Saturday, July 24, 2004

Stud 8 Double Qualifier

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

As of August 1, 2004, the River Palms poker room is going completely non-smoking. They will be the first and only poker room in Laughlin that is non-smoking.


I was wrong about the turnout on Tuesday night. We ended up getting 13 participants for the Stud 8 Double Qualifier tournament. This week, my table was much more aggressive. I have gotten used to the super-passive, loose players at the Palms, so it came as quite a shock that we got so many LAP tourists.

Not rebuying means that I usually don't get the lead early in any tournament, unless the deck is just smacking me in the face. This was no exception. I stayed pretty steady during the first hour, but I believe I ended with more chips that I started with. I can't remember, I stopped keeping notes in the last few months.

My strategy in rebuy tourneys is different than most recreational players. I am super tight during the rebuy period, knowing that the stakes are low anyway, and even a good sized pot doesn't add that much to my chip count when I know that I can get the $20 add-on, which gives me 2000 in chips (compare that to the 300 in starting chips, lol).

After the rebuy period has ended, however, I am much looser, and play a wide variety of hands that can make money if they are played correctly and hit. I bluff a lot more and I pound other players who are unsure of their own hands, my hand and want to stay in the tournament. I make them pay for their indecision, and I usually come out with the best of it. That is what happened during this tourney. Lots of the loose, aggressive tourists suddenly became tight, passive players who just wanted to make the final table, if they couldn't make the money. They had seen me play so tightly up until the second hour that they were just certain I had something, when I was bluffing them off of their hands.

We got to the final table, and Paul, the dealer, was to my right. He wasn't so happy about his position, but I certainly was. He and I were by far the most aggressive players at the table.

When we were down to four, I knocked an Asian tourist out. He couldn't return for any tournament, so I offered to buy his free buy-in. I gave him a good deal, because he was a nice guy and had respected me and my play during the entire time we played together (we were at the first table together, too). I also got his bounty.

A woman who had never played in a poker tournament before was to my left. She was horrid, but kept going all-in when she got short, and doubled through every time. Not long afterwards, she took the chip lead from both Paul and myself. Finally Paul went all-in with a great starting hand, and just kept bricking up, while she caught reasonably well. Paul was knocked out in third.

On our very first hand together, I started with three to a bike and raised. She defended and I caught perfect on fourth, an open-ended straight draw and four cards to a six. She also caught perfect, having four hearts, though unconnected. Naturally I caught three bricks, no pair, no low, nada, and she caught her heart. Hasta la vista, baby.

She was simply thrilled by her win at her first tournament ever. I cheered her on and hope she comes back soon (lol).

The only sour note to this whole tourney was that the lady asked me what the protocol is for tipping. Eveyone knows I am never shy, so I told her that when we bought in, most of us opted for the dealer's add-on, which put $5 each into the tip fund. Since at least ten players opted for this (if not the full 13), that would put at least $50 into the tip pool. What she tips on top of that is up to her. I told her that I tend to tip about 5% in total (including what has already been tipped, not on top of it). I told her that I also vary my tips on the service of the cardroom, how I felt I was treated, the quality of the dealers, etc. The lady chose to tip a red and four whites on top of the add-on ($9 extra). The dealer who was sitting in the box at the time was very unhappy with me. After the lady left, she started telling the other dealers, "Well, if it weren't for HER (pointing at me rudely) we would have gotten more tips! She TOLD the winner to only tip 5%! Because of HER we aren't going to make anything!" One of the other dealers asked, "Well, how much did she tip?" The dealer said, "She only tipped $4!!" I cut in, "No she did not! She tipped a redbird on top of that four dollars! And she also said she contributed to the dealer's add-on!"

She said, "Because of YOU, we're only going to make about $3 per dealer on this tournament!" I refused to get into an argument with her, but told her that this was the exact way the dealers acted at the Belle, and I felt they were the worst dealers on the river. She dropped it. I think she knew she had gone too far.

There were only four dealers dealing to us. Now, if only 10 people took the dealer's add-on, that is $50. Paul tipped about $10 on top of this. The lady tipped $9 and I tipped $5. That is $69. $69 divided by four dealers is $17.25. I don't know where she came up with $3, but it was obvious to me she was trying to make me look bad.

The next day I talked to Dan about it. I didn't tell him who the dealer was, not even male or female, and he immediately said, "It was her, wasn't it?" and pointed to a dealer. He said she is very rude and inappropriate, and he has had other problems with her. He didn't say what his solution to these problems was going to be, but that is none of my business. He told me that he will not allow his dealers to solicit tips under any circumstances. I hope that he means this, and that things will change for the better in the future.

Felicia :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

"I give up, I resign!"

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Last Wednesday was our NLHE tourney at the Palms. Michael from Vegas came down and spent a couple of nights. We got about 30 participants for the tournament. At a $25 buy-in (no juice), the prize pool wouldn't seem to be large, but lucky us, rebuys abound for the first hour, plus the $20 add-on goes directly to the pool. Sometimes these payouts are pretty big, for such a small potatoes tourney.

I never really got anything going on. I didn't get called when I wanted to double up and I did get called when I was trying to steal pots. C'est la vie. We got down to about ten, and I knew I needed chips badly. So when I flopped open ended with a backdoor flush draw in the blind, I went for it. Someone else flopped top pair, no kicker, and it held up.

Michael got all the way down to the bubble by an string of amazing incidents. One of them included someone going all-in with about four times the chips Michael had, on a bluff, losing the hand, and then giving Michael all of his chips and walking away. You'd think he would have won the tourney, with that kind of luck, but the blinds get so high toward the end, that he went from hero to zero in just a couple of hands. He did get some bounties and a rolling suitcase as a special prize (the Palms adds these giveaways, they aren't not taken out of any player funds).

We didn't return to the Palms until Friday night. I'm not a huge fan of Omaha 8, but I know my EV is through the roof in these little tourneys. The competition is extremely loose and passive. I cannot even tell you how passive they are, because you wouldn't believe me. I literally saw a woman check the absolute nuts on two consecutive streets (she is an older woman, and was showing me her hand, since I wasn't in the pot). She was not soliciting a bluff, believe me. She is just that passive. She somehow believes that her stone cold nut hand could be beaten by a better hand, because she doesn't know it's value. Maybe she thinks the board will come runner-runner to beat her. Who knows. I truly think she just doesn't know the value of poker hands.

Anyway, I played my normal tourney game, which works so well against loose, passive players. I was tight during the rebuy period (but still had to make one rebuy), and then got much more loose and bluffed like crazy if I thought I could win the pot.

One by one we lost players who insisted on seeing every flop, turn and river, no matter how slim they were drawing (or dead, in the case of people who cannot understand that if there are not three cards, eight or lower on board, they cannot make a low). One man had never played Omaha before and kept insisting that his three hearts or three straight cards made the best hand. I have to give him credit though, after messing up on that a couple of times, he never, ever did it again. He learned fast. With some people it only takes one or two mistakes. He was one of them, he never screwed up again.

Anyway, the third place finisher let himself get too low, so the BB only had to call 200 more to get a chance to knock him out (the blinds were 500/1000). She actually had an excellent hand in the blind: JQQK and two hearts, I believe. The flop came paint, and his all-low hand was busted. He had a premium hand himself, something like: A235. Anyway, he was out and we were HU.

We were almost even in chips, but I am so much more aggressive than most players, so I kept chipping away at her. Finally we got involved in one pot where she refused to keep betting her flopped set, and I rivered the straight. After that, I had a chip advantage, although anything is possible with these huge blinds and the relatively low amount of chips on the table.

Finally, after one hand where I had her down to about 3000, she looked at me and said, "Okay, I give up, I resign!"

I couldn't believe it, that was the first time anyone has ever said that to me. I could tell she was stressed out playing HU against someone like me, but I have never actually have someone just give up completely.

Anyway, I took my bounties and my first place win, and happily prayed that I would keep running good for a while.

Felicia :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

And in Other News...

Anyone ever notice that my life is like an ongoing train wreck? I don't define “train wreck” in the way that I'm not happy, my life is in shambles, a disaster. I define it more like in the way that I seem to be a trouble-magnet. I don't shy away from controversy.

After a couple of months of peace, I am back to finishing my fight against the Colorado Belle. I am in the final stages of that battle. If Mandalay Bay does nothing further on this matter (firing both James and Glen; James for covering up the sexual harassment, Glen for sexually harassing another employee), I will escalate my fight when MGM takes over the Belle.

People seem to be coming out of the woodwork to tell me their Belle horror stories. I guess since the word has gotten out about my banning from the Belle, others have been more willing to tell their tales of woe.

Yesterday, a full-time player was at the Palms and told me he hadn't played there in several years, but came back to give it a try because of all of the abuse of power at the Belle. He is a senior citizen in Laughlin, and finally just got sick of the politics going on there. He has played at the Belle since they opened a poker room, but said that things couldn't be any worse there right now. He told James about some cheating that was going on in a game (sharing cards), and James did his usual routine about the players being drunk tourists, and how we need to cater to them, blah, blah. When he threatened to call the gaming commission, James threatened him with banning. Lovely. James and his weak personality. What a waste.

Another guy who has been playing regularly at the Palms is a guy I met when I first came to Laughlin. He is young, and a super tight player. He is also the quietest guy you'd ever meet. If he said ten words in a week, it would be a miracle.

He used to play at the Belle all of the time, but then James kept harping on him to become a dealer, coaxing him with those familiar lines about how good he would be as an employee (sound familiar?). Anyway, finally he talked David into becoming a dealer. David must have passed the background investigation and gotten the proper cards, because the Belle hired him.

On David's first shift, he dealt better than JV had dealt in a year. He is a super sweet kid, without a mean bone in his body. David dealt to us all the way up until the day I was banned from the Belle. I never really thought about David after I was banned, until the day I saw him playing at the Palms.

Glenn was sitting next to David and got the scoop. Apparently, David was fired from the Belle! This is absolutely nuts, because James had always told me the reason he couldn't fire any of those scummy dealers who couldn't deal a hand to save their lives, was because he needed dealers so badly, due to the poker boom. So what does he do, he turns around and fires someone like David, while keeping someone like JV, who falls asleep during the dealing of a hand and has to be woken up by the players, who cannot get the simplest of side pots right, who takes 15 minutes to deal an easy hand of Hold'em.

There is something rotten in Denmark.

To give the story even more of a soap-operaish twist, when David was fired, he asked James why he was firing him, and James REFUSED to tell him. Now, I know that Nevada is a strange state, but no state is strange enough that allows an employer to refuse to tell an employee WHY they are being fired, if asked.

Anyway, David was absolutely crushed. According to him, all along, James had been giving him props and telling him how wonderful he was doing, how well he was liked, etc. My first thought was that perhaps David lied on his application and/or when he got his sheriff’s card, etc. I thought maybe that he was issued the proper credentials, given a position, and then was busted down the line when the machine caught up with him. But that does not seem to be the case.

Dan, the manager at the Palms, is equally perplexed, and wants to give David a chance, if he is interested in dealing again. Dan gave me the go-ahead to proceed with helping David find out what was going on with the gaming commission and/or file a suit against the Colorado Belle.

Unfortunately, David must be the most shy, passive guy in the world, because he is just embarrassed about the whole thing (getting fired), and doesn't want to "make waves" in Laughlin. So there is where it stands.

Fortunately, I think I can still proceed without David, and definitely plan to do so. Anything I can do to get the dirty laundry at the Belle aired out :)

Dan also told me that he was just as confused as I am about the Belle. Why do so many crazy things go on there? Why would they ban me for writing about sexual harassment when they had just had a big lawsuit over that same thing (trying to sweep sexual harassment under the rug) and got caught? You would think they would take it very seriously and not punish the messenger.

Dan said he played there and saw the same things I did. The dealers being extremely rude to the players, bossing them around, treating them badly. He said he'd never seen anything like it. Usually cardroom employees are trying to protect the DEALERS from abuse, not the players, lol. It is the strangest situation I've ever been in. I go to California, sometimes Vegas, and see the dealers treated like crap, and nothing ever done about it. Then I go to the Belle and here are the dealers talking about how much they hate their job and all poker players (while dealing to said players), I see a dealer falling asleep during a hand. I see dealers yelling at the players over a dealer error. I see dealers refusing to call the floor when there is a problem. I see the floor doing everything he can to keep the players from finding out the real deal if there is a problem (claiming the cameras aren't working, the VCR's aren't recording, it is impossible to run the tape). I see a CRM who lets the floorman and dealers run all over him, then punishes the players who are trying to have a good, honest cardroom at their disposal, by threatening to ban said players, by banning them, by covering up sexual harassment (his refusal to accept witness testimony, refusal to run the tape that records the desk area, so that he could see the harassment himself, refusal to take the testimony of a dealer who saw the harassment).

I'm not going to give up. The veneer is starting to crack severely at the Belle. In this age of modern technology you cannot keep sweeping things under the rug. They will come out.


Okay, now that I've ragged on the Belle a little bit, let me rag on the Palms. I'm just never satisfied, am I? LOL :)

Dan has been running these tourneys for over two weeks now, it's time to kick it into high gear. Dan needs to run some ads. The locals papers in both NV and AZ, the poker rags, Cardplayer, anything!

Last night was supposed to be an Omaha 8 tourney. No one showed up save me. I even offered a $10 bounty on my head out of my own pocket, and couldn't get anyone to play. This place is spreading NO JUICE tourneys every day. They are adding money to the prize pool, they have bounties, they have it all! Why is no one coming? The word needs to get out, and not tomorrow, but yesterday. Get on the ball, get some ads out there.

I called around. The Riverside was sold out at 50 in their tourney. Fifty people in a tourney that is stealing about 50% of the prize pool from the players. The Belle was sold out and charges 20% juice. This is crazy! Somehow I have to get word out to the locals. Some of them are a little slow, and stuck in their routine, but none of them are stupid enough to ignore the great deal that the Palms is offering.

Tonight is the Stud 8 double qualifier tourney. I have a horrible feeling this one isn't going to fly, either. I have to do something. Why are there no ads out? Why am I wasting my time and energy typing all of this, doing all of this work, when I'm not an employee and not getting paid? Why do I always get myself into these messes? I think I'm insane. Someone call Bellevue and put me out of my misery.


Believe it or not, there is some poker content in this dirty laundry rambling.

Last Wednesday was the NLHE tourney and I decided not to go. On Thursday we had the LHE tourney with the stud river card. I was the 2nd bubble (remember, the bubble gets a free entry into a nightly tourney, well, I was 5th place, the guy after that, lol). I didn't play on Friday (Omaha 8). On Saturday we played PL Omaha high. I came in 4th, so I got the free entry. It was a hellacious tournament. Our table started with six players, and during the first hour, they made 35 rebuys at our table alone! That doesn't include the six add-on's or the rebuys that the other table made.

I took one of my worst beats in this tourney. There was an elderly woman at our table, a calling station. I flopped a set of aces when I held AAxx in my hand. The flop was AKx. I went all-in and she called with a lone king. The turn was a king, the river was a king. Two Dimes was barely able to calculate the odds of that happening, haha! Oh, Omaha, how I hate you.

On Sunday was the NLHE tourney. We decided not to go. Then came yesterday, when I couldn't even get one opponent for the Omaha 8 tourney. Bah! They should be coming in droves. No one else remotely close to Vegas is offering juice-free tourneys with added money and prizes.

The upside is that Glenn has been running very well also. He made $60 in 1-5 Stud in 30 minutes of play, lol. I love the players at the Palms, they are so loose/passive, just like I like 'em.

Soooo, through this monstrosity of a post, you see where I'm at right now. The same as ever, in the midst of the insanity.

Felicia :)