Friday, July 07, 2006

Off to Orleans, Round Two

Sorry I didn't get to any more posts yesterday. My fingers just gave out (ask Glenn, lol).

A good friend, John Cernuto made the FT of the Stud WSOP event. Go John! If I get some free time, I might go over and sweat him there. I doubt the crowds will be as overwhelming at the Stud FT, they never are. Too bad more people don't see the beauty and poetry in this game.

Congrats to Shirley Rosario for making it through another round of chemo and coming to play the 5k O8 event. No matter that she didn't make the money, the morale victory is worth millions more!

Anyway, we're off again to Vegas and the Orleans O8 and Stud events.

I hope to see all of my old and new friends there. If I don't remember you from years past, cut me some slack and remember I got a free lobotomy with chemo!

Felicia :)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

More Thoughts on Las Vegas

Sometimes when I write something, I cringe the next day when I read it again. It doesn't come across the way I intended, or it sounds odd to me, reading it with a fresh perspective.

In a way, that is how I feel about yesterday's post.

First of all, being friends with people like Barry and Ted is not something to "brag" about. Five years ago these people weren't considered stars or heroes, they were called scumbags and degenerates. Not much has really changed, except the public's perception of full-time players.

When I watch the insanity at Rio, I always have this moment of 'what are these people doing here?' thoughts. I usually end up asking someone in the crowd, "Why is everyone gaping? Who is the attraction?" My first thought is that someone like Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts must be playing, to get that much attention. I never think that these people could possibly be railing real poker players! It seems incredulous to me.

I hate to compare it to this, but it is sort of like people gathering in masses to go to a maximum security prison and take pics of serial killers or something. Shake their hands, get autographs, gape at them. It's dirty to me. I don't think of them as stars, I think of them as scrappers and survivors in a world where they were considered scum just a few years ago.

So maybe that is why I'm accepted by them, and hang out with them. I was there before all of the insanity we see today. Plus I don't ask for anything. I am just their friend, in good times and bad.

Also, although I tend to talk about it more on my journal than anyplace else, I rarely talk about it in person. I remember earlier this year someone I've played Stud with for years was talking to me about how he'd love to meet Barry and get his perspective on Stud theory. I told him if I saw him walk in, I'd introduce him. He said, "I've played Stud with you for years! You never told me you know Barry!" I never even thought about it.

Usually people sitting around playing cash games for years aren't interested in the 4/8k players, anyway, even if I wanted to "brag" about my friendships.

So anyway, I think I botched up things yesterday. I was just so happy to see everyone, that it came across in a way I never intended.

For me, these friendships are something I cherish. A community where I truly belong.

And it has nothing to do with the player, either.

One of the first people I saw going into the Orleans on Monday was a guy who worked the floor on our Cardplayer cruise back in December. He did a good job from what I recall. He looks and acts professionally. He was wearing a white shirt, but obviously wasn't needed for the day's tourney. He came over and we started talking. He had been hired for the floor at Rio, but after three days of unimaginable hell, he quit. He came over to Orleans instead, and was much happier there, it seemed.

I also saw a woman I know from Laughlin, who decided to go pro in Vegas and has been keeping her head above water playing middle limit, mostly O8 games.

Then I saw a guy I couldn't even recall from the first time we met. He is mostly a lurker on 2+2 and we also played in cash games last year at Rio. I was crushed that I couldn't even remember meeting him years ago. It is completely gone from my memory altogether. But he is a cool guy and understood.

I saw Jody, a TD I first met when he covered my area of the WSOP Stud event a few years back. He simply stood and looked at me in shock. He couldn't believe that I wasn't the "aging albino" anymore. He said I looked horrible on the CP Cruise and that now I looked like the living again. He is a nut. He is very straight forward like me, and I respect that. He's also a goofball and I know I can say anything to him without him whining or taking it literally.

Most of the floormen from Orleans remember me as a writer. Because of the WPPA debacle. They knew I made a deal in the Stud and second O8 tourney at Orleans, but didn't recall that I was a player first, and only did writing as a favor for Louis. Ouch. That should tell me something ;)

They were awesome, and Chris even made sure I had a buffet comp as well as Glenn when the dinner break came around. Chris went further out of his way to try to find a room for us. At the time, it was the eve of the 4th, and the rooms were suites starting at $250. The Open had no more rooms available at the cut rate of $50. So we were stuck, thinking we'd have to go back to downtown like last year and get in somewhere like Golden Gate. It wasn't a rosy thought, since Glenn was expected to play until 3am, and I'd been up since 5:30am the previous day.

In the end, Chris came running over and said they'd just opened up a block of Open rooms, due to last minute cancellations. I ran to a house phone in the hall and was able to get one at $50, on a holiday!

They went above and beyond the call of duty, even though the floor gets nothing from the 3% that the dealers receive out of the buy-ins. They get nothing, and don't expect anything but a hearty "thank you" when we cash. They don't even put out a tip jar for the floor. I always tip them separately when I cash.

I could go on and on, but my point is that it's not just the "name" players who deserve my friendship and respect, it is all the people in the tourney world who go above and beyond the call of duty just out of friendship and the tight circle of protection that we need in poker.

These friendships are very important to me, and I cultivate them.

Please come back for more posts about Glenn's tournament, Asher Derei and our Stud 8 cash game discussion, looking for backing, no sign of Party, Peter Brownstein, staff at Rio, more Rio FUBAR, Van Alstyne mess and anything more I can hack out.

Felicia :)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

WTF Was I Thinking?

It seems like every six months or so, I go through something that makes me wonder what I was thinking. The past two days really showed me what an idiot I am.

When we got to Las Vegas, it was clear when I ran into some people who appreciate me and want to be with me.

Orleans was attracting some of the 2nd tier pros. Those who usually have backers, but not big sponsorship. Those who have had some big successes, but not enough of them. Those who haven't scored big lately, etc.

Mostly, these people are no different than those at the very top. Sometimes they simply have horrible money management, or leaks like craps. Other times they can succeed at tourneys, but not cash games.

The main point is, these are the type of people I obviously belong with (tourney pros). Whether they be first tier, second or someone like me (no tier, lol), who cannot succeed at tournament poker, but is self-reliant and never begs for buy-ins.

Even Glenn got a big glimpse of this family atmosphere when he played the NLHE rebuy event and cashed! He played against the same guys for hours, and got to know them. They came up to him the next day, told him what an awesome player he was, how impressed they were (since he is really a cash game player), how great it was to meet him, etc.

Top tourney pros protect their own. They become friends and family with like-minded individuals, and they will go to great lengths to embrace others who travel the circuit, and protect them from harm. They make other serious players feel welcome and included.

Glenn said he now knows for certain how I feel about the friends I have made in the past three years, and why I embrace those friendships and work hard to keep them. He said he hasn't felt so included in a long, long time.

Yesterday after I busted out of the O8 event, we ran over to Rio really fast, for just that purpose. I needed to see the top tier, to make sure they were all doing well (in life). To see the very people who inspire me, protect me and want to be with me. Boy, did I get an overdose!

I saw just about everyone that I wanted to see. Most of them in a rush to get back from dinner or take a pee break. I never try to hold them up, but just shoo them on their way.

Max was talking with Todd Brunson, whom I am not friends with, but only know by sight on the tourney circuit. Max quickly invited us into the discussion. Max and Todd were both out, so they were going to Todd's house for dinner. Todd seemed like a great guy, very genuine. Max was delighted with the number of e-mails and encouragement he has gotten this year from my readers. Go readers!

Barry was on his cell phone, so I'm not going to stick around for that to end (ugh). He gave me a big hug and continued on his way.

John always cracks me up. He ran into me in the hall and said, "Hey, I know YOU!" we shook hands and he invited me to some party in the FTP suite. He said to go in, he was going to hit the bathroom. Glenn and I tried to go in, but they wouldn't let us. I told them John was headed to the bathroom and told us to go in. The host said, "John who?" I said "Juanda." He asked, "Who is that?" Wow, they must just hire people off the street. We waited for John. He came back and tried to get us in, but found out that the party was only for employees and pros at FTP, so he said he wanted us to come to a different party. He apologized profusely that they wouldn't let us in. It was no biggie, I was only going in because he asked me to do it. He is such a sweet guy, it's hard to say no to him.

I was talking to James Van Alstyne as he came back from dinner about the FUBAR that Rio pulled on him last week (that is a whole other post), when Marcel came rushing up and started hugging and kissing me. He told me about an article he'd written recently, and asked me how I was doing, said I looked good, etc. Just as I was shooing them both off to get back to the tables, John Cernuto came running up, skinny as a whip already. He was grinning ear-to-ear. Look at John! Way to go! I made sure he was keeping healthy, drinking his protein shakes every day, and we just smiled until our faces ached talking about how well everything is going for both of us. He seems so glad that he got gastric bypass, and looks really good.

David Levi was playing a satellite, and a friend was sweating him. I asked the friend if he knew David (he was standing in between two players so I wasn't sure at first who he was sweating). He said David. I asked him if he gave David a kiss. He said he always kisses David. I asked David if he would rather have a kiss from his male friend, or me. David did his usual flirt and said, "Oh, always you baby, always you!" Or something along those lines.

I met the friend and even hugged him for telling me how great David and Asher were in the Israeli army, and how he admired them so much.

I ran into Asher in the hallway and we had a long discussion that should also be a separate post.

Mel Judah and I talked about how well the Orleans was doing, and Shirley. He was so bummed out about Shirley, but I was happy to read that she is bouncing back. She is so much stronger than I am. Go Shirley!

Mel said that so many pros need sponsorship now. It just won't work if they don't get some, due to the huge fields, etc. It's so tough to make a big score these days. Mel said he'd just signed on with Doyle's Room, as did Max.

I didn't see one of my best friends, although I looked for him (he'd probably already busted out, but the crowd at the rail was so thick that I couldn't tell for sure). Mrs. Ted Forrest will be very sad to hear that I didn't get to talk to him yesterday.

I virtually tackled Jan and Katja in the hallway. I have been "missing" them for two years. We just never seem to find each other. I was the typical rude, obnoxious, blunt American and forced them to stop and talk to me, lol. Then again, they are Germans, so they are known for that behavior, too! ;)

Jan was way skinnier, younger and good looking than his pics. Katja was supermodel gorgeous (to me). I love that look in women. Classy and elegant, almost aristocratic. Not the little gidget type, or girl next door blonde beach type. She is really going places. A TV show in Germany (poker), a gig with Poker Stars, the sky is the limit. She said she is running badly so far at the WSOP, but I told her things would turn around. I told her that we Americans say that the cream rises to the top, and she is the cream. They were both fabulous.

Speaking of running bad, that is the topic of my next post about our Vegas trip, I'm sure.

The one constant theme with a lot of my friends is that they are running bad, running out of money, running out of steam and need sponsorship to keep playing. I was so, unbelievably hurt for them. Poker is changing. No longer is the top pro making a score out of every 50 tourneys or so. It's more like 500 these days, due to the fields literally going up 1000%.

To every one of them, I said that brighter days are ahead, sponsorship is coming, a big score is coming, things will turn around. These people are just way too good to stay down for very long. I don't back losers, and the losers aren't my friends. These people are not only top players, but fantastic people as a whole, and they have a proven record of winning. It just takes some serious adjustment and an inflow of cash for things these days.

My day was absolutely fabulous. I was reminded once again that I belong with certain people, and not others. Wasting my time wondering what losers think, responding to posts and e-mails by people who would like nothing more than to drag me down, worrying about threats and people ripping on me or Glenn on the frigging Internet for god's sake is just a waste of my time and mind. It drives me insane, and that is not where I belong. I need to support the winners in my life, not the losers who think that 72o is cute and needs to be shoved in every other hand for a full buy-in, so they can post a screen shot and laugh it up as they devour their Nteenth beer.

I should not be explaining myself, or my position to these people. These people can't even see the forest for the trees and have no business taking up my time.

The people who are worthy of my time and spirit are the ones who are running up to me, screaming in happiness to see me and giving me a big bear hug. They are the ones who know I am genuine and sincere. They understand I am blunt and extremely candid and don't care. They don't care because they are somewhat the same, plus they are solid, self assured people, not whiners and losers.

They do not take my posts out of context and proceed to rip me apart on the Internet. They don't follow behind me and flame my comments when I'm trying to help out a new player. They don't make up stories about me or write me hate mail. They are happy to have my company and see me doing well, as I am them. They are my lifeline and have been extremely supportive of me over the years.

When I say I "love" certain people in poker, I truly mean it. And the word love is extremely difficult for me to use. It seems so overused and so shallow, because people say it all the time and then stab the person in the back the next day for a buck. So I tend not to use it.

But the truth is, I do love some of these people very much. They appreciate my friendship, unlike the many wannabe's on the Internet who simply love to flame, troll and trash me. Why I ever gave them five minutes of my time is beyond me. What I do know is that I'm going to severely cut my reading list, my links and my help to those monkeys on my back. I have said it before, and I meant it then, but I keep trying to take on one or two losers who never even appreciate my help and advice. They have no chance. They are a dead end and simply suck the life out of me. I feel like poor Ted now, always backing losers, lol. Unfortunately, Ted does it with money, I only do it with time.

I will start once again to focus on the winners in my life and cut out the losers. I make no promises, because it is obvious that I've broken them several times. Oddly enough, I only seem to have this trouble on the Internet, not in real life. I can banish the albatross in real life so easily. I'm so unbelievably rude, that he walks away and never even tries to return. But on the Internet? I don't know, it's like they keep coming. They keep trying to weigh me down. They don't appreciate me. They don't like, respect or listen to me. They make promises, but in the end, they just do what they wanted to do all along (lose their money, mostly). So why should I constantly be spending my time on them? It's insane.

Didn't someone say that in Chinese the definition of insanity was to do the same thing over and over again, yet expect different results? If that is true, then I am insane. I keep nursing along these little, fledgling players who have no intention of becoming serious players, and every time, it leads to heartache.

So let's see what will come in time.

For right now, Orleans is rocking the house. The rep that Rio has right now has gotten out, and a ton of players who would normally be there are showing up at Orleans every day instead. The O8 field was over 500 yesterday!!! They ran out of dealers. Every dealer was in the tournament, closing all of the sats and cash games. Every floorman was dealing, leaving only Brian to work the floor in a huge field. They were one table from putting Glenn in a white shirt (he can still deal legally in Nevada).


Not only that, but they cut the rake from last year, charge about 50% of the sat rake that Rio is charging, have a better structure than the WSOP, give out $5 comps when you sign up, and give a full, free dinner buffet if you are still in at the dinner break (worth $15-20 depending on the night).

There are tons of problems with Orleans. I am not a big fan of theirs. I have problems with their rules and definite problems with Brian (although the rest of the staff was fabulous). I have never really been on their side in any major conflict that they have had. I think they pretty much suck. But I have to give them credit. They are running a fantastic event. No complaints other than the rules were not available for players upon request, and they decided to change the first hour structure of the second chance event without prior notification.

I was super impressed. I have to give them that. I'll be back on Friday, already have reservations.

Anyway, links and more stories from the Vegas trip to follow. I'm beat!

Felicia :)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Off to Vegas

Looks like Orleans has been an overwhelming success so far. I called yesterday and Marlin said something like 451 for the first event, over 300 had registered so far for the LHE event. He also said so far they had stuck to the structure. I heard that some people were whining about the "slow structure," and being "forced to play so long," lol.

I think I'll take it, thank you very much.

So Glenn wants to try for a sat this morning. It's a $200 NLHE rebuy event. We're headed up early so he can get into a sat or two and try to win his entry plus rebuy.

Tomorrow is the first O8 event. I'll probably play cash games to win my entry, unless the juice on the O8 sats is a good deal.

Marlin said they've had Razz cash games 24/7, so that should be fun.

Max cashed at 21st yesterday. Some incredible beats put him more in the middle of the pack early on, and he fought his way to stay alive all afternoon. He finally went out with KK vs. A3 or some such garbage.

Another Two Plus Twoer made another final table. She is upholding our record of one Two Plus Twoer at every final table so far. Go US! She also kind of looks like me, so I'll probably get a lot of inquiries about it. NO, it's not me! I'll stick with the low-rollers at Orleans, tyvm. I just don't have what it takes for these big, NLHE events. And even worse, I don't have the ambition or drive. No matter how much I push myself to play Hold'em, and no matter how well I do in an individual session, I just don't like it. Ugh, I really missed the boat.

Oh, well. Off to Orleans and the pit of hell. Talk to you in a few days!

Felicia :)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Glenn Bagrowski: Future WSOP Superstar

Mike O'Malley took care of everything.

Now I can cheerlead Glenn from the rail.

Go Glenn! Here is your next poker superstar, Glenn Bagrowski!

Chipleader: Max Pescatori

Looks like my buddy Max Pescatori is in the chip lead of the 2k NLHE event going on at Rio.

Go Max!

Anyone who feels like it, send him a good luck e-mail. I know he is thrilled to receive mail, and if anyone deserves it for the above and beyond heroism last year for Charlie Tuttle, he is Max.

Max is definitely the bridemaid of the WSOP. So many cashes, so many final tables, no bracelet yet. But this could be his year! He is ranked one of the best professional tournament players in the world, yet barely gets any press at all! Kind of the Ted Forrest of world class players (until 2004, that is. Go Ted!). If I could pick just one player in the entire world who deserves a bracelet and some real recognition, he would be Max Pescatori! This is the year, Donkey Kong. Go get 'em.

We might head up to Vegas early in order to sweat Max. Since today is a 3k LHE event, I'm hoping/wishing/praying it won't be so mobbed. And also that Rio has my press pass.

For the many things Max has done for me over the past two years, I'll be there if he wants me, no matter what!

Felicia :)