Posts Tagged ‘Living Las Vegas’

July 5, 2012

Vegas Cops Cracking Down on Cheap Water Sales

Unlicensed Strip vendors face deportation, jail time

The man anxiously spies over the side of a pedestrian footbridge near Bally’s, searching for police officers patrolling the Strip on a blistering summer day.

He is a lookout for unlawful vendors selling bottles of water to hot and thirsty tourists. His cellphone rings constantly as his fellow street peddlers call for status updates on where police officers are. This time, it’s his jumpy business associate worried about police busting a nearby vendor.

“Calm down, man, I’m watching,” the man tells his business partner Monday.

He won’t give his name as he chats about his eight-year stint selling water bottles on Las Vegas Boulevard South and how he has been arrested three times in that period for doing business without a license. He said he can’t get a business license because Clark County government doesn’t view his operation as legitimate.

“We’re not selling drugs or ripping people off,” the man said. “I do it for a living to get food for the family.”

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November 11, 2011

Finding A Groove

Every “professional” poker player has some sort of a story as to how they found themselves with that job title. A lot of kids on the scene nowadays spent the majority of their free time in college grinding online and getting really good… so good that they didn’t see much point in getting a job working for somebody else, and naturally continued to grind after they left school. You hear about other people who had jobs they lost, and then turned to poker, a field that is always accepting new applicants without any need to update your resume or buy a tie for interviews. And there are those who had jobs, some good, but always unfulfilling compared to the allure of being your own boss and the thrill of using your wits to earn a cash payment every day on your own terms.

Life as a professional poker player has been a massive learning experience, of which the strategy and theory is only a small part of the process. You have to learn how to LIVE as a poker player …

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Posted by at 7:14 am

October 29, 2011

Margaritavillains

Life on the Low-Stakes Vegas Grind

margaritaville casino las vegasSometime during this year I decided I wanted to add more tournaments to my poker diet.  I’ve been a cash game grinder for my entire poker-playing career and don’t really have anything to speak of in regards to big tourney scores.  My “official” tourney resume is pretty weak.  That being said, I think every high-volume tournament pro wishes they crushed at cash games, and I think that every cash game grinder wants that feeling that only a tournament victory can bring: the combination of the big pay day combined with being the last man or woman standing at the end of the day (or day 2, 3, 4, what have you).  It very well could be my ego projecting my perceived thoughts onto the rest of the poker-playing community, but why would you not want to be well rounded in your profession and have multiple skill sets?

I’ve torched a lot of money being irresponsible … Vegas definitely has a way of seeping into any crack in your guard wall and blowing it wide open.

If you think that low stakes live poker games tend to be pretty soft, you should check out some of the tournament series that are running this month and next around Vegas.  You’ll see things that will make your head shake and leave you feeling good about the future of poker and its draw to the casual players.  However, these are tournaments we’re talking about, which means you’re a bit handcuffed in regards to how much manipulation of tourists you’ll be able to partake in compared to the cash games.  The structures for a lot of the events are pretty good, but variance is still a bitch.  I won’t go into detail about some of the ridiculous beats I’ve taken over the past week to send me on a walk of shame toward valet.  I’m gonna keep plugging away though with a healthy mix of the series, and cash games when there isn’t an event to my liking.

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Posted by at 1:24 pm

October 15, 2011

Winning then Losing

Tests of patience on the low-stakes Vegas grind

Hey, at least the Lions are winning.

We had high hopes coming into the 2011 football season but to see them run out to a beautiful 4-0 start is outstanding. And the Tigers are up too! As I write this they currently hold a 2-1 series advantage over the Yankees after stealing home field advantage in NYC. One more win and they advance to the next playoff round. Life is good these days for my hometown teams.

Little did I know that the hole would only grow bigger and deeper as the day went on, culminating with me somehow losing with KQ vs 55 after c-betting a K-6-4 flop. I booked a 4-figure loss and called it a day.

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Posted by at 5:27 am

October 8, 2011

Returning from Poker Hiatus

Going broke can have its benefits

I just got back from my first live poker session in I don’t know how long… almost two months I think. I took an extended hiatus from the game for a couple of reasons; a) my dad was in town for a while and we went sightseeing here in Vegas and in Los Angeles; and, more important, b) my finances just weren’t where they needed to be.

(The shorter version of that story is “I went broke.”)

I was making too many mistakes away from the felt and living a lifestyle that just wasn’t sustainable on my “salary”. I definitely wasn’t going super crazy or ballin’ out of control by any means. But similar to the way a small preflop error can compound on itself and become a large, costly session-killer, smaller mistakes away from the tables can quickly add up and drain a poker player’s bankroll. This shouldn’t be news to any poker player, but when you live in a city like Las Vegas and you like being social and experiencing what the city and life itself has to offer, you have to constantly check yourself.

I look down at 6s7s for my first live hand in two months. Forget that I’m in early position, I can’t help it… the suited connectedness was overpoweringly sexy.

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Posted by at 3:24 pm

September 26, 2011

It’s about to Be Illegal to Phone/Text while Driving in Nevada

Pokerati says: k

A new California-like law goes into effect next week in Nevada, making it illegal to text-and-drive, as well as use handheld devices for verbal and non-verbal communications. While it’s not clear to me if truckers got a carveout for CB usage nor where non-verbal communication via middle finger might fall … @JessWelman will likely be disappointed to learn the ban applies at stop signs and stop lights, too (“intelligent multitasking” notwithstanding).

The imminent talk-and-text ban on the Las Vegas Strip and across Nevada will not only have a notable impact on 10s of thousands of local lives … but also gives a good microcosm look at how a bill may or may not become a law. Stuff to think about as we watch the next push for federal online poker legislation this fall.

safety plate

Online Poker Logic
When I first heard about a “distracted driving” bill in Nevada, I was immediately concerned about lives lost and unnecessarily put at risk my future as a photographer of mildly amusing and sometimes pokery license plates. Though I have obtained many of these images with a handheld calling device while driving on Nevada highways, fortunately, using online poker logic, I’m sure I can find a lawyer who will tell me I’m totally in the clear.

nevada license plates

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Posted by at 5:39 am

September 15, 2011

Generic Poker Gossip Column

Royal Flush Girls vs WPT, Lacey Jones in lingerie, Pot Dealer for Poker on Survivor, Phil Hellmuth on Storage Wars, Jack Black is back, bye-bye Blush

Click to enlarge: Melanie Iglesias has her panties in a wad over something related to her break-up with the WPT.

lacey jones lingerie

Undercleavage: This stylish lingerie not available at K-mart offers a new way to look at Lacey Jones’ right boob.

jim rice survivor medical marijuana poker

Pot-committed: Survivorist Jim Rice found a more legal way to earn a living than online poker by selling weed.

Tenacious P: Jack Black is still kinda sorta into poker.

kobe bryant champagne

Baller beware: No TV show ever came of an idea about bar-bill wars between Kobe Bryant and Antonio Esfandiari.

A little poker gossip because sometimes in serious times we like the petty …

Melanie Iglesias vs. WPT (and QuadJacks?)
The guys at Quadjacks have called it “Flushgate” — and reportedly have received quite a bit of wrath from non-poker types over “the abrupt resignation of three Royal Flush girls” — 2010 Maxim Hometown Hottie winner and now MTV personality Melanie Iglesias, Michelle Banzer, and brand spankin’ new RF girl Mica Javier, who had only been on the job for a few weeks. The purging all went down last month right around the time of press announcements for the World Poker Tour’s new Season X … ooh, juicy! You could almost be certain somebody was gonna cry, if not more formally cry foul.

Catpacking in AC
We can only imagine how cut-throat that world can be — where looks absolutely are tied in with your success. Call us old-school here at Pokerati, Melanie is great and all, but she’s still no Lacey Jones, who recently did a lingerie photoshoot with power-model Katerina Van Derham. Meanwhile, here’s a new video featuring Lacey and Maria Ho helping Christina Lindley pick out a dress for her birthday party at the Borgata in Atlantic City this weekend … and New Jersey celeb-hunter Michael Berman interviews this threesome, being dubbed “the Cat Pack” here for the kickoff of WPT Borgata, where there may or may not be openings for three new Royal Flush Girls.

Auction Player?
Speaking of old school, Phil Hellmuth appeared last week on the A&E show Storage Wars — advising a group about strategy in their game of swag auctions, which apparently involves a combination of luck and skill. Not too familiar with that show … when do we get to hear someone say to Phil, “Going, going, gone!?”

Dealer’s Choice: From Poker to Pot
A relatively unknown poker player named Jim Rice is representing poker (whether he likes it or not) and pot on Survivor 23: South Pacific. Supposedly a pal (and business partner?) of Paul Wasicka’s, the 35-year-old from Chicago is now a medical marijuana dispenser in Colorado (woot!). His most recent cashes include a 3rd and a 23rd on the Heartland Poker Tour, this year and in 2008, respectively. And now with online poker more illegal than selling weed (in some US jurisdictions) … makes you wonder if certain poker pros would rather be Jim Rice or Jean-Robert Bellande.

Jack Black Rising or Falling Poker Celebrity?
There’s always new Hollywood celebrities getting in on poker — and hosting a charity tourney is often their first foray into niche hero-status and/or business opportunity around their personal poker addictions. Could Jack Black be the latest? The last-place finisher in the WPT’s 2009 Hollywood home game is hosting a charity tourney next month at the Commerce Casino in California, but otherwise still has much to prove before he becomes the next James Woods, whom you may recall back in 2004-05 kicked off his effort to become the Adam West of Poker.

Vegas Living: Closing Down Blush
The luxe but laid-back “boutique” nightclub Blush, at the Wynn, is closing after a four-year run. Ahhh … I remember this “ultra lounge” as the site of multiple VIP poker parties and the place where upon moving to Vegas I met a guy who explained to me the process of importing women to the US for a life of hooker-dom before having to excuse himself to go sell coke. But perhaps more famously, Blush is the place where Antonio Esfandiari “lost” a game of who’s got bigger ballers to Kobe Bryant — with the NBA star supposedly racking up a $21,000 champagne bill that had celebrity and sports media mocking some poker player being called “the magician” … even though he somehow got Kobe to pay for the last 15 bottles of Cristal.

Meanwhile, @KobeBryant’s Twitter account got suspended last week, and @MagicAntonio’s, who had a surprisingly similar number of followers, did not.


Buy clever/corny poker T-shirts at Les Shoppes du Pokerati.

Posted by at 6:50 am

August 28, 2011

The Ultimate Poker License Plate

Big thanks to Dr. Pokerati for chasing down what is possibly the holy grail of poker-themed license plates we love around these parts. Apparently she had to chase this one down something fierce heading westbound on Sahara before the yellow lights conspired in our favor at Hualapai. (“I figured if I didn’t get it now this one would just disappear into folklore,” she explains.)

Would love to know who has “POKER” … and whether he’s had it forever or acquired it for a premium post-Moneymaker or even post-Jamie Gold.

nevada license plate poker
The big one that didn’t get away.

TRICAT (not a poker player) says the driver of this notably American semi-luxury SUV was an “average 50something white guy” talking on his phone … but he got away before she was could get a clear shot of whoever it was who’s tagged himself with poker everywhere he goes. Drat! But oh well …

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Posted by at 2:45 am

July 19, 2011

“Reported” Full Tilt Payback: Lederer Ships @ToddBrunson $150k?

And did Doyle buy the FTP farm in Bellagio chips?

The 2011 WSOP wouldn’t be the 2011 WSOP without chatter about Full Tilt. And here, on the last day, Howard Lederer makes another appearance in Las Vegas, apparently at another Asian restaurant. But this time it was none other than Todd Brunson who had the unexpected run-in with the once-proud father-figure of Full Tilt Poker.

And Brunson reports — via the often unreliable Twitter — that he got paid his Full Tilt balance of about $150k … in a way that suggests Lederer is either going door-to-door making payouts (perhaps tidying up affairs before he has to “go away”?) or possibly just living out of his car …

Todd Brunson
He asked how much I had on tilt and I told him 150k.. He said come with me. We went to his car and he opened his trunk and paid me!!!!!! 23 hours ago
Todd BrunsonToddBrunson
Look who I just ran into.. I told him the wsop killed me and I was cash short…… http://lockerz.com/s/121600156 23 hours ago

Either way, the stress seems to be doing Lederer right, physically at least, as the previous poster boy for the well-fed high-stakes “poker body” seems to have shed a few (dozen?) pounds around the saddle.

howard lederer todd brunson
Persona non grata: You mean you haven’t been paid yet? Have you submitted your W-9?

And while it would be nice if someone really did get their Full Tilt balance refunded … it can’t be an ideal structure for payouts when they’re happening out of the trunk of a car, even if it is a $250k Audi.

Doyle said to have been buying up Full Tilt dollars at a discount

Meanwhile, since we’re relying on Twitter here … this seems as good a time to pass on a “rumor” that I feel confident enough about the source — someone inside Bobby’s Room — that it might reveal why Brunson’s father, Doyle, has been extra sour on poker as of late.

Supposedly, a few weeks ago, Doyle was playing in Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio, and he was tweeting about his slaughter of Billy Baxter. Soon, talk shifted (off-Twitter) to Full Tilt’s money problems. Brunson reportedly said he was confident they intended to pay, and believed they eventually would … and with that began buying up Full Tilt accounts for about 60 cents on the dollar. Can’t confirm the exact amount he purchased … but the kinda money that people playing in the highest-stakes cash game in Vegas might have on Full Tilt Poker.

The next day, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission suspended Full Tilt’s license, effectively shutting the site down indefinitely.

Posted by at 11:52 pm

June 28, 2011

A Quick Pounding in the Pokerati Game

I spent the first part of today chilling at my place for a few hours, getting in a light workout then writing a couple emails. Then I made my way to the VW dealership. I drive a 2010 Jetta that I’m a pretty big fan of and it was time for my free 10k mileage maintenance and car wash. Before this car, I drove the 2007 version. Two days before my lease was up on that car, it got totaled when a drunk driver blew a red light in West Hollywood where my girlfriend and I were for the weekend.  Neither of us were hurt, thankfully.  He took off after we smashed into him, but he couldn’t get very far with the condition his car was in. A good samaritan followed him and was able to let the police know where they could find him. I had my car towed to a VW dealership and was like, “My lease is up… here’s your car back!” Then I leased a brand new model that same day.

I picked up KK in the first orbit of NL in late position, raised and picked up the blinds …

While at the dealership today I read through 944 magazine a bit.  If you happen to live in a city that 944 covers, and you like going out, doing stuff and checking out new things in your city, I highly recommend picking up a copy. I also highly recommend they pay me for this advertising I’m giving them but that’s probably not going to happen. There are always so many things changing in the city of Las Vegas–new restaurants, DJ appearances/residencies, happy hours, special events–that it is nearly impossible to keep up.  It’s fun to try though, and it’s obviously tough to get bored here.

After VW, it was that time: 7pm on a Thursday, which means Pokerati 1/2 PLO/NLH at the Palms.  When I got there around 8 there was a full game up and running and Danielle was already on the waiting list.  It took about 15 minutes before we had enough people to start a second table.  Pretty impressive, I must say, but not entirely surprising.  The half-and-half nature of the game is just so much more interesting and entertaining in my opinion, that I think you’ll eventually see it spread elsewhere more regularly.  This coupled with the fact that the WSOP is in full swing means there’s no shortage of players around.

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Posted by at 6:20 am

June 24, 2011

Poker Fitness: 5 Keys to surviving the WSOP

Jen Dunphy

Poker Life Coach

Mindset, mindset, mindset! It’s a common buzzword around poker, and with each calculated risk/reward scenario being played out inside the inner workings of the brain, there’s no doubt that a poker player’s mindset is important. If you haven’t cleared your head of hang ups, fears, negative habits and weak confidence, you just won’t go far.

But your head is attached to your body, and if you haven’t put consistent effort towards taking care of your body, your mind will be less likely to cooperate. That doesn’t have to mean running marathons or lifting weights. There are things poker players can do without dramatically altering their routines that can improve the chances that your mind will be in the right place at the right time. No matter what your current level of fitness, here are 5 simple ways for poker players to keep their bodies in gear throughout the WSOP:

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Posted by at 12:38 pm

June 7, 2011

WSOPlatemaking

World Series of License Plates

It’s WSOP-time, of course … and that means the poker-y license plates in Vegas are out in full force. It’s kinda hard not to see them somewhere in Clark County, but extra kudos to those sending in their shots conscious of what the background also does for the pic.

From PokerGrump on the 215, presumably returning home from the WSOP:

las vegas poker license plate BIGSLIK

And here’s one seen in a fast-food drive-thru, across the street from Casino Dealer School, sent to us via @KBBMT:

Posted by at 1:34 pm

April 24, 2011

Licensed and Unregulated

Everything’s been so serious of late … we don’t know about you, but feelin’ the need over here to lighten things up a bit. And what better way to find some levity — while still maintaining our commitment to “fairly accurate quasijournalism” — than with pictures of license plates …

Like this one on a Trailblazer making a (non-legally binding?) statement in the VIP Poker area of the Venetian parking lot:

Some people around Las Vegas, of course, are keeping lower profiles than others:

Poker media asking the tough questions:

nevada license plate got work

Posted by at 9:30 am

March 24, 2011

The Cars Speak

Friends don’t let friends blog and drive … but sometimes you can get a lot of good content at a red light or while in heavy traffic.

Those who’ve read Lost Vegas may recognize the “Redneck Riviera” off to the left … westbound on Trop a few lights away from the Strip. Pauly called this fortress of blight and putridity home for two months during the 2005 WSOP. It’s also near where I began tailing this fine imported automobile with a driver clearly driven by poker:

click to zoom in.

I wanted to follow close enough to grab a shot of the plate with the school bus rolling past the Adult Superstore — caption contest maybe? — but traffic sped up and I missed the shot … and before the Clark County school kids would pass the next porn outlet, Pocket 8s+Broadway would turn into the Orleans … leaving many to wonder about the role of education poker in bridging the rich-poor gap as seen in Las Vegas neighborhoods surrounding the Rio.

Posted by at 10:01 pm

September 27, 2010

Russ Hamilton Playing 1/2 at MGM?

Unconfirmed … so you make the call: Is that everybody’s favorite online poker supervillain Russ Hamilton in the 3 seat?

(Of course it is, but surely that can’t be a silver main event bracelet he’s wearing, right?)

This video was shot at MGM yesterday, about 9:30. (That’s the lion attack exhibit in the background.)

Again, without saying this is for certain any one specific person who has never been formally accused of any crimes yet still finds himself living something of an OJ Simpson retirement … Hamilton has apparently resurfaced from poker exile in the Nevada amateur pub leagues and has been showing up at the MGM about once a week for the past month or so to in put in some hours on the low-stakes grind.

(Check it out, pretty much the same type of crumpled visor Hamilton wore in the notorious Raw Vegas vid.)

Supposedly this player was noticeably a bit tilted by the lingering camera, and quickly got up to put his name on the 2/5 list as “RR”.

UPDATE: RH said in ’08 he keeps his bracelet in a safe, only to be taken out for the World Series. Thinks obviously coulda changed since then, but that was his answer almost three years ago. [Video interview]

Posted by at 11:49 am