Friday, February 17, 2006

Poker Potpourrie

Yesterday and today there were some subjects I wanted to discuss, but none of them strong enough for me to actually do more than a bullet list of topics.

Today I'll try to write something, but I still don't feel any overwhelming need to post. I suppose I'm very lucky in the fact that I can just hack out things, without much thought, and without going back time and again to edit. I don't change my mind much, I just grind it out. I feel bad for those writers who are never satisfied with their work, and constantly revise their posts. That would drive me nuts.

Of course, many claim I'm not a "real" writer, and bash me on different sites, but the fact remains that I have never claimed to be one in the first place! That always cracks me up. Someone bashes me for something I have admitted myself so many times.

The type of hate mail I get usually goes something like this:

"I hate you. I think you are such a bit*h. You can't write. You suck. Burn in hell."

I start laughing and think to myself, "And when did I ever claim any of the above?" Usually my hate mail fans are preaching to the choir, lol ;)
Yesterday on Two Plus Two, someone posed a question that I've posed in person, and on my journal, many times in my life. I had no idea it was such a common phenomenon. Boy, once I did some research, I found out that I am even more of a minority than I thought I was!

The discussion involved a very popular fallacy among humanity. The Bystander Effect. This is when someone is in danger, or being attacked, and no one does anything about it. A mob of people will watch a woman getting attacked, raped and killed, and just stand there, no one willing to go out on a limb to save her. Later they will claim all sorts of odd occurrences in their police statement. These things range from, "I thought she was enjoying it. She seemed to want it," all the way to, "I figured someone else would step in, I didn't want to get involved."

Here is the link to this common phenomenon:

Here was my post:

The first time I noticed that I was really, really different from other people was in high school when we had some cop come to our driver's ed. class and give a presentation. Besides all of the driving stuff, he kind of talked to us about self defense, especially women alone in a bad situation. He told us that if we were ever threatened or attacked, we should yell, "Fire!" as loud as possible, over and over again. He said we should never yell for help, that no one would come if we yelled for help, but all of the rubberneckers would come out of the woodwork if we yelled, "Fire!"

I thought that was the most f-d up thing I'd ever heard, and that he was out of his mind. I thought about the times I'd come and intervened when someone yelled for help and thought he was crazy.

I found out rather quickly that he was right. Still in high school, I would go to parties that spiraled out of control with no adult supervision and lots of beer. Two testosterone driven guys would somehow get into an altercation. One hundred or more of my classmates would simply stand and gawk while the situation got violent.

Sometimes there would be several guys beating up on one guy. Would anyone come to the rescue of this unfair fight? Not one of the big football jocks, that is for sure. No, it was me, always me, breaking up these unfair fights.

Life moved on, and in the 18 years since then, I've always been the person who will acknowledge that someone needs help.

Humanity (or the lack of) sucks. I don't buy their trumped up excuses, and your shark story just drives this point home.

How I managed to marry one of these guys is beyond me. Glenn explained to me one day why he just never "sees" or "hears" pleas for help. He tried to give me some crazy story about being in shock, and how his mind "shuts down" when he is in a dangerous or confrontational situation (even if he is not the one directly in danger).

I could give you a dozen examples over the past ten years where I was directly or indirectly threatened by strangers, while Glenn stood and did nothing.

Just a month or so ago, we were at Sunset Station playing a small buy-in NLHE game. The dealer was telling me why she thinks Mandalay Bay is the best cardroom in town, and what is our opinion. I gave her my true opinion and suddenly out of nowhere this guy in a wheelchair starts going off on me, accusing me of lying and yelling at me about how "stupid" I am. Glenn just sat there, once again.

Later, he claimed he "never heard a word."
I have been especially hard on Glenn in the past for this, but doing further research yesterday, I found out that he is actually a huge majority. I'm the minority.

It has been proven that literally hundreds of people will watch a murder/rape/attack in progress, and NOT EVEN ONE of them will do anything about it. This includes such passive support as simply calling the police. The excuses are outstanding. I was horribly appalled when I read what some of them said in their subsequent follow-up police reports.

All of this, of course, goes back to the whole Kumbaya thing I'm always ranting and raving about. The persistence of society to think that everything is wonderful, happy, Kumbaya, hand holding PC. If we just deny that there is something wrong, if we just look the other way, then the world is perfect, right? LOL :)

So, anyway, once again I'm a huge minority. Go figure!
Last week I was so worked up and angry over my hesitation in posting about issues that needed attention. I was also mad about that albatross hanging on me, and that I'd taken so long to shake it from my life.

So it was a coincidence that I just happened to run into Mason up at the Wynn when we decided to go up at the last minute. Seeing his face, clearly happy to have run into us, made the break all the more sweet.

Not one minute in the 48 hours we spent up in Vegas did I feel that I made the wrong move, or let someone down. Instead, I felt this incredible weight being lifted, with no regrets.

I felt that I would probably have a lot of hate mail when I got home, but I didn't. Not one piece of hate mail, not one angry IM from Yahoo. Not one phone call, not one flame on another journal. Either people saw this coming, and I was the last to acknowledge it, or people simply don't care anymore, what course I take in my life.

For all of you who didn't flame me this time, I thank you.
Glenn and I were at the gas station the other day when I happened to be flipping through a Cardplayer we threw in the car at some point. I saw an ad for The Bike. Next month they have a big festival, and I would like to take Glenn there to show him the place, and play in some of the juicy cash games.

I brought it up to him, figuring he'd give me one of his million little patent excuses of why we shouldn't go, but to my surprise and delight, he agreed immediately. Maybe he is feening for good, LA games just as much as I am!

So hopefully my health will continue to improve and things will keep along this upward trend in our lives, and we will spend a few days at The Bike in March.

I continue to run well at O8. It seems easier than ever to nut peddle online. The games aren't any better than last year, if anything, they are even worse on Stars, but for whatever reason, I always seem to have the best starting and ending hand, whether I play LO8 or PLO8. I've even been playing some PLO at Stars, and things have gone well. No big wins, no $1000 hands to speak of, just a slow, grinding, rock-tight, nutpeddling upward trend.

Hope you are having a good run as well!

Felicia :)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Cardrooms of the Future? (Part II)

Having just spent three hours at the doctors office followed by welfare Walmart hell, I'm ready to work on the next part of my theory.

Tanya seems to think I put a pessimistic spin on things. I was trying to show the polar extremes of cardrooms. From the very worst stereotype (abusive patrons) to the polar opposite (passive dealers). I was actually GOING for extremes. All of us know that most people in cardrooms are in the middle (even ME!). Just relatively normal, poker loving human beings who enjoy a good game and some conversation.

But she is right about one thing, and so are many of you who regularly grumble about my personality either privately or on your own blog. I am crabby and irritable. I have a doctor who thinks experimenting with my hormone prescription following chemotherapy is cute, and wants to use me as his own, human guinea pig. My progesterone shot has gone from 150 mgs. down to 75, and now back up to 105. At first, today, he was going to give me 150 again, doubling my current prescription, until I went completely ballistic and said that doubling it would probably not be the brightest idea possible.

I'm telling you, rural Arizona isn't filled with the sharpest tools in the shed. I swear these guys got their medical degrees from some mail order catalog in Idaho. You know how every university class must have the highest echelon of graduates, and then you wonder to yourself, "but what about the BOTTOM 10%? What happened to them?" Well, I'll tell you what happened to them. They all came to ARIZONA to "practice" their medieval brand of medicine on rural, unsuspecting guinea pigs, that is where they are at! I'm thinking that I'm going to get all further medical care in Calfifornia. I just can't see letting this continue.

So if I've been rude, mean, irritable, crabby, abusive and uncontrollable lately...well, blame it on...ME, lol. This is normal, the progesterone just renders me bearable ;)

And now that I have the shot to keep me spayed for another three months? Well, I am limping around babying my left hip, but at least within 24 hours I should be almost human again.

Now, where were we? Ah, yeah, Tanya. The girl has seen the dark side of the moon and still wants to sing Kumbaya and hold hands. Fuggitaboutit! Joking, I actually like her a lot, even if she is way more PC than I could ever be. Scary thing is, she might end up dead in the desert before I do. I think people hate big winners even more than they hate someone who is constantly ranting, like me!
Thanks for all of the comments, and I have to say, the person who parallels my own visions of live poker's future most is Peter.

"We've already got the electronic roulette (quite popular at Harrah's I recall), so I would imagine that the electronic poker will follow. I suspect that competition will also lead the rake to be lower than is charged for B&M."

I think the difference between this machine making it, and this machine bombing, is the fact of the rake. I really don't think, in the end, the other factors are as important.

"B&M games will survive, but the No Limit boom will fizzle. I don't see stud making a comeback, but the electronic aspect makes triple draw or Badougi possible "next big things" (or maybe Horse?)"

I have said this many times. But what actually gets me excited (and it takes a lot to get me excited these days, now that I've discovered the joys of cunnilingus), is the fact that games like Stud, Pot-Limit Omaha 8, Badugi, TDL, etc, can be RE-discovered in live cardrooms with much more frequency. Getting in virtually the same amount of hands per hour in a mixed game as one would in HE could be a boom to these "dying" games.

"Within 10 years the number of poker rooms in LV will have halved. Tournaments will continue, despite the ridiculous juice, because most live tournament players do not know any better (they are just there for the "fun", so whether they lose $15 to the house and $50 to other players or lose $5 to the house and $60 to other players makes no odds)."

Ah, words taken out of my own mouth...

Okay, so now that I have established for the 5,932 time that I tend to mesh well with Brits and they are my kind of people (except for their strange, twisted fascination with The Smiths and getting run over by a double decker bus), I can finish my thought on the future of live cardrooms.

First off, these tables would solve some problems in cardrooms.

1) The chairs could be permanently attached to the base of these tables with relative ease, thus preventing the table hog from taking up two spaces.

2) The increase of hands 50-60% per hour will more than make up for the reduced rake.

3) The machine will eliminate dealer abuse.

4) The machine will eliminate dealer error, player error, rake error, slow rolling, angleshooting, cheating (not via collusion), floor decision error and a myriad of other problems.

Are there negatives? Well, of course there are!

1) The screens are obviously going to have to be improved so that only the individual player can see what is on his screen, not his neighbors nor railbirds.

2) Tips for poker room personnel will be significantly reduced.

3) Collusion could be harder to detect and expose.

4) Initial investment would make the patron saint of cardroom managers have a coronary.

There are many more in each category that I could talk about. Obviously maintenance could turn out to be a monstrous problem. I am assuming that in ten years, the machines will be stable. I am also assuming that in ten years, most poker players will be more comfortable with "electronic" gaming and not be as concerned about the feel of the felt, cards and chips in their hands.

The personal part of a live poker game with all of its camaraderie and sociology, would adjust to the lack of a dealer at the table, and having random floor people walking the room all of the time. I have no doubt that if I can adjust, so can everyone (since I've often ranted and raved about how I hate online poker, and I can still see myself playing this game in a live setting).

A big problem that I can foresee is the one of player-on-player abuse. This would have to be addressed seriously, if these machines are to be successful.

The odd thing about my support of these machines is that when they were first discussed, I was dead set against them. Not only because it was "more like online poker," but because dealers would be forced to find other employment, and that saddened me.

Most dealers are great people. Unfortunately, they are also usually passive people, who let others run over them. They try to justify it by constantly quoting their bottom line, and how it hurts their bottom line to stand up for themselves. Some have told me in the past that it is not their "responsibility" to stand up for themselves when they are abused by players, that it is the responsibility of the OTHER players at the table to "protect" them. This is absurd, too, of course. I think cardrooms are simply going to have to post, then enforce the rules. No dealer abuse, period. This should spill over into no player-on-player abuse also, obviously.

So in conclusion, I think my outlook for the future of live poker rooms is a good one. At least, in my opinion it is. I think the good, patient, bright players will benefit from many more hands per hour in both live games and tourneys.

Whereas once I looked upon the invent of these machines with horror, and announced my own poker demise if such machines ever graced our casinos, now I am trying to see both sides of the coin. Until I actually experience one of them, I cannot say with any certainty, but the future doesn't seem quite as glum to me as it did, and perhaps, even in my most idealistic dreams, live poker will benefit and be the better for it!

How is that for optimism, Tanya?

Felicia :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cardrooms of the Future?

Having spent four days and nights in the mass of confusion called Commerce Casino, followed by seven days and nights in the pits of LLHE hell called the Princess Sapphire, I started thinking about what cardrooms of the future would resemble.

I used to think that the poker boom cleaned up poker. I was naive. Yes, to an extent the poker world has been sanitized. I hardly ever sit down in a cardroom and see players hitting dealers anymore. In fact, the last time I saw this was at the Four Queens during the Four Queens Classic in 2004. A player got upset at the dealer and stood up and decked him. The dealer, in turn, stood up, picked up his chair, and hit the player with the chair. I got to play against this lovely guys wife at Commerce last month. Nice lady, poor thing.

The last time I saw a player burn a dealer with his lit cigarette was at Boulder Station on NYE in 2003, I believe. Smoking has mostly been banned from cardrooms, so that form of abuse is null and void due to lack of availability rather than reformed players.

Dealer abuse to the extent of the horrors of 1950-2000 has mostly been abolished. The players, however, aren't any different. They didn't go to special clinics in order to learn how to behave like proper adult human beings. They were just cut off from their ability to abuse. I'm sure when they go home to their wives (most of them don't have wives, but I'll still use it for the sake of illustration), the wives will bear the brunt of their abuse. If their wives have gotten smart and left them, their dogs must bear their abuse.

So while poker ROOMS have cleaned up somewhat, the scum of the poker world still exists. Their abuse has just gone underground somewhat.

As 2002 turned into 2003, poker rooms started attracting younger and younger players. Since the explosion of poker, the chief demographic of a stereotypical poker player is the young, 18-26 year old guy. Cocky attitude, ballcap pulled down over his eyes or turned around if he is "running good," earbuds stuck in his ears (but player turned so loud that those around him can still hear the thundering rap music), folded Cardplayer magazine in his huge, sagging back pockets of the jeans he has to pull up every 15 seconds or they fall to his knees, dark sunglasses, athletic team shirt, untied shoes, and ghetto strut that looks like he has one short leg. The smirk on his face indicates clearly that he thinks he is above the rest of the serious poker playing community.

The Wynn is rife with these guys. They used to frequent Bellagio in droves, but now Wynn is the place to be.

Sitting next to them can be a challenge. If a seat opens, they typically spread their body over the space just vacated, so that the new player is forced to ask them "permission" to sit down. They like this kind of dominance over the table. If the dealer has to request the tool to square the table, he usually argues vehemently in order to protect his two spaces. A floorman inevitably comes over to require godboy to move and behave like an adult, or leave the cardroom. Acting put out, he will make an inch or two of space.

The act that these wannabes put on is a show in and of itself. They ponder every move. Not sure if they want to call the $2 limp, or raise to $4, lol. For thirty seconds they will look at their opponents, look back at their cards (no, they didn't magically change, idiot), sigh, look at their stack...

Inevitably, someone will say, "Look, hotstuff, the cameras recording you aren't going to be shown on ESPN!" The tool, instead of being embarrassed by his poor etiquette, usually picks a fight with someone or everyone at the table.
Okay, okay, I could go on with this all day. You know what I'm talking about. You've been there, you've seen it. In the past three years this has become the stereotypical "norm" at almost any game, any limit. The tools have worked their way up from 1/2 or 2/4 all the way to 400/800 (very few of them, but they are still there, and some play very well).

Poker has been taken over by these guys, god love 'em. The stereotype has changed from the grumpy, abusive old man to the 18-26 ghetto wannabe.

Along with the stereotype being changed, the form of abuse in the cardroom has been changed, too. I used to hear things like, "Oh, I don't believe in women in the poker room, but I can't do anything to get you kicked out, so I'll have to try to bust you instead. Hey guys, when she's in a hand, everyone stay in, so we can school her and take all of her chips and she will have to leave."

Now I hear things like, "Shi-, girls don't know how to play no poker, dayum! Dey be ugly dykes like you who can play poker. Shoulda been a guy, you so ugly and mannish! You must be hanging with Kathy Liebert."

To the older men, the abuse is more like, "Hey Grandpa, why don't you learn how to play? You old dinosaur, go to the rest home and leave poker to the real playas like me!"

To the dealers, these guys can be really brutal. They think that the dealer brought on every beat they take at the table, and they vocalize it. The dealers are usually too passive to say anything. For whatever reason, dealing seems to attract a passive, victimlike personality. They rarely stand up for themselves, and when asked why they tolerate abuse, they usually say something about wanting to protect their tokes, or that these tools are "good for the game" and their income. Complete BS, but that is what I typically hear.

All of this brings me to my point, the future of cardrooms. And that is a whopper which I've just recently formed a theory about.

But first, what is the theory that readers might have? When you think of poker rooms ten years down the line, what do you imagine? There is no wrong answer, btw. Unlike so many other blogs, I don't flame people for their opinions.

I'd like to hear what you have to say. I already know my answer, and it will be provided later today, with links that I've found recently and topics that have been discussed on Two Plus Two.

Comments on!

Felicia :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Fabulous Ogden House!

We decided to head up to Vegas for our pre-anniversary (our anniversary is actually today, total coincidence that it is also V-day).

Played some 10/20 O8 at Wynn. Unfortunately, the word has gotten out, and the game is no longer profitable for nutpeddlers like me. I was unsuccessful in getting the mixed game going, too.

When we first started playing at Wynn, I thought the dealers were the best in town. Slowly they have slacked off. I don't know if the best of the lot are taking positions elsewhere, or if the management is simply slowly letting them drift. There were a few dealers over the course of Saturday and Sunday who made mistakes during every hand of their down. Disappointing :(

Orleans is the funniest room in Vegas, IMO. I always make money, but I hate playing there. I could write a book on the problems that I have seen at the Orleans. At any rate, here is a funny hand.

I was playing in the 1/2 blind NLHE game while waiting for my Omaha seat. Lots of limping pre-flop, so I start limping a lot, too, trying to make a big hand. I finally got my wish. I had QTs in MP. I limp along, probably 386 players see the flop ;)

The flop gives me a four flush. EP player comes firing out (he plays every hand, for any amount, and has gone all-in, losing his stack, three times in the ONE round I've been sitting at this game). Another MP player who had limped along calls, as do I.

The turn gives me a gutshot in addition to the four flush. Now the EP player goes all-in (he's only $50 behind), and the MP limper overcalls. I don't know enough about MP to speculate much about his hand. Sure, he could have a higher flush draw, but he could also have a myriad of other things. The game is so, unbelievably loose, and the stacks are so short, I can't really fold in this position. The pot already has about $200 in it by the time it gets to me (after the turn all-in by EP and overcall by MP). So I'm getting 5:1 on my 2:1 shot.

I get the gutshot and bet $50, vastly underbetting the pot, but creating a sidepot with the MP player. I was hoping that if he had anything, he would call the $50. I knew if he was on a draw that didn't get there (flush), he wouldn't call even $5, much less $50.

He folded without much hesitation, so I put him on a draw. I might have gotten lucky, who knows. EP showed 83o for a flopped two pair, lol, and lamented his bad luck all night, having lost his buy-in now four times.

I got called for the Omaha game just a hand or two later. I always forget how soft those NLHE games are.

So as for the rest of the trip, well, I was a loser. I didn't run well at O8 this time. And I made a terrible, rookie mistake that I warn everyone about.

Our first night at Wynn, I was just getting back into my groove of playing live O8. The table was pretty soft and I was waiting for a big hand (like all nut peddlers). Finally that big hand against two fish came around. I flopped a straight draw (to the nuts, like all peddlers). The turn gave me some more outs, I believe, but I can't remember right now. The river filled in my straight, but also made an ace high straight possible.

EP fish, who was the bettor, turned over his hand and I thought he said, "Ace high straight." I did see the ace, so my eyes just passed on to her hand. EP fish II turned over her hand and showed bottom set. I mucked my king high straight. Then I saw the chips being passed to HER! I asked what was going on, and was told that she showed the best hand, a set of sevens. I suppose the first fish must have said, "Ace high," not "Ace high straight."

I assumed, and that cost me a $300 pot. So who is the real fish?

I haven't done this in a long time, but it just goes to show me that even experienced players can make rookie mistakes. I hope my lesson helps someone else avoid this same situation.

I also played in the O8 tourney at Orleans just for fun. I didn't cash, but once again got down to the final three tables. Two big hands cost me the tourney. I believe I played both of them correctly, but since I rarely play tourneys these days, perhaps not. I'll have to ask Max about it when I see him again.

Speaking of Max, wow, can this guy play or what?!? I love being correct about a player. I told everyone that he was going to be the next greatest thing back in 2004, and look at what has happened to him since!

In other news, this trip we were unable to get a last minute room in Vegas. I scoured the web, but since there was some large convention in town (or so I was told), we couldn't find anything for Saturday night.

The El Cortez said they had an "overflow" property, and we took it. Now, I love downtown, but I knew this was a really, really crummy place. Probably the worst place I've ever stayed. Al said I should take a camera and get pics of the hotel. I forgot to bring it in, but I did take some pics of the exterior as we were leaving for the last time yesterday.

Put it this way, the "hotel" was so bad that it was adjacent to a smaller building which advertised, "Special half day rates, $19." Actually advertising prostitution. Funny. The hall we were in smelled so bad that from the moment we got off of the elevator, we held our breath until we made it to the room.

I'll try to post pics whenever we get our film developed (Glenn broke our two digital cams, lol). Since we barely ever take pictures of anything, it might be a year or two, haha!

Happy Valentines Day!

Felicia :)