My main goal is "Don't Screw Up". If Lady Luck wants to have some fun with me, then there isn't much I can do about it.

The first thing I need to look for is what type of players are at my table. The first kind will be just happy to be here. They're excited to play in there first big tournament. They will want to get through Day 1, and really hope their AA don't get cracked.

The other type to watch out for is the Pro or Kid who wants to Go Big or Go Home. They are only starting with 4500 chips, so their approach is "Let's Gamble". I'll probably have one or two of each at my table.

I'm seated at Table 117 Seat 3. Tables are 10-handed. Blinds start at 25/25, and the levels are one hour long.

I'm planning on doing one entry at each break, which I believe is every two hours.

Our table has six players, but nobody I recognize.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Golden Nugget's $235 Tournament

"Shuffle Up & Deal" - This is being held in a ballroom that has about 60 tables set up. There is also the daily 11am tourney being run, as well as a $235 HORSE tourney that starts at noon. It looks like there are 10-12 tables for this one, and they are 10-handed. We start with 12000 chips, and the levels are 40 minutes. We start with five players, and five dead stacks. I'm sitting between two Vegas Old Timers who know each other, and are on a first name basis. They already swapping stories.

End of Level 1 (25/50) - We are 9 handed with a dead stack. Play has been relatively normal for a first level. Hand of the Level: UTG+1 raised to 250. I call in Mid with Td 9c. Old Timer next to me also calls. The three of us see a Flop of Jd 8d 7c. Yahtzee! UTG+1 said, "Raise 500" and tossed in a 500 chip. To me, the word Raise meant he had an Overpair. No reason to slowplay here, so I raised to 1200. Old Timer folded, and UTG called. Turn [Jd 8d 7c] 5s. He checked, I bet 2000, and he called. River [Jd 8d 7c 5s] 9d. That's worst card in the deck for me. It's essentially a Joker as it completed the Flush and put a four card Straight out there. He checked. I decided to just bet 3000, and hope he calls. He went in to deep thought, mumbled about hating that card, but made the crying call. He didn't show his hand. I have 19825 chips.

Level 2 (50/100) - Still nine handed with a dead stack. It was a good level for me. I got AA, raised preflop, and got three streets of value. At the end of the level. I raised to 325 on the Button with 87s. UTG was the only caller. The Flop was Jh 5s 4s. He checked, I bet 525 with my Gutshot Straight Flush Draw, and he called. Turn [Jh 5s 4s] 9c. He checked, I bet 800, and he check-raised to 1600. I picked up another Gutshot, and I considered 3-Betting with the Big Draw. But we are too deep to risk getting my whole stack in with just one card to come, so I called. River [Jh 5s 4s 9c] 3s. He checked, and I put out a small value bet of 2100. He made the call with J9o for Top Two Pair. I have 24875 chips.

Level 3 (75/150) - Still 9 handed with a dead stack. No big hands this level. I raised a few times, won some & lost some. This has been an enjoyable table, as the table talk has been good. Live poker can be really boring when the table is dead silent. I have 26650 chips.

BREAK - Not sure how many total players yet. It looks like there are nine tables, but most have a dead stack or two. I really love the 40 minute levels, as I'm used to the 15 or 20 min levels that we see in the Reno dailies. It's also much easier to do the Running Log, as I have time to pay attention to the Poker.

Level 4 (100/200/25) - A dead level for me. I did raise preflop a couple of times, but not much came out of it. We finally started to lose players, and tables started breaking. It looks like there are 7 tables left. I heard there are 81 entrants, but that's not official. I have 24200 chips

Level 5 (150/300/25) - Basically blinded off. I did an occasional preflop raise, or called one. I really need to stay patient. This is a great structure, and I've still got 20650 chips.

Level 6 (200/400/25) - The Downward Spiral has begun. I lost chips in a couple of hands, including a 2500 River Bluff when I missed my Backdoor Flush, but the other Flush hit. He made the crying call with a small Two Pair.

Finally, I got TT UTG and raised to 1000. The Button, a Kid who knows what he's doing, raised to 3500. I considered going All-In with my extra 9500, but I think he's calling. I decide to just call and do a Stop-N-Go by shoving on any Flop. It's a play that I never use, but this seems like a good spot for it. The Flop was Tc 9c 4d. OK, change of plan. I check my Top Set, and he goes All-In with JJ. He picks up a Flush Draw on the Turn, but missed it. I have 25350 chips.

BREAK - We had 84 entrants, and we're down to 5 tables. If the pattern of breaking tables stays like it is, then our table will be part of the last two, which is sweet. They're paying 9 spots. I didn't look at the amounts, as I will worry about that when I have to.

Level 7 (300/600/50) - Down to four tables. I tried to step on the gas, but I didn't get many opportunities. I did lose 4400 chips when I called an All-In. Another caller had JJ and won. I have 21600 chips.

Level 8 (400/800/100) - Still very card dead. I want to steal some blinds, but I had very few chances. One of the few hand I did pick up was 77 on the Button. UTG raised  to 2200, and one players called. I decided to squeeze, and went All-In for 15800. Before the Blinds even folded, UTG asked if he could go All-In yet. At that point, I knew I was a dead man. Naturally, he had AA. I did flop a Gutshot, but it didn't get there. I'm out in 35th place.

I guess it was a mistake to squeeze a UTG raise, but I really had nothing to work with since the first Break. I know patience is important in these longer tournaments, and I guess that's something I need to work on.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Caesars Palace's $240 Heads-Up Tournament

Caesers was a bit of a madhouse today, as they got 573 players for their 12pm $120 tournament. They were short on tables and dealers, so they didn't start all the matches at once. Fortunately, my table was good to go. They're doing two matches per table. 

We start with 20k chips, and blinds start at 50/100. The payouts for this are extremely top-heavy. Only 8 get paid: 5-8 $559, 3-4 get $1490, 2nd $2731, and 1st 4469. In order to get in the money, we need three wins, which is half of the matches. 

#1 - Not surprisingly, my first opponent was a Kid, as most of the field seems to be. At first, he seemed to play ABC poker. When he raised preflop, it was usually for the minimum. There was a big pot that was 4-Bet preflop, and I had JJ. The Flop was A-high, and he had AK. He checked Flop and Turn, and I called his River bet. 

After that, he never seemed to bluff, mostly because he kept getting better hands than me. Since we were both playing Small Pot Poker, I was able to keep the damage under control. But as the levels went up, the pots got bigger. I won most of the small pots, and he won most of the big ones. This was because my bluff timing was terrible, as he always seemed to have the hand I was trying to represent, including Trips at least five times. 

When we got to the 300/600 level, it was time for me to start shipping it in. I managed to double up twice, including my 22 against his 66. But I always lost chips after I doubled up. Finally, I limped in the SB with KJ with the plan of calling any All-In. He was kind enough to raise All-In with AA. I missed everything, and was put out of my misery. 

"Experts" say that some players have an advantage over other players in a Heads-Up match. That is probably true if they played ten matches against each other. But in a single match, wether it's at the end of a tournament or a Heads-Up match like this one, whoever gets the best cards is usually gonna win. 

And that's what happened in this one. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

WSOP '11: First Impressions

First, some good news...

I played at the Atlantis on Friday night. They spread their first ever $2/$3 NLHE / PLO game. I won $491 in 3.25 hours. The deck was very kind to me, and I could have won more except players started to avoid me. My only bad hand was his Straight vs my Flush Draw & Open-Ender to a better Straight. The Atlantis won't let us run it twice, and I missed my big Combo Draw. I only lost about $120 on the hand, so it was just a flesh wound. It feels good to leave Reno on a winning note.

The ride to Las Vegas was rather uneventful, which was a good thing. The most interesting part was I went over two hours without seeing a gas station, or much of any civilization. It's a good thing I drive a Prius. I also went through various dead zones for my cell phone reception. The longest was over 45 minutes.

I pulled on to the Strip, and headed straight to Caesars to sign up for tomorrow's $240 4pm Heads-Up tournament. It's a good thing that I went there first because I got the last spot in the 64 player tourney. Although, my receipt says I'm Entry Number 75. I'm not sure what that's about.

After checking in at the Rio and grabbing a quick bit to eat, I headed down the WSOP to check things out. Through listening to various poker podcasts over the last few years, I already had an idea of just how big this place was. But in reality, it's even bigger than you can imagine. The main room is the Pavilion. It's divided into four sections, with around 275 tables. This is used for Cash games, single table satellites, and WSOP events. Today, it was used for this weekend's $1000 event.

The other main room is the Amazon room, which has over 100 table in it. It is used for the three daily deepstacks, the Main TV stage, and other WSOP events. Today's events included a $1500 6-max, and a $1500 HORSE which was down to ten players, including Victor Ramdin, David 'ODB' Baker, and a couple of other players that looked familiar. I have also seen at least a dozen of other pros either walking around or sitting at a table.

Since the Caesars Corporation is so cheap, they are charging $13.95/day for Internet. I will get it for a day or two while I'm here, but most of the posts will be from my iPhone. That means no pictures, links, or other fancy stuff. I'll fill that stuff when I splurge for the Internet.

Anyways, enough typing. It's time to play some poker.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Going To Summer Camp

As I've mentioned before, I'm heading to Las Vegas on Sunday. It will be my first time in Sin City for the World Series of Poker, which has been described by some as "summer camp for poker players".

Each year, some of my old Home Game buddies head out to the WSOP. This year, there are at least a dozen making the trip sometime during the WSOP, with a majority of them making the trip in late June. I would have preferred to go at that time, but next week is the only week I was able to get, and I was lucky to even get that off work. There will be one or two buddies down there during part of my visit. I've offered to be an airport taxi for them, since I will be driving my car.

You might be surprised to learn the drive from Reno to Las Vegas will take eight hours. Not only is there no Interstate Highway, there are no direct roads between the two largest cities in Nevada. This is mostly because of the mountains, and Uncle Sam owning large chunks of Nevada.

I should be arriving on the Strip around 1:30 - 2:30 in the afternoon. I'm staying at the Rio, so I'll probably just play there on Sunday. I want to spend some time in the Satellite Room, because everyone says that the single table satellites are very soft.

On Monday, my main activity will hopefully be the 4pm $240 Heads-Up tournament at Caesars Palace. They already ran one of these, and it sold out quickly from what I've read on 2+2. So I will sign-up for this when I arrive on Sunday. I really want to play this tourney because I've never played in a live Heads-Up tourney, although I have ran one for our Home Games.

On Tuesday, I will head Downtown to play in the $235 Noon event at the Golden Nugget. On Wednesday, I'm planning on doing the Daily Tournament Run. I'll either be starting at the 9am $70 at Caesars, or there are a couple of 10am tournament that are possibilities. I did a little research, and made a list of the best daily tournaments that start each hour from 9am to 10pm. As soon as I win the first one (or maybe bust-out), I will run to the next one. I'm hoping to play in five to seven tournaments.

On Thursday, hopefully I will be playing in WSOP Event #28, $1500 NLHE at 12pm. I say hopefully because right now, I'm only 40%. I really want to play. After all, isn't that the point of going to Vegas in June? But as you know, thing haven't been going as planned lately. As it turns out, I haven't hit bottom yet, as I'm down $594 since Monday. So if things don't improve in Las Vegas, I just can't risk $1500 for a tournament. If I don't play in the $1500, I will play in the 12pm $350 at the Venetian. Either way, I will do a Live Blog on this day, just like I did for the Atlantis Main Event in March. Both events start at noon, so tune in to follow me.

The rest of the trip will involve Cash games and other tournaments. The WSOP has side tournaments that I will try out, either the 2pm $235 or the 6pm $185. Golden Nugget, Binion's, Caesers Palace, and Venetian have tournament series running that I may try out.

As for the Cash games, one of my goals was to play $2/$5 in each of the big poker rooms (Aria, Bellagio, Caesars, MGM, Rio, Venetian, Wynn). But since I've been dumping money lately, I might not be able to hit all the rooms.

As for a non-poker goal, I'm planning on walking the Strip every morning. Unlike most poker players, I'm a morning person. I wake up each morning before my alarm, which is set for 6:30am. I also do a lot of walking every day as a mailman, up to 5-6 miles. So walking the Strip in the morning before the Vegas heat kicks in is a good way to get some exercise and burn off some of that buffet food.

I'm planning on staying down there until Monday 6/20 or early Tuesday 6/21. Of course, if thing keep going as they have been, I can always check out of the hotel and start the drive home.

Naturally, I'll be doing a lot of blogging. Hopefully, it will be more smaller entries from my iPhone, rather than a few larger entries. But I'm not sure if I'm physically capable of doing a small blog post.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hitting Bottom

I played two tournaments yesterday. Here's what happened.

Atlantis 11am $80 Bounty - We had 25 players, which is the most I've seen for this tournament. Our table had a player who was a First Class Calling Station. He was playing 95% of hands, and seeing 75% of Turns. For example, in the 100/200 level, he limped in the Cutoff and the SB called. I was the BB with AKc. I raised to 700, and they both called. Flop was 8 6 2. I bet 1500, AT&T called, and the SB folded. Turn [8 6 2] 6. I bet 2100, and he called. River [8 6 2] 6 5. I bet 2600, and he casually called with 44. As much as I want to complain about how bad he is, I was the one who "emptied the clip" into a Calling Station. So how good does that make me?

We started with 13k chips, so that was about half my stack. Naturally, I went very card dead after that hand. Plus, it's hard to steal when there is a player in every pot. Finally in the 200/400 level, three players limp in. I'm in the Cutoff with KJo, and I've only got 4100 chips. Limping is a bad idea, as I don't want to waste the chips. If I make a standard raise, I'll get a couple of callers. So I push All-In. The Blinds fold, but UTG called. He's a 70's guy who's played very few hand. I know at this point that I'm very behind. Of course, AT&T also called. Flop was Q 3 3. UTG bet 5k, and AT&T folded. UTG showed KK, and I miss my 3% chance to win this pot. I finish in 21st place.

Peppermill 6:30pm $95 Cash Me Out - This one had ended up with 23 players on two tables. Normally, the tables are nine handed, but the TD decided to squeeze ten players on the tables, and have alternates. I guess they were short on Dealers.

Very first hand, I have KJd UTG. Normally I would limp here in the first level, but I decided to do something different and put a small raise to 125. It folded around to the Button, who raised to 400. I know nothing about this player, so I have to assume he's got a real hand. I make the reluctant call, and I know that this will be a fun hand.

The Flop was K J 5. Oh, this will be a fun hand. I check, he bets 600, I check-raise to 1600, and he called. Turn was [K J 5] 2. I bet 2500, and he called. River [K J 5 2] 9. I go All-In for 2000. He thinks for a moment, and folds AK face up. Unlike most of the other players in Reno, I don't show my hand, and scoop a sweet pot.

Things were rather quiet with me for a while. I wasn't getting any cards, but I also wasn't getting into any trouble. This was fine with me, since I got so many chips in the first hand. I stayed patient until around 300/600/100 level when I started to step on the gas. This was partially because I started to get a few hands, and partially because the steady parade of limpers had finally stopped and I was able to steal a little.

When we got to the Final Table, I had around 36k chips, and was in second or third place. As you would expect, the Final Table rollercoaster had begun. Shortstack were going All-In, and they kept doubling up. Since I had chips, I tried to stay out of the way, but sometimes you just can't help it. I lost a chuck of chips when my KQ lost to A9, and 55 lost to AT. I then won with AJ against two players. I actually lost the small Main Pot, but won the much larger Side Pot.

We finally got down to seven players, and the conversion to Cash chips. I had 21k, and got $100. Three of the seven players cashed out, including two of the Big Stack. We could have chopped the remaining $340 at this point, but the extreme short stack stayed with $40. I started catching some cards, and it didn't take long to get rid of him. The three of us played for a bit longer, and decided to chop the remaining prize pool. I left the Poker Room with $290 after the Dealer tip.

As I have mentioned before, it's been a bad two weeks, and this was the first time in a while I finished the day with some profit. On Friday, I airballed the $120 Atlantis tournament, and on Saturday I lost $195 in a $1/$2 game at the Peppermill. Hopefully, this is sign that thing are starting to turn around. This time next week, I'll be in Las Vegas, and it's not a good idea to arrive there when I'm losing.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hand Of The Day #77

Peppermill - $1/$2 NLHE - 05.22.11

It's a limp pot, including me in the SB with 87c. Six players see a Flop of Jh Th 9d. The Good News is that I have a Straight. The Bad News is that it's the back end of the Straight, it's a very draw-heavy Flop, and I'm out of position. I lead out with a standard bet of $11, and three players call.

Turn [Jh Th 9d6s. Well, that's a brick, so I bet $25. Mid player raises to $50. He's a 70's guy in a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda hat. So far, he's been playing like a 70's guy, which means tight and passive. It folds back to me, and I decide to call. He's not raising on a draw, and there are many hands that he might raise with that I can beat, and only two that I can't (KQ or Q8).

River [Jh Th 9d 6s] 3d. I check, and the old guy grabs a stack of Red chips to bet $100. My initial reaction to this bet is "Fuck Me!" I start going into deep thought, and even started thinking out loud.

Ultimately, when you get into a situation like this, you only need to ask yourself one question, "Would he make this bet with a hand that you can beat, or even the same hand?" If he has JT or TT or 87, would he bet $100 on the River? My experience with old geezers is that they only put big money into a pot with the Nuts. I have often seen old guys just call or even check behind with a K-high flush. After all, you can't be too careful.

If he bet $50, I would have snap-called. But I just can't see him betting $100 with anything other then KQ. So even though I'm getting pot odds of $100 to win $251 after the rake, I fold my hand face up. He shows AKh for the missed Royal Flush draw.

Just kidding. He had Ks Qd.

Nice Hand, Sir.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June News & Notes

- Next Sunday, I make the 460 mile drive down to Las Vegas. I'll be arriving in the early afternoon, and I'll be heading home sometime on the following Monday (June 20th). I'll be playing Cash games, daily tournaments, some larger tournaments, and maybe a WSOP event. I'll go into more detail as the day approaches.

- The Internet Kids won't understand this one, so just bear with me. Since there are so many Nits in this town, it's not uncommon for everyone to fold around to the Blinds in a Cash game. Both of the Blinds then have the option to Chop the Blinds, which means they pull back their Blinds and move on the the next hand. It's up to the individual player whether they do it or not. The proper etiquette is to always chop or never chop. It's rude to want to chop with 92o, and not want to chop with AKs. The one exception to this etiquette is with a Bonus hand that could hit a High Hand Bonus or a Bad Beat Jackpot.

My personal feelings on Chopping is that I'm not a big fan of it. I go to a Poker Room to play Poker, and not sit there for six hours waiting to hit a Bonus hand. But I have always chopped in the past, mostly to keep it peaceful with the old geezers who are trying to fund their retirement funds with the BBJ. However, since I've moved out here, I have stopped chopping when the table is shorthanded (five players or less). I figured that if we start chopping with only four players, then we might as well just go home.

About two weeks ago, I stopped chopping completely. So far, there hasn't been any problems with the old geezers, but there will be. And when it happens, I will give you all the details.

- I've noticed that bigger NL games are running more often in recent weeks, mostly at the Atlantis and the Peppermill on weekends. I'm not sure if this is normal because summertime brings more tourists to Reno, or if it's because of the events of Black Friday. It's mostly been $3/$5, but Atlantis has had some $5/$10.

There was also a private Big Game at the Peppermill this weekend. It runs about once a month, and it's been $25/$50 or $50/$100 NL with a $10k buy-in. I'm not sure what this game was, but there was a lot of bundles of $100 bills, just like on High Stakes Poker.

- I want to start playing in the bigger games, especially with the Vegas trip coming up. But last week was a very bad week for me. Three times I walked away from the Cash table with no money: -$400 Atlantis on Thursday, -$500 Harrah's on Friday, and -$400 Peppermill on Sunday. I have also not cashed in my last three daily tournaments for -$280.

Lately, I have been in a rut when it comes to my bankroll. I haven't been winning much, but I haven't been losing much either. Hopefully, this past week was just an anomaly, and not a sign of things to come. Even though I really don't want to, I am willing to pull some money out of my checking account to boost the bankroll. It's just sitting in the bank collecting dust, so I might as well take it out and invest it on the poker tables.