Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Tourneys at the River Palms

So I'm playing live again in Laughlin. I'd forgotten how nice the locals are there. Wow, what a change from Vegas. And if the change is a complete 180 from Vegas locals, then the difference in Commerce locals is from the earth to the moon.

I found out about the River Palms shaking up their dead poker room and giving it new life. You can read my post about that info here.

The first tourney I played there was on Saturday night, July 3, 2004. It was an Omaha 8 tourney, but I was desperate. Yes, even I will play Omaha 8 when I get crazy enough from lack of live tournaments. The no-juice policy didn't hurt, lol.

Only 14 opponents signed up for the O8 tourney. Well, they are just starting tournaments, after all, and the tourists don't yet know what snakepits they are entering when they go to the Belle or the Riverside.

The tourney was much more passive than the O8 tourneys at the Belle I'd come to expect over the seven months I played them (twice per week, EVERY week, for seven long months, I repeat). May hell freeze over before I have to do that again :)

I got into calling almost every hand. Only the very worst hands were thrown away before the flop, because I never had to worry about being raised, and the stakes started out so low. I must have seen 20 out of 25 flops in the early levels. I built my towers by sucking out on players who refused to bet their hands, or by jamming the pot with the nut high or low. Most of the time the 2nd or 3rd nut paid me off.

By the break, I had increased my stack from 500 to 1300 without having to do a rebuy. I naturally took the add-on, which gave me an additional 2000 for only $20 more.

I wish I could write how exciting and fun the Omaha tourney was, but Omaha is Omaha, and although the players didn't bicker as much as they did at the Belle, it still isn't the game that makes my heart race. I played for the money and because I'm a tourney addict, that is all.

This tourney paid three people, just like a SNG; 50%, 30%, 20%. The bubble prize was a free entry into any evening tourney (they are more expensive than the daily morning tourneys at 10am).

I had so many chips by the time we hit the final three that I was forced to call almost any all-in before the flop (the blinds were so high that most of the time someone was all-in BTF in their blind, or when it was my blind). This way I eliminated more opponents and collected $5.00 bounties.

When we were HU, I had my opponent all-in almost every hand, due to receiving some outstanding premium hands. Unfortunately, she survived all of them when she was shorter than me! I ground my way back to the chip lead by being much more aggressive than her, but would lose it time and again when forcing her in with premium hand and then losing.

Finally one of my hands stood up, and it was after I'd just won the previous hand, so I had her outchipped. Whew! I received one last bounty, along with my $300 first prize.


On the fourth of July, I played a NLHE tourney at River Palms. They added $1000 to the prize pool, in addition to several increased, blind bounties. I was lucky to win one of the $100 bounties (one out of two). Fifty of us entered.

When we were down to about 20, our table was six handed. I got ATo on the button and had less than seven times the BB (I was actually doing very well, but the blinds were outrageous for the total number of chips on the tables). I made a move to steal, but the SB has 22 and decided to take a ride with me. He had me slightly outchipped. He caught the case deuce (the BB had exposed the third deuce before he folded before the flop). C'est la vie. I guess I don't have to tell you that this guy didn't cash, lol.


On Tuesday, July 6th, we had our double qualifier Stud 8 tourney. Yes, this is the only tourney of this type in all of the USA that I know about, maybe even the world. Bonus!

Only eight of us showed up, and no one had ever played this game before. I think I was the only one who had even played Stud 8.

I basically had to run the tournament. The dealers had no idea how to deal this game, nor did any of the players understand how to play it.

It was FUN, and I do mean that. Yes, maybe it's because I love Stud.

When we got HU, I had my opponent outchipped. She is from southern CA and the only other player who had a clue. She was relatively tight (relative to the other six players), and very aggressive. I figured it would come down to me and her.

We traded the lead back and forth a few times. On the last hand, she had me slightly outchipped. I had hidden nines with a king kicker. I raised her bring-in. She had a low card and called. She caught another low and called. I went all-in. She had her low, and ended up catching a straight to eliminate me in second.

I took my $100 second prize and a couple of bounties and left smiling. I love Stud. I wonder how long this tourney will last. I'm not holding my breath for more than a month, but I'll savor every minute while it holds out.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Andy Glazer

I am so sad to have to report that Andy Glazer has died.

I have not known Andy personally for very long. Like everyone else, I have read his articles over the last few years, but have only recently gotten to know him.

A couple of weeks ago, Andy interviewed me for an upcoming article in Cardplayer. He was interested in the poker journal community. He asked me quite a few questions about myself. He ran the gamut of my life, from my first hand of poker, to what I am looking for in the future. We talked for at least two hours.

He was very enthusiastic about the article, but stated that it would be several months before it was published in Cardplayer.

We strayed off topic quite a few times. He tried to give me courage by telling me all of the failures he had been through before he made it in the big tourneys. Sadly, he told me that he was just now feeling on top of his game, and that he finally felt he had the ability to hang with the top tournament players. He said his tournament game had never been better.

He also asked me if I wanted to help him and Max with tournament reporting, perhaps in emergency situations or when one of them was still playing in a big event. He knew my love was Stud, so I could be available for some of the HE events that I had no intention of playing in. I know that this is hard work, I have seen how tired he and Max look some days. I told him I would be happy to help them out.

He was so encouraging and upbeat. One of the last things he told me was to "be ready, because this is going to make you BIG!" I laughed, always brushing off attempts at people who want to make me famous.

We had a good conversation, good rapport and I think we might have been friends in the future. I am going to miss that chance to get to know him better sorely.

God Bless you, Andy.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

River Palms

Anyone who was here last August when I posted my initial thoughts on Laughlin poker rooms knows that I rated the River Palms very highly, yet said that they were, unfortunately, dead.

Well, the ownership has changed hands a time or two since then, the poker room has been moved a couple of times as well, and things are finally coming together for the River Palms.

Supposedly, they have all new management who sees the advantages of having a healthy poker room.

Now they are running at least seven tournaments per week at 6:30pm.

Sign-ups start at 4pm. The buy-in is $25. There is NO JUICE on these tourneys, but $5 does go to the dealer's tips. Each player has a $5 bounty on his head.

Players start with 500 (300 for the $20, 200 additional for the $5 dealer's tips add-on). Unlimited rebuys are $10 for 500 chips during the first hour.

One optional add-on is $20 for 2000 chips.

Players who have played 3 live hours prior to the tourney (any 3 hours that day) receive an additional 200 bonus chips.

TDA rules apply.

The blinds start at 5/15 and increase every 15 minutes. A digital timer is used, they do not yet have The Clock.

The "bubble" prize is a free entry into any tourney.

The prize pool is distributed as follows:

Two tables or less: 1st=50%, 2nd=30%, 3rd=20%

Three tables: 1st=45%, 2nd=25%, 3rd=15%, 4th=10%, 5th=5%

Four or more: 1st=36%, 2nd=18%, 3rd=11%, 4th=10%, 5th=7%, 6th=6%, 7th=5%, 8th=4%, 9th=3%

On July 4th they have two special tourneys. Both are NLHE. The 10am one has $500 added, the 6:30pm one has $1000 added.

The schedule is as follows for daily tourneys:

Mon: Omaha 8

Tue: Stud 8 with 2 pr. qualifier for high


Thur: LHE with river card like stud (dealt down to each player)

Fri: PL Omaha High

Sat: Omaha 8



I don't think I have to tell any of you how much I am loving this. These games are easily beatable for the decent tournament player. No juice is fantastic. Added money, even better.

Right now the Palms has six tables. They are expanding immediately to add another three. If things go well for them, they are tearing down a wall behind the desk to add an undetermined number of tables.

The poker room manager is new. He is young (about 30) and seems very innovative and motivated. I think he would appreciate suggestions and help. The staff assures me that they are doing everything they can to revive poker at the Palms. The rake is low (max $3) and comps are easy to get with the swipe of a card. I'm not sure if we accumulate hourly or if it is a set minimum.

When I stayed there last August they gave me a poker room rate of $35. While this is great for Vegas, it is pretty high for Laughlin, so I hope that they are offering a better rate now. I didn't get a chance to ask. I'll make sure to address that in my tourney report.

If you've never played in Laughlin, there is no better time to come down. It's easy money!