Saturday, July 23, 2005

Barry Greenstein Part III, Conclusion

Please read Part One and Part Two before this post.

After chatting back and forth a few times via e-mail, I finally saw Barry again at the Bellagio, during the opening days of the series. I was there for the $1500 Stud event, trying to earn my buy-in playing 20/40 and 40/80 Stud.

Barry was in Bobby's room with his son and girlfriend. I'd met his girlfriend before, but only knew about his son via the recent Cardplayer article.

Barry smiled his face splitting grin, and gave me a big hug. I'm not the touchy-feely type, but since my brush with cancer, and meeting the nicest people in the universe, I've become much more tolerable of big hugs and other displays of affection. Players I never would have touched before I'm suddenly finding myself giving a squeeze on the arm.

I met Joe, his son, whose introduction ended up to be a big, revolving joke by the time the series was coming to an end. Barry forgot he introduced me to Joe the second time we met, so he introduced me again. We all laughed about it, and then it became a custom for Barry to keep introducing me to Joe, over and over again. Eventually Joe and I would just shake hands and say, "Pleased to meet you" every time we saw each other, and all of us would get a laugh out of it. I know, little things amuse stupid people like me ;)

I couldn't play the $1500 Stud event. I had worn myself out trying to do too much in Vegas that first trip up to the Rio. Oh, well.

The next trip was when I realized that Charlie wasn't going to make it. Oh, the hurt that spread throughout my body was overwhelming.

Fortunately, I had found a mission, and that took up my time, instead of dwelling on such a depressing turn of events. Jason, Charlie's best friend, had the idea that if Charlie could hear from Marcel Luske, it would make his day, his week. I copycatted the idea, thinking that if hearing from one pro was a good idea, hearing from a dozen was many times as good. So I went back to Rio with that mission, and no other goal in mind, not even caring if I ever played a hand of poker.

I was so happy to see Max Pescatori deep into the money. Barry had already busted out of the day's event (5k NLHE), but we played together the next day in the 1k Stud 8.

I was busted out early, but Barry was probably the chip lead right before the dinner break. I asked him about calling Charlie, and he immediately agreed to do so. While he was eating dinner, I left Charlie's home number, and his mother's cell phone. I was feeling too weak to stick around the Rio, so Glenn and I went back to our hotel room.

True to his word, Barry called Charlie the next day, as promised. He said he was really worried that Charlie wouldn't make it the 2-3 weeks that the doctor had given him. He said Charlie sounded very ill. Right off the bat, Barry promised to send Charlie a copy of his book, and on top of that, the first book off of the press.

I was so impressed with many people at the Rio, and Barry remained one of them.

Unfortunately, I had to go home that day. I'd let myself get too weak again.

On Sunday, June 19th, I was sitting at home reading the series coverage. Sharla was covering the PLO event. There were about 100 players or so left. I told Sharla to go over and tell Barry to hurry up and win this one for Charlie. I was just joking around, as if Barry could magically eliminate 99 players in a rush and instantly win the thing.

That is exactly what he did, and by the time I made it back up to Rio on Monday Barry was heads-up. It didn't take him too long to win it, and I was there for the last hand. Barry immediately asked for the microphone and dedicated his win to Charlie. Barry's family and I were looking at him, so overwhelmed. I think all of us had tears in our eyes.

Barry kept insisting he needed to get back to the PLHE tourney he was playing. He still had chips, letting himself get blinded down while he was playing the PLO final table. He didn't want a whole bunch of pics and interviews, he just wanted to walk away. Although he said he wanted to play the other tourney, I think most of us knew that he was pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing, and that he simply didn't want to talk about it.

I kept running back and forth between sweating Barry, and telling some of the media people about the Charlie story. I urged them to write it up, to spread the good will, not to try to make it into some sensationalistic drama. Many of them took me up on it, and I was cheered by their willingness to "share" a scoop.

On Tuesday I told Barry that Charlie was unable to talk on the phone any longer, but had a laptop and was able to be propped up during the good parts of his day, and was chatting a bit online. I also kept thanking him for his kindness, and saying that because of him and so many others, Charlie's days were filled with joy. Barry kept brushing me off, telling me it was nothing, because that is how Barry sees his part in things.

Wednesday was a hard day. I had to inform Barry and many other players that Charlie had passed on. I felt obligated to do so, but it was one of the hardest trips I've ever made around a poker room. Barry was saddened, but knew that many people had done their best to make things as good as possible. He was glad to hear that Charlie had read Nolan Dalla's article before he died, and that it was so special for him.

Here are some of the stories that were written about Charlie, and Barry's outpouring of kindness to strangers:
True to his word, Barry did send the first copy of his book to Charlie. The inscription read, "This is the first book off the press. It was promised to Charlie Tuttle, the poker blogger who inspired me to win a World Series of Poker tournament."

I wrote to Barry thanking him for everything that he did. I got a trademark reply that is so typical of Barry, and pretty much sums up everything he is about, "People always give me loads of credit for small things I do."

The last time I saw Barry, his son Joe had just made another final table! I watched Joe as he busted out in 5th place. Barry was definitely a proud parent, although he tried to brush it off saying something like, "Thank God, I've had to pee for hours!"

As Joe cashed out of the event, and they were all leaving the Rio, I told Barry that I probably wouldn't see him for a few months, but that I would definitely keep in touch via e-mail. We said our goodbyes, and his family left for the evening.

A few minutes later, I was talking to a friend in the tournament area and Barry came rushing back in. He said something like, "I didn't want to leave until I gave you a 'real' copy of my book, instead of the draft I sent you in March."

He suddenly gave me a big hug and wished me the best. Then he left.

That is so much like Barry. Always thinking of others. I knew he really wanted to get out of the Rio, but instead he made a special trip back in, just to give me another copy of his book.

Later, I read the inscription. That is something I'll keep to myself, but one thing that touched me is that he was glad I kept him advised of "the important things."

To Barry, the important things are others. His friends, his family, not how much money he can make off of other players. The goodness in his heart and spirit will last a lifetime. Like he has said before:

"It's very easy to do a good deed."

Felicia :)


Just bought another little crappy digital camera (this one was $19, so it may last longer than the $17 one, lol).

So this is what I look like bald...

And here is what I look like with Max's bandana on

I promised Max a long time ago to take a picture of myself with the bandana, but I felt that I looked too pale and sickly. I guess that isn't going to change anytime soon, so here ya go.

Felicia :)

Friday, July 22, 2005


The oncologist just got the lab results back from Wednesday. My labs are up, so I have to continue chemo. Boo!

They want Glenn to give me the Procrit shot today, since it seems to be working, so that it will be in my system longer before my next treatment. So I imagine tomorrow will be pain-day for me, but I'm going to get some Percocet in my system and try to keep up on the tiny doses enough not to be overwhelmed by the pain.

We are heading down to Phoenix on Tuesday, chemo #2 will be on Wednesday at 1pm.

I hope to get some good posts out before then. Maybe I need some encouragement to write. Right now I have that depressed attitude of "Who really cares? And furthermore, who is reading it and getting something out of it?" Guess I'm just dreading the shot and next week.

Felicia :)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Coming Up

I have had some bad days. But somehow I'm going to try to write though chemo, even if it cripples me.

Things I have on my plate to finish soon are as follows:

1) Part III (final) about Barry Greenstein
2) Carl Frommer
3) Ted Forrest (view from this year's WSOP)
4) John Juanda
5) Tourneys vs. Cash Games
6) Greg Raymer
7) PLO8 Strategy Site Dissected
8) Tournament PLO8; Results and Discussion

Please stay tuned.

Felicia :)


You know, I was about to totally go off on some rant today.

Then I realized that I don't have to stoop as low as other people. I can just keep my mouth shut for once. I think everyone already knows where I stand on most issues, anyway.

I hate people.

Monday, July 18, 2005

PLO8 Research and Reviews

I have always been more fond of European players (as a whole) over American players. I'm sure you already know this from so many of my rants. At any rate, I figured my more serious responses would come from that side of the pond, which has proven correct.

Ray Zee's book is great for limit, but mentions nothing about PLO8 or PLO. I believe Stuart Reuben has a good book about PLO, in general. I don't have it yet, but plan to purchase it online for my library, even if I don't play the game much in the future, or limit my play to PLO8 tournaments.

Steve Badger has no books available for purchase, but posts all of his strategies online free for all. He has a very good grasp of split games, and Omaha games, IMO. He is a southern California player, so some of his strategies need to be adjusted (sometimes we need to lure in our competition, not bet him out of the pot. As a player in southern CA, he knows they will never fold, but will call and raise pot-sized bets, so he prefers betting right out). In general, though, I think he has the most winning strategy available, especially for online play, since that is where my experience comes from.

Here is his strategy for "good" games. Tell me what you think.

Here is his strategy for high only. I don't think I would be as successful in that game, but who knows! I have read the strategy and it seems sound, yet I do not have any real experience.

I have played on Stars, FTP and UB. I feel the games at UB to be the best overall (at the micro-limit levels). Although the max buy-in is smaller, and that is a handicap, the players are much more loose with that buy-in, and go all-in more often. I also like the 10-handed table versus 9-handed. I usually prefer a smaller table in other games, including O8, but in pot-limit, I feel that my hand is strengthened by adding an additional player, and I feel I get paid out more, overall, with that tenth man in the hand. The games seem to stay better, longer, too. So that is a consideration. FTP plays pretty slowly. I wouldn't suggest single tabling there, but probably some good money could be made multi-tabling, because the games seem to stay good for a decent amount of time.

One thing that I enjoy in PLO8 is limping into many pots. Not only does it give me a bigger view on the kind of hands that will build a big pot for me later, but it gives me more experience playing in a variety of situations. In LO8, that is never a factor, we simply must play tight all of the time. Dumping a hand early post-flop is nothing new for me. I don't have a problem with it, I have gotten used to it in limit games, and I never have a need to "chase" after a pot that I have put little equity into. It's not my style, and I know it's not correct strategy.

Passive overcalling and trying to trap opponents is second nature to me. Having started my poker journey playing 1-5 Stud, that is all I ever did. I got used to a certain style, a flair, and going back to that is like coming home after a long, dangerous journey, lol ;)

When I flop or turn a hand that is a favorite to scoop or 3/4th, I can see it clearly. It is a matter of just a little experience (nothing like the years you need in Stud games). In those cases, I usually want the pot big, early. That is not the most common scenario. Most of the time I try to keep the pot small early. The biggest mistake that I see in these micro-blind games is opponents who try to make the pot huge with a hand that is sure to be beat by the river, or split, at best. He is risking everything to get his money back or less.

PLO8 is more about luring them in, trapping them with a made hand, rather than a drawing hand. Suck them in, don't bet them out, most of the time the only calls you will get will be people you don't want in there, not the people you desperately want to keep, like the 2nd nut draws.

The worst feeling, the most gut wrenching, is when you are quartered or scooped yourself. Avoiding this isn't nearly as hard to do as it is in LO8. It is a matter of paying attention and some experience. Not a lot of experience. Not a lifetime, like Stud and HE games, but more just getting used to the type of hands that a player will play to scoop you, and who that player is. If you mutli-table, I would expect this to happen more often to you. If you stick to one table (just one more reason that PLO8 usually isn't a "good" game), you will avoid being scooped pretty successfully. Obviously, sometimes it's unavoidable, and those aren't the times I'm speaking of.

In conclusion, I will repeat that cash game PLO8 isn't for me. Since I took so long to finish this post (chemo is hell), I have already started my experiment with tournament PLO8. I have only one under my belt, but I can already see that it will be a profitable venture and much more interesting than cash games. I made some sure mistakes, but that is predictable.

I maintain that the type of player that will mostly likely be successful at cash game PLO8 is a player who has a ton of patience, can table hop quickly, does not mind site-hopping as well, does not get frustrated playing at a table for sometimes only five minutes (due to table conditions), does not tilt, does not chase, and can adjust to a variety of conditions. He will be able to look at his hand versus the texture of the flop, and know when to continue on, trap, bet the pot, raise, or get out of the hand completely. It sound like a complex skill set, but in reality, this guy has to be a rockish, patient grinder, who can exercise good table selection.

I hope you have enjoyed my research, and I'll leave you with a list I created in order to help me at the cash game tables.

1) Play more flops than LO8

2) Release more hands after flop

3) Be prepared to release current nuts on occasion

4) Ask "what hand do I want to make?"

5) Try to win big pots, not small pots

6) Don't get scooped

Felicia :)