Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Don't Register Your Car in Nevada

Two events over the weekend led me to the advice in this post's title:

1. I spent over $1100 getting Nevada licence plates on Friday.
2. I was a passenger in a car with Arizona licence plates this weekend that was pulled over for speeding. The driver admitted to the officer that he was over 10 months late getting his plates. The officer let him off, and the fine would have been a mere $180.

Why do I bother to follow rules and regulations?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Whadda whadda huh??

Check out this article. Imagine you're just driving along, enjoying the Las Vegas strip scenary, and suddenly you see a group of people on the side of the road and decide to kill them. The police determined that the driver seemed coherent and was able to tell right from wrong. I don't care how insane you are, that is just incomprehensible. This happened right across the street from the Bellagio on a stretch of road that I drive on at least 4 times a week. This part of the strip was shut down all afternoon and evening, which I imagine must be extremely rare since the casinos probably lose hundreds of thousands of dollars when that happens.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Still Got a Long Way To Go

I just got two new books in the mail from Amazon - Ace on the River by Barry Greenstein, and Harrington on Hold 'em by Dan Harrington. I just started reading the latter, and it is excellent so far. This early in my career I figure I should probably be spending more than half of my "working" hours studying (reading and discussing hands on the 2+2 website forum) rather than playing. Recently I've been playing about three times as much as I've been studying. I figure this is okay since I'm playing mostly for fun at this point anyway. Since part of my reason for playing is to gain experience and valuable information about how other players play, I sometimes make plays I know to be slightly unprofitable (in the short term anyway) in order to gain information. For instance I might be slightly more willing to call someone on the river so that I get to see his cards. Anyway, this approach led me to play the following terrible hand last night at the Wynn.

I've been a bit sick recently, but I started getting pretty bored staying in my room all day, so I decided to go play for a couple hours. Playing 2-5 NL, my stack was up to $400. The player to my right was a guy named Bobby who I see at the Bellagio a lot. Bobby is about 45 years old, a very solid player who likes to bet his strong hands aggressively on the flop when he gets them. Earlier I had been chatting with him, and he told me he had only been playing for 10 months, but had once placed first in the $500 daily tournament at the Bellagio, which is pretty impressive. I also know from chatting with his wife at the Bellagio (she is also a good player) that he is a successful investment banker from Florida. Anyway, he's a pretty solid player. Here's how the hand played out.

I was in middle position, fourth to act after the big blind. The first player and Bobby limped in and I threw in a raise to $25 with T2 clubs. Obviously, this is not a hand I should usually play, but like I said, I am still in a learning phase to some extent. I had been playing very tightly up to this point and wanted to see if Bobby would call my raise before the flop. He had about $500 behind. Anyway, I got three callers: a very loose player one off the button plus the two original limpers. Now there was about $105 in the pot and the flop came 986. The 8 was a club, the others a heart and a diamond. The first two players checked and I bet $75 hoping to win the pot. The next two players folded and Bobby, as you might have expected from the effort I put into describing him, called the $75. This was a big surprise to me, as I knew if he had an overpair or a nine (or better) he would raise me, and if he just had a hand like A6s or AJ he would probably fold. His call told me he probably had a 7 for the straight draw, possibly with an A or maybe a pair of 6's or 8's. He also might have had JT, and there was an outside chance he had a 9 high straight and wanted to slow-play it.

Turn was a 4. Two diamonds on board now. Bobby checked. I had $300 left. I could continue my bluff, or just check. An all-in bet here into the $250 pot would look an awful lot like an over pair, a set, two pair, or something like that. Bobby would probably fold unless he already had his straight, which I thought was very unlikely. Despite all this, I checked.

The river was a 2, giving me a pair of twos. Bobby bet out $100 into the $250 pot, an oddly small bet, especially for Bobby. The 2 could not have helped his hand, so I figured either he has had his straight all along and is finally betting it for value while he has the chance, or he missed his draw and is trying to get me to fold AK or AQ, which Bobby probably figures are my most likely hands in this situation. One thing about playing against solid players is that they are usually easier to read because they don't make dumb plays. This helped me rule out a hand like a pair of 6's or 8's. If Bobby had these hands, he could already beat AK or AQ and had no reason to bluff. So, I had to decide if Bobby already had his straight, or if he had something like A7s and was now trying to win the pot after I showed weakness on the turn. Facing a $100 bet into the $250 pot, I only needed to be about 22% sure that my pair of 2's would win for a call to be correct. That, coupled with my curiousity about Bobby's hand, led me to call the $100.

As I put my $100 in the pot, Bobby asked "do you have a 6?" What? Bobby put me on a 6 here?? He turned over 56 for a pair of sixes. Embarrassed by calling with a hand that couldn't beat that, I morosely pushed my cards face down to the dealer. For those of you who are poker players, what was Bobby thinking when he bet that hand on the river? Would you have pushed all-in on the turn? And, would you have called with the pair of 2's at the end? This hand completely befuddled me. I'd better get back to my reading.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


A man in his 60's at the 15-30 table yesterday was flirting with an elderly woman sitting to my left. After a while I looked at him and chuckled; his response was to wink at me, marking the first time since I moved to Vegas that I have been winked at. He winked at me two more times within the hour.

The reason I bring this up is that before moving to Vegas, men had winked at me several times at the poker tables, which is something I find both off-putting and intriguing. Nowhere else does this happen. The last time I can remember being winked at by a man outside of a poker room is... well, never. I'm pretty sure it happened when I was a small child but I can't really remember any instances. In the poker room, it tends to happen after I laugh at a witty remark someone has made, but on TV shows (my only other frame of reference for the meaning of winks) it seems to mean something like "what I just said isn't really true, don't tell anyone!" Anyway, I've laughed at witty remarks in many other venues and nobody ever winks at me anywhere else. I just wanted to share this odd little observance about poker rooms.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Limit vs No Limit

Poker, of course, has a psychological side and a more technical side. I think I am proficient at both, but I certainly approach the game from a more technical standpoint than do most of my opponents. With experience I am getting better with the psychology. By this I mean that I'm gaining a better feeling for, among other things, what cards players are likely to be holding, what sorts of mistakes people are likely to make, and how big a bet players are likely to be willing to call when I have the best hand or when I am bluffing.

Success at no limit poker is much more reliant on the psychological side of the game than is success at limit poker. Since I am more technically oriented, I suspect that I have more potential to be an excellent limit player than no limit. Why, then, have I been spending my time playing mostly no limit holdem rather than limit? Two reasons: First, I have to admit, no limit poker is more exciting. More hands are playable before the flop, and more money can be won or lost on a given hand. The second reason I have been playing no limit is actually a consequence of the first reason. Since no limit is more exciting (and also because of the TV coverage), it attracts a lot more players who don't know what they are doing. Actually, the really really low limit tables have the most of these types of players but I'm comparing 1-2 or 2-5 NL with 8-16 or 15-30 limit.

Anyway, the point of all this is to say that I've decided to play mostly limit poker for a few days and see how it goes. I think I'll probably play 15-30, which I have played a few times before and feel pretty comfortable at. Of course, if another table looks pretty wild, I'm willing to go wherever the money is at.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Sept 1, 2005. 6 AM. All-in.

Having gotten my stack up to about $1900 from $640, I headed over to Cafe Bellagio with my $15 comp. I didn't know what to expect there, but supposedly it's the only place open, and I was starving. I ordered a $12 club sandwhich and an orange juice which turned out to be $7, and called a friend in Philadelphia whom I used to play poker with a lot in college. He suggested I try to tag along with Bijou and Nikki when they leave, but I didn't see how I could get this to work. Besides, I wouldn't want to have to be around their friend in any sort of social setting beyond a poker table, and I'm not really much for tagging along anyway. If I were that desperate to know what their lives are like I would buy tabloid magazines.

When I got back to the poker room and walk up the steps to the high limit area, Nikki and Bijou are just leaving. I tried to quickly come up with something to say to get them to stick around, but all I could come up with was "leaving already?" which sounded stupid in my head, so I just said "bye, have a good night." "Good night," said one of them and they left. I was surprised to see that their obnoxious European friend was still playing. It occured to me that this eliminated one of my reasons for not hanging out with them, and I thought momentarily of pursuing them. Because I'm not retarded, I immediately realized that this was a ridiculous idea and sat down in my seat. While the blinds approached, I tried to decide whether to keep playing. I did not feel overmatched at this table by any means, but the stakes were really too high for me to justify continuing to play any longer without the huge advnatage I had over my opponents when Nikki and Bijou were playing. I was still having fun though, so I decided to play one more round and then leave. "Tonight is going to make for a great blog entry" I thought to myself. "Don't fuck it up by losing all your money before you go." I resolved to play very tightly and probably just fold all the rest of my hands.

My first hand, in the big blind, was QQ. There were two limpers, the SB called, and I abandoned my tight-passive vow and raised to $120. Everyone folded and I won $60. Two hands later, on the button, I played 97o after several players limp in. This was another flagrant violation of my vow of tightness. The flop came 994 and it was checked around. The turn was a 7, giving me a full house. It was checked to me, I bet $60, and everyone folded. The guy to my right, a Venezuelan man who I had difficulty understanding and who sometimes resorted to speaking to me in Spanish (which I do not understand), told me "good bluff!" and tried to get me to admit that it was a bluff. I just nodded and thanked him when he persisted in saying things like "that was a good bluff...right??" A few hands later something possessed me to limp in with 7d5d and the flop came 6s 8s Tc, giving me an open-ended straight draw but also putting a flush draw on the board and a possible higher straight. A 9 came on the turn, and a K on the river. I bet both times and split the pot with someone with 78s. Eurofriend was compelled at this point to announce several times how obvious it was that we both had 7's.

My stack now stood at a bit over $2000. I folded a hand and got ready to go because I was due to put in the next big blind. Before I got a chance to leave, though, someone came back from a break and bought the button, meaning he put in both blinds and I got to play one more hand for free. So I was halfway out the door when I looked down at my hand and saw KsKh. So much for not playing many hands. The Venezuelan limped in and I raised to $100. A player to my left called, Eurofriend called, and either the blind or the Venezuelan called (I can't remember which). All of them had my $2000 covered, and at this point I was just hoping I didn't have to commit too many chips to this pot. I was hoping for no ace on the flop, in which case I would bet and hopefully take it down right there. Well, the flop came 2s 7c Kc, giving me top set. I bet $200 into the $400+ pot, making myself look possibly weak, inviting others into the pot and possibly to raise me. The man to my left folded and, to my delight, the European friend of NIkki and Bijou raised to $700. The next player folded, and the action was back on me. I had about $1700 left, enough to call the $500 and raise another $1200. I figured Euro-friend for KQ or something, but since there was only one king left in the deck and he was a weak but aggressive player, a smaller pair or a flush draw was probably equally likely. None of this really mattered, though, since there was really only one thing for me to do here.

"I'm going to go all-in," I announced without touching my chips.
Euro-friend looked at me with dismay. "Are you serious?" he asked, and I just raised my eyebrows and nodded. The Venezuelan guy left at this point for a smaking break.
"Well, I know we both have flush draws," Eurofriend said, "the only quesiton is, do you have the ace? The only thing that beats me is the ace high flush draw." Clearly, he was implying that he had the queen high draw. I said nothing and just sat there and waited for him to make his decision. I was almost indifferent to whether he called or folded here. His calling has a slight positive expectation for me if he does indeed have the flush draw, but obviously I wouldn't mind if he folded and didn't make me sweat it out for the pot, which was already almost $2000. If he didn't really have the flush draw I would prefer he called, but he had no real reason to lie about this here. He asked me how much I had left, and, after a couple of minutes, he finally called.

Not willing to look anywhere but at the table lest I not be the first to know what cards have come out, I watched and hoped that no clubs would come or that the board would pair. It was all I could do.

Turn was black: 8 of spades.
River was black: 3 of spades.

I showed my three kings, Euro-friend mucked his cards, and I raked in what was certainly now the biggest pot I'd ever won, or even seen for that matter.

The Venezuelan guy came back from smoking right after I showed my kings. He pointed at the cards on the table in shock and said "somebody had two kings??"
"Yeah, those were mine," I responded. He put out his fist for me to punch and then asked me for $100.
"How about just 30?"
"No! Why would I give you my money?!"
The guy to my left laughed and put out his fist. "You can punch MY fist for only $20!"

A few hands later (I was now sitting out), I had finally finished racking my chips. It was $4358. Assuming he really did have the flush draw, I had had about a 75% chance at that pot. I'm not quite sure how I'd be feeling right now if the cards had fallen the wrong way. I gave the dealer $5 and got up to go to the cashier. On my way down the steps some guy who I think may have been friends with the Venezuelan guy said "wow, good job!" and scratched my belly, which I only mention because it was so bizarre and creepy.

As I was leaving the poker room after cashing out, I crossed paths with Brian from the "Tilting" post. Although I don't like him, I was in a good mood and said "hey, how ya doin?"

"Good night?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said, and smiled to myself. Yes. Yes, it was.

Sept 1, 2005. 2:30 AM. Nikki and Bijou.

A little after the fight ended (see previous post), the guy to my left who I had been chatting with nodded over at a couple of very attractive girls who had just walked into the poker room. "Hey, look." The two girls were facing the other way and I figured he was just pointing out another couple of hot girls. "Nikki Hilton and Bijou Phillips," he said, and I realized he was exactly right.

"Wow, what the hell are THEY doing in the poker room?" I asked rhetorically. I'm not really sure if they can be considered big celebrities... I mean, they are known more for they're families and their partying than for their talent (particularly in Nikki's case), but still, these two would have to be considered among the most prominent and attractive young female socialites in the country today. Among poker players, who get a kick out of seeing ANY hot girl, this is a pretty significant sighting. I certainly wouldn't have expected to see them in the poker room. The guy to my left comments "if you want to play the lottery go over there and talk to them. If they like you, you're rich. I wish I were smoother... I'd go over there myself." I point out that they are already with a guy, but only one.

I assumed that Nikki and Bijou were just here to pick up a friend or maybe sit and watch someone play, but ten minutes later I notice that they are actually playing over at a 10-20 NL table. In fact, it is the same one where there had been a fight not long ago. I also notice that there are about four open seats at their table.

There are two general principles that every good pro poker player needs to understand. One is that no matter how good or bad you are, you will make a profit in the long run if your opponents are worse than you, and you will lose in the long run if your opponents are better than you. This is why I can make a living playing poker and why some players much better than me actually lose money. They are choosing much more skillful opponents. The second principle is that in the short run, anything can happen, and if you are playing at limits way above your head you are liable to run out of money before you have a chance to make any.

Now, 10-20 NL is a limit significantly higher than I had ever played, but if Nikki Hilton and Bijou Phillips are anywhere near as good as I am at poker, I figured it would be worth my $600 buy in to see it and be able to say I sat at their table for a while.

I told the guy who pointed out Nikki and Bijou that I'm thinking of heading over to their table. "Really? 10-20? You can afford that?" "Not really, but it's probably worth a shot, look who's playing over there." I got up and walked over to the guy in charge of the high limit tables and asked if the seats were open. He said they were. I also scanned the other players at the table to make sure none of them were any of the superstar players that occassionally play here are at the table. Nope, one of them was Nikki and Bijou's friend and the other two I didn't recognize. I returned to my 2-5 table to get my chips and tell the guy to my left that I'm leaving. "Where are you going?" he asked nervously. "Over to the 10-20 table," I answered even more nervously. "You should go, too," I tell him. "You'll be one of the better players at the table." I then folded one hand at the 2-5 table and carried my remaining $340 in chips over to the $10-20 table. The minimum buy-in here is $600 with no maximum, and I had about $800 on me, including my chips. I told the guy running the table that I'd like to sit and handed him my chips and $300 in cash. As I was standing there waiting for him to retreive my chips, I felt my knees getting weak and my hands getting shaky, so I picked a seat and sat down (two to Nikki's left, three to Bijou's, but around the corner of the table so they were just across from me). To my right was an open seat and then a man in his forties, and to my left was the dealer, two open seats, and then Nikki and Bijou's friend, over on the other side of the table. To Bijou's right, across from the dealer was another man in his forty's.

After sitting down, I said hi to everyone at the table, and the guy to my right said hi, and Bijou smiled at me. I smiled back and looked away but I was aware that she was still looking at me. Eventually I looked back at her again and smiled. A little later she was whispering to Nikki while glancing up at me. This sort of thing (mild flirting I think?) continued all night actually, with Bijou sometimes singing along with the casino's background music and even dancing a little in her seat when she caught my glance. After a while I started just laughing and raising my eyebrows at her for doing this, although I won't pretend I didn't enjoy it on some level. Also, sometimes when she or Nikki were in a hand that was somewhat intense she would look at me and grin and silently giggle at the situation. At one point we started talking about Phil Ivey, whom she is a big fan of, and I told her that he was playing thereat the Bellagio tonight, and she seemed quite impressed. Now, I'm not the type of guy who flirts or is accustomed to being flirted with, so I might have been misreading the situation, but there is no doubt that Bijou was focusing quite a bit of attention on me and I am pretty sure there was nothing on my face or shirt or anything like that. Anyway, enough about that. (Actually it was probably too much info for my girlfriend... I love you Brigid! Please don't hate me.)

By the time my thirty-two $20 chips arrived and the big blind came around to me (just a couple of hands), Nikki was on the button. Her friend, who had a European accent of some sort, was explaining, in a tone that could not be construed as anything but condescending but which I guess he must have thought was charmingly enthusiastic and helpful, that "you are in the BEST POSITION IN POKER, Nikki! You get to act after everyone else has already gone!" Nikki didn't seem as excited about it as he was. I asked her if this were her first time playing and she answered with a curt "no," so I didn't ask her anything else.

I put in my $20 blind bet and reminded myself to conserve my chips. If I ran out I wouldn't have enough to buy back in again. Looking around I noticed that I was significantly short-stacked, with everyone else with at least as many chips as me and also stacks of $100 bills. On this first hand, everyone except Nikki and Bijou limped in. I had 64o and checked my option, and the flop came JT5. The SB checked and for some reason I decided this was a good chance to bluff and put out $60 into the $80 pot. Euro-friend folded reluctantly after 15 seconds or so, the next guy called, and the SB folded. The turn comes 6, giving me a weak pair. I bet again, this time $120, and won the pot. If I had lost I would have been down to $440, but fortunately my foolhardiness paid off and I was up to $760. Nikki's friend then told me he folded pocket 6's.

I want to mention that Nikki, Bijou, and their friend all smoke, but only their friend seemed to think he was above the rules. He complained about having to stand 6 feet from the rail when smoking, and also complained about several other rules such as talking during the hand and talking in foreign languages.

A little later the guy I was talking to at the $2-5 table arrives and sits to the left of the dealer. He asks me how the table is and I tell him "they haven't played any hands yet." Around this time Nikki starts playing a lot of hands and wins several hundred, probably over $1000. In one of the most unpalatable displays of either condescension or ingratiation, I'm not quite sure which, Nikki's European friend led a round of applause each time she won a pot. "Yeah, Nikki! Good for you!" and Nikki smiled uncomfortably and gave the trademark Hilton forced "thank you." Even another player at the table joined in the applause whole-heartedly along with a railbird or two. I have no idea how these people could have considered this appropriate behavior. Nikki kept on betting and winning pots. Bijou joked that people must have been afraid that Nikki would bet one of her hotels and they wouldn't be able to call. Anyway, towards the end of Nikki's rush I limped in under the gun and my friend from the $2-5 table raised to $160. Nikki and the big blind called him. I folded my 98s. The flop came KJ4, the BB checked and the guy from $2-5 went all-in for about $400. To his dismay, Nikki called and the BB folded. He had 99 and Nikki had K7. The turn and river were 9-less and the $2-5 guy was knocked out. After another applause for Nikki, Bijou said "you're playing like Tobey!" which I assume was referring to Tobey Maguire, who is an excellent tournament poker player. By the way, Spiderman 2 was awesome. Go rent it if you haven't seen it already.

Around this point, Brian, from my "Tilting" post, walked by the table and took a look. This was the first I'd seen him since that post and I was hoping he wouldn't realize how much dead money was at this table and decide to sit down. Fortunately, he went on without a word.

It was probably about 4:30 AM now and I was getting pretty hungry. As this was a must-move table and I knew either Bijou or Nikki is next on the list, I decided to wait until one of them moved and then go get some food. It occured to me, though, that the three of them might all just get up and leave once they realized that they would have to be split up for a little while. In fact, this did become an issue. Fortunately, the floorman, a player at the table, and I were able to talk them into sticking around. Before long, we tell them, more seats will open up on the other table and they will all be together again. "Yeah Tina, you can just come back here and hang out with us until we get to move," suggested Bijou, who called Nikki Tina occassionally for some reason (at least I think that's what she said). Indeed, about 20 minutes later both Bijou and their friend moved to the new table, and I moved shortly after. This was a full table of nine or ten players, so I could no longer focus my advantage on the three or four weak players was playing with before. This table had a few players who are quite good.

After a few rounds I picked up AQo on the button. There had been about 3 limpers, including Nikki Hilton. I had $1000 in front of me, and everyone had me covered. Anyway, I raised to $160, and everyone but Nikki folded. So there was almost $400 in the pot. The flop came Ad, Kd, 7h. Nikki bet $60, I raised to $200, and she raised to $400. Up until now, Nikki had shown a pattern of betting on any pair, fitting into the over-valuing hands stereotype that I mentioned in my previous post. Still, it was also entirely possible that she could have something better, or maybe even a flush draw, I wasn't sure. Anyway, I figured that most likely I was ahead and I was afraid that if I re-raised her, she might fold with a king or seven. Even though there was a chance she would catch three of a kind or a second pair with those hands, I was about a 85% favorite in this situation, so I didn't want her folding. On the other hand, she was likely to keep on betting with these hands if I just kept calling. So if I called her here on the flop, I would have only $440 left. I figured there should be plenty of time to get that all in by the river, so there is no real rush to get more money in right now. So, I decide to just call her $200 raise on the flop. The turn was a four I think, not a diamond. Nikki bet $200 again and I called. I had $240 left and the pot was now about $1600. The river was another non-diamond, a 2. Nikki bet $400 and I called with my $240. If Nikki had two pair or better I was done for the night. I would say I was about 70% sure I was ahead. She turned over Q7 for a pair of sevens, and I pull in a pot worth almost $2100, almost certainly the biggest I've ever won.

A little later, just before 6 am, my $2100 had dwindled to about $1900 and decided I needed to go get some food. I picked up a $15 comp card and headed off for Cafe Bellagio, hoping Nikki and Bijou would still be reaching into their wallets for more chips when I returned.

Check back soon for the dramatic conclusion!

Sept 1, 2005. 1:15 AM. Fight!

Usually, the two far right lanes in front of the Bellagio on Las Vegas Boulevard are full of idling cars watching or waiting for the fountain show that is put on every fifteen minutes. I had never before arrived at the Bellagio this late, and I guess the last show must be before 1am, so I got to drive right along the far right lane and straight into the parking garage, which was pretty strange. Also, I was thinking "what am I doing here? I meant to go to the Wynn! Oh, well. I'm here now; I might as well just go in." Later, I'll be very glad I did.

As I'm waiting for my table, I hear somebody yell "Hey Boston!" in my general direction. As it is not uncommon for me to where a Red Sox hat at the table, I turn around and see an attractive Franch Canadian woman I had played with the night before calling to me from the rail. Being French Canadian, she takes frequent smoking breaks. Smoking is not allowed in the poker room, so she was just outside it. I walked over to her.

"What did you have on that hand?" she asks me.
"I couldn't sleep last night. What did you have on that hand I folded last night?"

The previous night I had called one of her raises pre-flop with KJ diamonds and the turn had two kings and two diamonds, one of them an ace. I checked and called assuming she had an ace, and then on the river (a blank) I bet out $85 into a $150 pot because I assumed she would just check it down if she had an ace. After thinking for about two minutes she laid the hand down and asked what I had. I told her "I had a flush draw" but nobody really believed me.

Although I couldn't imagine why this would keep someone up at night, I figured I was unlikely to see this girl again so I told her the truth: I did have a flush draw, but I also had three kings. She told me she had had pocket tens.

At this point I was called to my 2-5 NL table, where there are two more attractive girls playing. Most tables have either zero or one, but two is not all that uncommon. There are at least three reasons it is good to sit at a table with attractive women. First, they are attractive. Second, I think other players at the table tend to play worse. Most importantly, usually girls are not particularly good, and they nearly always fall into one of two categories: they either play extremely tight and passive, meaning you know you can confidently fold if they ever bet, or they vastly overvalue their hands, meaning they will pay you off if you catch top pair or better. This second type is slightly less common, if only because they don't last at the tables very long. Unfortunately, this table is a "must-move" table and before long I am moved to a new table. I get into a conversation with the guy to my left, who likes to point out any hot women who walk by (this is common practice at the poker tables, actually. Personally, I prefer to pay attention to the game, but really, I can't concentrate on the game 100% of the time anyway, so I don't mind too much). All of a sudden there is shouting behind me and I see people standing up to see what is going on. I turn around to see two men fighting over by the 10-20 NL table. One of them already has his white shirt pulled over his head hockey-fight style, but both of them are still throwing and connecting punches. I see a floorman just chuckling at all this, which I find odd because, well, isn't it his job to try to stop this or at least call security? After a another ten or twnety seconds the two men were finally pulled apart. A crowd had formed so I'm not exactly sure if one of them "won" the fight, but I saw the guy who had had his shirt over his head going to the cashier and then leaving, and he looked like he was fine. At this point a single security guy showed up, which was pretty funny in a "too little too lat"e kind of way, and also for its stark contrast to "Ocean's 11," where they made it sound like security is ready to pounce at a moment's notice. I guess that's only when there is money at stake.

Back at my table the players are all talking about the fight. Someone says, "I played with that white guy before, he was really cool actually." Another person says, "yeah, I talked to the black guy at a table once, and he was a nice guy, too." Hmmmm. I am a bit skeptical and ask "they're BOTH nice guys?" "Uhhh.... I guess I didn't really get to know him all that well." Later, I ask somebody what happened, and supposedly there were some harsh words exchanged at the table, the white guy got up, and when he return he was holding a chair, which he used to hit the black guy over the head. The black guy got up and was able to pull his adversary's shirt over his head, and I guess I pretty much saw the rest. Frankly, though, I'm not really sure about this part of the story or who actually hit who first.

All of this happened in my first forty-five minutes at the Bellagio. It was now probably around 2:15 am. I'm going to stop this post here, but I'll be posting the next one soon because things were just about to get interesting.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


The events alluded to in my previous post occurred in the wee hours of this morning, Thursday, September 1. On the previous night, by which I mean Aug 30, I had done reasonably well playing 15-30 limit and 2-5 NL at the Bellagio. This was my first poker since the my misadventures documented in my "Tilting" post, because I took a trip back to DC to visit the girlfriend. Anyway, I didn't get back from the Bellagio until after 4:30 AM Wednesday morning. For some reason I had trouble sleeping and at around 8 AM, after the sun had come up, I decided to go out for a run while it was still cool (it gets up to 105 or higher almost every day here). I was finally able to get to sleep at 10:30 but got a phone call at 11. I fell asleep again at around 1 and was woken up around 2:30 by another phone call. Fell asleep again around 4 and was woken up a third time by yet another call around 5. I got another hour and a half of sleep from 9:30 PM to 11 PM. Needless to say, this is a ridiculous and unhealthy way to structure one's day. It was at 1 AM that I left my apartment intending to go to the Wynn, but ended up at the Bellagio by force of habit. As I write this it is 6 PM on September 1 and I still haven't slept since last night, so you will have to kindly excuse my ending this post here just before things get interesting. I don't want to forget anything. Tomorrow's post will be more fun, I assure you.

Too Much to Say

Tune in soon for a recount of one of the most action packed nights of my young poker life. Nights like this are THE reason I have a blog: Poker with limits I can't really afford at tables where some of the greatest players in the world sometimes play, celebrity women, huge pots, and the biggest winning night of my young poker life. Oh, and also I saw a fist fight. This might take a few installments to get through. Starting tomorrow, I'll start trying to recount the events as best I can.