Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town

I've completed the move to Mt Airy, Maryland, and Calvin is in a daycare center that he seems to like, so I have a bit of time to give my adoring fans an update.

I'm going to apply to Master's programs in statistics, applied math, or biostatistics, planning to start in Fall 2012. I'm not sure what to do in the meantime, but I do have one better-than-expected option. Hollywood Casino in West Virginia, less than an hour away, is much nicer than I expected. I was imagining something akin to Hollywood Park Casino, due to the fact that it's on a racetrack and in West Virginia (which I unfairly imagined as being rather run-down). Also, it's similar name encouraged the comparison. The fact that their HR department was unfamiliar with the term "poker prop" did not seem to bode well, either. 

In actuality, the casino seems new and the casino floor has the feel of an upscale Vegas casino, a la the Wynn. One drawback is that it feels even more packed with loud slot machines, but it's not too hard to get past those and to the poker room as long as I use the East entrance in the future. (Unaware of this, I used the West entrance on my visit.) When I finally made it to the poker room, it was packed. This was an overcast Saturday afternoon, so that was to be expected. I chatted with a floorman, who told me they have thirty tables, and there were usually wait lists on the weekends. They had discussed expanding downstairs, but that would have displaced some valuable slot machines. That's probably okay, though, because I am more likely to go during the week, when he said they usually only have about 20 tables running. The poker room shares an entrance with the stands for the racetrack, which could cause some unexpected disturbances. Their biggest game is a 5-10 NLH $300 minimum buy-in game, which is very similar to the game I got very used to at the Bike last year. Occasionally they have a 10-20 NLH game, too. They also had some PLO games running, which is also supposedly becoming more popular in Los Angeles. 

I asked the floor man about props, and I was surprised to find that he had never heard of them. When I explained them, he assured me that they have none of them and that employees are not even allowed to play at the casino. Oh well. 

In other news, friend and occasional commenter Rick Schoenberg has an awesome-looking textbook coming out in December called Introduction to Probability with Texas Holdem Examples. Reading the blurb makes me want to go back and review some of those concept analyses I wrote two years ago. That will have to wait until several other projects are finished, I'm afraid. 

Monday, May 09, 2011

Moving to Maryland

The Los Angeles era is almost over (for me, anyway). Brigid got a good job out in Mt. Airy, MD, so we'll be moving there this summer. The closest poker room, I think, will be "Hollywood Casino" in Charles Town, West Virginia. It's actually not very far from Mt Airy, but this still probably means my poker career is over or at least on hiatus. Although poker has treated me pretty well financially the past few years, I haven't really felt passionate about it. Even moving up in stakes after I got laid off didn't help. I've already stopped playing poker except on rare occasions, instead watching little Calvin and investigating my other options.

I've mentioned my interest in trying something else several times on this blog (I did well on the LSAT in February), so this is could work out well. I'll likely go back to school, but not until fall 2012, so I'll pursue some other projects in the meantime. I'll use this blog as well as my twitter feed to give any substantial updates, but don't expect regular posts (or tweets) for a while.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Online Poker Indictments

I haven't been playing or thinking much about poker recently, but there is some big news in the poker world today.

If this were just a cultural decision made for the societal good, I would be upset but ultimately okay with it from a political standpoint. It will be interesting to see what we learn in the coming weeks about the sort of political maneuverings that might have been going on behind the scenes. Brick and mortar casinos in particular might have some incentive to try to take down the online poker sites (now that those sites have done their job in creating so many new poker players fifteen years).

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Live at the Bike

My poker/wordswithfriends buddy Aaron (@ALLINAK) tells me that there was a pretty good 5-10NL game at the good 'ol Bicycle Casino yesterday. I had heard the game was dead; I wonder how they got that game going again, but it may be in part due to the Live at the Bike production. I just watched the first half of a $25-$50 NL session that made me really sad that they let me go. That was a juicy, juicy game, but it was much bigger than I'm used to playing. I also think playing on Live at the Bike could actually be help my game a bit, because the commentary is like free coaching. I think Nichoel is a good player, and I would certainly be interested to hear what she had to say about my game. Of course, the fact that anyone else can also watch me play would be a big downside.

I haven't been back to the Bike since being laid off. Considering how tough the Commerce's 10-20 game has been my past few sessions, I might find my way back to the Bike at some point. It just seems kind of wrong to be playing there without getting paid.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The (Poker) World in Turmoil

After playing very little this year due to LSAT studying and visitors, I went to the Commerce yesterday and was filled in on some gossip. Haig Kalegian, the Bike's managing general partner, has supposedly been bought out by a group including Hashem Minaiy, the Bike's CEO. I know both of them a little bit, Haig better than Hashem.  Meanwhile, several people tell me the Bike no longer runs the $500 NL game that I used to prop. This is particularly interesting to me because when I was laid off my supervisor told me they had a plan to keep the game going without me. I wonder if it was their plan all along to kill the game or if they just couldn't keep it going.

My winning streak ended in January... but it doesn't mean much since I only played seven hours.

Did you know there's a whole community living under Las Vegas?

Brigid should be finishing up her PhD soon (probably by the end of the year), so we may be on the move again as soon as September. Fortunately for me, poker rooms seem to be cropping up in the east as legislators look for new ways to bring in tax revenue. For example, there are big plans in Cleveland.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I knew it was starting soon, but I didn't realize the first event is today. The action at Commerce during this event is legendary, and I've been looking forward to getting in on it now that I'm not working.

I made the mistake of signing up to take the LSAT in a few weeks. I haven't taken any standardized tests in years, so I need to do some studying. I'll probably only play about once a week until after the test. At least the LAPC will still be going on a few weeks after the that. Maybe I'll even play a few tournaments.