Friday, July 21, 2006

Los Angeles

My girlfriend Brigid recently moved out here to Vegas with me, and we'll be moving to Westwood, LA, in September because she's starting a PhD program at UCLA. My current plan is to continue playing poker. Rumor has it that Los Angeles is at least as good a place for a poker player to make a living as Vegas. I was hoping to commute from Westwood to the Commerce or the Bike, which are, I think, the two largest poker rooms in LA. The problem is, the traffic in Los Angeles in maddeningly slow. Shockingly slow. Unimaginably slow. Brigid and I spent a couple days in LA to go apartment hunting, and we stayed at the Ramada next to the Bike. The drive from there to Westwood was unpleasant even with a friend in the car. I don't know if I'll be able to stand making the 40+ mile round trip commute every day.

Another option may be to play mostly at the Hustler casino in Gardena. I've never seen the place, but it's only 10 miles from Westwood, which I imagine should make for a perfectly tolerable commute of 30 minutes. Supposedly Larry Flynt is a poker player, so I"m hopeful that the poker room there will be pretty nice. I'll have to check it out next time I go to LA.

This blog has focused on Las Vegas life and poker, so I'm sure you must all be wondering what will become of this blog when I move... well, I think it's going to stay pretty much the same, except obviously there won't be so much about Las Vegas anymore. In retrospect, I don't think I've written that much about Vegas anyway. So, it will be almost exactly the same.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

WSOP Update

Well, I got knocked out on the first day, only a few hours in. I think I played well, though, and I've made back my $1000 buy-in playing 1-2NL and 2-5 NL the past two days, so I don't feel too bad about it. My most questionable play was laying down KK on a jack-high flop. In that hand, my opponent was someone I'd played a tournament with before and he was about the tightest player I'd ever seen. He raised pre-flop in early position, I re-raised with my KK, and he re-raised me again. I probably should have folded here because I don't think he would have done that without AA or KK. I was being offered 5-2 odds, and I figured it was possible he had QQ... the only other real possibilities were AA or KK. He pushed all-in on the flop, offering me 2-1 odds. I folded. If I can't call there on the flop I really shouldn't bother calling pre-flop either.

The hand I was crippled on I had QQ and the flop came jack-high again. My opponent was a bit short-stacked and pushed all-in with AJ. I called and he caught an Ace to beat me with two pair. I was able to stay alive by doubling up with AA, but then the blinds increased to 50-100 and I still only had 500 (we started at 1500). In late position I pushed all-in with AKo behind two limpers. Everyone folded except the last guy, who called with Q9o and caught a pair to win.

Supposedly we set a new record for the largest live single-day starting tournament. This is because the really big tournaments like the main event have 3 starting days because they can't fit all the entrants on one day. Also, there were about 800 "alternates" for our tournament who took people's places once they'd been knocked out.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

$1000 NL Holdem WSOP Event

I'm giving in and playing in my first WSOP event, the cheapest NLHE ovent offered. It starts tomorrow (Monday) at noon, and is supposed to run three days. The most expensive tournaments I've played in the past cost $540, so this is a bit of a stretch for me. Also, I expect there'll be over 2000 entrants, and I'll probably be playing 11 hours tomorrow.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Weekend of Tournaments

My freshman and sophomore college roommate Ben and his girlfriend Lauren were in town this past week. We played a little 1-2 NL and several smallish tournaments (mostly around $100 buyins). Ben won two of the five tournaments we played (although one of them had only 9 players), and cashed in all but one.

The second tournament Ben won was at Sam's town. I arrived a bit drunk (don't worry, a friend drove me), and about 45 minutes into the tournament, but they let me buy in at that point and I managed to triple my stack in the first several hands. It seems that if you are obviously drunk, people are much more willing to call your raises with ace high or bottom pair. Meanwhile, Ben had built his stack up to become one of the chip leaders, and he was eventually moved over to my table as players were eliminated. Playing shorthanded, the blinds were becoming overwhelming and my M was down around 5. I decided to try to steal the blinds with 87o. Ben decided to call me with a meager A5s. The flop was A44, leaving me almost dead. The turn was another 4, leaving me with absolutely no chance to win the pot. I did have one out for a split though, and sure enough, the case 4 came on the river. We both played the board.... but I was knocked out near the money a while later on a bad beat (AA heads up, all-in preflop).

The one tournament Ben failed to cash in was the noon tournament at Caesars. This time I fared much better, placing fourth out of almost 150. Actually, we agreed to a split at the end. The tournament director had some sort of computer program to determine fair payouts corresponding to everyone's ship counts at the final table. I held out for an extra $75 or so. I really would have preferred playing, but I had other engagements, and Ben had been wiating for me for several hours and wanted to get the hell out of Caesars (the only place his luck had failed him). Frustratingly, the tournament director took a full hour to give us our money, and this was after we had just spent about 20 minutes agreeing on how the chop would work. Other than the long wait for our cash, the tournament was well-run, I thought.

In our last tournament, an evening one at Binion's, I convinced Lauren to let me pay 90% of her entry fee if I would get 90% of her winnings. She did pretty well, lasting much longer than I did, but failed to earn me any money. Ben, on the other hand, came in 6th (they paid 10). He had been chip leader but ran into some bad luck at the final table, where the initial pots were so big that there was absolutely no room to maneuver beyond pushing all-in pre-flop.