Friday, December 17, 2004

Tournament Etiquette

Dick asked bloggers to inform others how to behave during a tournament. Well, you know I had to run with that one!

Since I haven't felt like writing up the final table at Sam's Town, and have nothing better to do save get on my high horse as prompted, I'll definitely add my two cents worth into proper tournament behavior.

Naturally I will have to flip to the reverse side of the coin and give some pointers for tournament directors and cardrooms, too. Sometimes the reason that a cardroom is so unhappy with it's patrons, is because they run such a bad ship that they are simply inviting turmoil.

So here we go:

If you are in a tournament and want to know how to maintain a professional, honorable demeanor, please follow my advice:

1) Get to your seat promptly
2) Show the dealer your seat assignment to ensure you are at the correct table and seat
3) Introduce yourself to your tablemates
4) Remove any items from the table that are unnecessary (cigarette cases and notebooks are just an invitation for a stray card to get dealt underneath and forgotten about)
5) Do not smoke in the cardroom, even if smoking is allowed
6) Do not drink excessively while playing a tournament
7) Accept seating reassignments with grace, it is truly the luck of the draw, no one is picking on you when you get moved to balance tables
8) If you are assigned a table with your spouse, try for a reassignment, explaining the situation to the TD and making sure you are following proper procedure
9) Do not berate your competition under any circumstances
10) If you outdraw an opponent, eliminating him from competition, instead of howling like a rabid dog, stand up, shake his hand, and allow him to leave the table with dignity
11) If you are eliminated, leave the table gracefully, without any whining about bad beats or yelling at your opponent asking "How could you play that hand?"
12) Return from breaks promptly
13) If you make a mistake in play, apologize and quickly let the dealer and/or TD move the game forward
14) When you are the aggressor at the river and are called, promptly table your hand so that the caller has the opportunity to muck or show his winning hand
15) Do not ask to see the mucked hand of an opponent
16) Do not ask to rabbit hunt
17) Do not slow roll
18) Do not trash talk your opponents
19) Find out the rules of the tournament before signing up and agree to obey them
20) Always act in a courteous, mature manner no matter how others behave in the cardroom
If you are a cardroom manager or tournament director and want to know how to run a professional, top notch tournament, please follow my advice:

1) Adopt a standard set of tournament rules (TDA) and display them prominently
2) As players buy in to the tournament, have them sign an agreement form to obey the rules of the tournament, with the rules listed on the form
3) Do not allow your dealers to discuss tournament tips, or lack thereof with players
4) Do not allow rabbit hunting
5) Do not allow your dealers to speculate on a hand played
6) Do not allow abuses of the IWTSTH rule, or allow dealers to expose a mucked hand
7) Do not allow players to abuse other players or dealers in your cardroom
8) Do not allow smoking in your cardroom or in your tournaments
9) Do not allow excessive drinking during tournaments
10) Give penalties for disobeying rules. Do not threaten repeatedly, use penalties regardless of the situation if the rule is not interpretable
11) Do not allow your TD to speak and act condescendingly to customers
12) Do not allow your dealers to slow down the tournament by carrying on unnecessary, lengthy conversations with players
13) Do not allow customers to buy-in who have an odor so foul they will disrupt the tournament
14) Do not allow players to set foreign objects on the table (excepting a card protector)
15) Do not favor locals or "friends" in tournament decisions
16) Have all tournament dealers read the rules of the tournament before they deal
17) House fees for tournaments should be properly displayed and/or given freely when asked
18) Dealers add-on's should be explained as such, not hidden in subterfuge as to confuse players into thinking the add-on goes to the prize pool and/or they are required to tip excessively in addition to the add-on
19) Do not allow railbirds to sit in vacant tournament seats
20) Do not allow in-the-money participants to pressure or force a remaining player into a deal

For further reading (better than I could ever write), please see Robert Ciaffone's Rules of Poker.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Poker Derby at Hollywood Park

Just scratched another one off of my list. We called Hollywood Park about the Poker Derby coming up next month. As if 25% wasn't enough juice for them, they told us that they are charging another 3% in addition to the 25% rape of the players.

With 28% taken right off the top of the prize pool, no one wins.

To top if off, Glenn said they were very rude on the phone.

I know that some of you new players have no idea why 28% is such a bad thing, but please go back and research tournaments of old. Not only was juice usually not charged, but in many cases, cardrooms added substantial amounts to the prize pools, in order to draw players.

While I think there is abolutely nothing wrong with cardrooms taking advantage of the poker boom and charging juice, when the expectation of a festival is negative, it becomes outrageous. Charge something more reasonable. Heck, even charge something a little unreasonable (a la Foxwoods), but treat your customers like human beings. Treating your customers like rabid dogs, on top of 28% juice is wholly unacceptable, in my opinion.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Bloggers in Las Vegas (Part Two)

See Glenn's journal for a hilarious pictorial post about the Blogger get-together. Yes, Glenn really does have this sense of humor in real life. He cracks me up daily.

Some weird coincidences with the bloggers lately! I wrote my draft the paragraph about "not hating Hold'em" less than 24 hours before Hank posted the same thing! Then I joked around about Bad Blood being a little light, and not long afterwards, he posted "I'm not gay." Weird, I'd already written these things, but they weren't yet posted. Maybe we're all locked to the same wavelength now (joking, I wouldn't wish that on anyone).

One thing I did forget to mention was that I'd joked around with Ron Rose during the Four Queens Classic about putting John Bonetti in his book. Back then, he didn't really say much about it, but this time he ripped the Bonetti page out in front of everyone and gave the book back to me. I love it! He can dish it out, he can take it. He can poke fun at himself, which is always a good thing, since some people totally don't get my sense of humor.

When I left off, the conference room was filling up. I was so happy to see some pros I'd played against give their time to us, for free, nothing expected in return. This is what I was talking about when I detailed the players at the WPPA. Just pure generosity, nothing to gain.

Joe told me a hilarious story about David Ulliott and the bloggers, but it just wouldn't be the same in print. If you see him, ask him to repeat the story, or I'll try my best in person. It just can't be duplicated without the Yorkshire accent.

Charlie got up on stage and told us about his book. Poor Charlie knows what he wants to say, but has a hard time getting it out. I had heard his story many times, since we have become friends, so I know his passion for the subject, but I don't think he is meant for public speaking. What a sweet gesture to get up and do it anyway. I'd hate to be put in that position, and I had years of acting/voice lessons!

For some of the top players, it is weird that not all of the circuit pros are playing every event. I know that when I go to any festival these days, someone will ask me what table I'm at. If I say I'm not playing, that I'm playing some sats to try to enter the next event, they look at me like I've got two heads. Some pros literally play every, single event of a festival, giving themselves the best odds to cash. There is nothing wrong with that, nor is there anything wrong with skipping some events.

Obviously that is what Charlie and Max did, skipped Saturdays' event to play against us. Max and Charlie are not quite in that circle of players who believes you HAVE to play every event. Those guys are hardcore, they are trying to stay ahead of the buy-in's.

As far as I go, I just can't do it. My health would break down in the midst of a long festival, and that would be that. I have to pace myself very carefully, being choosy about what events I'm going to enter, how many sats I'm going to try, how many hours I'm going to play. I have to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. I can't play like those guys, it's impossible. If I have one 18 or 20 hour day, the next day I have to take a break.

So anyway, back to the conference room...Charlie and Max stayed with us, while Evy, Marcel, Kiril, Ron and Tom went to Bellagio. It would be hard to miss that event. More dead money on the weekends, so that makes their sacrifices even bigger.

I followed the crowd to the poker room, because I've only been to ST twice, and wasn't sure I could find it on my own, anyway. I figured someone knew where we were going, lol.

I was seated in the nine seat, lucky me. I hate middle seats, I hate the one and ten, too, so I was happy. Max was in the seven, and CJ was in the eight. Charlie was in the two. Mas, Grubby and Pauly were also at our table, all in horrible seats.

Whenever you are against someone you know has more experience than you, you would always wish to be on his left, even if he is a tight player like me. That way you get more information on his hand before you have to act. Sure, he will be stealing your blinds with nothing, you will be forced to fold to his experience, but you will have position on him, which is always a good thing.

When you are to the right of a more experienced player, sandwiched between experienced players, or at a table where everyone is experienced save you (go back and read my old tourney reports, this is where I was so many times when I first started out), then you have to play a different kind of game. Basically, you cannot screw around with these guys at all. You can't "limp in." You can't "call a small raise and see what happens after the flop." You can't hope to contend with these guys or mess around with them. You have to make huge moves, period. Don't play with them, just make your move. You are either in or out. Sure, you are leaving a lot up to the luck of the draw, but if you are tight and patient, you will usually be in the lead before the flop. Don't let them see a cheap flop just to outdraw and/or outplay you after it comes down. Force them to make big decisions for a lot of chips, and you won't get eliminated quite so often, and so quickly. The last thing they want to do is call a raise about 10x the BB with some junk hand like 75o. But believe me, they will surely raise with it BTF, maybe 3x BB, or call a small raise with it, and then get all of your chips after they made their straight or trips versus your pocket aces. Then you'll find yourself out the door, and you'll tell everyone how you got a bad beat, you got outdrawn by some big name pro, and how could he play that hand. But in reality, you just got outplayed. You can't keep up with this guy, so force him to put in a ton of chips with his junk hand, and then just hold on for the ride if he calls (they won't unless they have a billion chips and/or you are severely short stacked).

So that is my lesson for the day. And before you jump to conclusions, no, I wasn't referring to anything or anyone in the Blogger tourney. That was not a big tourney, there weren't enough chips to be totally screwing around like that. Charlie did it some, but mostly in the earliest levels, and usually just for raises 2-3x the BB, not for huge all-in hands, unless he truly thought he was a favorite to win the hand.

Back to the tourney, I got very lucky. That is hugely important in each individual tournament. New players always look at me like I'm nuts when I tell them that experienced pros don't really have much of an edge, if any at all, over a newbie when it comes to each, small, individual tournament. Even the big ones have such bad structures these days that the edge is miniscule. So the fact is, I got lucky.

I was cruising along okay, stealing blinds after Max and Charlie had passed here and there, when suddenly I was crippled. I had AKs, put him on a weak hand (in fact, he had ATo), put him all-in on a raggedy flop, and had only about 500 in chips left when he caught his ten on the river.

So the next hand I found AQo and went all-in in EP. I'm not going to get blinded off. I was going to be in the blinds in just two hands, and that would have eaten through 300 of the 500 I had left.

Pauly found QQ on the button, I believe, or thereabouts. I was gathering my stuff up to leave after the flop came down. Then an ace hit, and I knew it by the groaning and yelling of the table. I sat back down and apologized.

After that, there was no going back, I never lost a big pot again.

I caught TT and got called by both Grubby and Charlie. Grubby had AKs, I believe and Charlie 99. I tripled through them.

I went for a steal with 55 on the button. Got called by both blinds, or maybe just Charlie, I don't remember. They held up. Pretty much all of the coin flips went my way, or my slightly dominant hand held up.

Soon, Charlie had lost his chip lead, whereas Max and I had benefited at that table. Then Pauly went on an incredible run of Group One hands. They all held up. AA, AA, KK, QQ, QQ, all in a very short time span. And he went from a short stack to the chip lead at our table.

A funny thing about that, was a hand that was so painful to watch which occurred right before Pauly's run. This is the hand that really got me talking more at the table, since Max was offering his advice, too, in between kidding and joking around.

I was in the BB. Max was on the button. Mas limped in MP. Pauly limped in the cut-off. Max went all-in. Watching Max during the tourney, and his behavior up until that time, I knew he didn't want a caller. He usually wants to screw around and get a caller or two when the stakes aren't high and he has a premium hand. So the hand smacked of AK to me, or maybe AQ, but probably not. I also thought about the possibility of jacks or tens. Who really wants multiple callers with those hands? No one. So he put his chips in, not wanting to screw around with the hand, just wanting the blinds and two limpers. That would put 700 into is already big lead.

I looked down to find 55 in my BB. Had I been last to act, I would have called Max's all-in. Not because I necessarily thought I was in the lead, but because I figured it was a coin flip, and these small tourneys are no time to be messing around. Yes, I am a rock, and I don't usually even play small pairs in big tourneys, but no one had any chips, and I could have doubled through Max, giving me a huge chip lead at the table, since I was already co-lead with him at that time. Like I said in my last post, I sometimes have to "die" in order to live.

So I folded, knowing it could be a multi-way all-in pot, one in which I was surely behind. Mas quickly folded, no thought. Pauly agonized and looked like he was giving birth. Finally, though, he folded, face up. Pocket tens. Everyone gasped. He was HU against Max, with a premium hand. No, no, no. He had only about 1200 left after limping in. The blinds were 100/200. No, no, no. I told him why he couldn't fold that hand, in that position, under those circumstances. At first, Max kidded him by saying it was a good fold, but later told him the truth of the situation. Don't make big laydowns in little tournaments, and if you ever make a big lay down, period, never show it, or the table will run you over. Max showed AK.

Okay, so the funny story was that after this hand, Pauly went on his premium run. During this run, Max looked at me like he was really suffering and said, "Couldn't you have waited to tell him he was supposed to call with those tens? Waited until after the tournament?" Naturally we both saw the hands Pauly was getting, because he always got action, due to the structure of the tourney. At the time, it was a really funny comment, though, and I wish it translated better to paper.

Soon we got shorthanded, and we were down to eleven. Poor Mas was out in 11th place, and we all started our migration to the final table. At the time, Pauly had the chip lead, Max and I were running slightly behind, but both had healthy stacks.

Next to come, the final table...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Bloggers in Las Vegas (Part One)

Wow, I've already gotten some very positive responses. Some of the top players I know have written to say they feel I'm doing the right thing. Not that I had any doubts, but it surely feels good to hear something positive, instead of just constant criticism and flaming.

I know that some of the bloggers in Vegas think I was talking badly about them, but nothing could be further from the truth. I had a great time and thought everyone was pretty awesome, except maybe BG, who had a hard time taking my ribbing ;)

The person I was so disappointed in was myself! I was veering way off course in this journal, and was beating myself up when I found out just how wrong I'd been. There is absolutely no reason that normal people should not come home at night and decompress by playing a little low buy-in online game, having a good time and laughing it up. $25 is nothing for a night's entertainment. I was looking at things from a backwards view, and the person I was beating up in my journal was myself, not you guys.

I think there is a little bit of a misunderstanding about me and Hold'em. I don't "hate" Hold'em. I don't hate any poker game, although O8 used to drive me to distraction (now you know why I have no hair, lol). The thing with HE is, after the big boom, no one wanted to play anything else. So it was sort of like if I were a board game specialist, then suddenly the only game readily available to play was Monopoly. It gets old, fast, when it is the only game in town.

I have probably played 1000 Hold'em tourneys in the past two years (including SNG's, that is). So please don't be under any misconception that I "hate" HE, or that I "don't know how to play HE." I seem to get that a lot.

Now, getting to the time we spent in Vegas...I think Glenn's journal is probably better than anything I'd have to say, but I did have a great time.

We arrived around 11am on Friday and went to Excal/Luxor after dropping our dog off at the vet. We saw Mas at Luxor, then later Bad Blood and Otis came in. Those two were so stuck together during the two days we were there that I'd swear they were more than friends, if I didn't know better (haha).

I heard that Boy Genius was going to be at the tourney, so I looked around for him, but never saw him show up. I wanted to rib him about teasing his ex-wife.

Glenn and I headed up to the Bellagio while the Luxor tourney was going on. They had both a 20/40 and a 40/80 Stud game going, but they were no good, despite a big festival being held at the time. I cashed out of 20/40 in about 15 minutes, $24 down.

I saw the tourney circuit players there, save one or two. I was hoping to run into Greg, and ask him to come by ST if he had a chance. He must have been busted out, or not played on Friday. I didn't see Jean either. I was able to give a quick hello and encouragement to a few players, and say a formal "hi" to Harry Demetriou, whom I've never spoken to in person.

We hightailed it back to the Excal, where everyone was arriving and starting to play. One table was populated almost completely by bloggers. Pauly asked me to join in, but when I found out it was only $1-3 spread limit HE, I just couldn't force myself to do it.

Instead, I tried to get Gail to set up a private mixed game for us. She agreed to do so when there were extra dealers available. We never did get the private game, but we did get a 2/4 O8 game going, which was mostly populated by bloggers.

No one really makes anything in this type of game, the house is usually the only big winner. I think Al made a little profit, but just about everyone else was even or a bit down. I think I finished $20 down.

Al and I had planned to eat at an all-you-can-eat sushi joint, because we'd heard that Boy Genius loved sushi. Oddly enough BG didn't even end up attending! In fact, we couldn't get anyone to come with us save Al, Mrs, Mike, Glenn and me. Sad.

We had a fabulous time, got to spend some good quality time talking, and Al wasn't even the drunkest person on the room. Instead, all of these old ladies were doing shots and laughing it up. Now, you know it's bad when you are in a sushi place, the place next door is a bar with video poker, and it's the BAR patrons who are banging on the wall to be quiet! We couldn't endure anymore, though, when the ladies started doing Japanese karaoke and had the words to Jingle Bells provided for them. Yeah, they were THAT drunk.

Amazingly, our pit bullish Yorkie was so drugged up that he let everyone pet him. We were astounded. He is usually barking and biting like mad. He must have been really stoned, lucky dog.

We dropped off the sushi lovers and went to check into our hotel. The ole' Travelodge, that accepts pets. We went to sleep rather early and got up early enough to get to the banquet at 9:30am.

Surprisingly, we weren't the first ones there. There were probably already ten people in the room. The ever-ready J&J, Charlie and a few more. The coffee was strong and hot, and Glenn ate plenty of the free grub, so it must have been okay, lol.

Part two coming soon...

Monday, December 13, 2004

Queen of the Morons

Welcome to the Moron Patrol. I am the President of the Morons.

Wow, what a revealing 24 hours I've had. I guess it took a few scathing remarks to pull me out of my daydream.

In the past couple of years, I've been trying to accomplish a few goals with my writing. My primary goal was my own reflection. It is cathartic for me to write, it also improves my game. That is a worthy goal. One can't go wrong if writing provides both therapy and game improvement.

I somehow veered way off track, however, with this online journal thing. Suddenly I started "providing" for people. I felt obligated to write. I had to manage lists and comments. I had to micromanage things that were supposed to be easy and cathartic. I had to respond and censor. I was "working" a job, not getting paid and getting little out of it save a lot of hassle and heartache.

I even went so far as to arrange tournaments, get togethers, private lessons. I must have lost my freaking mind (okay, that happened long ago, but you get the gist).

For arranging the tourneys, I got in return a bunch of problems, a ton of complaints, very low turnout and thanks/support from a few dedicated individuals (you know who you are, and thank you, in return for your never wavering support).

Get togethers were scattered and never well attended, but I was playing poker anyway, so it was no biggie.

Save one individual, no one really cared about learning the proper way to play poker. Although I offered my time, free of charge, to anyone who wanted to make some extra money playing poker correctly, only one person was sincerely interested in my time. The rest would rather drink and have fun losing their money to a few intelligent sharks who knew better than to give lessons, to offer to let their dead money win against them, who sat and just took pot after pot off of fish who were only too happy to give it up. What a coup! I could have been doing this all along, but I sat around and tried to educate. I'm truly a moron.

No one wanted lessons, not even for free. If I had been Greg Raymer, and tried to "give back," to help my readers with some instruction, I still couldn't have gotten anyone. Why? Because they just want to sit at the low limit tables to decompress every night, to give their money away and have a good time, knowing they will go to their jobs tomorrow and back to the real world, earning a little more spending money to blow their buy-in's again and again. They don't want to learn proper poker.

I guess the real clue should have been apparent when the Blogger tournament ended and 30 people rushed out the door as fast as humanly possible, to avoid having to listen to me talk about proper Stud play. Not ONE person wanted any Stud lessons, not one. I had agreed to give them after Joaquin wrote me asking about it. Not only did I refuse to accept money for my time, but I also volunteered to help out anyone who wanted to learn. But no one did. NOT ONE. Those writers couldn't have left that poker room quick enough, lest they be forced to listen to someone talk about poker. Instead, liquor and losing more money was all that came to mind.

Naturally, I'm making some generalities here. There were and are some wonderful people in the poker blogging community. People I'm very glad to have met, people who take poker seriously and genuinely want to improve their game. The mistake I made was assuming all of them wanted these same things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be a recreational player. There is nothing wrong with wanting to blow buy-in's for "entertainment value." Don't misunderstand me, I was the one who was wrong.

What I should have been doing all of this time was learning from those ahead of me who really want to see me advance. Like Jean, Ted, Charlie, Max, Greg and quite a few others. Ones who see something in me, who see that spark, that drive to be number one. I should have been playing more of the bigger buy-in NLHE tourneys to fund my Stud tourneys. I should have been building my bankroll more quickly, instead of sitting back and missing some good opportunities.

Writing should have stayed a cathartic, learning tool, instead of taking over my free time, when I could have been playing and/or studying. People like Shirley, know this, and write better and better as they understand the game more deeply, as they get control of themselves and start to crush their opponents. They don't sit and engage other writers, offer lessons or plan get togethers.

So I'm ready to take whole different path here. No more comments, no more free lessons, no more time spent on people who rarely appreciate my efforts in the first place, and in the second place come around and anonymously flame everything I write. I'm back to writing solely for me and hopefully winning some big tourneys.

If you are one of the true supporters of this site, my writing and my help, I will always be there for you. I will be happy to do the things I have always done. If you are one of the flamers, the unhappy people who sit around and criticize everyone, then find a new target. I won't be around to be your scape goat anymore.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

No Comments

Jeez, louise. I think that some people are never satisfied no matter how perfect their world is. I really believe that if some of you were given one million dollars tomorrow, you would be ragging by Tuesday.

If I say that I have tons more to write about, but just want to jot down a few quick notes about my initial thoughts on the tourney, because I don't feel that healthy right now, I get flamed because I said something nice about Max, but not nice about Charlie or someone else. I can't win. I can never win with you folks, because all you do is criticize everything and everyone. You either don't have a journal online, because you can dish it out but can't take it, or you have a journal online, and still choose to go around criticizing other peoples' personal thoughts and feelings.

There is just no way I can win here, because some of you just love to hate. If I said the sky was blue, you would insist it was purple.

For now I'm trying to do the temperate thing, and turn off comments. If you have something hateful to say, then open up your own frigging journal and go off on me there. If you want to write me e-mail and say that you enjoy my own, PERSONAL, introspective thoughts, please feel free. I write for me, not for you. If you really want me to stop sharing my writing publicly, you are certainly doing the right thing by your constant stream of assault.

World Blogger's Poker Tour Holiday Classic Tournament

Hi and welcome to sunny Golden Valley! LOL, yes, sorry to disappoint you, but we really are home from Vegas and back in our little rural hideaway.

I wanted to stay in Vegas. I wanted to play in some Bellagio sats for the few remaining events. I wanted to play 40/80 Stud again. I wanted to hang out with the bloggers some more and play low limit poker at Excalibur (wow, I'd forgotten how much I missed that place...well, mostly the money, haha).

Instead, we are home again, and it's probably a good thing, a healthy thing. I was still recovering, and too weak to push myself any further.

Yes, it is true, I did win the World Blogger's Poker Tour Holiday Classic Tournament. I just got lucky at the right time, and was intimidating enough to put inexperienced players off their hands in the right circumstances. The structure had little to do with it, as the edge that an experienced player has in any given tourney is next to zero, especially in a small one like this. I just won the right hands in the right places.

My best pat hand all day was TT. I won with it. I had AK twice, but lost both times. I had no other premium hands. I just won the coinflip decisions, and that was that.

I never bought into the tourney, so at the end, I was kind of scratching my head, wondering if I was going to be disqualified, lol. Glenn had bought in for me, but I didn't find out until we were well underway.

As in any tournament, I played seriously. When I sit down at a table, no matter the stakes, I am a very serious player. Playing for chips only in home games, I play the exact same way as I play a 40/80 or 50/100 game. I play the same way I play a $2000 buy-in tournament. I have no other personality. If I'm going to play, I'm going to take things seriously.

I did deviate from my usual demeanor by a little banter here and there at the table. I was extremely relaxed, as I sometimes am in HE, due to my lack of passion for the game, and I also tried to talk a bit more than normal at the table. Max helped me vocalize some, too, because he is so outgoing and friendly, it is contagious. Once I overheard him helping the fledgling players a bit, I, also, took up the gauntlet and tried to give some pointers. I usually never do this at the table, so giving lessons was definitely something special for me.

Max was in the seven seat, and I was in the nine. So every player who got sandwiched between us was eliminated. Poor CJ was the first. He also had the unfortunate distinction of being the tightest. He virtually let himself get blinded off, and I tried my to give him the best advice I've ever been given regarding tournament play, and advice I pass on to other "too tight" players. I told him that you have to be willing to "die" in a tournament, in order to win. You have to put your head in that guillotine over and over again, to give yourself any chance of winning the gold. Why play so tightly that you bubble or just barely come into the money tourney after tourney, basically getting your money refunded, when you can make 100x your buy-in, in many cases these days, by putting your tournament life on the line? We all have to do it, don't learn the hard way, like me. You will have to take chances with these structures, so don't blow thousands of hours and thousands of dollars to learn it yourself, when I'm sitting here telling you that it is the truth.

The problem that these tight players have, and that I have myself, is knowing WHEN to sacrifice yourself. That is something that cannot be taught, you must gain the experience, which is why it hurts so bad to see someone else go through the lessons. I know that I can't force them to forego these expensive, time consuming lessons, but dang, I wish I could save them some grief.

Max and I were joking around so much, that I didn't even realize how well we were doing. People started saying things about us making the money, yet I never really pondered on my strategy going into the final table, like I usually do. It was definitely a different, more "fun" tournament for me, as one of the last things I would normally consider myself is to be "fun" or relaxed, lol.

I kept telling Max that if it got down to him and a blogger, he was going to have to throw the game. I told him it would look bad if he won, and he would be flamed all over the Internet. We kept joking back and forth like that, because at the final table, we were next to each other again. He said something about me just wanting to win, that is why I kept urging him to lose it. I had never even thought of it getting down to Max and me. I laughed and said that if we got HU, he was in trouble based on my superior skill alone, that he would have to worry more about losing face than throwing a tournament. I truly never thought about it getting to us until we were in the money.

I did think about it getting down to Glenn and me. That would have been weird. We have been in the final four before, but never HU. He has knocked me out of two public tourneys before, both times with the worst hand, both times making the proper call, and not treating me any differently than he would treat anyone else. It would have been cool to get him HU, then steamroll him, knowing I could get him to fold better hands, lol. Who knows, though, his track record against me is pretty good, so he might have been wearing the cowboy hat, not me!

Getting back to the tournament though, I was happy that Max and I got HU. Max is a superb player, although he wasn't playing nearly as seriously as I was, because to him, $50 might as well be a freeroll, and he was there for fun. While I should look at this the same way, I cannot, I always play seriously, it is just my nature. Sure, I might have loosened up as far as talking and joking around goes, but I was playing seriously, not making speculative calls or dangerous bluffs.

We agreed to chop the money when we were within 3 chips of each other. The blinds were 4000/8000, we were head's up, and the total number of chips on the table was only 60,000. Even inexperienced players must know this is a total crapshoot.

Naturally, I sucked out on him in the last hand. I had K7s, went all-in in the SB, and he defended his BB on the button with AJo. I hit my seven on the turn and he never improved.

Max is a fantastic guy, I don't think I could possibly compliment him too much. One post about Max just wasn't enough, I think I'm going to have to dedicate more of my journal to him.

I want to write a lot more about this tourney, and our experiences with the other bloggers in Vegas, but now is not the time. Please read Glenn's write-up, instead. I feel like I've been run over by a train. I'm not sick, just weak, so don't worry :) I just need a few days to recover. Please continue to talk bad about me online and tell everyone that I truly am a rag.

Talk to you soon!